Rays Players and Pooches Calendar to benefit Pet Pal Animal Shelter

For the fifth straight year, the Tampa Bay Rays and Pet Pal Animal Shelter have partnered to create the “Players and Pooches” calendar. The 2017 calendar is available online for $15 plus shipping and handling by ordering below, with all of the proceeds benefitting Pet Pal Animal Shelter. The calendar is made possible through the Rays and the Ted Williams Museum and Hitters Hall of Fame.

This year’s full-color calendar consists of 14 months, each featuring a different Rays player along with either their own dog(s) or a dog from Pet Pal. The only exception is Matt Duffy, who is pictured with his famous feline, Skeeter.

The calendar includes: Evan Longoria, Kevin Kiermaier, Logan Forsythe, Nick Franklin, Brad Boxberger, Drew Smyly, Steven Souza Jr., Jake Odorizzi, Brad Miller, Matt Duffy, Alex Cobb, Luke Maile, Ryan Garton and first base coach Rocco Baldelli.

Purchase your calendar here.

In addition to online orders, the calendar is available for purchase at the Rays Tropicana Field Team store, the Rays Pro Shop and Ticket Outlet located in downtown Tampa, Pet Pal Animal Shelter, Pet Pal Veterinary Clinic and Pet Pal Thrift Store.

Rays Tropicana Field Team Store
One Tropicana Drive, St. Petersburg 33705
Holiday Hours:
December 14 through 16: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
December 17 and 18: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
December 21 through 23: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
(727) 825-3429

Rays Pro Shop and Ticket Outlet
Downtown Tampa
400 N Tampa St. Suite 110, Tampa 33602
Hours: Mon-Fri, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sat 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
(813) 228-7157

Pet Pal Animal Shelter
405 22nd St. S, St. Petersburg 33712
Hours: Tues-Fri 11 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Sat 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Sun-Mon Closed.
(727) 328-7738

Pet Pal Veterinary Clinic
1900 34th St. S, St. Petersburg 33711
Hours: Mon-Fri, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sat, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
(727) 328-7729

Pet Pal Thrift Store
1500 34th St. N, St. Petersburg 33713
Hours: Wed-Sat, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
(727) 327-9848

Adopt-an-Artist C.J. Cona Joins The Gulfport Art & Gallery Walk

Meet our Adopt-An-Artist, C.J. Cona, sponsored by Mangia Gourmet! C.J. is not only a fabulous artist, but teaches others how to hone their skills as well. Raised in New York, C.J. is a new Gulfport resident and is ready to share her sense of wonder with us all. She has two specialties: animal portraits using Swiss Crayon and found object assemblages. Come see C.J. and experience her spontaneity and energy.

On the first Friday of each month, you can visit Beach Boulevard in Gulfport for the fun and fantastic Gulfport Art & Gallery Walk! The event features art from several different perspectives. There are paintings, sculptures, photographs and even fanciful art created from upcycled items. That’s only part of what we exhibit. You can also find hand-crafted jewelry, self-designed and handmade clothing, accessories and bath & body products. There’s something for everyone!

When it comes to music, we’ve got you covered. There are several venues throughout the Waterfront District that host live bands, so you have your choice of who to listen to, or you can jump around and hear it all.

On top of all of that, downtown Gulfport features many unique shops, boutiques and galleries with charm you will only find here.  With over a dozen great restaurants, you are certain to find something that fits your taste, and it’s all within walking distance of all the evening’s festivities. Don’t miss out on your chance to eat at one of the foremost dining destinations in the Tampa Bay Area.

There is no charge for admission and complimentary parking is available nearby, with courtesy trolley rides available from off-site parking areas. Gulfport events are pet and family friendly. We can’t wait to see you there.

Vendor information can be found at SIKpromotions.com. For general information, follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GulfportArtWalk, visit us at www.VisitGulfportFlorida.com or call 727-322-5217.

Who: Gulfport Merchants Association
What: Gulfport Art & Gallery Walk
When: Friday, February 3, 2017; 6PM to 10PM
Where: Near 3101 Beach Blvd. S., Gulfport, FL 33707
Admission Fee: none

ulfport’s Get Rescued: Adoptables, Critter Costumes & Doppelgangers

The animals are going to claim the streets of downtown Gulfport as their own for three big events. As part of the 13th Annual Gulfport’s Get Rescued event, these wonderful showcases are a must-see for any animal lover. 100% of the events net proceeds are donated back to animal rescue. It’s an event we can ALL get into!

Grab your doggie doppelgänger and head on over to Reef Dog at 11:00 AM for the pet/owner look-a-like contest. Did someone really say that, after a certain amount of time, we start to look like our pets, or they start to look like us? We’re soon to find out! Don your Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dog best and enter!

The Adoptable Pet Parade at 12:00 PM will showcase furry friends of all sizes, shapes and colors. Fetch your new best friend as you watch some of the most adorable and adoptable animals strut their stuff!

Leash up your pet for the critter costume contest and see how your pal stacks up to the pack for cuteness and creativity! If your fur baby loves the spotlight, this “claws-tume” contest at 1:00 PM is for them (and you!). The pet who gets the loudest barks and howls is the winner!

The event is hosted by the non-profit Gulfport Merchant’s Association on February 25, 2017, from 10am to 6pm. Located near 3101 Beach Boulevard South, Gulfport, FL 33707, we are pet and family friendly with complimentary admission, parking and trolley rides. Visit us at Facebook.com/GetRescued for the most up to date information, or contact SIK Promotions, Inc., 727-322-5217/Suzfest@gmail.com

Penny for Pinellas Voter Information Session

The Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce Community Advocacy Quarterly Meeting focuses on the renewal of Penny for Pinellas

Join the Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce 9:00 a.m.February 16th at the Madeira Beach Rec Center, 200 Rex Place. Learn why voters should renew the Penny for Pinellas in November. Our guest speaker will explain how Penny for Pinellas was used to complete important infrastructure, beautification and capital improvement projects throughout our communities. The discussion will include a list of future projects projected to be completed if voters approve the renewal of the penny.

Investments from the Penny for Pinellas include:

  • New bridges that span our waterways and neighborhood parks
  • Faster travel with 68 new lane miles, 16 major roads with added lanes
  • Safer communities with more than 20 fire and emergency facilities built or renovated
  • More than 150 projects to enhance our stormwater systems and flood control
  • Protection of natural resources with hundreds of acres of land preserved, upgrades to 21 parks and more than 50 new miles of multiuse trails.

For more information on Penny for Pinellas visit: http://www.tampabaybeaches.com/events.

Volunteers Needed for Gulfport’s Get Rescued

The 13th Annual Gulfport’s Get Rescued, the animal rescue festival and fundraiser, is preparing for its event to take place on Saturday, February 25, 2017 from 10am to 6pm. We have lots of volunteer positions to fill, including barricade set-up/security, vendor set-up, donation monitor, and other event duties.

Each year, thousands of attendees, many accompanied by their own furry companions, make their way to Gulfport to participate in what has become a beloved tradition. Please consider taking a few hours out of your day to help out at one of the largest animal rescue events in the state. Shifts are four hours and our furry friends will certainly appreciate it.

Sign up now by visiting www.sikvolunteers.com.
You can also email us at sikvolunteers@gmail.com.

Easy Recycling Options in Pinellas County

  • New 2017 Recycling Directory available online and in local newspapers
  • Pinellas County’s A to Z Guide is now GPS-based
  • Both are accessible online

In a continuous effort to practice superior environmental stewardship, Pinellas County is offering new tools to give residents and visitors easy recycling options. The county has released the new 2017 Recycling Directory and converted its popular A to Z Guide to a geo-locatable web tool.

This year’s directory, which is published annually by Pinellas County Solid Waste, is packed with the latest information about managing waste as a resource and how to properly “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Recover.”

The directory is accessible online.  A free copy of the directory will also be inserted in local newspapers.  The directory will be distributed in the Sunday, Jan. 15, edition of the Tampa Bay Times, the Thursday, Jan. 19, edition of The Weekly Challenger newspaper, and in the Friday, Jan. 20, edition of the tbt* Newspaper, the Tampa Bay Times’ free daily newspaper. Free copies will also be available at many libraries and government offices throughout the county.

Residents can find out how to recycle or safely dispose of just about anything from their home with the county’s A to Z Guide. Pinellas County Solid Waste has partnered with ReCollect, a waste collection mobile application developer, to convert the popular A to Z Guide to a geo-locatable tool.

The online A to Z Guide will allow users to type the name of an item they want to recycle and discover if the material can be reused, recycled or composted as well as where it can be disposed of. If users enter their address, the tool will direct them to the closest recycling or reuse locations, or the nearest disposal sites.

In 2015, Pinellas County attained the highest recycling rate (89%) in Florida, according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. The rate contributes toward the state’s goal of recycling 75 percent of its waste by 2020.

“Pinellas County residents do a great job recycling and reducing waste, which conserves resources and preserves the life of our landfill,” said Pinellas County Solid Waste Director Kelsi Oswald. “With the new online tools, it is even easier to learn about solid waste management and best practices to reduce, reuse and recycle in our community.”

To learn more about the online A to Z Guide for recycling and disposal in Pinellas County, visit www.pinellascounty.org/solidwaste/getridofit/default.htm. To request a copy of the directory or learn more about recycling, visit www.pinellascounty.org/recycle or call (727) 464-7500.

Pinellas County Solid Waste will be holding the first annual Eco Fun Festival on Sunday, Feb. 26, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Solid Waste facility located at 11418 34th St. N., Clearwater. The free event will feature sustainable living exhibitors and presentations, facility tours, touch-a-truck for children, food vendors and family-friendly fun. The event will be held rain or shine. Visit www.pinellascounty.org/ecofunfest for more information.

Clearwater Marathon Traffic Advisory for Sunday, January 22nd

The course starts early (6:35 a.m.) at Coachman Park on Clearwater’s waterfront, heads through downtown to access the Clearwater Bridge, south to the Sand Key Bridge, descending onto barrier-island-flat Gulf Boulevard and into Sand Key Park and then returning to Gulf Boulevard for the next 9 miles. The course continues through Indian Shores and then turns inland over the Park Boulevard Bridge and takes an easterly route onto Oakhurst Road to the Pinellas Trail.  It then turns north on the Trail before reaching Clearwater and a short trek on S. Ft. Harrison before turning west into the Harbor Oaks neighborhood. The course heads west on the Clearwater Bridge approach for a short jaunt, exiting off to the double-helix ramp onto the bay level and the finish line just ahead back at Coachman Park.

ONLINE REVIEW: Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Circus XTREME in Tampa Jan. 25-29

Feld Entertainment Chairman and CEO Kenneth Feld can be very proud of the great restructuring that his daughters and co-producers Nicole and Alana Feld did with Circus XTREME, first seen here in 2015 but updated as a brand-new production of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

Sadly, it will be the last production of the Circus, with Feld’s recent announcement that the show would close forever May 21 in Uniondale, NY. Declining attendance combined with high operating costs, along with changing public tastes and prolonged battles with animal rights groups, all contributed to its demise. “There isn’t any one thing,” Feld told the Associated Press. “This has been a very difficult decision for me and for the entire family.” Feld’s late father bought the Circus from the John Ringling North family in 1967.

Kristen Michelle Wilson is the first female Ringmaster (pictured above) and the 39th overall in the 146-year history of the “The Greatest Show on Earth”. In homage to her hometown, the show opened January 13 for the first time ever in Orlando at Amway Center.

With a commanding presence and booming voice, she got excellent help from internationally famous clown couple Alex and Irina Emelin — who navigate in a “sailboat” and “tour jeep” to compete in discovering the world’s best extreme artists and performers. They also interact nicely and creatively throughout the show with the famous Ringling clown alley, led by boss clown Taylor Albin.

This year’s production is missing the famous Ringling pachyderms, retired after last year’s performances to the world-renowned Ringling Center for Elephant Conservation in Polk County.  

Among the standout acts that more than make up for the loss:

Tiger trainer Tabayara “Taba” Maluendo from Chile faces 14 Bengal tigers, with such stunts as a first-ever 14-tiger laydown, sit-up and hind-leg stand-up waving their paws; four tiger rollover; four tiger sit-up on four others; a seven-tiger pedestal sit-up; and a dance-off with one tiger finale. Using his catchphrase “Azucar”–  for sugar or sweet, he calls them by name to perform.  

The Daring Danguir high-wire troupe, led by Mustafa Danguir who once walked a mile-long, 540- foot-high tight wire in Spain, accomplishes dangerous stunts with stunning footwork.  Highlights include a daring female somersault to split; leaping over four others on the wire; a one-man leap forward, then backward, from one member’s shoulder to another’s; and the four-person pyramid finale.

On the 16,000-pound, 50-foot-high “Pendulum of Steel”, daredevil Benny Ibarra does amazing stunts First he executes forward and back flips inside the whirling wheel, and then goes outside to defy gravity by jumping rope and doing forward and backward somersaults atop the wheel.

Featuring acrobats, contortionists and a trio of strongmen, the Mongolian Marvels troupe stuns the audience. Their feats include the trio playing catch with 200-pound iron balls, a teeth-only 551-pound lift of three others and barbells, and a finale three-man lift of 900 pounds of six other troupe members.

The aerial display is one of the most dramatic show-stoppers, topped by Bungee Skydiving in a blacked-out arena under ultra-violet, blacklight in stunning fluorescent costumes including duos, trios and a six-girl, hand-holding finale. A troupe of Angelic Aerialists from Russia and the Ukraine includes four “magical mermaids” on single traps, two single orbs, and five-girl giant orb, as all do synchronized stunts.

Human cannonball “Nitro Nicole” Sanders rockets over 140 feet across the arena experiencing seven G’s, usually encountered by fighter pilots and astronauts. Her shot is followed by a nice choreographed dance routine with her group of assistants.

The Freestyle Sports show finale is a fast-paced display featuring BMX bikes doing half-pipes and 360 wheelies, and the Ukrainian Art of Trampoline troupe doing acrobatics launched off twin trampolines through a 15-foot transparent tower — bouncing, flipping and tumbling around the entire arena.

Also sure to please are the other animal acts, with trainer Colleen Pages opening the show with her six-Bactrian (two-hump) camel group with bareback Desert Goddess riders doing stunts in various ménage routines.

Alex and Irina’s talented group of all-size – toy to standard — Poodles delight the crowd with jumps, dances, “Mutt & Jeff” under legs and jump-overs, and a six-dog, hind-leg “long mount” emulating the Ringling Pachyderms.

Feld Entertainment Executive Vice President and Circus co-producer Alana Feld told Paradise News, “We constantly travel the globe looking for the best and brightest talent. Kristen Michelle Wilson wowed us with her powerful voice and charismatic personality. We knew immediately that she would be able to connect with the audience and bring them along on the Circus XTREME adventure.”

Lucky Tampa Bay residents and visitors can catch the very last local performances of RBB&B Circus XTREME at Tampa’s Amalie Arena: Wed. & Thur. (25-26), 7:30 pm; Fri. & Sat. (27-28), 10:30 am & 7:30 pm; Sun. (29), 1:00 pm & 5:30 pm. For tickets: online at https://ringling-bros-circus.tickets-center.com. 

PHOTOS by Feld Entertainment

[Steve Traiman is President of Creative Copy by Steve Traiman in St. Pete Beach, offering freelance business writing services. He can be reached via email at traimancreativecopy@gmail.com.]

Volunteer with Tampa Bay Watch in 2017

Help Story 2D Island in February

Tampa Bay Watch is recruiting volunteers to install an oyster shell bar on the shoreline of 2D Island on February 23 & 24. The project involves shoveling fossilized shell into mesh bags, transporting the bags via boat and placing oyster shell bags on the shoreline to create a series of oyster bars. It is pretty physical labor with oyster shell bags weighing around 30 pounds each, therefore the miminum age to participate is 15 years old. The meeting location for is Williams Park Boat Ramp, 8749 U.S. 41, Riverview, FL 33578. The boat ramp is on the west side of US 41 (Tamiami Trail) where US 41 and the north side of the Alafia River intersect. Click on date to register for this project: Thursday, February 23 & Friday, February 24.

Make Waves in 2017

Suncoast Surfrider Foundation proudly Presents Make Waves, a 2017 community kick off party on Sunday, January 22 from 6-10pm. Discover and engage with your local Tampa Bay community to understand the ways in which you can make waves this year. Jannus Live has graciously donated their epic music venue for this annual party featuring some of the best local music talent the Tampa Bay area has to offer including Jah Movement Reggae Band, Oceanstone, The Rosewoods, Mammoth Moon and more. Live art brought to you by Derek Donnelly & the Donnelly Cove. Over a dozen local non profits and ocean frendly businesses will be on display, as well as a plethora of epic raffle prizes throughout the evening. Click here for more information on the Surfrider Foundation.

Build Oyster Domes

Tampa Bay Watch is recruiting 10-20 hard-working volunteers to help build oyster domes at our Marine Center, 3000 Pinellas Bayway South in Tierra Verde. The project takes place on specified weekday mornings from 9 am until noon. The minimum age to participate in this project is 16 years old. The project involves pouring marine-friendly concrete into fiberglass molds to create oyster domes and taking apart the molds that were previously poured. 

Oysters need to attach to a hard structure to grow into adults and the rough texture of the domes makes it easier for oysters to grow. Oyster communities help stabilize shorelines, provide hard bottom habitats for fish and wildlife resources and promote water quality improvements in the Tampa Bay ecosystem. Learn more about the oyster dome program here.

 Click one of the dates below to register: Monday, January 16Wednesday, January 18Friday, January 20, or Thursday, January 26.

Get your tickets to the Lightning game on February 23 & support Tampa Bay Watch at the same time!  

Tickets are $37 or $40. Each option includes a $20 donation to Tampa Bay Watch. Click here to select your seats. Use Promo Code: BAY

2017 Happy Hour with the Historian Schedule

Happy Hour with the Historian is returning to the St. Petersburg Museum of History in 2017. Check out who is coming and when:

  • January 12 – Lyn Millner: The Allure of Immortality: An American Cult, a Florida Swamp, and a Renegade Prophet
  • March 9 – Craig Pittman: Oh, Florida – America’s Weirdest State
  • May 11 – Lisa Bradbury: Weedon Island’s Sunhaven Studios
  • July 13 – Peter MeinkeAn Evening with Florida’s Poet Laureate
  • September 14 – Bill Leavengood: Doc Webb and His Webb’s City
  • November 9 – Lynn Waddell: Fringe Florida

Doors open at 6:30PM, includes a cash bar provided by Hops & Props.

Admission: $5 suggested donation. SPMoH Members are FREE.

Find out more at http://spmoh.com/visit/events/happyhour/.