Carving finds beauty in tree that couldn't be saved
A carving of a dolphin pursing fish was completed on Monday by woodcarver Gil Watson of Crystal River. He was hired by Ken and Andrea Donald of Ozona to turn the stump of their 40-foot-tall red bay tree into something creative after it became sick last summer. The tree is the casualty of an exotic pest called the red bay ambrosia beetle, according to Ken Donald, who said there was nothing he could do to save the tree after noticing its leaves turning brown. Smaller than a grain of rice, the beetle coexists with and carries a fungus that is causing the fast-spreading epidemic called laurel wilt disease in red bay laurel trees and their cousins, swamp bay trees and avocado trees. There is no cure, according to the Pinellas County's Department of Environmental Management. Gil Watson answered an ad placed in early January by the Donalds for a sculptor and eventually designed and rough carved the dolphins and fish into the stump. According to University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension, the red bay ambrosia beetle-laurel wilt pathogen poses a potential major problem for the Florida avocado industry, with many efforts being focused on preventing the infestation from spreading.
Construction requires redoubled water conservation
Pinellas County residents are asked to curb all unnecessary indoor and outdoor water use from now through Feb. 28.
The drinking water supply will be limited due to a scheduled construction project by the Pinellas County Department of Environment and Infrastructure and Tampa Bay Water, the regional water wholesaler serving Pinellas County.
During the 10-day construction period, Tampa Bay Water and the city of St. Petersburg are providing Pinellas County with sufficient water to meet the average daily water demands.
Residents are asked to refrain from outdoor water use activities such as lawn irrigation, pressure washing, car washing, installing new sod/landscaping, operating fountains and filling pools.
Residents are also encouraged to reduce indoor water use by practicing water conservation methods such as reducing shower time and avoiding running water while washing dishes, brushing teeth and shaving.
The benefits of the construction project include reducing long-term operation and maintenance costs by replacing aging infrastructure, improving water quality management, and providing a more reliable, blended supply of drinking water to Pinellas County customers.
Residents are also reminded that Pinellas County is under a water shortage order limiting lawn irrigation to one day per week on an assigned day based on house address for potable, well, lake and pond water irrigation sources.
For more information on other water restrictions and to find your assigned watering day, contact customer service at (727) 464-4000. Residents who receive water from a municipality are asked to check the schedule with their water supplier.
Jolly, Overby to attend forum
Republican candidate David Jolly and Libertarian candidate Lucas Overby are scheduled to appear at a public forum Sunday for candidates seeking the U.S. House 13th District seat.
The forum will begin at 11 a.m., with doors opening at 10 a.m., at the Centre of Palm Harbor, 1500 16th St., Palm Harbor. Refreshments will be provided.
The forum is being presented by the Palm Harbor Area Senior Council.
Candidate Alex Sink will not attend the forum because of a prior commitment.
For more information, call the Centre, (727) 771-6000.
Seminar on sex assault prevention
The Hispanic Outreach Center will host a free seminar on sexual assault prevention and awareness next week.
The seminar, organized by the InterCultural Advocacy Institute and the Clearwater Police Department, will take place at the center, 612 Franklin St. in Clearwater, from 7 to 8 p.m. Tuesday. Child care and refreshments will be provided.
For more information, call the center at (727) 445-9734, ext. 207.
MLK banquet to benefit new playground
You can still purchase tickets for the 19th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Benefit Banquet, presented by the Citizens Alliance for Progress Inc.
The program will begin at 3 p.m. Sunday inside Inverness Hall at the Innisbrook Resort & Golf Club, 36750 U.S. 19 N in Palm Harbor. Student winners of CAP's oratory contest will be featured guests.
Rod Carter, the morning anchor for WFLA-Ch. 8, will be the emcee.
Tickets are $35 and can be purchased at the door or by calling Carmen Wilson, (727) 934-5881, ext. 12.
Proceeds will benefit a new community playground near the Union Academy Family Center in Tarpon Springs.
Irish musicians will perform March 9 at library
Tickets are on sale now for an afternoon of Irish music at 2 p.m. on March 9 at the East Lake Community Library.
The band, Wind That Shakes the Barley, includes Bill Dudley on guitar, Kathie Aagaard on fiddle, Sarah Mitchell on hammered dulcimer and John McEwen on mandolin.
The group has been performing traditional music of the British Isles as well as the music of the New England Contradance tradition, for 30 years. Refreshments will be served and musicians will visit with attendees after the show. Tickets are $12 and are available at the library, 2665 East Lake Road. For more information, call (727) 773-2665.