Council member: Rate hikes for parking unfair
With more expensive parking rates on Clearwater Beach taking effect this week, the newest member of the Clearwater City Council said damage to tourism caused by the city's pricier meters might be compounded by eliminating free parking.
Hoyt Hamilton, elected in March, is a partial owner of the Palm Pavilion on Clearwater Beach. At Monday's council work session, he said the city's decision to eliminate about 220 free parking spaces scattered along the beach would hurt businesses on north beach, where many of those free spots are located and where his family business has been for 50 years.
Hamilton said the city's parking meter hikes, rising to as much as $3 an hour during peak periods in certain lots, might also damage tourism. Beachgoers might opt for Honeymoon Island, Redington Beach or other Pinellas County beaches, he said.
Beach employees wouldn't buy employee parking passes, he said. Instead he predicted they would park in residential areas of north beach and walk to work. That will anger north beach residents, Hamilton said.
And if beach employees are forced to pay for parking at work, then meters should be installed in the Municipal Services Building and city employees should be made to feed the meter, he said.
"Fair is fair," Hamilton said.
Mayor George Cretekos said the city's parking fund pays for parking garages, lifeguards and beach maintenance. City Manager Bill Horne said that the issue had been fully vetted earlier this year.
The parking changes took effect Thursday.
Lifeguards: Do stingray shuffle to avoid injury
Clearwater Beach lifeguards have noticed an increase in the number of stingray injuries, perhaps an indicator that stingray season has arrived on Pinellas beaches.
They urge swimmers and waders to shuffle their feet as they walk in the water. The sound will frighten off stingrays resting on the sand, often hidden from view. Purple flags are flown at lifeguard stands to indicate the presence of stingrays.
If you are stung on Clearwater Beach, see a lifeguard or go to Fire Station #46 at 534 Mandalay Ave. for treatment and monitoring if necessary. For more information, call (727) 462-6963.
Officials to debate new ordinances
The Dunedin City Commission will debate about a dozen proposed ordinance changes during a public workshop set for 9 a.m. to noon Thursday.
The Ordinance Review Committee, an ad hoc group of volunteers appointed by commissioners, is formed every few years to analyze ordinances for clarity or accuracy, content and updates.
The committee has recommended ordinance changes including extending the hours that alcohol sales are allowed on Sunday mornings; increasing the monetary thresholds on sales of city property and gifts to elected officials; and reducing the penalty for holding repeated unauthorized garage sales to a review by code enforcement rather than automatic fines or jail. Commissioners will also discuss proposed changes to the EMS system.
For more information on the meeting, to be held at Dunedin City Hall, 542 Main St., go to dunedingov.com.
Teen library volunteers sought
The Dunedin Youth Volunteers, a group of teens ages 14 to 18 who promote and assist with programs and services at the Dunedin Public Library, are seeking members.
A recruitment meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the library, 223 Douglas Ave. Space is limited and registration is recommended. Volunteers earn scholarship hours for programs including Bright Futures and the International Baccalaureate program, so bring applicable paperwork.
For more information or to register, click the "Volunteer" tab at dunedingov.com/library, call Katherine Kastanis at (727) 298-3080, ext. 1722, or visit the library's Youth Services desk.
Join Blue Jays' charity drive
Dunedin Blue Jays fans are invited to participate in the team's charity drive benefiting the Boys & Girls Club of the Suncoast.
For the month of May, fans can donate arts and crafts supplies including colored pencils, crayons, paper, pencil sharpeners and washable magic markers at D-Jays home games.
Fans who contribute will receive a courtesy ticket voucher for a future home game or a hat at the Jays shop.
Questions? Call (727) 733-9302 or visit dunedinbluejays.com.
Community garden fundraiser
The Dunedin Community Garden will host its annual fundraiser from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Dunedin Smokehouse, 471 Main St. The free event will feature live music, food specials, raffle tickets and a special beer from 7venth Sun. Find more details at facebook.com/ dunedincommunitygarden.
Free sports physicals to be offered Saturday
Morton Plant Mease's sports medicine program will offer sports physicals to student athletes from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at Palm Harbor University High, 1900 Omaha St. Physicians, certified trainers and physical therapists will provide checks of height, weight, blood pressure, vision, lungs and the musculoskeletal system. Student athletes under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian or registration forms must be pre-signed. Students who wear glasses or contact lenses should bring them.
Students found to have a medical condition that needs additional treatment will be referred to a Morton Plant Mease specialist for a follow-up at a later date.
The sports physicals will be done on a first-come, first-served basis and are free. For more information, call (727) 462-7861.
Online workshop shows storm prep
"Brace for the Storm," an Internet-based workshop sponsored by the city of Largo, provides homeowners with a stronger understanding of how to make homes safer from a hurricane and other disasters. Workshop participants will also learn how to save money on the windstorm portion of their homeowner's insurance premiums.
The workshop will be 6 p.m. Tuesday online. To register and receive more information, visit bereadyflorida.org.