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Pinellas County news and notes

Course on mental illness: The National Alliance on Mental Illness-Pinellas County is offering "Breaking the Silence,'' to PTAs, teachers' meetings, clubs and associations. It believes informing more people about mental illnesses, and the symptoms associated with them, can help avoid many of the school and home tragedies by getting early help for those showing signs of onset of the illness. Contact the NAMI-Pinellas Helpline at (727) 791-3434.

Be an elder spokesperson: Florida's Long-Term Care Ombudsman program needs volunteers who advocate and protect the rights of elders living in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and adult family care homes. Also, the program's local councils are seeking additional volunteers to identify, investigate and resolve residents' concerns. Training and certification is provided. For information call (727) 588-6912 or visit

Mt. Zion Progressive Missionary Baptist Church, St. Petersburg, is seeking female and male participants for the Paralympic Therapeutic Sports Ministry wheelchair basketball game. TSM is offering wheelchair basketball to inspire youths and adults whose daily lives require the use of wheelchairs. An exhibition game between the Orlando Magic Wheels and Tampa Bay Strong Dogs will be held at 10 a.m., on March 22 at Wildwood Recreation Center, 1000 28th St. S, St. Petersburg. Those interested in playing for the Mt. Zion team or volunteering can call the Rev. Charles Ray at (727) 894-4311 or email

Spring yard sale: A spring community yard sale will benefit TASCO Teen Programs. This sale has more than 100 vendors. The event is from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 10 at Crescent Lake, on the corner of 22nd Avenue N and Fifth Street, St. Petersburg. The cost for vendors to reserve a 10- by 10-foot space is $15. For information, call (727) 893-7813.

Beach Chamber mixer: The Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce will host its next networking event from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday. Slyce Pizza Bar, 311 Gulf Blvd., Indian Rocks Beach, is the host venue with free hors d'oeuvres and pizza. Cost is $10 for chamber members and $20 for non-members. For information, call (727) 360-6957.

Girls in need can get help for prom: Belle of the Ball is a nonprofit organization that provides homecoming and prom dresses to low-income high school girls in Pinellas counties. Belle of the Ball announces the following distribution dates. Hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on March 15, April 5, April 19 and May 3 at Seminole Mall, 11201 Park Blvd. No appointment is necessary and these dates and time will be the only time to receive a dress. Those interested in volunteering can email Those wishing to donate dresses can email For information, call (727) 386-4502 or visit

Writing classes: Literary agent and local author Valerie Clark will take you from book and film concept to polished manuscript. Classes will be held at the Treasure Island Recreation Center from 2:30-4:30, Fridays starting March 21. Cost is $120. For information, call (404) 918-7886.

The 28th annual Eckerd College Marine Yard Sale: Large crowds are expected to turn out for this annual sale, which features used boats and marine equipment, including a large selection of power and sailboats, motors, accessories and electronics. Proceeds support the Eckerd College Search and Rescue Team. 9 a.m. to noon March 22 at the Eckerd waterfront, 4200 54th Ave. S, St. Petersburg. For information, call (727) 864-8555.

People suffering from myelofibrosis, essential thrombocythemia, or polycythemia vera are welcome to attend an MPN education symposium on April 3 at the Hilton St. Petersburg Carillon Park, 950 Lake Carillon Drive. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. and the program runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Guest speakers will include experts in the field, Dr. Rami Komrojki of Moffit Cancer Centers, and Dr. Rajit Rampal of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, among others. Cost is $125 and $75 for each person within an organized group. Those needing financial assistance can call and talk with a representative. For registration and information, call (517) 899-6889 or visit

Early voting: Early voting for Tuesday's elections runs through Sunday at all Supervisor of Elections Offices. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday: Locations are: Election Service Center, 13001 Starkey Road, Largo (Starkey Lakes Corporate Center); Pinellas County Courthouse, 315 Court St., Room 117, Clearwater (first floor, north side); and the County Building, 501 First Ave. N, St. Petersburg (entrance on Fifth Street). Voters can check early voting wait times online at

Voted mail ballots can be dropped off at any elections office or designated ballot dropoff location on specified days and hours: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Friday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday; and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday.

There are three ballot drop-off locations that will be open weekdays through Tuesday: 29399 U.S. 19 N (near Curlew), Clearwater; 1663 Gulf-to-Bay Blvd., Clearwater; and 1800 66th St. N, St. Petersburg; Also, the following libraries have dropoff boxes that will be open weekdays and Saturdays through March 11: 9200 113th St. N., Seminole; and 7770 52nd St., Pinellas Park. Ballots cannot be dropped off at a polling place. For information, call (727) 464-6108.

Time to exercise: Exercise while seated increases stability, range of motion and physical abilities in all ages. The Ageless Grace adult exercise program is for those with weight and joint issues, diabetes and physical limitations. This program utilizes 21 tools while in a seated position to stimulate memory, creativity, imagination, analytic, strategic and kinesthetic learning. The tools activate the body's core, internal organs, respiratory, endocrine and digestive systems. Those with knee or hip replacements require a doctor's permission. Classes are from 10 to 10:50 a.m. Tuesdays. Cost is $15 per month and requires a $15 annual ADVANTAGE card. For information, call (727) 893-7150 or visit

Largo Summer Camp Scholarships: The city of Largo is offering the Juanita Johnson and Rotary Club of Largo scholarships in addition to the Out of School Time Scholarships, funded by Coordinated Child Care of Pinellas. Completed applications and supporting documentation can be turned in to Highland Recreation Complex or Southwest Recreation Complex. Scholarships are awarded first-come, first-served and funding is limited. For information on requirements, call (727) 518-3016 or (727) 518-3125 or visit

St. Petersburg Free Clinic call for volunteers: Orientation sessions will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday and at 3:30 p.m. on March 18. Assignments can be short-term or long-term. 863 Third Ave N. Email Angel Schumaker at or call (727) 821-1200, ext. 114.

Student Ambassadors to Japan: High school juniors living in St. Petersburg are eligible to apply to be St. Petersburg's student ambassadors to Takamatsu, Japan, this summer. During their three-week visit, student ambassadors will: meet local government officials, including Takamatsu's mayor; attend high school; and participate in daily activities with their host families. To apply, students must have completed their junior year by this summer. An original essay should be submitted with an introduction letter to their host family. Also required are a class photo; a copy of their high school transcript, including verification of honors and/or activity involvement; an introduction letter to the host parents written by the applicant's parents; and two reference letters, including one from a school faculty member. One or two students will be selected following interviews with the city's International Relations Committee. Applications may be hand-delivered to the Marketing and Communications Department at City Hall, 175 Fifth St. N, or mailed with a postmark before 5 p.m., by March 14. Applications submitted via email will not be considered. For an application, visit For information, call (727) 893-746

Water safety instructor class: The city of Largo announces a water safety instructor class from March 15 through March 29. Certified trainers will instruct students at all levels of swimming using American Red Cross techniques. This class includes two-year certification. Students will be provided with training materials. A prerequisite for the class is a swim stroke skill test, which will be from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. March 15. Classes will Saturdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cost is $215 for residents and $255 for nonresidents. You must have a city recreation card to participate. Southwest Pool, 13120 Vonn Road. For information, call (727)518-3126 or visit

Free nonprofit vendor space: The Gulfport Tuesday Fresh Market is offering one free vendor space each week for nonprofit organizations to provide information, sell tickets to events or sell items for fundraising. Any items to be sold must be preapproved. For information, email Laura Garrison at

Kids Dribble and Kick: This soccer program includes 30 minutes of instruction followed by 45 minutes of game time. Evaluations will be held March 15 at Highland Recreation Complex, 400 Highland Ave. NE, Largo. Games begin March 22. A Largo recreation card is not required for this program. For information, visit or call (727) 518-3016.

Pinellas County news and notes 03/06/14 [Last modified: Thursday, March 6, 2014 3:26pm]
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