Reluctant vice chairman gets the gavel
This city's Community Development Board is made up of seven volunteers who review the plans of real estate developers. The board's longtime chairman, Nick Fritsch, recently stepped down when his most recent term ended.
Time to pick a new chairperson. The job is important but it's also a bit of a pain. The chairperson constantly has to explain the board's highly technical and legalistic rules to ordinary citizens, some of whom are furious that a developer is seeking to build something large near their property.
At a board meeting last week, vice chairman Thomas Coates asked for nominations.
"Thomas Coates," somebody said.
"Are there any other nominations?" Coates asked.
"Oh, dear," Coates said in his distinguished South African accent, prompting a round of laughter. "Can I vote against myself?"
After a unanimous vote, he added, "You guys are stuck with me."
Coates — an architect, publisher and design consultant — is respected by his peers on the board for his thoughtful questions and comments. He also appears to be the first member of the Church of Scientology to head a Clearwater city board.
Frank Dame, executive vice president of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, was nominated to be the development board's vice chairman.
This vote was a nearly unanimous round of "ayes."
"Anyone against?" Coates asked the board.
"Nay," said Dame, prompting more laughter.
Free trees for Arbor Day? A very fitting giveaway
Celebrate Arbor Day with a tree giveaway for city residents. From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Public Utilities Complex at 1650 N Arcturas Ave., individuals with proof of Clearwater residency (driver's license, voter's registration card or recent utility bill) are eligible to receive two trees per household.
The trees, including live oak, Southern magnolia, red maple, American elm, red cedar, slash pines, crepe myrtles and Walter's viburnum, are available first-come first-served.
The celebration will begin with representatives from the Florida Division of Forestry presenting the Tree City USA flag to the city for the 31st consecutive year.
For more information, call (727) 462-6563, ext. 226.
These boots were made for filling
Clearwater firefighters will be on the streets from Thursday to Sunday doing their 2013 "Fill the Boot" donation drive benefiting the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
Firefighters will take their boots to high-traffic areas and intersections in Clearwater to collect donations.
The annual drive collects funds to assist the MDA in providing medical services at local clinics, summer camp, research grants, support groups and public education seminars.
Hours are from 3 to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday.
Locations include Memorial Causeway and Island Way; Court Street and Fort Harrison Avenue; Keene Road and Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard; Sunset Point Road and Belcher Road; Drew Street and Belcher Road; McMullen-Booth Road and Drew Street; Belcher Road and Gulf-to-Bay; Countryside Boulevard and State Road 580; and Keene Road and Sunset Point Road.
SPC associate provost named
Rodrigo "Rod" Davis has been named associate provost at the Tarpon Springs campus of St. Petersburg College.
Davis was appointed to the position as an interim in October. He has experience in a variety of student services positions, including counselor/academic adviser at the college's Clearwater campus, collegewide coordinator of the Male Outreach Initiative, student activities coordinator and interim international programs coordinator.
Students lead Earth Day event
The public is invited to join students and staff at Palm Harbor Middle School, 1800 State Road 584, as they celebrate Earth Day from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday. The event's theme is Human Impact on the Environment.
Guests are asked to bring an old sheet, blanket or towel that will be donated to a local animal shelter.
Those who donate will receive a gift card for the Aveda Institute.
Guests will also be able to view students' projects on human impact on the environment, watch a Trashy Treasure Fashion Show and take in an Earth Day presentation.
Music and merriment help raise money for community garden
Enjoy music, food and drink specials during the Dunedin Community Garden Association's annual "Grillin' for the Garden" fundraiser. The event will be held from 2 to 7 p.m. Sunday at Dunedin Smokehouse, 471 Main St.
For information visit facebook.com/dunedin communitygarden.
Supporting organic food movement
Downtown restaurants will partner Sunday with the Dunedin Harvest Food & Garden Co-op for a community art event to raise money for workshops and other programs that promote sustainable living.
The Dunedin Life & Light Lantern Festival will feature an organic plant sale, gardening and sustainability demonstrations, free lantern-making workshops, a drum circle, seed swap, hula hooping and a raffle.
Several bands will play at Pioneer Park, 420 Main St., from noon to 9 p.m., with a lantern-lighting ceremony set for 8.
Proceeds from food, drinks and merchandise purchased at Casa Tina's Mexican Restaurant, Pan y Vino Brick Oven Pizza and Sweet Pea's Cafe will benefit the Planting Seeds Workshop series and the 1 % Food Project, which encourages Dunedin residents to pledge a small part of their land to growing food.
For information, visit dunedin harvest.com or casatinas.com.