Ideas gathered on vision for city
A small group of young Clearwater residents gathered Wednesday to brainstorm about the city's future in the last of three public sessions designed to get public input on a strategic vision.
One idea? Strike "sparkling" from the "Sparkling Clearwater" section of the draft vision statement.
"No one under 85 says 'sparkling,' " offered one participant of the 20 or so who gathered at the Main Library event, also attended by Mayor George Cretekos, the four City Council members and city staffers.
Others in the targeted 35-and-younger demographic questioned the need for another attempt at revitalizing downtown and recommended that the strategy document replace bureaucratic jargon with plain language.
Cretekos said the effort was worthwhile. Only by dreaming big, he said, will the nearly century-old city continue to be a tourist destination and attractive place to live.
During previous sessions in April, the business community and neighborhood associations were invited to give their input.
The council will discuss the document in a few months, said city manager Bill Horne. The last time the city undertook a road map for the city's future was in 2006, he said.
Clarifying the "city's story," improving transportation and creating a more readable plan emerged as suggestions from all three groups, said John Streitmatter, a principal at the Leadership Research Institute, a Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., consulting firm.
'Twilight' fans, playwright's workshop may interest you
The East Branch Library, 2251 Drew St., will host a workshop led by local playwright Ellen Henderson for fans of the Twilight Saga Series by Stephenie Meyer.
The workshop, at 4 p.m. Thursday, will float ideas to create a new play that will be a spinoff of Meyer's book Breaking Dawn that revolves around a newly born vampire, Bella, and her vampire husband, Edward Cullen.
In Meyer's book, the couple bears a daughter, Renesmee. The new play, titled Renesmee, the Teen Years, will explore Renesmee's life and elements of the series.
The workshop, geared toward teens and tweens, is free and open to the public.
Henderson is best known at the Clearwater Countryside and East Library branches, where her one-act play The Regatta has been produced.
For more information, please call (727) 562-4970 or visit www.myclearwater.com/cpl.
Reserve now for business assistance counseling
The Dunedin Chamber of Commerce is accepting reservations for its next two free business assistance counseling sessions.
The confidential, one-hour sessions are held the second Wednesday of each month from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the chamber office, 301 Main St. in Dunedin. They are open to anyone.
The next two sessions are June 12 and July 10. Call (727) 733-3197 to schedule an appointment.
Learn about fruit to grow locally
From blueberries and blackberries to apricots and more, participants in the Dunedin Community Garden Association's next workshop will learn which fruits other than citrus can grow in Pinellas.
The free event will be held 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the Dunedin Community Center, 1920 Pinehurst Road. The presentation will be led by gardening coach Pam Brown.
For more information, call Debby Sheldon at (727) 734-3185 or visit DunedinCommunity Garden.com.
You're invited on virtual ride-along with police
The Clearwater Police Department is now hosting virtual ride-alongs through social media. Anyone with a computer or smart phone can participate by following the police department on Twitter @CPDTweetalong.
The virtual ride-along is an extension of the department's current ride-along program and is intended to promote understanding of the challenges, risks and rewards of the police officer's job.
During a Tweetalong, officers will share their movements during a shift, providing a behind-the-scenes look at their typical day. Followers can also ask questions.
"This is the perfect opportunity for anyone who has ever wanted to go on a police ride-along but just hasn't had the opportunity," said police Chief Anthony Holloway. "We also invite anyone who's simply curious about the day in the life of an officer to join us during the virtual ride-along."
Workshop planned on 2013-14 budget
The Safety Harbor City Commission will meet at 6 p.m. Monday for a workshop on the 2013-2014 fiscal year budget. That meeting will be followed at 7:30 p.m. by the regular commission meeting.
The commission will discuss a proposal to move the March 2014 city election to November 2014 to coincide with countywide elections and save approximately $20,000.
The mayor's post and Seat 4 on the City Commission are scheduled for the ballot in 2014.
The meetings will be held at City Hall, 750 Main St.
Business owners will offer advice
St. Petersburg College and SCORE, a nonprofit, business mentoring organization, will offer Accelerated Entrepreneurship Certificate classes free of charge to veterans or their family members. The classes will be held from June 6 through Aug. 1 at St. Petersburg College's EpiCenter, room 2-302, 13805 58th St. N, Largo.
Participants will receive advice and guidance from small business owners. Discussion will include the basics of opening a business as well as the effort and pitfalls involved in starting one.
Only 25 participants will be accepted, and the registration deadline is Tuesday. For more information, call (727) 573-2784.
Help rid park of invasive plant
The city is looking for volunteers to help remove invasive Brazilian pepper plants from Cooper's Bayou Park on Saturday beginning at 9 a.m.
Participants must wear closed-toe shoes, long pants or jeans, and bring a pair of work or gardening gloves if possible. Supervision, tools and supplies will be provided.
This project is best for ages 14 and up. Students who participate are eligible to receive school service hours. Volunteers will meet in the parking lot of Cooper's Bayou Park, located at 709 Bayshore Blvd. in Clearwater.
To sign up, visit myclearwater.com/parksvolunteer. For more information, call (727) 562-4803 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.