City wants mediator for beach access brouhaha
On Thursday, the City Council unanimously authorized City Attorney Pam Akin to hire an outside mediator to seek a solution to a dispute over access to the sand on north Clearwater Beach.
The Clearwater Beach Association had asked for the city to play a more active role in the group's fight against several property owners in the 1000 block of El Dorado Avenue who have erected ropes and No Trespassing signs on the beach behind their homes in recent months.
Akin said the city believes it may have an interest in the tax liability of any beach claimed by those property owners.
One property owner's representative was hesitant to participate in mediated discussion.
"I think an appropriate step prior to considering spending time with a mediator or in court is for the CBA to provide in writing a solid legal basis for their position to the property owners in question," wrote W. Miller, manager of 1068 Eldorado LLC, in an email last week.
Banquet guest: Trayvon Martin family attorney
The annual Freedom Fund Banquet of the NAACP Upper Pinellas Clearwater branch will feature guest speaker Benjamin Crump, who was the attorney for the Martin family in the Trayvon Martin case.
The banquet, which raises funds for scholarships, will be held Friday at Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, Clearwater.
A reception at 6 p.m. will be followed by the program at 7.
Tickets are $50 for adults and $25 for children 13 and younger.
Woman lauded for giving 'life-saving first aid'
A Palm Harbor woman was recognized by Palm Harbor fire commissioners with an award this month after she provided "life-saving first aid" to a woman who was seriously injured.
On Feb. 10, Carol Chamberlain was shopping at the Walmart in Palm Harbor when a woman driving a motorized grocery cart slammed into a watch display, severely cutting her leg. Chamberlain immediately placed towels over the wound to control the bleeding and spoke to the woman until paramedics arrived.
"Carol Chamberlain's quick actions slowed the bleeding and prevented the patient's condition from being critical," fire officials said.
ESOL families invited to information fair Tuesday
The Pinellas County school district's English for Speakers of Other Languages department is partnering with dozens of community organizations to provide families with information about resources including health services, scholarship and financial aid information, citizenship and English classes, tutoring for children and adults, insurance and more.
The data will be highlighted during a fair to be held 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday in the cafeteria at Dunedin Elementary School, 900 Union St.
For information, English speakers should call (727) 588-6415. Spanish speakers should call (727) 623-4414.
Smoke testing program will soon be under way
Dunedin's wastewater department will soon launch a new smoke testing program aimed at detecting leaks in the sewer system.
The technique, which allows the simultaneous testing of sewer mains, house laterals and house plumbing, involves workers blowing a large volume of air mixed with smoke into the sewer lines. That reveals problems such as illegally connected roof drains, unconnected lines, leaky manholes, rodent passages and broken cleanout caps.
The smoke is nontoxic and leaves no residue or interior building damage. If a large concentration of smoke enters a building, open the doors and windows for ventilation and evacuate while the smoke quickly dissipates, the city said. Any respiratory irritation quickly disappears once exposure has ceased.
The city will notify residents via door hangers three to four days before testing. All work will be coordinated with emergency services.
For more information, visit dunedingov.com or call Lance Parris at (727) 298-3256, ext. 1624.
City to crack down on 'chronic nuisance' sources
Dunedin city commissioners on Thursday unanimously approved a new law that will levy tough fines against owners of properties with repeat code or criminal complaints.
Under the "chronic nuisance" ordinance, the code enforcement fines racked up by banks and homeowners with neglected rental or homesteaded properties and those in long-term foreclosure will no longer be subordinate to the mortgage.
A property that is cited six times in six months can be deemed a nuisance and required to create a corrective action plan. If the city has to take action, city cleanup costs can be added to the home's tax bill.
The ordinance can also be used to crack down on residential and commercial properties that are the subject of multiple instances of criminal activity.
Rec complex racks up award
Largo's new Highland Recreation Complex received the 2014 Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council's Future of the Region Award.
"Highland Rec adds a truly unique cultural, sports and recreational venue to the region's offerings," the council said in making the award.
The 40,000-square-foot building features PlayWorld, a three-story indoor playground; ExerPlay, an active gaming room; an indoor walking track; a double gymnasium; a fitness room; and party rooms.
The complex, which opened in June, is at 400 Highland Ave. NE. Hours are 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday and Wednesday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday and 12:30 to 5 p.m. Sunday.