North Pinellas News Briefs for Nov. 3

Dunedin

Market manager contract has new rules

Dunedin city officials were so perturbed by "inappropriate" online comments their former farmers market manager recently hurled their way that they've explicitly spelled out in his successor's contract that such behavior is potential grounds for dismissal.

The new rules stem from city commissioners' decision last month to approve a city committee recommendation and hire Tampa Bay Markets to manage the city's Green Market instead of Richard Kendler, its founder and longtime manager.

In the weeks leading up to the Oct. 17 vote, Kendler, vendors, customers and city residents lobbied commissioners via email and Facebook to retain Kendler. Tampa Bay Markets complained that Kendler was spreading misinformation about them. And city officials exchanged a flurry of emails expressing their dismay that Kendler was using a Facebook page that gave the impression it was government-related to rally against the city.

So the contract for the newly named Dunedin Downtown Market states that its manager "shall not disparage or criticize the city, the mayor, vice mayor, city commissioners, charter officials, city staff or the Dunedin market in any way, including but not limited to, verbally, in writing or by Facebook, Twitter or other electronic media."

Vice Mayor Julie Ward Bujalski wrote that the new contract language is aimed at protecting the city "when hired vendors have a website advertising 'our' business." City Manager Rob DiSpirito asked whether it would "be enforceable or advisable given free speech protections." City Attorney Tom Trask replied "yes."

Fundraisers help school reinstate recess

What do you do when scheduling problems force your school to cancel outdoor playtime? If you're a parent or student at Curtis Fundamental Elementary in Dunedin, you get to work!

After scheduling conflicts made teachers unavailable to oversee recess, a group of concerned parents along with the Parent Teacher Association and the School Advisory Council surveyed parents to gauge support, then launched the monthlong Rescue Recess Campaign on Oct. 1.

Fund raisers appealed to businesses, parents and individuals, who contributed cash donations.

Six fourth-grade boys who volunteered to help by selling rubber band bracelets and seeking business matches raised $600.

Principal Pam Metz-Easley, with Curtis Fundamental's cougar mascot in tow, made a surprise announcement during the school's annual Storybook Character Parade on Thursday that they met their $10,000 goal and can hire two people to monitor an hour of daily recess through the rest of the school year.

"There was quite a jubilation, excited screams and yells," Metz-Easley said, recounting the reactions of the costumed students while many of their parents looked on.

"The most impressive thing," Metz-Easley said, "has been how this community has stepped up."

VFW post to be named for soldier killed this year

The Dunedin-Palm Harbor VFW Post 2550 will be renamed the "Spc. Zachary L. Shannon Memorial Post 2550" in honor of a local soldier who died earlier this year in Afghanistan.

The renaming ceremony will coincide with a Veteran's Day service at 2 p.m. Nov. 10 at the post, 360 Douglas Ave.

The hall was the site of a public celebration of life for Shannon, a 21-year-old Army specialist and Dunedin High graduate who died when his helicopter crashed during a March 11 night vision exercise.

The event will also feature a blood drive collected via a Florida Blood Services mobile van and food donated by local restaurants.

For more information or to donate, call post quartermaster Dutch Grubbs at (727) 510-1305.

Countywide

Housing repair loans available

Clearwater Neighborhood Housing Services Inc., 608 N Garden Ave. in Clearwater, has announced that low-interest loans for housing repairs are available to residents throughout Pinellas County. For more information, call (727) 442-4155.

Clearwater

Volunteers needed for tree festival

The UPARC Foundation is seeking volunteers for its annual Festival of Trees Tampa Bay, to be held at the Long Center, 1501 N Belcher Road in Clearwater. The volunteers are needed on Nov. 17-25.

The Festival of Trees is a major fundraising event benefitting the UPARC consumers. UPARC's mission is to enhance the dignity and independence of persons who are developmentally disabled in the Upper Pinellas area.

The festival is a three-day, family-centered holiday event that features more than 100 one-of-a-kind trees and wreaths creatively decorated by local artists, businesses and community leaders, all of which will be for sale. For more information and to sign up as a volunteer, visit uparcfoundation.org/fot.htm.

Catch the sunset Tuesdays at library's rooftop terrace

With the sun going down earlier these days, staff at the Clearwater Main Library, 100 N Osceola Ave., will open the rooftop terrace 30 minutes before sunset every Tuesday beginning this week for those who want a great view of the sun setting over Clearwater Harbor. For more information, call (727) 562-4970.

Vendor spaces still open for church's arts and crafts fair

Sylvan Abbey United Methodist Church, 2817 Sunset Point Road in Clearwater, is hosting an arts and crafts fair from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Vendor spaces are still available and are $30. For information, call (727) 796-3057, (727) 612-8357 or email saumc2817@gmail.com.

Clothing charity needs pants for boys and girls

Clothes To Kids has a critical need for boys and girls pants sizes 7 to 16, the nonprofit says.

Each week 500 low-income Pinellas students are shopping at Clothes To Kids.

Each child receives a full school wardrobe, which includes four pairs of shorts or long pants, so the need for pants is great.

The organization is asking the community to donate gently used shorts and long pants, new pants, or pants from thrift stores.

For information, call (727) 441-5050 or visit www.ClothesTo Kids.org.

North Pinellas News Briefs for Nov. 3 11/01/13 [Last modified: Friday, November 1, 2013 7:25pm]

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