Sunday, January 21, 2018
News Roundup

Pier Diary, May 15: Morning rituals in St. Petersburg

As Tampa Bay sparkled in the morning light, Pier trolley driver Willie Beacham waited for passengers to make their way from the Pelican Parking Lot. He's been doing the run for 15 years. Many of his passengers have heard that the Pier is closing.

"They ask if it's true. The majority really don't go for it," he says.

Time to go, he says, as a few people begin to clamber aboard the yellow and red vehicle.

Azalea Andrade stands out among the joggers, walkers and fishermen. She is well dressed and wears high heels. Andrade, a Jehovah's Witness, finds the Pier a good place for her face-to-face ministry.

"I take advantage of the early-morning hours to talk to people about God's kingdom and share the Watchtower and Awake magazines and some comforting words from the scripture," she says. "Fishermen are really good to talk to. I try to be brief."

She will miss the routine when the inverted pyramid closes.

"This is a family environment. It's conducive to that with the fishing, strolling, biking and the shops," she says.

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