(ran East, South editions)
Returning phone calls and being visible in the neighborhood are making Spyro Lefkimiotis popular with residents. The community patrol officer was reassigned Dec. 16 to Snell Isle from Palmetto Park. He is thrilled with his new assignment that includes his daughter's school.
"People around here like to see police," he said. "I'm a jabber-jaw, I like people." He is inviting residents to "Ride with Spyro" on a bicycle patrol of neighborhoods. Police officers with lights will add some excitement. Crime Watch coordinators should be receiving fliers about the family bike campaign.
"He seems to want to know people in his area," says Eden Isle's Randy Fama. "Doing a bike ride with kids is great." Officer Spyro warns that children under age 17 must wear helmets and adults are encouraged to set a good example by wearing them, too. "We're very, very fortunate to have him," said Dot Admire, former Snell Isle president. "He's really gung-ho for the whole island."
Crisp Park at Poplar Street and 35th Avenue NE is also under the officer's watchful eye. A favorite boat ramp there is causing problems because there is no parking for cars. New signs, a parking lot and a designated crosswalk on Poplar are all suggestions in a recent study.
Citizen Road Assistance Patrol
Police support just got better. Last week's second graduating class of the volunteer Road Assistance Patrol brought the total number of neighborhood lookouts to 44.
"We're in District 2 now, north/northeast," coordinator Richard Strack said. The first graduates patrol the west areas of the city. The program trains participants to help police with traffic, abandoned vehicles and reports of suspicious activity during the day. There is an eight-hour-per-month service requirement.
Retiree Ann Parrish and St. Petersburg Junior College freshman Ken Euler were the first to patrol from the second graduating class. Euler brings five years of Police Explorer training to the job.
"There was nothing terribly serious," Parrish said about her first patrol. "He (Euler) saw a car parked where it shouldn't be." They stopped to investigate and found a minor traffic accident had occurred at a major intersection. They called it in to headquarters. Parrish interviewed witnesses while Euler attended to the driver.
Duke Stern, who was in the first class, suggests volunteers be allowed to ticket violators parked in handicapped spaces. He has noted several. A request for evening and weekend shifts has leaders discussing a late-spring training class to meet the demand. If interested, call Strack at 893-7063.
Elections and discussion of building a Tot Lot (playground for toddlers) on 34th Avenue N will be on the agenda for Thursday's 7 p.m. meeting. Residents are trying to find a retired woman who owns vacant property there. The association meets at Allendale United Methodist Church, 3803 Haines Road. For details, call president Tucker Hodges at 895-4341.
Upcoming city election candidates are invited to meet residents at 7:30 p.m. Monday at Northside United Methodist Church, 4344 21st St N. Association boundaries are I-275 to 16th Street N, Haines Road to 38th Avenue N.
Lake Maggiore Park
New signs are going up tomorrow to welcome residents into this neighborhood. Boundaries run from Sixth Street to Dr. M.
L. King (Ninth) Street, between Bayou Boulevard S and 45th Avenue S. Assisting neighbors is city service coordinator Bill Sundstrum. The 4-by-6-foot oval redwood signs with pelican logo will be erected at Sixth and Ninth streets in a median dividing Bayou Boulevard. Residents will landscape and maintain the additions.
After two Saturday retreats, this neighborhood has a plan for 1997. "We've decided to be proactive instead of crisis-driven," said resident Karen Mullins, immediate past president of CONA.
She tells of tackling a drug-dealing problem along Fourth Street between 62nd and 70th avenues N. "Herman Wrice is coming to town," she said. "We hope he'll train us." The Wrice movement details how neighbors can march against drugs and encourage dealers to leave their neighborhood.
Neighbors will discuss the issue further at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at North Shore Community Church, 7000 Fourth St. N. Candidates for the March 25 general election also will be there.
Incumbent Mayor David Fischer and challenger Bill Klein are debating here at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow. Fischer and Klein are allowed one minute to answer questions randomly selected from pre-written index cards. A District 4 council seat debate between candidates Kathleen Ford and Pat Fulton will follow. The meeting is at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 126 11th Ave. NE.
An important vote will take place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Huggins-Stengel Conference Room. The issue is whether to reduce speed from 30 mph to 25 mph on Fifth Street N and Seventh Street N. A program on spring planting also will be presented.
Three bright, new Little League baseball fields along 62nd Avenue N near Mangrove Bay Golf Course are complete. However, neighbors across the street are concerned over glaring lights and balls flying into residents' yards. Lee Metzger and league representatives are working on the problem. "They're bending over backward to be cooperative," Edgemoor director Vicki Phillips said.
Factory reps will soon adjust the lights or add shields if necessary. Solving the ball problem will take extra thought. The fields are designed so players hit toward 62nd Avenue.
Teens are gathering after hours in Puryear Park, 5701 Lee St. N. Vandalism and broken glass in soccer field sand is a concern. Residents are discussing adding lights to deter night visitors. They will meet at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Busch Complex. The annual picnic is also on the agenda.
Neighbors, meanwhile, are calling for a traffic signal at 62nd Avenue N and Cardinal Drive, the entrance to Mangrove Bay Golf Course. Phillips said, "The city says it's a driveway, not a street." Driveways don't merit a traffic light. Phillips says that "It's owned by the city and is on the map as Cardinal Road."
Residents await the results of a traffic study. "The city's been fair with us," Phillips said. "Encourage neighbors to work through the proper channels _ they get a lot done that way."
Have a good week, neighbors!
_ JOANNE B. WALKER