Be cautious of bikers in Snell Isle on Thursday. It's time for a youth bike rally, rodeo and registration organized by community police Officer Lefty Lefkimiotis and AmeriCorps Pinellas volunteers. The fun begins at 6 p.m. behind the St. Petersburg Woman's Club, 40 Snell Isle Blvd. NE. There will be an obstacle course, safety information and a drawing for bike helmets and gear. The association meeting follows the rally at 7:30 p.m. Slowing speeding traffic is a major goal of the group this year. Kevin Grubbs, traffic chairman, announced a recommendation to reduce speed limits to 25 mph on Walnut, Maple and Snell Isle Estates. St. Petersburg police will address safety issues and island concerns at the meeting.
Thursday night is also busy in this neighborhood. Rick Nafe, vice president of operations and facilities for the Devil Rays, will be a guest at the 7:30 p.m. meeting at the Shore Acres Recreation Center, 4230 Shore Acres Blvd. NE. There will be a free drawing for two terrace-level box tickets purchased by the association for the June 6 Montreal Expos-Devil Rays game. Traffic committee members are in the process of asking residents affected by the addition of speed humps and traffic circles on their streets to sign a petition. They can express a yes or no, said Theresa Rae Lang, traffic chairwoman. If a hump or circle is being installed in front of your property, it takes only one negative vote to stop it. Lang estimates results and recommendations will be revealed at a June meeting.
Recent gang violence in this community will probably be discussed at this week's 7:30 p.m. meeting at Bethel Lutheran Church, 1801 62nd Ave. N. The featured speaker, however, is Jonathon Schwartz, representing the developers of Gateway Mall. He will provide an update on construction there.
Community police officer Robert McLaughlin attends association meetings regularly. "He warned us several times we have had gang activities," said board member Dolores Singleton. "They've been working on it."
Residents have been repeatedly urged to call police if they see anything suspicious. The Singletons have lived in Meadowlawn for 34 years. "This has been a wonderful neighborhood to raise three children . . . going to all the neighborhood schools and activities at Fossil Park," she said. "This is the worst thing that ever happened. We're not used to it."
Fannie Weihman, vice president, said there was one incident and that it was isolated.
The neighborhood is giving its attention to other matters such as an upcoming hearing before the county commissioners about adding a traffic signal on 62nd Avenue at 22nd Street N.
"We've been working for this for five years," she said. "The county says there's not enough traffic. We disagree with them."
She is asking residents to attend the hearing at 1 p.m. May 13 at 315 Court St. in Clearwater. Weihman said the city favors the signal but owns only one-half of 62nd Avenue. So far the county, which owns the other half, is against a signal.
Association membership continues to grow thanks to the door-to-door efforts of director Edith Serafy. "We now have 10 percent of the residents," Weihman said.
This new association has more than 60 members, is incorporated and has approved bylaws. It also joined the Council of Neighborhood Associations. Steve Plice, vice president of CONA, recently installed the following officers: Bill Carlisle, president; Sandy Cagle, vice president; Lisa Reinbolt, secretary; Charles Miller, treasurer, and directors Pete Mitchell, Gary Wachowiak, Patricia Hall and Michael Grant. Carlisle announced a logo contest offering a $25 prize to the winner. Drawings should be submitted to him at the next meeting, May 19 at Willis Johns Recreation Center, 6635 M.L. King (Ninth) St. N. Call Carlisle at 576-9121.
To encourage membership, this association is offering free classified and business card ads to paid members in the next newsletter. It will be distributed to 2,750 homes. To take advantage of the free offer, mail ads no later than May 10 to the association, P.O. Box 591, St. Petersburg 33731. For questions, call president Ingrid Comberg at 821-2192, and, of course, pay your $10 dues.
Ponce de Leon
It's been one year Thursday since Tim and Heidi Pritty and their two young daughters lost their home and possessions to fire. The neighborhood responded quickly by providing goods and money. Now the Prittys are saying thank you through the association newsletter and explaining why they rebuilt in Ponce de Leon. After witnessing the assistance the neighborhood provided their family, the Prittys made a commitment to get more involved with the association.
"We never missed a meeting following the fire," they wrote. "After all, what is a home? It's not just a building with four walls. It is all the love, hope and prayer that surrounds us."
They continue to live up to their commitment. Heidi Pritty recently graduated from the Council of Neighborhood Associations' Neighborhood Leadership Program, and Tim is the newly elected association vice president. Other 1998 officers include Rosemary Grasso, president; Shirley Carpenter, secretary; Pam Meador, treasurer, and directors Margaret Grasso, Tony Parisi, Heidi Pritty, Ken Speed and Joyce Watts.
Have a good week, neighbors!
_ JOANNE B. WALKER