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Drop in prices causes stir among spongers

July 31, 1946

Last week, alarmed at the drop in prices since Easter, spongers here formed a fact-finding board to look into efforts of sponge fishermen to keep prices high in the face of competition from Mediterranean divers.

Anthony Proestos, spokesman for the board, said that since sponges have been coming in from the Mediterranean beds, their prices have dropped 50 percent.

Sponge packers say the drop has been closer to 20 percent.

A spokesman said it is in the best interests of the fishermen to drop their prices to meet that of the competition rather than attempt to keep prices at present high levels.

But local sponge divers claim Mediterranean sponges are of inferior quality to those taken from Florida and a lower price for them is justified.

Controversy erupted yesterday when Proestos said that unless the situation is remedied, the Tarpon Springs sponge industry faced ruin. The fact-finding board has called a meeting in Piloptos Hall on Monday night to discuss the situation.

July 9, 1927 Dunedin plans farm survey

Plans for the complete survey of the economic and agricultural development of middle Pinellas County to determine present and future possibilities of agrarian expansion have been formulated by the Dunedin Chamber of Commerce.

The survey is expected to be one of the most thorough ever made in the state.

Figures will be gathered on the number of acres of cultivated soil actually in production in this section of the county. Also being counted are the number of acres of uncultivated soil, the acres of timberland and acres and types of soil good for different kinds of cultivation.

The actual number of farms, annual income from all products, the number of heads of cattle and poultry, number of dairies, kinds and amount of various products and acreage of citrus fruit will be included.

Chamber members in real estate and other related businesses will be asked to help in its preparation by canvassing various parts of the survey area.

July 3, 1960 Chamber called unfair over college site

CLEARWATER _ Clearwater industrialist James B. Bamberg yesterday charged the Chamber of Commerce with using improper methods in attempting to locate a junior college branch here.

Several weeks ago, the 60-acre airpark owned by the city but leased to Bob Bickerstaffe, was offered as a possible site for the college by the Chamber of Commerce.

However, in order to get the land back under the recapture clause in the lease agreement, the city would have to pay Bickerstaffe up to $150,000 for improvements made to the property since he leased it in 1952.

At the same time, another 60 acres of land was offered at no charge by W.C. Overcash of Dunedin. That site is on State Road 590 and N Haines Road.

Controversy erupted at a recent Chamber of Commerce meeting over the way the city wanted to remove Bickerstaffe, and Bamberg urged the City Commission to delay making a decision on the site for 30 days.

_ Julie Church compiles the history column. She can be reached at (727) 445-4229.