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News from North Pinellas

While Jolley Trolley has modest ridership, city officials say it’s critical to revitalizing downtown.

DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times

While Jolley Trolley has modest ridership, city officials say it’s critical to revitalizing downtown.

Clearwater

Move gains support to fund trolley employees' benefits

The Jolley Trolley's attempt to raise extra funds to provide health care benefits and sick days to its employees appears to be gaining support.

On Wednesday the Clearwater Downtown Development Board agreed to provide $9,220 toward the bus service's coastal route, which runs through downtown Clearwater north to Tarpon Springs.

And Jolley Trolley executive director Rosemary Longenecker said Wednesday that she has enough support on the Clearwater City Council to get another $7,100.

If the City Council agrees to pay an additional $3,550, then the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority will match it with $3,550 of its own money, Longenecker told DDB members.

The city already provides $164,000 for the trolley's beach route.

David Allbritton, the DDB's chairman, said the trolley's ridership numbers alone don't justify the increase, but he said it's a critical part of the effort to revitalize downtown.

"It's a big piece of the puzzle," Allbritton said.

Last month, City Manager Bill Horne had balked at Longenecker's request. In an email to council members, Horne cited the previous trolley chief's promise not to ask for more money for two years.

But City Council member Doreen Hock-DiPolito said that with the Clearwater Marine Aquarium wanting to build a new facility downtown and the Capitol Theatre being renovated and expanded, the trolley is essential for moving people between attractions.

"It's a major game player," she said, adding that at least four of the five council members support the requested increase.

Learn how city government works

Monday is the deadline to apply for the fall session of Clearwater 101 Citizens Academy, an interactive program that focuses on educating residents about the city's governmental processes.

Elected officials, department directors and other city staff will host sessions designed to give citizens hands-on experience in city government operations.

To fill out an online application, visit myclearwater.com/gov/depts/public_comm/city_acad/index.asp.

Submitting an application does not guarantee enrollment, as the number of seats is limited. A background check is performed on each applicant.

Classes will meet for 11 Tuesdays from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. beginning Sept. 10.

For more information, call (727) 562-4682.

Coast Guard Auxiliary offers course on safe boat operation

U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 11-1 Clearwater is offering "About Boating Safely" on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 10 and 11, at the Clearwater Police Department, 645 Pierce St. in downtown Clearwater. The classes start promptly at 8 a.m.

The class is taught by certified instructors who can answer your questions and share their experiences on local waters. Topics include: Boating Emergencies, Know Your Boat, Getting Underway, Navigating, Operating Your Boat Safely and Legal Requirements. All graduates receive a Florida state certification card.

Materials are $35. For information and to register. contact Peter Ubillos, staff officer for public education, at (727) 469-8895 or auxboatingclass@gmail.com.

Check out these Aging Well events

The Clearwater Aging Well Center, 1501 N Belcher Road in the Long Center, will offer special programs for people age 55 and older during the month of August. Highlights include:

Stress Reduction: Wednesday, 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Meagan Flores, Gulf Coast Jewish Family & Community Services presents. Pre-registration requested. Free.

Intergenerational Drum Circle: Friday, 1:15 to 2:45 p.m. Create rhythms with a young partner from the Long Center middle school summer camp. Beginners welcome. Pre-registration required. Free.

Book Club: Meet the author of Norah's Children. Monday, Aug. 12, 3 to 4 p.m. Tracey Reed of the Clearwater Library is joined by Ann O'Farrell, author of this month's selected reading. Pre-registration requested. Free.

Legal Matters: Pinellas County Landlord/Tenant Laws and Regulations: Wednesday, Aug. 14, 1 to 2 p.m. Attorneys Michael Pierce and John Herbst will present. Pre-registration requested. Free.

Women's Equality Day: An Examination of Women's Rights in the U.S.: Monday, Aug. 26, 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Dr. Angela Zombek of St. Petersburg College examines the evolving roles of U.S. women. Pre-registration requested. Free.

A full lineup of Aging Well programs is available online at www.myclearwater.com/agingwell. For more information or to register, call (727) 724-3070.

Library hosts talk on transportation

The Clearwater East Branch Library, 2251 Drew St., will host a discussion on public transportation by officials from the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 24.

For more information, call (727) 562-4970 or visit www.myclearwater.com/cpl.

Tarpon Springs

Activist to run for commission

Chris Hrabovsky has long been a staple in the audience at Tarpon Springs City Commission meetings, but now he wants a seat on the other side of the dais.

The longtime environmental and political activist filed Thursday to run for Seat 2, now held by Commissioner Susan Slattery, who is termed out.

The election will be in March 2014. Hrabovsky, a hypnotist in private practice, is the first to file.

Among other political and environmental causes, Hrabovsky rallied opposition against proposed Walmart stores in Tarpon Springs and St. Petersburg.

He speaks often at City Commission meetings, proposing what he calls simple, common-sense solutions.

"I've been content to fix things from my side of the podium for many years," he said, adding he didn't run previously because he was tied up in a lawsuit with the city over a proposed Walmart. "I believe some of the things I say resonate with people, that's why it's time to take that next step."

He also ran for the Florida House in 2006 but was defeated by incumbent Republican Tom Anderson.

News from North Pinellas 08/02/13 [Last modified: Friday, August 2, 2013 7:54pm]

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