JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2021 ISSUE 89 Pajano’s Pizza - Celebrates 50 years! Next month, Pajano’s Pizza & Subs will celebrate its 50th anniversary making it the oldest operating restaurant in Indian Rocks Beach. It was opened on February of 1971, oddly enough by a man whose last name was not named “Pajano.” Owner Nick Faraone bought the pizza business for $5,000, then located inside of the Red Lion Pub building, before there was a Red Lion. He operated out of that 15th Avenue location for 3 years before moving to today’s location. He picked that spot to be closer to the Indian Rocks Pier, at 12th Avenue. As luck would have it, the Pier collapsed the next year during Hurricane Elena, but Pajano’s Pizza did not! Nick met his wife, Monica, when she applied for a job while still at the 15th Ave. location. Of course, he hired her. They started dating and soon were married. While growing up, all four of their kids worked at Pajano’s. Nick has passed away and today son Mike owns and manages the restaurant. His mother Monica is also still involved. Pajano’s is located at 1305 Gulf Blvd. Indian Rocks Beach is known for its great local restaurants and Pajano’s is not the only old restaurant in town. Others have been around for many years, too. We highlighted ten of the oldest. - Continued on page 7 Also in this Issue: Bella Vino 15 years later What does it take to start a successful wine business from scratch? Owners Brian and Cheryl Franzeses know, they did it. - page 3 O r C u r re n t R e s id e n t Working the Polls See what is involved in being a poll worker during a major Presidential Election. Maybe you will want to give it a try next time. - page 27 Walk Indian Rocks Historical Tour A joint effort between Action 2000 and the Indian Rocks Historical Museum created a free self-guided, audio and visual walking tour of historical Indian Rocks Beach - page 19 Janna’s Consignment Boutique What is the difference between a thrift shore and a consignment shop? Lisa Hammock, owner of Janna’s, explains. - page 30 Nick a nd Mik e Faraon e, 2011 Nick, when he first opened Pajano’s INDIAN ROCKS BEACH NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS page 2 CITY NUMBERS CITY HALL 595-2517 Mon - Fri, 7:30am to 4pm 1507 Bay Palm Blvd www.Indian-Rocks-Beach.com CITY MANAGER Gregg Mims 595-2517 MAYOR - Cookie Kennedy COMMISSIONERS — Ed Hoofnagle Vice Mayor Diane Flagg • Phil Hanna • Joe McCall Building Dept: Dan Weigner 517-0404 Planning & Zoning: 517-0404 Public Works: Dean Scharmen 595-6889 Mon - Fri, 7am to 3:30pm Solid Waste/Trash Pickup 595-6889 ELECTRICITY 443-2641 PHONE (RESIDENTIAL) 800-483-4000 PHONE (BUSINESS) 800-483-5000 WATER 464-4000 CABLE (SPECTRUM) 329-5020 -------------------------------------------- EMERGENCIES: 9-1-1 SHERIFF NON-EMERGENCIES 582-6200 SHERIFF DISPATCH 582-6177 IRB FIRE STATION 595-1117 ------------------------------------------- AA & AL-ANON MEETINGS 595-1038 POST OFFICE 596-2894 204 4th Ave. Mon-Fri 8:30-4:30; Sat 9a-12p IRB LIBRARY 596-1822 Mon-Fri 10-5pm, Sat 10-1pm IRB HISTORICAL MUSEUM 593-3861 Wed - Sat, 10am to 2pm IRB HOMEOWNER ASSOC. Mary Beth Dunn, President - IRBHome.com BEACH ART CENTER 596-4331 1515 Bay Palm Blvd., Mon-Fri 8:45am to 4pm IRB ROTARY, Bruce Sobut, 403-4060 Meets at Jimmy Guana’s every Wed. 7:15AM ACTION 2000 John Ashby, President Meets 2nd Mon each month Beach Art Ctr LITTLE LEAGUE 409-5024 IRB WELCOME CENTER 595-4575 BEACH FOOD PANTRY 282-4085 1615 First St. M-W-F 10 am-12 pm BEACH THRIFT STORE 596-8868 Tue & Sat, 10am to 2pm, Thu 5 to 8pm -------------------------------------------- PINELLAS COUNTY INFO 464-3000 COMMISSION OFFICES 464-3377 Karen Seel 464-3278 STATE: Senator Jeff Brandes 727-395-2512 Republican, Dist. 24 3637 Fourth St. N., Ste 101 St. Pete Brandes.Jeff.email@example.com Representative Nick DiCeglie 727-588-7090 Republican, District 66 1940 West Bay Drive, Ste 4, Largo firstname.lastname@example.org Governor Ron DeSantis Ron.DeSantis@myflorida.com FLORIDA UNITED STATES SENATORS: Marco Rubio 202-224-3041 www.Rubio.Senate.gov Rick Scott . . . . . . . . . . . 202-224-5274 www.RickScott.Senate.gov AREA UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE: Charlie Crist . . . . . . . . . . .202-225-5961 696 1st Ave N., Suite #203, St. Pete www.Crist.House.Gov This newsletter is published by GRIFFIN PRODUCTIONS, Inc. and is mailed to every occupied residence in Indian Rocks Beach’s zip code 33785. We are not associated with the City of Indian Rocks Beach. PUBLISHER Bob & Becky Griffin ART DIRECTION Becky Griffin SALES 727-430-8300 CONTACT INFO P.O. Box 1314 Indian Rocks Beach, FL 33785 727-430-8300 BeachNewsletters.com If you are interested in advertising, we offer multi-city and annual discounts. Ads need to be reserved one month in advance. E-mail:email@example.com or visit beachnewsletters.com for more information. © 2021 Griffin Productions, Inc. INDIAN ROCKS BEACH NEIGHBORHOOD NEWSLETTER Inside, you will find articles and local information about the nearby area. We call it Neighborhood News because it is primarily about our neighborhood, Indian Rocks Beach. This newsletter is printed every other month and mailed to every occupied house in the city. Do you need another copy? Ask for them at USA Grocers, CVS Drug Store, Beach Welcome Center, City Hall, Indian Rocks Beach Library. We hope you enjoyed our magazine. We want your input. Did you like this issue? What suggestions do you have for future articles? Call or email us or take our online survey at beachnewsletters.com. Keep up to date with your local news; follow us on Facebook at Neighborhood News Magazine. Thank you for reading, Bob & Becky Griffin, 727-430-8300 firstname.lastname@example.org SEE YOU AGAIN IN MARCH! CREDITS JANUARY Bloody Mary Day 1 Buffet Day 2 Cream Puff Day 2 Chocolate Covered Cherries Day 3 Spaghetti Day 4 Whipped Cream Day 5 Keto Day 5 Bean Day 6 Shortbread Day 6 Tempura Day 7 English Toffee Day 8 Apricot Day 9 Bitter Sweet Chocolate Day 10 Oysters Rockefeller Day 10 Milk Day 11 Hot Toddy Day 11 Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day 14 National Bagel Day 15 Fig Newton Day 16 Buttered Rum Day 17 Popcorn Day 19 Banana Bread Day 21 Granola Bar Day 21 Blonde Brownie Day 22 Pie Day 23 Green Juice Day 24 Peanut Butter Day 24 Irish Coffee Day 25 Peanut Brittle Day 26 Chocolate Cake Day 27 Blackberry Pancake Day 28 Corn Chip Day 29 Croissant Day 30 Hot Chocolate Day 31 FEBRUARY Baked Alaska Day 1 Tater Tot Day 2 Carrot Cake Day 3 Homemade Soup Day 4 Chocolate Fondue Day 5 Frozen Yogurt Day 6 Fettuccine Alfredo Day 7 National Pizza Day 9 Plum Pudding Day 12 Tortellini Day 13 National Almond Day 16 National Muffin Day 20 Margarita Day 22 Banana Bread Day 23 Tortilla Chip Day 24 Clam Chowder Day 25 Pistachio Day 26 Kahlua Day 27 Chili Day 27 Strawberry Day 27 CALENDAR OF UPCOMING FOOD HOLIDAYS With all the uncertainties and cancellations, we are unable to have a true event calendar. Instead, we thought we would give you something fun - a list of National Food Days. INDIAN ROCKS BEACH NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS page 3 BELLA VINO CELEBRATES 15 YEARS As of December 22nd, Brian and Cheryl Franzese will have been providing wine in Belleair Bluffs for 15 years. Brian is from Hollywood, Florida. When he was young, his family moved to Pinellas County, where he attended school. That is where he first met Cheryl. 15 years later, Cheryl and Brian reconnected at a wedding in Weeki Wachi. 24 years later, Brian and Cheryl have 3 children and 2 grandchildren. For almost 20 years, Brian worked for a major wine distributor, managing its fine wine division from Naples to Tampa. Cheryl sold her technology business and became a Realtor - now with 17 years experience. In 2005, Brian and Cheryl decided to venture out and start their own business, putting their passion for wine to work. They quickly decided Belleair Bluffs’ Plaza 100 was the location with the best demographics. They also liked being next door to E & E Stakeout Grill; as a bonus it is also close to home. “We gutted the place back to the bare walls,” Brian recalls. “We replaced the drywall, floors, ceiling, electrical wiring and lighting, plus we added custom Napa wood wine shelving and a temperature controlled cellar.” The wine business, unlike others, is filled with an interest for knowledge and taste from new wine lovers to connoisseurs. “We started Bella Vino from grass-roots. We did not buy an existing wine business,” Brian continues. “Because we did not have an ready-made customer base we had to quickly learn the needs of the local wine community. We are thankful that our local residents discovered us and seemed to like us.” “Up front, we originally had a small service area for wine sampling and to sell a little bit of cheese. We also sold gelato and espresso drinks,” Brian says. “About ten years ago, we redesigned our upfront area to expand the wine bar, add seating, more cheese display space, and enlarged our gourmet food & cigar selections.” Bella Vino has something for everyone. “We have wine selections from one end of the price range to the other. We have a wide variety of cheeses. You can sit at our bar and enjoy any wine, with cheese or a charcuterie plate.” “We see well over 1,000 customers a month and most are repeat customers. You can not imagine how many cases our little store goes through - several hundred - per week! “We sell a lot of wine online, too. We ship to nearly 40 states.” We typically have many special events, such as Wine Tastings and Wine Dinners, but due to the pandemic, we’ve had none since February. We hope to resume them soon, depending on the conditions. We were forced to postponed our 2020 Annual Tiny Bubbles & Big Reds event, which is one of the largest and best wine tasting events in Pinellas County. When we bring it back, it will be better than ever! Bella Vino Wine Market is located in The Plaza at 100 N. Indian Rocks Road, next to E&E Stakeout. Find them online at BellaVinoWineMarket.com or call Brian at 584-5552. INDIAN ROCKS BEACH NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS page 4 Did You Know GRAND MARSHAL Former Mayor RB Johnson and his wife Sarah were honored as Grand Marshal of the Indian Rocks Holiday Street Parade. RB was a member of the City Commission for 18 years, the last 12 he was the Mayor. Each year, a resident of Indian Rocks is honored in the parade to thank them for their service to the city. MARTINIS & MATISSE Like any good martini, they are shaking things up this year. Relax in your favorite chair, mix yourself a martini and tune into the online version of their signature art lottery, cooking and mixology demonstrations from favorite local restaurants and more. Being held Saturday, January 16 from 6:30 to 8pm, you can register by texting MARTINI to 72727 or at www.martinisandmatisse.org. Register early for a chance to win fabulous prizes. All proceeds benefit the Clearwater Free Clinic. BAG PROGRAM BENEFITS BOTANICAL GARDENS The Florida Botanical Gardens Foundation has been selected as the beneficiary of the Community Bag Program. The Program, which launched in February 2019, is a reusable bag program designed to help make a difference in the communities where shoppers live and work. Each time a $2.50 reusable Community Bag is purchased at the Largo Winn-Dixie at 10202 Seminole Boulevard during the month of January, the Gardens Foundation will receive a $1 donation. RECYCLED DECORATIONS Gerry McIntosh walks the beach almost every day. About 9 months ago, she started picking up discarded beach toys on the beach and the beach accesses. She decided to repurpose them as Christmas decorations and she hung them on a tree in her front yard. It did not take long to fill that tree, so she started a second one. She quickly filled that one, too. She and husband, Andy, enjoyed creating the holiday project and all the comments people made while passing their home, located at 2021 20th Parkway. Look for the repurposed toys to reappear next Christmas. INDIAN ROCKS BEACH NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS page 5 and More... FOOD PANTRY NEEDS YOUR HELP The need for food and other supplies has only increased with the pandemic. The Beach Community Food Pantry provides food to about 800 families every month. They need dedicated volunteers to help sort and shelve food, process inventory and assist individuals with their food selection on Monday and Wednesday mornings from 9:30 am to 12:15 pm and Thursday evening from 4:30 pm to 7:15 pm. Also they always need non-perishable food. Food donations can be brought to the pantry Wednesday 10am to noon, or 5 to 7 pm Thursday night. It can also be left at the Calvary church main office during its hours 9 am to 1 pm Mon. through Thurs. Call 727-282-4085 or e-mail email@example.com. CITY COMMISSION MEETINGS The Indian Rocks Beach City Commission meets on the second Tuesday of each month. The next City Commission meetings will be January 12 and February 9th beginning at 7pm. Due to Covid-19, meetings are available live on Zoom. You can find the link and log-in information at the bottom of each meeting’s agenda, available on the City’s calendar at www.indian-rocks-beach.com REDS WHITES & BITES Save the date, Friday March 5, 2021. This year’s event will be virtual with an exciting online lottery. All proceeds benefit the Community Dental Clinic. They were expecting almost 400 guests for their 2020 Reds, Whites & Bites Fundraiser. Unfortunately, with the pandemic, the uncertainty of the future, and their genuine concern for the welfare of the guests, they were forced to cancel just days before the event. They truly appreciate the flexibility and commitment to safety of all involved. Through donations and community support, the clinic provides low income, uninsured adults access to urgent dental care for improved health. Almost 25% of the people in our area do not receive the dental care they need due to a lack of dental insurance or ability to pay. During the first half of the year, even with Covid-19, they treated 267 acute patients who would have otherwise gone to the ER or urgent care to escape their pain. ONLY RECYCLE EMPTY CONTAINERS One of the most common recycling mistakes? People throwing plastic bottles into their recycling bin without emptying them first. If there is liquid inside, it can spill and contaminate other commingled materials such as paper causing it to be discarded instead of recycled. Additionally, containers carrying liquid are heavier than empty containers, and can cause to incorrect sorting. OUR NEXT ISSUE IS IN MARCH Read this issue, and others, online at www.BeachNewsletters.com and follow us on Facebook at Neighborhood News Magazine - for ongoing local news updates. INDIAN ROCKS BEACH NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS page 6 INDIAN ROCKS BEACH NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS page 7 Indian Rocks Beach’s Oldest Restaurants CRABBY BILL’S SEAFOOD (37) 412 Gulf Blvd. Opened in April of 1983, this is one of the city’s most well-known restaurants. Founder Bill Loder sold seafood in New Jersey in the 1950s before relocating his family to Pinellas County in 1968. He opened a series of small fish markets and cafés—including a small store in Indian Rocks Beach. Bill purchased the building where Crabby Bill’s Seafood is today in 1987. His daughter Ellie suggested the name “Crabby Bill’s.” Then, you could buy a grouper sandwich and fries for only $3. Today, the restaurant is run by Bill’s son, Matt and his wife Maria. Dozens of third and fourth generation family members work at Crabby Bill’s and at their several other Pinellas County restaurants. P.J.’S OYSTER BAR (35) 415 2nd Street. Opened in June of 1985, P.J.’s is named for the parrot that still lives there today. The restaurant originally was located on the corner of 5th Avenue and 1st Street. Formerly a convenience store, the building had been converted into a bar, before it was P.J.’s. Today, it is Jake’s Coastal Cantina. Founding owners Judy Vermont and Ed Rosicky sold the restaurant to long time employees Bama and Steve Palmer. The Palmers eventually bought the much larger building across the street. J.D.’s RESTAURANT (35) 125 Gulf Blvd. Tom and Jackie Downing opened this restaurant in October of 1985, just one month after Hurricane Elena. The two-story house that houses J.D.’s was built around 1945 and was first “Moodie’s Drug Sundries” downstairs, while owners Furman Moodie and his wife Elsie lived upstairs. Moodie sold the building to Jimmy O’Neal who converted it into “O’Neal’s Restaurant,” which was sold to the Downings. Tom Downing named his restaurant J.D.’s, after his wife, Jackie. Eventually, their three children - Kip, Jay and Leslie, worked there doing everything from serving food to bartending. After Tom died in 2007, Jackie stayed involved and still is today. KEEGAN’S SEAFOOD (35) 1519 Gulf Blvd Also opened in 1985 by Linda and Cesar Labrador, Keegan’s Seafood was first located at 1309 Gulf Blvd. The 35-seat cafe, named for the Labrador’s son Keegan, claimed to be the first beach restaurant to offer a “blackened” grouper sandwich. They eventually moved to their current location in Keegan’s Plaza and sold the restaurant in 2008 to The Schonowski family (John, Jackie, and John Jr.) who still operate it. SANDY’S (31) 2300 Gulf Blvd. Sandy’s Restaurant opened in 1989 when Sandy Dodd bought the small “Nancee’s Cafe” named for owner, Nancee Reedy, who had opened it fourteen years prior. Sandy naturally renamed the restaurant after herself. Sandy only owned it for five years before selling to Gabriella (Gabby) who did not change the name. In 2004, Chris Madelaine bought it, and after 10 years, sold it to her daughter, Natasha, who operates it today. Chris still helps out. TJ’S ITALIAN CAFE (30) 1515 Gulf Blvd. Thomas John Smith, (TJ) bought a small wlak-up pizza business on Gulf Blvd. in 1990. It could only sit about 40 people—inside and out. He eventually bought the lot to the north and tore down some cottages to build today’s restaurant. At first the building , was about half the size you see today. It has since undergone a few additions. Later the deck to the west was added. While not Italian, TJ grew up in a mostly Italian neighborhood in New Jersey and learned to love the food. He is proud that his Italian customers seem to enjoy his menu the most. GUPPY’S ON THE BEACH (28) 1701 Gulf Blvd. Guppy’s has been a casual fine dining restaurant since December of 1992. Housed in what once was a beach house, the building has also been a gas station, beach bar, and a French cafe, known as “La Cave.” When the owner of La Cave died, Eugen Fuhrmann bought it. He and partner Erwin Scheuringer already owned a small restaurant in Belleair Bluffs called E&E Stakeout Before opening, they brought in Scott Bebell to be the chef and third partner. Eugen’s son, Andreas, came up with the name “Guppy’s” saying that it sounded like “Yuppies”, a popular word in the 1990s. The restaurant quickly became a favorite among locals and tourists, alike. “We normally have an even mix of 50/50 locals to tourists”, says Chef Bebell. They have been voted “Best Dinner on the Beach” in this Neighborhood News Magazine, many times. VILLA GALLACE RISTORANTE (25) 109 Gulf Blvd. In 1995, Pompeo Gallace and son Luigi bought a convenience store at the south end of town and converted it into an Italian restaurant. Pompeo, originally from Calabria, Italy, and moved to Indian Rocks by way of New York. They have developed a reputation as one of the finest Italian restaurants on the beaches. Today Luigi runs “Villa Gallace” (which means House of Gallace). JIMMY GUANA’S RESTAURANT (23) 401 2nd St The Holiday Inn Harbouside opened in 1993 and Jimmy Guana’s became their in-house restaurant four years later, opening in April of 1997. Although Jimmy’s is attached to the Holiday Inn, the locals like to eat there, too. Many come for the live music most nights and on weekends. CAFÉ de PARIS (19) 2300 Gulf Blvd. Xavier and Valerie de Marchi opened their small French cafe in 2002. They are from Bordeaux, France, so the food and pastries have always been quite authentic, but today they have offer more than just pastries. They have award winning cakes, pies, croissants, and “crepes” made to order. i INDIAN ROCKS BEACH NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS page 8 WHAT NOW MR. BIDEN? by Ray Ferrara, ProVise Management Group The election for President is finally over. Regardless of how you voted, now is the time for the country to come together and move forward. What lies ahead in a President Biden White House? Much will depend on the outcome of the Senatorial elections in Georgia. The Democrats need to win both seats to control the Senate. It is likely that at least one of the Republicans will advance. Gridlock is something that the markets like and are counting on. If things work in the Democrats favor, there will be major changes over the next two years. If not, then it is unlikely that much will change. Mr. Biden campaigned on raising taxes for those with more than $400,000 of income by increasing the top rate to 39.6%. He would also eliminate the tax break for capital gains and dividends for those making over $1 million. On the corporate side he would raise the tax rate from 21% to 28%. This is still below the 35% bracket that existed before the December 2017 tax act. Finally, he would roll back the estate tax rules to those that existed prior to the 2017 act, but this is set to happen in 2026 anyway. Together these tax increases are expected to raise $3.5 trillion dollars over the next ten years. Regardless of your views on these increases, tax increases are generally bad for the economy and the markets. We expect a President Biden to be almost as tough on China as President Trump has been. His tone might be different, but he views China as a threat to the US both as a trading “partner” and for stealing our technology. The tariffs are likely going to stay in place for some time. His negotiations with the European Union will be much more conciliatory. Both developments should be a positive for our economy. Expect significant investments into alternative energy sources, infrastructure, 5G everywhere, especially in rural areas, healthcare, an emphasis on made in America, and science and technology. Each of these areas will provide opportunity for investors, but clearly not without risk. There will be winners and losers. The coming new year is the time to review your financial and investment plan. Take advantage of our one-hour complimentary appointment to help set the stage for the next four years. V. Raymond Ferrara, CFP®, Chair and CEO ProVise Management Group, LLC 611 Druid Rd E, Suite 105, Clearwater, FL 33756 727-441-9022, firstname.lastname@example.org The information herein is general and educational in nature and should not be considered legal or tax advice. Tax laws and regulations are complex and are subject to change. Investment Advisory Services may be offered through ProVise Management Group, LLC. INDIAN ROCKS BEACH NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS page 9 MILLIE WARD, FOUNDER OF WARD’S SEAFOOD DIES We interviewed Millie Ward in June of 2016. Below is part of the interview. Since 1955, Ward’s Seafood has supplied the area with locally caught fresh seafood. Few people remember the folks who started it, Johnie and Millie Ward. Johnie Ward grew up in Clearwater in a fishing family. His three brothers and later his son were all fishermen. Early on, most people caught mullet. At certain times of year, thousands of mullet would school around Clearwater Harbor and Sand Key. Fishermen used gill nets to round them up and pull them into their specially designed boats. The boat’s engines were in the middle of the boats so as not to interfere with the nets in the back. Johnie would catch a boatload and sell them—usually to the Anderson brothers, who owned two area fish markets. In 1954, Johnie met Millie. He was a young guy in his 30s; Millie in her 20 had recently moved to Clearwater from Indiana. She liked his dark tanned look, and he liked the way she smiled. Johnie loved to fish. Millie soon loved to fish, too. They got married in 1954. At first, they sold the fish Johnie caught out of ice chests and buckets in front of their home. In 1955, after they built a house on the southwest corner of MLK South and Belleair Road, they decided to start a proper fish market like the Andersons. In 1956, Johnie added a 20’x20’ building just to the north of their house and called it Ward’s Seafood Market. Johnie and Millie ran the small fish house seven days a week. “We sold fish - both retail and wholesale,” remembered Millie Ward. “Johnie fished all day and sold the fish at the store. We got seafood from other area fishermen, too. I would help filet, display, and sell the fish, crabs, scallops and other seafood. Johnie used his truck to deliver seafood to area restaurants and bait shops. In the early days, we even supplied Publix.” “We delivered to so many restaurants that no longer exist today,” Millie recalled. “I remember selling to Leon’s, The Pelican, Fisherman’s Wharf, The Garden Seat, The Palm Garden, Morrison’s, and even the Safety Harbor Resort.” Word quickly spread that the Wards had the “freshest fish in town” and their business just got bigger and bigger. They made five additions to the initial building, but only had the one location. “We had all we could do,” said Millie, “between fishing, delivering, and selling, we could not even think of expanding.” The Wards had ten employees-three were girls. Millie paid the bills, the employees, suppliers and billed the customers. “We owned a few trucks and kept them busy every day.” They sold grouper, snapper, mackerel, and of course mullet. “Mullet was very popular in those days - especially smoked mullet,” Millie said. “We sold a lot of smoked fish - Johnie was a great smoker,” Millie added. “We also sold shrimp, crabs and lobster, flown in from Maine.” In 1975, after 20 years, the Wards sold their business to Wayne Widmark, who sold it to present owners Rob and Michelle Cameron in 1990. “Johnie kept on fishing, because that is what he did,” Millie said with a smile. “I used to go fishing with him a lot. I loved fishing almost as much as he did.” Johnie died in 2007. Millie, 88, died on Thanksgiving Day. INDIAN ROCKS BEACH NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS page 10 Real Estate News REAL ESTATE CRYSTAL BALL RECALL Vision for 2020 Wasn’t 20/20 By Gordon Obarski, Real Estate Broker Gordon Realty House The old “real estate crystal ball” failed us big-time last year…but in a good way. Coming off a mediocre year in 2019, we expected IRB property values to level off somewhat, forecasting only a modest 2% increase for 2020. WRONG. The average sale price of condos/townhomes was up nearly 25% over the previous year and single-family homes increased by 19%. Had we seen facemasks, social distancing and lockdowns when peering into the ball last December, 2020’s prediction would have been worse. And that would have been WRONG, too, since Tampa-St. Pete-Clearwater was one of two Florida Metros to bounce back and beat pre-pandemic levels as soon as August 1. Defying all odds, there were 19 more sales in 2020 than in the previous year…and that was after a 2-year decline in the non-COVID years of 2018 and 2019. The average days an IRB property was listed in 2020: 59…down from 76 in 2019…thanks, in part, to a continuing inventory drought. But, that wasn’t the whole reason. In fact, by October, a tad more inventory popped up. And, November, usually the real estate doldrums, went gangbusters, much to the chagrin of homebuyers holding out hope for “a deal.” Here’s what COVID did to real estate: Trends that had been unraveling slowly over decades were fast-tracked. “Southern migratory patterns” weren’t new but those with “future” Florida relocation plans jumped into the market ahead of schedule to escape stricter lockdown restrictions back home and to be able to spend more time outdoors. What better place than Pinellas with 2 of Trip Advisor’s Top 5 Beaches in the country! When predicting 2020, COVID wasn’t part of the equation. For 2021, it’s a significant factor, fraught with uncertainty as to when the virus will truly be under control. Will the vaccine provide the comfort level needed to nudge homeowners, who put off selling during COVID, to sell? Reluctance to sell is often steeped in fear of not finding the next home. One good thing COVID did: It sharpened everyone’s technological skills, making folks much more comfortable searching for properties online. The subject of foreclosures has largely been avoided thanks to forbearance programs. Nationally, distressed mortgages are knocking on the door of 2010 housing crisis levels and Florida has more financially struggling homeowners than any other state. But, what’s different now is that those in trouble will have an opportunity to sell while the market is hot: Home prices are expected to hit a new high in 2021. Pandemic or no pandemic, real estate is still our economy’s brightest spot. Last year’s prediction was so wrong that it’s tough to say this with a straight face: I see 2021 to be more “normal”…at least in terms of supply and demand. A parade of buyers against a better field of inventory and low interest rates points to another growth year in 2021. However, this year’s prediction comes with a gigantic asterisk. Even though my crystal ball has been jacked up and totally rebuilt since last year, I’m still not 100% sure of its reliability for 2021…but it’s the best I can do. Source: Stellar MLS (Avg. close price comparing 1/1/19-12/31/19 to 1/1/20-12/19/20) INDIAN ROCKS BEACH NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS page 11 ADDRESSING HOMELESS FAMILIES’ NEEDS IN 2021 Government contract ending impacts funding, but Hope Villages of America vows not to let the Grace House shelter close. President and CEO Kirk Ray Smith of Hope Villages of America (HVA), formerly RCS Pinellas, announced today that the nonprofit is ramping up fundraising efforts in the community to address a potential funding gap caused by the end of significant government funding. “We believe housing is a right, not a privilege,” said Smith. “To eradicate homelessness, it will take a Village.” After several years, the contract between the Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County (JWB) and HVA will end on February 28, 2021. The end of the contract leaves Grace House with a potential funding shortfall, which Smith hopes the community can help meet. “We’re calling on individuals, groups, churches, business owners and corporations to join us in ensuring these vulnerable members of our community are protected and feel valued in these already unsettling days. We also want to say thank you to the City of Clearwater, City of Largo and City of St. Pete for their continued support of the Grace House.” Each year six Grace House staff and numerous volunteers serve homeless individuals and families with care and compassion. “Homeless families are one of the fastest- growing demographics we serve,” Smith reported. “There are only 180 beds for homeless families in Pinellas County, which has a population of more than 1 million. Hope Villages provides nearly half of those beds, and Grace House offers dignified apartment-style emergency shelter to homeless families with children for up to three months. We touch more than 300 lives each year through Grace House—60 percent of whom are children. “We certainly will not let the shelter close, pushing those families onto the streets—and neither will we lay off the Grace House case managers and other employees who serve them. All of these families need us now more than ever due to the pandemic.” Food, clothing and household goods are available to residents, and Grace House staff work one-on-one with families, providing case management, education, job readiness and helping guests save money to secure stable housing. When it comes to changing lives and ending homelessness, Grace House is a resounding success: “We are proud that 90 percent of families who complete the program move to stable housing.” “We’re grateful for our longstanding and very positive relationship with JWB. We knew the contract was coming to an end, and we’ve been planning and working for this. Government funding, in our eyes, is always mean to get a program off the ground but not for long-term support— that’s where we engage the community,” Smith said. “In fact, we’re pleased to announce that our longstanding community partner and major corporate donor Siracusa Staffing & Leasing have already committed significant financial support to meet this funding gap.” But that’s just a small percent of the total annual Grace House operating budget of $700,000. “We still urgently need our neighbors’ help,” concluded Smith. Learn how you can support homeless families on their journey from Grace House to self-sufficiency at www.rcspinellas.org INDIAN ROCKS BEACH NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS page 12 FRESH SEAFOOD DELIVERED TO YOUR HOME Mark Rose entered the seafood wholesale business over 30 years ago with a couple of trucks, a little office, and a small processing plant. Over the years, with a lot of hard work, he achieved success in providing quality seafood to his wholesale customers in the Tampa Bay area. Now, after the encouragement of many family, friends and clients, Mark with the help of his wife, Aileen and longtime friend, David Cornell, decided to expand into home delivery of his quality seafood products with his new Seafood Direct. They hope in these trying times, the convenience of ordering online and having quality seafood delivered right to your front door will allow you to feel more at ease, while enjoying delicious seafood that puts a smile on your face. Visit www.seafooddirectflorida.com to place your order. Free delivery on orders over $50. HER SCAN This new Breast Screening Ultrasound business opened in Belleair Bluffs in November. Ultrasound screenings are capable of detecting cancers that cannot be found by mammography and physical exams alone. HER SCAN will hold testing events in the area for women and takes merely 15 minutes. Visit www.HerScan.com for an event. Find HER SCAN at 404 Indian Rocks Road, near Suzette’s and South Trust Bank. HOUSE CALLS ARE BACK “House Calls For Kids” medical practice launched in December with a team of Pediatricians, Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners with many years of experience in pediatrics, emergency medicine, and urgent care, bringing convenience and safe care to families. All of their house calls begin with a telemedicine call to determine when/if a house call is necessary. Being able to take that next step without going to the ER or urgent care is what sets them apart. How it works: • Request House Call via www.housecallsforkidsfl.com • Complete brief patient questionnaire, initially pay telehealth call fee - $75 • A practitioner will reach you for your initial telehealth call to consult and determine if a House Call is needed • If your child cannot be cared for virtually, your House Call will proceed immediately or at a time convenient for you. (additional $175 will be applied) They are currently serving: St Petersburg, Gulfport, Seminole, Largo, Pinellas Park, all beaches south of Clearwater, and South Tampa, with plans for quick expansion. They serve ages 0-18 years old from noon to midnight Monday through Friday and 9am – midnight Saturday and Sunday Visit www.housecallsforkids.com for more information. ARCHITECT WINS AWARD Local Indian Rocks Beach Architect Business Briefs INDIAN ROCKS BEACH NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS page 13 Business Briefs Scott Holmes of Holmes Architects (holmes- architects.com) recently announced they have been awarded a 2020 American Institute of Architects (AIA) Tampa Bay Merit Award for the design of The Coral Home in Tampa for the Lykes Family. Merit Awards recognize projects that demonstrate a commitment to excellence in architectural design. This is the only new single family residence in the Tampa Bay area (Hillsborough/Pinellas) to win a Design Award this year and only the second residence to win since 2008. That other residence was also designed by Holmes Architects and is located in Indian Rocks Beach. NEW CONDO PROJECT The large restaurant at the north end of the Holiday Inn Harborside (visible from the Indian Rocks Bridge) closed ten years ago. Known as “Brewmasters” for many years, before it closed, it became “Marker 34” for a short while, named after the channel marker closest to the bridge. Part of the Holiday Inn Harborside, it is owned by Jeff Keierleber, who says he has submitted plans to the City to build a new building that will be part condo vacation rentals and part townhomes. The plans are being reviewed and the number of units and the height of the building are still being discussed. G-MART This new convenience store opened December 1st. It is the is the only Indian Rocks Beach convenience store south of Walsingham Road. Owner Gee converted his Baked Batata restaurant into the store at 321 Gulf Blvd, south of the CVS store. He carries the usual small grocery items, including beer, wine, cigarettes and LOTTO. VIRTUAL MEDICAL VISITS December 9 to January 1 Peggy Cordle, Nurse Practitioner, Owner/Director of Urgent Care Housecalls will continue to take care of her patients, friends, and neighbors through Virtual Visits (telemedicine) ONLY. As many in our tight knit community already know, Peggy‘s husband Brian has Leukemia and will undergo a Bone Marrow Transplant at Moffitt Cancer Center and Peggy will stay with him at Moffitt to take care of him during this time. She is incredibly grateful to her patients for making UrgentCare Housecalls’ first year of practice an amazing and fulfilling labor of love. Log on to www.urgentcarehousecalls.net and schedule a Virtual Visit for only $59 and get the care you need including delivered prescriptions! Peg will see you for Housecalls in the New Year. Reach Urgent Care Housecalls for trusted care anywhere at 727-403-5380. INDIAN ROCKS BEACH NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS page 14 YOLAND LOREN OPENS IN THE PLAZA Yoland Loren, a ladies’ boutique in The Plaza opened in November. The store is named after its owner Yoland who is from France and was a FIT/Parsons student. She also was a personal stylist for many years. “What makes Yoland’s special is our experience,” Yoland says. “Women come to my store not just for clothes, but for our personal styling.” She has a variety of styles from casual every day chic to evening attire that caters to any event. “I can also fit any body type,” she adds. Discover her store in The Plaza, next to Bella Vino Wines and E&E. HOMETOWN HERO You might not think of a UPS delivery man as a hero, but many businesses in the area do, including Belleair Opticians. They participated in a contest sponsored by Maui Jim sunglasses that named Robert Fekete their ‘Hometown Hero. “We recognized Robert for the continuous service he provided us—and all Belleair Bluff’s merchants—during the Covid-19 Pandemic,” says Berangere Granger, owner of Belleair Opticians. “He was certainly an essential worker helping keep our business running. Rob impressed us with the way he stayed so positive through these tough times. He always brings a smile to our faces.” Robert and his family live in Belleair Bluffs and he has worked for UPS for 29 years. “I am proud of my husband,” says wife Sharon. “It is incredibly meaningful to us to have one of his customers recognize him this way.” Rob was offered a chance to pick a pair of Maui Jim sunglasses that included a prescription - so he could read his UPS ipad AAA TRAVEL IN THE PLAZA CLOSES AAA closed their Belleair Bluffs location. They still have other Pinellas County locations including Clearwater, Seminole and Countryside. The owner of the Plaza are hoping to replace AAA with a restaurant. COASTAL AIRE DESIGN OPENS Jenni Martin and Chelsea Allison are bringing their vision of a beautifully curated furniture and home décor store to Antique Alley. Coastal Aire Design will offer uniquely local home furnishings and design essentials for your home. They will be joined by the Potted Pair florist to continue the traditions of the space. Jenni is the owner of Marcotte’s Design in Largo, a store known for coastal decor and custom-built furniture for the past 8 years. Chelsea joined the Marcotte’s team in May just as the mandatory shut down was lifted. Her background started in art and evolved into business ownership in the Clearwater area. It wasn’t long after Chelsea joined the Marcotte’s team that the opportunity for the two to start a new store came about, “the location spoke to us, we knew we had to carry on something special in this space.” Opened in the building where Petals and Vine used to be, they hope to become a fast favorite for area. Find them at 596 Indian Rocks Road North. Call 286-8686. Business Briefs INDIAN ROCKS BEACH NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS page 15 MUNICIPAL ELECTION CANCELED The City of Indian Rocks Beach will NOT be holding a City election as all qualified candidates ran unopposed. The Commissioner-Elects are as follows: • Incumbent Phillip J. Hanna returns for a new term. • Diane Flagg declined to run again for her seat and will be replaced by Denise Houseberg For those that don’t know her, for over 35 years Denise Houseberg helped small companies expand and become more profitable in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. After many years there, Denise and her husband moved to Florida to be closer to the grandchildren. They purchased a home in Harbour House where she now serves on the HOA as Vice President. After arriving in Indian Rocks, one of Houseberg’s first pursuits was to create a way to work out on the beach. She formed IRB Fitness and found a trainer. It now has over 25 members. Next, Houseberg took up the Garden for Free IRB project which allowed locals to get free access to fresh herbs and vegetables. She helped get garden boxes painted and filled with plants and herbs for all to enjoy. She engaged the locals to help with planting, watering, and picking. The garden boxes are at Cookie’s Cuttery. Earlier this year, Houseberg joined The Beach Community Food Pantry where she serves on the Management Team and created a Virtual Online Food Drive with YouGiveGoods.com as well as a toy drive. Houseberg enjoys her time serving those in need and helps with bagging and inventory as needed. She hopes she can help even more people and the community when her term begins in March of 2021. SUNSTAR AMBULANCE MEMBERSHIP Save on ambulance transportation costs Enroll now for coverage through March 31, 2022 • Membership covers 100 percent of expenses associated with deductibles and co-payments • Membership covers 50 percent of medically necessary trips denied by insurance • Uninsured members receive a 20 percent discount on medically necessary ambulance transportation services Enrollment applications are available for the 2021 Sunstar FirstCare Membership providing financial help for patients or families on out-of pocket expenses for ambulance transportation. The estimated average cost of a single ambulance transport is $780. Annual membership fees for the Membership plan are $75 for a single membership and $114 for a family membership. Savings for a single membership, including the initial cost of the plan, range between $81 and $705 for the first transport, depending on individual insurance coverage and co-pay schedules. Additional ambulance transports during the coverage period receive additional savings. The family membership covers individuals who reside in the same household related by blood, adoption, marriage, or registered domestic partnership. The Sunstar FirstCare Ambulance Membership is not an insurance plan. It is a Pinellas County Government program that works with an your insurance company to minimize out- of-pocket ambulance expenses. New enrollees, paid in full prior to March 31, 2021, will receive more than 12 months of coverage for the cost of the one-year plan. For detailed plan coverage, call 727-582-2008 or visit www.pinellascounty.org/firstcare. INDIAN ROCKS BEACH NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS page 16 RICK DADDY’S Former Indian Rocks resident, Rick Brumfield is the owner of “RickDaddy’s Eatin’ Fresh Seafood and More” opening in the old Lighthouse Donut building on Gulf Blvd. Rick owns another RickDaddy’s in Clearwater. Hoping to open this month, Rick plans to only serve lunch for a while. “When I get my beer and wine license from the City, I plan to open for dinner, too,” Rick says. “It will probably happen later in the month.” The small 36-seat restaurant will offer take-out and dine in, but also has a large deck nearby. For now, there is no delivery. Find RickDaddy’s in Indian Rocks Beach at 215 Gulf Blvd. SANDY’S REOPENS WITH A REMODEL Owner Natasha Madelaine, who bought Sandy’s from her mother Christine in 2014 felt it was time for an updated look in the restaurant. She decided to close for the month of November for a minor refurbish. She added a new ceiling, seating, flooring, and moved things around. She reopened December 1st with the fresh new look and feel. All seating is six feet apart to follow CDC guidelines. Check them out at 2300 Gulf Blvd, near Café de Paris, daily from 8am to 2pm. A N E C D O T E B R E W E R Y SURVIVES A TOUGH FIRST YEAR After years of planning, Phillip Anderson (pictured here with girlfriend Kirstin) opened A n e c d o t e Brewery in Indian Rocks in February of 2020 - just in time for Covid 19. He partially re-opened in May with take-out beer in growlers. Now he is open with limited inside seating Wednesdays through Mondays and closed Tuesday & Wednesday. Give him your support, at 321 Gulf Blvd, just south of CVS. www.AnecdoteBrewing.com. RESTAURANT NEWS WANTED If you have news for this News Magazine, e-mail Bob@GriffinDirectories.com or call 727-430-8300. Restaurant & Bar News INDIAN ROCKS BEACH NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS page 17 VIP’S NEW INDIAN ROCKS LOCATION In September, the owners announced a new VIP Mexican Restaurant was coming to Indian Rocks Beach, exciting many locals that regularly visit the Treasure Island location. Currently construction is ongoing to convert Aqua Prime and Off The Grid restaurants into our newest Mexican restaurant. At the December Indian Rocks City Commission meeting, The VIP received their liquor license. They have been approved for 250 seats but plan to only open with about 110 inside and 40 outside. They have not announced how they plan to use the Off The Grid space. “This new site is nearly twice the size of our restaurant in Treasure Island,” say owner Nick. “We need to start small before we expand.” They hope to open at 213 Gulf Blvd in Indian Rocks Beach March 1st. See their menu at www.VIPlounge-fla.com. NEW OVEN AT CAFÉ DE PARIS Xavier is excited about his new oven. During the shutdown, they installed a new commercial oven in their bakery, which allows them to produce a wide variety of fresh baked goods, hourly. Drop in for some goodies by Xavier, Valerie, and their staff. Find them at 2300 Gulf Blvd. BEACH WAVES GRILL OPENS TO RAVE REVIEWS Thai Pan Alley Is now Beach Waves Grill, a fun, casual new concept in the 23rd Avenue Plaza. The restaurant specializes in fresh seafood and dishes made from scratch daily, but still has a few Thai Pan favorites on the menu. Eat in, take out or use their Free Delivery. You can order your meal online through Facebook or on their Web site, www.BeachWavesGrill.com. They are open daily at 11am. Beach Waves Grill is located at 2300 Gulf Blvd, near Café de Paris. Call 593-3663 for takeout and delivery. PANERA NOW SERVES PIZZA There is a new place in Belleair to get your pizza fix. Panera Bread on West Bay now offers a single serving flatbread pizza. It comes in Margherita, Chipotle Chicken and Bacon, and Just Cheese options. Prices range from $6.50 to $8.00 each. You can eat in, take out and even have it delivered. For more information visit PaneraBread.com. To order for pick up or delivery, download their app. NEW BAKERY COMING SOON Plans are for the Pipo-N- Betty’s bakery to open this Spring in the former site of Jake’s Cantina, at the intersection of Gulf Blvd at Walsingham— next to Tropical Ice Cream. Restaurant & Bar News INDIAN ROCKS BEACH NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS page 18 Another Year, and more Challenges in the Building Industry… Hard to believe that 2021 is now here, and Santa is back at the North Pole resting up for next year. Spring is just around the corner, and many families that come through our model center each year have now decided that it’s time to build their dream home here along the Pinellas beach communities. Again, new home costs have increased due to inflation, supply & demand, and unfortunately in 2021 it is predicted that another round of increases will take place, now due to constant FEMA changes and a new building code revision that is just now being put into place (2020 7th Edition, effective 12/31/2020). After the devastating pictures that we all saw with recent storms over the last couple years, it only stands to reason that the building industry cannot be allowed to construct homes using yesterday’s codes. When the big one hits Pinellas, we will see the same devastation from the existing homes built decades ago. It’s been 100 years since a direct hit hurricane came ashore in Pinellas County, but the odds are very probable of course. I hope to have 25 to 30 years left to chase my grandchildren around, and I hope that I do not witness a Pinellas direct hit, but the odds are probably going to catch up to us. Specifically, the talk in the industry is that FEMA will enact even stronger standards for homes, for new construction and major remodeling. Some beach jurisdictions themselves are enacting even more stringent codes than FEMA requires. The so called “50% Rule” may become history, so remodeling homes using this loophole may go the way of the dinosaurs. I can’t say I’m against that, seeing that if/when the storm comes, those family dollars now being spent for remodeling will be wasted as they will then be required to start over with an elevated home, at tomorrow’s costs. It’s also predicted that this tourist season, a record number of snowbirds will become homeowners along the beach communities. The trends are high with people moving to Florida due to the Covid pandemic and ultra high tax laws in many other populous States. I personally enjoy seeing the new homes being constructed here by various builders in the many Pinellas communities. And thankfully, these newly constructed homes will weather the storm, being constructed under newer stricter codes to protect the homeowners investment and offering extremely lower flood insurance rates being that they meet the current code heights. Then too, these families that are now constructing new homes will appreciate many years of family enjoyment living in a new more modern home, as well as the peace of mind knowing the security of a new home, raised above the flood plain and constructed with today’s more stringent standards. GHD Coastal Homes, a division of GHD Construction Services, Inc., is now offering very attractive homes from under $550,000. Of course, each are constructed with today’s stringent Florida Building Codes as well as elevated to FEMA required elevations. Please visit our website for details. GHD Construction Services, Inc. has constructed 6,000 homes since 1971, and has a new Showroom at 14995 Gulf Blvd., Suite C, Madeira Beach. If you have any questions pertaining to new home construction, feel free to email me directly at: Tnegoshian@ghdcsi.com, or call and request a walk-thru meeting at one of our homes in-progress (727)954-8345. . . . With new stringent codes, will the so called “50% Rule” become history? INDIAN ROCKS BEACH NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS page 19 Creating a self-guided history tour of Indian Rocks has been talked about for a few years, but it wasn’t until two local organizations came together that the project moved forward. As a joint effort with members of IRB Action 2000 and Indian Rocks Historical Museum a committee was formed that included: Julie Hoofnagle, RB Johnson, Terry Hamilton- Wollin, Patty Donovan, and Daryl Frahn. Julie was the team leader and kept everything on track throughout the tour development and launch. The committees’ first meeting was January 8, 2019 The idea was to expand on the existing Historical Marker Bike Tour that includes twelve historical markers. That tour is about three miles from start to finish. It was also a joint project of the Indian Rocks History Museum and IRB Action 2000, Inc. The group looked at online applications available and found several good options, including the Florida Humanities Council “Florida Stories” Walking Tours. Unfortunately, the Council had no grant funding when this project was ready to move forward. Through some complicated negotiations, the committee convinced the Council to support the Indian Rocks Beach tour with their resources and the group would reimburse the Council’s expenses. The Museum and Action 2000 each paid $6,000 ($12,000 total) for the application’s development. Of course, before they could proceed, both organizations had to get the funding approved through their own boards. The team used the Florida Humanities Council tools to prepare the tour. At the time, the Council had 35 Florida walking tours (now they have 37). To begin, they identified 65 significant Indian Rocks structures. Shera Bie, a member of the Museum’s Board, compiled the list. Then they had the difficult task of narrowing that down to a 14 stops. Each stop would include photos and a narrative. Members of the team divided up the stops to prepare the narratives. The team then looked through hundreds of photos to prepare the accompanying visual components. Nancy Ayers at the Museum was instrumental in compiling many of the old photos. The Council had the script reviewed by a historian, then had the script recorded by a professional narrator. With the recording in hand, each team member had to insert their selected photos to match the script - to the second - in a massive spreadsheet. The Council used their graphic artist, located in New York City, to prepare the rack card with the selected images. The artist converted those photos into icons on the card. The plan was to launch the tour at Action 2000’s May Mixer as a joint effort with the Museum. The theme was to be: “Historical IRB – Discover the Charm.” But Covid-19 changed those plans. Instead, Julie Hoofnagle created the Walk Indian Rocks Beach website, they had launched the application, and the racks cards were distributed to various Indian Rocks Beach locations. Now “The Walk Indian Rocks Beach” is available as a free self-guided audio app designed to be downloaded to your smart phone or tablet. The app will take you on a narrated, self-guided tour of 14 stops with historical images and music. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, you can experience - on your own time and pace - the charming cottages and rich heritage that makes our small town truly special. Visit walkindianrocksbeach.com for more information. WALK INDIAN ROCKS BEACH HISTORICAL TOUR A free self-guided, audio and visual walking tour of historical Indian Rocks Beach INDIAN ROCKS BEACH NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS page 20 MOVING OUT-OF-STATE? By Brooke Anderson It’s no secret: the local housing market is booming and homes are under contract in 7 days or less. Inventory is flying off the shelves faster than toilet paper during Covid! Our state welcomes 950 new inhabitants DAILY; many of whom are escaping high taxes and strict Covid protocols in the northeast. What isn’t being reported: this influx of north easterners has caused new trends among longtime local homeowners. Big Man’s Moving Company explains, “Since Covid started, we have had a tremendous increase in out-of-state moves; locals moving to the mountains of North Carolina, Tennessee, northern Georgia, and South Carolina for less traffic and more space to social distance. The most popular destination is Asheville, NC,” explains Josh Anderson, owner of Big Man’s. “Homes in the mountains are selling just as quickly as homes here in Pinellas County.” You’ve found a home, now what? Big Man’s Moving explains there are several options for interstate moving, and the options vary in terms of pricing, quality, and investment of “sweat equity.” The most affordable way to move is the “do it yourself” option- rent a truck, load/unload it yourself (or hire a mover), and drive the truck yourself. PODS are another option. But, if more than one container is needed, the price adds up quickly. “We acquire business from people who used van lines before, and don’t want to use them again. Most semi companies give a 14-21 day delivery window, resulting in costly hotel stays (or sleeping on the floor). Also, semis move multiple homes simultaneously and don’t necessarily deliver in the order the household belongings were picked up. This causes overhandling of furniture and breakage or lost items.” Another consideration: many are brokers and contract the individual parts of your move to outside companies. For example, one company may load, another drive, and a third party unload (and there could even be another company involved if your items go to a warehouse in the interim)! Who is responsible if something gets damaged or lost? The final option is hiring a family-owned business. Big Man’s Moving Company, for example, has the same employees (covered by workers comp) load, drive, and unload. Moving is considered 1 of the top 5 most stressful life events, so familiar faces from start to finish is comforting. Big Man’s uses one truck per household so items do not get lost or broken. They also provide an exact arrival time to load and unload. This option may be a little more costly, but it saves aggravation and headaches. It is not uncommon for movers to claim they are licensed to move out-of-state, but truly they are not. How does a potential customer verify? Simply Google “FMCSA snapshot” and search the company’s name. There should be a checkmark next to “interstate” and “authorized.” Failure to hire a licensed interstate mover could result in the truck being stopped and the customer’s items being stuck until a licensed mover can go claim them. Big Man’s Moving Company, a contributor to this article, was voted the #1 Mover in Tampa Bay for local, statewide, and out-of-state moving, 727-772-3458. Bigmansmoving.com INDIAN ROCKS BEACH NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS page 21 FROM THE DESK OF SHERIFF BOB GUALTIERI Shop Safely in the New Year Giving gifts during the holidays is an expression of love and appreciation. However, returning, exchanging, and even selling presents is also a common practice in the months following the holiday season. Whether you drive to the store to return an item or sell it online, here are some ways you can stay safe while getting rid of those unwanted gifts or making new purchases. Shopping in Stores: • Park in a well-lit, public area when possible and become familiar with your surroundings before walking inside. • Always lock your car doors. Even if you won’t be in the store long, it only takes seconds for a criminal to open a door, take something inside, or steal your vehicle. • Vehicles are easy targets because they often contain valuable items like laptops, recent store purchases, firearms, purses, and cell phones. Place valuables in the trunk before you park in public so they are not visible to burglars. • If your vehicle doesn’t have an alarm, consider purchasing one. The noise alone is often enough to scare away inexperienced criminals. • Once you leave the store, have your car keys in hand, ready to use, so that you can put any valuables in the trunk and enter your vehicle quickly. Online Transactions: • If you are buying or selling something online, meet the potential buyer or seller in a public location, like the parking lot of a police department or the sheriff’s office. • Meet the buyer or seller during the day or in a well-lit area at night. As an extra precaution, take a person with you so you are not alone. • Do not go through with the transaction if the communication with the buyer or seller seems suspicious or you do not feel safe completing it. • Ask for identification. If the individual is lying about their identity, they will most likely not continue communication or complete the meetup. In the event the transaction goes wrong, you will have their information to report to law enforcement. Home Deliveries • “Porch pirates,” thieves who steal packages left on doorsteps, are all too common today. Use a surveillance camera to monitor the activity at your door, have packages delivered to a secure location, or schedule deliveries when you are home to ensure they make it inside your residence. This year, make New Year’s resolutions that will protect you, your belongings, and your community. Lock your car doors regularly and take necessary precautions when making transactions or meeting with strangers. INDIAN ROCKS BEACH NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS page 22 A BETTER YEAR AHEAD By Karen Williams Seel, Pinellas County Commissioner Who would have thought that 2020 was going to turn out to be such a horrible year for everyone around the world and right here in Pinellas County? And, although the coronavirus is still with us—and will be for a while—we are moving in the right direction. One bright spot is the development and distribution of the vaccine. Another bright spot is how the toughest of times brought out the best in all of us. When I look back, I am amazed by all the hard work many in the county have been doing, and are still doing, to keep people safe, keep businesses going, keep our children educated and keep our sanity amidst this devastating crisis. Part of that work was accomplished by Pinellas County employees and our partner agencies. As the news about the pandemic spread across the country in late February, teams across Pinellas County were already shoring up their plans and engaging our partners. Risk assessments, coordination of medical protocols, coordination of safety messaging for the public, call center operations to receive your many questions and more were already taking place and being implemented within the first week. As the crisis wore on, Pinellas County worked with local health and social agencies, businesses and others through frequent conference calls to tackle the many challenges the pandemic presented. Many cross-functional teams from the county worked tirelessly with hospitals and nursing homes assessing their needs, local businesses helping get designs and manufacturing up and running to produce personal protective equipment and disinfectants for first responders, local food banks assessing where food supplies were needed and getting those supplies routed correctly, and others arranging sites where donations of supplies and personal protective equipment could be dropped off and dispatched to those in greatest need. When I look back at all the work that was done and all the partnerships that were made for this common cause, I know that 2021 is going to be a better year. How could it not be with all that we have accomplished together. We are stronger because we met the challenge of the pandemic head on. We dug in deep and made the improbable happen. We lost many loved ones along the way, but in the end, we will carry on as a stronger county because of the pandemic and a stronger nation because of it, as well. As we move further away from the darkness of 2020, may you and your family embrace and enjoy the coming light of 2021. Stay safe and know a better year is already here. As always, I welcome your comments and concerns. Please email me at email@example.com. DALÍ FEATURES VAN GOGH ALIVE Through April 11, 2021 Experience Vincent van Gogh’s works in an immersive art installation that opens a new window into the celebrated painter’s artistic genius. From his famous “Starry Night” to his radiant “Sunflowers,” Van Gogh’s vibrant work invites viewers to revel in color, light and sound. Visitors will feel the sensation of walking right into Van Gogh’s paintings – an experience that is both educational and inspiring. The exhibition features more than 3,000 Van Gogh images at enormous scale, viewed through high-definition projectors and synchronized to a powerful classical score. Advanced timed-tickets are required for ALL visitors. INDIAN ROCKS BEACH NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS page 23 CHILDREN’S DISCOVERY GARDEN The Florida Botanical Gardens Foundation (FBGF) is undertaking the creation of a new garden within the Botanical Gardens footprint. The Children’s Discovery Garden (CDG) will be designed specifically to entice, engage, and educate children through discovery and play. The Florida Botanical Gardens is a part of Pinellas County’s park system, and with no cost for admission, thousands of annual visitors from the Tampa Bay community and beyond are able to enjoy the Botanical Gardens. It is accessible to all those who live, work, and play in Pinellas County, and it provides an oasis for many looking to relax and escape. The area proposed for the CDG is approximately 2.5 acres. Of which, 1.5 acres will be used for the site improvements and 1-acre will receive plantings and natural enhancements. A concrete walk running north/south divides the site into a 1/2 acre to the west and 2 acres to the east, and features the main entry, which includes ADA-compliant paths, a rain feature, benches and plantings. The west side of the CDG has hard surfaces of concrete and pavers, while the east is more natural with surfaces of turf, stabilized soil, wood fiber, pour-in-place play surfaces and mulch. Both sides provide for unstructured play, engaging nature activities, and seating and amenities for parents/supervisors. The Music Forest contains a plaza of pavers among trees providing a shady space for play with oversized, stationary, musical instruments. A fun and engaging access to this section will be by rope bridge through a stand of bamboo. Pollinator Landing is a multi-purpose area for climbing, group presentations, puppet shows and theatre skits with seating. The east side of CDG features primary educational elements, as well as Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ exhibits. Roots n Shoots is an environment where children can get their hands dirty, and includes a hand water pump, as a source for play and watering plants. A screened c l a s s r o o m building will facilitate nature observation and create a location for structured programming. It will provide for both educational presentations and a space for children’s events and parties. Other places for play are provided by a large Beetle Climber and Trunk Jump. A loop path through the southern end of the site will provide for wildlife observation, as well as a location for children to display their artwork on an Artline. You can become part of the CDG legacy by donating through a commemorative tribute. Each portion of the garden offers the possibility for tribute, with an engraved plaque to honor yourself, family or friends. A personal acknowledgment is sent to you or the family/individual being honored, with reference to the gift, and will be listed in the Foundation’s Annual Report. In addition to honoring a special person or occasion, commemorative items also support the Garden and build a tradition of joyful memories. Levels range from $10 to $1,000. Higher-level donor recognition begins with the Roots n Shoots potting area, and includes all proposed site locations. Visit: www.flbgfoundation.org/cdgsponsorship Beetle Climber INDIAN ROCKS BEACH NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS page 24 WINTERFEST ON THE ROCKS 2021 Calvary Episcopal Church, located at 1615 First Street, Indian Rocks Beach will host its 16th Annual Winterfest On The Rocks. However, a great transition is currently underway by the Planning Committee about a new format for a “bigger and better” event on Saturday, February 13, 2021. This family-friendly festival will not be a large gathering of people held outside the church on the property. A “telethon-style presentation, closed doors and virtual” will be the basis of this new direction. The Committee meets weekly to share their creative, “outside the box” ideas for a “best one yet” event. Calvary seeks to bring the beach communities together and to raise funds to assist in its overall mission, “To know Christ and to make Him known”. Also, the event will raise awareness to the Church’s ongoing efforts to support and serve the poor through the Beach Community Food Pantry and its other outreach ministries. For information, including sponsor and vendor opportunities, please contact Calvary Episcopal Church M-TH 9am – 1pm at 727.595.2874 or the Calvary website at www.calvaryirb.org. IRB ACTION 2000, INC. Submitted by Daryl Frahn A2K Virtual Run/Walk Challenge. We are so grateful for the outpouring of support for our first A2K Virtual Run/ Walk Challenge - thank you to everyone who registered, donated, shared our posts, forwarded emails and left kind messages. The event was a huge success with 139 participants from all over the world! In an effort to give back to our local businesses, gift cards were purchased as prizes in 6 different categories. We exceeded our goal of $6000 – the annual costs to maintain our projects across IRB. Thank you to all the participants, donors and our great sponsors - you are helping A2K to create a real and lasting impact for the beautification of Indian Rocks Beach. A2K keeps working! Adhering to social distancing, volunteers have continued to maintain our landscaping projects across the City. Learn more about how you can volunteer and make a difference at www.irbaction2000.com/volunteer. Holiday Parade Breaking tradition of a party aboard the Jolly Trolley, A2K decided to safely participate in the Parade with 3 golf carts displaying A2K signage and lots of holiday decorations and costumes! Plein Aire Cottage Artists Calendars The 2021 calendar is a collaborative effort with the Plein Aire Cottage Artists and IRB Action 2000. This colorful 12-month calendar, highlighting the paintings of the three local artists, is available at Kooky Coconuts, Crabby Bill’s Gift Shop, The Welcome Center, Pat’s Consignment, Café de Paris, The Frame Factory, Cookie Cutter Hair Salon, Island Bead Shop, Janna’s Consignment as well as The IRB Historical Museum, Indian Rocks Beach Library, The Beach Art Center, and online at www.irbaction2000.com/shop, or email A2K: firstname.lastname@example.org. Still just $20! Community News INDIAN ROCKS BEACH NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS page 25 BEACH ART CENTER Submitted by Patricia Thomas The Benefits of creating art reach far beyond the canvas. Several medical studies support the act of creating visual arts improves your mental health and wellbeing. During this time of pandemic, we can all use that more than ever. Three ways that creating art benefits your brain: Improves our ability to cope with stress, It can help reduce instances of depression and it can help prevent mental decline as we age. At the Beach Art Center, we feel called to our mission to engage the community in creative arts now more than ever. We are doing our best to be available to the entire community during this time of pandemic. We made modifications to our classrooms and pottery studio to comply with CDC guidelines. Our gallery shows are available for you to view in our gallery AND online, and we have also added on-line (Zoom) classes to our schedule of In-House classes. Weekly Classes allow you to sign up and attend as often as you like. Most are $30 ($24 for Members) and include, Pencil Drawing, Mixed Media, Watercolor, Oil Painting, Acrylics, Pottery, Plein Air Painting, and Pallet Knife Painting. Level of experience ranges from Beginner to Intermediate. Check out our website for classes as well as how to register. Class description indicates In-House, On-line (Zoom) or Hybrid (available both online and in-house). In addition to our Weekly Classes, check out these special NEW Limited Series Classes* beginning in early January – • “Cartooning On Zoom” with Deb Vest – Thursdays in January after school for 6-9 year olds. (Zoom) • “Joyful Journaling” with Lisbeth Graham – 4 Saturdays in January, beginning Jan 9. 10 am – noon. (In-House) • “Watercolor Bootcamp” with Susan Wiley – Wednesday evenings, 6pm – 9pm Jan 13, 20 & 27. (Zoom) *limited series classes are sold as a package for the full series. Registration in advance is required. Art on the Rocks – $38, Held in-house from 6-9. Materials included. • Friday, Jan. 8 - “Paint Your Own Sand Dollars,” Shawn Dell Joyce • Friday, Jan. 15 – “Glass & Resin Jewelry,” Jackie Kaufman • Saturday, Jan. 16, “Mandala Art Coffee Mugs,” Natalia Londono • Friday, Jan. 22, “Colorful Crab on Canvas,” Shawn Dell Joyce Visit our website or Facebook page for February classes and information. Advanced registration required. Special Workshops – We have some fantastic visiting artists lined up for one of a kind all day workshops: • Sat., Jan. 30, from 10 – 4. “Sunflower Painting Adventure” – Mixed Media” with Caroline Karp: $300 • Sat./Sun., Feb. 6th & 7th, from 9–5 “Impressionist Landscape Painting,” Violetta Chandler: $325 Non-Members, $300 Members. • Sat./Sun., Feb. 13th & 14th, from 9 – 4 “Watercolors from the Beach” with Carol Carter Fee: $350 • Sat., Feb. 27th 10 – 5 “Introduction to Scratchboard” with Sheryl Unwin Fee: $100 • Sat./Sun., March 6th & 7th, 9 – 4 “Plein Air Color Bootcamp” with John Clayton: $250 View full classes calendar at www.beachartcenter.org/calendar. We hope you will enjoy visiting the gallery in person or virtually (on our website). Note: To protect our staff and guests, the Beach Art Center observes Covid-19 protocols including a requirement that guests wear a facemask. Guests will also sign in and submit to a touchless temperature check. Details can be found at beachartcenter.org. Community News INDIAN ROCKS BEACH NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS page 26 INDIAN ROCKS BEACH NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS page 27 WORKING THE POLLS IN THE 2020 ELECTION By Bob Griffin, Publisher On November 3rd, I did something I had never done before - I volunteered to be an Election Day poll worker. I really didn’t know what I was getting into, but with so many prior workers “sitting this one out” due to COVID-19, I wanted to help. First of all - not all the people you see at your polling place are volunteers. I got paid. I was assigned to be an “Assistant Clerk,” which is basically middle management. Training was required. I attended a 5-hour class two weeks before the election to learn the procedures and how to operate the polling equipment. Prior to the class, I was instructed to watch a series of online training videos. The main piece of equipment is called an “EVID” (Electronic Voter Identification Device). When you vote in person, it scans your driver’s license. The title of the person operating it is called an “Inspector.” The process is straightforward--when your license is scanned, the EVID tells the poll worker if you are in the system (database) and at the correct precinct. Once that checks out, voters are directed to the person issuing ballots. Ballot in hand, voters then move to a nearby privacy booth to vote. Once completed, the voter then feeds his/ her ballot into the scanner themselves. If fed successfully, the scanner announces “You Voted” and you then get an “I Voted” peel-off sticker. At my assigned location, the entire process took anywhere from 5-15 minutes per person - it depending on the voter’s readiness and ability to read. After working 12 hours (7am - 7pm), our precinct had 606 actual in-person voters. That translates to about 50 people per hour. We had a rush from 7:30am to 9am, and another one again in the afternoon from 4-6pm. A very few people voted from 6 to 7pm. Our line never went outside the building as it did at other precincts. Part of our group – four of us - reported to the polling place the day before to setup the equipment and make sure everything was working. That took us about two hours. As we left, we were instructed to be on site by 5:15 am the next day, Election Day, as we had to be ready for the first voter at 7 am. Two people called ‘deputies’ controlled the lines, inside and out. A team of twelve people were assigned to our polling place. There were two EVID operators, a ballot issuer, a machine manager who oversaw the two scanners, myself (Assistant Clerk) and the Clerk (Site Manager). A regional manager from the Office of Elections was on site 50 percent of the time. Two “Poll Watchers” from the two primary parties were also present to observe and keep an eye on things. I helped check people in with the EVIDs and processed people that had a problem. We only turned people away if they were not registered in Pinellas County or were at the wrong polling site. Of the 606 successful voters, less than a dozen were turned away. I was amazed to see how many people either had the wrong address on their driver’s license or had not notified the Supervisor of Elections office that they had moved. In most cases, if they had a valid photo-ID, we updated them in the database and let them vote. However, if they had moved, they were sent to their new polling place to vote and the EVID provided the address and directions to the new site. Most people understood and were grateful for the help. A few, however, were frustrated and stormed out. I personally assisted four people needing special help. One was an elderly person that brought a relative to assist them. Another only spoke Vietnamese and needed a the help of a translator via phone. Throughout the day, all our information was sent to headquarters, the Supervisor of Elections office - electronically. Thus, our results are basically known within minutes of the polls closing. At 7pm we had no line and closed the doors. At 7:01, we started to break down the equipment and the tables. All the electronic equipment, EVIDs and scanners produce back-up tapes to record all the day’s activity. That is used as reference in the event there is a problem calculating the vote. We were packed up and out of there by 8pm – the end of a 15-hour day. It was interesting, that before we left the building, our precinct’s results were being broadcast on television and available on the Internet. As I said - I was paid. I received $210 for my service. Considering my three days of service, that translates to about $10 per hour. Some of my fellow workers were employed by local governments, which encourages participation (three were from the City of Largo). They received time off with pay from their jobs while they worked at the poll. All in all, I was impressed by the checks and balances put in place. I saw virtually no way for the wrong person to vote or to vote “twice.” Keeping the voter database current is a shared responsibility between the voter and the Board of Elections. If a registered voter moves without notice or does not vote for many years, they may not be in the County’s database. That is why it is important to keep voter registrations updated so that voting in the proper precinct is possible. I was also impressed with the attention to the health and safety of the staff and the voters. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we were issued face shields and masks. There was hand sanitizer everywhere. Voters used a disposable Q-Tip-like swab to electronically sign, which was then thrown away. For me, working the polls was a good experience, thanks to my great team. If you would like to learn more or volunteer for the next election, visit www.VotePinellas.com and click on the link on the Front Page “Become an Election Worker” or send an email to PollWorker@VotePinellas.com. NOTE: Pinellas had 166 polling places serving 301 precincts. (Some were combined.) Nearly 80% of registered voters voted in advance—in person, by mail or other means. That means only 20% voted at their precinct on election day. According to VotePinellas.com, of 716,747 registered voters, 563,804 people voted in the November 2020 election. That is a 79% turnout. Of Pinellas County’s 563,804 voters, 49.2% voted for President Trump and 49.4% voted for Vice President Biden. While Biden had 1,241 more Pinellas County votes, President Trump won the statewide count. INDIAN ROCKS BEACH NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS page 28 GREENTOWN KIDS Submitted by Allie DeVore Happy 2021, Greenies & friends! We hope the new year finds you well. While we weren’t able to carry out our events as planned last year, we made the most of 2020 and were lucky to be able to adapt and give to others in need. GTK made donations to McGough Nature Park to help feed their birds of prey. We also donated to Farm Fresh Food, helping to provide 200 lbs of fresh fruits and veggies to local families in need. And, during our 2nd Annual Holiday Toy & Clothing Drive, we collected 2 carfuls of gently used toys, clothing, books and other gear for local children in need at Bright Stars Learning Academy. Instead of a group beach cleanup in November, we asked everyone to do their own beach cleanups and Give Thanks for a Clean Beach. Thanks to all our participants, our beaches and oceans are cleaner and healthier! We were thrilled to acquire 10 more garden boxes in the IRB Community Garden, allowing us to create a truly magnificent children’s garden with fresh veggies for all our families to harvest and beautiful flowers to feed the pollinators. Along with the City, we implemented 6 Beach Toy Boxes for the Take-A-Toy, Leave-A-Toy program encouraging families to reuse beach toys and help keep our beaches clean. This year we will focus on keeping our beaches clean as well as expanding our Children’s Garden, making it a truly inviting and interactive outdoor space our Greenies can learn and play. Thank you to all our families, friends, and community who support us and help make the things we do possible! Please consider supporting our cause with an annual or lifetime membership at: greentownkids.org. Email us at email@example.com. BELLEAIR WOMEN’S REPUBLICAN CLUB Submitted by Sandra Sockwell Belleair Women’s Republican Club will have as speaker Pinellas County Commissioner Kathleen Peters, District 6, Friday, January 8, 2021, 11:30 am-2 pm. District 6, one of four Single Member Districts, covers Gandy, Feather Sound, Pinellas Park, Bardmoor, Seminole, Bay Pines, northern parts of Lealman and the island corridor from Redington Shores to Tierra Verde, a wide swath of central Pinellas County. Commissioner Peters, having earlier served in the Florida State Legislature, was elected to serve District 6 in November 2018. The meeting is at Belleair Country Club. No walk-ins will be permitted. A check for $26, payable to BWRC, confirms a reservation and should be sent to: Linda Wade, 729 Creekside Lane, Palm Harbor, FL 34683. Luncheon guests must practice social distancing and observe all CDC-recommended practices, including wearing masks when not seated, to keep everyone attending safe and healthy. WELCOME NEWCOMER CLUB They will not be meeting in January. Various groups with the club are meeting, but not the entire membership. Dues paid for this year will be extended through June 2021. THE BELLEAIR LADIES LUNCHEON CLUB The January 12th luncheon is scheduled for Bon Appetit Restaurant and hopefully, more members will be allowed to attend. The last meeting was capped at 40 members. Contact Treasurer Deborah Hendricks, 737-453-2193, for further information about the Club. Community News PEACE MEMORIAL CONCERT SERIES January 10, 3pm, they will be hosting a lovely classical chamber concert featuring solos and duets for harp and flute. You will hear enchanting selections by Mozart, Rota, Saint-Saens and the charming Irish Fantasy by Harty. The rich acoustics of the Peace sanctuary are perfectly suited to enhance the sounds of these instruments. Due to COVID 19 procedures and social distancing, reserved tickets are required. Reserve tickets at www.itickets.com/events/449008 or listen to the concert virtually via their YouTube Channel. Peace Memorial Presbyterian Church (the pink church) is located at 110 S. Ft. Harrison Ave., Clearwater. For more information, visit www.peacememorialpresbyterian.org. INDIAN ROCKS BEACH ROTARY CLUB Submitted by Vernon R Bryant 15 years ago the Rotary Club of Indian Rocks Beach purchased and installed a gazebo (or pavilion) in Chief Chic-A-Si park. The Gazebo was in honor of the Rotary’s Centennial celebration. Then Club President, David Kline, led that effort and the Rotary Centennial Gazebo quickly became a nice place for many activities and celebrations. For instance, everyone knows that during every Taste of IRB the Gazebo becomes the center of attention when it is filled with musical entertainment to feel the souls of thousands of IRB residents while local restaurants feed them physically. However, the years were not nice to the Gazebo and the element’s persistent onslaught caused it to become unsafe. The City approached the IRB Rotary club to determine if they wished to fund the repairs or have the building demolished. The Club decided to step up to the plate and save it. Past IRB Rotary Club President, Vernon Bryant, was tasked with leading the project and at the beginning of summer the work began. All of the work was accomplished with volunteer labor of members of the Club. The project started with removing the decking which was the biggest issue. In addition the railing system had to be removed as it was also unsafe. To everyone’s relief the supporting structure was in very good condition and only a few pieces had to be replaced. The decking was replaced with Trex recycled decking and the entire rail system was revamped and updated to meet current safety standards. The final piece of the restoration was to repaint the entire structure. The club chose to use a blue accent to match the Historical Museum Building. Kudos go to the following members that gave of their time, talent and also finances to make the project a success. Vernon Bryant, Cheryl Schultz, Rick Walker, David Kline, Paul Burns, Chris Smaridge,, Earl Wertheim, Lynn Johler, Claire English, Emily Schulz, Bill Atkinson, Cliff Koch and Steve Dante. Kidos also go to the City of IRB and the construction certification program at Richard O Jacobsen Technical High School for helping with some of the detail work. Mika Schulz, Cheryl’s son, also provided a lot of physical prowess along the way. The Rotary Club is working on establishing a maintenance agreement with the City to keep the Gazebo well maintained. This year the Rotary Club also decorated it for the holidays with the help of the Florida Botanical Gardens Foundation, who loaned them lights and other supplies. They are planning other activities at the Gazebo for the future so keep an eye out on their Facebook page - IRBRotary. If you are interested in renting the Gazebo for an event, please contact the City of Indian Rocks Beach. INDIAN ROCKS BEACH NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS page 29 IS IT TIME FOR A CHANGE? By Melanie LeBlanc, owner IRB Crossfit The holidays have come and gone, leaving us with that feeling of what’s next. With anxieties and uncertainties of 2020 still lingering, how do we move past that sticking point, the rut we’ve got ourselves in? Every year we seem to ask ourselves the same question(s), but have we truly found the answer? It’s like we put ourselves on a hamster wheel doing the same things over and over, and nothing changes. We’ve heard all the commercials before, they’re all the same, offering ‘magic pills’ or ‘new you solutions’, but NONE of that bologna works. What it truly takes is determination: change is sparked by desire, desire builds curiosities, curiosities create knowledge, knowledge lessens fear, the lack of fear provides courage, courage feeds determination, AND determination brings accomplishments! I’m right there with you though, change is hard! It’s hard to change routines, but it’s routines that keep us trapped! It’s change though that creates growth; and growth only happens when we take ourselves out of our comfort zone. Over the past 10 years I’ve coached 100s of people. Each person has their story, each person has their struggles. However, EVERY person is the same - we all have an overwhelming desire to be better than we were yesterday. When people walk in to the gym for the first time I know it took courage. I remember my first day, I also remember not wanting to go back. BUT I knew I needed to if I wanted change. I knew I couldn’t do it by myself. I knew I needed help. It took courage to go back, and it was because of my coach that I continued. He showed me that I was capable of doing things I had no idea I could do. He encouraged me to try again, and never give up. It was determination to prove to myself that I was worth it, that created the change that I wanted. If you are stuck in a rut, reach out to someone. Ask a friend to go for a run with you. Hire an online coach to keep you accountable. Or find a community gym that offers personal training, or group classes. We all need help, we were not created to do things by ourselves. If you have questions about the training I offer, reach out any time: 727-403-0466, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. “Ask for help not because you are weak, but because you want to remain strong.” Les Brown ST PETE COLLEGE FOOD PACKAGES The Pinellas community has experienced many economic setbacks in the past year, given the number of jobs lost in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the holidays, money woes were even more exacerbated, and many may found themselves wondering how they would feed and provide for their families. In response, St. Petersburg College partnered with Hope Villages of America, formerly RCS Pinellas, to offer food packages for SPC students, staff and the community Funded by the Pinellas Cares grant, the program provided packages that included non-perishable items including canned fruits, vegetables and meats, along with pasta and sauce. The boxes will also contained community resource flyers, including information for mental health care. Each of the eight campuses chosen for distribution had 150 boxes of food for pickup. Anyone could sign up for a box, whether it be for themselves or someone else, though distribution is limited to one box per household. INDIAN ROCKS BEACH NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS page 30 JANNA’S CONSIGNMENT BOUTIQUE - HOW DO THEY DO THAT? By Bob Griffin, Publisher Janna’s Consignment Boutique is not anything like a thrift store at all. It is truly a boutique shopping experience. What is the difference between a thrift store and a consignment shop? Thrift stores accept donated items that are subject to less scrutiny. You may find treasures, but the stores are usually overloaded and disorderly, making shopping overwhelming. Consignment shops handpick their items. Each gently used item undergoes a complete inspection for damage or missing items. If it is not perfect, it will not be accepted. Consignment stores have been around since the 19th Century and are a popular way of buying current fashions at a discounted price. We visited with Lisa Hammock, owner of Janna’s Fine Consigner in Belleair Bluffs to find out how a consignment shop actually works and what makes it a boutique. Her store, Janna’s has been open in Belleair Bluffs for 27 years, and Lisa has owned it for the past three. It is not the only clothing consignment shop in the area, but it is definitely the most upscale. The store only handles fine women’s fashions - and the clothing and accessories must be in near perfect condition. It offers a great opportunity to buy designer brands at affordable prices. “We are a small boutique consignment shop selling fashionable clothes,” says Lisa. We consign an average of 1,200 items per month with about 1,800 ‘active’ consigners on record. Most of our consigners (vendors) are also our best shoppers.” Janna’s carries a full line of accessories, too, such as handbags, jewelry, sunglasses, and miscellaneous women’s accessories. “Many of the products we get have never even been worn or used,” says Lisa about her inventory. Products come to her from people in the area—some from as far away as Tampa. “When the snowbirds arrive, we get a lot of their things. Then, they shop here too. During the pandemic, many people have used their time at home to clean out their closets. People have discovered it is a great way to keep your closet under control and to make a little extra money to buy more. From the formal dress you only wore once to those must-have shoes that are unbearably uncomfortable, you have the makings of your first sale. So, how does it all work? Putting your clothes on consignment at Janna’s means you are allowing Lisa to sell your items for you, and you will be paid a percentage of the profit. That percentage is determined up front. The first step is to make an appointment. They do not accept walk in consignments. It is time consuming and they need the proper number of staff available. They accept clothing and other items on Monday through Thursdays only. “It takes time,” Lisa adds. “We go over all the items in detail checking for missing buttons, stains, tears and remove all pins.” The clothing MUST come on a hanger and be laundered, wrinkle free. It has to be in excellent condition, or Lisa will not accept it. You are limited to 15 items per appointment. Accepted clothes needs to correspond to the upcoming season or selling period, meaning the store does not carry winter clothing in the summer. It must also be of current styles. The store’s seasons are just like the big box stores - Winter: September 15 through January 1st, Spring/ Summer: January 15 through July, and Fall: August 1 through September 15th. Shoes and handbags must be scuff free, dusted, and removed from their boxes. Jewelry cannot be broken or have any missing stones. Sterling must be polished. Janna’s prices the items accordingly and they are dated upon check-in. If it does not sell in 30 days, the price is lowered. After 60 days, it is offered back to the owner. If the owner does not want it back, Janna’s donates the item to nearby charities, primarily Suncoast Hospice. “Janna’s Consignment and Lisa have been great to us,” says Joan Spies with Suncoast Hospice. “Whatever she does not sell, she gives to us and those items are always top quality. We sell those recycled items in our shops and the money is used in the community at Hospice. Lisa is a wonderful person, and it is great that she thinks of the community as well as her own business.” “It is important to point out that we get new inventory daily,” says Lisa. “If you don’t see something that you want this week—come back next week.” Janna’s is in Belleair Bluffs at 268 Indian Rocks Road North, next to Robert Young Jewelers. Call Lisa at 584-9222 for an appointment. Owner of Janna’s Fine Consigner Lisa Hammack INDIAN ROCKS BEACH NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS page 31 INDIAN ROCKS BEACH NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS page 32 Don’t wait to look great! The old adage New Year, New You certainly applies to 2021! Get the look you want now! Let our expert medical staa with over fourteen years of experience help you achieve the look you want now! 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