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By ANDREW MEACHAM
Ever since the St. Petersburg Country Club began offering free golf lessons to nearby Lakewood youths, damage from vandals has decreased.
ST. PETERSBURG - It's not as if the teens in Lakewood Estates were being neglected. The St. Petersburg Youth Council, which meets monthly and has a summer program, draws heavily from the winding suburban neighborhood north of 54th Avenue S. But in the interests of improving relations, officials at St. Petersburg Country Club nearly a year ago began offering golf instruction for youth who live in Lakewood Estates.
General manager Ken DeMott and club president Lee Robinson conceived the program in 2003. It encourages members to donate old clubs and balls so club pro Terry Decker can conduct classes. The golf lessons are given free to Lakewood Estates residents, Tuesdays at 4 p.m. by the driving range west of the clubhouse.
A problem preceded the program: The golf course bore gouges left by spinning tires. Some of golf carts had been broken into, Officer Richard Grimberg said.
"Every golf course in America that has a facility similar to ours and is easily accessed from the streets, you're going to have a certain amount of damage from people driving on the course and spinning doughnuts," DeMott said. "The emphasis (for the course) was not so much to slow down damage but teach young people golf, appreciate the aesthetics that come with it, along with a better understanding and more etiquette and appreciation of the members who are playing golf."
In any case, vandalism around the course seems to have dropped since the program began. "I think they're definitely on the right track in giving kids things to do," Grimberg said.Neighborhood group ranks its top concerns
Asked at February's meeting to rank neighborhood issues in which they are most interested, members of the Council of Neighborhood Associations responded this way:
1. Keep community police officers in neighborhoods.
2. Encourage the town meeting format to resolve controversial issues.
3. (tie) Try to get codes officials to hear more about what neighborhoods think; improve relations with county commissioners.
5. Attack the problem of people parking automobiles in their yards.
6. Hire more codes inspectors.
7. (tie) Increase supervision of codes inspectors; educate landlords and tenants about codes for rental units; have more sanitation pickups.Workshops to show how to apply for grants
The city's Neighborhood Partnership has launched a series of workshops starting Wednesday to help neighborhood groups apply for grants. Those who attend earn credits toward their final score, determining eligibility. All dates feature workshops at 1 p.m., repeated at 6 p.m., at City Hall, 175 Fifth St. N, Room 100. Planned topics are: March 3, general; March 10, signs and lighting; March 16, neighborhood plans; March 24, landscaping; July 26, general.Broadwater association holds garage sale
The Broadwater Civic Association is planning a garage sale for March 20. Look for details in the next newsletter.Meetings
DISSTON HEIGHTS: 7 p.m. Tuesday. Community Covenant Church, 4501 30th Ave. N. CONA president Karl Nurse. (Meeting moved up to accommodate voting in March 9 primary.)
EUCLID-ST. PAUL'S: 7:30 p.m. Thursday (7 p.m. social). St. Paul's Catholic Church school cafeteria, 1900 12th St. N. St. Petersburg Fire and Rescue public education specialist Melissa Nichols.
HIGHLAND GROVE: 7 p.m. Thursday. The Bridge, 2525 30th Ave. N. Financial review; representative from police or codes.
HISTORIC KENWOOD: 7:30 p.m. Thursday. Albright United Methodist Church, 2750 Fifth Ave. N. Preparing for March 14 Founder's Day celebration.
LIVE OAKS: 7 p.m. Tuesday (6:30 p.m. Crime Watch). St. Luke's United Methodist Church, 4444 Fifth Ave. N. Traffic calming.
MANGROVE BAYOU: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday (7 p.m. social). Shore Acres Recreation Center, 4230 Shore Acres Blvd. NE. Bicycle lanes; traffic calming; public service representative Deborah Larson on Neighborhood Partnership grants; officer elections.
SNELL ISLE: 7:30 p.m. Thursday (7 p.m. social). St. Petersburg Woman's Club, 40 Snell Isle Blvd. Proposal to reduce Brightwaters Boulevard speed to 25 mph; urban design and historic preservation manager Bob Jeffrey, on land development regulations.[Last modified February 29, 2004, 01:15:11]
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