1979: Trying to save Honeymoon Island

By THERESA BLACKWELL, Times Staff Writer
Published August 5, 2007

AUG. 18, 1979

DUNEDIN - Its placid shores and quiet, sun-filtered forests give little hint of the human and political turmoil that has dogged the lovely spit of land called Honeymoon Island.

But the future of this slender island, in recent years the scene of two grisly murders, of the tragic beaching of several whales and of a political battle tinged with charges of corruption, may be bright indeed.

Helping to make it so are some Dunedin residents who have banded together and call themselves the Save Honeymoon Island Committee.

Friday morning, members of the committee boarded three heavy-duty overland pickup trucks manned by state rangers and began a two-hour tour of the hidden recesses of the island.

Only minutes out of the shadow of nearby condominiums, the group, which included members of the press, found itself bumpily discovering a seemingly untouched oasis of natural vegetation.

Negotiating dirt tracks and sandy shores, the three green pickups introduced their 12 or so passengers to exotic plant life, such as sprawling Brazilian pepper trees, bountiful sea grapes which make good jelly when ripe, "tooth-ache trees" (so named by the Indians because chewing the leaf creates a numbing effect in the mouth), various wildflowers, ever-present slash pines and sea oats.

Also evident was the bountiful animal life, mainly a variety of birds including osprey, pelican, white ibis and "skimmer," a charming long-beaked bird that glides inches above the water's surface.

Among the onlookers bouncing along the narrow trails was Frank Leeming, a resident of Royal Stewart Arms and chairman of the Save Honeymoon Island Committee. He said the goal of the committee is to get people to persuade the state Cabinet to complete its purchase of Honeymoon Island from developer Hyman Green.

"A mail opinion poll is the strongest weapon you can use against the boys in Tallahassee," Leeming said as the small convoy prepared to leave Friday morning.

AUG. 7, 1975

Oldsmar and Corps order halt to fill work

OLDSMAR - The city of Oldsmar has joined the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in issuing a cease-and-desist order to Haynesworth Development, currently filling a subdivision site in Country Club Estates.

The development firm was ordered to stop work on its dredge-and-fill project July 7 after an inspection by Corps officials found that dredged material was being discharged into Mobbly Bayou through a pipe under a dike and that a road had been filled in without a permit.

"I advise the city to go on record and that all work be stopped on the project until all permits are obtained," said Kenneth A. Bryant, vice president of Diaz, Seckinger Associates, the city's consulting engineers. "We advise that a letter be written to the engineers for the developer (C. Fred Deuel and Associates, St. Petersburg) advising them to get all permits and to advise the city in writing when they are obtained.

"The letter should indicate the council's position that it will look unfavorably on such things as new plats and building permits without the needed permits being obtained and obtained quickly."

Mayor Homer Brunson said that rather than asking that work be stopped, he would favor ordering that the work be stopped.

After a brief discussion, the council decided on a cease-and-desist order similar to the Corps' order.

Bryant said the pipe under the dike has been removed - "so far as we can tell" - but that no work has been done on removing the fill road that stretches between Dunkirk Road and National Orange Drive.

Pinellas History is compiled by Times staff writer Theresa Blackwell. You can reach her at tblackwell@sptimes.com or (727) 445-4170.

Looking back

Headlines through the years

A look back at the events, people and places that made North Pinellas the unique place that it is. The information is compiled from past editions of the St. Petersburg Times.