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Affordable housing, services at Goodwill

By Times Staff Writer
Published February 20, 2008


COUNTYWIDE

Did you know Goodwill offers affordable living options for people with low incomes, including seniors and people with disabilities?

Goodwill's Freedom Villages, in Tampa, Pinellas Park and Clearwater, offer one- and two-bedroom apartments. Heritage Oaks in Palm Harbor offers one-bedroom apartments for people 62 and older with low incomes.

All four properties feature well-maintained buildings with community rooms and common areas. On-site Goodwill service coordinators at each facility help residents connect with community resources and services.

The HUD-subsidized apartment buildings, owned and operated by Goodwill Industries-Suncoast, are architecturally barrier-free to accommodate the needs of people with physical disabilities.

There are often waiting lists for these apartments. Prospective residents should call the property in which they are interested to check availability or to be put on a waiting list. The four Goodwill apartment communities are:

- Freedom Village I, 7700 66th St. N, Pinellas Park, 727 541-6620

- Freedom Village II, 5002 S Bridge St., Tampa, (813) 831-6988

- Freedom Village III, 1167 Turner St., Clearwater, (727) 443-6799

- Heritage Oaks of Palm Harbor, 2351 Alderman Road, Palm Harbor, (727) 787-0792

For general information about Goodwill apartments, visit the Housing page at www.goodwill-suncoast.com.

Parent Aide Program seeks volunteers

You can assist parents who are seeking help

The Parent Aide Program needs volunteers to help those who are looking to become better parents.

Aides spend one to two hours each week mentoring a parent.

For more information, call Kerri Pedersen at 399-5744, ext. 168, or visit www.HelpAChild.org.

Old cell phones can be a lifeline for seniors

Senior Citizens Services welcomes donations of old cell phones to be distributed to needy seniors as 911 emergency phones. The offices are open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and phones are distributed from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays. Senior Citizens Services is in Belcher Commons Office Park at 51 S Main Ave., Suite 308-M, Clearwater. For information, call (727) 442-8104.

Arbor Day group offers pocket guide to trees

Can you spot the difference between a poplar and pine? What Tree is That?, a 72-page pocket guide to distinguishing trees is available from the National Arbor Day Foundation. For a copy send you name, address and $3 for each book to 100 Arbor Ave., Nebraska City, Neb., 68410 or online at www.arborday.org.

Team ready to help spay and neuter pets

February is spay/neuter month.

SPOT (Stop Pet Overpopulation Together) is teaming up with local veterinarians in Pinellas County to offer low-cost spay/neuter for cats and dogs.

Any cat or dog at least 8 weeks old can be signed up. Special "neuterathon" prices: male cats $35, female cats $40, male dogs $40 and female dogs $45-$90 depending on weight.

SPOT offers low-cost spay/neuter vouchers available online at www.SPOTusa.org or call (727) 545-3463 for more information.

Are you good at negotiating?

The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program administered by the Florida Department of Elder Affairs is seeking men and women of all professional and cultural backgrounds who have concerns of residents' rights and are good at negotiating and advocating.

Mileage and meal reimbursements are provided at the state rate for all official ombudsman duties.

Call 588-6912 or toll-free

1-888-831-0404 to apply for the next training class.

Apply now for groups' $1,000 scholarships

Two Italian-American associations are offering $1,000 scholarships to high school graduates and returning students.

The applicants must be Florida residents and of Italian descent. The scholarships are available through the Daughters of Italy Lodge 2825 and the Clearwater chapter of Order of the Sons of Italy in America.

For information, call Clara Shaw, Daughters of Italy scholarship chairwoman, at (727) 785-6428 between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Applications available on the Web at www.daughtersofitaly.com.

The deadline is March 27.

Don't fall for plots to 'fix' your water

Pinellas County and city of Clearwater officials say they have received complaints that at least one local water treatment company claims to represent the county to gain entrance to homes and inspect faucets or hot water heaters in an effort to sell expensive water treatment systems.

The companies are not endorsed by or affiliated with any government agency, and county utility employees would never try to sell an "upgrade" to a home's plumbing.

Consumers should be wary of unexpected visits or gifts from water companies, sales people who add thickening agents to water to solidify harmless minerals, high prices and scare tactics, officials say.

To learn more about Pinellas County water quality, call (727) 464-4000. To learn more about Clearwater's water, call (727) 562-4600.

To investigate a company's business history, call the Department of Consumer Protection at (727) 464-6200 or visit www.pinellascounty.org consumer and click on "Check a business."

Clearwater officials say residents who feel they have been misled should call the state Attorney General's Economic Crimes unit, 3507 Frontage Road, Suite 325, Tampa, FL 33607 or call the office at (813) 287-7900.

DUNEDIN

Guided nature walks offered on Saturdays

See a variety of plants and wildlife in their natural habitat on guided walks with Florida Park Service rangers at Honeymoon Island State Park at 11 a.m. every Saturday through March.

The walks are free, however, there is a park entrance fee of $5 for two to eight people in a vehicle, $3 for one person in a vehicle and $1 for walkers or bicyclists.

Participants should dress appropriately for the weather and may want to bring binoculars and a field guide.

Meet the ranger at the beginning of the Nature Trail. The park is at 1 Causeway Blvd., Dunedin. For more information, call the park at (727) 469-5942 or visit www.floridastateparks.org.

Load up on food, more at green market

Dunedin's Green Market at the corner of Main Street and Douglas Avenue features produce, cheeses, seafood, plants and herbs, honey, all-natural pet treats, organic products, nuts, natural seasonings and fresh fruit. Market hours are 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Friday through the end of April. For information, call market manager Richard Kendler at (727) 733-4215 or e-mail him at greenmarketmanager@verison.net

Hit the Pinellas Trail with Walking Club

Exercise your legs with walking and your mouth with laughter with the Walking Club at the Hale Activity Center, 330 Douglas Ave. The group meets at 8:30 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays to walk the Pinellas Trail. Call (727) 298-3299.

CLEARWATER

Learn about the law at seminars

The People's Law School will continue weekly at the Drew Street campus of St. Petersburg College on Thursdays through April. Participants may attend as few or as many sessions as they wish, free of charge. No registration is required. For information, call (727) 461-4869 or visit www.clearwaterbar.org.

The class schedule:

- Thursday, 7 to 9 p.m., Immigration law.

- Feb. 28, 7 to 7:55 p.m., Construction Contracts; 8:05 to 9 p.m., Mechanic's liens.

- March 6, 7 to 7:55 p.m., Consumer Complaints; 8:05 to 9 p.m., Mediation and arbitration.

- March 13, 7 to 9 p.m., Wills, trusts and estate planning.

- March 20, No class. Spring break.

- March 27, 7 to 7:55 p.m., State of Our Circuit; 8:05 to 9 p.m., Small claims.

- April 3, 7 to 9 p.m., Family law.

- April 10, 7 to 9 p.m., Bankruptcy.

- April 17, 7 to 9 p.m., Contract and business law.

- April 24, 7 to 7:55 p.m., Identity theft; 8:06 to 9 p.m. Graduation.

OZONA

Nature preserve is looking for volunteers

Volunteers are welcome to help restore the biodiversity of the Ozona Nature Preserve. Adults interested in working in the preserve can call volunteer site coordinator Reggie Hall at (727) 784-2131 or e-mail Hall at vision management@verizon.net

COUNTYWIDE

Pay fines for infractions at kiosks

Pinellas County Clerk of the Circuit Court Ken Burke has introduced payment kiosks for fines in misdemeanor and felony cases, municipal and county ordinances, and boating and traffic citations.

The kiosks are at the clerk's North County and Tyrone branches at 29582 U.S. 19 N in Clearwater and 1800 66th St. N, St. Petersburg. You can pay fines, plus a 3.5 percent service charge, with a debit or credit card or by using a checking account number to pay by electronic check.

You also can pay fines by calling (727) 464-4846 or visiting www.pinellasclerk.org and clicking on the "Make a Payment" link.

To learn more, call the branches at 464-8700 in Clearwater, 582-7681 in St. Petersburg or the clerk's office at (727) 464-7000.

No insurance? Free care is available

The Pinellas County Human Services Department provides free medical care on evenings and weekends to residents of Pinellas County who don't have medical insurance.

Services are provided on the county's Mobile Medical Unit at different sites throughout the county. Evening hours are 4 to 7:30 p.m.

Services available to uninsured residents during evening visits include basic primary care, lab services and prescriptions. The staff can also provide referrals to dental, mental health and substance abuse treatment.

Emergency services are not provided.

Care is provided regardless of income or citizenship status.

For locations and times, call (727) 582-7595. Go to www.pinellascounty.org/humanservices/services.htm#mobile for a monthly calendar.

TARPON SPRINGS

Volunteers sought for two centers, museum

Tarpon Springs officials are looking for people to assist at its Performing Arts Center, Cultural Center and Safford House museum.

The Performing Arts Center needs ushers and backstage assistants.

The Cultural Center seeks front-desk receptionists, hosts and gallery assistants to help with exhibits, programs, performances, special events and in the gift shop.

The Safford House, an 1883 National Register historic house museum, needs volunteers as docents, collection assistants, researchers, and gardeners.

Call (727) 937-0686.