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Beaches notebook

By AMY WIMMER, ANDY MEACHAM and KATHY SAUNDERS

© St. Petersburg Times,
published September 9, 2001


VFW cruise, dinner to benefit POW/MIA fund

MADEIRA BEACH -- The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4256 is hosting a cruise and dinner to benefit the Prisoners of War/Missing in Action Fund.

The Sept. 16 cruise will depart from Hubbard's Marina at John's Pass. The three-hour cruise will include guest speakers and entertainment provided by local children. The boat will stop in front of Bay Pines Veterans Administration Medical Center, where some patients will watch the program from the shore.

Portions of the program also will be performed in front of American Legion Post 273 and the Holiday Isles Elks Lodge in Madeira Beach.

After the cruise, which begins at 2 p.m., a buffet dinner will be held at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4256, at John's Pass Village in Madeira Beach.

Tickets cost $15. For information, call Nancy Kehm at 391-8909.

Indian Rocks Beach

The City Commission has passed a resolution opposing rising health insurance costs for its residents and throughout the state. The unanimous vote came after pricing the market for its own insurance.

Renewal premiums for the next fiscal year are increasing 20 percent for the same coverage, according to a city staff report. Monthly premiums for an employee with no dependents, now $225, will rise to $270.

City board members who attended an educational conference earlier this year were warned of a "tightening insurance market" statewide, according to the report by Finance Director Mary Karayianes. Despite the $25,000 increase to cover its employees, the city was unable to find a better deal. Instead, the report concluded, health insurance premiums everywhere are increasing 15 to 25 percent.

"Health insurance cannot increase 20 percent a year," Brobeil said. "What's the rate of inflation, 2 percent? If health insurance costs are rising at 10 times the rate of inflation, something is wrong."

The resolution encourages the state Legislature and Gov. Jeb Bush to investigate rising health insurance costs for Florida residents.

Gulfport

The "Clam Bayou Cleanup" will take place from 8:30 a.m. to noon Saturday.

The group Keep Gulfport Beautiful, working with the city, is trying to clean the shoreline, grounds and waters of the Clam Bayou nature preserve.

Because of the heavy runoff caused by recent storms, the bayou contains a large amount of litter, and many volunteers are necessary.

Cleanup T-shirts will be given to the first 100 volunteers who sign up, and volunteers will receive refreshments.

A tour of the park also will be provided by the Sierra Club from 9 to 10 a.m. The club will provide information about the vegetation and wildlife along the bayou.

For information or to volunteer, contact Charlie Alaimo at 321-5745.

- Times staff writer Amy Wimmer and correspondents Andy Meacham and Kathy Saunders contributed to this report.

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