By Times staff reports
© St. Petersburg Times,
Dogs to retain free run of park
INDIAN ROCKS BEACH -- Dogs will continue to run free at Indian Rocks Beach Nature Preserve. The City Commission has shelved a proposal to restrict use of the dog park to local residents during canine prime time, the daylight hours before 9 a.m. and after 6 p.m.
City Manager Tom Brobeil proposed the restriction, saying the park had become too crowded. Brobeil said he had observed up to 20 dogs within a quarter-acre of each other, a situation that had led to "minor" dogfights and words between owners.
"If utilization continues the way it is, it's only a matter of time until we have a problem," Brobeil said at Tuesday's commission meeting. Brobeil said that although no formal surveys had been taken, it appeared that as many as half the owners visiting the park were from other cities.
Officials began to entertain a number of alternate scenarios, starting with restricting dog park use at any hour to Indian Rocks Beach residents.
By Tuesday's meeting, that option had been replaced by a proposal to limit traffic during peak hours, before 9 a.m. or after 6 p.m.
The commission also considered expanding the park to reduce density. But that would have cut into all-purpose use for other residents and cost the city $7,000. The idea of an ID card for residents also came up, but some residents and commission members wondered whether the city could legally restrict use of the Nature Preserve, which has received federal funds and is thus open to everyone.
Brobeil said that plans to restrict park use are unlikely to resurface any time soon.
* * *
The Beach Art Center will host its semiannual Member's Show Nov. 3-24.
Artists may enter two pieces at the art center, 1515 Bay Palm Blvd., next door to Indian Rocks Beach City Hall, on Oct. 29-31. Fees are $10 for one and $15 for two.
The show will open with a reception 4-6 p.m. Nov. 3 at the Beach Art Center. Gallery hours are 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m.-noon Saturday.
The fifth annual Veterans Day Boat Parade will take place Nov. 10 in Madeira Beach and Treasure Island.
The event is sponsored by American Legion posts in both cities and the Elks Lodge in Madeira Beach.
Boaters will line up for the parade, which will begin at 10:30 a.m. behind Elks Lodge 1912, 14111 E Parsley Drive in Madeira Beach. It will travel to John's Pass and into the Isle of Palms neighborhood in Treasure Island.
The boats will also pass the Veterans Administration Hospital, where parade participants will sound their horns for veterans.
The parade should end at about 1:30 p.m. near its starting point.
Good spots for viewing the parade include John's Pass, American Legion Post 273 in Madeira Beach, Elks Lodge 1912 in Madeira Beach, and the channel between Isle of Palms and Isle of Capri in Treasure Island.
For more information, contact Don Graham at 360-9899 or Leroy White at 392-1991. Entry forms can be picked up at the sponsoring American Legion posts or Elks Lodge, or at the Madeira Beach Publix.
Prize money is available.
The State Commission on Ethics has ruled that former Commissioner Joanne DeSimone did not misuse her office two years ago when she oversaw residents' applications for federal flood mitigation grants.
The ethics commission found no probable cause that DeSimone, then the town's building commissioner, acted in a way that would benefit her cousin, Joan Moran, who was an unsuccessful grant applicant.
Under federal rules, the official grant applicant is the town, acting for its affected residents. The applications are reviewed by the State Department of Community Affairs. Awards are made on the basis of the frequency and severity of storm-caused flood damage. Grant monies are issued to the town and then distributed to the qualifying residents.
The ruling, which ends the state's investigation, echoes a similar finding by the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office two years ago that there was no evidence DeSimone violated criminal or Government in the Sunshine laws.
The two investigations began after several town residents and Mayor Jerry Reitz questioned the propriety of DeSimone's cover letters on several grant applications. Some of the letters questioned whether the property -- potential competitors for grant money with her cousin -- qualified for a flood mitigation grant.
"I did nothing wrong. This was a vendetta," DeSimone said after learning of the ethics commission ruling. "I feel in my heart there was a conspiracy against me. I didn't write the criteria for the grants. I had a responsibility as building commissioner to ensure that truthful information was presented to the state."
The Gulfport Chamber of Commerce will sponsor Antique Valuation Day, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday at the Senior Center.
The event is a fundraiser benefiting chamber projects, events and ongoing efforts. Antique experts Jeffrey and Katrina Hess of Hess Fine Arts in St. Petersburg will be available to accurately value items.
Each participant is limited to three items and is responsible for loading and unloading the items. Tickets for the event will be sold at the door.
For more information, call the chamber at (727) 344-3711.
Gulfport's Art Village will celebrate its eighth year of Gallery Walks on Friday with a return of some of the original artists and their work, as well as entertainment and refreshments.
The village, south of 28th Avenue on Beach Boulevard S, holds a Gallery Walk on the first Friday of each month from 6 to 10 p.m. Shop owners open their doors, and music is played as visitors and shoppers stroll through the district.
The original works of Bill and Nan Griffin, Lynne Brown, Roger Turner and David and Cora Kent will be displayed, and the artists will be available for questions and comments in the various shops.
The Sunset Beach Civic Association will host a discussion on revisions to the land development regulations at its Nov. 5 meeting. City Planner Lynn Rosetti will speak.
Food and drinks will be served at 6:30 p.m., with the meeting at 7 p.m. For more information, call Rhonda Anderson at 360-5599.
Anyone who cannot attend the meeting can also e-mail suggestions to Rosetti at email@example.com.
* * *
The Twilight Concert Series for 2001-2002 begins Nov. 4 with the Clam Bayou Jazz Band, 3-5 p.m. at the Treasure Island Community Center, One Park Place, Gulf Boulevard and 106th Avenue. The twilight concerts, held on Sunday afternoons, are free and open to the public. The concerts continue through April 21. For information, call the recreation department at 547-4575.
The Paradise Island neighborhood will host its annual garage sale, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. SaturdayNov. 3. Maps will be passed out at the entrance to the island. Paradise Island is north of 107th Avenue. For more information, call Julie Burch at 367-8791.
-- Staff writer Amy Wimmer and correspondents Andy Meacham and Sheila Estrada contributed to this report.
© 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
490 First Avenue South St. Petersburg, FL 33701 727-893-8111
From the Times
South Pinellas desks