By ANDREW MEACHAM
© St. Petersburg Times, published December 17, 2000
Neighbors prepare gift baskets for nursing home
ST. PETERSBURG -- For the past 20 years, neighbors of a modest nursing home have brightened the holidays for elderly residents with Christmas gift baskets. They will return this year.
"It's not the big gift," said Fruitland Heights president Johnnie Mack. "If it was nothing but a peppermint stick, it's the thought that matters."
Residents pass the day in different ways at Baywood Nursing Center on 2000 17th Ave. S, a 59-bed facility now only about half full. Even so, noise echoes off the tile floors and bounces off the walls. Exit doors stay locked; opening them requires a security code.
Social services administrator Lillie Presley said many residents do not have families and rely on small stipends and Medicaid to pay for their needs.
Presley said the gift baskets help out the residents. Neighbors also have sent the patients cards and prayed with Baywood residents.
"They bless my soul," Mack said. "One lady we visited was in a wheelchair. We were praying with her and she started singing, "Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me on where I stand.'
"I broke down and cried. And we had gone to give them comfort."
Jungle Terrace residents vote on options for 26th Avenue N
Given a choice between continuous park space for children and convenience for motorists, Jungle Terrace residents opted for convenience.
At a Monday meeting with the city, they voted down 17-6 a proposal to block off 26th Avenue N at the southern border of Walter Fuller Park. The decision leaves park officials with a decision to make: how to leave the street open and still give people enough spaces to park their cars.
The original plan called for converting into angled parking spaces the portion of 26th Avenue N that now abuts the park. The city will need more parking because the current 140-space parking lot is going to be converted into a soccer field.
Advocates had hoped to re-route those cars to the part of 26th Avenue N to be closed. The idea had some side benefits as well, said Jungle Terrace president Steve Plice: Azalea Middle School students would not have to cross a busy street to go to the park. Motorists have been using 26th Avenue N to cut over from Park Street to other northbound arteries, Plice said.
Opponents of the plan cited the convenience of 26th Avenue N for access to a city-owned brush site and recycling dropoff location.
CENTRAL OAK PARK: 7 p.m. Tuesday. St. Luke's United Methodist Church, 4444 Fifth Ave. N. Potluck supper, holiday party.
EUCLID HEIGHTS: 7 p.m. Tuesday. First Alliance Church, 5000 10th St. N. Christmas meeting. Gift exchange, $5 value.
FOSSIL PARK: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Huber Gardens, 521 69th Ave. N. Brief meeting, Christmas social. Refreshments, door prizes.
GREATER PINELLAS POINT: 7 p.m. Tuesday. Bay Vista Recreation Center, 7000 Fourth St. S. Christmas party.
MAGNOLIA HEIGHTS: No meeting. Please send officer nominations to Michael Barnett, 3320 Jackson St. N, 33704.
PERKINS: 7 p.m. Monday. Perkins Elementary School, 2400 Queensboro Ave. S. Christmas party.
WINSTON PARK: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. North Branch Library, 861 70th Ave. N. Officer elections, refreshments.
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