Alberto Begins The Hurricane Season - In most instances we begin to worry about tropical hurricanes in July and August. It is rare that an early hurricane (or near hurricane) would develop in the southern Gulf of Mexico and threaten the mid-Gulf Coast of Florida. However, Alberto is a reminder that we are indeed susceptible to tropical storms as early as June. Alberto also reflected the immense power of nature as it skirted the Tampa Bay area, offshore about 15 miles, and brought rain and high winds to much of Florida.
Again, the Clearwater area was not directly hit by the full force of this tropical storm and people are talking about the flooding and wind damage by Alberto. We can only imagine the damage to our region if a hurricane crossed-over Clearwater.
Evacuation. Yes, there is only one thing local residents should consider if a hurricane was headed towards Clearwater - evacuate. Prepare in advance where you might go to ride out the hurricane. Further, prepare for the worst when you go back to your home. You might find near total damage to your property. Take important papers with you and/or have them stored in a safe place if you would ever need them. What is important? Insurance policies, birth certificates, passports, deeds, family albums, and personal items. Anything that could not be replaced by a new purchase might be important to take or store in a safe place in advance. Safe deposit box? How safe is the bank location you are considering?
There Was A Time When A Marina Was Important - With the dwindling numbers of marinas in Pinellas County, you would think leaders at the county level would cooperate with the city of Belleair Beach in the development of additional marina boat slips. Belleair Beach currently has a small city marina and could expand the number of potential available slips with support from county government.
I can remember when Belleair Beach had a citizen's committee to help move this marina concept to reality. When Belleair Beach went to a city manager form of government some of these citizen committees were somehow forgotten. Perhaps it is time for the city council to revisit some of these committees for grass-roots ideas and support. Imagine the financial impact to Belleair Beach's budget when revenues from an enterprise fund, like a city marina, when an additional 50 (or more) boat slips are added? Further, imagine adding another 50-100 additional boat slips for citizens to lease. Pinellas County leaders had stated they need more marinas and Belleair Beach is one of the few places where it could happen (because it already has a city marina and other available waterfront land.)
There is a waiting list of boaters who would like to lease a boat slip in Belleair Beach and the same is true in Clearwater. There are options available to help solve this marina situation. Clearwater is currently looking to develop its downtown waterfront with dock space for boat slip leases, the same could happen in Belleair Beach. Yes, all of this could be done in a tasteful manner where everyone benefits for many years. Some of this dock space in Belleair Beach could be tied-in with the new high-rise Belleair Beach bridge development over the next two years. More boat slip availability is important for Clearwater citizens and Belleair Beach area citizens. Both are waterfront communities and available boat slip rentals are important.
One thing that is positive about financial proformas for this type of project is rental income vs. construction costs. Let's see, 100 boat slip rentals at a modest $300/month . . . $30,000 a month revenue, not bad. (And the price could be higher.)
Czech Republic Dominates Team USA in World Cup Soccer Match - If you were like most soccer fans in America, you observed the powerful performance of the Czech Republic team as it dismantled Team USA in the first World Cup soccer game for each team on Monday at noon.
After a quick header goal by 6'8" Czech forward, the important first division game was controlled by the Czech defense. Claudio Reyna provided the only bright spot for the American team as he sent a low, powerful shot that hit the left goal post and bounced to mid-field. Two additional goals were added by the Czech team resulting in a final 3-0 win.
Team USA plays Italy in the next round of the playoffs. Of course, all eyes are on Brazil and its star striker Ronaldo - Brazil is ranked #1 in the world of soccer. (Czech Republic is ranked #2.)
On the other hand, even though England won its first round soccer game 1-0, the press in England was not impressed with the UK soccer team. Seems as though the media in England thought the soccer team played as though they were tired. The way I see it, the fans in England should be pleased with a win; after all, it is World Cup Soccer and the best teams in the world are playing as hard as possible for national pride. Perhaps the only media worse than the English press on its national soccer team to win the World Cup is Brazil.
Is Marriage Between One Man And One Woman? - There is an issue that is likely to make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court for decision. Is marriage between one man and one woman?
The issue will divide candidates in 2006.
Recently the Vatican restated its long-held position on this marriage issue.
Marriage is between one man and one woman. However, political candidates have different views on this subject.
How do you feel about this marriage issue? For those of you interested, please vote on our online Web site. Go to ClearwaterGazette.com and vote. We will present the poll results in a later edition of the Gazette. Is marriage between one man and one woman?
Older Drivers And Accidents - Studies in Florida have shown that about 20 percent of drivers over 85 suffer from some form of dementia. Drivers over 70 have higher accident rates than drivers age 35-59. And, of course, auto insurance companies keep track of those types of statistics.
The other day, I saw an older driver (and her husband passenger) drive a car through the window of a Largo retail store and exit via the front door main window. It all happened in a few seconds and was an amazing sight for several of us bystanders to observe.
The driver slowly opened the car door and looked to notice if there was any damage to the car, the husband passenger remained in his seat wondering what the heck had happened. No one was hurt, except for the large glass windows, now boarded-up.
As baby-boomers begin to age over the next years, it is likely that there could be an increasing number of roadway accidents in Florida - due to an aging population that drives. Safety risks while driving a car?
You tell me.
Not As Simple As One Might Think - When you consider the millions of illegal immigrants in America who do not speak English and expect to receive government and other charitable benefits, it makes you wonder how much taxpayer money is spent in the development of "translator" compensation.
For example, when you call the local government you receive a recorded message that asks if you would like to hear the city/county/state message in Spanish or English. Makes you wonder who paid for all of the translation fees.
Hospitals and public schools daily must deal with people who do not speak English. Image a doctor who speaks English and must diagnose medical problems for a non-English speaking patient! One mistake and suddenly you are sued. In school there are teachers who can't speak Spanish and must deal with young students who do not speak English. Of course, these are only a few of the issues that confront certain American institutions.
Hire people who are able to speak several languages as well as English.
How much does all of this cost?
Millions of dollars.
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