Connecting Clearwater

Staff & wire reports
Published:   |   Updated: May 22, 2014 at 05:33 AM

Jolly collects cash for re-election bid

CLEARWATER -- U.S. Rep. David Jolly, R-Fla, is expected to raise money during a reception in Pinellas County at 7 p.m., tonight at Island Way Grill, 20 Island Way, on Island Estates.

Largo to honor fallen heroes

LARGO — The city will honor those who lost their lives while fighting for their country at 7 p.m. Monday at Largo Central Park’s Military Court of Honor, 101 Central Park Drive.

The free event will include a color guard presentation, music and a wreath presentation. The keynote speaker is Ltc. Cynthia Cook of U.S. CENTCOM at MacDill Air Force Base near Tampa.

For information, visit or call (727) 587-6740, Ext. 5014.

Regional chamber presents art event

CLEARWATER BEACH — Artistic Tastings 2014, sponsored by Bright House Networks and the Tampa Bay Times, is set for 7 to 10 p.m. June 20 at the Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa, 301 S. Gulfview Blvd.

Artistic Tastings is the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce’s fine art and dining event. Included will be art showcases, wine and beer, and food provided by Pinellas County restaurants.

For tickets, at $100, call (727) 461-0011.

State senator to speak to Republican club

BELLEAIR — State Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, will speak to the Belleair Women’s Republican Club at its June 6 meeting.

Registration is at 11:30 a.m. and lunch is at noon at Belleair Country Club, 1 Country Club Lane. Cost is $22. Contact Pat Watts at (727) 595-1791 or or Sherrie Morton at for reservations. Cash or check payments will be accepted at the door.

Local company’s IPO to debut Friday

The Heritage Insurance Holdings ($HRTG), based in Clearwater, scheduled a $90 million initial public offerings on the NYSE with a market capitalization of $438 million at a price range midpoint of $15 for Friday.

The company provides personal residential insurance for single-family homeowners and condominium owners in this state.

The company plans to release 6 million shares, priced $14 to $16, managed by SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, and Sandler O’Neill. The proposed NYSE symbol is HRTG.

Voter enrollment program to feature veterans’ biographies

May is National Military Appreciation Month, and Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark is asking residents to honor veterans they know by submitting their biographies to be featured in the Vote in Honor of a Vet program.

“We are reminded of the sacrifices of veterans over the years to preserve our freedom as Americans, including the right to vote,” Clark said in a news release, “and for over a decade we have provided a unique program to high school students to remind them of our veterans’ sacrifices that allow them to live in a representative democracy.”

The Vote in Honor of a Vet program encourages students to register to vote and to regularly participate in the democratic process by casting their ballots. Students learn that by exercising their right to vote, they’re showing veterans the respect they deserve for protecting the nation’s democratic way of life.

During the program, elections staff members present a slide show with war casualty statistics and photographs of U.S. troops. Afterward, students receive certificates with veterans’ biographies and dog tags inscribed with, “In tribute to my vet’s sacrifices I will keep my promise and vote.”

More than 29,000 Pinellas County students have registered to vote through the program, first presented in the spring of 2002.

“We are grateful to our veterans for their service and sacrifice for all Americans, and we celebrate their legacy year-round each time we receive a new veteran biography,” Clark said.

Veterans, or their friends and families, may submit a biography by visiting and selecting Voter Education/Vote in Honor of a Vet to download the appropriate form.

Tampa Bay CityPASS program launches

The new Tampa Bay CityPASS program launched this week in time for the busy summer travel season.

Each Tampa Bay CityPASS ticket booklet gives 38 percent off combined admission to the following attractions: Busch Gardens, Florida Aquarium, Lowry Park Zoo, Clearwater Marine Aquarium and the pass holder’s choice between St. Petersburg’s Chihuly Collection presented by the Morean Arts Center or Tampa’s Museum of Science and Industry.

“If you visit Busch Gardens and only one other attraction, you’ve already paid for your pass,” Megan Allen, president and chief executive officer of City Pass said in a news release. “As you continue using your Tampa Bay CityPASS ticket booklet at additional attractions, the savings just goes up and up.”

The new program was announced Feb. 26 during a media event at Busch Gardens and is supported by the Tampa Bay area’s primary destination marketing offices: Visit Tampa Bay and Visit St. Petersburg/ Clearwater.

“This day has been a long time coming,” said Santiago Corrada, president and CEO of Visit Tampa Bay. “By announcing the Tampa Bay CityPASS program, we’ve joined 11 other great CityPASS destinations, including New York, Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco and others. This really takes our destination to the next level.”

“I’ve been working the international travel markets for about 20 years,” said D.T. Minich, executive director of Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater, “and I can tell you personally that CityPASS is one of the most respected brands out there, both for international visitors and domestic tourists.”

Each 2014 Tampa Bay CityPASS ticket booklet will retail for $119 for adults and $99 for children ages 3-9. Passes, which can be purchased online at or at any of the CityPASS partner attractions listed above, are valid for nine consecutive days, beginning with the first day of use. Visitors who use all of the booklet’s tickets will save more than $70 on combined admission to the included attractions.

Largo adopts redevelopment incentives

LARGO — City commissioners, sitting as the Community Redevelopment Agency board, adopted four new redevelopment incentives earlier this month to stimulate and accelerate the revitalization of the city’s traditional urban core.

The incentives are available within the West Bay Drive Community Redevelopment District, which spans West Bay Drive from east of the Pinellas Trail area to Largo Central Park.

Three of the incentives focus on accelerating jobs, residential development and commercial development in downtown Largo.

A fourth incentive was designed to assist business and property owners with upgrading pole signs to signs that conform to city code.

The board’s goal in adopting the incentives was to establish programs to encourage occupancy in existing office buildings, the formation of new businesses, new mixed-use development and new residents to maintain and support neighborhoods and downtown businesses.

The incentives are part of the redevelopment strategy outlined in the West Bay Drive Community District Plan, which was updated in 2009 based on feedback from residents and businesses.

The plan serves as a policy guide for city planners, property owners and developers as properties, city streets and infrastructure are improved.

“Over the past decade, we have seen downtown Largo begin to transform through private investment, and these new incentives will continue that momentum,” Mayor Pat Gerard said in a news release.

“Projects such as the new St. Michael’s Laser Eye Center building, the new Diagnostic Clinic building, the remodeled West Bay Professional Plaza, the new McDonald’s and others are indicators that downtown Largo is ripe for revitalization.”

For information on the Early Sign Replacement Grant, the Housing Infill Program, the Real Estate Development Grant and the Job Creation Bonus Program, visit

Contact the city’s economic development staff at (727) 586-7360 or

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