Tampa Bay Informer - Clearwater
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A new house for a new year! Holiday house hunting

The Ultimate Shopping for the Holidays: House Hunting! 

Even though I’ve been selling real estate for almost a quarter of a century (Man, that seems like a long time!) it always surprises me how busy real estate gets just before the Holidays. This year one of the best gifts you can give yourself is a new home. Prices are lower than they’ve been in prob¬ably two decades, interest rates are down, and there are tons of deals just waiting for their new owner.

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The Digital Art Gallery - Photo by Heidi LuxPainter and photographer Leni Betes, originally from Spain, is perhaps best known for her signature collection of delicate and life-like flowers (previously on display at Downtown Clearwater's Pangea Café in the Spring of 2009). Betes originally created one painting of each flower and reproduces multiple copies of her images through the process of giclée (a high-quality method of making fine art print replicas of paintings), and is now offering this process for hire at her Clearwater store, The Digital Art Gallery.
Wednesday, 09 December 2009 15:02

Chef Theo Tillson Returns to Nature's Food Patch

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Chef Theo TillsonChef Theo Tillson will return to Nature's Food Patch as the Food Service Director after a long hiatus. Chef Tillson held this position for the health food store from 1997 to 2002.

Wednesday, 25 November 2009 14:28

Black Friday Sales Clearwater Listings

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Black Friday SalesBlack Friday is the name given to the shopping day after Thanksgiving. This day marks the first day of the Christmas shopping season, and is a popular day for shopping since many people have the day off of work, and many stores offer wonderful sales.

The term “Black Friday” refers to the accounting practice of marking negative amounts in red ink, and positive amounts in black ink. It is supposedly such a lucrative day for retailers it makes their books go from “in the red” to “in the black,” hence the term, “Black Friday.”

Tuesday, 10 November 2009 11:10

DV&A Huge Warehouse Sale and to Take Place Dec 5 and 6

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The DV&A Warehouse Sale Will Take Place December 5 and 6 - Photo by Brad KuglerEntertainment liquidators DV&A will open their Palm Harbor premises to the public for their Fifth Annual DV&A Warehouse Sale, on the weekend of December 5th and 6th. “It gets bigger every year,” says Brad Kugler, Chief Operating Officer of DV&A’s Florida offices, noting that this year is no exception. “It’ll be really fun.”

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The new location of Intuition Salon and Spa - Photo by RGP MediaIntuition Salon & Spa, a downtown Clearwater fixture for over eight years, has expanded again despite a tough economy. On October 16th, Clearwater City Councilman John Doran was on hand to help cut the ribbon on Intuition’s new location at 432A Cleveland Street (entrance on Ft. Harrison). The space is over three times the size of the former location on Laura Street, featuring twice the facilities to service clients with everything from hair styling and mani-pedi’s to spa treatments. Intuition specializes in natural and organic products and services, and owner Dawn Shannon thinks this, plus excellent customer service, contributes to her continuing success and growth.

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Plastic Handcuffs - One Man's Alternative to BankrupcyCredit card debt is a problem for many people, but one man’s negative experience with it has inspired him to help others.

Peter Repak, president and founder of Clear Financial – a debt settlement company – emigrated from Hungary with his wife. In order to establish credit when he arrived in America, as is required in modern times, Repak got a credit card. He paid his bills on time, never missing a payment, but found himself in hot water when his wife became ill. She required two very expensive surgeries, and was unable to get health insurance due to a pre-existing condition. Under such financial strain, Repak called his credit card company, to ask if it would be alright to miss a single payment. The company said yes, assuring him there would be no penalties. However, Repak soon discovered the company had raised his interest rate from 6% to 29%. He was financially ruined.

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The Lobster Pot - Photo by Simaen SkolfeldOn September 15th, the Harborview Center in Downtown Clearwater played host to the Taste of Clearwater. This annual event provides attendees with the opportunity to sample food from more than fifty restaurants and five beverage providers in the Clearwater area. Samples and tastings were free with the purchase of the $20 admission ticket. An estimated 1,000 people attended the event this year. There was “a variety of dishes from American cuisine to more exotic fare – from hamburgers and spicy wings to sashimi and Thai food,” said Sherri Callahan of the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce. “The goal [of the event] is to bring the community together for food and fun.”

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Business ExpoAfter the success of the Women Mean Business expo, Plan B Expo will be putting on their next expo, Diversity Means Business on November 3rd from 4 to 8 pm at The Conmy Center in Dunedin, Florida.

Diversity Means Business will be a “fun networking expo with something for everyone,” says event coordinator Lil Barcaski. The expected attendance is well over 500, since their last expo had nearly 700 people in attendance.

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(*First is defined as not having owned a home in the last three years.)

Get $8,000 to Buy Your First HouseThe government is offering a one-time credit of $8,000, (or 10 % of the purchase price, whichever is the lesser amount ) of your first home. For example, if you buy a home for $76,000, then you would qualify for a credit of $7,600. But if you pay more than $80,000 for your new home, then you would qualify for an $8,000 credit.

How do you take advantage of this incredible offer? You must purchase a home that will be your main home before December 1, 2009. You will even qualify if you bought your first home after April 8, 2008. Then you have some options as to how you get your money from the government.

The fastest way that I know of is to do a Rapid Amended Return to your 2008 tax return. However, I heard a rumor that I’m tracking down that would allow you to get your money before you purchase a home. So far I haven’t confirmed that, but if I get that confirmation, I will write an update in my next column.

The other way to obtain the credit is to simply fill out a Form 5405 that you submit with your 2009 taxes.

Personally, I think amending your 2008 tax return might be the best way to go. You would get a check in the mail -- as long as you don’t owe the IRS any money, that is!

We’re running out of time to get your new home before December 1, 2009 and a tax credit from the government! So act fast and call me today!

Pam Ryan Anderson
Real Estate Broker, Ryan Realty
(727) 442-2822

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Anytime Fitness Ribbon CuttingIt is just after Labor Day, but in Downtown Clearwater it might as well be spring. It seems as if every day a new establishment is “springing” up, and blossoming in the Cleveland Street District.

On August 27th, the Clearwater Chamber of Commerce helped welcome the newest addition to the Cleveland Street District, Anytime Fitness, with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

Monday, 24 August 2009 14:11

Why Should You Read Good News?

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These days, we are bombarded with bad news by the mainstream media. We can scarcely open a newspaper or turn on the TV without being faced with the latest “scare-story” about swine flu, or another bank failure, or another trillion-dollars added to the national budget’s deficit. Reports giving dire warning of bad times getting worse and no hope on the horizon tend to be prevalent. It seems as even the mundane stories get a negative spin on them. 

Do you, like me, get a headache or feel depressed or stressed after reading your city’s #1 paper? It’s because the constant bombardment of bad news by the mainstream media scares people, cultivating a pessimism that at best doesn’t make life any more livable. Those exposed to negativity on a daily basis tend to fall into agreement with the negativity. For instance, if someone was told every day for a decade that he couldn’t succeed in life, do you think in 10 years he would be successful? Most likely not. It is a constant invalidation and assault on people’s hopes and dreams for a better future. Why expose yourself to it? Shouldn’t it be possible to inform yourself honestly and accurately about the world and affairs around you, without being bombarded with pessimism and negativity?

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Are you having a tough time with this economy?

Don’t miss these proven practical, easy-to-implement ideas and tips that will help you TRIUMPH through hard times.

WHERE: PostcardMania 2145 Sunnydale Blvd., B Clearwater, FL 33765

WHEN: September 19-20, 2009 9:30am to 5:30pm

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

or Call 877-831-2299

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Clearwater Arts Foundation LogoThe Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Clearwater Arts Foundation are developing a closer partnership, which they believe will enhance the community through the infusion of the arts and boardroom boundaries of the business community.

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Abe Moussa with two of Abe's Mugs Grill & Bar Waitresses - Photo by Simaen SkolfieldOn July 21st, Abe Moussa, the owner of the newly renamed Abe’s Mugs Grill & Bar (formerly Mugs and Jugs) cut the ribbon to honor the name change and celebrate the 5th anniversary of the Missouri Avenue restaurant.

Abe Moussa began his restaurant career as a dishwasher at Sweetwaters, where he worked his way up to manager. He had set a goal, however, to own his own business by the time he was 30. When he turned 29, he found “Mugs and Jugs.” Unable to pay for the place at first, Moussa worked for the owner for six months to make the down payment. Since he took over Mugs and Jugs in 1998, Moussa has managed to turn the hole-in-the-wall into a successful, respectable chain of sports bars.

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Divino Fine Italian in Clearwater, Florida - Photo by Heidi LuxDowntown Clearwater’s recent expansion includes the addition of three fine dining restaurants – Divino Italian Restaurant for fine authentic Italian food, La Cachette for fine French dining and Casanova for gourmet Italian cuisine.

The first to open is Divino, a restaurant that combines both casual and fine dining. From the moment you walk into the restaurant, you are transported to a Piazza in Italy, surrounded by the balconies of fine dining restaurants above.

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