To Promote or Not to Promote Lessons of The Great Depression
We’ve all read the recent Chicken Little headlines about the economy and where it’s going. It’s pretty easy to have one’s own optimism and confidence shattered by such gloom and doom. These pronouncements are the equivalent of being hit over the head with a cudgel: the reality of how bad things are seems quite convincing. It’s natural in face of such “news” to duck and go from offense to defense.
FINALLY, SOME GOOD REAL ESTATE NEWS!
From my personal experience, I’ve been noticing that my listings are being shown more, and that prices seem to be stabilizing. Buyers are poking
out their heads again, that they are finding that the water is fine!
Even the National Association of Realtors is reporting that existing home sales in Florida increased in October, actually by 15% over last September. Condo sales are also up, but not so drastic, with a 5% increase over last year.
Last October’s median home price was $222,200 and this October’s median home price was $169,700. That is a 24 percent decrease in one year.
Prices had flown out of reach very quickly, and this adjustment, although painful to homeowners that now owe more on their home that it is worth, is really good news to people looking to buy.
From the Desk of Sheriff Jim Coats December 2008
As we begin the New Year, I would like to thank the citizens of Pinellas County for their overwhelming support. I look forward to my second term as your Sheriff, and my staff and I have implemented many initiatives despite having faced some serious and unprecedented budget challenges along the way.
All of our programs and services have been scrutinized to determine their cost effectiveness and productivity. This analysis became especially important during the past year when it became clear that there would be a significant reduction in our budget even though our operating costs had increased. Through some reorganization, including the elimination of some positions and modification of services, we endured and we are now planning for the future.
It is anticipated that we will once again face budget cuts in the coming fiscal year; however, I am confident that our ongoing efforts to ensure efficiency will allow us meet the challenge ahead. Some of the initiatives aimed at saving money, while still providing superior service to our citizens, include improvements in some patrol operations, crime prevention programs, and the use of volunteers.
Do You Believe in Magic?
Interview with an Illusionist… By Megan Brazil
Clearwater FL December 31, 2008 - When I heard that David Copperfield was coming to town I got incredibly excited. My excitement was twofold, David is not only a magnificent illusionist (who I never miss a chance to see his show) but I have known him for years through my late brother Chappy Brazil who was also a magician and a friend of David Copperfield’s. So, when TBI asked me to do the interview with him, I jumped at the opportunity to give TBI readers insight into the mystical world of a magician.
Megan: How has magic changed since you began as a magician, for you, and for the audience?
David Copperfield: “After so many years, it all comes down to loving what I do and keeping up with the times. Performing my show is something I constantly think about. When I am on the road and heading to my next venue, I think about my audience: ‘Is it a college town or a family town? Should I make the music LOUDER for College kids?’ New tricks are added, old ones are dropped... so it stays fresh. But it’s the randomly selected participants from the audience that make it fresh each and every show; which has also provided some of the best comic relief of the day!
Ruth Eckerd Hall Restores “Capitol”
Clearwater FL, December 31, 2008 - Downtown Clearwater is undeniably expanding. With the recent sprouting of towering condos and tasty restaurants, the city’s growth can no longer be hidden. The downtown area is now expanding in a new direction. A performing arts center.
From the penthouse of the Waters Edge building, Mayor Frank Hibbard and Robert Freedman on behalf of Ruth Eckerd Hall delightedly announced Ruth Eckerd Hall’s purchase of The Royalty Theatre, with the intention of injecting Downtown Clearwater with a shot of culture. The creation of a performing arts center is expected to stimulate the economy of Downtown Clearwater by increasing and strengthening the arts presence which in turn will draw people and businesses to the downtown area, hopefully creating the right environment in which private businesses can prosper.
The Royalty Theatre will be returning to its roots, as well as its original name, The Capitol Theatre. “I’m starting that trend right now,” joked Mayor Hibbard. The name of the theatre changed to The Royalty Theatre in the 1990’s when it was purchased by The Royalty Theatre, a local community theatre company.
The 20th Annual “Say No to Drugs” Holiday Classic 5K - 10K Run
Clearwater Florida, December 20, 2008 - Once again, a team of over 200 volunteers ranging from local business executives to children of the community worked together to orchestrate what has become one of the premier races in the Tampa Bay area. Top runners in prior years have included six-time World Ironman Triathlon Champion Mark Allen, Canadian Olympian Peter Maher, American Olympian Ronnie Holassie, Swiss Olympian Dan Otz as well as local Clearwater stars Mary Level-Menton and Judy Mercon-Maguire.
This year Heather Gollnick, 5-time Ironman champion and past national and world champion at national and world duathlon level, placed 4th overall.
The 20th Annual Say No to Drugs Holiday Classic drew 940 runners. “Last year we had 805, which was our previous highest ever year. What makes this [statistic] even more spectacular is that, this year, we were up by 140 runners with 3 other races taking place the same morning in Tampa, St. Pete and Tarpon Springs – with one of them sponsored by ESPN! Last year we were the only race on that day, so [this year] we’re especially pleased…” Race Director Chris Alexander proudly remarked.
Hibbard Proclaims Human Rights Week
Clearwater FL, December 10, 2008 - It was a chilly day for the gold coast of Florida; nevertheless, there was a lot of warmth at the Pangea Café in downtown Clearwater. It seems there is another holiday to be celebrated in addition to the traditional ones. December is Human Rights Month for the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and the 60th Anniversary of this auspicious event was about to be honored by Poets and Youth for Human Rights.
On December 10th, 1948 led by the courageous Eleanor Roosevelt, the nations of the world united with the conviction to guarantee 30 rights to mankind. Clearwater was celebrating in its own way as it had for the past few years with poetry and a special reading of the Declaration. Adding to the honor of the occasion was a proclamation from Mayor Frank Hibbard declaring Human Rights Week and the inaugural presentation of the Clearwater Humanitarian Awards.
Sarasota, Florida, December 29, 2008 – The St. Armands Circle Art Festival returns for its 6th anniversary on January 31 and February 1, 2009. Admission is free and open to the public.
Year after year, the St. Armands Circle Art Festival in Sarasota, FL makes the list of Sunshine Artist Magazine’s top art shows in the country.
Despite the sluggish economy and a tough retail environment, Howard Alan Events, the festival’s promoter, says that it has not deterred crowds from attending its art fairs around the U.S. and is optimistic about the success of the St. Armands Circle Art Festival. Howard Alan, president, comments, “In today’s economy, people are not buying a new car or taking a big vacation, but they are still treating themselves to art. They may be more conservative in their buying habits, but they are still buying.” Alan elaborates, “Art is an investment that’s tangible. You can hang it on the wall and enjoy it as it appreciates in value, as opposed to a piece of paper that you file away in a drawer.”
Clearwater FL December 17th, 2008 - The Humane Society OF Pinellas Is excited about our upcoming, unique event that has been added to our schedule! Mark your calendars now so that you don’t miss out on this spectacular event taking place at Coachman Park, Downtown Clearwater on Saturday, January 31, 2009 from 10am-4pm.
The City of Clearwater & The Wag Mag present - THE ULTIMATE TAILGATE PAWTY - To benefit the Humane Society of Pinellas
Football fever will be in the air, as Raymond James Stadium in Tampa is the sight of the season ending Big Game. So we have decided to have a little tailgating fun of our own, for our own furry, fuzzy and feathered friends.
High School Students Sought for Nagano, Japan Exchange Program
CLEARWATER, FL December 26, 2008 – The City of Clearwater is now accepting applications from students in grades nine through 12 interested in traveling abroad as part of an exchange program with Clearwater’s sister city, Nagano, Japan.
This year, four students will be accepted into the program who will travel to Nagano for two weeks during summer 2009. Participants will be immersed in the country’s language and culture as they stay with local families. In addition, they will visit and give presentations to junior and senior high schools in the Nagano area, and get involved in educational exchanges.