In 2005, I penned a blog post that was inspired by the then-St. Petersburg Times had written an epic feature regarding the days of Jim Morrison, lead singer of The Doors, had spent living in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. Being a Morrison fan and living only a handful of miles away from locations mentioned in the piece, I was blown away. I had known about Morrison having been born in south Florida but I didn’t know about this.
Part of what inspired the blog post was the fact social media wasn’t then what it is today. Not that writing a blog post was going to necessarily draw eyeballs. Yet to this day, Missing piece of history – Jim Morrison in Clearwater still draws web traffic because of Morrison’s romantic interest (and song inspiration) Mary Werbelow.
At any rate, to get to the point, the now- Tampa Bay Times has basically failed with how they treat their archives online, which now hides the articles on a for-profit site (…unless the Times plans to fix their “Page Not Found” issues on archival articles). Between this and my old blog post failure in being more direct and obvious on the link to the feature section from September 25, 2005, finding the feature reading is next to impossible.
So there has been rain in the Tampa Bay area the last few days, yay rain…
…Whoopty friggin’ do.
Anyone in Pinellas County that wants to think we’re in the clear with drought conditions need only look at the official Pinellas county rain gauge on their web site. It feels sick and cruel that the tally through today (July 2nd) is 10.59 inches of rain for the year.
2007 is half way finished and we’re only about one fifth of the way to the average rainfall total (Clearwater, Florida’s average yearly rainfall total is 49 inches according to Florida Living Network. The St. Pete Chamber of Commerce lists the city of St. Petersburg’s annual rainfall total at 48+ Inches).
We haven’t hit the Fourth of July yet, nor the peak of the hurricane season (two sub-tropical storms and only a bit of rain from both) and I’m fearing how our water outlook will come November.
I’m looking for local Wi-Fi establishments in the Tampa Bay area (specifically Tampa, St. Pete or Clearwater).Â Mind you, when I ask, I do not mean franchise establishments such as McDonalds, Starbucks or the UPS Store…Â I mean restaurants, CafÃ©’s, bas, etc.
There is one place I know of for sure, and it is a good place at that — but well away from the population center of the Bay area.
There is a method to my madness, so I encourage anyone who comes across this post (on Tampa Blab or one of my friends browsing my site) to give input through comments.Â Everything shall be revealed soon enough….
Well, Johnny wrote letters to the Clearwater City Councel along with Pam Iorio and Rick Baker (in seperate letters) discussing the possibility of a ferry link between cities….
Well? Gues what? Someone else thought that Tampa and St. Pete could be a great ferry route and are funding a study on it.
They are at least looking into it – not because of what I wrote but just because. I’m happy about that though.
I got a response from Councilmember Hoyt Hamilton of the Clearwater City Council over the Ferry idea that I floated with them.
He brought up the fact that they had offered a free ferry in 2000 and it saw a little bit of ridership and before it, a private ferry was in service that charged 3 bucks round trip and did poorly.
I got encouraged that someone replied at all… And now I’ve gotten my head on straight and typed up another letter, thanking him for it and then talking about some issues that I have with what he brought up.
The Free Ferry operated on weekends alone. I have no clue what the hours were. It operated for 3 months total and saw some 2650 riders. Losses were 500 smackers a day. Ok, good. Now how come you were only operating it on weekends when tourists are on Clearwater Beach or trying to get to the beach all week? Were you specifically tryign to cater to the locals who would be beach hopping on the weekend?
How much advertising was part of this free ferry service? I wasn’t a beach visitor in 2000 and don’t recall any press about the ferry being in existence – let alone publicity about using it to get to and from Clearwater Beach.
If you’re goign to do something, you can’t just do it half assed. That’s what Clearwater seems to have done with the ferry while it was in operation. I’ve been out on the beach during tourist season this year and I’ve seen how the spring break crowd is confined to the strip…. That or traffic dodging while trying to walk the Clearwater Memorial Causeway.
My reply letter is already typed up and ready to send. I’m glad I got a response. Now let’s see if Pam Iorio (or one of her staff) or Rick Baker (or one of his staff) reply.
Feeling sickly right now – have been for a few days. I think it’s allergies. I HOPE it’s just allergies….
At any rate, I vented about Ferry travel the other day — not just on der Stonegauge but through Bayciti.net’s comments — and suffice it to say I think that he idea is sound. And I expect no one in government to even think about the idea.
….so Im taking the idea to government.
I’ve printed out copies of a letter to the Clearwater City Council and the Mayor just to send out feelers over the idea of Ferry transit between Clearwater and Clearwater Beach. I plan on ammending the letter and then printing out copies and sending it along to HARTLine, PSTA, The Hillsborough and Pinellas MPO’s, and other government officials…. ALl because I’m tired of having ideas and having them sitting in my head or in a blog….
To be continued.
I want to know what it would take to run a passenger ferry between Downtown Tampa and some Eastern Pinellas property.
I started thinking about the ferry idea after focusing on the Memorial Causeway Bridge snafu on Tuesday — the fact Clearwater Beach has no ferry service between the mainland and the beach, which only promotes more driving and does not give an alternative when the Bridge goes out (as it has from time to time for a very long time)
I started thinking how Clearwater is not only wasting it’s great asset — the water — but it’s also not providing an alternative to those trying to get to the beach. You either have to cross the bridge by foot or by car. That creates a big problem when the Memorial used to get stuck in place — messing with the traffic pattern of all of downtown. Yes the new bridge wille alleviate that problem, but that’s still not solving the problem of only one means of getting to Clearwater beach.
And then I thought about the traffic pattern to the rest of the Bay area and that we depend on the bridges to get everywhere between counties, and that there is no real great bus systems on either side of the bay (HARTline sucks, PSTA sucks — all with thanks to the Bay area’s suburban layout).
What do you have to do to get Ferry Service in Tampa Bay? Forget just between the mainland and Beach destinations — how about between Pinellas and Downtown Tampa? How many people could actually RELAX on their commute instead of having to get stressed out because of traffic?
Rail is still something I am very keen on but Ferry service should be simple and easy…. Something not too tough to promote, and an asset to the community.
You know I just posted about wanting to plant something on April 29th….
It seems the City of Clearwater is giving away trees for residents (and this will likely be repeated depending on where you live):
If You Plant Them, They Will Grow! – As the summer sun beams down on Clearwater, the thought of sitting in the shade of an old oak tree becomes appealing. Clearwater residents are invited to receive two free trees per household, plant them and watch them grow! Come to the Public Service Complex, 1650 N. Arcturas Ave. on Saturday, April 9, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Trees will be given away on a first-come, first-served basis and proof of residency is required. The tree giveaway is part of the city’s Arbor Day celebration. Patrick Keough and Gary Zippier with the Florida Division of Forestry will present the prestigious Tree City USA flag to Clearwater. City staff will answer questions relating to maintaining and watering the new trees. Call 562-4950 with questions
A Hard Days Night of the last 24 hours, that’s a way to describe things that have gone on.
I like to stay obtuse in here at times and in this case it’s especially hard to do so because my partner-in-crime reads the blog on a regular basis. That beign said I’ll cut with the detials and get to the point….
Giving a dog to a good home is something special but knowing the dog is terrified — that’s bad. Knowing that she’s going to a loving, patient pair of owners — that’s good. Spending a day with someone you care for is fantastic. Then having to break the news to that person that the dog she saved, healed and had given a life to, had run away — that’s bad.
Wandering around downtown Clearwater chasing after a shy dog at 1 AM – that’s just strange. Albeit it ‘s also dangerous with the quality characters in the neighborhood. Knowing the animal is playing traffic (not literally, but had been close to traffic and almost hit) — that’s terrible.
Going on minimum sleep and returning to the scene of the crime at daybreak to try, try again — that’s devotion.
And to see this animal re-united with her family after being rescued / captured by a good samaritian — That’s heartwarming. Left wanting more, — that’s life.
Wal-Mart is trying to add the 44th (or is it more?) store to the Tampa Bay Metro Area by sticking one of their Supercenters on the bank of the Anaclote river in Tarpon Springs.
While Mary Jo Malone wrote an incredible piece on the subject a some time back on the fact Tampa Bay has too many Wal-Marts as is, I had to send Tarpon Springs my own piece on why Wal-Mart is not a good thing for the city.
I am very upset at the shortsightedness of those in power with the City of Tarpon Springs with their collective reasoning behind blessing Wal-Mart. Though the city has not approved of the new Super Wal-Mart being built on the banks of the Anclote river, it seems just a formality even with the public outcry against it.
One of the “major” issues that the Mayor and others have had with Wal-Mart is the sale of natural sponges at the proposed location – which seems to be an attempt to save downtown Tarpon Springs and the tourist trade. It also seems foolhardy seeing that you can go to most any Wal Mart location and see they do not sell natural sponges.
What Wal-Mart also sells is the death of small businesses. What this Wal-Mart will also sell is the slow death of Downtown Tarpon Springs. Has the city of Tarpon Springs paid absolutely no attention to the history of this area? Look at Clearwater alone – they struggle greatly because they have sold off land on US 19 to as many retail giants as possible, and now they are hit with a lackluster downtown area and are desperate to draw the people back. There is money for investment, sure, but the key component to downtown Clearwater is Scientology now, not residents..
Tarpon Springs, by the logic shown, is greatly concerned that the tourist trade will be unharmed by this addition to the city limits. What about the rest of Downtown? What about the small business owners who can’t compete with the monopoly-like tactics of Wal-Mart, which tends to profit even when losing money on sales? Is expanding the cities tax structure for one store so important that it kills off the rest of the cities tax structure by forcing the smaller competition to close their stores?
This isn’t even getting into the negative environmental impact of the store on the banks of the river, the ecological damage that this store will undoubtedly do and the increase of sprawl that we don’t need in North Pinellas / Southern Pasco county.
If the city of Tarpon Springs needs additional tax revenue — raise taxes. If the city of Tarpon Springs wants to be for Corporations and By Corporations like the rest of America under the current State government and Federal Government, by all means — vote in Wal Mart and watch the central district of Tarpon Springs fall away with time. The Sponge Docks will remain but everything else will pass.
Not the best… But still, it tries to convey a point.
Anyone who wants to speak out for or against Wal-Mart being built in Tarpon Springs shoueld email the city clerk and good luck conveying your point.