Archive for May, 2009
On Saturday, May 30, 2009 a thrift store thrift store will open to benefit St. Petersburg College students.
The Dollars for Scholars Thrift Shop for the Benefit of St. Petersburg College is located at the college’s Caruth Health Education Center, 7028 66th St. N, Pinellas Park. The building faces 66th Street and has ample parking.
Michelle Piccione, President of the St. Petersburg College Alumni Association, said the thrift shop’s mission is to raise funds for scholarships, student services and college projects. The Alumni Association will oversee the operation of the shop.
“One hundred percent of the proceeds will go back to the college, and we want to help students to learn marketable job skills,” Piccione said.
“The success of the thrift store initially will depend on the donations the college community brings by or drops off to our collection centers on the campuses,” Piccione said. “I truly believe it will become part of the whole community and will fill a need that is being created by the harsh economic climate that is affecting us all.”
The store will provide job training to students who volunteer there, helping them get hands-on experience with the day-to-day operations of a small business, which includes sales, marketing, bookkeeping and merchandise preparation.
Items for sale include:
- Men’s and women’s clothing
- Small appliances
To make a donation, volunteer or ask a question, contact Michelle Piccione at 727-742-8565.
On Wednesday, May 27 at 5:00 p.m., Bill Jonson, Chair of the Citizens Advisory Committee for the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority (TBARTA), will provide an update on the critical issue of light rail and mass transit in the Tampa Bay Region. Please join us in the Clearwater Campus Teaching Auditorium for this presentation.
TBARTA was created as an agency of the state on July 1, 2007 to plan, develop, finance, construct, own, purchase, operate, maintain, relocate, equip, repair, and manage multimodal systems in Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, and Sarasota Counties. The authority’s purpose is to improve mobility and expand multimodal transportation options for passengers and freight throughout the seven-county region.
Without TBARTA’s Master Plan improvements, delay on roadways is expected to increase 300% in the TBARTA region by 2030.
Today, the average American household spends 18% of income on transportation, but in Tampa Bay, the average is 25%. To alleviate this problem, TBARTA’s Mid-Term Vision would build 89 miles of passenger rail, 147 miles of managed lanes (such as HOT lanes), and 42 miles of Bus Rapid Transit.
Additionally, TBARTA projects that local bus service would increase 3.3 times resulting in connected local communities, regional lines and all of the major regional employment centers and many tourist destinations in Tampa Bay. This new transportation link will serve 5 million residents and provide access to over 3 million jobs in 2035, create an average of 250 professional jobs and 1,200 construction jobs every year for the next 25 years and potentially employ over 2,800 transit drivers by 2035.
For more information, visit http://www.tbarta.com.
Florida Gov. Charlie Crist has signed a bill that creates a rebate program for energy-efficient appliances.
Crist says the rebate program will “help Floridians buy appliances at discount rates, lower utility costs and benefit Florida businesses by stimulating sales of energy-efficient appliances.”
Under the bill, the Florida Energy and Climate Commission (FECC) will be authorized to manage the Energy-efficient Appliance Rebate Program. The FECC says Florida will be eligible to receive at least $18 million in federal funds to implement the rebate program.
Here’s what Florida residents can expect to save on new appliances that are covered under the rebate program:
- Refrigerators, $290
- Washers, freezers, dishwashers, $200
- Room air conditioners, $65
- Humidifiers, $40
For more information, visit www.MyFloridaClimate.com.
Mary Jo Golley, who works at the Health Education Center, has five 55-gallon rain barrels at strategic locations around her home. As a result, her certified Florida Friendly Yard requires no city water. Over the years, Mary Jo has saved hundreds of dollars and thousands of gallons of potable water through this one simple conservation effort.
It’s not hard to see why Mary Jo uses no city utilities to water her grass free yard; a 1,000 square foot roof can fill five 55-gallon rain barrels with only one-half inch of rainfall.
Mary Jo uses the stored water to water both potted and landscape plants, as well as to refill her pond and store water in anticipation of hurricanes.
Pinellas County Extension offers a rain harvesting workshop at its facility in Largo. The workshop provides set-up instructions and a reference booklet.
“Our rain barrel classes are very popular,” said Vestina Crayton, sustainable living educational instructor at Pinellas County Extension. “In fact, all remaining workshops scheduled this year are full already.”
Dale W. Armstrong, Florida Yards & Neighborhoods Coordinator said the recent drought “is obviously a contributing factor as well as, I believe, more and more folks adopting sustainable lifestyles and the movement towards living green.”
For $65, Mary Jo purchased five concentrated juice barrels she found on Craigslist and turned them into rain barrels using zip ties, PVC pipes, PVC adhesive, silicon caulk, spigots, and hoses. Had she purchased the rain barrels commercially, each would have cost $100 or more.
“In addition to conserving water, harvesting water in rain barrels reduces storm water runoff and pollutants that often end up in nearby lakes and rivers,” said Jason Green, SPC’s Sustainability Coordinator.
For more information on rain barrels or future rain barrel classes, visit Pinellas County Extension http://pinellas.ifas.ufl.edu/. For a very detailed rain barrel guide developed by Southwest Florida Water Management District, visit http://www.swfwmd.state.fl.us/publications/files/rain_barrels_guide.pdf.
For do-it-yourself recycled barrels:
- D & C Brothers (Chris) – Hercules Road, Clearwater (727) 447-1733
- Don’s Marine Salvage – 5601 126 Avenue North, Clearwater (727) 576-8577
- Thomas King – 13042 Gibson Lane, Odessa (813) 920-8112
For complete rain barrels:
- Carroll Brothers Nursery – 4950 38th Avenue North, St. Petersburg (727) 527-5418
- Country Club Nursery – 9850 Starkey Road, Largo (727) 397-4438
- Dolin’s Garden Center – 801 62nd Avenue North, St. Petersburg (727) 525-3434
- Twigs ‘n Leaves Nursery – 1013 Dr. MLK Blvd. South, St. Petersburg (727) 822-5400
- Wilcox Nursery – 12501 Indian Rocks Road. – Largo, (727) 595-2073
The 21st Century Green High-Performing Public Schools Facilities Act passed in Congress, which will provide funding for energy efficient investments in Tampa Bay area schools. Schools can use the money to make classrooms more energy efficient and to update science labs, libraries and technical education facilities.
In a release, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa said “Buildings, classrooms and educational technology will be updated. The goal is to provide modern classroom environments that prepare students for careers in the 21st century”.
The Green High-Performing Public Schools Facilities Act should create approximately 136,000 jobs around the country.
Hillsborough County schools are expected to receive a $19.1 million grant through the legislation. Manatee County schools are slated to receive about $4 million and Pinellas County schools nearly $11.5 million.
Money provided by the bill would be in addition to the $1.8 billion now available for Florida schools under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the release said.
Green Cities is an event series designed to provide members of business, community and government with a platform for collaboration, interactivity and education focused on the science of sustainability. The series magnifies the importance of discussions around planning for the future of a city, green work force development and sustainable economic development. From May 19th-21st 2009 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando; Green Cities Florida will bring together state and national experts in green government, business and technology to focus on the issues of sustainability that are affecting Florida. This event will also include the official “Flipping of the Switch” for the new 1 megawatt Solar Electric System atop the Orange County Convention Center (the largest in the South).
The Green Cities™ conference will demystify ‘sustainability’ and provide you with tools, steps and resources from top experts and educators. You will walk away with green strategies that will transform the way you think, live, manage business and govern in Florida.
The two-day conference experience offers:
- great networking with businesses and government
- inspiring and accessible speakers
- professional development in the green sector
- insight into environmental jobs and opportunities
- pragmatic training with electronic tool kit
- checklists and relevant resources
- solutions showcase and theater
- meeting community and national partners in education
The educational conference tracks offer:
- certification courses
- CEU workshops
- round table discussions
- interactive panels
- case studies
- Open Space Technology meetings
Some other event highlights:
- detailed analysis of Florida’s share of the stimulus package and best practices for Florida business and government utilization
- professional and social networking opportunities
- Green Cities™ Showcase of sustainable products and services
Over 30 speakers and training leaders will share their experiences and ideas. Attendees include:
- Gil Friend, Founder, President, and CEO of Natural Logic Inc. Marci Zaroff: President of Under the Canopy
- Mike Italiano, President & Chief Executive Officer for Market Transformation to Sustainability
- Jennifer Languell, Founder, President of Trifecta Construction Solutions
- Eric Corey Freed, Principal of organicARCHITECT
- Jerome Ringo, President of the Apollo Alliance
For more information, visit
Join hundreds of Pinellas County commuters on Bike to Work Day, a celebration of bicycling as a clean, fun and healthy way to get to work and help Pinellas County become a better place to ride!
Although more than half of the U.S. population lives within five miles of their workplace, biking to work isn’t even a consideration by many people.
So why not consider riding your bike to work on Friday May 15? Bicycling is environmentally friendly as biking reduces your carbon footprint, reduces traffic congestion, and can save you money! Bicycling is healthy as active employees are more alert, take fewer sick days, and are more productive.
Following are some tips that will help you enjoy biking to work more:
- Have your bike checked over by your local bike shop
- Always wear a helmet to protect your head in the event of a crash
- Ride in the right-most lane that goes in the direction that you are traveling
- Obey all stop signs, traffic lights and lane markings
- Look before you change lanes or signal a turn; indicate your intention, then act
- Be visible and predictable at all times; wear bright clothing and signal turns