We often make personal resolutions for the New Year, only to be disappointed when we fail to achieve our goals. We make resolutions to finally get in shape, or improve our attitudes, or find a better job, or clean up the messy garage, etc. These resolutions are usually short-lived and leave us feeling guilty about our individual willpower. This focus on personal resolutions reflects the focus of our resolve…ourselves! What if our focus was different? What if we focused on goals that we as a community can strive to achieve? Perhaps, in working together we can achieve more significant change than working alone. What goals could, and should, our community prioritize for 2005?
I chose to interview 5 individuals from varied backgrounds who live, work, study or vacation in our community. Here are their idealistic for 2005.
It was easy to find a tourist vacationing on Clearwater Beach this last week. Our recent weather attracted thousands trying to avoid the snow, freezing rain and miserable conditions of the North. Phillip Auerbach, from New York City, was enjoying the sun, sand and temperature on our pristine beach, something that we who live here often take for granted. His hope for our community was that, “Clearwater, and all of Florida, not have a summer of hurricane devastation in 2005.” Mr. Auerbach left our area with great respect for our beach and the hope that this community is able to appreciate its beauty for years to come.
Kate Melges is eighteen and a student at the University of South Florida. She served as President of the student body during her senior year (2003-04) at Clearwater High. Kate, who has spent a lot of volunteer hours at the new downtown Clearwater Library, focused her thoughts on downtown Clearwater. “I’d like to see this community, both citizens and government alike, focus on the revitalization of our downtown,” explained Kate, “starting with a movie theater.” The newer theaters, with stadium seating use less space and provide modern amenities not found in the older theaters. This would keep some of the young people Kate’s age from heading to St. Pete and Tampa every Saturday night.
Vevie Dimmitt, a long time resident of this area echoed Kate’s hope for 2005. Vevie would also like to see downtown boat docking available and the return of the Boat Taxi service, between downtown and the city marina that the City of Clearwater offered several years ago. Vevie felt this would not only be enjoyable, but would “alleviate some of the traffic congestion in downtown and out at the beach.” Vevie also hoped the city would consider traffic and other infrastructure problems before allowing more development of high-rise condominiums on our barrier island.
Gerri Raymond has been an active participant in Clearwater politics, the Chamber of Commerce and the Clearwater Arts! Foundation. She is currently serving as the Director of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Gerri would like to see more community support for, and education about, environmental issues in Clearwater. “I am excited about 2005 at the Aquarium,” explained Raymond, “because we are making big changes to ensure that our visitors understand we are a working, teaching marine animal hospital. We are helping people become better stewards of their marine environment.” This is certainly a lofty goal and one that every individual in this community can and should work towards.
Bill Jonson, known for his positive attitude, is a second term Clearwater City Councilman. He has three goals for our community in 2005. He would like to see the city visioning process further unite the community and identify projects that have broad community support. Secondly, Jonson would like our city and county governments to work more closely together for the benefit of every citizen in our county. Thirdly, Jonson would like to grow our regional economy while maintaining the unique character of our various neighborhoods and our quality of life. Jonson and the council cannot do this alone and broad community involvement and support will be necessary to promote this agenda.
Tom Waite, Chef Tom as many know him, works on Clearwater Beach managing the kitchen for Carlouel Yacht Club. After many years sitting in traffic while trying to get to work, Tom quickly requested, “Could they please just finish the Memorial Causeway Bridge?” Finishing the bridge, along with developing additional public parking for this area would benefit anyone that lives, works or simply plays on Clearwater Beach. Chef Tom, though busy planning menus and presenting beautiful meals during this hectic holiday season, agreed to share a warm and healthy recipe for the New Year.
Fresh Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup
2 T. butter
1 cup finely diced celery
½ cup finely diced onions
2 cups finely diced mushrooms
4 cups chicken broth
Pinch of Thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
½ cup wild rice
1 ½ cups water
1 t. salt
Melt butter in a 2 quart saucepan. Sauté celery and onion until barely cooked. Add mushrooms and cook for 2 or 3 minutes more. Add chicken broth and simmer until the vegetables are done. Add the Thyme, salt and pepper and simmer 3 or 4 minutes more. At this point you can add a bit of cream or a touch of brandy if you would like. Cook the wild rice in the 1 ½ quarts of water for 20-30 minutes or until done. Place the wild rice in a bowl and pour the hot soup over the rice.
We live in a community that has survived a year of hurricane damage, construction problems with the new bridge, horrendous traffic problems throughout our city an exodus of downtown businesses, even a declining grouper population! Maybe by working together, respecting input from our fellow citizens and focusing on the revitalization and protection of our local environment we can look forward to a better 2005.
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