Clearwater’s McMullen Tennis Complex Wins National USTA Facility Award

The Henry L. McMullen Tennis Complex in Clearwater, Fla., was one of 12 winners in the 35th annual USTA Facility Awards program, which recognizes excellence in the construction and/or renovation of tennis facilities throughout the country.

The Henry L. McMullen Tennis Complex will be honored at the USTA Semi-annual Meeting at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City on Sept. 1, 2016 at an awards luncheon.

A traditional public community tennis complex set in a beautifully-landscaped municipal park, the McMullen Tennis Complex is easily accessible from the Tampa Bay and St. Petersburg areas. The center boasts eight hydrogrid clay courts and seven US Open-style hard courts with state-of-the-art Musco lighting, and covered shade structures with filtered water fountains.

The center’s diversity programming includes Pinellas County Special Olympic training, a Girl Scout Patch program, Lighthouse internships for the visually impaired, and Silver Sneaker/Masters Tennis programs for senior players. The site is also a USTA Junior Team Tennis North Pinellas hub for all match play and hosts many successful USTA adult league teams, charity events and fundraiser socials.

“Great tennis facilities like the Henry L. McMullen Tennis Complex help us to grow the game at the grassroots level, and we are proud to recognize them for their ongoing impact on the sport of tennis,” said USTA Chief Executive, Community Tennis Kurt Kamperman. “Henry L. McMullen Tennis Complex has embraced many of our tennis initiatives and kept the sport at the forefront of its community each year.”

Nominated facilities were voted on in the following categories: Public Courts that are either small tennis centers with 2-10 courts or large tennis centers with 11 or more courts; Educational Institutions; and Private Facilities that support the USTA and other “growth of the game” programs open to the public.

Breakfast And Baseball Go Glove In Glove With New Deal From Courtyard St. Petersburg Clearwater

Catching some Rays in the Sunshine State doesn’t have to put a squeeze on the pocketbook thanks to a new offer from Courtyard St. Petersburg Clearwater.

The hotel near Tropicana Field, home of Major League Baseball’s Tampa Bay Rays, is offering fans deluxe accommodations at the best available rate plus complimentary breakfast for up to two adults and two children 12 and under with its Courtyard Stay For Breakfast Package. The homerun offer ensures enthusiasts will arrive at the diamond, just 10 miles from the hotel, with a full stomach and plenty of energy to root, root, root for the home team.

The American League East team — with many fresh faces for the current season — hopes to give fans some exciting baseball against rivals including the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. Day and evening games on the schedule make it convenient for travelers headed to the TampaSt. Petersburg area to swing by the ballpark during downtime. Visitors may even have the opportunity to catch a 90-minute tour of the facility and engage in its history while getting plenty of exercise traversing all levels.

To get their day off to a solid start before cheering on their heroes, guests staying at the Clearwater hotel near St. Petersburg can fuel up on healthy and hearty breakfast items at The Bistro — Eat. Drink. Connect. The casual, café-style eatery features everything from classic oatmeal and simple cereals to egg white frittatas and thick-cut french toast. Granola yogurt parfaits, strawberry banana smoothies, croissant sandwiches and daybreak fried eggs also top the menu. The Clearwater restaurant is proud to serve cage-free eggs. An assortment of Tropicana juices will keep diners’ whistles wet, as will an array of Starbucks beverages. The Bistro is also open for dinner and evening cocktails.

Spacious, comfortable rooms await weary fans whether the Tampa Bay Rays win or lose. Guests can upload photos from the game to their social media channels using free Wi-Fi, and flat-panel TVs with ESPN, HBO and CNN provide endless entertainment during any free time. Slumber on signature Marriott bedding with crisp linens, custom comforters and plenty of fluffy pillows after enjoying a late-night snack or beverage from The Market, open 24 hours a day. Coffee makers, mini-refrigerators, microwaves and sofa beds in select rooms are among the amenities all travelers will appreciate.

To take advantage of the special breakfast deal, valid through Dec. 31, 2016, use promotional code S4B when booking online or calling 1-800-834-7015.

Rise of the Synthetic-High Walking Dead: Police Across Florida Called to ‘Horror-Movie Style Scenes’

According to officials, there were three overdoses on Wednesday, as the calls for the usage of Spice are centered around Crest Lake Park where homeless people spend a lot of time reportedly.

A disturbing photo from the Clearwater Police Department taken at Crest Lake Park shows two people slumped over and one person laying on the ground, as it’s suspected they had used Spice.

In addition, a video taken at the same park on Wednesday by Major Eric Gandy of the Clearwater Police Department shows him trying several times to speak to unresponsive individuals about how long ago they had taken spice.

‘What’s your name?’ Gandy can be heard asking several times on the video.

Eventually, one of the men responds by saying, ‘my name?’

‘The spike that we’re seeing and my personnel are dealing with on the road are unprecedented,’ Gandy told WFLA. ‘Looked like one of our zombie movies.’

He added that he ‘had 15 people walking around in various states of incapacitation’.

Resident Jerome Freeland, 29, told Mail Online that he walks by Crest Lake Park daily when he takes his dog for a walk or heads to the welding and fabricating business he owns.

‘It’s mainly the homeless people that are using this drug,’ Freeland claims, as he believes they are using something stronger than spice called ‘That Disney’ or ‘FloKKA’.

‘They go buy this drug with money that people give them and then go sit around our parks and other places.

‘They are zombified homeless people on drugs and I’ve seen people fall out around my place from the usage of it.’

Freeland added that business owners around him constantly go out to provide water to people who appear to be on spice, ‘so they won’t get too sick and die.’

He explained that he’s witnessed people who have used the drug in the area become ‘violent’ and attack others.

Freeland’s account of violent behavior exhibited by spice users coincides with what investigators say is happening.

According to WTVT, officers have encountered violent individuals, as well as those having convulsions and several who are just completely unresponsive.

‘We have noticed a serious uptick of Spice incidents lately that have turned into medical calls and it’s become a serious drain on resources for the police department for the fire department and then in turn for doctors say at Morton Plant Hospital where the patients end up,’ police spokesman Rob Shaw told WTVT.

‘You wonder when somebody’s going to have a heart attack and die from some of these substances.’

The St. Petersburg Police Department said dispatchers answered several calls for individuals needing medical assistance as it’s suspected they may have had extreme reactions to spice in the last few days.

Officers in that area suspect that people near the St. Vincent DePaul Shelter were using it, but are conducting lab tests to confirm.

Police say the people who are making the synthetic drug are changing the ingredients, which means that users have no idea what they are smoking.

Authorities say they are trying to find a solution to the increase of spice-related cases, as they are teaming up to work on a solution to fix the problem.

Scientology Film Going Clear Just Ran Into A Problem In Clearwater

When it debuted at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, Alex Gibney’s documentary Going Clear caused quite a ruckus. The subject the Academy Award-winner’s film is the Church of Scientology, who are not only well funded, they’re a rather litigious organization and generally don’t take kindly to criticism. Flexing they muscle once again, pressure from the Church has led to a Florida movie theater cancelling a scheduled screening of the film.

Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that a movie theater located in Clearwater, Florida, has pulled plans to show Going Clear, which bears the subtitle Scientology and the Prison of Belief, after being pressured by the Church.

Cobb Countryside 12, which is right in Scientology’s back yard—they have deep roots in Clearwater, with a multi-million dollar facility and cathedral called the Flag Building—told HBO that they would no longer show the film after receiving “threats” from the Church. The exact nature or target of these threats are not specified, but as likely as not it was some sort of legal action, as the Church of Scientology has been on a very public campaign against Going Clear from the start.

Before it aired on HBO, Going Clear did receive a limited theatrical release last March, though HBO Documentary Films is planning a re-release in approximately 20 cities later this month in order to raise awareness of the film before the end of the year awards season—it recently walked away with a trio of Emmys. A theater in a neighboring town, however, the AMC Woodlands Square 20 located in Oldsmar, Florida, has stepped up and agreed to show the film when HBO expands their efforts in early October.

Going Clear is based on a book of the same name by Lawrence Wright, which present a highly critical portrayal of Scientology, a fact you probably got from the title, as well as the reaction of the institution. The film digs into things like how famous members, like Tom Cruise and John Travolta, play into furthering their endeavors.

If you don’t live in one of the markets where the film is being released—like New York, San Francisco, Miami, Los Angeles, Washington DC, and a few others—don’t worry, the film is still available on HBO and HBO Go if you want to give it a watch. Given the hype behind the picture, it could very well wind up a player when the awards start to roll in, so it should be worth checking out.

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City of Clearwater Announces the 7th Annual Bright House Clearwater Super Boat National Championship & Seafood Festival

One of the most thrilling super boat races, the ‘fastest show on water,’ will return to the white sugar sand coast of Clearwater, Fla. Sept. 25-27, 2015. The City of Clearwater will be home to the 7th annual Bright House Clearwater Super Boat National Championship & Seafood Festival. This three-day festival includes activities such as VIP parties, racers village, seafood vendors, a spectacular fireworks display and the racing of the world’s fastest offshore powerboats.

The premier offshore sporting event takes place just off the shore of Clearwater’s beautiful and award-winning beaches. Superboats equipped with F-16 canopies and traveling at extreme speeds of 180 miles per hour will compete on a 2.5-mile racecourse. To experience all the action, spectators can watch the event from the beach, Pier 60, various VIP viewing parties, and from the designated spectator fleet viewing area.

The weekend of events will begin Friday, Sept. 25, 2015 at Baystar Race Village in downtown Clearwater, where the superboats will be on display in the annual Super Boat International Parade. On Saturday, the Seafood Festival takes place between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. in Coachman Park. Guests can indulge in a variety of seafood specialties, purchase refreshments and souvenirs from vendors, and end the night watching the fireworks display hosted by Pier 60 Concessions. Races begin on Sunday. Races will take place at noon, 1:30, and 3:00 p.m.

Following the races, the Miss Clearwater Corona Girl Pageant will take place at Shephard’s Beach Resort, a part of the official “Beach After Party”. The day will conclude at 5:30 p.m., with the Bright House Clearwater Super Boat Awards ceremony at Baystar Race Village in Coachman Park.

For people interested but unable to attend the event, the race will be shown live at  https://livestream.com/sbi/clearwaterbeach2015. For information about Bright House Clearwater Super Boat National Championship & Seafood Festival, go to www.clearwatersuperboat.com. For information about the City of Clearwater, go to www.visitclearwaterflorida.com.

Clearwater Human Rights Center Exposes Abuses Worldwide

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is being embraced this week with a new appreciation by the regional representative of a prominent business. The reason? The impressive new United for Human Rights center on Fort Harrison Avenue in his hometown of Clearwater, Florida.

After watching several public service announcements, each illustrating one of the 30 rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and The Story of Human Rights documentary, the man spoke of how the presentation conveys a sense of one’s own responsibility to make sure that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights isn’t just “words on paper.”

“The Church of Scientology has made a great contribution to the community and the city,” he said. “I am so happy to see how your dream has materialized into this.”

He is one of a steady stream of visitors touring the new center each day, seven days a week. Some come out of curiosity, some with concerns about rights abuses in certain areas of the world, while others sign up as volunteers or to partner with the organization.

And the impact rolls out in unexpected ways. Case in point: a volunteer came to pick up a stack of human rights booklets—she wanted to hand them out around town. Not long after that, a man called in. After taking one of the booklets and reading it cover-to-cover, he realized there was something he could do to address a personal issue that was troubling him. He set an appointment to come to the center the following day.

After visiting the center, a priest, active in veterans’ affairs in the Tampa Bay area shared the United for Human Rights educational materials with colleagues. He wants to work with UHR to educate veterans on their rights and introduce them to this and other humanitarian programs represented in the six new centers.

A local event producer who decided to distribute What are Human Rights booklets at a major festival she is organizing for the Christmas season also is bringing copies to a rally organized to encourage Hispanic residents to vote.

The center is open seven days a week and is part of a complex of centers dedicated to making the humanitarian programs sponsored by the Church of Scientology available to the community including an Information Center that provides a wealth of information on Dianetics, Scientology and the Church’s Founder, L. Ron Hubbard.

There are six new facilities including the United for Human Rights, each dedicated to helping with the pressing issues that impact Clearwater and the Greater Tampa Bay area:

  • A museum and operations center for Citizens Commission on Human Rights, the world’s leading mental health watchdog group since 1969, responsible for helping to enact some 181 laws protecting individuals from abusive or coercive psychiatric practices. Its Clearwater information center features the Psychiatry: An Industry of Death museum.
  • A new home for the Foundation for a Drug-Free World, whose international Truth About Drugs program has reached 260 million people worldwide. The program is committed to eradicating drug abuse and providing meaningful drug education to young people.
  • The Criminon Florida headquarters stands as a starting point in carrying out the mission of addressing the causes of criminality and restoring offenders’ self-respect through effective character-building programs.
  • A building dedicated to The Way to Happiness, the nonreligious moral code written by L. Ron Hubbard. Published in 112 languages, the 21 precepts have brought calm to communities torn by violence, peace to areas ravaged by civil strife, and self-respect to millions. The new Clearwater office will provide the moral compass needed locally.
  • The new downtown home of the Church’s Volunteer Ministers, part of a global movement active in 120 nations—the world’s largest independent relief force. Scientologists volunteer more than 200,000 hours a year in the Tampa Bay area alone, living by the Volunteer Ministers motto that no matter the challenge, “Something can be done about it.”