March 10, 2017 SAFETY HARBOR – Ezra Huleatt, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist for Black Taxi, wraps up his stay as Safety Harbor Art and Music Center’s first Artist in Residence with a show at the SHAMC. Folks around the Tampa Bay Area have already come to expect this level of entertainment from SHAMC, and the crowd was not disappointed. Continue reading “EZ-RA at SHAMC”
1. Safety Harbor Museum and Cultural Center
This sleepy little town has lots of history. ‘Discovered’ by Spanish explorers in the 1500s, the area had been inhabited for centuries. At the time of Spanish explorations, Safety Harbor was home to the Tocobaga Indians. The Tocobaga, who no doubt enjoyed the area’s mineral springs, weren’t particularly excited to have visitors. In the 1800s, however, Odet Philippe became the first non-native resident of Pinellas County when he settled in Safety Harbor. Although he wasn’t welcomed by residents at the time, the quirky, long-deceased count maintains a friendly relationship with current residents through his Facebook page. Visitors to Safety Harbor Museum and Cultural Center will find plenty of artifacts and information, as well as classes and events to pique curiosity and entice explorations.
2. Safety Harbor Public Library
Visitors can continue their investigations into Safety Harbor’s past and present at the Safety Harbor Public Library. Part of the Pinellas County Public Library Cooperative, the library is a popular with residents and visitors, from preschoolers who enjoy story time with their parents, to teens taking advantage of an active teen program, to older folks who partake in a wide range of workshops, lectures and exhibits. Not just a place to read and research, the library is an active hub of Safety Harbor life.
3. Philippe Park
Safety Harbor is fortunate to have a variety of city parks and recreation centers within its borders, but one of its most-prized parks is Pinellas County’s Philippe Park. Enhance new-found knowledge by taking the opportunity to see the Tocobaga Indian Mound and Odet Philippe’s grave site in person, then relax under towering oaks while watching the kayakers and fisher people enjoy the waters of upper Tampa Bay.
4. Safety Harbor Art and Music Center
A recent grand opening topped off years of work for local artists, Kiaralinda, Todd Ramquist and Heather Richardson. With assistance from a slew of local volunteers, the Safety Harbor Art and Music Center (SHAMC) is now a reality. Safety Harbor residents have enjoyed house parties at Whimzeyland and the now-annual Safety Harbor Songfest in preparation for SHAMC. Now visitors can stop in to see the SHAMC building – a piece of art all of its own – peruse the gift shop, take classes and listen to live music. Although a new addition, SHAMC is a much-anticipated and already-bustling center of activity in Safety Harbor!
This weekend, women around the globe found ways to participate in the Women’s March on Washington, either in Washington, D.C., or in cities closer-to-home. Safety Harbor women were no exception. After traveling to the capital or marching in nearby St. Petersburg, Florida, these Safety Harbor women share their motivation and experiences.
Fran Sterling traveled to Washington, D.C. for the March on Washington. As a pediatrician, Fran cited health care concerns, especially for children but also women’s reproductive rights as her motivation. Fran noted that it is important “to assure rights that do not discriminate based on religion, race, or sexual orientation, to preserve our democracy and protect free speech.” Fran attended the March with friends and “basked in the energy of the day.”
Back home, Fran feels a commitment “to work at the grassroots level” and to work on health care reform in particular.
Another Washington, D.C. marcher, Sarah Robinson was compelled “…to join others to send a message that we will not be silent.” The agenda of the Trump administration is, Sarah expressed, “unacceptable.” At the March, Sarah appreciated a “feeling of solidarity and unity being amongst so many diverse people…And of course, the signs.”
Sarah notes a desire to “get more involved and pay attention in our upcoming local elections,” as Safety Harbor’s municipal elections will be held on March 14, 2017.
Dylana Robertson didn’t travel as far, but had the company of her father, husband, and son for the St. Petersburg March. Dylana was impressed by the peacefulness and diversity in St. Petersburg.
Asked about the impact of the March, Dylana said, “I marched today for my mom, children and my students who are so concerned about the loss of civil rights…My entire family and network of friends are ready to contribute in whatever way possible. Marches, rallies, community outreach.”
Mary Poole & Meghan Poole-VanSwol
Mother and daughter, Mary Poole and Meghan Poole-VanSwol, attended the St. Petersburg March together. Said Meghan, “…when local marches were announced, I knew I would go. My eldest had the SATs in the morning, my daughter had circus and her birthday party, and my youngest has a mild concussion. None of them could come with me but I had to go for them.”
Mary shared that although she had wanted to travel to Washington, D.C., she was glad she attended the local March. “I will be 70 next month. My knee is a mess, and I walk with pain… I was determined to do this.” Mary connected with others on the March whom, she says, were also veterans of marches and protests from the 1960s.
“Every day, Mary said, “I will commit to resist and do more than that – create a sane, just, compassionate world.” Meghan reflected, “We are blessed to live in a beautiful small town. All towns have their problems. In our town, I hope to bring back the energy to be a better human. To see each other openly and kindly.”
For Tanja Vidovic, the St. Petersburg March was also a family affair. Tanja attended with her husband and their three young daughters and her husband’s parents. Her favorite part of the March was experiencing it with her entire family. A desire to increase connection motivated Tanja to attend.
“I am hoping that locally we all see that we are not alone in our fight. This is a global shift. We are also able to see all the other fights that others are fighting. I know that I plan on attending more local meetings like NOW, and also planning on calling my local representatives and speak my mind more on injustice. I feel that others will as well.”
Whether they participated in the nation’s capital or a short drive from home, after the Women’s March this weekend these Safety Harbor women feel renewed commitment to justice and equal rights across the nation and here at home.
The Tocobaga Times is a journal of Safety Harbor, Florida.
Safety Harbor is a small town of under 20,000 people situated in the middle of Florida’s most densely-populated county. It is a coastal town, tucked up to the northwest corner of Tampa Bay. Although Safety Harbor is near to the heat and hustle of beaches, bigger cities, and Florida’s famed tourist kitsch, it retains a usually-peaceful, small-town feel. Its shady, walk-able streets radiate with charm and chicanery.
The Tocobaga Times provides a record of Safety Harbor’s people and places.