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Tarpon Commission recognizes veterans prior to Memorial Day

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Published:   |   Updated: April 18, 2013 at 11:27 AM
TARPON SPRINGS -

Given Monday afternoon’s tragedy in Boston and the sense of unity that’s washed over the nation in its aftermath, a Tuesday evening proclamation, though coincidental, appeared to be well-timed nonetheless.

After a moment of silence requested by Mayor David Archie, the City Commission’s second item of business was recognition of Memorial Day and an event coming to the city next month, “We Salute You 2: A Tribute to our Veterans.” It reprises the original event, held in 2011, coordinated in conjunction with the New Port Richey-based group Sand Soldiers of America.

Reading the proclamation, Archie stated: “Today, we honor those who have served freedom’s cause and we salute the members of our armed forces who are confronting our adversaries abroad.”

“We Salute You 2” will take place on Memorial Day, May 27, at the Riverside Grille House. The all-day event will feature entertainment and guest speakers such as U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor; and Army Maj. Pete Chambers, a Purple Heart recipient.

Tickets, required for the evening portion of the event, cost $10 per person. More information can be found by sending emails to info@sandsoldiersofamerica.org or calling (727) 849-5353.

Prior to the Sand Soldiers of America presentation and proclamation, the commission recognized the 2012, third annual Mayor’s Top Apple Award recipients.

The award, which was inspired by an initiative started eight years ago by former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker, is designed to recognize area public schools for their outstanding academic achievements during the previous school year.

Five Tarpon Springs schools compiled Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test scores that resulted in “A” grades and meeting the Top Apple Award criteria. Those were Tarpon Springs High, East Lake High, Tarpon Springs Middle, Tarpon Springs Fundamental Elementary and Brooker Creek Elementary.

“We feel it helps to create a partnership that shows our support and encourages academic excellence from our students, teachers and families within our local schools and community at large,” Archie said of the Top Apple program prior to distributing the awards.

Also stepping to the podium Tuesday evening were representatives of the Tarpon Springs Public Library.

Along with Library Director Cari Rupkalvis accepting a proclamation recognizing April 14-20 as National Library Week, two members of the library’s advisory board presented the library’s 2013 report.

One issue facing libraries around the nation is the shifting needs and wants of the public they serve. Sherri Patterson, library board chairwoman, emphasized the library’s efforts moving forward in catering to digital and nondigital desires.

“When we’re meeting the needs of today, we have to be able to meet the needs of all the different types of patrons,” she said, noting that librarians continue working toward increase their knowledge of all the facility’s capabilities, as well.

Improvements Patterson detailed included: increasing access to two new e-book collections through 3M Cloud and Baker and Taylor Axis 360; initializing a mobile application to access the Polaris countywide library catalog; and preparing for the Sept. 30 expiration of the Pinellas Library Interlocal Agreement.

Patterson also presented statistics that garnered praise from the board, such as the annual attendance of 208,223 and 3,997 logged volunteer hours.

“I can honestly tell you that it’s a presentation I look for to year after year,” said Commissioner Townsend Tarapani. “It gives the commission an opportunity to learn what you’re doing and what you’re planning.”

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