Our “Cares” drive over the weekend of July 22-23 produced the most astounding results. The proper word is probably viral. Because of our local efforts and the “Gives” program run by the local ABC affiliate, with help from Hands Across the Bay, we raised nearly $18,000 to purchase uniforms, underwear, socks and other items needed by the students at Maximo Elementary plus kids at other nearby schools, along with items for the homeless and the Food Bank. Volunteers were calling us and the school to ask how they could help, including one from South Dakota, and one family in Tampa raised $3000 selling lemonade. Just amazing!
The effort will continue as we reach out to other elementary schools in this area where kids are trying to stay clothed and fed. Contact email@example.com if you want to help. You can donate money by using the Donations link on this web site (under About Us) or by mailing a check to the address at the bottom of this page, or by bringing a check payable to LECA to 2575 Desoto Way S or to 1874 Juarez Way S. Please do not put the check in the mailbox; clip it to the outside of the box. You can put your preference in the memo line for one or more of the above needs, leave it blank or write “Whatever” and we will put the money where needed.
WE HAVE A NEW SPONSOR!
Check out the Sponsors menu for news about the Portofino Restaurant!
CLEAN-UP DAY – IT WAS A PARTY!
On April 29th, a whole bunch of us turned out at the soccer fields for food and fun. Here are some photos from the event. Our thanks go out to all who helped, including Sandy Eppling and Rick Mastry with their wonderful music, and the social committee — Matthew Faulhaber, Eric Peak, Aaron Hoffman, Jessica Sims, Stephen Pace and Carolyn Wilson. Thanks also go to those who donated for the raffles. And to Lyn Domenech for the maiden voyage of her food truck, Loco Mofongo, about which we heard really good things! (The food trucks were such a hit that the comittee is working on a “Food Truck Night in Lakewood”!)
From the top: Some of the wonderful face painting. Line forms for the Fo Cheezy truck. Lemonade! Sandy and Rick entertain. Some of your social committee: Stephen Pace, Jessica Sims, Eric Peak and Matthew Faulhaber.
This year we were able to donate $3,000 to the city’s swimming program for underprivilged kids, an all-time record. Watch this space again at the end of the 2023-24 school year because this is an annual event going back more than a decade. This year’s contribution proviided lessons for more than 200 kids — we have now done this for more than 1300 children. Florida leads the nation in juvenile drownings; the last time we checked for 2022, the number was at 88.
Food Bank Donations
We urge all our residents to help support the Food Bank operated by the St. Petersburg Free Clinic, located at 863 3rd Avenue North. You can drop food any morning at the loading dock behind the building. You can also bring items to 4117 Narvarez Way S., where a Food Bank volunteer lives — she will get it to the distribution center. Checks payable to the St. Petersburg Free Clinic can also be left there, or addressed to LECA and mailed to the post office box at the bottom of this page. Food and checks can also be left at the mailbox at 1874 Juarez Way S.
The Food Bank needs non-perishable items like canned meat, pasta, pasta sauce, beans, rice, cereal, canned vegetables, instant potatoes, coffee and tea . There is also a dire need for hygiene items such as soap, shampoo, tooth paste, toothbrushes, deodorant, diapers, women”s hygiene, and socks. And pet food: If you are having problems feeding your family, you are also having a problem feeding the family cat or dog. We have two Lakewood residents who are in constant touch with animal shelters and programs needing pet supplies.
Please clean up after your pet. It is against city ordinance to not pick up dog waste so please carry a bag and help keep your neighborhood safe and clean. There are bags for this purpose at the 8 waste stations around Lakewood.
By city ordinance, you can place both your trash and recycle bins at the curb after 7 p.m. the night before collection. They must be moved back from the street by 7 p.m. on the day of collection.
Please be mindful of the 25 mph speed limit in Lakewood.
You are required to maintain the gutter in front of your property. This not only enhances the look of your property but also keeps water flowing into the storm drains. Standing water promotes algae growth and breeds mosquitoes. Do not blow yard debris into the street or the storm drains — this is illegal and can lead to fish kills and algae blooms. If you use a lawn service, please remind them of these important points.
Yard parking is illegal in this city as is the parking of a trailer, camper or commercial vehicle in your yard or driveway.
A tarp on a car must be 6″ off the ground so that the tires are visible; the tag must be visible and if not the tag ID information must be written on the tarp; and the tarp must be clean and not torn.
Out of courtesy for our golfers, Lakewood is a “No Noise” zone. If you like your music loud (and be aware that at a certain level you can get a $218 ticket from the city), please turn it down when you come into Lakewood. Babies, people who work nights, and the elderly are particularly sensitive to noise.
We’re Number One!
On October 22, 2018, the city reinstated its annual Neighborhood Partnership Awards, giving out plaques and certificates in categories such as best president, best project, etc. Lakewood Estates immediately took first place in Communications because of our triple approach — weekly bulletins, newsletters to every house by mail 5 times a year, and the web site. Then Bonnie Rocks received second place for “Neighborly Neighbor,” as the person who so selflessly takes care of the needs of those around her. But the most prized award, that of being the best neighborhood in the city, in a competition of 59 neighborhoods, went to us. We have always known it, and now the city knows it: This IS the best place to live in St. Petersburg! Here’s a shot of President Judy Ellis receiving the award from Mayor Rick Kriseman.
Group Home — What are the issues?
We know that there are residents in Lakewood who are not happy about the ongoing pressure to do something about the group home at 1795 Lakewood Drive – they believe we are not being fair to the young people who live there. In fact it is the welfare of those kids that concerns us.
The bottom line is the state’s failure to properly staff and fund its Department of Children and Families with the result that the needs of kids removed from troubled homes are not being met. We have all seen the horror stories in the papers of kids sleeping in cars and under desks at DCF offices because there is nowhere to put them.
We don’t have a lot of choices about ways to fix this but one of them is to bring pressure on the state, through our representatives in Tallahassee, to focus on this problem and get proper funding. Unfortunately, we do not hear from our house rep or our senator except when it’s time to raise money for re-election. The one time we did ask for help by going directly to our state rep, he sent two young ladies to listen to our pleas – they nodded and took notes and went back to Tallahassee, never to be heard from again.
In 2021, Eckerd Connects ceased its contract with the state to house children removed from abusive homes. We are in contact with the new contractor to make them aware of what we have seen, largely dishonesty in communication and a failure to ensure that those who are housing these kids know what they’re doig. We hope to see improvements.
We want to assure everyone that we want only the best possible living arrangements for those forgotten children — by making things uncomfortable for their caretakers and the agencies, we hope to draw attention to the larger problem of a state that will spend millions to put highways where no one wants them but will not allocate enough resources to take care of its own children.
If you have a book to share, or want to borrow one, there is a neighborhood ‘library’ in a display box at the curb at 1912 Bonita Way South. Bring a book, take a book, pass the books around. There is another on the corner of Narvarez and Cortez.
Fishing in the ponds – what’s the problem?
Here is an explanation that will allow Lakewoodians to better understand the fishing situation and enable us to explain it to outsiders who want to fish here.
The bottom line is that it is in the interest of everyone who lives here to ensure that the Country Club and the golf course continue to thrive. Without the golf course, we are just another St Pete neighborhood. All that open space, all that greenery and blue sky, all that wildlife is what sets us apart and makes us special. It doesn’t matter whether you play golf or even belong to the Club – the value of your home depends in large part on the health of the golf course.
Trespass. Most of the ponds are in areas that belong to the Country Club so that anyone wanting to fish in them has to trespass over Club property. No one who is not a member of the Country Club has any business on the course. Very often after one person begins fishing an area, others join in and create groups large enough to become a real hazard for the golfers. Little children are often left to wander around dangerously close to the water – and there isn’t a single pond on this course that doesn’t have at least one resident alligator.
Danger. A golf ball travels at least 90 mph and does considerable damage when it makes contact with a human head. Golfers often cannot see what’s ahead of them and have to trust that no one is foolish enough to be sitting in their path.
Fish. The fish are put in the ponds and paid for by the Club to keep down the alga. Golfers do not want to play among scummy ponds that smell. The fish are therefore not up for public grabs. Moreover, the fish are full of pesticides and fertilizer and are suitable for ingestion only by birds (who mercifully don’t seem to be affected, if the success of our osprey nests is any indication).
Intrusion. Many of the people who want to fish here do not understand the protocols and rules governing golf courses. They pull their cars up onto the easement (which is illegal) and then walk right into the path of golfers preparing to swing.
Parking and Litter. Along with a lack of knowledge about proper behavior, those wanting to fish often park illegally and leave behind dead or dying fish, litter, and/or beer bottles. In some areas, people pulling their cars up on the rights of way – also illegal – have destroyed the grass and turned the area into a sand lot. Someone has to pay to fix that.
Cast nets. A lot of fishing folk prefer cast nets, which quickly get them a lot of fish to sell for bait. Unfortunately, cast nets are illegal everywhere in this city except Lake Maggiore. And again, that ‘bait’ is really stocked fish owned by the Club so this is nothing more or less than stealing. In Mid-April of 2021, an anhinga nearly died after being ensnarled in a cast new that had been discarded in a pond.
There are people who believe that if they are sitting on a city right-of-way, they are on public property and can therefore fish. They can in fact stay on that public property all day long… but they cannot fish. Once they put that rod in the water, they are trespassing.
What you can do
If you see someone fishing in one of the course’s ponds (and the only one that isn’t Club property is Summit Lake, the entire rim of which is privately owned by residents), you can point out that they are on private property and politely ask them to leave. This rarely works. You can then let them know the police are being called and move away. Or call the club at 867-2111 during business hours (ask for the pro shop or the manager), or call the police non-emergency number at 893-7780, and/or notify the Association president at 460-1586.