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British Bi-fold Door Manufacturer Opens In Venice

Venice is chosen for the American headquarters for United Kingdom-based manufacturer, Origin Bi-fold Doors. Its aluminium bi-folding doors appeal to luxury home builders and developers of hotels, retail and restaurants that want to create integrated indoor and outdoor living spaces.

Bob's Twist-N-Shake: Ice Cream Goes Retro In Venice

The new Bob's Twist-N-Shake in Venice, a retro-design building, sports a 13-foot-tall, three-dimensional white-and-orange twist ice cream cone that heralds its main product: ice cream.

The design is reminiscent of the ice cream stands of the 1950s and '60s, which coincides with owner Bob Johnson's acquisition of the land at 420 U.S. Highway 41. "I've owned the land where the store is located since the '60s," says Johnson. "I leased it to a bank for 25 years. A few years ago they moved on and the land became vacant. I love ice cream and thought this location was well-suited for this type of project. Venice is a place of character."

In addition to the store and drive-through, exterior spaces include covered canopy seating and shaded garden seating.

Construction was completed in 90 days by JE Charlotte Construction. According to Jeff Charlotte, his business is dedicated to aggressive timelines. "We develop and manage our work on a daily basis, which enabled us to stay on track. We procured all long-lead materials well in advance of the date they were needed on site, so there were no delays to the schedule."

"We thoroughly enjoyed completing this project for the Johnson family," adds Charlotte. "It brought much-needed jobs to the area and we always enjoy projects that bring property tax revenues back on-line without taxing the need for new infrastructure."

Bob's Twist-N-Shake is open from noon until 9 p.m. daily, with a menu that features malts, shakes, floats and smoothies as well as its signature twisty cones.

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Bob Johnson, Bob's Twist-N-Shake; Jeff Charlotte, JE Charlotte Construction

Boaters, Marinas To Get $1.9 Million To Keep Gulf, Lakes Sewage-Free

Oil isn't the only threat to our coasts. Sewage is, too. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) plans to run a campaign this summer that encourages recreational boaters to use pump-out stations along the coasts of Florida as well as in lakes throughout the state.

The DEP administers grant monies from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the Clean Vessel Act of 1992. This year Florida received $1.9 million to fund the construction and installation of sewage pump-out facilities and floating restrooms, to purchase pump-out boats and to provide educational programs for recreational boaters, as they have been since the program's inception in the early 1990s. To date, the seven counties that comprise the Tampa Bay region have received a total of $2.2 million, with Pinellas receiving the largest portion at $1.1 million.

According to Kristin Lock, a spokesperson for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, any marina can apply for a grant that will reimburse 75 percent of the building and installation costs of pump-out facilities.

"Untreated sewage from boats contains disease-causing microorganisms," explains Deas Bohn, DEP's director of Sustainable Initiatives.."If discharged into the water, these organisms can impact our environment as well as human health. Sewage can spread disease, contaminate shellfish beds and lower oxygen levels necessary for aquatic species to survive. Proper disposal and treatment of boater sewage is essential to protecting Florida's waterways."

Federal and state law prohibits discharging raw sewage in all fresh water or within nine nautical miles in the Gulf of Mexico.

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Kristin Lock, Florida Department of Environmental Protection

One Bay, One Vision: Mega-Meeting To Connect Tampa Bay Leaders

On April 16, leaders from across Tampa Bay will meet to discuss sustainable growth. One Bay, the group hosting the meeting, has deemed the event the Congress of Regional Leaders.

The One Bay Liveable Communities Initiative is a "regional visional process" that grew from the Tampa Bay Partnership Regional Research and Education Foundation. It is committed to long-term thinking and planning to make the seven counties that comprise the Tampa Bay region a thriving and sustainable mega region by the year 2050. The counties included in the initiative are Hernando, Pasco, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Polk, Manatee and Sarasota.

The April 16 meeting is a culmination of polls, surveys and workshops that resulted from the Reality Check of 2007. The data collected indicates a need and desire for a more proactive and deliberate approach to planning.

"When we looked at the data, it was interesting because there were common guiding principles across transit, water and environmental areas," explains Betty Carlin, a spokesperson for the Tampa Bay Partnership. "It's telling us these are the things that people think are important. People really don't want to see growth happen as it has in the past. We want to do it differently. So now we have to put community leaders together to share the vision and make it happen."

Dan Mahurin, chairman of SunTrust Bank and chair of One Bay, sees the meeting as a celebrated outcome as well as an exciting launch.

"This event is a celebration of several years of great input and hard work from across the community to develop a shared vision for Tampa Bay. It is also a turning point for us to bring leaders back together to begin planning how we can implement this vision."

The meeting will take place at the Tampa Convention Center from 8:30 a.m. to noon.

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Dan Mahurin, SunTrust
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