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It's a Good Morning to be in Clearwater

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Posted at 12:19 AM, Oct 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-29 00:19:47-04

At ABC Action News, we know it's the combination of all the communities that make Tampa Bay great to live in. That's why we've started a new series of reporting highlighting good things happening around town, discovering cool gems you may not know about, and uncovering the big news events impacting those areas.

On Friday, the Good Morning Tampa Bay team focused on Clearwater.

Complete Coverage: GMTB Local Spotlight


Palm Harbor haunted house raising money for Homeless Empowerment Program

There’s a family in Palm Harbor that turns their front yard into a graveyard every year for Halloween. Somewhere along the way, they realized the same tricks that make you jump and scream could also be used to raise money for their favorite charity. They call it Haunt For HEP.

Clearwater's Moccasin Lake Nature Park home to dozens of birds of prey

Just a short drive from the beaches you'll find Moccasin Lake Nature Park in central Clearwater. It's a beautiful 52-acre park and a chance for the public to learn about birds of prey.

Downtown Clearwater on verge of revival as new businesses open

Christine Knox has been teaching Pilates for more than two decades.
“I saw the benefits of it and how it made me feel personally and I wanted to extend that to other people,” said Christine Knox, owner of Pilates by Christine.

In January, she decided it was time to open a Pilates studio and she chose Cleveland Street in downtown Clearwater.

“To bring more businesses into downtown because that’s what we’ve needed for a long time,” Knox said.

Knox believes an increase in events and Imagine Clearwater, an $84 million redevelopment of the city-owned downtown waterfront, is attracting new businesses.

Finding dolphins off the coast of Clearwater Beach is fun for the whole family

Year after year, Clearwater Beach is named one of the best beaches in the world. With white sand, gorgeous sunshine, you can't beat having it right in our own backyard.
The Little Toot is a prime example of one of the fun things to do here.

About 50 people fit aboard the tug boat and they will take you out to see dolphins. There's no feeding, no interacting, simply seeing the beautiful animals in their element.

New underground refuse system on Clearwater Beach first of its kind in Tampa Bay

A new trash system in place on Clearwater Beach helps to curb litter and make pick-up easier for city employees.
It's called an underground refuse, essentially the trash and recyclables are placed into these new cans and held underground.

The system is totally enclosed. There's no smell, no birds getting in the trash and it helps keep our beaches clean.

Sandpearl Resort committed to "green" initiatives

If you're familiar with Clearwater Beach history, you may remember the old Clearwater Beach Hotel.
After the 2004-2005 hurricanes, the hotel had damage and it became what it is today, The Sandpearl Resort.

The Sandpearl was built in 2007 and was actually the first construction on the beach in 25 years, spurring much of the development we see there today.

The resort has 250 rooms, a spa, private beach, and restaurants.

Palm Pavilion is a staple on Clearwater Beach

It was the Original Snack Bar on Clearwater Beach in the 1920s, and although it's different, it's still going strong.
95 years later, the Palm Pavilion is one of the most successful restaurants on the beach.

It's been in the same family since 1964, continuing years-long traditions.

Frenchy's celebrates 40 years on Clearwater Beach

Frenchy's, one of the most popular restaurants on Clearwater Beach, is getting ready to celebrate 40 years.
There are now four locations on the beach plus one in Clearwater and one in Dunedin .

Justin Kerbein, Manager at Frenchy's Rockaway Grill says, "we're hoping to keep up. Now we got the holiday season so hopefully, more business keeps going."

Future of St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport looks promising

Starting in November a new airline will be making stops in Clearwater at the St. Pete Clearwater International Airport.
Swoop will start in November, dubbed an ultra-low-cost Canadian Carrier, with trips to Toronto and Hamilton, Ontario.

Sun Country will also be coming in November with trips to St. Paul, Minneapolis.

New Clearwater library program hopes to help people get high school diplomas

A new program at Clearwater libraries hopes to get people in the area their high school diploma.
It's called Career Online High School.

Census data shows the city has more than 11,000 adults over the age of 25 who do not have a college or high school diploma. This free program hopes to change that.

Nonprofit brings street performers, crafters and artists to Pier 60 in Clearwater

Pier 60 is busy with tourists and locals all day long. The focal point of Clearwater Beach is a draw for everyone, even at night.
Sunsets at Pier 60 have been going strong for 26 years. The nonprofit helps bring street performers, crafters and artists here every single night.

The event starts two hours before sunset and ends about 2 hours after.

BRAG BOOK: Countryside High standout has his eyes on the Olympics

You should remember the name Rocco Simonelli. In fact, I guarantee you'll hear it again in the future.

This Senior standout at Countryside High School in Clearwater is so talented, it's hard to focus on just one of his amazing gifts.

Rocco says, "First with my academics, I've been able to carry a 3.8 all throughout high school. I've been on multiple of our sports teams, including the wrestling, swim and dive team and our track and field team."