Tampa Bay Times from St. Petersburg, Florida on December 3, 1992 · 34
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Tampa Bay Times from St. Petersburg, Florida · 34

St. Petersburg, Florida
Issue Date:
Thursday, December 3, 1992
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SERVING THE NEIGHBORHOODS OF St Petersburg Gulfport Pinellas Park Beaches ST PFTFRSBURG TIMFS w THURSDAY, DECEMBER 3, 1992 FACES IN THE CROWD JACQUIN SANDERS She won't buy it, but she'll trade it for you CLEARWATER Cynthia Ver-zi's barter business got off to an impressive start: "Trade semester of college-level tutoring (Renaissance Philosophy, 18th Century Lit.) for VW Bug engine," one offer stated, and then cagi-ly added: "Engine must be in reasonable shape." I Another pro posed five sessions of pet grooming for a used refrigerator. And a professional masseur offered five half-hour treatments for a desk and chair "must Cynthia Verzi: be office quali-Cooperation is ty." "still there in "I've always the human believed in bar-race, if you'll tering," Verzi only give it a says- "It's people chance." connecting, meeting each other's needs. People helping people." Verzi talks like that, having been permanently marked by a childhood spent in Costa Rica as the daughter of interdenominational Protestant missionaries. , "Everybody cooperated interdenominational was the key word," she says. "Then, when I was 10, we went back to the U.S., and my father had ministries in Dallas, New Jersey, some other places. And all that cooperation vanished. "But it's still there in the human race, if you'll only give it a chance." Verzi gave it such a chance, when she started Barter News, early in 1991. The idea took hold, but not, unfortunately, with a bullmastiff bite. She had to give it up, just before Christmas last year. "What a shame. It would be so helpful for Christmas shopping. But I didn't have enough money to support the idea until it took hold." She charged only $10 per item and never solved the distribution problem. "I had to persuade stores to leave it out where people could see it. All I could give in return was a free $10 barter line" listing. Barter News was an 8-by-l 1-inch sheet of paper and its own most enthusiastic supporter. "WOW!" was written in the top left corner. "TRY IT IT WORKS" ran across the top. And underneath: "PEOPLE HELPING PEOPLE." Items were listed briefly, with no details. On the left side, it said, "I will trade . . ." On the right, it said, "for . . ." There was room in the blank spaces for only one or two words. For example, "carpentry" for "plumbing repairs," "meals" for "a juicer." ' For the details, how much carpentry, how many meals, etc., there was a single phone number Verzi's. She would listen to the responses and help get the people together, if she felt like it. ; "I don't attract trouble, but I can smell it," Verzi says. "I asked a lot of questions, and if there was something I didn't like the sound of, I would break off negotiations. "One guy said, 'I've got a lot of bikes to sell.' Another said, 'I can do plumbing, too.' There was something didn't like in the way they said it, so I Ididn't give out the client's name or jiumber." ' Verzi is well-known around Largo, for 12 years, she and her husband ran the Green Cabbage School. Then they divorced and went out of the preschool business. Now Verzi works for Belleair Montessori Academy in Clearwater, and thinks wistfully of retooling Barter News. After all, a lot of people helped a lot of other people. Among them: The elderly woman who traded a 12-inch TV for four round-trips to the doctor for her husband. The other elderly woman who was having increasing difficulty reading. Her driving vision was still normal, however, so she drove errands for a earless woman, who read to her as payment. And the great bartering triumph between a dentist and a craftsman. In the end, the dentist's wife got a beautiful opal brooch, and the jewelry craftsman got a very satisfactory root canal. m sft area bsaclhes still sHnmrt aft nigM A judge in Key West rules that closing a public beach after dark is unconstitutional, but the rules are still in force here. By JENNY DEAM Tim Staff Wrtfr A survey of some Pinellas County beaches shows that an after-hours stroll on the sand or stretching out for the night still are forbidden, while in Key West, a judge has ruled that closing a public beach for the night is unconstitutional. A Treasure Island city ordinance closes the beach from 1 to 5 a.m., and St. Peters burg Beach and Clearwater close their beaches to camping and sleeping from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. In Madeira Beach, a curfew is enforced for minors from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Madeira Beach, Redington Shores and Indian Shores prohibit sleeping on the beach at night. County beaches at Sand Key, Fort De Soto and Fred Howard parks also are closed daily at sundown. A Monroe County judge Nov. 20 ruled that a Key West ordinance that closed beaches at 11 p.m. is unconstitutional. The ruling came on the heels of police chasing homeless people off the beach at night. Treasure Island City Manager Peter Lombardi said the city strictly enforces its ordinance, with citations issued to those who refuse to leave. Monte Alfonso, county parks program coordinator, who said he was unfamiliar with the Key West ruling, said the county has no plans to open the beaches around the clock. James Denhardt, city attorney for Treasure Island and Redington Shores, said he also hadn't seen the court ruling, so he could not comment on the decision or determine its implication here. However, he said that in his six years as city attorney he was not aware of any challenges to the local beach-closing ordinances. Ray Arsenault, president of the Pinellas County chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, said the ACLU might fight local beach-closing ordinances in light of the Monroe County ruling. "We're generally very suspicious of curfews of any kind," he said. He also said he was concerned that some of the municipalities specifically prohibit sleeping on the beach, thereby singling out poor and homeless people who have no other place to sleep. Madeira Beach City Manager John Mul-vihill said that except for the curfew for minors, his city does not have a law enforcing beach hours but prohibits sleeping in a public place. Please see BEACHES Page 3 A touching moment M vol? tfnhtP ; : Timat photo KATHLEEN CMNKJti'i First-graders Marquel Green, 7, left, Joshua Tirado, 7, and NE in St. Petersburg. The work is part of the museum's " Tiffany Green, 6, of North Shore Elementary School pet "Access to Art" exhibit, whose works are designed specif- artist Mike Rodriguez's Seated Coyote during a trip ically for visually impaired people. The exhibit, which offers' Wednesday to the Museum of Fine Arts, 255 Beach Drive a variety of textures and shapes, runs through Jan. 17.T . Officer says his job was assured No deal was made to fire Goliath Davis or Don MacRae, city officials say. Former police Chief Curt Curtsinger, however, says "there was an agreement." By MARK JOURNEY Tkm Staff Writer GoBdemi iruie pays off at bank A settlement in a disputed will case calls for three kind bank workers to receive $71,000 each. By THOMAS C. TOBIN TknM Staff Writer Three Largo bank employees who offered small kindnesses and casual friendship to an elderly Indian Shores man are being rewarded with about $71,000 apiece from his estate. Jack Helsdon, a 73-year-old widower who died nearly three years ago, remembered the three employees in a will that left none of his $700,000 nest egg to his estranged daughter and son. The unusual gesture sparked a lawsuit from Helsdon's daughter, Margaret Scheele. It alleged that Helsdon was mentally unfit when he signed the will. It also charged that the bank's trust officer conspired with the lawyer who drew up the will to pressure Helsdon into the arrangement. The trust officer was listed as a beneficiary in the will, but he will not receive any money as part of the settlement reached Nov. 18 in the case. Under the settlement, Scheele will receive half the estate, which since has been reduced to roughly $600,000 because of expenses. Meanwhile, the other bank employees soon will receive their shares. They work at the NationsBank branch at Ulmerton and Indian Rocks Beach roads, where Helsdon and his wife, Sally Lou Offut, banked for years. At the time, it was known as NCNB. The employees are: Margaret Ann Bussey, 49, Largo, who has worked with the bank since 1984. Nancy Pauline Jordan, 58, Pinellas Park, a 15-year employee who testified that she saw Helsdon once or twice a week in the bank lobby. Linda Mae Jaindl, a 46-year-old mother Please see BANK Page 3 ST. PETERSBURG A top ranking black police officer said Wednesday that City Manager Norman Hickey assured him several months ago that he would not be fired, despite a demand by ousted police Chief Ernest "Curt" Curtsinger. Goliath Davis, now the acting chief, said the conversation with Hickey occurred shortly after Curtsinger reached a $585,000 settlement with the city in May. Davis said Hickey also said Curtsinger had sought the firing of Assistant City Man-ager Don McRae, the city official who fired the former chief. "That wasn't a position the city was willing to take," Davis said he was told. "What was agreed on was in the final contract." Curtsinger said Wednesday that during his settlement negotiations he and city officials discussed McRae and Davis. "There was an agreement," he said. He would not elaborate. Records of the settlement contain no mention of those two men. Curtsinger's attorney, Louis Kwall, said earlier that there was no discussion in the negotiations about firing McRae or Davis, "but there was a discussion concerning their status." Please see JOB Page 3 Norman Hickey says he is watching Curtsinger so he doesn't meddle In police affairs. 45 plants stolen from sctiooS sit More than $350 worth of ligustrum shrubs are missing from North Shore Elementary School after thieves wreaked havoc on the landscaping project there. By TERRI D. REEVES Vmtt Comwpondant ST. PETERSBURG Plant thieves snatched 45 ligustrum plants, a shrub commonly used for hedges, from the grounds of North Shore Elementary School during the Thanksgiving holiday. A work crew mulching the rows of freshly planted shrubs that outline the campus discovered the holes Monday along 34th and 35th avenues N at First Street. The recent landscaping at the school is part of a $1.2-million site-improvement program that includes a new building, new driveways and renovations of the school, which was built in 1927. While the plants are worth about $8 apiece, making the total loss about $360, the theft outraged principal Ken MacKenzie. "The school is just beginning to look gorgeous," he said. "The kids are so proud of the way the school looks, and now this." MacKenzie said he told the children during the morning announcements Tuesday about the theft. Fifth-grader Jimmy Baxter said that when he heard the announcement, he didn't believe it. "I thought he was kidding at first, because Mr. MacKenzie jokes around a lot," he said. "But later I saw where they stole the plants, and it made me really mad. It made me wonder why anyone would do that." IJJiulill. !Hail. 1 1 I f 1 ( v Timet photo KATHLEEN GABBLE Kissy face Skipper, a scarlet macaw, performs with Sunken Gardens trainer Nikki Rulifson. During shows, Skipper, who is known as "the lover of the show," stands on his head, plays basketball and gives kisses. TIMES DIGEST On the run A woman who kidnapped her grandson from his Pennsylvania home In 1990 lived in Gulfport until last month, FBI investigators said Wednesday. Tracy Davis, 59, and her grandson, John Minieka, 11, were featured on a segment of Unsolved Mysteries. They are believed to have fled the area when the program aired. Story, Section B. Senior menus A schedule of meals served at Neighborly Senior Services dining sites and Meals on Wheels is In a calendar on Page 4. Cut it out, paste it on the fridge, and don't forget to watch for menus the first Thursday in January. Correction WTSP-Ch. 10 will air the Maury Povich Show featuring an Indian Rocks Beach man and his daughter who were reunited after more than 28 years at 4 p.m. Friday. An incorrect day was listed in a story Wednesday.

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