While We Wait…

I’d like to announce my new YouTube Channel in which I plan to release short videos of news events for Silver Dollar as well as shooting videos of myself and of others at local shooting venues. It is my belief that the videos may have more impact on young shooters and others that might be interested in the shooting sports. I hope you enjoy it, and if you do, please subscribe to the Channel.

I’m planning to update everyone in the near future on the results of the second round of groundwater sampling results to be released, and whether or not ELS will buy the City of Clearwater 425 acre tract of land. The results of the former may impact the later.

We will announce here on the Blog when videos are released, and you can find the Channel by pressing on the link in the right sidebar “For Your Information.” Conversely, you will find a link in the banner picture of the YouTube Channel back to the Blog. It’s located in the lower right corner of the picture.

I expect the news for Silver Dollar may come out at the end of the month, but with all things legal and governmental, we have to expect delays. Stay tuned!

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Tampa Bay Clays Announces Their 3rd Annual Charity Shoot

It is the policy of this blog to support general charity events, individual shooters, and other organizations that support shooting sports. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to visit and meet the coach and team members of the Tampa Bay Clays Youth program as the team practiced international bunker trap at Tampa Bay Sporting Clays in Land O’ Lakes. It was a very rewarding experience to meet some old friends and make new ones as the team practiced this high degree of difficulty venue.

Bunker trap is a tough game to shoot and master as the targets are thrown to ISSF rules that require:

a) Height at 10 m — 1.5 m to 3.0 m with a tolerance of +/- 0.15 m;
b) Angle — maximum 45 degrees left or right; and
c) Distance — 76.0 m +/- 1.0 m (as measured from the front edge of the pit roof)

Targets are thrown at a much higher rate of speed (60+ mph), more extreme angles and at varying heights than American trap. My shooting companion and I shot two rounds of bunker trap as we filled in with the youth practice squads. Coach Joe Milone welcomed us and gave us the general safety rules and principles of this shooting discipline. All the shooters had a great time as we shot under a shaded area that had a large fan to cool us off from the sweltering sun.

I can tell you the targets were set to the ISSF Standards, and they do go the full distance if unbroken. The more experienced shooters on the team were not only breaking the targets on the first shot, but breaking the remaining pieces of target on their second shot. It was amazing to watch them and their high level of concentration and execution of the fundamentals of this shooting game.

Here is the general information for the event. For additional information on the Team and the registration form for the event, please click on this link.

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For those unable to attend the event, they also accept donations to the Youth Team. Here’s some general information on the Tampa Bay Clays Youth Program:

​The Tampa Bay Clays Youth Program, Inc. is proud to be a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization.  As such, we rely on sponsorship, fundraising efforts, and community support for the much needed funding to support our program.  Your sponsorship and charitable donations are fully tax deductible and the money raised goes toward equipment, ammunition, travel expenses, and other team related activities and programs.

Please support them individually, or with a corporate sponsorship, to support the work they are doing with the future shooters that may someday represent the United States in world and Olympic events. I think you will be highly impressed by the high level of shooting proficiency of this team. Our thanks to Coach Milone for assisting us and his dedication to coaching the youth team.

Additional Sampling to be Performed at Silver Dollar

We have received new information from the Florida DEP regarding additional sampling of surface water at Silver Dollar (SD). These samples will be analyzed for lead, pH, and hardness. Sampling will be per Florida DEP standard operating procedures using a peristaltic pump and tubing set 6 inches below the surface of the water body. Sampling should be completed this week.

The aerial photo below indicates the approximate location of the two new sampling sites. These are downstream from the drainage ditch and structures on the east and south side of SD. They are along the west side of Patterson Rd. and just north of the Eagles community.

It is my understanding that the surface water from SD connects with State of Florida waters. This points to why the additional sampling is being required.

Additional Surface Water Sample Sites

We have no news on the variance requested by SD for the construction of the sound fence along the eastern side of the trap line. The date for the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) meeting has come and gone with no action being taken on it. The matter was not on the agenda, nor was the SD legal team in attendance at the swearing in during the beginning of the meeting. Should any determination be made on this issue we will advise readers.

In the mean time, we are now two months away from the October deadline for the purchase of the City of Clearwater property. As we are discovering, many things go on behind the scenes that are not, if at all, revealed in future actions. In my opinion, this is not good governance, but symptomatic of the current state of affairs in government in the United States.

Spotlight On “Trap Concaverde”

Earlier this month, I watched the ISSF World Championships for men’s and women’s skeet. The competition was held at the very well known Trap Concaverde (green basin) shooting range in Lonato (Brescia, Northern Italy). This range is equipped with 12 shooting stands; 8 combined Trap/Double Trap/Skeet, plus 4 Trap/Double Trap only. The Club is situated in the Southern Garda Lake District, 8 km from Desenzano, 15 km from the village of Sirmione, 30 km from downtown Brescia, and 40 km from Verona.

I wanted to bring some attention to American shooters, range owners, and operators of this place as I believe it demonstrates what can be done in a very compact layout close-by to rural and urban centers. From my research, this range is state-of the-art in two areas; first, for noise mitigation, second for lead reclamation. The ranges are oriented to the North/North East, and as you look at the photos, you will note how the range sits in a scooped out area of a hillside.

Let’s look at some photos to point out things that make this place special. The photo below is an aerial view of the placement of the range and surrounding rural area, highways, and other structures. My first impression is how so much shooting area was fitted into such a compact space, yet the range is in harmony with the neighboring space. Note the large amount of plantings inside the shooting area, and on the East and West sides of the range.

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This photo shows a combination Trap/Double Trap/Skeet field. You can see the trap bunker and two skeet houses. Note the enclosure on the neighboring field to the right that protect the trap shooters from sun and rain, and the thick hedge that provides noise mitigation from the muzzle blast for shooters and bystanders on the fields. Behind the field there is additional hedging and trees that have been planted on the concourse and clubhouse areas. This further mitigates the ground level noise and provides an aesthetic appeal for shooters and bystanders.

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This next photo brings some of the detail into closer perspective. Note that the hedging and tree plantings continue down the entire length of the shooting stands. In the upper right corner of the photo, you can see the berm that provides additional noise mitigation of the directional gun noise by deflecting it upward and into the trees behind the berm. The berm has a full-length trough at the bottom to catch the shot pellets as they hit the  covered berm. The pellets simply roll down the covered berm into the trough for removal.

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The final photo is looking out from a skeet shooting position on the combination field. It shows additional detail of the berm with the extension on top of the main berm and tree plantings behind the extension. Note the potted shrubs on the concourse that creates a green welcoming place versus a barren landscape. Lead reclamation does not require excavating large quantities of dirt along with the disturbance to the background, the dust that is generated, and the energy required to move, replace, and sift the pellets out of the earth. Simply remove the lead pellets from the trough, sort, and lubricate them for re- use.

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The purpose of this post was not to criticize any other trap or skeet field, but to show what is possible to do to install a compact shotgun range into its surrounding topography that harmonizes with its neighbors, and is recognized as a world-class shooting facility. I hope it sparks some ideas for American shotgun range owners and operators as they face increasing resistance to their existence from urban and residential development.

In the case of Silver Dollar, many of these ideas were brought up, but both sides rejected them. A lost opportunity for all those involved to create another world-class facility into the Tampa Bay area.

This is my fiftieth post on the Silver Dollar Bulletin. I never dreamed that this number of posts would be possible. And there will be more to follow in the near future. As always, my thanks to all the subscribers and readers of the Blog. Without you this would not be possible. Shoot straight, Tim.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Latest Silver Dollar Updates – 07/18/2019

Currently, we are awaiting the Hillsborough County (HC) Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) decision on the wetland variance that has already been approved by the HC development staff, the Southwest Water Management District (SWFWMD), and the Land Use Hearing Officer (LUHO) on June 04, 2019 under Decision VAR 19-0672. The BOCC Land Use Meeting is scheduled for July 23, 2019.  The BOCC gets the last word for the variance that would allow a single sound fence to be constructed, partially in the wetland area adjacent to the last trap field on the far east side of the trap line. Approval is by no means certain.

Additionally, we are awaiting the lab reports for the latest round of sampling in and around the wetland areas to the east and south of the abandoned 5-stand and skeet fields. When the results are released into the Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP) file, we will advise readers with them. Additional sampling and groundwater wells were constructed to gauge any further contamination of the sampled areas.

There has been no news on the land sale to Silver Dollar (SD) for the 425 acre tract owned by the City of Clearwater. We have heard that this sale needs to be completed by October. If the sale doesn’t conclude, it is possible the land may be let out for bid again. There is evidence that the SD legal team is pushing the DEP process to get under the October deadline. The new sampling results may show what mitigation might be required in using or developing the land.

In the meantime, it has been a quiet summer at SD. With the loss of the eastern ranges, there has been a noticeable drop off of shooting activity. The fencing between the abandoned 5-stand – skeet field and trap line has been knocked down, and the concrete combination trap/skeet walkways and pads has just been removed.

While SD still has opposition from neighbors to the north, the Keystone Civic Association (KCA) appears to be backing away from being involved in zoning issues. KCA has new leadership that is showing signs of being interested in more traditional functions of a civic association, although county commissioner and BOCC chair Pat Kemp, came to a KCA meeting back in May.

We will have more news for readers as it develops.

 

Update to the Theft at the Silver Dollar Golf Clubhouse

I have received the incident report from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office for my public records request about the theft at the Silver Dollar golf clubhouse last week. This report contains many redactions for the following reasons:

  • ACTIVE INVESTIGATION – FS § 119.071(2)(C)1
  • CRIMINAL INTELLIGENCE INFORMATION – FS § 119.071(2)(H)2
  • VICTIM ‐ Pursuant to ARTICLE 1, SECTION 16 of the Constitution of Florida (Marsy’s Law)

Thus, many of the details are omitted in order to continue the active investigation.  Where’s what we do know:

  1. The theft occurred on Saturday, March 16th.
  2. There are two offenses: Burglary and Burglary on a Business – Forced entry.
  3. The Victim is the Silver Dollar Golf Club.
  4. Multiple denominations of cash that add up to approximately $4400.00 were stolen.
  5. No injuries were reported.

Burglary is defined in Florida as the unauthorized entry onto another’s premises or residence with the intention to commit unlawful activities. This incident is likely a second or third degree burglary whether the perpetrator entered the building after closing, or had entered earlier and remained in the building after closing time. If a dangerous weapon was used or there were over $1,000 in damages to the clubhouse building, that would increase the charge to a first degree burglary. We don’t know if there was another person in the clubhouse at the time the offender entered or remained on the premises.

Additional charges could apply if the perpetrator cut power or phone lines, or used “burglary tools.” Burglary tools are any instrument, weapon, or article that could be used to commit burglary e.g., lock picks, hammers, screwdrivers, etc.

Robbery is defined in Florida as the act of intentionally taking property or money from another person without their consent by using force, coercion, threat or intimidation.  There are key differences between burglary and robbery. Here are a few quick examples between the two:

  • Entering a dwelling or property unlawfully? Burglary.
  • Threatening or forcing someone to hand over property without consent? Robbery.
  • Steal a car? Robbery.
  • Steal a television while the owners of the dwelling are asleep? Burglary.
  • Steal a television by threatening the owners of the dwelling with a weapon? …Both.

The penalties available for burglary in Florida depend on the facts and circumstances of the offense. Burglary is a felony offense and carries severe penalties that typically include prison or probation with a fine. The type of building or structure, the manner in which the offense is committed, and the use of a weapon are some of the most important factors in determining the available sentence. We will have to wait until the investigation is completed and the perpetrator found to find out what charges will be brought for this incident.

Break In at Silver Dollar Golf Clubhouse

We have information this evening that a theft occurred last night at the Silver Dollar golf clubhouse. This was confirmed with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s office. Apparently, a hole was cut into the roof of the building, and a large amount of cash was stolen from the daily receipts. Rumor has it that $5,000 was taken. There were no injury’s, and at this time we don’t know if any guns were taken with the cash.

We will have additional information forthcoming as it is released by the Sheriff’s Office. All residents and visitors should take steps to be vigilant, secure your vehicles and property, and call 911 in case of any emergency. If you have any information about the incident, call the Sheriff’s non-emergency number at 813-247-8200.

Be safe and be aware at all times where ever you are.