Tropical Storm Debbie has finally moved on, after sitting off the coast of Florida for three days. The storm brought high winds and lots of heavy rain, but not much damage.
Except in Pass-A-Grille.
Pass-A-Grill, a charming beach town that sits on a thin peninsula between the intercoastal waterway and the Gulf of Mexico, was struck by a small tornado. The damage was not as bad as it could have been, and fortunately there were no fatalities, but there was damage all the same, most notably the massive erosion of the beach for which Pass-a-Grill is famous.
Click on all pictures for a larger view
The most disheartening impact of Tropical Storm Debby has been the erosion of the beaches for which Florida is known for. Indian Rocks Beach, Madeira Beach and Sand Key, in addition to Pass-a-Grill, have all had most of their beaches erased by the storm.
Where once there was enough beach for people to park their beach chairs in front of the concrete pier, the Gulf of Mexico has taken it back. This is low tide; at high tide all the beach in this picture will be covered with water.
Sand covers the walkways to the beach, built to protect the fragile sea oats that are part of the beach ecosystem. The storm ripped away miles of sea oat roots, bringing the high tide line much closer than where it once was. The only way to recover the beaches will be through beach replenishment, a time consuming and expensive process.
The owner of this house told me that the storm toppled his brick chimney and ripped away the back porch, but left the political candidate sign in the front yard (below).
That politician must have some serious pull.
Below left: power junction boxes ripped away from the exterior of a house Below right: a section of roof lying in the street
Below: Progress Energy trucks getting getting ready to repair downed power lines and clear obstructions and hazards to electrical wires. Pass-a-Grill was abuzz with the activity of people cleaning up and putting things back together
The most serious damage was to this this house, half of which collapsed into shambles. Miraculously, no one was injured, however the woman who lives here had two cats, one of which remains missing. It's likely that the structure will have to be condemned.
A tree fell on this SUV during the storm; the glass truck was just pulling up as I was walking by.
These two ladies were in hiding during the storm, which they described as terrifying in its intensity. This was the first day they had ventured outside to assess the damage. You can see the impact point of the tree on the passenger side of the windshield
Progress Energy crews working beside an overturned semi trailer
This large marina building, where boats are stored when not in use, sustained heavy damage in the storm, and will have to be substantially rebuilt
The 50st Legion was at the Regal 16 movie theater in Pinellas Park again for the first of two fund raisers for the Stars of Hope charity, this one staffed by Legion members in clone trooper armor, from the Star Wars animated series The Clone Wars.
I provided the photography, and even though there were only four costumes, we raised over two hundred dollars for a good cause!
Next week will be the big one: the Stars of Hope troop, with over thirty members in costume. For a dollar a picture, people can get their pictures taken with movie-accurate Star Wars costumes, and there will also be a Shoot-The-Trooper Nerf gun booth, all for charity.
If you're local to the area you won't want to miss it!
Armored troops get all the action
A young group of Star Wars characters: Boba Fett, Padme, and Anakin Skywalker
Above Left: a clone trooper wearing my ball cap
Above right: Another trooper doing cash register duty
A young fan shows his gratitude. This never gets old, ever.
Below: seven hours in armor is a very long time. Wearing these costumes is tiring, but it was done for a very good cause.
The Tampa Bay Artbooks Project, into which my art was accepted, hosted a fun evening at the St. Petersburg Museum of Art called the Artists' Appreciation Night.
The Tampa Bay Artbooks Project is an iPad app that allows users to buy hundreds of images of original art to view on their iPad, and this night celebrated the second release of art pieces available for the iPad.
Some artists set up their easels and painted during the evening, giving people a chance to see a work in progress, and how it's created
Here's a cartoon sketch I did while I was there:
Art-O-Mat machines are cigarette vending machines that have been converted to sell cigarette-sized pieces of art for five dollars. You used to see cigarette vending machines in bars, hotel lobbies, restaurants, almost everywhere. But with the risks of smoking become more apparent, they were yanked in the 1970s and 1980s. This is a cool way to use these machines for a great purpose.
There are over 90 active machines around the country, with around 400 contributing artists involved in this cool project.
I may see about putting my own art in these!
Learn more aboutArt-O-Mats HEREor by clicking on the banner below.
Visit the Artbook Archive Project by clicking on the banner below:
Magnum Arts is Michael K. Lyman, an artist, photographer and instructor who teaches cartooning & drawing in Pinellas County and is publishing his first graphic novel based on real events from 2011. He is also a member of The 501st Legion, a global Star Wars costuming organization that participates in parades and raises money for charity. See magnumarts.net for more information.