Alcohol could be factor in drowning
Authorities on Wednesday identified the victim of a drowning Tuesday on Clearwater Beach and said alcohol is believed to be a factor in the man's death. Joseph J. Craig, 35, of Chicago had been drinking and decided to go for a swim shortly after 4:30 p.m. near the Palm Pavilion Beachside Grill and Bar, Clearwater police said. After other beachgoers found him unresponsive in the water, they brought him to shore and started CPR. Medics took over and Craig was taken to Morton Plant Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Authorities say there are no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death.
Fred Howard Park beach to reopen
The beach at Pinellas County's Fred Howard Park will reopen Dec. 28. The beach and causeway have been closed to the public since Sept. 2, 2008, for bridge and roadway reconstruction. The closure of the causeway and adjoining beach was necessary to replace the aging bridges. The design of the new structures, upgraded to have a lifespan of 75 years, reduces the number of pier supports, increasing the waterway views, and was achieved with a concrete mix designed to combat the extremely corrosive saltwater environment. In addition, a new roadway features wider travel lanes with shoulders and sidewalks on both sides. "This bridge is built to last, so the public's accessibility should be preserved for many years to come," said Pete Yauch, Pinellas County public works director. For more information, visit www.pinellascounty.org.
Christmas parade is Saturday
The Tarpon Springs Christmas parade and associated events will be from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday. The parade route will begin at Alternate 19 and Meres Boulevard, turn right on Lemon Street, left on Ring Avenue, left on Tarpon Avenue and end at Craig Park (Spring Bayou). Motorists should try to avoid the area of Alt. 19 between Meres Boulevard and Orange Street; and Tarpon Avenue between Ring Avenue and Spring Bayou. No parking will be allowed on Alt. 19 or Tarpon Avenue during the parade. For further details, call (727) 938-2849.
Report vandalism of traffic devices
Code inspectors have seen an increase in the defacement of city traffic signs, signal boxes, mast arms and property over the past couple of years. Defacing any traffic control device is a Class III felony, punishable by fines and/or imprisonment. If you see signs that need repair due to graffiti damage, please call (727) 562-4952 or (727) 562-4776. If you see graffiti defacement in the public rights-of-way such as along sea walls or city structures, contact Public Services for removal at (727) 562-4950.