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Clearwater and North Pinellas news briefs

Officials say the Pier 60 rate increase will pay for two new full-time employees in the sales shop.

JIM DAMASKE | Times (2012)

Officials say the Pier 60 rate increase will pay for two new full-time employees in the sales shop.

Tarpon Springs

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Businesswoman to run for office

Rea Sieber has filed to run for the Tarpon Springs City Commission.

Head of the Sponge Docks Merchants Association, Sieber organizes downtown events, such as the Hippie Fest Food Truck Rally scheduled for Saturday. She can usually be found at one of her two businesses on Dodecanese Boulevard: Wine at the Docks and Rea Sunshine, which sells gifts, sandals, jewelry and local art.

Among other volunteer work, Sieber is on the city's Budget Advisory Committee.

She said she could bring a knowledge of Tarpon Springs' business community to the commission.

"As the president of the merchants association, I know many business owners and am familiar with their needs and concerns," she said. "I believe I can continue my involvement and be of even more help as a commissioner."

Sieber will run for Seat 2, now held by Commissioner Susan Slattery, who is termed out. Chris Hrabovsky is also in the race, and the election is in March.


Fee to walk on Pier 60 doubles to $1

The fee for adults to walk on Pier 60 on Clearwater Beach will double to $1 on Oct. 1, city officials told City Council members this week.

The 50-cent charge to walk out on the pier hasn't been raised in decades, said Gordon Wills, the Marine and Aviation Department's operations manager.

"We've been the cheapest for years. It was time to do it," Wills said Tuesday.

Babies and toddlers will still be allowed to gambol over the Gulf of Mexico for free, Wills said.

The increased revenue, expected to be between $50,000 and $60,000, will help pay for two new full-time employees in the Pier 60 sales shop. They're needed to keep the shelves stocked. Strong sales of souvenirs, concessions and bait prompted the hiring, Wills said.

Visitors to Pier 60 will have lighter pockets, Vice Mayor Paul Gibson said. "Now they won't have to carry change," he quipped.


School switches back to old busing map

The Pinellas County School District has for now backed off a mapping change that could have forced dozens of San Jose Elementary students to cross a busy five-lane Dunedin road as they walked to and from school.

Dunedin city leaders raised a ruckus after district officials determined last winter that decades-old computer software had used the wrong entrance to calculate students' distances from school. Correcting the error placed about 50 San Jose pupils within the two-mile walk zone, making them ineligible for busing, district officials said.

The school district said it couldn't afford to bus the students because the change meant the Florida Department of Education would no longer reimburse the district. Dunedin city commissioners said they shouldn't have to bear the cost.

Citing safety concerns, the city and school district joined forces to urge the DOE to deem the intersection of State Road 580 and Main Street/Bass Boulevard hazardous.

School resumes Monday. District spokeswoman Melanie Marquez Parra said the district has decided to return to its original map calculation — again making the students eligible for busing and the district eligible for state reimbursement — while officials continue to pursue a hazard designation.

Rates go up to tie boat at marina

Slip rates will increase Oct. 1 for boaters who dock at the Dunedin Marina. While all boaters will continue paying a flat rental fee of $129.50 a month to cover marina operations, city commissioners unanimously voted to generate thousands of dollars for marina improvements by raising the additional rate boaters are charged based on varying slip sizes.

Under the new rate structure, the monthly fee for the marina's 173 recreational slips will go up 3 1/2 cents per square foot, and the city's 12 commercial slips will cost 4 cents more per square foot. That translates to a monthly hike of $5.39 for the smallest slips (144 square feet) and $44.94 a month for the largest slips (1,200 square feet). Officials say the move will generate about $35,000 for ongoing seawall renovations, future dredging and other projects that the city pays for out of its marina capital fund. The Marina Advisory Committee endorsed the increase.

Dunedin's last slip rate increase was in October 2010, when fees increased $20.


St. Petersburg College to help men succeed

St. Petersburg College will host free lunches where male students can connect and learn how SPC can help them succeed at every step — from registration to graduation.

The North Pinellas luncheons will be from noon to 2 p.m. Thursday on the Clearwater campus, 2465 Drew St., in building ES 104, and from noon to 2 p.m. Aug. 22 on the Tarpon Springs campus, 600 Klosterman Road, in FA 132.

You must make a reservation by today by

Food bank seeks restaurant oil donations: The RCS Food Bank is looking for restaurants to donate their discarded cooking oil that the Clearwater-based pantry can use to fuel its new environmentally friendly delivery truck. RCS last year used the truck to distribute nearly 2 million pounds of USDA-donated food across Pinellas County. However, the food bank recently collaborated with Green My Fleet, a local alternative fuel business, which converted the delivery truck from diesel to bio-fuel — used cooking oil that doesn't meet the standard for human consumption.

In addition to helping businesses re-purpose their waste and "green" their operations, officials say donating used oil to RCS will help the pantry cut fuel costs and reinvest the savings in additional food purchases.

For more information, contact CJ Crooks, director of development, at (727) 584-3528 or

Clearwater and North Pinellas news briefs 08/13/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 13, 2013 4:53pm]
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