Sunday, March 18, 2018
News Roundup

Clearwater and North Pinellas news briefs

Tarpon Springs

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 [email protected]

Cirque du Soleil performer dies after fall during Tampa performance

Cirque du Soleil performer dies after fall during Tampa performance

An acrobat who fell some 20 feet during a Tampa Cirque du Soleil performance Saturday night has died from his injuries. Around 9:52 p.m. during the Saturday Volta show, veteran aerialist Yann Arnaud lost his grip on an aerial ring and fell to the st...
Updated: 16 minutes ago
Rays, Andriese serve as hosts for hopeful Heart Gallery adoptee

Rays, Andriese serve as hosts for hopeful Heart Gallery adoptee

RHP Matt Andriese was the tour guide Sunday as the Rays hosted a 10-year-old boy, Joshua, from The Heart Gallery, which works to find adoption matches for foster kids.Joshua had his own locker in the clubhouse, hung out on the field during batting pr...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Updated: 3 hours ago
Some wanted Florida suspect committed in 2016

Some wanted Florida suspect committed in 2016

MIAMI — Officials were so concerned about the mental stability of the student accused of last month’s Florida school massacre that they decided he should be forcibly committed.But the recommendation was never acted upon.A commitment under the law wou...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Rays option Banda, Stanek to Triple-A in reducing spring roster to 36

Rays option Banda, Stanek to Triple-A in reducing spring roster to 36

The Rays narrowed the field for jobs in their eight-man bullpen, optioning newly acquired LHP Anthony Banda and hard-throwing RHP Ryne Stanek to Triple-A.Those moves were part of a hefty Sunday morning cut as the Rays reassigned seven others to reduc...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Trump rails against Mueller investigation, dismisses McCabe’s notes as ‘Fake Memos’

Trump rails against Mueller investigation, dismisses McCabe’s notes as ‘Fake Memos’

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump fired off angry tweets Sunday morning railing against the Justice Department special counsel’s Russia investigation and attacking the integrity of former FBI director James B. Comey and his former deputy, Andrew Mc...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Pinellas lieutenant terminated after DUI charge

Pinellas lieutenant terminated after DUI charge

LARGO — A Pinellas lieutenant was fired after she was charged with driving under the influence, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office reported.Christi Ruhtz, 41, was first hired by the agency in December of 1998 and was working as lieutenant in the Pu...
Updated: 9 hours ago
For starters: Rays vs. Tigers, 1:05, with Archer on the mound

For starters: Rays vs. Tigers, 1:05, with Archer on the mound

UPDATE. 10:18: Rays OF Mallex Smith said his tight right hamstring is feeling better and he will ramp up activity this week to get ready for the March 29 opener. Manager Kevin Cash said they hope to see him in a minor-league game on Tuesday, and that...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Pasco deputies: Hudson man shot, injured

HUDSON — Someone shot a man, causing non-life threatening injuries, Sunday morning on Fawn Drive, according to Pasco deputies.The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office responded to the 10700 block about 6:15 a.m. and took the victim, a 37-year-old man, to a ...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Hail, yeah, Michigan wins on 28-footer at buzzer to make Sweet 16

Hail, yeah, Michigan wins on 28-footer at buzzer to make Sweet 16

WICHITA, Kan. — Michigan freshman Jordan Poole drained a 28-foot 3-pointer at the buzzer after Houston squandered a chance to lock up a spot in the Sweet 16, giving the third-seeded Wolverines a heart-stopping 64-63 victory in the second round ...
Published: 03/18/18