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Clearwater fire union ratifies labor contract

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CLEARWATER

firefighters ratify contract; city vote is next

Clearwater's fire union has voted to ratify its contract with the city, ending three years of negotiations. Voting 134-39 last week, members of the International Association of Firefighters Local 1158 agreed to change the way "step" raises are paid and sunset the raises when the contract ends. They also agreed to bargain over pensions. Years of tense talks between union leaders and city officials resulted in a tentative agreement last month, but there was no sure sign then that union members would agree with their leaders. Members have rejected five of six agreements brought to them over the last decade. This ratification is the union's first since 2005. The union represents Clearwater's 180 firefighters, paramedics and lieutenants. The City Council will likely approve the contract Thursday night. "There are things to love and hate on both sides of this agreement," Mayor Frank Hibbard said, "which means it's a huge success."

Broken gas line triggers evacuation

About a dozen people were evacuated from their homes in a neighborhood off Drew Street after a contractor broke a natural gas line Tuesday morning. Clearwater Fire Rescue responded to 1192 Browns Court after getting a call about 10:20 a.m. Eleven people from nearby duplexes were evacuated for 20 minutes. No one was injured. Clearwater Gas capped the line and residents were allowed to return home.

DUNEDIN

Arrest in beating of liquor store clerk

Authorities said Tuesday that tips from the public helped them identify a man accused of trying to steal two bottles of rum, then hitting a liquor store clerk on July 4. Pinellas deputies arrested Archie W. Higgins, 36, of 1247 Little John Lane in Dunedin, on Friday, two days after they released a video of the incident. Higgins was charged with strong arm robbery and a probation violation. According to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, a man went into Luekens Liquors at 944 Patricia Ave. and wrapped rum in a T-shirt. A clerk followed him into the parking lot after he left without paying. The man knocked her to the ground. Citizens who saw the video identified the man as Higgins. Deputy Karl Gwynne also recognized him, the Sheriff's Office said.

LARGO

Business seeking senior caregivers

The Pinellas chapter of Home Instead Senior Care, a business that offers seniors companionship, meal preparation, personal care, light housekeeping and errand running, will hold a grand opening of its training center from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today. The center, 7250 Ulmerton Road, Suite E, Largo, will hold training classes for caregivers as well as classes on Alzheimer's disease and dementia, grief counseling and care techniques. Applications for home care aides will be accepted. Applicants don't need a degree or vocational training. Patience and understanding are required. For information, call (727) 799-1400

Clearwater fire union ratifies labor contract 07/19/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 19, 2011 8:45pm]

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