Sunday, February 18, 2018
News Roundup

Community news: Clearwater Aquarium fight, Holiday Lights in the Gardens kickoff

Clearwater

Aquarium vote isn't the last word, opponents say

Clearwater voters gave the Clearwater Marine Aquarium a big victory last week in a referendum allowing the aquarium to negotiate with the city on a lease of downtown waterfront property for a $160.5 million new facility.

On Thursday, two days after the polls closed, several members of the opposition addressed the City Council, signaling their intent to keep the fight alive.

Tom Petersen, who has filed a suit seeking to invalidate the referendum, said the tentative agreement between the aquarium and the city undervalues the 5 ½ acres where City Hall now stands.

Instead of $6.6 million, it should be worth $18 million, he said. Petersen based his calculations on the recent sale of a 1-acre site nearby to the Church of Scientology for $3 million.

The memorandum of understanding envisions a 60-year-lease with CMA paying $7.5 million for a new city hall and $250,000 annual payments after the city hall payments are complete.

"It's now your responsibility to protect taxpayers," Petersen told the five-member council during a citizen comment portion of the meeting. The council unanimously approved the agreement in August.

Another opponent, Tom Nocera, said the city should sideline its main negotiator, City Attorney Pam Akin, from the talks because CMA's point men — former Mayor Frank Hibbard and Brian Aungst Jr., an attorney and son of former Mayor Brian Aungst — paint too cozy a picture.

Akin worked with Hibbard and the senior Aungst as city attorney creating "an appearance of impropriety," Nocera said.

Council members didn't respond to Nocera or Petersen, which is usual practice during the citizen comment section. But Mayor George Cretekos couldn't hold his tongue after Joe Corvino, a leading downtown aquarium opponent, sardonically congratulated the council on "the very vigorous campaign you ran on behalf of the CMA."

Cretekos said he wanted to set the record straight. The city didn't spend any money on the campaign, he said. Later, in an email to Corvino, Cretekos clarified his comments, saying the city did spend a few thousand dollars to send out neutral mailers outlining the issue for voters as it has done in past referendums that seek changes in the city's charter.

Artists will help kids add to their dolphin adventure at Harborview Center

The Clearwater Marine Aquarium and the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce are teaming up with area artists to offer guests an art experience. With some coaching from a pro, guests will decorate a 7-inch-tall resin dolphin, which they can then take home. All supplies will be provided: dolphin, paint and paint brushes. A total of $39.95 includes all supplies and entrance to Winter's Dolphin Tale Adventure, located in the Harborview Center at 300 Cleveland St.

Two classes will be held each hour. One class will be for children 5-12 years of age, taught by artist Haley Kukoleck. The other class is for those 13 years or older, taught by artist Vanessa Montenegro.

Go online to SeeWinter.com to see lectures planned for this year. To register, go to seewinter.com/adventure/paint-clearwater-dolphin, or go in person to 300 Cleveland St.

Dunedin

Zoning change proposed for vacant Nielsen property

A citizen group that makes land-use recommendations to the City Commission will hear developers' pitch tonight on proposed new zoning for the former Nielsen Media Research property at 375 Patricia Ave.

The Local Planning Agency meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. at Dunedin City Hall, 542 Main St.

Members will hear updated plans from Wells Fargo, which wants to change the Nielsen property's light-industrial land designation to a category that would accommodate anything from mostly residential to a mixed-use "village" community featuring townhomes above offices, boutiques, restaurants and other retail shops.

The proposed development would also designate a portion of the offices for one of Pinellas' high-wage, targeted cluster industries, such as medical technology or research.

The 23-acre site has been vacant since 2005. Bank and city officials hope a zoning change will attract development and return the property to tax-generating status.

The LPA evaluates impacts on things like the environment and traffic, and compatibility with city code. The City Commission, Pinellas Planning Council, County Commission and Florida's Department of Economic Opportunity would also have to weigh in before the land-use designation can be changed.

Largo

VIP party kicks off Holiday Lights in the Gardens

The Florida Botanical Gardens Foundation will host a VIP preview of the 2013 Holiday Lights in the Gardens on Nov. 22 from 5:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.

Guests will be the first to stroll through this year's display of more than 750,000 twinkling lights and holiday decorations while enjoying live musical entertainment and a tempting array of food and cocktails provided by event sponsors. The rain date is Nov. 23.

"The foundation wants to offer guests a unique way to experience the Holiday Lights event this year while we support our fundraising mission for the gardens," said Terry Ziegler, event coordinator for the Florida Botanical Gardens Foundation. "We look forward to seeing our most-devoted patrons and our newest supporters at this elegant and exciting event."

Space is limited. There is a requested $50 donation per person to attend, with proceeds going to support the Florida Botanical Gardens. Interested persons should RSVP to [email protected] or call (727) 582-2247 by Friday, Nov. 15.

The Holiday Lights in the Gardens will be open from Nov. 29 to Jan. 1 from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. A donation of $2 per person (13 years and older) is recommended. Other events scheduled during the Holiday Lights include a Florida Botanical Gardens Foundation gift and plant sale on Dec. 8 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and a dog parade on Dec. 29 starting at 1 p.m.

The Florida Botanical Gardens is located at 12520 Ulmerton Road in Largo, with an alternate entrance at 12211 Walsingham Road. The gardens remain open from 7 a.m. until dusk every day, with free admission during daylight hours. For more information, call (727) 582-2100.

 
Comments
Survivors of deadly school shooting lash out at Trump

Survivors of deadly school shooting lash out at Trump

PARKLAND, Fla. — Students who escaped the deadly school shooting in Florida focused their anger Sunday at President Donald Trump, contending that his response to the attack has been needlessly divisive. "You're the president. You're supposed t...
Updated: 2 hours ago
From meek to militant: The Florida teachers strike that unsettled a nation and fueled a movement

From meek to militant: The Florida teachers strike that unsettled a nation and fueled a movement

Some teachers left goodbye messages to their students on classroom blackboards. Others cleared their desks.It was Feb. 16, 1968, a Friday, and a sign of what was coming that Monday in Florida: the nation’s first statewide teachers strike.When schools...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Pinellas Park man tries to stop people breaking into his car, is shot in arm

PINELLAS PARK — A man saw people trying to break into his vehicle and chased them away, before one of the attempted burglars shot him in the arm, police said.Alexander Weaver, 28, was at his home on the 6200 block of 106th Avenue N early Sunday morni...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Daytona 500: Dale Earnhardt Jr. enjoying different perspective

Daytona 500: Dale Earnhardt Jr. enjoying different perspective

DAYTONA BEACH – Dale Earnhardt Jr. seems to be enjoying his retirement from racing.NASCAR's most popular driver is back at Daytona International Speedway for today's Daytona 500, but without the pressure of trying to win his sport's biggest rac...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Principal of a pained Stoneman Douglas High just sent a message to his students

Principal of a pained Stoneman Douglas High just sent a message to his students

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High principal Ty Thompson exuded deep emotion and a positive view forward in his first public comments since Wednesday’s mass shooting that killed 17 people.In the two-minute video posted on the school’s website and YouTube,...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Forecast: Record-tying high of 84 today in Tampa Bay

Forecast: Record-tying high of 84 today in Tampa Bay

ST. PETERSBURG — What winter? 10News WTSPThe latest Tampa Bay-area radar 10News WTSPFeels-like temperatures around the Tampa Bay areaIt may still be mid February, but this week will already see plenty of sun...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Deputies: Woman charged with DUI manslaughter hit St. Pete Beach pedestrian

ST. PETE BEACH — Deputies say a driver killed a man walking on a sidewalk and fled the scene before causing a second crash Saturday night.Carolyn Yovan, 51 of St. Pete Beach, now faces felony charges of driving under the influence manslaughter and le...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Here’s how to separate the fund raisers from frauds among gofundme pages

Here’s how to separate the fund raisers from frauds among gofundme pages

Gofundme.com pages proliferated almost as soon as cops took Nikolas Cruz into custody after Wednesday’s 17-death massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Donors must parse the funding pages from the fraudulent.Read More: 17 dead,...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Pinellas Sheriff’s Office accuses 14-year-old of copycat Snapchat school threat

Pinellas Sheriff’s Office accuses 14-year-old of copycat Snapchat school threat

PINELLAS PARK — The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office late Saturday said detectives arrested a 14-year-old boy and accused him of posting a threat to a school on his Snapchat account.Edward Charles Osgood, who attends Lealman Innovation Academy, was a...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Ten things to know about Stormy Daniels

Ten things to know about Stormy Daniels

1. Was editor of her high school newspaper, president of her 4-H club.2. Started stripping at age 17 in Baton Rouge, La.3. Made her first porn film with a girlfriend.4. Took her stage name from the Motley Crue bassist, who named his son Storm, and fr...
Published: 02/17/18