Partnership registry gets city's support
The Dunedin City Commission has thrown its unanimous support behind a countywide domestic partnership registry that Pinellas County commissioners will discuss at their meeting Tuesday. The registry would allow unmarried, co-habitating adults access to the same benefits as married couples, such as hospital visits, health decisions and arrangements surrounding child care, adult guardianship or death. Commissioners said a countywide registry would be more beneficial than one that simply applies to Dunedin because some residents might work elsewhere in the county. Commissioner Ron Barnette said the registry "describes squarely the nature of the community we live in. It's just another blow against discrimination."
Group wedding set for Valentine's Day
Once again, Pinellas County clerk of court Ken Burke will marry couples in a group wedding ceremony on Valentine's Day at the Wedding Garden at the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo. This is the seventh year the Pinellas clerk's office will host the event, which has become a county tradition. Forty couples got married during last year's ceremony. They were treated to musical serenades, and they shared wedding cake and refreshments provided by local sponsors. Burke has waived the normal $30 fee to perform the marriage. However, standard marriage license fees still apply. To participate, couples must sign up at any Pinellas County clerk's office by Feb. 1 (visit pinellasclerk.org to find yours). The ceremony is 11 a.m. Feb. 14.
Bus service sets ridership record
The 2012 holidays ushered in another month of record-setting ridership for the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority. Estimates indicate that the bus service provided 1,128,221 rides in December, an 8 percent jump over December 2011 and an all-time record for the month.