Resolution on offshore drilling delayed
City commissioners voted Thursday to postpone until January a resolution opposing offshore drilling, saying statewide protesting and political maneuvering had obscured the facts of drilling's hazards and benefits. Vice Mayor Julie Scales supported the resolution, which cites the potential for catastrophic damage to the marine ecosystem and the local tourism industry if a drilling accident were to dump oil or pollution into the Gulf of Mexico. "This is Florida's biggest asset — its coastline," Scales said. "It needs to be preserved at all costs." Mayor Dave Eggers and Commissioner Dave Carson said, however, that debate over the controversial drilling had turned to emotional bickering. Representatives weighing the issue in Tallahassee, Carson said, needed to take a "responsible, adult approach to satisfy our energy needs." He added, "it's tough to make a decision with so much biased information." St. Petersburg, Tampa, Clearwater, Largo, Safety Harbor and a government council of 11 Pinellas coastal cities have passed similar resolutions opposing offshore drilling.
City settles code enforcement suit
Sea Sea Riders co-owner Selviye Tzekas will pay the city $5,000 to settle a code enforcement lawsuit stemming from neglect at one of her Dunedin properties. The city sued Tzekas in June for what code enforcement officials said were maintenance violations at a vacant property on Hancock Street and Broadway Boulevard appraised at $420,000. Commissioners approved of Tzekas' proposed settlement after discussing it behind closed doors Thursday night.
Secretary of State honors Main Street
Florida Secretary of State Kurt S. Browning recently named Old Palm Harbor Main Street as the Florida Main Street Community of the Month. "Old Palm Harbor Main Street represents the quiet history of some of Florida's small towns," he said in a statement. "The application of a modern approach to preservation has enabled Old Palm Harbor Main Street to retain its historic character while encouraging a diverse and thriving downtown." Since 1999, nearly $5 million in public and private funds have gone toward downtown revitalization and rehabilitation. The town also gained 16 new businesses and 112 new jobs.
Mike Pounds was the firefighter-paramedic pictured with Santa Claus as part of a story about the Safety Harbor Fire Department bringing some holiday cheer Thursday to preschools and nursing homes. Pounds' first name was incorrect in two photo captions.