School meeting looks at zoning changes for 906
The Pinellas County School District will hold a public meeting from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday at Countryside High School to discuss proposed zoning changes that will affect about 900 middle and high school students if the School Board okays them later this month. The district says 182 eighth-graders and 724 fifth-graders will find themselves zoned into different schools from what they expected next year. The affected families should have already received letters and phone calls from the district. Dunedin and Palm Harbor high schools would gain 42 and 54 extra students, respectively, while Largo and Tarpon Springs high schools would lose 44 and 96 students. Safety Harbor Middle School would gain 45 students, while Dunedin Highland, Largo, Morgan Fitzgerald, Oak Grove and Palm Harbor middle schools would lose 46, 37, 190, 46 and one student, respectively.
Unusual week for plane spotting
Residents of east Clearwater and Safety Harbor had their windows rattled Tuesday morning by a large, noisy airplane with a UFO-like disc on its back that was making multiple takeoff and landing approaches at St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the plane, an E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System platform, was part of a Canadian unit training with the Coast Guard out of Air Station Clearwater, which is adjacent to the airport. "I'm not privy to why they're here, but I know we're working with them on some SAR (search and rescue) fundamentals," said the station's public affairs officer, Lt. Bill Friday. Friday said the visiting aircraft, including several helicopters, will be operating out of Clearwater for the rest of this week. The plane, with advanced radar and command and control equipment, is one of 68 such aircraft in the world and first saw service in 1977, according to the U.S. Air Force website.
Man charged with abuse of boy, 5
Police say a 26-year-old man went too far as he disciplined a 5-year-old boy for climbing on furniture. Derrell M. Abercrombie, 26, 1201 Seminole Blvd., No. 65, was arrested Monday and charged with felony child abuse. According to an arrest report, the boy was found to have multiple bruises on his middle to lower back. It's not clear from the report how police were notified. When questioned by Largo police, Abercrombie said he spanked the child with his hand after he found the boy climbing on a baby's changing table, the arrest report shows. But a physical examination showed the boy's injuries were consistent with "repeated high impact force injuries with a linear object." The child told investigators that Abercrombie hit him with a belt, the report said. The boy was in Abercrombie's care at the time the injuries occurred, said police, who did not disclose if Abercrombie and the boy are related. On Monday afternoon, Abercrombie was being held without bail in the Pinellas County Jail.
Bird moves to lounge from train signal
Casey Jones has found his new nest behind Trotti's Lounge. The osprey was spotted there about 2 p.m. Monday, three days after his nest was relocated. With the help of PowerTown Line Construction, the Clearwater Audubon Society moved the osprey's nest from a CSX railroad signal arm on Main Street to the new site. "That was a perfect relocation for him," said Barb Walker, advocacy chairwoman for the Audubon Society. The other site was too dangerous, Walker said. Last month, she saw Casey and his new girlfriend swooping into traffic to tend to the old nest.