New trial date set for geer in sex abuse case
A judge picked a new date for the sexual battery trial of former Clearwater fire chief Jamie Geer, after Geer's attorney said he could not be ready by next week. Geer had been scheduled to go on trial Tuesday on charges that he sexually abused a young girl for years. The new trial date is April 24. Defense attorney David Parry said he needed more time to review documents he recently received from prosecutors, to conduct pretrial interviews and to finalize witnesses that he may call in Geer's defense. Assistant State Attorney Kelly McKnight objected to the delay. But Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Philip Federico noted the seriousness of the charge and the possibility of a life sentence for Geer, and said, "I don't have much of a choice" but to grant the request. Geer was fired as chief after he was arrested in December 2010 and accused of molesting a girl for nearly a decade. He has been charged with capital sexual battery, lewd or lascivious battery and unlawful sexual activity with a minor. Police accuse Geer of sexually abusing the girl from the time she was 8 or 9 years old until she was 17.
Gun scare prompts school lockdown
Clearwater High was locked down for a short while on Friday morning. Just before 8:30 a.m., Clearwater police received a report that someone had a gun in the area. Officers responded to the scene and found nothing. About 20 minutes later, police informed school officials it was okay to end the lockdown.
City celebrates 125th anniversary
Tarpon Springs will kick off its 125th Anniversary celebration today with a ribbon-cutting at a new 40-space parking lot connecting Tarpon Avenue to Orange Street. Vice Mayor Chris Alahouzos and city cultural director Kathleen Monahan will begin the event at 11 a.m., followed by other speakers. The city built the new parking spaces, park benches and public bathrooms on a former vacant lot at 143 Tarpon Ave.
Event features fine scale models
The Suncoast Center for Fine Scale Modeling will host an open house today for its newly remodeled building featuring the expanded Sundance Central Railroad as the main attraction. In addition there are fine scale models from around the world, including military types to a doll house. The free event is 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at the center, 2645 Success Drive, Odessa. Go to sundancecentral.org for more information.