Tuesday, April 24, 2018
News Roundup

North Pinellas community news briefs


Memorial in park will honor late official

The public is invited to join city commissioners, family and friends as Dunedin dedicates a memorial in honor of former City Manager John R. Lawrence.

Lawrence, who earned the designation as Dunedin's longest-serving city manager with 21 years of service, died in 2012.

The city added his name to downtown's Pioneer Park, where a memorial has been placed in the southeast corner.

The ceremony is set for 3 p.m. Sunday at the park, at 420 Main St. and Douglas Avenue. Call (727) 298-3001 for information.

City okays PR plan, soccer agreement

The City Commission last week unanimously approved:

•A contract that will steer $50,000 over two years to Aqua Marketing & Communications Inc. The St. Petersburg public relations firm will partner with local groups to promote Dunedin's new brand and drum up media exposure that attracts tourists and new residents.

•A three-year license agreement with Dunedin Stirling Soccer Club for continued use of the Jerry Lake Recreation Complex through May 31, 2017. The fee for recreational players will remain $10, but the charge for competitive players will rise to $30 for city residents and $60 for non-residents.

For information or video of the meeting, go online to dunedingov.com.

Listen in on discussion about new City Hall

Residents are invited to listen in as the city staff discusses and ranks proposals submitted by developers interested in building a new City Hall.

The meeting is set for 9 a.m. Tuesday in the conference room at the current City Hall, 542 Main St.

City leaders want to consolidate government services that are now spread among several buildings into one, as well as possibly sell a nearby city-owned parking lot to a developer who would erect a mixed-use complex with a parking garage.


Prehistoric canoe set for 2015 public debut

A 1,000-year-old canoe found buried in the mud at Weedon Island in 2011 has been removed from its preservation tank after a three-year soak.

Carved from a single pine tree, it is the only saltwater marine canoe found in Florida. At over 40 feet long, it had to be cut into sections to be safely removed and placed in the tank.

The canoe sections were removed this month and will air dry for about six months. It will be reassembled for display at the Weedon Island Preserve Cultural and Natural History Center, tentatively by next spring.


Education agency has a new leader

Seven months after ousting its executive director, the Early Learning Coalition has selected someone familiar to lead the agency.

The coalition's board voted last week to hire Lindsay Carson, deputy director under Janet Chapman, who was fired last October.

Carson joined the coalition about five years ago, and the board was impressed by her knowledge and performance, chairwoman Julie Daniels said.

In six months, according to Daniels, Carson has erased a $1.7 million deficit from a budget of about $49 million by cutting costs, not services, and finding other funding sources. The coalition has begun to enroll from its waiting list of roughly 2,000 children, Daniels said.

Chapman was fired after the board learned that the agency returned $2.4 million in unspent state and federal funds intended to lower the cost of day care for poor families.

Chapman is suing the coalition and Daniels, claiming the board violated the state's whistleblower law by firing her. The suit says Daniels ramped up a campaign to fire Chapman after she filed an ethics complaint alleging that Daniels used her position to secure child care for a friend. Daniels declined to comment.

Tony Marrero, Times staff


Relay for Life set for Largo Central Park

The American Cancer Society's Relay for Life of Largo will be held in Largo Central Park, 101 Central Park Drive, beginning at 6 p.m. May 30. A candlelight vigil will be held at nightfall to honor cancer survivors, caregivers, and to remember those lost to cancer. The event, with people taking turns walking, running or otherwise circling around a track relay-style to raise funds to fight cancer, was postponed from earlier this month. For information, visit relayforlife.org/index.


Office chair races and more at Tech Olympics

The inaugural Clearwater Tech Olympics will be held today from 3 to 6 p.m. in downtown Clearwater.

Organized by the Clearwater Tech Alliance, the street party will feature craft beer trucks, food trucks and events such has bean bag toss, office chair races, remote-control helicopter contests and a Twitter obstacle course, said Jason Stanard, co-founder of GreatCircle Studios, a Clearwater tech company.

The free public event is designed to raise the profile of Clearwater's tech industry, which now boasts 830 workers, Stanard said.

The 600 block of Cleveland Street will be closed and Station Square Park will also be used for the festivities, he said.

Days before graduation, crash kills Lakewood High senior, injures two others

Days before graduation, crash kills Lakewood High senior, injures two others

ST. PETERSBURG — Caps and gowns were in the future for Bryson Welton-Williams and his two friends.Then came Tuesday’s horrific car crash.The three 18-year-old Lakewood High School seniors drove off from school a few minutes early, just 22 days away f...
Updated: 22 minutes ago
SRO being investigated in Pasco County for arrest of student

SRO being investigated in Pasco County for arrest of student

LAND O’LAKES — A school resource officer at Sunlake High School is under investigation after he tried to take a female student into custody on Tuesday, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.School officials asked the SRO remove the student f...
Updated: 26 minutes ago
Teen killed after SUV runs red light; man who fled scene captured

Teen killed after SUV runs red light; man who fled scene captured

NEW PORT RICHEY — A 17-year-old girl was killed Tuesday when her car was hit by a sport-utility vehicle that ran a red light, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.One of the occupants of the SUV who ran from the crash scene was captured hours late...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Softball: Haley Murphy, East Bay back in top form

Softball: Haley Murphy, East Bay back in top form

PLANT CITY — East Bay senior Haley Murphy had to take a few games off early this season to give the flaring tendinitis in her left knee a rest.When Murphy did come back around midseason, East Bay coach Glenn Rodriguez eased her into the fl...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Sarasota student, family apologize for racist ‘promposal’

Sarasota student, family apologize for racist ‘promposal’

The family of the 18-year-old Sarasota high school student under fire for the racist prom proposal he sent out on social media this weekend has publicly apologized for their son’s actions.They also said that as a result of his actions, he will not at...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Softball: Boca Ciega gets a shot at defending district champ

DUNEDIN — Standing in centerfield during her team's Class 6A-9 district semifinal Tuesday night, Boca Ciega's Mia Blasingane had one dominating thought: "We want Tarpon Springs real bad. I was saying that to myself. I want to see Tarpon Springs...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Softball: Alonso knocks off defending state finalist PHU in 9A-8 semifinals

PALM HARBOR — To get an idea of just how tough the competition is in Class 9A, District 8, consider that there has been a different tournament champion each of the past three seasons.All three — Newsome (2015), Alonso (2016) and Palm Harb...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays Journal: On the early rainout, pitching plans, medical matters, more

Rays Journal: On the early rainout, pitching plans, medical matters, more

BALTIMORE – If the Rays were going to get rained out Tuesday, they were happy  the Orioles made the decision at a good hour, around 5 p.m."I think they probably did the right thing in the fact that they knew there's a bunch of rain coming,...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Carlos Gomez says he was guilty of only one thing in Sunday’s epic celebration

Carlos Gomez says he was guilty of only one thing in Sunday’s epic celebration

BALTIMORE – Carlos Gomez is perfectly willing to explain the specific elements that went into his epic celebration tour around the bases following Sunday's walkoff home run.The bat flip and raised arms were his initial reaction to how well he h...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Career Q&A: Disillusioned with grind of telecommute

Career Q&A: Disillusioned with grind of telecommute

Q: I have become very disillusioned with my telecommuting job. I accepted this position about a year ago because I liked the idea of working from home. However, I now have so many assignments that I can barely keep up. I was recently given a huge pro...
Updated: 2 hours ago