North Pinellas news briefs for Jan. 12

Safety Harbor Mists of Tampa Bay The sun burns off the fog over Old Tampa Bay by the Safety Harbor Pier as two fishermen look for bait Friday morning.

JIM DAMASKE | Times

Safety Harbor Mists of Tampa Bay The sun burns off the fog over Old Tampa Bay by the Safety Harbor Pier as two fishermen look for bait Friday morning.

Clearwater

New Walmarts open Wednesday

Two new Walmart stores will open Wednesday in Clearwater and Largo.

Walmart will open a new supercenter at 2677 Roosevelt Blvd. next to U.S. 19 in Largo, and a new Walmart Neighborhood Market at 2171 Gulf-to-Bay Blvd. in Clearwater.

At both stores, the public is invited to these events:

8 a.m. Wednesday: Shoppers can see the store for the first time when the doors open at 8 a.m., following a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony at 7:30 a.m.

Noon to 3 p.m. Saturday: Neighbors are invited to stop by, meet the store manager and enjoy a celebration with face painting, cupcake decorating and free food samples.

Coalition speaks on two hot issues

The Clearwater Neighborhoods Coalition voted Wednesday to support two hot-button issues involving public transportation and flood insurance.

President Carl Schrader asked the group, made up of city neighborhood and homeowner associations, to make its voice heard on the recent increase in flood insurance rates after the federal Biggert-Waters Act went into effect in October. The law removes subsidies for homeowners in flood plains, leading to hikes of thousands of dollars per year in insurance premiums.

About 50,000 homeowners in Pinellas County are affected.

The organization also backed the Greenlight Pinellas initiative, which will be on the November ballot. The plan would create a 1-cent sales tax to expand bus service countywide and build a light-rail system.

Schrader also announced that the group would hold a forum for the five candidates running for Clearwater City Council in the March 11 election. The forum will take place at the Salvation Army's Joy Center, 1521 Druid Road, this Wednesday from 7 to 9 p.m.

Court Street road work is beginning

Various lanes of Court Street from Missouri to Highland avenues will be under construction now through May 6, causing lane closures, delays and congestion.

Contractors for the Florida Department of Transportation will be resurfacing the road and upgrading the pedestrian signals and sidewalks.

A detour is in place, and alternate routes include Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard, Cleveland Street and Myrtle Avenue.

Dunedin

City Commission invites public to LDO workshop

Residents are invited to sit in this week on a city workshop where the Dunedin City Commission will discuss possible changes to the city's land dedication ordinance and design review process for new developments.

The LDO talk will focus on a city requirement that housing developers building new projects either include green space or contribute to a city parks fund. Some commissioners and residents have complained that developers are discouraged from doing business due to stringent park size requirements and high LDO fees.

The design review discussion will assess whether commissioners want to relax rules on how many public hearings are required for certain new development projects and which require staff approval only.

The public workshop is set for 9 a.m. to noon Tuesday at City Hall, 542 Main St.

Frenchy's Outpost Bar closes for renovations

Starting Monday, Frenchy's Outpost Bar and Grill, 466 Causeway Blvd., will be closed roughly eight weeks for renovations.

Spokeswoman Jen Carlisle said the revamp will mean a new kitchen, seating areas, deck and signage for the restaurant, which assumed operation of the former Island Outpost restaurant in June.

"We're not straying too far off (from the current look). We're just keeping it more in line with our brand, with our decor, with the casual beach feel," she said. "Construction's never 100 percent, but our goal is to be back open by early March."

The overhaul had originally been scheduled for last fall, but Carlisle said design and permitting took longer than expected. Frenchy's main draw is outdoor seating, and the plan is to quickly complete renovations in time for patrons to enjoy Florida's spring weather, she said.

Frenchy's will post construction updates online at facebook.com/Frenchysoutpost or frenchysonline.com.

Dunedin to celebrate sister city anniversary

In celebration of Dunedin's 50th anniversary of its sister city relationship, the Dunedin Historical Museum is planning a trip to Stirling, Scotland.

The "Tale of Two Sister Cities Tour," set for June 24 to July 3, will feature two nights in Edinburgh, four nights in Stirling and two nights in Glasgow.

Travelers will attend a re-enactment marking Stirling's 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn, a decisive victory in the country's war for independence from England; join local Stirling dignitaries for a gala dinner; witness the unveiling of a Dunedin exhibition at the Stirling Smith Art Gallery and Museum; visit the medieval Rosslyn Chapel and the St. Andrews golf club, castle and cathedral; tour the Blair Athol Distillery and Castle; and enjoy a cruise on the Loch.

The $2,495 cost for historical society members and $2,695 for non-members covers airfare, hotels, meals and admission/tour fees. Full payment is due by Feb. 28.

For more information, contact the historical society's George Nigro at (727) 686-6750 or geornig@aol.com, or Mary Kolb at (727) 733-3498 or mkolb@gotravel.com.

Oldsmar

Tree recycling ends Monday

You've got only two more days to take advantage of the city's Christmas tree recycling service. After you've removed all lights and decorations, drop off the tree either today or Monday between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. at R.E. Olds Park, 107 Shore Drive W (across from Shore Boulevard). For more information, visit myoldsmar.org.

North Pinellas news briefs for Jan. 12 01/10/14 [Last modified: Friday, January 10, 2014 6:31pm]

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