General Electric to bring 263 manufacturing jobs
As anticipated, General Electric is bringing 263 manufacturing jobs to Clearwater and spending $49 million to turn a current operation here into a national "Center for Excellence."
The local GE subsidiary, Instrument Transformers Inc., has been at 1907 Calumet St. in Clearwater for 28 years and has 436 employees.
Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos, who credited the city's tax exemption program for helping lure GE, said the news "shows that we can compete for high-quality jobs."
As the Times first reported in September — when a decision was still pending — union members at the Fort Edward facility in New York blasted GE for proposing moving jobs to Florida as a wage-cutting move. GE said it also considered other sites in the United States and abroad. The Fort Edward plant makes electric capacitors — devices that store energy. The Clearwater facility currently makes low- and medium-voltage transformers.
City Council races turn into three-way contests
Both City Council races are now likely three-way contests as a 28-year-old pastor has announced his candidacy against Seat 4 incumbent Bill Jonson.
Konrad McCree Jr., a pastor at Simply Kingdom Ministeries, a nondenominational church that he describes as having about 100 members, also works as a senior business analyst at WellCare Health Plans Inc.
He said he decided to enter politics because the City Council isn't attuned to the interests of young people.
"Unfortunately, as times change, the issues change. The City Council — it's always the same faces, the same people," McCree said. "I'd like to shake the City Council up a little bit, too."
More attention needs to be paid to affordable housing and keeping working- and middle-class citizens in Clearwater, McCree said.
Jonson and David Allbritton have already announced for the seat. McCree's entry "makes things more difficult for me and for him in a three-way race with an incumbent," said Allbritton, who is the chairman of the Downtown Development Board.
Jonson said he was "just doing my thing. Come December, we'll see who is in the race."
Candidates for city office must get at least 250 signed petition cards to the city clerk's office by mid December.
The race to replace term-limited Vice Mayor Paul Gibson already has three aspirants, former City Council member Hoyt Hamilton, military veteran Jon Paul Rosa and pawn shop owner Morton Myers.
The election is March 11.
Police collecting clothing, cash for kids
The Tarpon Springs Police Department is accepting gift donations for its Christmas program.
Police are asking for unwrapped gifts that will be given to children ages 5 through 14 living in Tarpon Springs.
New clothing, shoes and underwear, as well as cash donations, will be accepted and can be dropped off at the department at 444 S Huey Ave.
Checks should be made payable to "Tarpon Springs Police Department Cops/Kids Program."
Gifts will be accepted through Dec. 20. Monetary donations will be accepted any time.
For more information, contact officer Albin Quinones at (727) 934-4800.
Food, toy donations wanted for families
Tarpon Springs Fire Rescue is accepting nonperishable foods that will be donated to families in need during the holidays.
Residents can drop off foods throughout the city, including at city hall, public safety building, public library, recreation center, and the Stonehenge and Tarpon Shores mobile home parks. Unwrapped toys will also be accepted. For more information, call Tarpon Springs Fire Rescue at (727) 938-3737.
Volunteers sought for Marina committee
The city of Dunedin is looking for residents interested in volunteering on the Marina Advisory Committee. The committee's job is to make recommendations that assist the City Commission in the operation of the Marina as a self-sufficient enterprise. Members meet the third Monday of each month at 5:15 p.m. in the Harbormaster's Office at the Dunedin Marina.
Fill out an application online at DunedinGov.com. For more information, call Sharon Toner at (727) 298-3035.
Donate food, gifts
Dunedin's Operation Twinkle is collecting nonperishable food, gift cards and new toys for charity through Dec. 20. To donate, drop off items in the lobby of City Hall, 542 Main St., or Solid Waste, 1070 Virginia St., from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
There will also be a Christmas card to sign at each location.
The items will be delivered to a local charitable organization selected by Dunedin's Social Services Committee. For more information, call (727) 298-3001.