Deputies start seat belt effort this morning
Don't forget to buckle up this morning. Thanks to a grant from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office will have extra details in the coming months on the lookout for people not wearing seat belts at 23 intersections in the county with a high number of crashes or fatalities. Motorists not wearing their seat belts could face a $116 fine. The first detail is scheduled from 7 to 11 a.m. today at U.S. 19 and Tampa Road in Oldsmar. In 2008, there were 101 crashes and 62 persons reported injured at this intersection, authorities said.
Robbery suspect is found — in jail
A resident who saw surveillance footage of a recent bank robbery on a television news program has led law enforcement officers to the man whose image was in the clip, authorities said Wednesday. Clearwater police didn't have to search far for Jamie Conder, spokeswoman Elizabeth Watts said. He was already in the Pinellas County Jail on unrelated drug charges. Police added a charge of robbery with a deadly weapon Wednesday, and bail was set at $10,150. Watts said Conder, 19, entered Fifth Third Bank at 1150 Cleveland St. on March 17 and approached a teller. He presented a note that indicated he had a gun and demanded money. Conder obtained an undisclosed amount of cash and fled on a mountain bike, police said. The next day, Clearwater police arrested him on a charge of marijuana possession, which was a violation of his probation. Since June 2008, Conder, of 1325 Drew St., Apt. 5, Clearwater, has been arrested six times, online jail records show.
Stauffer site focus of open house
The Environmental Protection Agency will have a community open house this evening to discuss upcoming construction for soil cleanup at the Stauffer Chemical Co. superfund site. The discussion is from 6 to 8 p.m. at Tarpon Springs Public Library, Friends of the Library Meeting Room, 138 Lemon St. Discussion will include an overview of the project to begin in April. For information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call the library at (727) 943-492.
Mural project begins today
Volunteers will paint a mural Saturday on an outside wall of a business in the East Gateway neighborhood, and this particular mural has the city's approval. In fact, it will be the first of three community murals, designed by professional Hispanic artists in partnership with the Pinellas Opportunity Council's Talento 2010 program. The East Gateway Business & Neighbors Association is trying to create a "mural arts district" to stimulate commerce and bring visitors to the area that's about 60 percent Hispanic. Volunteers will wield brushes and rollers in two-hour shifts from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at T-Shirt Warehouse, 1498 Gulf-to-Bay Blvd. The mural, designed by local artist Jorge Vidal, is a nod to the gladiolus farms that operated in the area during the early 1900s. Other activities will include T-shirt tie-dying for kids. For more information, visit www.poc-inc.org or call (727) 562-4626.