Good news for first-time home buyers
The Housing Finance Authority of Pinellas County has lowered the interest rate on its First Time Homebuyers Program to 2.99 percent.
The 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage program is for individuals living in Pinellas, Pasco and Polk counties who have never owned a home, have not owned a home in the last three years or are veterans. Down payment and closing cost assistance is also available with the Home Key Plus second mortgage.
Borrowers must have a minimum credit score of 640 and are required to take a free home-buyer education class. Details are available at pinellascounty.org/ community/hfa/pdf/first_ mortgage.pdf. Certain income limitations apply. For additional information, call the Housing Finance Authority of Pinellas County at (727) 464-8210.
With pass, youths can ride all summer
Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) offers unlimited transportation for kids 18 and younger with the Summer Youth Haul Pass from now through Aug. 31. Passes are on sale at select PSTA ticket outlets, online at psta.net and at all PSTA customer service centers.
For $35, youths can get unlimited rides all summer on PSTA and the Clearwater Jolley Trolley (clearwaterjolleytrolley.com), excluding routes 100X and 300X to Tampa. Middle school- and high school-age youths will need a school-, government- or PSTA-issued photo ID to use the Summer Youth Haul Pass. PSTA-issued youth photo ID cards can be obtained free of charge at any PSTA customer service center. Call (727) 540-1900 for additional information.
A pet project for young photographers
The Humane Society of Pinellas is holding a photography contest for kids. The contest runs through May 31 and is open to all children between the ages of 6 and 16.
Children can enter by submitting a photo they took of a pet being treated kindly or a pet that is just happy. Prizes will be awarded, and the winners will be featured in the Humane Society's 2014 Celebration of Companionship calendar.
Enter by emailing the photo to Megan@HumanePinellas.org or mailing it to Humane Society of Pinellas, 3040 State Road 590, Clearwater, FL 33759. For more information or an entry form, visit HumaneSocietyofPinellas.org or contact Megan Kempshall at Megan@HumanePinellas.org or (727) 797-7722, ext. 230.
Check out library service
The Clearwater Main Library is rolling out a new online service that will allow patrons with a library card and Internet-enabled device to read and upload the current issue of a wide variety of popular magazines that were once only available in print.
The new service, Zinio for Libraries, will be available through a partnership with RBdigital from Recorded Books, a Maryland company. Patrons will need their library cards and an online password to register.
Publications such as Consumer Reports, Good Housekeeping, National Geographic, O (the Oprah Magazine) and Reader's Digest are just a few of the titles that will be available for upload. The service will also take full advantage of the computer's capability to search on keywords and display video with audio wherever included in the publications.
"Patrons are really enjoying our digital services," said Jen Obermaier, assistant director for Clearwater's library system. "This new service will expand our capabilities to bring popular digital materials to our patrons, which has become one of the key initiatives they tell us they want to see as part of our library of the future."
More information about Zinio and instructions on how to register for the service will be available through the library's website at myclearwater.com/cpl. Telephone support will also be available at (727) 562-4970.
New stores come to Countryside mall
Now that P.F. Chang's restaurant has opened at Westfield Countryside mall, the mall is announcing several new retailers that have opened or will open soon.
• Pandora, a jewelry store, opened last month near the mall's food court.
• United World Soccer, a shop for soccer gear and clothing, will open this summer near Sears.
• Taco Bell will complete the 14-unit food court.
• Seaside Day Spa opened last month on the first level.
• Shalimar Jewelers will open this month near the spa.
Volunteers sought for planting at park
The city is looking for 25 to 30 volunteers, ages 16 and older, to help with a large-scale planting project at the Lake Chautauqua Equestrian Park. The project will begin at 8:30 a.m. June 1.
Participants must wear close-toed shoes and bring a pair of work or gardening gloves. Supervision, tools and supplies will be provided. Students who participate are eligible to receive school service hours. Lake Chautauqua Equestrian Park is at 2312 Landmark Drive. To sign up, visit myclearwater.com/parksvolunteer.
For more information, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (727) 562-4803.