Sheriff's office busts sergeant down to deputy
Did the lure of the World Series prove too much for Sgt. Robert Haimes? An internal affairs review by the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office found that Haimes took time twice while on duty to watch the Series at a relative's house. On Oct. 22, he took off 1 1/2 hours. On Oct. 26, he took off 31/2 hours. The report, released Friday, says he watched Game 1 and Game 4 of the World Series. The investigation found that between August and November, Haimes left work early seven times without telling his supervisor or noting his departure with the proper paper work. Haimes, 47, who joined the agency in 1995, received a suspension of 80 hours and demotion to the rank of deputy. "I'm disputing some of the facts, and I'm going to appeal this," Haimes said Friday.
Caretaker charged with credit fraud
A caregiver for an elderly woman in Largo is accused of stealing more than $2,500 from the woman's credit card account. Victoria Fenton, 39, who worked for Visiting Angels elder care, was arrested Thursday morning. Largo police said she made five ATM withdrawals with her client's credit card totaling $1,675. Fenton is also accused of making three purchases from Best Buy for a total of $843.11. The victim, police said, does not remember any of the purchases. Police said that after Fenton was confronted with the charges, she gave back the property purchased with the credit card. Reached on her phone Friday, Fenton said: "It's not true." She faces one felony count of fraudulent use of a credit card and was released from jail Thursday.
Ribbon-cutting opens new trail
City officials will cut the ribbon for the grand opening of a new Hammock Park trail at 10 a.m. today, then the Friends of the Hammock will lead tours up the trail through noon. The trail goes through a new 5-acre parcel, the Harris tract, with a view of Lake SueMar. Tours start at the park bridge south of Harvard Street, off Michigan Avenue. If you are not joining a tour, another entrance to the new trail is off McCarty Street, where it intersects with Patricia Avenue.
Wine tasting marks Jewish holiday
In honor of Tu B'Shevat, a holiday known as the New Year for Trees, a holiday wine tasting will be held at the Pinellas County Jewish Day School, 1775 S Highland Ave., Clearwater. The event will take place from 7:30 to 10 p.m. Feb. 7. Wine expert Victoria Baker will discuss the nuances of wine tasting. Wines will be paired with food ranging from savory to sweet. The cost: $25 per person in advance; $30 at the door. Limited seating is available. Call (727) 588-0100.