Trainees say labor company misled them
Prosecutors are investigating a Clearwater staffing company that is accused of offering hazardous emergency response training, but then withholding certification. The State Attorney's Office said Thursday that individuals have complained that Able Body Labor, a company based on Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard, advertised free training for hazardous waste operations certification, which is required for workers hired to help clean up oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill. But when the training was completed, the company never provided the proper certification, trainees complained. In addition, some said the company charged between $150 and $450 for the certification. Southern Cat Inc., a company in Panama City, was accused of the same wrongdoings. The State Attorney's Office says Able Body Labor has cooperated with the investigation so far.
Homeless man is arrested in robbery
A 48-year-old homeless man was arrested Wednesday after he threatened a 70-year-old Tarpon Springs woman and forced her to give him $50 in cash, police say. They say Pedro T. Flores showed up at her door Tuesday afternoon and initially demanded $150 in cash. The woman said she would need to drive to an ATM. Flores grabbed a steak knife and told her that if she made any turns toward the Police Department while driving to the bank, he would "chop her up," an arrest report said. The woman then told Flores that she had $50 in a drawer. He took the cash and the knife and left. Tarpon Springs police found him riding his bicycle on U.S. 19 Wednesday evening. He is charged with robbery using a deadly weapon and was jailed in lieu of $50,000 bail. In 2003, he had been sentenced to three years in prison for battery.
NAACP to hold annual banquet
The NAACP Clearwater/Upper Pinellas Branch is hosting its 36th annual Freedom Fund Banquet at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Martin Luther King Center, 1201 Douglas Ave. The keynote speaker will be Leon Russell, NAACP vice chairman, national board of executives. Russell is serving as Pinellas County's director of human rights. The theme for the event is "One Nation, One Dream.'' Cost: $35 adults; $25 children under 13. Tickets will be available at the door. Call (727) 461-5827 or (727) 742-4103.
Republican club to host candidates
The Belleair Women's Republican Club will hold a candidates forum and luncheon at Belleair Country Club, 1 Country Club Lane, at 11:30 a.m. Aug. 6. The cost is $21. For information, call (727) 596-5464.