ST. PETE BEACH
Guy Harvey aquarium on animal planet tonight
Guy Harvey's Outpost on St. Pete Beach and the Secrets of the Sea Marine Exploration Center and Aquarium be in the limelight tonight. Animal Planet's Tanked is airing an episode about the construction of a 33,500-gallon aquarium recently added to Guy Harvey's Rumfish Bar & Grill, part of the TradeWinds Island Resorts.
Secrets of the Sea curators have been instrumental in planning the aquarium, and will provide staff for the education and maintenance. The shoot airs at 10 p.m.
Since plans to open at John's Pass fell apart, Secrets of the Sea has been considering other locations for the aquarium, which closed with the St. Petersburg Pier in June.
Lari Johnson, chair of the Secrets project, said it is considering several locations. There have been "informal talks" with Mayor Rick Kriesman about the new Pier. Another possibility is a property in Treasure Island where a group has floated plans to build a resort. Johnson said the group also is considering the former St. Pete Beach police station, but the City Commission on Tuesday decided to study moving City Hall to the station.
Katherine Snow Smith, Times staff writer
School land is now a park
Rio Vista Elementary School was closed in 2009 because of shrinking enrollment.
On Saturday it will have a reopening of sorts. The city transformed the site at 8131 Macoma Drive NE into a $1.6 million park, with tennis courts, basketball courts, exercise zone and a walking path connecting to the Pinellas Trail. The city is leasing the property from the school district for 50 years at no cost.
Now called Riviera Bay Park, it also will feature a community flower garden. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday with Mayor Rick Kriseman.
The park was built using money from the Weeki Wachee Fund, created when the city sold a 440-acre recreation area along Weeki Wachee Springs in Hernando County. Two corners of the old school building were preserved as park of the park.
Waveney Ann Moore, Times staff writer
Emergency officials honored
Christopher Eisenhardt has been named Pinellas County's paramedic of the year. Eisenhardt is a firefighter-paramedic with Palm Harbor Fire Rescue. He also works with Sunstar Paramedics, the county ambulance system, and serves on the Pinellas County Sheriff's SWAT team as a paramedic.
Jay Horne was named EMT of the year. Horne works for Paramedics Plus, the company that contracts with the county to run the Sunstar ambulance program.
Terri Griffin was named Pinellas County's emergency medical dispatcher of the year. Griffin works at the county's 911 call center.
Police justified in firing gun
A police officer was justified when he shot at a vehicle that rammed his cruiser this year, an internal investigation found. Officer Neil Rambaran was part of a team tracking a stolen vehicle Jan. 8 near 14th Avenue S and 49th Street. Police said when the suspects realized officers were nearby, they tried to flee, striking an officer and Rambaran's cruiser and other police vehicles. Rambaran, 33, who has been on the force since 2008, fired. The suspects escaped. In another internal affairs case, Officer David Watson received a memo of counseling for not immediately getting approval for a pursuit last June.
Police chief reprimanded
After barely two months in office, the town manager has twice reprimanded police Chief Mike Rossi. Both were oral reprimands with memos put in Rossi's personnel file.
The first concerned Rossi's failure to notify Town Manager Matt Campbell that a council member had spent more than an hour in the Police Department. Campbell had told Rossi he wanted to be informed whenever Rossi, or one of his staffers, visited or contacted the police without first informing the manager.
The second involved Rossi's taking home to Pasco County a new Ford Explorer that had been purchased for officers to use patrolling. Rossi had left his take-home vehicle at the Police Station while using the new SUV.
Rossi agreed that Campbell had "reasonably addressed areas of concern regarding my work performance."
Ceremony for fallen officers
Law enforcement officials will gather Monday to honor officers killed in the line of duty.
A ceremony will take place at 7:45 p.m. at the memorial space at Demens Landing Park.
Before the event, a 3K fundraiser walk for COPS (Concerns of Police Survivors) will take place. Participants will leave the park at 7 p.m. and go to the Pier before returning to the memorial. Registration is $20 before the walk; $25 on the day of the event.