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North Pinellas news briefs for Sunday, Sept. 1

Tarpon Springs

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Producer is following march to Macy's parade

Since learning last year that they were invited to perform in the 2013 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, members of the marching band from the Leadership Conservatory for the Arts at Tarpon Springs High School have been working hard rehearsing and raising the $400,000 they will need to make the trip.

Their efforts will be the subject of a PBS documentary being made by Mia Laurenzo, a producer for WLRN-TV in Miami-Fort Lauderdale. The documentary will be titled Journey to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

"I have never seen a finer group of individuals strive for perfection," Laurenzo said.

The band, under the direction of Kevin Ford, has won numerous regional and national awards and is known for elaborately choreographed outdoor shows that tell a story.

The band expects to have just over one minute on national television as it performs in front of Macy's on Nov. 28, but Ford has promised the performance piece will be creative and unique.

Laurenzo is maintaining a blog on the band's efforts, complete with photos and regular updates. It can be viewed at

Get creative: Help design a children's playground

The Tampa Bay Rays, Citizens Alliance for Progress Inc. and organizers from KaBOOM! will host a children's playground design day from 4 to 5 p.m. Thursday at the Union Academy Family Center, 401 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Tarpon Springs.

Children from the area will put crayon to paper to draw features they would like to see included in a new community playground to be built in November at the Union Academy Family Center.

For the next nine weeks, a playground planning committee will meet to discuss and prepare for the construction of the new playground, which will take place during a residents' build day Nov. 16.

To learn more, call (727) 934-5881, ext. 13.


Health agency closed Monday

In observance of the Labor Day holiday, the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County (formerly the Pinellas County Health Department) will be closed on Monday.

Normal hours will resume on Tuesday. For information about DOH-Pinellas and its services, go to pinellas

Riders should check holiday schedule

Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) buses will operate on a Sunday/holiday schedule for Labor Day and the PSTA administrative offices will be closed. Riders are urged to check the PSTA website for schedule information before traveling.

The Sunday/holiday schedule means buses will be running less frequently and for shorter periods of the day on most routes.

Regular weekday service will resume on Tuesday.

Water treatment method to be modified temporarily

The method of drinking water treatment utilized by Pinellas County and the cities that are its wholesale customers will be modified between Sept. 3 and 23. This short-term change from chloramine to chlorine disinfection is a routine maintenance measure.

Those affected by this maintenance program include Pinellas County customers as well as customers in the cities of Clearwater, Pinellas Park, Safety Harbor and Tarpon Springs.

Many communities using chloramine convert back to chlorine for a short period to maintain system water quality.

Pinellas County switched to chloramine in 2002 to ensure compliance with Environmental Protection Agency standards.

Kidney dialysis patients should not be affected, but should contact their dialysis care provider for more information about chlorine treatment. Fish owners should not be affected if they already have a system in place to remove chloramines, but they should contact local pet suppliers with any questions.

According to the county, there are no major indications of significant bacteriological contamination problems, but the disinfection program is designed to minimize the potential for any future problem.

Customers may notice a slight difference in taste and/or odor of the water during this temporary change in treatment.

For more information, visit utilities or call (727) 464-4000.

Safety Harbor

Tax hike on agenda for public hearing Tuesday

The Safety Harbor City Commission will discuss a proposed tax hike during a public hearing at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in City Hall. It will be the first of two public hearings this month before commissioners adopt the final budget for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.

If the proposed budget is approved, this will be the city's first millage rate hike in more than a decade.

During six budget workshops throughout the summer, several residents urged commissioners to vote for an increase. "I am proud of my city and don't want to see it 'slip,' " resident Jan Tracy emailed Mayor Joe Ayoub.

The hike would limit how much the city must take from its reserves to balance the budget, and will help pay for rising health care costs, among other things.

The proposed rate of 3.7343 mills would generate a tentative operating budget of roughly $20.9 million. Last year's rate was 3.3808 mills. A property owner with a home assessed at $150,000 with a $50,000 homestead exemption would pay $373 next year. The same property owner paid $338 this year.


City to check for sewer line trouble

Starting Wednesday, crews from the Clearwater public utilities department will begin smoke testing sewer lines to determine if there are areas where stormwater or groundwater is entering the system.

The area to be surveyed is along Jeffords Street between Lake and Hillcrest avenues. White smoke will be circulated into the sewer lines and manholes to locate broken pipes and other defects. The smoke will exit from vent pipes on home roofs.

The smoke will not enter a home unless there is defective plumbing present or the drain traps are dry. If potential problems are found on private property, residents will be notified of repairs that may need to be made. The testing will run through Sept. 20. For more information, call (727) 562-4960 or (727) 562-4600.

North Pinellas news briefs for Sunday, Sept. 1 08/30/13 [Last modified: Friday, August 30, 2013 5:14pm]
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