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North Pinellas news briefs for Wednesday, Sept. 25


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Council member has lung cancer

Janice Miller, who first became an Oldsmar City Council member in 2002, has announced that she has lung cancer. At the end of last week's City Council meeting, in a hoarse voice, she shared the news.

"I hope everybody can hear me. I had some biopsies done, and it has taken my voice away for a while,'' she said. "But I do want to tell everyone that I have been diagnosed with lung cancer, and I am going through treatment.''

Although she will receive both radiation and chemotherapy for the next several months, Miller stressed that she plans to continue serving on the council.

"(My doctor) is absolutely positive that I will reach remission,'' she said. "And I'm going to keep working for the city of Oldsmar.''

After her announcement, the other council members gave her a round of applause. And Mayor Doug Bevis asked the council to rename Oldsmar's Citizens Academy in her honor. Miller helped launch the program, designed to help residents understand how local government works, seven years ago.

The council immediately approved his request by consensus.

Tarpon Springs

Winning Little League team to reunite Saturday

Fifty years after Tarpon Springs' Little League won the state championship, the players and coaches are still celebrating. The team, coaches, umpires and fans will meet at the Tarpon Springs Yacht Club on Saturday to socialize and reminisce about the big win from 1963, when the players were 15 years old.

The champions, who didn't have a mascot, beat teams from Jacksonville, Winter Park, Largo, Tampa and St. Petersburg.

They also beat Georgia's state champions before they were eliminated by North Carolina.

"I've got letters from the mayor, I've got pictures and newspaper clippings," said Michael Houllis, who is organizing Saturday's reunion, which begins at 6 p.m. "It was really something."

Residents who want to attend can contact Houllis at (727) 934-1565.

Tax rate to remain unchanged in 2014

The City Commission approved the 2014 city budget Monday, locking in the same tax rate as the past three years.

The rate will be 5.45 mills, among the highest in Pinellas County. A Tarpon Springs property owner with a home assessed at $150,000 with a $50,000 homestead exemption will pay $545 in 2014.

Few residents showed up to watch commissioners approve the budget, with only two speaking during the public comment portion of the meeting. Although the tax rate is the same, residents are likely to see an increase in how much they will pay because of rising property values.

"No matter how you slice it, no matter how you cut it, spice it or state it, this will be a tax increase," said resident Tim Keffalas.

Martin Peters, head of the Budget Advisory Committee, responded that the 5.45 rate allows the city to limit its spending from reserves and give 4 percent raises to city employees. He added that next year might be a good time to look at lowering the tax rate.


Budget, Eco-Village on Thursday's agenda

Architects this week will present the city with updated renderings of Dunedin Eco-Village, an environmentally friendly affordable housing townhome project on Lorraine Leland Street.

Officials with Planet Green Group expect to break ground on the 6-year-old project in mid to late October, according to documents attached to the agenda for this week's City Commission meeting.

The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Dunedin City Hall, 542 Main St.

Other agenda items include a final public hearing and vote on the 2014 budget and a contract renewal for Clearwater and Dunedin's joint employee medical center.

Cut Cancer Out Weekend is Oct. 4-6

Cricketers British Pub & Restaurant, 2634 Bayshore Blvd., is seeking volunteers for its sixth annual Cut Cancer Out Weekend, which will be Oct. 4-6.

The free three-day festival features bands, dunk tank contests for children and adults, a silent auction, raffles, face painting, a walk across the Dunedin Causeway and more. Proceeds benefit the Children's Cancer Center of Tampa and the Morton Plant Mease Foundation's Mammogram Voucher Program.

Salon De Andrade will give complimentary haircuts to those who want to donate 10 or more inches to Locks of Love and the Angel Hair Foundation.

To help out, email info@cricketers and put "volunteer" in the subject line. Visit to sign up for the walk, purchase raffle tickets or make a donation. Call (727) 420-6210 for more details.


Is this your top sunset spot?

Clearwater has been nominated for USA Today's "10 Best" Readers' Choice travel award contest, in the category of "Best Place to Watch a Sunset," and city officials hope local residents will vote early and often for Clearwater to be the winner.

The contest gives voters four weeks to vote for the candidate of their choice at the website

Readers can vote once a day for the duration of the contest, which ends at 11:59 a.m. Oct. 14.

Winners will be announced on at 11:59 a.m. Oct. 16, then later on USA Today's website.

North Pinellas news briefs for Wednesday, Sept. 25 09/24/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 5:41pm]
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