A rousing six-police escort, handcuffs included, was given to one startled Mississippi visitor as he drove off the Bee Line Ferry in Pinellas County yesterday afternoon.
Police slapped the cuffs on a Gulfport, Miss., businessman as he and his daughter drove down the ferry ramp. The officers had received a tip that a man fitting descriptions of slayer Sam Grossman had boarded the ferry at Bradenton accompanied by a young girl.
All the baffled visitor could repeat to police was a feeble, "This is a mistake, boys."
Carted off to headquarters, the man quickly identified himself and his daughter and said he had never heard of Grossman. The real Grossman, wanted for the slaying of his father and wounding of his brother, was actually giving himself up in Alexandria, La., about the time of the local arrest.
Cops grew appropriately red-faced for the holiday season and apologized to the Mississippian, who left the jail without the uniformed escort he received earlier.
Dec. 23, 1939
Official to discuss airport plans
CLEARWATER — Maj. A.B. McMullen, chief of the airport section of the technical division Civil Aeronautics Authority at Washington, will be in Clearwater Dec. 29 to address the Kiwanis Club and confer with city and county leaders on the proposed county airport plans.
W.A. McMullen Jr., county engineer, who has suggested converting the islands in front of Clearwater into a major airport, yesterday announced the visit of the Washington official.
Dec. 9, 1939
'Tramp De Luxe' takes bride
CLEARWATER — Ademar Zerlet, 65, of Largo, and Glee Remalia, 29, were married yesterday by John C. Brown in the office of County Judge Jack F. White.
The bridegroom handed the license clerk his calling card, which bore the information that he was born April 12, 1875, and came from Navajo, Ariz. He listed his occupation as "International Tramp De Luxe," and his vocation as "prevaricator and cook." His hobbies listed were "horseshoe pitching and rummy."
Dec. 17, 1951
Clearwater man turns 100 years old
CLEARWATER — Ed Germain, a member of the first black family to settle in Clearwater, celebrated his 100th birthday there Saturday.
Known as "Poppa Ed" to many pioneer families here, the silver-haired man has been blind for two years but is in good health otherwise.
He lives with a daughter, Annie Spyles, in a home provided free by a Clearwater lawyer.
Both white and black friends showered him with gifts as he reached the 100-year mark.
Dec. 19, 1939
Ex-official challenges mayor's figures
CLEARWATER — D.O. Batchelor, former city commissioner who was known as the "watchdog" of the city treasury, issued a statement yesterday accusing Mayor Brannon Casler of being poor at arithmetic relative to a statement made by the mayor Dec. 4. That statement pointed to the fine financial condition of the city.
Batchelor said that if the figures quoted by Mayor Casler are "left unchallenged, they will do the city great harm by lulling the taxpayers into false security concerning the state of the city's finances."
The Batchelor letter claims the mayor's figures are off by $117,357.96. The mayor had contended that the city has on hand enough to pay interest charges to July 1, 1941.
Batchelor also wrote that the city does operate on borrowed funds in the form of overdrafts which are "dangerous very likely illegal."
The letter goes on to insist the mayor has taken credit for debt reductions of previous administrations, the general fund is worse off by $44,077.86 since he took office, and he exaggerated gas department profits.
"The mayor seems to like big figures," Batchelor wrote.
Dec. 17, 1951
Four cities' phone rates to decrease
CLEARWATER — Clearwater, Belleair, Dunedin and Largo will have lower telephone rates beginning Jan. 1 as a result of an order issued by Florida Railroad and Public Utilities Commission.
Former city attorney Ben Krentzman, Chamber of Commerce secretary Paul Ficht, and former City Manager Boyd Bennett reportedly spearheaded the fight in 1949 to block a proposed raise in telephone rates.
The president and general manager of Peninsula Telephone Co. said a new base rate had been established by the company.
Florida Railroad and Public Utilities Commission recently denied the telephone company's request for higher rates, but ordered an enlargement of the base rate areas.
It's a leveling out process designed to make all rates in these areas uniform.
Under the present setup, residents of Clearwater Beach pay a higher rate than those of Clearwater.