Sunday, April 22, 2018
News Roundup

Community news from around North Pinellas

Clearwater

Reluctant vice chairman gets the gavel

This city's Community Development Board is made up of seven volunteers who review the plans of real estate developers. The board's longtime chairman, Nick Fritsch, recently stepped down when his most recent term ended.

Time to pick a new chairperson. The job is important but it's also a bit of a pain. The chairperson constantly has to explain the board's highly technical and legalistic rules to ordinary citizens, some of whom are furious that a developer is seeking to build something large near their property.

At a board meeting last week, vice chairman Thomas Coates asked for nominations.

"Thomas Coates," somebody said.

"Are there any other nominations?" Coates asked.

Absolute silence.

"Oh, dear," Coates said in his distinguished South African accent, prompting a round of laughter. "Can I vote against myself?"

After a unanimous vote, he added, "You guys are stuck with me."

Coates — an architect, publisher and design consultant — is respected by his peers on the board for his thoughtful questions and comments. He also appears to be the first member of the Church of Scientology to head a Clearwater city board.

Frank Dame, executive vice president of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, was nominated to be the development board's vice chairman.

This vote was a nearly unanimous round of "ayes."

"Anyone against?" Coates asked the board.

"Nay," said Dame, prompting more laughter.

Clearwater

Free trees for Arbor Day? A very fitting giveaway

Celebrate Arbor Day with a tree giveaway for city residents. From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Public Utilities Complex at 1650 N Arcturas Ave., individuals with proof of Clearwater residency (driver's license, voter's registration card or recent utility bill) are eligible to receive two trees per household.

The trees, including live oak, Southern magnolia, red maple, American elm, red cedar, slash pines, crepe myrtles and Walter's viburnum, are available first-come first-served.

The celebration will begin with representatives from the Florida Division of Forestry presenting the Tree City USA flag to the city for the 31st consecutive year.

For more information, call (727) 462-6563, ext. 226.

Clearwater

These boots were made for filling

Clearwater firefighters will be on the streets from Thursday to Sunday doing their 2013 "Fill the Boot" donation drive benefiting the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Firefighters will take their boots to high-traffic areas and intersections in Clearwater to collect donations.

The annual drive collects funds to assist the MDA in providing medical services at local clinics, summer camp, research grants, support groups and public education seminars.

Hours are from 3 to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday.

Locations include Memorial Causeway and Island Way; Court Street and Fort Harrison Avenue; Keene Road and Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard; Sunset Point Road and Belcher Road; Drew Street and Belcher Road; McMullen-Booth Road and Drew Street; Belcher Road and Gulf-to-Bay; Countryside Boulevard and State Road 580; and Keene Road and Sunset Point Road.

Tarpon Springs

SPC associate provost named

Rodrigo "Rod" Davis has been named associate provost at the Tarpon Springs campus of St. Petersburg College.

Davis was appointed to the position as an interim in October. He has experience in a variety of student services positions, including counselor/academic adviser at the college's Clearwater campus, collegewide coordinator of the Male Outreach Initiative, student activities coordinator and interim international programs coordinator.

Palm Harbor

Students lead Earth Day event

The public is invited to join students and staff at Palm Harbor Middle School, 1800 State Road 584, as they celebrate Earth Day from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday. The event's theme is Human Impact on the Environment.

Guests are asked to bring an old sheet, blanket or towel that will be donated to a local animal shelter.

Those who donate will receive a gift card for the Aveda Institute.

Guests will also be able to view students' projects on human impact on the environment, watch a Trashy Treasure Fashion Show and take in an Earth Day presentation.

Dunedin

Music and merriment help raise money for community garden

Enjoy music, food and drink specials during the Dunedin Community Garden Association's annual "Grillin' for the Garden" fundraiser. The event will be held from 2 to 7 p.m. Sunday at Dunedin Smokehouse, 471 Main St.

For information visit facebook.com/dunedin communitygarden.

Dunedin

Supporting organic food movement

Downtown restaurants will partner Sunday with the Dunedin Harvest Food & Garden Co-op for a community art event to raise money for workshops and other programs that promote sustainable living.

The Dunedin Life & Light Lantern Festival will feature an organic plant sale, gardening and sustainability demonstrations, free lantern-making workshops, a drum circle, seed swap, hula hooping and a raffle.

Several bands will play at Pioneer Park, 420 Main St., from noon to 9 p.m., with a lantern-lighting ceremony set for 8.

Proceeds from food, drinks and merchandise purchased at Casa Tina's Mexican Restaurant, Pan y Vino Brick Oven Pizza and Sweet Pea's Cafe will benefit the Planting Seeds Workshop series and the 1 % Food Project, which encourages Dunedin residents to pledge a small part of their land to growing food.

For information, visit dunedin harvest.com or casatinas.com.

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Tampa Police investigating fatal hit-and-run on Selmon Expressway

Tampa Police investigating fatal hit-and-run on Selmon Expressway

TAMPA — Police say a person is dead after a hit-and-run crash Sunday on the Selmon Expressway.Someone called authorities about 10 a.m., reporting a person on the entrance ramp to the highway near the intersection of W Cleveland Street and S Willow Av...
Updated: 10 minutes ago
4 dead in Nashville Waffle House shooting; suspect sought

4 dead in Nashville Waffle House shooting; suspect sought

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A gunman wearing nothing but a green jacket and brandishing an assault rifle stormed a Waffle House restaurant in Nashville and shot four people to death before dawn Sunday, according to police, who credited a customer with s...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Andrei Vasilevskiy and the universal language of playoff hockey

Andrei Vasilevskiy and the universal language of playoff hockey

TAMPA — As usual, Andrei Vasilevskiy didn't speak in front of the cameras after the game. He has been like that since he hit the NHL. He still isn't comfortable with his English on TV.But Vasilevskiy spoke loudly and clearly in the first-round ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
How Baker Mayfield can benefit the Bucs

How Baker Mayfield can benefit the Bucs

TAMPA — The buzz at the top of this year's NFL draft is a class of talented quarterbacks deep enough to challenge the all-time record of six in the first round, set in 1983 with a group that included future Hall of Famers John Elway, Jim Kelly ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
It’s Earth Day. Here are 11 stories about how climate change affects Florida.

It’s Earth Day. Here are 11 stories about how climate change affects Florida.

Happy Earth Day, Florida!In the spirit of the holiday that recognizes our planet’s clean air, water and land, here are 11 stories the Tampa Bay Times has published about how climate change affects the Sunshine State.1. The Florida keys have to elevat...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Ex-NFL kicker Jay Feely apologizes for ‘joke’ gun photo

Ex-NFL kicker Jay Feely apologizes for ‘joke’ gun photo

Former NFL kicker Jay Feely, who was born in Odessa and starred at Tampa Jesuit, has apologized for a photo he intended as a joke, showing him holding a gun as he poses with his daughter and her prom date."Wishing my beautiful daughter and her date a...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Deputies: Florida man on LSD knocks out teen girl at RaceTrac while her parent pumps gas

Deputies: Florida man on LSD knocks out teen girl at RaceTrac while her parent pumps gas

ST. PETERSBURG — A man punched a 13-year-old girl inside a RaceTrac convenience store on Saturday, knocking her unconscious as her parent pumped gas outside, Pinellas deputies reported.Kolbe Wayne Smith, 27 and of St. Petersburg, now faces charges of...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Perspective: The Heartland to Headwaters Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition finds frustration and fear seeking a safe path for wildlife across Interstate 4

Perspective: The Heartland to Headwaters Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition finds frustration and fear seeking a safe path for wildlife across Interstate 4

The original Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition in 2012 was inspired by how the Florida black bear roamed — and the space it needed to do so successfully. In 2010, expedition team member Joe Guthrie conducted research through the University of Kent...
Updated: 4 hours ago
District softball schedules for Tampa Bay

District softball schedules for Tampa Bay

Class 9A-8 (higher seed hosts)Tuesday: No. 3 Alonso at No. 2 Palm Harbor University, 4; No. 4 Sarasota Riverview at No. 1 Newsome, 7Thursday: Final, 4 or 7 (depending on who hosts)Class 8A-4 at Strawberry Crest Tuesday: No. 1 Wharton vs. No. 4 Wiregr...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Teen killed in crash remembered as

Teen killed in crash remembered as "always smiling and laughing"

WEEKI WACHEE — Seth Leathers was on his way to play basketball at his church when he was killed Wednesday in a car crash on U.S. 19 in Spring Hill, according to family friend Laurie Pike.Leathers, 16, was the passenger in a car driven by his friend G...
Updated: 10 hours ago