Saturday, February 17, 2018
News Roundup

Vehicle wraps drive home the message: Lay off lawn fertilizer


Driving anti-fertilizer messages home

Vehicles belonging to the Pinellas County Department of Environment and Infrastructure can be identified by the Pinellas County logo on the sides and doors. But now, certain vehicles in the department's fleet can't be missed.

Seven trucks, vans and heavy equipment vehicles now are all wrapped up in an environmental message that urges residents to "Skip the Fertilizer" this summer and "Be Floridian."

The vehicle wraps are the result of a $9,000 grant from the Florida Department of Transportation awarded to the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council's Stormwater Education Committee. The message seeks to remind people of the link between using too much fertilizer and poor water quality in the county's open waterways.

Pinellas County's summertime fertilizer ordinance prohibits the use of nitrogen- and/or phosphorus-based fertilizer to reduce the volume of pollutants running off into open bodies of water.

Residents are reminded that there are many other products on the market capable of greening up a lawn without running the risk of polluting the aquatic environment.

Information on the Pinellas County fertilizer ordinance and tips on how to green up a lawn without using nitrogen- or phosphorous-based fertilizers is available on the county's Watershed Management website at

Cool fun at Weedon Island, Brooker Creek

Pinellas County's Weedon Island and Brooker Creek preserves feature some cool indoor exhibits that are free and offer a way to get out of the heat.

The Brooker Creek Environmental Education Center features interactive exhibits and 22 discovery-oriented experiences.

It is located at 3940 Keystone Road in Tarpon Springs.

At Weedon Island's Cultural and Natural History Center is the permanent "Connecting People and Place," an art-inspired, hands-on educational exhibit that reveals the area's history, ecology and people.

Weedon Island Preserve is located at 1800 Weedon Drive NE in St. Petersburg.

Both centers are open Thursday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information on the parks, visit or

Videos featuring the preserves can be viewed at


Help to conquer fear of falling

The Clearwater Aging Well Center, 1501 N Belcher Road, will host "A Matter of Balance," an award-winning, evidence-based program series designed to minimize older adults' risk and fear of falling while increasing their activity levels.

The free classes, developed through Boston University, will meet in the Aging Well classroom at the Long Center on Tuesdays and Fridays, Sept. 3-27, from 2 to 4 p.m.

"Fear of falling can be just as dangerous as falling itself," said Aging Well Center supervisor Sheryl Crutchfield. "People who develop this fear often limit their activities, leading to further weakness, which further increases their risk of falling. The class aims to dispel that anxiety and lead participants into a stronger, more confident lifestyle."

Crutchfield will lead the class along with Kerry Marsalek, Office on Aging manager. Both are certified trainers for Matter of Balance.

Space is limited, and pre-registration is required. For more information, call (727) 724-3070.

Seminars at libraries cover ebook self-publishing

The Countryside Branch Library, 2741 State Road 580, and the East Branch Library, 2251 Drew St., will each host a seminar on how to publish ebooks.

The 2 p.m. seminars at Countryside on Aug. 8 and East on Sept. 21 will cover the growing trends in publishing and the movement toward self-publishing.

Diana Silveira, president of Novare Library Services, a firm that specializes in IT solutions for libraries, will lead the workshops.

Topics will include how to create covers and cover art; using Kindle Publishing Direct and other online distributors; distribution and sales options for authors; and marketing to improve sales success.

For more information, call (727) 562-4970 or visit

Road closures force drivers to use detours

The following road closures are scheduled in Clearwater:

Through Aug. 7, S Evergreen Avenue south of Lakeview Road is closed and will remain under construction related to the Hillcrest/Brookhill traffic calming project. Detour routes include Belleview Road using either S Hillcrest Avenue to the east or S Betty Lane to the west.

NE Coachman Road at Marilyn Street will be closed to traffic nightly, starting today and lasting through Thursday. Closures will be from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. and are for utility-related construction. Drivers should allow some extra time and use caution along this route, as flagmen will be present.

Metto Street from Pennsylvania to Martin Luther King Jr. avenues will close to traffic Monday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. due to installation and pipe crossing work. Motorists can use Palmetto Street as a detour route.

On Friday, these two closures are expected to start and last one month for installation of stormwater pipe:

• Papaya Street from just west of East-shore Drive to Poinsettia Avenue. Baymont Street can be used as a detour route. East Shore will be open to traffic.

• The intersection of Poinsettia Avenue and Papaya Street. Eastshore Drive can be used as a detour route.

Call the Traffic Operations Division at (727) 562-4776 with questions or visit


School employees to help with registration

In August, parents will have additional opportunities to receive personal registration assistance from Pinellas County School District staff.

Employees from the district's Office of Student Assignment will be on hand to help families with the school registration process at the Back-to-School Children's Health and Safety Fair from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 10 at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, 455 Missouri Ave., Largo.

To further assist families, the Office of Student Assignment will be open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 10. The Student Assignment office is located in the district's Administration Building, 301 Fourth St. SW, Largo. Families can receive assistance by visiting the office or calling (727) 588-6210.

How killer’s path through a school left 17 dead in six short minutes of terror

How killer’s path through a school left 17 dead in six short minutes of terror

It was Valentine’s Day across America.At an all-American high school in a green and placid Broward County suburb strung with waterways and golf-course communities, that innocent fact would take on dreadful significance well before the day was out.Bet...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Woman hit, killed Friday along Memorial Highway

TOWN ’N COUNTRY — A woman died after she was hit by a minivan on Memorial Highway Friday night, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.The 53-year-old woman, whose identity was not released, was trying to cross Memorial Highway from we...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Hillsborough rethinks its strategy for struggling schools

Hillsborough rethinks its strategy for struggling schools

TAMPA — "Elevate," a Hillsborough County School District initiative that was to focus on seven troubled schools and use them as models for dozens more, is becoming but a memory as the district seeks instead to support all schools equally."We’re more ...
Published: 02/17/18

High school scoreboard for Feb. 16

Friday’s scoreboardSoftballSpringstead 9, Belleview 1
Published: 02/16/18
Stormy Daniels does Tampa: 10 minutes of dancing, then $20 a photo

Stormy Daniels does Tampa: 10 minutes of dancing, then $20 a photo

TAMPA — Well, that was fast.Adult film actress Stormy Daniels made her first appearance at Thee Dollhouse on Friday evening, the first of several shows planned this weekend at the Tampa strip club.She took the stage about 7 p.m. dressed in a pink, fl...
Published: 02/16/18
Two students wounded by gunfire outside Tampa’s Middleton High campus

Two students wounded by gunfire outside Tampa’s Middleton High campus

TAMPA — With a nation in jitters over a South Florida school massacre, gunfire erupted a block from Tampa’s Middleton High School on Friday, prompting a reaction that had some students hiding behind locked doors.Two senior girls, ages 17 and 18, were...
Published: 02/16/18
Longtime Northcliffe Baptist pastor passes torch

Longtime Northcliffe Baptist pastor passes torch

SPRING HILL — Long time senior pastor Jerry Waugh will ceremonially "pass the torch" to his associate pastor, Jeff Dye, at a special service Feb. 25 at Northcliffe Baptist Church. "We will have a time of celebration, which will honor Pastor Jerry’s c...
Published: 02/16/18

Published: 02/16/18
Fire Chiefs Gone Wild: Ex-chiefs ran free-spending ‘frat house,’ investigators find

Fire Chiefs Gone Wild: Ex-chiefs ran free-spending ‘frat house,’ investigators find

HERNANDO BEACH — Trading the county gasoline card for smokes and energy drinks, falsifying training documents, paying themselves salaries for volunteer jobs and boasting about setting a fire that torched prized artwork.FROM THE ARCHIVES: After fire, ...
Published: 02/16/18
St. Petersburg car thefts dropped in 2017, police say

St. Petersburg car thefts dropped in 2017, police say

The number of reported auto thefts in St. Petersburg has dropped for the third consecutive year.According to the St. Petersburg Police Department, the annual crime report for 2017 found that reports of auto thefts were down 10.7 percent compared to 2...
Published: 02/16/18