Scientology event could close streets
The Church of Scientology has asked the city for permission to close some downtown streets and sidewalks for its third major event this fall — its New Year Celebration.
The church expects thousands to attend the private party, which will mostly occur in the large tent that has been in place along Court Street since August.
Starting on Dec. 27, the celebration "will be a presentation of various activities Scientologists are involved in around the world, as well as a presentation of what the Church plans for the New Year," according to the special events application submitted to the city late last month.
In November, the church dedicated the Flag Building, its "spiritual cathedral." Last weekend a second event, a gathering of the International Association of Scientologists, was held. Although permit issues and other problems associated with the planning of those events prompted tension with the city, they proceeded without incidents.
The church is asking the city to close Franklin Street from Fort Harrison Avenue to east of Garden Avenue and Garden Avenue from Court to Pierce streets, along with the sidewalks along those streets.
In its application, the church said its event won't interfere with Blast Friday on Cleveland Street, scheduled for Dec. 27.
The church's event will end on Dec. 31.
The city is reviewing the church's request, said Christopher Hubbard, chairman of the city's special events committee.
Art group offers scholarships
Since 1985, the Miniature Art Society of Florida has awarded more than 80 scholarships totaling more than $113,000 to Pinellas County high school seniors planning to continue their fine arts education.
This year, the society has budgeted $6,000 for the program and scholarships will range from $500 to $1,500.
To apply, visit miniatureartsocietyofflorida.com. The deadline is Feb. 7. Qualified applicants will be notified no later than Feb. 21 and interviews will be scheduled on either March 8 or March 22.
For more information, call Mike MacDonald, (727) 409-0459.
Sept. 11 memorial gets $21,115 gift
A Safety Harbor couple has donated $21,115 to the city for a Sept. 11 memorial that will be located between Fire Station 52 and City Hall on Main Street.
The amount is enough to move forward with the memorial project, said Mayor Joe Ayoub, who on Monday presented donors Michael and Mia Shaluly with a plaque and key to the city in appreciation for the donation.
Michael Shaluly said he hopes the memorial will help bring people together just as they came together after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. If all goes well, the memorial is expected to be complete by Sept. 11, 2014.
"We're very happy the leaders of this community have given us the opportunity to do something we feel is very important for the community," said Shaluly, who is president of Mastercut Tool in Safety Harbor.
He also thanked the firefighters and first responders who go into danger zones as other people flee.
Friends of library to hold book sale
The Friends of the Safety Harbor Public Library will hold a book sale Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the library, 101 Second St. N.
Most items will be marked at $1 each.
For more information or to become a member of the Friends organization, visit safetyharbor fol.weebly.com or call (727) 724-1525, ext. 4112.
Hearings will tackle zoning for ex-Nielsen site
City commissioners on Thursday will hold the first of two public hearings and votes on Wells Fargo's push for new zoning at the long-vacant former Nielsen Media Research property at 375 Patricia Ave.
The City Commission meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. at Dunedin City Hall, 542 Main St.
Elected leaders will hear updated plans from Wells Fargo, which wants to change the Nielsen property's light-industrial designation to a category that would accommodate anything from mostly residential to a mixed-use "village" community featuring condos above offices, boutiques, restaurants and other retail shops.
Under the proposal, a future developer would also be required to designate a portion of the offices for one of Pinellas' high-wage, targeted cluster industries, such as medical technology or research.
The 23-acre site has been vacant since 2005. Bank and city officials hope a zoning change will attract development and return the property to tax-generating status.
The Local Planning Agency, a citizen advisory committee that makes land-use recommendations, has already offered unanimous support.
If the City Commission approves, the Pinellas Planning Council, County Commission and Florida's Department of Economic Opportunity would also have to weigh in before the land use and zoning designations can be changed.