Friday, January 19, 2018
News Roundup

North Pinellas news briefs for March 16

Tarpon Springs

Zoning board to address proposed gun range

The Planning and Zoning Board this week will weigh in on the proposed Reload Gun Range, a nearly 60,000-square-foot, 45-lane facility a developer wants to build on 4 acres at 40050 U.S. 19, north of Klosterman Road.

The developers say the range — which would also feature a cafe, gunsmith service, classroom space, a 10,000-square-foot store and training space for local law enforcement — would be one of the largest and most technologically advanced in the southeastern United States.

It would be built on the site of a long-vacant, dilapidated motel and restaurant on the east side of U.S. 19.

The zoning board meets at 7 p.m. Monday at City Hall, 324 E Pine St.

For more information, go online to or call (727) 938-3711.

She walked to her win, commissioner-elect says

Tarpon Springs' city commissioner-elect had a lot of things going for her in Tuesday's city election, but she credits her walking shoes for her victory.

Rea Sieber, 61, garnered more than 45 percent of the vote in a three-way race for the seat being vacated by term-limited Commissioner Susan Slattery.

A Sponge Docks business owner, Sieber got 1,742 of the 3,837 votes cast.

Realtor Joe Muzio, 62, came in second with 1,103 votes or 28.75 percent. Professional hypnotist and environmental activist Chris Hrabovsky, 44, was third with 992 votes for 25.85 percent.

Sieber, recruited by Slattery to run for the seat, was the establishment candidate. She was endorsed by Tarpon's police and fire unions after the unions interviewed each candidate.

She heads the Tarpon Springs Merchant Association and serves on the city's budget advisory committee and its tourism council. She had slick mailers. She had campaign volunteers calling registered voters for her.

But she still credits her win to shoe leather.

"It was the walking. I walked every neighborhood in Tarpon Springs — almost every day for six weeks," she said. "I had to get out there and introduce myself to as many people as possible. I listened to them. And I took notes."


Mease Manor asks to build memory care residence

Mease Manor is seeking city approval to build a 32-bed memory care residence for Alzheimer's patients in downtown Dunedin.

In a letter to city officials, project planners said the $4 million, 24,850-square-foot facility would be a "solution to the very local problem" of residents increasingly being separated by long distances from loved ones who move them to memory care programs elsewhere.

The facility would go up on a 1.76-acre parcel spanning 603 to 655 Virginia St., between Orange Avenue and Milwaukee Street.

On March 26, Dunedin's Board of Adjustment and Appeal will consider a conditional use permit application to allow such a facility in the downtown core district.

If approved, the matter will go to another citizen board, the Local Planning Agency, for a recommendation on April 9. The City Commission would hold public hearings and vote May 1 and June 5.

Mease Manor, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, houses a nursing home as well as assisted and independent living facilities on its downtown Dunedin campus.

Baseball field renamed to honor fallen hero

Highlander Park's Baseball Field No. 6 has been renamed after U.S. Army Spc. Zack Shannon, a Dunedin High graduate and former Greater Dunedin Little League player who died in a March 2013 helicopter crash in Afghanistan.

Little League officials made the request after learning from longtime board members that Shannon was a "very active" team member in his early days, president Susan Semitecolos said. She said his parents had relayed that just days before his death, Shannon taught an Afghani person about the game, "which was very touching."

Calling Shannon a "fallen hero," city commissioners unanimously supported the honor.

"It is absolutely fitting," said Commissioner Heather Gracy.

Added Mayor Dave Eggers: "Zack hasn't left our minds and hearts."

A dedication ceremony was held at the field on March 11, the first anniversary of Shannon's death.

Register kids 5 to 12 for Spring Fling Camp

Dunedin's Parks & Recreation Department is registering children ages 5 to 12 for Spring Fling Camp, to be held March 24-28 at the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center, 550 Laura Lane.

Campers do arts and crafts, indoor games, kickball, archery, trail blazing and more.

Camp hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the cost is $85. Extra recreation time is available from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 5 to 6 p.m. for an additional $20.

For more information, call (727) 812-4530.


Library hosts event for comic fans

The Clearwater Main Library will host a comic con featuring local graphic novel groups and well-known comic writers and artists including Chuck Dixon (Batman, Punisher, the Simpsons), Mike Foss (The Maniacal Smile), artist Austin Janowsky (Iron Man, X-Men, Stanley the Snowman), colorist Justin Ponsor (Ultimate Spiderman, Guardians of the Galaxy, Infinity) and publisher Ben Filipiak (Fierce Comics).

There will be a costume contest, games and prizes, and aspiring comic creators can find out how much their work is worth and what is needed to get started in the business.

The event will be from noon to 6 p.m. March 29 at the Main Library, 100 N Osceola Ave., in downtown Clearwater.

For younger comic fans, the library's Youth Division will feature "Super Heroics" from 2 to 3 p.m. All Justice Leaguers and Avengers in grades K-5 are encouraged to dress as their favorite heroes and are invited to battle for truth and justice with a series of heroic challenges.

A complete listing of event activities is on the library's Facebook page: Call (727) 562-4970 for more information.


High school scoreboard for Jan. 19

Friday’s scoreboardBoys soccerIndian Rocks Christian 2, Lakewood 1Lennard 3, Spoto 0Girls soccerPCAC Championship: Largo 3, Osceola 1Lennard 8, Spoto 0
Updated: 10 minutes ago

Four people linked to Tampa carjacking captured hours later

TAMPA — It took officers just 27 minutes Friday night to capture four people who they said stole a car from its owner.The incident started outside the Ybor Coffee Shop at 5:45 a.m. A group approached the driver as he sat in his 2010 Toyota Corolla. T...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Inspector General launches investigation into Tampa Bay’s local career centers

Inspector General launches investigation into Tampa Bay’s local career centers

The state has opened an investigation into CareerSource Pinellas and CareerSource Tampa Bay, days after the Tampa Bay Times asked about whether the two regional job centers were inflating the number of people they had helped get hired. The agencies, ...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Florida National Guard soldier killed, five injured in Sebring crash

SEBRING — A soldier with the Florida National Guard was killed and five others were hospitalized after a multi-vehicle crash on Friday, officials said.The crash took place at about 1 p.m. at the intersection of U.S. 27 and Hammock Road.The soldiers ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Two New Port Richey men accused of stealing $11,000 in cellphone merchandise

Two New Port Richey men accused of stealing $11,000 in cellphone merchandise

NEW PORT RICHEY — Two New Port Richey men face charges after Pasco County deputies say they stole about $11,000 worth of cellphones and cellphone equipment at a Metro PCS store on State Road 54.Robert Jackson and Ronald Hartshorn were arrested Wednes...
Updated: 2 hours ago
U.S. Attorney: Tampa woman uses soul food restaurant as part of scheme to steals thousands

U.S. Attorney: Tampa woman uses soul food restaurant as part of scheme to steals thousands

TAMPA — The owner of a soul and seafood restaurant is facing more than 10 years in federal prison for filing dozens of false tax returns and stealing thousands of dollars, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.Natalie Rene Panko, 57, owner of Ladie...
Updated: 2 hours ago
That noise you hear from MacDill is low-flying A-10 Warthogs in training

That noise you hear from MacDill is low-flying A-10 Warthogs in training

TAMPA — If you hear loud noises coming from MacDill Air Force Base over the next few days, don’t be alarmed.It’s the sound of flying hogs.A squadron of A-10C Warthogs, beloved by troops in the field for their ability to swoop low and slow and tear ap...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Autopsy: drugs found in MLB star Roy Halladay’s system after plane crash

Autopsy: drugs found in MLB star Roy Halladay’s system after plane crash

When former Major League Baseball pitcher Roy Halladay died in a plane crash in November, he had amphetamines, morphine and the sleep aid zolpidem in his system, according to an autopsy report.Halladay, 40, died from blunt force trauma with drowning ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
USF leaders move to calm fears over consolidation plan

USF leaders move to calm fears over consolidation plan

ST. PETERSBURG — Holding a piece of computer paper and a microphone, the leader of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg began a Friday afternoon forum by repeating the USF administration’s new mantra.He reassured the crowd before him that t...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Family: Tom Petty died of accidental drug overdose

Family: Tom Petty died of accidental drug overdose

LOS ANGELES — Rocker Tom Petty died last year from "multisystem organ failure" caused by accidental drug toxicity, the Los Angeles County Coroner said Friday.An autopsy found that Petty had several drugs in his system including fentanyl, oxycodone, t...
Updated: 3 hours ago