Tuesday, December 12, 2017
News Roundup

Pinellas County community news

Dunedin

Commission to hear crime stats

The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office will present its latest update on citywide crime statistics during Thursday's Dunedin City Commission meeting.

The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall, 542 Main St. Other scheduled agenda items include: the first of two public hearings on RV parking rule changes; a discussion about website and fee updates for small contractors; and designation of an official city tree, flower and bird.

Get a copy of the full agenda online at dunedingov.com or the City Clerk's office, 750 Milwaukee Ave.

Clearwater

City to discuss funds for sponsorships

The city of Clearwater sponsors or co-sponsors 17 events a year, either with cash or in-kind contributions such as waiving parking fees or providing police officers for security and traffic control. This will cost the city about $24,000 in cash and about $358,000 worth of in-kind contributions this year.

The City Council will vote on these expenditures at its meeting Thursday night. At a work session Monday, the council considered requests for sponsorship from four other events.

Council members agreed to provide $825 of in-kind services for the Christmas Boat Parade in Clearwater Harbor and waive parking fees for Clearwater Beach Restaurant Week. They turned down requests for a $10,000 sponsorship of Light It Up Clearwater, a Clearwater Beach fireworks event, and $3,100 in services for a run/walk fundraiser for the Willa Carson Health and Wellness Center.

The city's biggest sponsored events are the Clearwater Jazz Holiday ($14,500 in cash and $85,250 in services) and the Fun 'n Sun Festival ($102,640 in services). The City Council has talked of reviving the city's annual holiday parade, but the city doesn't have the money and needs a major sponsor for the parade.

Dunedin

City offers residents trees for Arbor Day

Dunedin's Parks & Recreation Department hopes residents will help make the city a more beautiful place by accepting a free tree to plant in their yards as part of national Arbor Day. To receive up to two free trees, visit Florida Auto Exchange Stadium, 373 Douglas Ave., Saturday from 8 a.m. until there are no more trees.

Available trees are the flowering crape myrtle, cassia and little gem magnolia. Shade trees to be given away are the live oak, red maple, slash pine, American elm and bald cypress.

Please bring a proof of Dunedin residency, such as a driver's license or utility bill, and arrive early for best selection. Call (727) 298-3279 with questions.

Clearwater

Drew Street work will cause traffic troubles

The Florida Department of Transportation began repaving Drew Street between Myrtle Avenue and Mariva Avenue on Monday. Two eastbound lanes of Drew will be closed this week for tree removal at Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and for sidewalk installation at Hillcrest Avenue. After this week, there will be single-lane closures off and on in each direction because of milling and resurfacing.

New sidewalks and hand railings will be installed on the north side of the Stevenson Creek Bridge where those facilities currently don't exist.

The contractor will also replace the hand rail along the sidewalk on the south side of the bridge. Damaged sidewalks within the FDOT right-of-way will be repaired throughout the corridor. The project is expected to be complete this fall.

Residents with questions can call the FDOT's Clearwater construction office at (727) 725-7950 or send an email to [email protected]

Clearwater

Farmers market hosts events for Earth Day

To celebrate Earth Day, which is Monday, the Clearwater Gateway Farmers Market will have giveaways, cooking demonstrations and presentations during its regular hours Saturday.

The outdoor market offers fresh produce and artisan goods from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Saturday in the 1200 block of Cleveland Street (at its intersection with Missouri Avenue). Among the special events Saturday, master gardeners will start a Healthy Harvest series, teaching people how to grow vegetables and herbs in an urban environment, with more than 200 plants to be given away.

Volunteers will also give demonstrations of how to cook the harvest.

Countywide

Which came first, chicken or the class

Several local governments in Pinellas County have adopted ordinances allowing residents to raise small numbers of chickens in their back yards. Interested in giving it a try?

The Pinellas County Extension Service will offer expert information about raising and caring for backyard chickens, and will also offer details about local government regulations, during Chickens 101, from 8:30 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Weedon Island Preserve Education Center, 1800 Weedon Drive NE in St. Petersburg. The cost is $10 per family.

Advance registration is required by calling (727) 453-6500.

Comments
The Bucs’ problem isn’t how they finish; it’s how they start

The Bucs’ problem isn’t how they finish; it’s how they start

For the second straight week, the Buccaneers had the ball in the final minutes of a tie game.For the second straight week, they could not finish.As disappointing as that might be, they have a larger problem, and one that has existed all season: The B...
Updated: 5 hours ago
New tracking system could help put a dent in juvenile car theft epidemic

New tracking system could help put a dent in juvenile car theft epidemic

LAKE MARY — Hundreds more juveniles who steal cars each year could be kept off the streets under a new tool approved by a Department of Juvenile Justice committee Tuesday, a move that could put a dent in a dangerous local car theft epidemic.Secretary...
Updated: 21 minutes ago
Pinellas construction board prepares to lose independence

Pinellas construction board prepares to lose independence

LARGO — Members of the Pinellas County agency that oversees contractor licensing cried foul in January when elected officials sought to fold the board into county government.They were mostly quiet this week as they received word on plans to make that...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Tampa police looking for Plant City girl, 15, considered to be in danger

Tampa police looking for Plant City girl, 15, considered to be in danger

TAMPA — Police were searching Tuesday for a missing 15-year-old Plant City girl who disappeared from a Tampa girls school.Zoe Warren was last seen about 8 a.m. Monday at the PACE Center for Girls, 1933 E. Hillsborough Ave., where she attends school, ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Defendant asks jurors: Do I look like Charles Manson?

Defendant asks jurors: Do I look like Charles Manson?

LARGO — Daniel Richards, on trial for the murder of his 83-year-old mother, began his own criminal defense on Tuesday by asking a few questions to the pool of prospective jurors."If you were accused of killing your mother, would you want to represent...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Two of St. Petersburg’s assistant police chiefs leaving next month

Two of St. Petersburg’s assistant police chiefs leaving next month

ST. PETERSBURG — Two assistant police chiefs are stepping down next month, leaving two of the three of the second-in-command jobs vacant at the St. Petersburg Police Department.Assistant Chief Jim Previtera announced this week that he will resign fro...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Ex-Facebook VP: Social media destroying society with ‘dopamine-driven feedback loops’

Ex-Facebook VP: Social media destroying society with ‘dopamine-driven feedback loops’

Washington PostA former Facebook executive is making waves after he spoke out about his "tremendous guilt" over growing the social network, which he feels has eroded "the core foundations of how people behave by and between each other."Chamath Paliha...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Largo man arrested after passenger falls out of minivan and dies

Largo man arrested after passenger falls out of minivan and dies

PLANT CITY — A Largo man struck a pedestrian with a minivan last Friday, authorities said. Five minutes later, his female passenger was fatally struck by on-coming traffic after falling out of the vehicle.Plant City police arrested Todd Charles Riggs...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Former Tampa police sergeant to be sentenced in tax fraud case

Former Tampa police sergeant to be sentenced in tax fraud case

TAMPA — LaJoyce Houston admits that she benefitted from the proceeds of tax refund fraud.But the former Tampa police sergeant denies that she was ever an active participant in a fraud scheme, according to a memo filed in her federal criminal case. An...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Illegal card skimmer discoveries in Tampa Bay double in 2017

Illegal card skimmer discoveries in Tampa Bay double in 2017

State investigators have discovered more than double the number of credit card skimmers in the Tampa Bay area in 2017 than in 2016 — with still a few weeks left in the year. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services found 54 skimmer...
Updated: 2 hours ago