Saturday, January 20, 2018
News Roundup

St. Pete Beach still hopes for money to add sand to its shores

Initially left out of plans to restore Pinellas County's beaches, St. Pete Beach may get another shot at renewal.

State lawmakers have set aside $3.7 million in next year's budget for Pinellas' beaches, money for tons of sand to replace what was lost during last year's Tropical Storm Debby. Two million has been earmarked for Treasure Island, where the Army Corps of Engineers already has signed off on a beach restoration project that should begin in early fall. But the remainder could go to St. Pete Beach if the Corps decides the beaches there are deserving.

In April, the Corps approved more than $8 million in federal emergency funding and general construction dollars for Treasure Island's beaches. State lawmakers have come up with another $2 million, and the county is prepared to match that. The town's mayor, Bob Minning, who had lobbied hard for the money, called it a "godsend."

At the time, Corps officials decided St. Pete Beach, and the entirety of the Long Key barrier island, wouldn't qualify for emergency funding. Not enough sand had been lost to make a dredging and pumping project worthwhile.

"We were very disappointed," said Steve Hallock, St. Pete Beach's public services director. According to a University of South Florida report, he said, "we actually lost more sand than Treasure Island."

Hallock is right. But Long Key is bigger than Treasure Island, and with more sand to lose.

A study of the county's beaches by USF researchers found that Treasure Island lost 93,500 cubic yards of sand following Tropical Storm Debby. Long Key, which includes both Pass-a-Grille and Upham beaches, lost a total of 113,400 cubic yards. Much of it came from Pass-a-Grille beach.

Asked to reconsider giving federal money to Pass-a-Grille and Upham, Corps officials are taking another look at the project, which would cost about $6 million, according to Pinellas County Coastal Manager Andy Squires. Of that, the state has already agreed to pay $1.7 million.

"We're definitely in need of beach nourishment," Hallock said.

St. Pete Beach, like other Pinellas beach towns, has had a record year for tourism, and visitors were apparently undaunted by a smaller beach and closer shoreline. But Hallock said he heard comments from people who noticed the post-Debby beach isn't what it used to be, and he's concerned that another bad storm could eat away at the dunes that protect nearby homes.

The last time Pass-a-Grille got more sand was in 2004. Sand was added to Upham beach in 2010, as well as two long yellow plastic tubes, called t-groins, that are structural barriers to erosion. The t-groins have survived vandalism and summer storms, but the county's fastest eroding beach is still losing sand, enough to leave the yellow tubes exposed.

St. Pete Beach officials have asked the county to pay for rock structures in lieu of the t-groins, but their request has been pushed off to next year when they might get state funding.

Contact Anna M. Phillips at ap[email protected] or (727) 893-8779.

   
Comments
Forecast: Tampa Bayís bitter cold snap is finally over

Forecast: Tampa Bayís bitter cold snap is finally over

Tampa Bay is finally clear of the bitter chill that covered the region this week as temperatures picked up on Saturday. 10News WTSPThe latest Tampa Bay-area radar 10News WTSPFeels-like temperatures around t...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Bicyclist dead after being hit by car in Pinellas Park

PINELLAS PARK ó A bicyclist is dead after he was hit by a car just before 10 a.m. Saturday morning, police said.Police were still investigating the crash in the 8700 block of 49th Street N late Saturday morning.Police shut down northbound 49th Street...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Motorcyclist crashes into Subaru while trying to flee Pinellas deputies

CLEARWATER — A 21-year-old fleeing from deputies on a motorcycle crashed into car while speeding away from a cruiser Friday, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. Michael Brown, of Clearwater, was recklessly driving his 2016...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Clearwater man in critical condition after medical episode while driving

DUNEDIN — A 60-year-old Clearwater man who likely had a medical episode while driving is now in the hospital with life-threatening injuries after rolling over his car, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. A Largo police off...
Updated: 2 hours ago
More than 1,000 cold-stunned sea turtles rescued in Florida Panhandle

More than 1,000 cold-stunned sea turtles rescued in Florida Panhandle

Floridaís dip into frigid temperatures did more than just stun humans unused to such cold air. This month scientists and volunteers have rescued more than 1,000 cold-stunned sea turtles from a single bay in the Florida Panhandle.The U.S. Geological S...
Published: 01/20/18
Romano: If UCF is national champion, then Iím a Hollywood stud

Romano: If UCF is national champion, then Iím a Hollywood stud

Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said people were entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts.Clearly, Moynihan never dealt with Florida legislators.Because around Tallahassee, facts are fungible. They arenít just up for debate, they...
Updated: 2 hours ago
U.S. government shuts down; Democrats, GOP blame each other

U.S. government shuts down; Democrats, GOP blame each other

WASHINGTON ó The federal government shut down at the stroke of midnight Friday, halting all but the most essential operations and marring the one-year anniversary of President Donald Trumpís inauguration in a striking display of Washington dysfunctio...
Published: 01/19/18
Updated: 01/20/18

High school scoreboard for Jan. 19

Fridayís scoreboardBoys soccerIndian Rocks Christian 2, Lakewood 1Lennard 3, Spoto 0Girls soccerPCAC Championship: Largo 3, Osceola 1Lennard 8, Spoto 0
Published: 01/19/18

Four people linked to Tampa carjacking captured hours later

TAMPA ó 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...
Published: 01/19/18
Inspector General launches investigation into Tampa Bayís local career centers

Inspector General launches investigation into Tampa Bayís 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, ...
Published: 01/19/18