Sunday, February 25, 2018
News Roundup

Treasure Island petition takes aim at Rotary carnival, parking on beach

TREASURE ISLAND — A petition drive aimed at pushing city commissioners to reconsider allowing the Rotary Club's four-day beach fundraising event has collected more than 1,000 signatures.

Arthur Czyszczon, general manager of Page Terrace Beachfront Motel, wants to collect 10,000 signatures to sway city commissioners to change their approval of the Rotary Club's annual Greatest Show on Surf event. The event is planned for next March during spring break.

Czyszczon said he and other hoteliers are concerned about the increase in the number of special events held at the beach.

"Within the last five years, events have doubled," he said. "We've never had an issue before because some actually help out our business when they are held when business is slow."

But by holding it during spring break, Czyszczon said he actually loses business.

"We lost a significant amount last year," he said.

Signatures on the petitions come from all over the country. Mayor Robert Minning, who voted in favor of allowing the event, said most people signing don't understand the issue.

"It is easy for him to put something online with no companion piece that shows the other side," he said Thursday, when the petition had fewer signatures. "Of the 675 who have signed it, 15 are from Treasure Island. It is obvious that the people responding don't know all the details."

Minning says he puts more confidence in a survey the chamber of commerce did with 80 businesses. The majority favored having the Rotary event.

The online petition at states that vehicles should not be allowed to drive or park on the beach because they "threaten our natural beach environment and reputation of having a world-class beach."

Large events "pose safety concerns, noise concerns, pollution, and disrupt nesting and resting activities for endangered turtles and shorebirds," the petition states. It claims local businesses are losing money because people "come to stay on a beach, not on a fairground or worse, a parking lot."

The city also is receiving more complaints about daily use of vehicles on the beach.

City Manager Reid Silverboard said people have complained that vendors have caused more ruts on the beach in the soft sand areas and are driving too fast.

City recreation director Cathy Hayduke, who said she is getting more complaints from residents about cars and trucks parking and driving on the beach, said the city has sent five vendors that operate concessions on the beach letters with formal requirements for parking and operating their vehicles.

Beginning July 25, the city's police force monitored vendors for 10 days to see whether they had the required permits and were operating their vehicles in a proper manner.

"We always patrol the beach, but we were stopping all vehicles to see if they had the paperwork required," police Chief Tim Casey said. No summonses or tickets were issued, he said.

In the past year, Casey said, there has been an increase in people illegally driving on the beach.

Signs are posted at every vehicle access point clearly stating that only authorized vehicles can use the beach, Casey said, but people often ignore them.

Commissioners Alan Bildz and Tim Ramsberger have said they have reservations about parking and driving on the beachfront.

"There is more commercial activity on the beach now than I've ever seen," Ramsberger said. "I've been getting lots of negative feedback about it."

When Frank Taylor with Taylor Beach Service, a vendor that operates a rental service on the beachfront, asked last week to expand the number of vehicles his business uses, Ramsberger objected.

"I have trouble with that," he said. "We need to have all vendors limited."

When the city renews its agreements with vendors, Silverboard said it will put in additional language to clarify any problems.

Both Reid and Minning think limiting the number of vehicles vendors are allowed to operate and registering drivers and making sure they understand the rules will help.

Police: Man, 60, arrested for fleeing from fatal Largo pedestrian crash

Police: Man, 60, arrested for fleeing from fatal Largo pedestrian crash

LARGO — A 60-year-old man who police said was the driver in a fatal pedestrian hit-and-run on East Bay Drive from three days prior was arrested by Largo Police on Saturday, the department said.Victor Bonavita was arrested on three charges in relation...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Sheriff: Roads reopen after Tampa crash results in natural gas leak near Citrus Park Mall

Sheriff: Roads reopen after Tampa crash results in natural gas leak near Citrus Park Mall

TAMPA — Officials reopened roads near Citrus Park Mall Saturday evening that had been closed in the afternoon for a natural gas leak caused by a car crash, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said. The Sheriff’s Office and Hillsborough County Fi...
Updated: 7 hours ago

boca ratonState lawmakerencourages Scott to remove sheriffA lawmaker is calling on Florida Gov. Rick Scott to remove Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel from office after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. In a letter sent to ...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Two airlinescut ties withNRA aftershootings

The National Rifle Association lashed out at corporations rushing to abandon it on Saturday, as companies from United Airlines to Best Western have cut ties with the gun lobby organization.Without context, twin announcements from Delta and United air...
Updated: 7 hours ago

‘Up to States’ to armteachers, Trump tweets

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump appeared Saturday to begin refining his proposals for combatting school violence, tweeting that arming teachers as a deterrent against such often deadly violence — an idea he championed in recent days — is "Up to S...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Security Council demands30-day cease-fire in Syria

Security Council demands30-day cease-fire in Syria

UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved a resolution Saturday demanding a 30-day cease-fire across Syria "without delay" to deliver humanitarian aid to millions and evacuate the critically ill and wounded. U.N. humanitarian ch...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Updated: 8 hours ago
Call her more than just a survivor

Call her more than just a survivor

TAMPA — On the quiet morning of Oct. 8, 2011, a 30-ton freight truck ran a stop sign in the small town of Clinton, Conn.It ran over Colleen Kelly Alexander, who was riding a bicycle.The truck's front wheels crushed her, then spit her to the bac...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Police: Male motorcyclist crashed, then the driver was run over by two cars

Police: Male motorcyclist crashed, then the driver was run over by two cars

TAMPA — A male motorcyclist died early Saturday morning on the Courtney Campbell Causeway, the Tampa Police Department said.About 1:35 a.m., the victim rode his motorcycle west on the Courtney Campbell at high speeds, police said. The motorcycle stru...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Northeast High alumnus Jon Mott wins 3rd Gasparilla 15K crown

Northeast High alumnus Jon Mott wins 3rd Gasparilla 15K crown

TAMPA — Roughly 20 minutes into Saturday morning's Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic 15K, reigning champ A.J. Richmond glanced over his left shoulder to former college teammate Jon Mott and flashed a quick hand signal."He was telling me that t...
Published: 02/24/18