Friday, February 23, 2018
News Roundup

Zephyrhills works on land swap with Acme Development Corp.

ZEPHYRHILLS — City officials hope to avoid a potential lawsuit by looking into swapping a 10-acre piece of land for about 24 acres at the north end of the airport.

Acme Development Corp., which owns the airport property, maintains the city failed to follow through on a 2005 agreement to either purchase or trade about 42 acres, split into two parcels. The city bought one of the pieces, a 17.5-acre tract, in May 2011 for a possible airport expansion, and agreed to a land swap for the remaining 24.5 acres. Council member Lance Smith and others said the swap was contingent on approval from the Federal Aviation Authority, which eventually nixed the exchange.

The council held a special meeting Thursday to discuss the dispute and decide how to proceed.

With a 3-1 vote, members directed city staff to get appraisals on the properties, negotiate with Acme, and bring a recommended solution back to council. Smith voted against the measure; Jodi Wilkeson was absent.

"I don't want litigation, but we've already done what we said we would do," Smith said after the meeting.

Council president Ken Compton opened the meeting with a hope that litigation could be avoided.

"There are two sides to this issue," said Compton. "We're not here to say who's right or who's wrong, but to resolve our differences so that everyone gets a fair shake."

City Manager Jim Drumm presented four possible options for settling the disagreement. The first — do nothing — was quickly passed over. The second, borrow money to buy the remaining Acme property, was similarly dismissed. The third was to swap roughly 10 acres of unused land on the southeast corner of Henry and Eighth streets for the airport property; the fourth, swap a couple parcels of land in the airport industrial park for Acme's land.

Acme lawyer Diane Watson said her clients were not interested in the city's airport property because other adjacent leased properties would make it difficult for Acme to get any value on the traded pieces.

Watson said Acme officials are interested in exchanging its land for the city's 10-acre piece, provided it's a fair trade.

Comments
Winter Olympics: Alina Zagitova wins figure skating gold, Russia’s first of Games

Winter Olympics: Alina Zagitova wins figure skating gold, Russia’s first of Games

GANGNEUNG, South Korea  — The Russians finally have a gold medal at the  Olympics, thanks to a 15-year-old who beat the fellow teen who inspired her to become a figure skater.Alina Zagitova won one of the Games' spotlight events Frida...
Updated: 2 hours ago

High school scoreboard for Feb. 22

Thursday’s scoreboardSoftballBoca Ciega 4, Pinellas Park 2Admiral Farragut 7, Northside Christian 1Boys tennisOsceola 7, Dixie Hollins 0Clearwater Central Cath. 4, Jesuit 3Girls tennisOsceola 7, Dixie Hollins 0Boys basketballClass 3A, region semifina...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Deputy ‘never went in’ during Parkland school shooting. There were other failures, too

Deputy ‘never went in’ during Parkland school shooting. There were other failures, too

Eight days after mass shooter Nikolas Cruz murdered 17 people inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Broward’s top cop on Thursday revealed a stunning series of failures by the sheriff’s department.A school campus cop heard the gunfire, rushed ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
A case for wild flamingos calling Florida their home

A case for wild flamingos calling Florida their home

In 2015, Conchy the flamingo showed up at Florida’s Naval Air Station Key West, and he wouldn’t leave. Normally, managers on the grounds lethally remove feathered troublemakers — it can be very dangerous with birds flying around million-dollar fighte...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Updated: 6 hours ago
Florida man yells ‘murderers!’ as he’s executed for slaying

Florida man yells ‘murderers!’ as he’s executed for slaying

Associated PressSTARKE — An inmate convicted of raping and killing a college student decades ago screamed and yelled "murderers!" three times, thrashing on a gurney as he was being put to death Thursday. The governor’s office said Eric Scott Branch, ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
After Parkland, another plea for rumor control: ‘This is not a joke’ (w/video)

After Parkland, another plea for rumor control: ‘This is not a joke’ (w/video)

ST. PETERSBURG — The mayor and the police chief came to Northeast High on Thursday to warn students about the dangers of circulating rumors of school safety threats on social media.While they were there, one of those unfounded rumors popped up on Fac...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Administrator Haley Loeun fired from CareerSource jobs centers

Administrator Haley Loeun fired from CareerSource jobs centers

Haley Loeun, a top aide to the embattled leader of the Pinellas and Hillsborough jobs boards, was fired Thursday from her $130,000-a-year position as business services director.Loeun came under criticism after the Tampa Bay Times reported that employ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
V.M. Ybor: That’s not cigar smoke you’re smelling

V.M. Ybor: That’s not cigar smoke you’re smelling

TAMPA — Across Interstate 4 from Ybor City’s nightlife, another part of the historic neighborhood has an odor less nostalgic — and much less pleasant — than cigar smoke and roasting coffee beans.V.M. Ybor, named after the Spaniard who founded the cit...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Mattis expected to back allowing transgender troops to stay in the military

Mattis expected to back allowing transgender troops to stay in the military

WASHINGTON - Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is expected to propose to President Donald Trump that transgender members of the U.S. military be allowed to continue serving despite the president’s call last summer for a ban on all transgender service, acc...
Updated: 9 hours ago