Friday, April 20, 2018
News Roundup

Belleair Bee founder Myra Chandler Haas dies at 93

CLEARWATER — Myra Chandler Haas started the Belleair Bee in 1976, a community newspaper she envisioned as a muscular arm for worthwhile causes.

She covered ribbon cuttings, Town Commission meetings and coming elections, using an advertising-supported model she had already used to run a string of successful newspapers in Michigan.

She founded the Largo Leader next, donating ad space and sponsoring events for charities.

Before moving to Clearwater, Mrs. Haas had expanded a business and rebounded from tragedy.

Mrs. Haas, a sparkplug for community newspapers and a powerful force in opening and sustaining Ruth Eckerd Hall, died Jan. 12. She was 93.

"She was a petite woman, but she had passion and determination the size of a giant," said Stephanie Smith, the chief development officer for Ruth Eckerd Hall.

She was born Myra Kuder in Detroit in 1919. She graduated from business school, worked as a secretary and started a family with her first husband, accountant William Cox. She dressed sharply — a "fashionista," her family said — and kept up with local politics.

In the mid 1950s, Mrs. Haas and other residents of suburban Detroit launched the Redford Observer. The move took them head to head with another weekly paper, covering new schools and local politics. Many of her co-workers were women.

"Ozzie and Harriet and June Cleaver were on TV, but Detroit was under brand-new development and the women's movement was just getting started," said Bill Cox, 68, Mrs. Haas' son.

Success followed success. The Observer grew to at least eight newspapers.

She weathered shocks, too. William Cox died at 42 of a heart attack. Mrs. Haas married printer Paul Chandler, who had bought her newspaper chain a few years earlier. Chandler, a political pal of Gov. George Romney, became a state senator and died of a heart attack at age 45.

His wife sold his businesses and moved to Clearwater in 1969. After owning a retail store, she started the Bee, then the Leader. She married Arthur Haas in 1981, who suffered a fatal heart attack five years later.

Mrs. Haas stayed busy, serving on the Ruth Eckerd board and as the president of the Leading Ladies, the hall's fund-raising and outreach organization.

Mrs. Haas sold the Bee and Leader in the mid 1980s, but remained in charge of the Bee until the late 1990s. The chain has since grown to eight newspapers and is now owned by a sister company of the Tampa Bay Times.

Her guiding mantra never changed, said Sue Osborne, a former sales manager for Mrs. Haas. "She knew how to make people feel important," Osborne said. "It was the newspaper's job to promote the well-being of the community."

Andrew Meacham can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 892-2248.

Comments

Owners say new house is a disaster; developer accuses them of ‘online terrorism’

ST. PETERSBURG --- Stretched across the front of Tim and Hyun Kims’ two-year-old house is a big banner with the name of a developer and the words: "I have to fix my new house."Some of what needs fixing is instantly apparent. The front steps are too ...
Updated: 9 minutes ago
Today: Area high school students to join national walkout in memory of Columbine

Today: Area high school students to join national walkout in memory of Columbine

High school students from both sides of Tampa Bay will commemorate the anniversary of the Columbine High School shootings on Friday, although in very different ways.In St. Petersburg, students from several schools will gather at noon at City Hall for...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Florida unemployment at 3.9 percent for sixth straight month

Florida unemployment at 3.9 percent for sixth straight month

Florida continues to coast with relatively low unemployment and modest job gains. In March, for the sixth straight month, the state’s jobless rate was 3.9 percent. Florida added 13,800 jobs over the month.Tampa Bay’s unemployment rate was 3.6 percent...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Judge: Foreclosure defense lawyer Mark Stopa violated numerous rules of conduct

Judge: Foreclosure defense lawyer Mark Stopa violated numerous rules of conduct

Tampa Bay foreclosure defense lawyer Mark Stopa has violated numerous rules of professional conduct and caused two clients to nearly lose their homes because he failed to tell them about settlement offers from their banks. In preliminary findings of ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
A state trooper kept pulling women over to ask for dates

A state trooper kept pulling women over to ask for dates

TRENTON, N.J. — A New Jersey State Police trooper accused of repeatedly pulling over women to ask them out on dates has been indicted. The state attorney general’s office announced Thursday that 32-year-old Eric Richardson faces charges including off...
Updated: 1 hour ago
SunTrust warns 1.5 million clients of potential data breach

SunTrust warns 1.5 million clients of potential data breach

Associated PressNEW YORK — SunTrust Banks Inc. says accounts for 1.5 million clients could be compromised following a potential data breach. The Atlanta bank says that it became aware of the potential theft by a former employee and that the investiga...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Pinellas detention deputy fired for using racial slur

Pinellas detention deputy fired for using racial slur

LARGO — Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri fired a detention deputy Friday after an internal investigation found he used a racial slur to describe black inmates.A fellow Pinellas County Jail deputy reported Jorge Lopez, 30, after he repeatedly used the s...
Updated: 1 hour ago
One injured, suspect in custody in Ocala school shooting

One injured, suspect in custody in Ocala school shooting

OCALA — Authorities say one student shot another in the ankle at a Florida high school and a suspect is in custody.The Ocala Star-Banner reports the shooting happened Friday morning at Forest High School which was on lockdown. The injured student was...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Former Ohio State, University of Tampa coach Earle Bruce dies

Former Ohio State, University of Tampa coach Earle Bruce dies

Former Ohio State football coach Earle Bruce, whose nine-year tenure in Columbus came after one season as coach of the University of Tampa's now-defunct program, passed away earlier this morning at age 87.Mr. Bruce reportedly had been battling Alzhei...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Bucs have a tough start to their schedule

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Bucs have a tough start to their schedule

The NFL did the Bucs no favors with their 2018 schedule, Rick Stroud says, making them open at New Orleans, followed by home games against Philadelphia and Pittsburgh Plus, linebacker Kendall Beckwith had surgery to repair a broken ankle, p...
Updated: 2 hours ago