Friday, January 19, 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
Lightning falls to Golden Knights

Lightning falls to Golden Knights

TAMPA — The door to the Lightning dressing room remained closed a little longer than usual Thursday night, and that wasn’t surprising.After the kind of performance displayed in its 4-1 loss to the expansion Golden Knights, this had players-only meeti...
Updated: 4 hours ago

High school scoreboard for Jan. 18

Thursday’s scoreboardGirls basketballNortheast 64, Largo 24Boys soccerIndian Rocks Chr. 3, Berkeley Prep 2Palm Harbor U. 7, Tarpon Springs 0Girls soccerCountryside 5, Pinellas Park 0Palm Harbor U. 5, Tarpon Springs 1...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Police presence at Martin Luther King Jr. Day after-party raises ire

Police presence at Martin Luther King Jr. Day after-party raises ire

ST. PETERSBURG — One after another, speakers stepped to the lectern at City Hall on Thursday and described the same image: police cruisers on every corner in Midtown, uniformed officers lined up across the roadway, souring what should have been a joy...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Tampa Bay record lows burst pipes, threaten berry and fish farms

Tampa Bay record lows burst pipes, threaten berry and fish farms

In winters past, when they ran the irrigation system at Parkesdale Farms to preserve the berry crop in a protective shell of ice, the icicles measured inches.But on Wednesday night, one of the coldest nights in years, the icicles hung more than a foo...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Crystal Lagoon planners cut the ribbon on a chilly day (w/video)

Crystal Lagoon planners cut the ribbon on a chilly day (w/video)

WESLEY CHAPEL — Mother Nature seems to have a way of putting a chill on one of the hottest amenities in residential real estate development.Members of the business community, elected officials and executives with Metro Development Group and Crystal L...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Booty and books on Blackbeard’s ship; critics warn new Trump offic would allow doctors to discriminate; more in U.S. news

Booty and books on Blackbeard’s ship; critics warn new Trump offic would allow doctors to discriminate; more in U.S. news

North CarolinaBooty and books on boardDead men tell no tales, but there’s new evidence that somebody aboard the pirate Blackbeard’s flagship harbored books among the booty. In an unusual find, researchers have discovered shreds of paper bearing legib...
Updated: 9 hours ago

Consumer agency to spend rainy day funds

NEW YORK — The Trump-appointed acting director of the federal government’s consumer watchdog agency requested zero dollars of funding for its second-quarter budget, saying he intends to first spend down the agency’s rainy day fund. In a letter to the...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Man free on bail during DUI manslaughter appeal arrested for drinking alcohol

Man free on bail during DUI manslaughter appeal arrested for drinking alcohol

A Tampa man convicted of DUI manslaughter for drunkenly running down a tourist and released on bail while his case winds through the appeals process was arrested Tuesday.Brock Troutman, 34, violated the conditions of his release from jail by consumin...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Family recalls troubled youth for teen killer, now 39, who seeks new sentence

Family recalls troubled youth for teen killer, now 39, who seeks new sentence

TAMPA — The bearded man with shackled hands sat weeping as he listened to witness after witness — his mother, aunt and sister among them — recount his childhood of poverty, abuse, and depression.Kyle Moran leaned forward occasionally, stretching to w...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Tropical Breeze patron rides shuttle to check on crew

Tropical Breeze patron rides shuttle to check on crew

PORT RICHEY — Loretta Santini was one of a small group of customers boarding a Tropical Breeze Casino shuttle Thursday afternoon as the company sailed for the first day since another of its shuttle boats burned to the water Sunday, killing one woman....
Updated: 10 hours ago