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Clearwater / North Pinellas

  1. Clearwater police search for arson suspect caught on video

    Crime
    Times StaffCLEARWATER — Police were looking for a woman Wednesday who they say torched a car Sunday morning.
    Authorities say a woman set a car on fire at 7 a.m. Sunday on the 1100 block of Blanche B. Littlejohn Trail. She was caught on surveillance video feeding flames. She was seen by witnesses getting away on a bicycle, according to a news release. [Clearwater Police Department]
  2. Local leaders request permission to use genetically modified mosquitoes in Pinellas County

    Health
    Elected leaders from the Tampa Bay area are calling on the federal government to allow them to use genetically modified mosquitoes to fight the spread of Zika in Pinellas County.
    This photo made available by Oxitec shows a genetically modified Aedes aegypti mosquito in their U.K. lab. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of the mosquitoes for a trial in Key West, saying it would have no significant impact on the environment. Modified male mosquitoes mate with the natural population of female mosquitoes and pass on a "death gene" that kills their offspring. Oxitec has used its technology to reduce the Aedes aegypti mosquito population by 90 to 99 percent in parts of Latin America. Key West residents, skeptical of the science, have held up the trial. Without an emergency use order, the technology cannot be used in any other city until that trial is completed. [Oxitec via AP]
  3. Judge: Clearwater detective crossed the line in coercing confession in Pinellas Trail death

    Criminal
    LARGO — After she threw out a Clearwater man's murder confession last week, Pinellas Circuit Judge Nancy Moate Ley had harsh words for the detective who questioned him, according to court records obtained Thursday by the Tampa Bay Times.
    “You lied to him about everything. You lied to him about the witnesses. You lied to him about all sorts of things,” Pinellas Circuit Judge Nancy Moate Ley told Clearwater Detective Thomas Dawe. [SCOTT KEELER  |  Times] 
  4. Lights on Safety Harbor tree hailed, criticized

    Local Government
    SAFETY HARBOR — A new group called Smart Growth Safety Harbor has formed in town, and its numbers seem to be growing. Members say they stand for a revival of downtown Main Street, and last week, they lit a tree to prove it.
  5. Dunedin to close on land near Hammock Park

    Local Government
    DUNEDIN — The city will close on the purchase of the slice of land adjacent to Hammock Park no later than Wednesday, Interim City Manager Doug Hutchens said. He said the city will borrow money from its own utilities fund to pay $1.34 million for 8.7 acres.
  6. Clearwater seeks costs from couple after winning lawsuit

    Local Government
    CLEARWATER — The city will try to recover $400,000 spent successfully fighting a lawsuit brought by an Island Estates couple who sued in 2013 after being told their home renovation violated federal flood zone regulations.
  7. Clearwater boasts about national business ranking, but leaves out key detail

    Local Government
    CLEARWATER — City Hall this week touted Clearwater's ranking from industry magazine Inc. Media as the No. 1 city in the nation for business growth relative to population size.There was one problem.
  8. Clearwater residents, developer see different future for neighborhood's parcel

    Growth
    CLEARWATER — Perry Bean saw a catalyst in the 8.5 acres of mostly vacant land beside the railroad tracks and aging houses in the Lake Belleview neighborhood.
  9. Dunedin internship program partners with city to bolster skill development

    K12
    DUNEDIN — Entering his sophomore year at Dunedin High School, Ryan Powers still has plenty of time to decide what he wants to do with his life.
    Dunedin High student Ryan Powers, right, learns from section engineer Russell Ferlita at the wastewater treatment facility.
  10. Kahwa adds Belleair Bluffs location

    Retail
    BELLEAIR BLUFFS — Kahwa Coffee recently opened a new location at 2919 West Bay Drive.
  11. Old Belleview Biltmore section to become new inn

    Real Estate
    BELLEAIR — The iconic Belleview Biltmore Hotel is no more, but part of it will live on as the new Belleview Inn. JMC Communities, which bought the property last year for a condo- and carriage-home community, is spending $13 million to move and preserve a 38,000-square-foot, three-story section of the hotel …
    A rendering of the Belleview Inn, a 38,000-square-foot section of the original Belleview Biltmore Hotel built in 1897 by railroad magnate Henry Plant
  12. Pinellas news briefs

    Briefs
    NONPROFIT WILL DISTRIBUTE FREE AMPLIFIED PHONES: Florida Telecommunications Relay is offering an innovative new amplified telephone at to Pinellas County residents with hearing loss. State law requires all Florida landline phone companies to distribute free specialized phones to residents with hearing loss.
  13. The Pinellas School Board races: Nine candidates, thousands spent, three spots to fill

    K12
    Nine candidates vying for three Pinellas County School Board seats have less than a week to buckle down for the primary election.
    Pinellas County Schools administration building at 301 Fourth St. SW in Largo. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
  14. Clearwater teen sentenced again to life in prison for 2013 fatal stabbing

    Criminal
    Mychal King, who pleaded guilty last year to fatally stabbing a Clearwater man 25 times in 2013, was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison.
  15. Retail Fix: Consignment furniture in the bay area has deals galore

    Consumer
    College students moving into their first dorm and others striking out on their own often look to Ikea for lower-cost, put-it-together-yourself furniture. As part of their initiation, they must enter a labyrinth designed by Lewis Carroll and Satan. • Consider instead a growing number of "gently used" …
    This small-apartment-friendly drop-leaf table is $100 at Colonial Furniture & Mattress.