Thursday, December 14, 2017
Public safety

Tarpon commission approves fence at Cycadia Cemetery to block vandals

TARPON SPRINGS — About six months ago, someone jumped the 2-foot-high wall surrounding Cycadia Cemetery and knocked over two cross headstones.

The broken granite, later discovered by an angry family, is just another case of cemetery vandalism in a string stretching back to the 1960s, said Tarpon Springs' director of public works, Paul Smith.

Intruders cloaked by night have nabbed metal vases, bronze plaques, and even a 70-year-old, 75-pound sphere memorializing the cemetery's founder.

"It has historically been a problem," Smith said. "The current fence doesn't discourage people from entering the cemetery, cutting through the cemetery at all hours of the day."

The city's discussions about what to do about vandalism in the city cemetery stretch back to the '60s,too. However, Smith has proposed a permanent solution: a new 6-foot-tall, wrought iron-style picket fence that would cost about $175,000.

The fence would be sleek black, Smith told city commissioners Tuesday, and attach to an automatic gate that opens at sunrise and closes at sunset. It would replace most of the wall that is there now. The cemetery would be visible through the fence.

Smith said that before writing a proposal, he consulted with the family of F. Kettrell Powell, a beloved community leader and permanent cemetery board member who died in 2010.

Powell cared deeply about the cemetery, Smith said. He, too, had wanted to increase security.

"He would've loved this — it's something he envisioned before he passed away," said Vice Mayor Chris Alahouzos. "This is something we've been waiting for."

Commissioners unanimously approved the fence plan and, after permits are obtained from Pinellas County, construction is scheduled to start by February.

The project will be paid for out of the cemetery's perpetual care fund.

Danielle Paquette can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4224.

Comments
Thefts from cell towers interrupted service, deputies say

Thefts from cell towers interrupted service, deputies say

Lost cell signal recently? The culprit could be a 40-year-old Ruskin man who deputies said stole thousands of dollars worth of the equipment that powers cell towers. The theft interrupted cell tower signals on at least two occasions, deputies said, i...
Updated: 5 hours ago
St. Petersburg police arrest Bob’s Carpet and Flooring heir, several others, in death of 22-year-old woman found in alley

St. Petersburg police arrest Bob’s Carpet and Flooring heir, several others, in death of 22-year-old woman found in alley

ST. PETERSBURG — Police have arrested several people, including a son of a prominent flooring store chain’s late founder, as part of an investigation into the death of a 22-year-old woman whose body was found in an alley last year.The woman, Taylor M...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Pinellas sheriff disciplines deputies in arrest, but not for excessive force

Pinellas sheriff disciplines deputies in arrest, but not for excessive force

Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri has suspended two deputies after an internal investigation found they violated agency policies during the arrest of a 25-year-old man that turned violent.The sheriff handed down 15 days to Deputy Alexander Edge, who Gua...
Updated: 5 hours ago
St. Petersburg police sergeant demoted after throwing bullet at fellow officer

St. Petersburg police sergeant demoted after throwing bullet at fellow officer

ST. PETERSBURG — A long-tenured St. Petersburg police sergeant and executive vice president of the local police union is being demoted to the rank of officer after he threw a bullet at another sergeant while on duty, the department said Wednesday.Jam...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Train strikes stalled semi, out spills frozen chicken, beef and fish

LAKELAND — Residents got some frozen treats the hard way Wednesday morning, hours after a CSX train struck a semitrailer truck, splitting it in half and spilling its load of frozen beef, chicken and fish onto the roadway.The train was traveling from ...
Updated: 9 hours ago

Highlands County students hurt when semi hits school bus

Four Highlands County school children and their bus driver were injured Wednesday morning when their school bus was struck by a semitrailer truck, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.The crash took place just before 8 a.m. on U.S. 27 and Lake Pla...
Updated: 9 hours ago

Woman, 54, killed while walking across U.S. 19 in Hudson

HUDSON — A 54-year-old woman was struck and killed by a car while crossing U.S. 19 on Tuesday evening, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.The crash took place at about 6:10 p.m.Patricia Lynn Pla was walking east across northbound U.S. 19 near Ba...
Updated: 9 hours ago
St. Pete losing two assistant police chiefs; one will join Rays

St. Pete losing two assistant police chiefs; one will join Rays

ST. PETERSBURG — Two assistant police chiefs are stepping down next month, leaving two of the three second-in-command jobs vacant at the St. Petersburg Police Department.Assistant Chief Jim Previtera announced this week that he will resign from the d...
Published: 12/12/17

Tampa forum focuses on reforming Florida’s juvenile justice system

TAMPA — Changing the way Florida treats juvenile offenders was the focus of Monday night’s forum on criminal justice reform."We send more children to adult prison than any other state," said Raymer Maguire IV, manager of the ACLU’s Florida Campaign f...
Published: 12/12/17
Buchanan Middle aide used Instagram to seek nude photos, sex from students, deputies say

Buchanan Middle aide used Instagram to seek nude photos, sex from students, deputies say

TAMPA — A 24-year-old aide at Buchanan Middle School was arrested Monday and charged with using Instagram to ask for sex and nude photos from female students at the school, deputies said.Between Sept. 1 and the time of his arrest, Quinton J. Bradford...
Published: 12/12/17