Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Authorities investigating possible arson at Clearwater-area home

Clearwater

Authorities believe fire may be arson

Arson investigators are looking into a fire that broke out early Thursday morning at a home in unincorporated Clearwater.

Authorities responded to 2114 Cypress Point Drive N about 6:40 a.m., according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, and found a fire in the attached garage.

Crews treated the owner of the home, Michael Branin, 60, for smoke inhalation at the scene, the Sheriff's Office said.

A man sitting outside the charred home Thursday morning, who said he lived there but would not give his name, said the blaze started on a couch in the garage.

The cause of the fire has not been determined, and deputies are continuing to investigate.

Countywide

Celebrate July Fourth without fireworks

Pinellas County authorities are reminding residents that private use of fireworks is illegal in Pinellas County.

A county news release notes: "Independence Day celebrations can be full of flare without fireworks at home. In fact, in Pinellas County the retail sale or purchase of fireworks that project into the air or explode is prohibited."

Sparklers remain legal, but parents are reminded they can be dangerous, reaching temperatures of up to 1,200 degrees. Only those over 12 years of age should handle sparklers, authorities say. Officials also have the following basic safety recommendations:

• Read all cautions and warnings.

• Use sparklers only outdoors.

• Use sparklers as intended -- do not try to alter or combine them.

• Do not mix fireworks and alcohol.

• Never pick up fireworks that may be left over after a display, as they may still be active.

Dunedin

Prepare for lots of work on the city's roads

Dunedin City Commission votes earlier this month will mean improved roads and crosswalk signals for several parts of the city.

In unanimous decisions, commissioners on June 20 agreed to buy rapid flashing beacon lights for Causeway Boulevard and Patricia Avenue, as well as to spend $190,450 resurfacing San Christopher Drive between County Road 1 and Pinehurst Road.

City staffers also hope rectangular flashing beacon lights — like those on Alt. U.S. 19 at Weaver Park — will ease concerns about pedestrian safety on two of Dunedin's busiest roads. The new signals cost $35,000 and will go up on Patricia Avenue south of Admiral Road, and four on Causeway Boulevard at South Paula and Woodette drives, Gary Place and Royal Stewart Arms.

The road resurfacing project won't add curbs to San Christopher Drive, which disappointed Vice Mayor Julie Ward Bujalski. Bike lanes also are not included in the current project, though city staffers said they could be added if desired in the future.

Commissioners also approved naming an ongoing city-sponsored public education effort in honor of the longtime Dunedin volunteer, public safety committee member and retired St. Petersburg police officer who spearheaded the idea. The "Chief Don Story Public Safety Series" will feature monthly seminars on topics such as hurricane preparedness and fire prevention. Story died unexpectedly in February.

Countywide

Reclaimed water still unavailable as system maintenance goes on

Pinellas County reclaimed water will continue to be unavailable on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays while the system is shut down for maintenance as well as storage recovery.

County reclaimed water customers Vice Mayor Julie Ward Bujalski are encouraged to continue limiting their reclaimed water use to help with this resource recovery initiative.

During the past several months, storage levels of reclaimed water dropped so low that pumps could potentially be damaged. The reclaimed water system's capacity will be reevaluated as rain increases during the summer months.

The shut-down schedule will continue until storage levels recover. For more details, call customer service, (727) 464-4000 or visit pinellascounty.org/utilities.

Authorities investigating possible arson at Clearwater-area home 06/29/13 [Last modified: Friday, June 28, 2013 4:31pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Commentary: Ten years later, the iPhone owns us

    Science

    Steve Jobs unveiled the first iPhone in January, 2007, before an adoring congregation, in his signature "Sermon on the Mount" style. On June 29, it became available to the public. Ten years later, the phone has spread like Christianity. The device represents "the pinnacle product of all capitalism," as Brian Merchant …

    Apple is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the iPhone's release on June 29, 2007. [Associated Press]
  2. Florida education news: School grades, teacher pay, transgender lawsuit and more

    Blogs

    SCHOOL GRADES: Florida's school grades showed improvement as the state's revised accountability system entered its third year in its current form. …

    Bear Creek Elementary principal Willette Houston celebrates her school's A grade with students in a summer program at the school.
  3. Whiskey wasn't my thing, but then I visited the Teeling Distillery in Ireland

    Travel

    DUBLIN

    If you drink your way through a four-day trip to Ireland, can you make an honest recommendation on anything?

    The focal point of the Teeling Whiskey Distillery in Dublin is the copper pots used in the process.
  4. Faulty AC leaves Chinsegut manor house, supporters steaming

    Human Interest

    BROOKSVILLE

    As summer temperatures climb, volunteers at Chinsegut Hill Manor House say a faulty air-conditioning system has put them in a hot spot.

    Thomas Hoops of Tampa, left, takes a breather with his 1-year-old daughter, Zoe Hoops, on the porch of the Chinsegut Hill Manor House.
  5. Looking Back: Adele and her baby koala come out of hiding (December 27, 1991)

    Attractions

    This story appeared in the pages of the St. Petersburg Times on December 27, 1991. What follows is the text of the original story, interspersed with photos of the event taken by Times staff photographer Tony Lopez.

    BABY KOALA IS NOW OUT OF POCKET

    By Amber Grimes

    Times staff …

    Kunara, Busch Garden's shy baby koala, has been working his way out of his mother Adele's pouch since his birth.

TIMES | Tony Lopez