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  1. Pinellas County to consider rules for medical marijuana

    Localgovernment

    CLEARWATER –– The Pinellas County Commission is slated to vote Tuesday on an ordinance to establish rules for growing, processing and selling medical pot in unincorporated areas of the county. …

    The Pinellas County Commission on Tuesday will consider new rules for growing, processing and selling medical pot in unincorporated areas of the county. [Washington Post]
  2. Hometown Pinellas

    Humaninterest

    Seminole native graduates from basic training …

    Gregg Marrocco graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas. (Photo courtesy of Joint Hometown News Service).
  3. Hometown Pinellas

    Humaninterest

    Seminole native graduates from basic training …

    Gregg Marrocco graduated from basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, San Antonio, Texas. (Photo courtesy of Joint Hometown News Service).
  4. Pinellas law enforcement agencies participate in annual Special Olympics Torch Run

    Humaninterest

    Law enforcement agencies from across Pinellas County are participating in the 25th annual Special Olympics Torch Run on Wednesday. The run began at 8:15 a.m. at the St. Petersburg Police Department and will end at Paul B. Stephens school in Clearwater around 1 p.m.  …

    Runners make their way down McMullen Booth Road in Clearwater for the torch run for Special Olympics. [JIM DAMASKE | Times]

  5. How state leaders are trying to fix the juvenile car theft problem in Pinellas

    Publicsafety

    How can a system allow dozens of kids to be arrested twice for felony grand theft auto, and still go on to steal another car? …

     "We recognize that the kids have changed, times have changed," says Florida Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary 
Christina Daly. [DIRK SHADD  |  Times]
  6. Pinellas Commission gives preliminary nod to tax money for Blue Jays

    Ml

    CLEARWATER — After a confusing debate, the Pinellas County Commission on Tuesday voted to help Dunedin move forward with an $81 million upgrade of the Toronto Blue Jays spring training complex. …

    The county gave preliminary approval to spend $46.5 million in bed-tax money to help upgrade the Toronto Blue Jays spring training facility.
  7. Pinellas County commissioner to discuss tax money for Toronto Blue Jays

    Ml

    CLEARWATER –– The Pinellas County Commission on Tuesday will discuss the next steps for a plan to help Dunedin upgrade the spring training complex for the Toronto Blue Jays. …

    A plan to renovate Florida Auto Exchange Stadium in Dunedin, the spring training home of the Toronto Blue Jays, calls for Pinellas County to shell out $46.5 million. County commissioners will discuss the idea at a meeting Tuesday.[CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times]
  8. FAST wants more Penny for Pinellas tax money spent on affordable housing

    Local

    ST. PETERSBURG — City and county officials were asked to commit millions of dollars of sales tax revenues to build more affordable housing in Pinellas during a gathering of about 3,000 people Monday night at Tropicana Field.  …

    St. Petersburg council member Charlie Gerdes talks to Fr. Tom Anastasia at the FAST congregation assembly in Tropicana Field on Monday, April 24, 2017. The coalition of worship groups invited public officials to ask them to pledge their support to social and economic issues. Event organizers estimated about 3,000 people in attendance. - In the spring of 2016 a majority of county commissioners stood before thousands of residents at Tropicana Field and committed to allocated 25% of the next 10-year cycle of Penny for Pinellas funds to Affordable Housing and the needs of the poor. Residents were outraged when they saw current county plans only include 1.3% for affordable housing. On Monday nights 3,000 grassroots citizens are expected to gather to demand that the County and City of St. Petersburg allocate more money to affordable housing in the next Penny for Pinellas cycle.
  9. Pinellas news briefs

    Briefs

    FAIR Foundation and the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions hosts annual industry conference  …

  10. District softball: East Lake 7, Pinellas Park 2; Countryside 5, Seminole 0

    Home Team

    CLEARWATER – The rematch is set. Top seeds East Lake and Countryside face each other again on Thursday, this time with the Class 8A, District 7 title on the line. In Wednesday's doubleheader opener, No. 2 East Lake slowly dismantled Pinellas Park, 7-2, behind the pitching and hitting of Tori Brennan. …

  11. State Rep. Larry Ahern brings back controversial bill to fix Pinellas construction licensing board

    Localgovernment

    SPECIAL REPORT: Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board plays fast and loose with disciplinary process SPECIAL REPORT: Pinellas licensing board leader Rodney Fischer described as a 'bully' and 'suspicious' in clashes with employees and county officials  …

    Rep. Larry Ahern, R- Seminole, brought proposed legislation back to life that would help reform the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board. But that's news to the Pinellas County Commission and the agency's interim director. Ahern, a longtime pool contractor, had also said he would wait until the completion of a grand jury investigation before reforming the agency. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Tampa Bay Times
  12. From St. Pete to Cannes: Web series showcases Pinellas filmmaking with zero state money

    Media

    Created and recorded in St. Petersburg on a shoestring budget, BTS is a wacky web series about an indie film company where staff meetings generate ideas ranging from bad to terrible. …

    BTS main cast members get pitched movie ideas in a scene filmed at Litewave Studios. (Left to right: Chris Cavalier, Lucius Baston, Alison Burns, Chris Jackson, Alissa Schneider) [Litewave Studios]
  13. Hot Wheels: Kids are driving Pinellas County's car-theft epidemic. It's a dangerous, sometimes deadly, game.

    Publicsafety

    A real life game of Grand Theft Auto is playing out across Pinellas County. Kids as young as 10, barely able to see over the steering wheel, are driving cars past 100 mph into oncoming traffic, trees, light poles and homes. …

    A real life game of Grand Theft Auto is playing out in Pinellas County. Kids are driving stolen cars at 100 mph, careening the wrong way on busy roads, crashing into houses, trees and other cars. Police are amazed more people haven't died.
  14. While state lawmakers debate medical marijuana law, Pinellas County delays its own rules

    Localgovernment

    CLEARWATER –– As Florida lawmakers debate the regulation of medical marijuana, the Pinellas County Commission on Tuesday tabled a vote on rules to grow, process and sell medical pot in unincorporated areas of the county. …

    Larry Heiny of Sarasota rallies the crowd after a medical marijuana rally at the University of South Florida in Tampa in support of legalizing it in October. Amendment 2 passed with 71 percent of the vote in November. But lawmakers are still debating how to implement the law. In the meantime, the Pinellas County Commission on Tuesday decided to wait for the state to act before it passes its own medical marijuana rules for the unincorporated county. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]
  15. Amid investigation, Pinellas officials bemoan racially charged incident at Campbell Park Elementary

    K12

    LARGO — In his first public comments on the issue, Pinellas County schools superintendent Mike Grego spoke out at Tuesday night's School Board meeting about the decision to transfer former Campbell Park Elementary principal Christine Hoffman after an email in which she made a racially insensitive directive to her staff. …

    Hoffman
  16. Hometown Pinellas

    News

    14-year-old earns Eagle Scout rank: Simon Mesen, a ninth-grade student at St. Petersburg High School, recently earned Eagle Scout rank, the highest in Boy Scouts. Mesen, 14, is a member of Troop 219 at St. Raphael Church. He earned 29 merit badges. For his service project, Mesen organized the construction of a woodshed at the Pioneer Settlement at Boyd Hill Park. The project was finished three days after the death of his Scoutmaster, Tampa Bay Times outdoors editor Terry Tomalin, who had suggested the project. Mesen is the son of Janet and Juan Mesen of St. Petersburg. …

    Simon Mesen, a ninth-grade student at St. Petersburg High School who recently earned Eagle Scout rank, stands with his mother, Janet Mesen.
  17. For LGBTQ students in Pinellas, a chance to reveal their world through art

    Features

    PINELLAS PARK The unsigned letter arrived in John Gascot's mailbox at the end of November, accusing him and his husband, Ron Diana, of living in a "gay house" and flying a rainbow flag as a way of "trolling for queers." …

    Artist John Gascot, right, offers advice to student Emily Allard, 13, at the workshop.
  18. Editorial: Promising start for Pinellas diversion program

    Editorials

    As communities aim to reduce jail populations and avoid criminal records for adults accused of minor offenses, many have embraced diversion programs that steer defendants toward rehab programs and community service. Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri went one better, setting up a program that avoids arresting people altogether. The early results are promising. …

  19. District staff, principal changes on Pinellas School Board's agenda

    The Gradebook

    The Pinellas County School Board's Tuesday meeting agenda is rife with promotions and shake-ups in district and school-level staff pending School Board approval. …

    Tonya S. Mitchell, an assistant principal at Azalea Middle, will serve as the next principal of Clearwater Intermediate on July 1 following Phil Wirth's retirement.
  20. Regal theaters in Pinellas Park updating seats

    Retail

    PINELLAS PARK — Regal Entertainment Group announced that Regal Park Place Stadium 16 & RPX is replacing its existing seats with adjustable recliners including padded footrests. During construction, Regal's recliners are on display in the lobby, where guests can experience the new chairs. Regal Cinemas will remain open during the remodel. The auditoriums will feature the new chairs in July.

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