Friday, December 15, 2017


Kathryn Varn

Kathryn Varn

Kathryn Varn covers public safety in north Pinellas County and news in the city of Largo. She is from the Jacksonville area and graduated from the University of Florida, where she studied journalism.

The Pinellas County Sheriff's has opened up an investigation into the arrest of a man after dash camera footage appears to show deputies beating, choking and yanking him by the hair while he lay on the pavement. [Video courtesy of Michele Rayner]

Pinellas sheriff disciplines deputies in arrest, but not for excessive force (w/video)

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,...
Published: 12/13/17
Updated: 12/14/17
St. Petersburg Assistant Police Chief Jim Previtera at a news conference this summer. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]

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...
Published: 12/12/17
EMS calls have been on the rise in Pinellas County, especially in the last two years. Earlier this year, Clearwater Fire & Rescue tried out what's called a peak unit to run medical calls at the busiest times of the day to handle the higher demand. SCOTT KEELER   |   Times

Reasons elusive as Pinellas EMS demand skyrockets

When the fire chief asked if anyone in the room had fallen before, a few in the gray- and white-haired crowd raised their hands.
Published: 12/11/17

Tarpon Springs crossbow maker settles swath of injury lawsuits

TARPON SPRINGS — A local crossbow maker that has faced criticism over the safety of its products has recently settled lawsuits with several customers.But many are still active, and some additional suits have been filed in circuit court as...
Published: 12/07/17
The League - a selective dating app that curates users based on profession, education and interests - is launching in the Tampa Bay area Dec. 12. [Courtesy of The League]

Looking for a bae in Tampa Bay? Exclusive dating app The League coming to Tampa

A dating app is hoping to connect some Tampa baes in Tampa Bay.But while apps such as Tinder and Bumble are open to all, this one, called The League, is looking only for singles of a certain, eh-hem, pedigree.See, The League isn’t trying...
Published: 12/05/17
A Clearwater homeowner shot and wounded a man who police said broke into the home at 1501 Cleveland St. on Thursday morning. The wounded man was reported to be in critical condition. [KATHRYN VARN  |  Times]

Police identify intruder shot by Clearwater homeowner

CLEARWATER — Kurt Baima heard banging Thursday morning and assumed someone was doing construction work on a neighbor’s house.But then it occurred to him: What if it’s coming from my house?He said he grabbed his 9mm Beretta semiautomatic...
Published: 11/30/17
Updated: 12/01/17
Pinellas County Sheriff's Deputies restrict access to St. Pete Beach after Hurricane Irma passed through St. Petersburg, Fla., in this file photo from Monday, Sept. 11, 2017. Four deputies were recently suspended after neglecting their duties during the storm. WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times

Four Pinellas sheriff’s deputies suspended after neglecting duties during Hurricane Irma

Four Pinellas County sheriff’s deputies were suspended after internal investigations found they neglected their duties during Hurricane Irma.Deputies Jason Beetz, Kristen Spielmeyer and Brian Williams received 40 hours without pay with part of...
Updated one month ago
Chris Ingerson moves trees to be trimmed at Gallagher's Pumpkins and Christmas Trees in St. Petersburg on Tuesday.

Nationwide Christmas tree shortage has experts warning: buy early

Johnny and Kathy Schultz perused the artificial tree displays at Lowe’s, eyeing the preadorned lights and glossy price tags with careful consideration.Choosing a manufactured tree in the air conditioning of a big-box store was new for the...
Updated one month ago
Michael Dingman, 28, holds a needle shortly before injecting himself with heroin at a residence where he sometimes stays in Bradenton in this photo from Feb. 24, 2016. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times

Report: Opioid, cocaine deaths on the rise statewide and in Tampa Bay

Opioids ravaged Florida last year, contributing to thousands more drug-related deaths than even at the peak of the pill mill crisis.New figures released this month also shed light on a less publicized trend that law enforcement officials say is...
Updated one month ago
Trainees throw tennis balls and other objects to Largo police Officer Matt Williams, who pretends to be an active shooter, during a training to prepare residents and business owners in the event of an armed intruder. The training, called ALICE - Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate - took place at Largo Police Department on Saturday, November 18, 2017. ALESSANDRA DA PRA   |   Times

Largo police active shooter training ‘a sign of the times’ for participants

LARGO — The classroom was full, but the chatter was quiet as the students picked at doughnuts and sipped coffee from paper cups.Many were strangers to each other, but the reason they showed up at the Largo Police Department on a sunny Saturday...
Updated one month ago