Friday, March 23, 2018


Tracey McManus

Tracey McManus

Tracey covers Clearwater government and general topics in the city. Before joining the Times in August 2015, she spent five years covering everything from education reform to animal welfare for The Augusta Chronicle in Georgia. Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., she was raised in Palm City, Fla., and graduated from University of Florida in 2010 with degrees in journalism and Spanish.

An excavator is used to remove some of the 300 trees at Coachman Ridge Park on Monday (3/19/18) which were ordered to be removed by the city of Clearwater in order to build two stormwater retention ponds required for the nearby Solid Waste Transfer Station construction. The city is replanting 1,465 trees of a wide variety in their place, but some residents are concerned about the deforestation. The community park, at 1400 Old Coachman Rd, Clearwater, has a playground, handball courts, trails, and lighted basketball and tennis courts.

Clearwater razes 300 trees for stormwater project, but promises 1,465 new trees

CLEARWATER — Mary Rogero could hear the cracking of the live oaks in Coachman Ridge Park from her living room Monday morning, so she drove over to investigate for herself. What used to be lush woods behind the playground, tennis and basketball...
Published: 03/23/18
Clearwater Fire & Rescue crews fight a persistent fire at 1004 Oakview Ave. in 2016. The city has paid $218,766 in sick leave and benefits over the last five years to Clearwater Fire & Rescue employees who were not eligible to receive those payouts, an internal audit shows. [JIM DAMASKE | Times]

City paid $218,766 in unearned sick time and benefits to Clearwater Fire & Rescue, audit shows

CLEARWATER —In late September, Clearwater Fire & Rescue Lt. Paul Capo told Chief Ehlers he was leaving the department to move to Colorado.On Oct. 9, he reported to duty as a full-time training captain with the Estes Valley Fire Protection...
Published: 03/20/18
8 local lawmakers: Here’s where each one stands on guns in schools.

8 local lawmakers: Here’s where each one stands on guns in schools.

CLEARWATER —Days after Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill that enables teachers to carry firearms in classrooms and provides funding for more armed school resource officers, the Pinellas County School Board took a stance that only trained law...
Published: 03/15/18
Clearwater City Council member Bill Jonson shows a packed audience a collection of letters and emails both supporting and opposing the purchase of the Pierce Street property during a council meeting in April 2017. Jonson is leaving the council Monday because of term limits. He has served a total of four terms over the years. [Times (2017)]

A persistent voice at City Hall, Bill Jonson ends fourth term on the Clearwater council

CLEARWATER —The visitor showed up out of the blue. Shortly after Bill Jonson was first elected to the City Council in 2001, he walked unexpectedly into the Clearwater Neighborhood Housing Services office and introduced himself to its president,...
Published: 03/15/18
In Tuesday's Clearwater City Council election, retired building contractor David Albritton (left) defeated advertising salesman Tom Keller for Seat 4. Incumbent Hoyt Hamilton (right) was re-elected to Seat 5, besting real estate broker John Funk. [Photos courtesy of the candidates]

Clearwater voters re-elect Hoyt Hamilton, usher in newcomer David Allbritton for two City Council seats

CLEARWATER — Voters on Tuesday filled two City Council seats by keeping a well-known incumbent and ushering in a newcomer who is no stranger to City Hall.Incumbent Hoyt Hamilton kept hold of Seat 5 by getting 9,537 votes. That’s 79 percent of...
Published: 03/13/18
There are four Clearwater City Council candidates vying for two open seats in the March 13 election. They are: Seat 4 candidates (top) Tom Keller (top left) and David Allbritton. Seat 5 candidates (bottom) Hoyt Hamilton (bottom left) and John Funk.

Clearwater election in home stretch

CLEARWATER — Voters will decide on Tuesday who should hold two City Council seats during what is thought to be a make-or-break era in Clearwater’s history. Over the next four years, the city will be implementing its $55 million waterfront...
Published: 03/13/18
Scientology leader David Miscavige speaks to viewers during the opening moments of the Scientology Network, a new platform launched Monday night. He spoke from the atrium of the church's Flag Building in downtown Clearwater.

Clearwater stars as Scientology launches its TV network: ‘There’s a lot of talk about us, and we get it.’

Televangelists have dominated religious broadcasting for decades with their use of TV to preach gospel into living rooms, some soliciting donations from viewers through one simple phone call in the name of Jesus Christ. Now the Church of...
Published: 03/12/18

Check out NCAA D-I softball tournament at Clearwater’s Eddie C. Moore complex

CLEARWATER — Clearwater is playing host to some of the best collegiate softball teams in the country this month as it hosts the 2018 USF Series. The NCAA Division I softball tournament will run through March 18 at the Eddie C. Moore Complex.
Updated one month ago
The Clearwater City Council voted to give $3 million toward Ruth Eckerd Hall's $21 million renovation. Photo courtesy of Ruth Eckerd Hall

Ruth Eckerd Hall grant raises questions from council member about Clearwater spending

CLEARWATER — Although Ruth Eckerd Hall has future maintenance needs its leaders are still working to fund, the nonprofit has secured the dollars needed to break ground on the final phase of the $21 million renovation of its facility on McMullen-Booth...
Updated one month ago
Director of Dade City's Wild Things Kathy Stearns holds a 2 week-old baby tiger after bottle feeding in 2015. On Friday, a federal judge issued a ruling effectively banning Stearns from possessing tigers. It comes amid a lawsuit filed by PETA, challenging the zoo's cub petting business. CHRIS URSO/STAFF

Judge bans Dade City’s Wild Things from owning tigers

After a "calculated and deliberately deceptive" plot to evacuate tigers from their zoo in the middle of an animal welfare lawsuit, a federal judge on Friday ruled Dade City’s Wild Things should never be allowed to possess tigers again.The...
Updated one month ago