Tuesday, January 16, 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.

Orcas perform tricks for guests at the One Ocean show at Sea World in Orlando in June. [CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times]

Bill to ban orca breeding filed in House faces pushback from SeaWorld

A bill that would outlaw the breeding and performing of killer whales in Florida has cleared the initial hurdle that kept it off the table last year: getting a lawmaker to file it in the first place. In an effort to solidify a voluntary policy...
Published: 01/16/18
photo courtesy David Allbritton
Clearwater City Council Seat 4 candidate David Allbritton.

Clearwater City Council candidate David Allbritton touts track record in civic life

Editor’s note: Ahead of the March 13 election, the Tampa Bay Times is publishing profiles on Clearwater City Council candidates for Seat 4 today. Profiles on candidates for Seat 5 will appear next week.CLEARWATER — The longtime politically...
Published: 01/12/18
Clearwater City Council Seat 4 candidate Tom Keller

Clearwater City Council Candidate Tom Keller says he’s a voice for the ordinary resident

Editor’s note: Ahead of the March 13 election, the Tampa Bay Times is publishing profiles on Clearwater City Council candidates for Seat 4 today. Profiles on candidates for Seat 5 will appear next week.CLEARWATER — Tom Keller is the first one...
Published: 01/12/18
Calvary Baptist Church Pastor Willy Rice hosted a forum Wednesday evening to discuss Scientology. [Photo courtesy Calvary Baptist Church]

In Scientology’s backyard, Baptist preacher ‘takes a stand’

CLEARWATER — The Baptist preacher stepped to the stage, his image projected on two mega screens behind him, and looked out at nearly 2,000 parishioners filling his worship center."Scientology is a cult," Calvary Church Pastor Willy Rice said...
Published: 01/10/18
The City of Clearwater issued a violation to The Path Bicycle and Ride Shop for installing two spiral bike racks outside of its building. Turns out, it was the city that had installed the racks weeks earlier.
[Photo provided by Gary Keener]

Oops. Clearwater cites bike shop for city-owned bike rack

CLEARWATER — The city’s violation letter used bold letters in all caps to describe The Path Bicycle and Ride Shop’s alleged offense."INSTALLED SPIRAL BICYCLE RACK ON SIDEWALK WITHOUT PROPER PERMITS AND INSPECTIONS," it declared.The Path...
Published: 01/05/18
This home at 1334 Fairmont St. in Clearwater has racked up $915,000 in code enforcement liens, including violations for using a residence as outdoor storage for dismantled and discarded equipment. The city is developing a policy that would allow it to foreclose on properties with large, outstanding liens.

Crackdown: Clearwater plan would foreclose on problem properties

CLEARWATER —Soon there will be no mercy shown to owners of dilapidated homes, notoriously unkempt lots and properties that chronically violate city codes.The city of Clearwater for the first time is developing a policy to foreclose on...
Published: 01/04/18
SkyTran is a high speed, elevated, personal rapid transportation system that runs cars on magnetic levitation technology. The system is not fully functioning anywhere in the world, but Clearwater businessman Tom Nocera is pitching he will build a system connecting Clearwater Beach and downtown in 2018.
[Photo courtesy SkyTran]

Traffic solution in the sky, or just pie-in-the-sky?

CLEARWATER — By the end of this year, a never-before-been-built, Jetsons-like pod car system will be ready to transport visitors through the sky between downtown and Clearwater Beach.At least that’s what businessman Tom Nocera has been pledging...
Published: 01/03/18
Updated: 01/06/18
Visitors to downtown Dunedin use a kiosk to pay for parking on Main Street recently. Parking has been a divisive issue, but officials and residents appear ready to move on as the city prepares to finalize a parking plan in January. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]

With paid parking here to stay, Dunedin looks to new chapter

DUNEDIN —The 14 months of downtown’s paid parking trial have been filled with fierce public discussion, vitriolic social media debates, a deluge of feedback to elected officials and certainty that no issue has ever consumed city staff or residents...
Updated one month ago
This aerial view shows a 425-acre tract that the City of Clearwater is planning to sell in Hillsborough County. The vacant pasture land sits north and east of the Silver Dollar Shooters Club, along Patterson Road in the Odessa area. Complications are keeping the city from selling the land to Hillsborough County, which would preserve it for green space. Instead, the likely buyer is a multibillion-dollar company that owns the shooters club and a neighboring RV park. [Google Maps]

Hillsborough land meant for preservation now will go to the highest bidder

More than 400 acres of Hillsborough County pasture owned by the City of Clearwater will likely end up in the hands of a multibillon-dollar mobile home park operator, a fate that could sink the city’s plans to preserve the land forever as green...
Updated one month ago
This rectangular piece of property between S Garden and Fort Harrison avenues on Court Street is one of three city-owned parcels officials hope to give to the Church of Scientology in exchange for a vacant lot on Cleveland Street. City officials say they need the church's Cleveland Street lot to use for retail parking. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]

Clearwater looks to revisit land swap with Church of Scientology

CLEARWATER — In June, City Council members surprised Church of Scientology officials when they voted to halt a land swap that had been in the works for months.The church had bought a vacant lot just east of downtown under the impression it...
Updated one month ago