Anne Lindberg, Times Staff Writer

Anne Lindberg

Anne Lindberg covers Pinellas County's emergency medical services system and a swath of mid-Pinellas that includes the municipalities of Largo, Pinellas Park, Seminole and Kenneth City, as well as the unincorporated Lealman and Seminole areas.

Phone: (727) 893-8450

Email: alindberg@tampabay.com

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  1. Pinellas Park council okays affordable apartments on Park Boulevard

    Local Government

    PINELLAS PARK — Council members narrowly approved a zoning change to transform a used car lot into low-cost apartments.

    The 3-2 vote on Sept. 25 clears the way for a three-building, 60-unit complex on about 3.5 acres called Parkside Commons Apartments to be built on the south side of Park Boulevard. The land, 6740 Park Blvd., is a little less than a block west of 66th Street N. It is across from the Lodges, a 120-unit affordable apartment complex, and adjacent to the Park Ridge Mobile Home Park. ...

  2. Largo commission says car dealer can have bigger sign

    Local Government

    LARGO — City commissioners narrowly approved a car dealer's request to put up a bigger sign than allowed by Largo rules.

    The 4-3 decision last month was a rare reversal of a unanimous planning board vote to turn down the request by Dick Norris Pontiac GMC.

    Norris wanted to put up a 226-square-foot sign on his dealership at 18200 U.S. 19 N so it can be more easily seen over the overpass that's being built there. Largo rules limit sign size there to 187.5 square feet. Norris' existing sign is 127 square feet....

    The current sign at the Dick Norris dealership at 18200 U.S. 19 N is 127 square feet. The business was granted a variance for a 226-square-foot sign.
  3. Largo City Commission opts not to censure board member who misused iPad

    Local Government

    LARGO — City commissioners, apparently swayed by an acknowledgement of wrongdoing, declined Tuesday to censure Curtis Holmes for downloading inappropriate material to his city-owned iPad.

    Holmes explained that he had traded in a city-owned laptop for the iPad. He said he was aware that information on the laptop was automatically routed to Largo but did not realize the same was true for the iPad. Had he realized that, Holmes said, he would never have downloaded the information so he could email it to his personal account....

    The Largo City Commission will meet Tuesday to consider censuring commissioner Curtis Holmes, inset, and taking away his iPad. Holmes, who recently downloaded inappropriate material to his city-owned iPad, has been defiant, saying city officials found the materials by improperly snooping in his private communications. [iStockphoto.com]
  4. Kenneth City moves to break budget deadlock

    Local Government

    KENNETH CITY — This town still has no budget for the coming year and won't have one by Wednesday, the start of the new fiscal year.

    Although most of what happens when Wednesday dawns is uncertain — this is apparently a first for Florida — one thing does seem clear: Nobody gets paid.

    The town can't write checks until it has a budget.

    Town Manager Matt Campbell said he doesn't see that as a problem, at least in the short run. Employees aren't due a paycheck until Oct. 10 and bills aren't usually paid until midmonth. ...

  5. Medical marijuana on Largo's radar screen

    Local Government

    LARGO — Florida voters still have a few weeks to decide whether medical marijuana should be legal, but Largo officials are planning ahead.

    Although no one has approached the city with a request to open a medical marijuana treatment center, it's likely to happen if voters approve Amendment 2, which would permit the sale of medical marijuana in Florida.

    Largo staff members "are going to get together and talk about it," said Carol Stricklin, community development director. "I think it's safe to say that we recognize we'll have to be prepared to specifically regulate that use. ... It's something we need to deal with whether Amendments 2 passes or not."...

  6. Largo commissioner hires Brian Battaglia to fight censure

    Local Government

    LARGO — City Commissioner Curtis Holmes, threatened with censure for downloading inappropriate material on his city-owned iPad, isn't going down without a fight.

    Holmes has hired St. Petersburg lawyer Brian Battaglia to represent him. Battaglia lost a bid last month for a judgeship on the Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court to Clearwater lawyer Kimberly Sharpe. Battaglia, is the son of renowned lawyer Anthony Battaglia, who died Sept. 15. The senior Battaglia's funeral is today. Largo officials have postponed a meeting scheduled that day to discuss Holmes' possible censure to Sept. 30 so Brian Battaglia can attend....

    Holmes
  7. Largo moves toward censuring commissioner for inappropriate use of city iPad

    Local Government

    LARGO — City commissioners will hold a special meeting Tuesday to decide whether to censure one of their members for downloading inappropriate material on his city-owned iPad.

    They also will decide whether to take the iPad away from Commissioner Curtis Holmes.

    The 6 p.m. meeting was called at the request of several Largo commissioners who said they did not want to wait until Oct. 7, their next scheduled meeting, to handle the situation....

    Holmes has admitted downloading inappropriate material but refused a colleague’s call to resign.
  8. Alternative fuel manufacturer to move to Pinellas Park, bringing prospect of new jobs

    Local Government

    PINELLAS PARK — An alternative energy company is planning to move here bringing with it at least 25 new jobs.

    In return, Pinellas Park council members have agreed to waive up to $6,000 in fees if MagneGas Corp. moves its headquarters from Tarpon Springs. The move would be part of a business expansion.

    Pinellas Park officials say it's a fair trade. MagneGas is projected to bring about $3.3 million into the local economy as well as the 25 jobs, some of which will pay above-average wages, according to Shannon Coughlin, the city's community business analyst....

  9. Largo commissioner urged to resign for inappropriate use of city iPad

    Local

    LARGO — City Commissioners condemned one of their members and suggested he resign Tuesday for downloading inappropriate material to his city-owned iPad.

    Officials said Commissioner Curtis Holmes downloaded multiple images from Facebook and YouTube, including a video of a scantily clad woman making sexual gestures and a photo depicting a sexual joke about Muslims.

    Not all the material was available Tuesday. Holmes acknowledged accessing it but accused city officials of acting improperly....

  10. Kenneth City council to try again to pass budget

    Local Government

    KENNETH CITY — The Town Council will try once again today to pass a budget.

    The four-member council deadlocked last week because they were unable to agree on two items: raises for some employees and health insurance reimbursements for police officers.

    Raises became an issue after Town Manager Matt Campbell proposed giving some raises as high as 41 percent. Those were later dropped to a proposed 10 percent increase that two council members supported. Two others said they would give 5 percent raises. It appeared last week that they had compromised on a 7 to 8 percent raise but could not agree on the health insurance reimbursement....

  11. Largo homeowners fear food pantry's effect on neighborhood

    Local Government

    LARGO — The neighborhood in southwest Largo has tried hard over the years to overcome the challenges facing it.

    Residents have had some success. But they still have a way to go — contending with a narrow street lined by steep ditches, few sidewalks, foreclosed houses that sit empty, no street lights. It's a neighborhood in transition.

    And now, neighbors say, it's facing one more challenge they don't need: Beacon Street Ministries wants to open a food pantry in a building occupied until recently by a private school for special-needs children. Neighbors say there were only 13 students. It was so quiet people barely knew they were there....

  12. Giving tax rebate to Seminole Mall developer would set precedent

    Business

    SEMINOLE — It would apparently be a first for Pinellas County if elected officials here give a developer millions of dollars in tax rebates for rebuilding Seminole Mall.

    The developer, Richard Trzcinski, president of Primerica Group One, wants taxpayers to kick in about $7.6 million in what is labeled "public benefit enhancements" to the overall $80 million project. Although Trzcinski has not fleshed out details, he has suggested that could come in the form of a property tax rebate after the mall is rebuilt. He has also suggested going to Pinellas County and the state for additional financial incentives....

  13. Kenneth City stalemate could lead to shutdown, a state first

    Local Government

    KENNETH CITY — Over the years, this town of about 5,000 has on occasion achieved notoriety outside its borders in an assortment of ways.

    There was the police officer who pepper-sprayed a duck. The proposed "neatness'' ordinance that would have allowed police to inspect residents' living rooms. The court battle over allowing a new mayor to take her seat after she won 70 percent of the vote....

  14. Largo seeks developer for zip line course in park

    Human Interest

    LARGO — If all goes well, this city will have people swinging through the trees — on zip lines.

    The zip line would be one of several games on a "tree adventure course" that city staff members propose setting up at the Highland Recreation Complex. It's an idea Largo commissioners signed off on earlier this year.

    A zip line is composed of a pulley and a cable. The cable is set on a slant so someone can hold on to the pulley and glide from one place to another in midair....

    Big trees at the Highland Recreation Complex would hold the zip line, part of a “tree adventure course” that city staff members propose.
  15. SalonCentric to move; Good 'Burgers named; windsurfers to compete

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG

    SalonCentric will move HQ to Gateway

    An 87,000-square-foot office building in Gateway that has sat empty for more than three years will soon have a major tenant. SalonCentric, a distributor of hair and nail salon products to professionals, is readying the former Paychex building for its new headquarters.

    The company, which currently has headquarters in Largo, is a subsidiary of cosmetic giant L'Oreal. It will lease 52,500 square feet for its 180 employees. SalonCentric plans to expand over the next several months, but the number of hires isn't set, according to spokeswoman Rebecca Bray. ...

    Windsurfers like Charlotte Samson, 17, practicing near the Clearwater Community Sailing Center, face an October challenge.