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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(727) 893-8450

Email: alindberg@tampabay.com

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  1. Kenneth City candidates: Let's all get along

    Local Government

    KENNETH CITY — Agreement is rare in this small town, but one thing most of the candidates for the Kenneth City council agree on is that the bickering must stop.

    The candidates in the March 10 election aren't the first to say that. Council candidates for at least the past couple of decades have been commenting on the need for more cooperation among elected officials. It hasn't happened yet....

    Council member Wanda Dudley wants to be mayor.
  2. SPCA Tampa Bay buys St. Petersburg building to open veterinary hospital

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Almost exactly two years ago, the SPCA Tampa Bay announced it would open a general practice veterinary clinic designed to provide affordable veterinary care to all Pinellas County pets.

    Officials with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals took a big step toward that goal Wednesday with the announcement the group had paid about $1 million for a vacant St. Petersburg office building at 3250 Fifth Ave. N and plans to spend $1.25 million renovating the property. When it opens in mid 2016, the hospital is projected to bring up to 20 jobs to the city from entry level animal caretakers to full-time veterinarians. ...

  3. SUV to answer EMS calls in Clearwater experiment

    Local Government

    CLEARWATER — Some people who call for emergency medical services in this city may be surprised by what they don't see — a fire truck or a red ambulance-style truck.

    Instead, they see a sport utility vehicle with two firefighter-paramedics.

    The SUV is an experiment that Clearwater fire officials are running out of the Court Street fire station to see if they can save money on EMS calls. If successful, the department might buy a second SUV to use for EMS calls on the beach....

  4. Kenneth City council votes to get rid of red-light cameras

    Local Government

    KENNETH CITY — This town was the first in Pinellas to install red-light cameras. Now it's following the crowd in getting rid of them.

    Council members recently voted unanimously to allow its contract with American Traffic Solutions to lapse. The vote means the seven cameras — some on 54th Avenue N and 66th Street, two of the busiest roadways in the county — will go dark Sept. 22....

  5. New idea hopes to lighten EMS load in key area

    Local Government

    LARGO — Ever since Safe Harbor, the sheriff's homeless shelter, opened four years ago, Largo officials have complained about the workload residents' demands for emergency medical service place on the city's firefighters.

    Now Pinellas EMS officials think they have a way to relieve some of the strain.

    They're proposing a six-month trial of a "community paramedic unit." The unit, a sport utility vehicle, would have two firefighters — one a paramedic and the other a paramedic or an emergency medical technician — who would be responsible for EMS calls to Safe Harbor, 14840 49th St. N, during the daytime. They would also be the first to answer EMS calls at other high-demand facilities in the area, including the Pinellas County Jail, the Criminal Justice Center, the Juvenile Detention Center, Pinellas Hope and Windmoor Healthcare. Those facilities are the top EMS users in Pinellas County....

  6. Retired teacher, 59, injured helping deputy under attack

    Crime

    PALM HARBOR — A retired school teacher from Indiana was injured early Saturday when she went to help a sheriff's deputy who was trying to subdue a suspect.

    Sharon L. Scroggins, 59, suffered a concussion and bruising to her face after the suspect hit her in the jaw and knocked her to the ground.

    The incident began shortly before 4:30 a.m. when Scroggins was driving her father, Maurice Scherf, 83, of Palm Harbor, to the doctor. She was heading down Alderman Road near Westlake Boulevard when a shirtless man ran in front of her 2000 Chevrolet Suburban....

    Retired schoolteacher Sharon Scroggins, left, got out of her car to help a deputy who was being attacked by a man Saturday morning in Palm Harbor.
  7. Largo to spend $37M on sewer upgrades

    Local Government

    LARGO — Sewer rates are expected to jump at least 15 percent next year and could go even higher to pay for a $37 million plan to revamp the city's system.

    City officials don't have much choice: The state is making them upgrade the system so untreated sewage will not end up in Largo streets and waterways.

    Largo officials plan to give the go-ahead Monday for construction to begin. The project, which is expected to take up to 1 ½ years to complete, will involve 14 miles of sewer pipes and the reconstruction of seven pumping stations. When finished, the upgrades will not only bring Largo into compliance with state environmental rules and prevent the overflow of sewage into city streets, it will also expand the system to handle expected population growth through 2030....

  8. Ambulances staying too long at some trauma scenes

    Local Government

    Ambulances are spending twice as long at the scene of some serious injuries than the county says they should.

    Using an international standard, Dr. Angus Jameson, the Pinellas emergency medical service system's medical director, set a goal that no more than 10 minutes should elapse between the time an ambulance arrives on the scene of a trauma alert and the time it leaves for the hospital with the patient inside 90 percent of the time. Instead, that number in 2014 ranged on a monthly average from just under 19 minutes to nearly 26 minutes....

    The St. Petersburg Police Department investigates a three-vehicle crash on 34th Street N on Jan. 14. Both St. Petersburg Fire Rescue and Sunstar paramedics crews responded to the scene. The county oversees the $119 million EMS system and contracts with 18 cities and fire districts.
  9. St. Petersburg, Clearwater ask cities to support Safe Harbor homeless shelter

    Local Government

    The mayors from St. Petersburg and Clearwater want other Pinellas cities to kick in more money to support Safe Harbor, the sheriff's homeless shelter.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman of St. Petersburg and George Cretekos of Clearwater sent a letter to the county's other 22 cities last week making their case. Homelessness, they said, is a countywide issue that can best be solved by working together. And, Kriseman said Wednesday in an interview, some cities could be doing more....

  10. Largo commission agrees to adopt censure policy

    Local Government

    LARGO — A lukewarm commission has given the go-ahead for the city attorney to draw up a policy allowing the board to censure members.

    The idea of creating such a policy was broached last year by then-commissioner Harriet Crozier in the wake of a bid to censure Curtis Holmes for downloading inappropriate content to his city-owned iPad. The move to censure was dropped after Holmes apologized, but Crozier urged a policy be established because of the many questions surrounding the commission's ability to reprimand one of its own....

  11. New development coming to Ulmerton Road and 66th Street

    Local Government

    LARGO — The last piece of industrial land on Ulmerton Road in the city is about to be turned into a commercial property.

    City commissioners have tentatively approved a change that would clear the way for a fast-food restaurant and a gas station to be built on Ulmerton Road at 66th Street.

    To pave the way for the project, commissioners on Jan. 6 unanimously agreed to change the land use designation on 11 parcels on the northwest corner of Ulmerton and 66th from industrial to commercial. The property, totaling about 3.6 acres, is the last industrial land on Ulmerton in the city. ...

  12. Pinellas Park police Chief Dorene Thomas announces retirement

    Local Government

    PINELLAS PARK — Dorene Thomas began her policing career about 40 years ago as a tricycle-riding parking meter reader on Pass-a-Grille for the St. Petersburg Beach Police Department, as it was called then.

    "I wasn't very good at it," Thomas said. Despite that, she had career goals: "I was hoping that one day I'd be sergeant."

    She made sergeant and a whole lot more. When she retires from the Pinellas Park Police Department on April 24, she'll leave behind a string of firsts. First female police chief in Pinellas Park. First woman to head the Tampa Bay Area and Florida Police Chiefs associations. First chief, male or female, in the state to go through the Crisis Intervention Training program, a 40-hour intensive course designed to teach police the safest ways to interact with mentally ill residents they encounter on the job....

    Pinellas Park police Officer William A. Holmes shakes hands with the then-interim police Chief Dorene Thomas.
  13. Largo commissioner says city manager needs to go

    Local Government

    LARGO — Commissioner Curtis Holmes demanded last year that two employees be disciplined after they spoke against him for downloading inappropriate material on his city-owned iPad.

    Largo City Manager Mac Craig refused to do so.

    Now Holmes wants Craig fired. Craig's refusal to fire or otherwise discipline the two, Holmes says, is a violation of the manager's contract. The remedy, Holmes said, is to fire Craig and strip him of his severance pay. ...

    Description: Norton "Mac" Craig. Largo acting city manager. one of two candidates for Largo city manager
  14. 'Turtle Tale' tells the story of missing Largo owl

    Human Interest

    LARGO

    Four years ago, two vandals released JR, a great horned owl, from his cage at McGough Nature Park.

    The subsequent search for JR and the relationship between the owl and his caretaker, Joel Quattlebaum, created headlines.

    Now, their story is being turned into a movie, Turtle Tale, told from the viewpoint of the many turtles at McGough.

    "It's the first movie contract in the city," Largo parks superintendent Greg Brown said. "I thought it was a cool idea. Obviously, the bird got a lot of attention."...

    Matilda, the barred owl at McGough Nature Park, stands in for JR in the movie about the missing owl because she is cuter than the alternatives.
  15. Largo to consider banning e-cigarettes in city buildings

    Local Government

    LARGO — When city library patrons recently complained about people using electronic cigarettes inside the building, officials couldn't do much. There were no city rules against it.

    That could be changing. Largo commissioners have told their city attorney to draft an ordinance that would prohibit the smoking of e-cigarettes in city-owned buildings. If they approve it, Largo could be one of the first local governments in the Tampa Bay area — and one of only a handful nationwide — to impose such a ban....

    Dominic Crupi, 24, of Clearwater smokes an e-cigarette at Vape Joe in Largo in February.