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. 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....

  2. 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....

  3. 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....

  4. 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....

    Largo may soon have people swinging through the trees and across this lake — on a zip line.
  5. 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.
  6. Developers want Pinellas taxpayers to pitch in millions for Seminole Mall makeover

    Business

    SEMINOLE — Mall developers say they want taxpayers to foot the bill for about $7.6 million in "public benefit enhancements" that would be part of a revamped Seminole Mall.

    Those enhancements would include off-site road improvements; permits and fees; architectural, legal, accounting and engineering "soft" costs; loan fees; interest expense; and documentary stamps, according to a budget list submitted to Seminole city staff members....

  7. Largo city manager gets praise, raise from commissioners

    Local Government

    LARGO — City Manager Mac Craig received high marks for his job performance in his most recent job evaluation.

    Craig received an overall average of 4.78 on a 5.0 scale for a ranking of "good to excellent." Six of the seven city commissioners rated his overall performance as "excellent." The remaining commissioner, Curtis Holmes, checked the spaces for both "good" and "excellent."...

    Largo City Manager Norton “Mac” Craig scored 4.78 of 5.0.
  8. Pinellas commissioners still pondering feral cats plan

    Local Government

    Almost a year ago, a group calling itself Meow Now persuaded Pinellas commissioners to relax rules covering stray animals to clear the way for a program to reduce the feral cat population.

    It appears a pilot program will go forward but it will likely be without the help of Meow Now.

    Instead the county plans to partner with SPCA Tampa Bay and the Humane Society of Pinellas to create a program to trap, neuter, vaccinate and release feral cats. Maureen Freaney, head of Pinellas County Animal Services, said the SPCA and Humane Society would have a business plan in front of county commissioners by November. Commissioners would then also have a proposed rule clearing the way for the pilot program....

    Pinellas County plans to partner with SPCA Tampa Bay and the Humane Society of Pinellas to create a program to trap, neuter, vaccinate and release feral cats.
  9. Woody Brown becomes Largo's new mayor

    Local Government

    LARGO — Woody Brown became the city's next mayor Friday when no one stepped up to run against him.

    Brown said he was pleased and believes exciting times are ahead for the city.

    "I just want to do what's right for people," Brown said. One of his goals, he said, is to have a set time in City Hall each week for people who want to talk to him.

    He decided to run for mayor when the current officeholder, Pat Gerard, ran for the Pinellas County Commission....

    Louis “Woody” Brown, 44, said he believes exciting times are ahead for the city.
  10. Six run for two seats on Seminole council

    Local Government

    SEMINOLE — Voters here have plenty of choices in the race for City Council with a herd of six men running for two open seats.

    Among the candidates are some familiar faces and some political newcomers.

    The two most familiar to Seminole voters are Bob Matthews and Thomas J. Christy.

    Matthews, 69, is the one incumbent in the race. He's a business owner who, with the exception of eight months in 2006-07, has served on the Seminole council since 1990. Christy, 63, is making his fifth bid for a council seat, having run unsuccessfully in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. He served on the Tonawanda, N.Y., City Council from 1990 to 1995. ...

    Bob Matthews
  11. Seminole city manager heeds pleas of business, civic leaders, delays retirement

    Local Government

    SEMINOLE — The political, business and civic leaders who crowded the City Council chambers Tuesday night wanted one thing: for City Manager Frank Edmunds to stick around rather than retire in January.

    They got what they wanted ... to a point.

    Edmunds agreed to stay an extra eight months, until August 2015. In return, council members agreed by a 6-0 vote, to give him an extra week's vacation for every month he stays and to begin searching for his successor in April. ...

    Seminole City Manager Frank Edmunds, 63, pushed back his retirement to next August.
  12. Three candidates, three EMS plans for Pinellas

    Local Government

    The debate on how Pinellas County can get a handle on rising costs for the emergency medical services system has made its way into the race for the at-large County Commission seat.

    Two of the candidates, incumbent Norm Roche and challenger Ed Hooper, an outgoing state representative and former firefighter, are facing off in the Aug. 26 Republican primary. The winner will face outgoing Largo Mayor Pat Gerard, a Democrat, in the Nov. 4 general election. They have all staked out distinct positions on the EMS question....

    One candidate says it doesn't make sense to buy rescue trucks and then not use them for the designed purpose.
  13. Atheists joining those making invocations at local government meetings (w/video)

    Local Government

    A decade ago, three members walked out rather than stay in the room while an atheist gave the invocation to open a Tampa City Council meeting.

    About three years ago, Pinellas Park officials refused requests from a local atheist who wanted to give the invocation at their council meeting.

    So when Joe Reinhardt stepped to the lectern at the Largo City Commission meeting on Tuesday to become the first atheist to give an invocation during a government meeting in Pinellas County, it was hard to know what the reaction might be....

  14. Seminole Mall demolition could start early next year

    Business

    SEMINOLE — Bulldozers could be at the doors of Seminole Mall in the next six or seven months if all goes well for developers.

    "We would certainly like to start some sort of the demolition work in the first quarter of 2015, but we just don't know," said Dale Johnson, director of development and construction for Primerica Group One. Primerica has partnered with mall owner Seminole Mall LP and Primerica Developments, a Tampa-based company whose primary focus is on the development or redevelopment of shopping centers, to remake the property. The land is at the northeast corner of Park Boulevard and 113th Street N. ...

  15. Seminole Mall redevelopment: Next steps

    Economic Development

    SEMINOLE — For years, the overriding hope for officials, business owners and many residents of this city was for Seminole Mall to be rebuilt and bring with it a vibrant shopping destination that would usher in jobs and prosperity.

    That goal seems within grasp now that developers have proposed tearing down the existing structure and building a spiffy, more modern design with room for a 12-screen movie complex, a fitness center, retail shops and restaurants. The developers' presentation at the July 22 Seminole council meeting was designed to dazzle....

    This rendering shows what could possibly replace the outdated Seminole Mall at the corner of Park Boulevard and 113th Street N. Developers tout it as a “place you will be proud to embrace.”