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


  1. Several Pinellas cities, towns seek charter changes on Nov. 4 ballot


    A charter is like a constitution that governs the way a city or town is run. Several municipalities have proposed changes to their charters.

    St. Petersburg

    A charter change allowing City Council members to express their views on high-level mayoral appointments was approved for the ballot by the council in August.

    The change would allow council members to voice opinions on the hiring of a police chief, fire chief or department head. The proposed change wouldn't give the council the power to hire, fire or confirm high-level hires. ...

  2. State House of Representatives: District 66


    State House | District 66

    Republican Larry Ahern, a local business owner, is running for his third term in the Florida House. He is opposed by first-time candidate Lorena Grizzle, a Pinellas teacher who is the daughter of the late Mary Grizzle, the longtime Republican state legislator. By Anne Lindberg, Times staff writer

    Lorena Grizzle, 61Larry Ahern, 59
    Experience A native of Pinellas who works with exceptional education pupils at Bauder Elementary School. Before that, she worked at High Point and Walsingham elementaries and as a substitute teacher. She is a former sales representative for the Florida Lottery, worked in real estate and property management, and was a corporate secretary and self-employed artist. She has received the Kraf-Custer Outstanding Educator Award and was named the direct marketing representative of the year, statewide saleswoman of the year and district top gun of the year for the Florida Lottery. Serves on the government relations committee of the Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association; is a former president of the Madeira Beach Middle School PTA; and is a member of Calvary Episcopal Church, the Seminole Historical Society, the Mid-Pinellas Democratic Club and the National Organization for Women. A native of Detroit, he served four years in the Air Force. He moved to St. Petersburg in 1978. He owned Tyrone Discount Pool Supplies for 20 years. He currently owns Ahern and Byrne with his wife, Maureen. He was first elected to Florida House District 51 in 2010. District lines were redrawn before the 2012 election, moving him to District 66. He was elected again (to District 66) in 2012. He is the vice chairman of the health and human services committee and the government operations subcommittee. He serves on the choice and innovations, education and appropriations, and ethics and elections subcommittees.
    EducationUniversity of South Florida, master's in reading education, MAT in exceptional student education; Colorado State University, Fort Collins, bachelor's in art; St. Petersburg College, associate's in general studiesA graduate of West Bloomfield High School. Additional training in the Air Force.
    If elected, what would be your top priorities?Education, the economy and the environmentCreating jobs, limiting the size and scope of government, helping students succeed, energy independence and health care.
    What is your position on abortion?"I don't believe government has any right to say anything about abortion. Period.""God gives all people, including the unborn, their individual rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Sponsor of a bill that established penalties for killing or injuring a fetus when a pregnant woman is attacked. The bill went into effect Oct. 2.
    Should Florida accept Medicaid expansion money?"I support accepting federal dollars to expand Medicaid coverage. We should not send our Medicaid dollars back to Washington when we need to take care of our poorest citizens here at home. I will work to keep our costs as residents and homeowners low by utilizing the taxes we already pay."No. Voted against Medicaid expansion because the state should not rely on the federal government for coverage. He favors a safety net for those who need it but is concerned the costs of Medicaid "adds to the debt and deficit that someone will some day have to pay for."
    Financial disclosureAssets: real estate in Largo and Clearwater; liabilities: mortgage, equity line of credit, student loan, car loan; income: School District salary, rental incomeAssets: home, checking account, IRA, life insurance; liabilities: none listed; income: state representative's salary, Ahern and Byrne
    PersonalDivorced, one child.Married, three children;;

  3. Largo Commission: Seat 1


    Largo Commission | Seat 1

    The contest for Seat 1 is between incumbent Michael Smith and challenger Bronson "O" Oudshoff. Smith is seeking his second term on the commission. He says he wants to continue his work improving the city's relationships with residents and businesses. Oudshoff is making his first run for public office. Oudshoff touts his involvement with his church and says he's strongly antitax, but also wants to beef up staffing at the police and fire departments. By Anne Lindberg, Times staff writer...

  4. Seminole City Council


    Seminole City Council

    The City Council will face major issues in the coming year. Seminole Mall, the city's downtown, is slated for redevelopment, and Frank Edmunds, the first city manager, is retiring after about 20 years on the job. The new council will have to oversee the mall development and choose a new manager to help complete the project. Six men — one incumbent, one veteran of four unsuccessful runs at the council, one who was briefly a state House candidate and three new faces — want the job. They're running at large; the two top vote-getters will take office. By Anne Lindberg, Times staff writer...

  5. Largo Commission: Seat 2


    Largo Commission | Seat 2

    Seat 2 became vacant when Robert Murray decided not to seek re-election. That cleared the way for two first-time candidates to seek the office. Samantha Fenger is a city planner. Her opponent, Daniel Ruffner, is a banker. By Anne Lindberg, Times staff writer

    Samantha Fenger, 35Daniel Ruffner, 47
    Experience A native Floridian, she has lived in Largo for about 10 years. Her experience includes stints as a city planner. She has served on Largo's planning board and the city's community development advisory board. She is a graduation of the Tampa Bay Public Leadership Institute, Largo's Citizens Academy and received the city's good neighbors partnership grant. She is a member of the Veterans Community Partnership, the Central Pinellas Chamber of Commerce, Women Working Together for Animals at the SPCA Tampa Bay, the Healthy Pinellas Coalition, the Metropolitan Planning Organization bicycle advisory committee, the Suncoast Tiger Bay Club, the Volunteer Directors Association of Pinellas County and is a member of the council for the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program of Pinellas County. He has lived in Largo since 1972 and has worked in the city for 20 years. Currently, a vice president at BB&T, he previously worked at AmSouth Bank. He is a member of the Central Pinellas Chamber of Commerce. He serves on Largo's Code Enforcement Board.
    EducationGraduate of Cary Grove High School in Cary, Ill.; bachelor's in environmental studies from Eckerd College; MBA in sustainable management from Marylhurst University in Marylhurst, Ore.Graduate of Largo High School. He is an honors graduate of St. Petersburg College, banking and finance degree awarded; a graduate of the University of South Florida, Florida Bankers Association, Florida trust school diploma awarded; and a graduate of the American Bankers Association, banking diploma awarded.
    Why should someone vote for you?I have a clear vision for the city based on experience and training: sustainable growth, efficient and effective city services, encourage downtown development while maintaining residential services."My platform is all about fiscal responsibility. I intend to utilize my vast financial education and work experience to ensure that the city of Largo has a sound financial plan for the future. We have an obligation to the citizens of Largo to spend their tax dollars wisely, and on programs that will allow for growth, but without putting an undue burden on its taxpayers."
    How would you encourage businesses to locate and remain in Largo?Collaboration between the city and the Chamber of Commerce.Tax incentives, especially in the redevelopment area. Would repeal the sign ordinance requiring pole signs be swapped out for monument-style signs no taller than 8 feet. (Commissioners recently extended the deadline for conforming with the rule to June 5, 2019. )
    If elected, what issue needs to be immediately addressed?The commission is already addressing the issue of public safety (staffing in the police and fire departments), so that leaves determining a vision for the downtown area.Get staffing at the police and fire departments up to prerecession levels. Would also increase pay and benefits to keep from losing police and firefighters to other jurisdictions.
    Financial disclosureAssets: none listed; liabilities: none listed; income: salary Assets: salary, real estate, 401(k); liabilities: loan; income: salary, rent
    PersonalMarriedMarried with one child; s_fenger@yahoo.comN/A

  6. Largo Commission: Seat 5


    Largo Commission | Seat 5

    The race for Seat 5 pits longtime member Harriet K. Crozier against first-time candidate Donna Holck. Crozier is touting her experience. Holck says it's time for new blood and vows to leave the seat after two terms if elected. By Anne Lindberg, Times staff writer

    Harriet K. Crozier, 70Donna Holck, 51
    Experience A native of Dayton, Ohio, she moved to Florida in 1971. She is retired. She worked for 17 years at Sperry Rand and taught at Pinellas Technical Education Centers, was the office manager for Whitehall Garden Apartments and Serenity Gardens Cemetery and Moss Feaster Funeral Home. She served as a city commissioner from 1993 until 1999. She was re-elected to the commission for a one-year term in 2000, another three-year term in 2001, and again in 2004 and 2007, and a four-year term in 2010. She has served as vice mayor five times. She has owned DGH Tax Consultants since 2007. Before then, she was a nail technician for 35 years. She did training and trade shows for Unique Nail Products. She has owned several salons in Largo and taught nail classes at Lorraine's Academy in St. Petersburg for 5 years.
    EducationShe is a graduate of Proviso West High School in Hillside, Ill. She has two years of business classes.She is a graduate of Seminole High School and attended St. Petersburg College.
    Why should someone vote for you?My experience on the commission. Among other things, that experience means I can get results because I know people across Pinellas who listen when I speak.I have several visions for Largo: Prioritize spending, make sure the Police Department is fully funded and staffed. Would also bring new blood t o the council. Pledge to serve only two terms. "I'm not a politician, so I know what the average person is looking for from their city government because that's what I'm looking for."
    How would you encourage businesses to locate and remain in Largo?Many incentives , such as tax abatements, already exist to encourage businesses to locate in Largo. The city and commission need to work with the Central Pinellas Chamber of Commerce to find ways to retain businesses.Focus on downtown Largo. Provide a clear vision for development that will attract businesses and tourists.
    What is the greatest challenge Largo will face in the next five years?Should Greenlight Pinellas pass, then East Bay will be transformed. Residents, businesses, and city staff and officials need to come together to figure out the best way to make those changes and ensure all feel included in the decisions that will be made.Downtown development. Building the police and fire departments back up to full manpower. Annexation. Greenlight Pinellas.
    Financial disclosureAssets: none listed; liabilities: none listed; income: Social Security, commission salary Assets: none listed Liabilities: loan; income: DGH Tax Consulting Inc.
    PersonalMarried, one daughterMarried; on Facebook: Harriet Crozier Largo City;

  7. Stark differences among Largo candidates in Seat 1 commission race

    Local Government

    LARGO — Voters here have a stark choice between the candidates running for Seat 1 on the City Commission.

    On one side is challenger Bronson "O" Oudshoff, a conservative Christian who says he stands for family values and against Greenlight Pinellas. He opposes it in great part because of the additional 1-cent sales tax that would be imposed to fund Greenlight. He's so antitax, he told an audience this month at a Central Pinellas Chamber of Commerce forum that he would not accept a $1 million windfall if it came from a tax increase....

  8. Feral cat problem to be targeted by Pinellas pilot program

    Local Government

    It has been more than a decade since animal activists first asked county officials to loosen rules covering stray animals so something could be done to reduce the feral cat population.

    Now, it appears county commissioners will heed their pleas. Commissioners unanimously agreed Tuesday to hold a public hearing Oct. 21 before relaxing rules that ban animals running free and bar the feeding of wild animals. The new rule would also allow animal welfare groups to get the county's permission to set up pilot programs designed to reduce the feral, or community, cat population. The programs would be directed at trapping, neutering, vaccinating and returning the cats to their colonies. It's the best way, some animal welfare activists say, to reduce the population of feral cats....

  9. Greenlight Pinellas divides Largo City Commission candidates


    LARGO — Candidates are sharply divided over the Greenlight Pinellas Plan, giving voters distinct options in the upcoming election for City Commission.

    One candidate in each of the races for the three open seats on the commission supports the plan, while their opponents are against it. That became very clear at a candidates forum Tuesday sponsored by the Central Pinellas Chamber of Commerce....

  10. Seminole City Council candidates differ on term limits and new park

    Local Government

    SEMINOLE — The three City Council candidates who showed up for a forum agreed Seminole is generally well run, but they have some real differences.

    Among those are term limits and the wisdom of creating a waterfront park opposite a county park.

    But voters did not hear from all the candidates at the Oct. 2 forum. Three of the six running for the two open seats did not show up. Absent were Thomas J. Christy, making his fifth run at a seat; and two political newcomers, Vincent C. Trovato, who has been ill; and Michael R. Fisher, a businessman who has lived in Seminole for 16 years....

  11. Largo commissioner's request to discipline employees who spoke out refused

    Local Government

    LARGO — Commissioner Curtis Holmes wants two city employees disciplined for speaking out against him for downloading inappropriate material onto his city-owned iPad.

    But it's not going to happen. City Manager Mac Craig said the issue is one of free speech. Craig refused to penalize the two unless the commission as a whole told him to do so. The commission did not. But members did say they want procedures established in case they ever again want to consider censuring a commissioner....

    Commissioner Curtis Holmes wanted action on two who berated him.
  12. 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. ...

  13. 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.
  14. 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....

    Curtis Holmes said he didn’t know information from his new iPad was routed to the city.
  15. 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. ...