Diane Steinle, North Pinellas Editor

Diane Steinle

Diane Steinle is the North Pinellas editor of the Tampa Bay Times. She has worked for the Times since 1984 as a reporter, editorial writer and editor. A North Carolina native, she has a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She lives in Clearwater and is the mother of two adult sons.

Phone: (727) 445-4184

Email: dsteinle@tampabay.com

  1. Belleair votes to give Biltmore developer more leeway

    Growth

    BELLEAIR — A lawsuit filed against Belleair by resident Rae Claire Johnson caused the Town Commission to tap the brakes last week on one action that could encourage redevelopment of the Belleview Biltmore hotel property. But it didn't even slow them down on another.

    The commissioners voted 4-1 to create a new zoning district that would give a developer of the Biltmore property more flexibility and height than the town's two existing multifamily residential zoning designations....

    The Belleview Biltmore property awaits its fate. Ed Armstrong, the attorney for the hotel’s owners, says opponents of redevelopment have a strategy to “delay, delay, delay.”
  2. North Pinellas city elections: some new faces, some old hands

    Elections

    Four North Pinellas County cities had elections Tuesday in a campaign season dominated by clashes over development and the entry of party politics into nonpartisan races.

    Safety Harbor

    Former Mayor Andy Steingold, 53, recaptured his office Tuesday in a particularly competitive race, besting incumbent Mayor Joe Ayoub by fewer than 100 votes. Steingold received 44.80 percent of the 5,973 votes cast to Ayoub's 43.35 percent....

    Winning Safety Harbor mayoral candidate Andy Steingold is hugged by volunteer Terrie Thomas as he celebrates with supporters at Beef O’Brady’s on Tuesday night.
  3. Tarpon voters face decision on city nursing home sale

    Local Government

    TARPON SPRINGS — In 1995, Tarpon voters approved the sale of the city-owned nursing home on Walton Avenue.

    The sale never happened, but in a few days, voters will be asked to approve it again.

    The Burnard Group, a New Port Richey property management and development company, wants to purchase and renovate the long-vacant and dilapidated former nursing home and open a 100-bed assisted living facility with the capability of housing Alzheimer's patients....

  4. Land-use lawyer Ed Armstrong wins Mr. Clearwater award

    Human Interest

    CLEARWATER — He's known as Pinellas County's toughest and most successful land-use lawyer, but when he wasn't arguing for the rights of land owners, he was helping ensure that local hospital patients were well-served and advising some of the county's best-prepared candidates for public office.

    On Monday night, Ed Armstrong was named Mr. Clearwater at the 92nd annual meeting of the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce....

    Wearing the honorary blazer for Mr. Clearwater, land-use lawyer Ed Armstrong goes to hug daughter Lexa, 15, Monday at the annual meeting of the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce. Armstrong was lauded for his work in the community.
  5. Reorganization of Tarpon Springs department ruffles feathers

    Local Government

    TARPON SPRINGS — A proposed reorganization of the city's Development Services Department has drawn so much criticism from city commissioners and the public that City Manager Mark Lecouris has withdrawn it for modifications.

    The proposal called for three current staff members to be fired, including a 29-year employee nearing retirement, and replaced with three new employees.

    The reorganization was intended to improve efficiency and help the department cope with an increasing workload as construction picks up, Development Services director Joseph DiPasqua told city commissioners at a recent meeting....

  6. Besore resigns Safety Harbor commission seat to run for mayor

    Local Government

    SAFETY HARBOR — City Commissioner Nancy Besore resigned her commission seat Tuesday and plans to run for mayor in the March election.

    Besore, 56, said she didn't want Mayor Joe Ayoub to run unopposed and was concerned that no one else had stepped forward.

    She said she made a quick decision over the weekend and resigned right away so others would have time to file for the commission seat she is vacating, thereby preventing the City Commission from filling the seat by appointment. Her resignation will be effective March 17, even if she loses the race....

  7. North Pinellas will light up with holiday events this weekend

    Events

    If part of the pleasure of the holidays for your family is attending holiday-themed public events, load up the car and the babies because event planners have laid out a buffet of treats this weekend in North Pinellas.

    From boat parades to festivals with fake snow to breakfast with Santa, the weekend is packed, and most events are free or low-cost.

    Let it snow

    Want the kids to see "snow," even though it will be 80 degrees this weekend? You have at least two options:...

  8. They're all like family: North Greenwood resident welcomes hundreds for dinner

    Human Interest

    CLEARWATER

    When O'Neal Larkin Jr. was a 15-year-old fleeing an abusive home up North, the people of Clearwater's North Greenwood neighborhood gave him the comfort and loving guidance he craved.

    And after he served in the Army and returned to Clearwater, the city government gave him a job that turned into a 22-year career doing work he felt mattered.

    So after he retired in 1998 and spent some time fishing and reflecting on his life, he concluded he needed to do something to thank the neighborhood and the city that had nurtured him....

    Larkin sorts through donated food items Thursday. Larkin, who gets donations of food and money, stockpiles the items in his garage to get ready for the dinner.
  9. Dunedin's Gateway project wins final approval

    Local Government

    DUNEDIN — Six years after it appeared a bad economy might doom the project, city commissioners have approved the Gateway, a $15 million retail and housing development that will anchor the east end of Dunedin's popular Main Street.

    The three-story complex will have 124 apartments and 24,500 square feet of retail and restaurant space on the ground floor. It will sit at the junction of Main Street and Milwaukee Avenue on just over four acres owned by the city....

    Conceptual plans for the Gateway originally called for 138 upscale multifamily units, along with two restaurants and retail on the first floor, to go up on a vacant 4.1-acre tract at the corner of Main Street and Milwaukee Avenue. The mixed-use complex, first approved in 2007, was to have mostly offices and retail. But developers switched their focus and quadrupled the amount of residential use as the market for commercial tenants collapsed. This week the city gave final approval for the three-story complex having 124 apartments and 24,500 square feet of retail and restaurant space on the ground floor.
  10. New Dunedin playground recalls naturalist's love of the outdoors

    Human Interest

    In the early 1900s, Dunedin resident and naturalist Dr. Willis Blatchley would sit on a viewing platform he built in a live oak tree on his waterfront property and record his observations of nature. His interest in science and his love of nature came through in his notes, which were later turned into books.

    So when the city decided recently to build a playground on the land Blatchley once watched over, it was easy to pick the theme: nature. The result is one of the most unusual-looking playgrounds in the region....

    Visitors tour the Dunedin Youth Guild Playground at Weaver Park moments after it opened Thursday.
  11. Clearwater & North Pinellas Times shifts publication days

    Columns

    Here in the North Pinellas newsroom of the Tampa Bay Times, we work hard every day to bring you informative stories and entertaining features that tell the story of life in the northern half of Pinellas County. Starting this week, you will find some of that coverage in a different place.

    Much of our daily North Pinellas news coverage will now appear in the section of the Times labeled Local, also known as the B section. You already go there for North Pinellas obituaries, plus business stories, entertainment news and coverage of the bay area and state. Now the B section also will include more stories about North Pinellas local governments, public safety, politics and news events....

  12. Mellow music of Pure Prairie League centerpieces today's Blast Friday in Clearwater

    Events

    CLEARWATER — Even if they can't recall the names of any of the musicians, people who venture downtown tonight for the monthly Blast Friday street festival may recognize some of the soft, country-rock melodies of the band onstage, Pure Prairie League.

    Perhaps the band's best-known single, Amie, still gets play time on radio stations, as does Let Me Love You Tonight.

    And listeners may be forgiven for not remembering the names of band members. PPL, which got its start in Ohio in the late 1960s, endured years of personnel changes because of the Vietnam War, health issues, members' changing career aspirations and fickle record companies. One easily recognizable name that did a stint with PPL: Vince Gill....

    Pure Prairie League still performs hits like Amie and Let Me Love You Tonight at intimate venues and outdoor festivals.
  13. Walmart wins access to tax incentives for Largo project

    Local Government

    LARGO — Only two Largo commissioners resisted when Walmart sought a brownfield designation for land it plans to develop on the old Crossroads Mall property, even though there is no known contamination on the land and the designation would qualify the giant retailer for a host of tax credits and special incentives.

    Brownfield designations originally were intended to encourage cleanup and development of contaminated properties by offering incentives and some regulatory relief to developers....

  14. Prominent land-use lawyer Ed Armstrong plans to leave longtime firm

    Business

    CLEARWATER — One of Pinellas County's most successful and high-profile lawyers is leaving the firm where he has worked for 30 years to open a small Pinellas outpost of Tampa-based Hill Ward Henderson.

    Ed Armstrong, 55, went to work at Johnson, Pope, Bokor, Ruppel & Burns right out of law school and is now a shareholder in the firm, which is considered the biggest law firm based in Pinellas with 38 attorneys in Clearwater and Tampa....

  15. Police: 7-year-old made hoax call about Belleair Elementary shooter

    Crime

    CLEARWATER — The hoax call to 911 about shots fired at Belleair Elementary School on Tuesday, which spawned a massive police response and panic among parents, was made, police said today, by a first-grader at the school.

    And it wasn't the first hoax call the 7-year-old boy had made: He confessed to nine calls, according to Clearwater police.

    On Wednesday, the boy called 911 again to report a dead person in a roadway. Police also responded to that call before determining that it was a hoax, but most of the other calls the child made were "non-descript" and didn't generate a police response, according to Clearwater public safety spokeswoman Elizabeth Watts....

    Clearwater police officers gather at the bus circle after Belleair Elementary was locked down for more than an hour Tuesday because of a report of shots fired. A student has confessed to the hoax, police say.