SAFETY HARBOR| The city is looking for a full-time arborist to handle permitting and public education surrounding Safety Harbor’s retooled tree ordinance.
City commissioners gave City Manager Matt Spoor permission to begin advertising the position after nearly an hour of debate Tuesday.
Commissioners Carlos Diaz, Cliff Merz and Richard Blake initially said they were hesitant to hire someone before approving a final draft of the law for fear that the city or new employee would misjudge the required duties or workload....
01/22/15 Local Government
EAST LAKE — The latest subdivision to come to this corner of Florida's most densely populated county is slated to feature 17 million-dollar homes.
Pinellas County and Southwest Florida Water Management District officials are reviewing plans for the Wilds, envisioned as an enclave of customized dwellings carved into a roughly 20-acre parcel off Hawks Landing Boulevard, east of East Lake Road and south of Ridgemoor Boulevard....
I've learned a lot blogging for Deal Divas over the years:
Eyeball piercing for fashion's sake is a thing. Snail mucus, foreskin cells and mammal urine each work wonders for facial rejuvenation. Cows apparently go gaga for perfumes and colognes with earthy undertones -- critical information for all avid late-night-cereal-and-milk-philes and the urban hipster cowboys they love for their craving-quenching abilities....
SAFETY HARBOR| The Code Enforcement Board has ordered a couple who cut down an oak tree on their property in violation of the city's tree moratorium to pay a $5,000 fine.
James and Helena Reagan's case was brought before the code board's resident volunteers after an anonymous tipster alerted the city.
James Reagan admitted that he forged City Manager Matt Spoor's signature on a slip of paper mimicking a permit in an effort to dupe passersby into thinking he had permission to fell a tree damaging the sidewalk and roof of his Eaton Court home. But he denied knowledge of the moratorium....
01/14/15 Local Government
DUNEDIN — Should a garage and pay stations replace free downtown parking?
That's the question city staff and commissioners will tackle as they receive a consultant's report and public feedback this month on a proposed parking management system.
At issue is data showing 52 percent of downtown's 1,113 parking spaces are temporary rented spaces at high risk of suddenly being gobbled up by redevelopment projects that will soon break ground on vacant lots currently used for overflow parking....
BELLEAIR — Lawsuits against the town continue stacking up from preservationists attempting to block the Belleview Biltmore's owners from selling the historic hotel to a developer who plans to tear most of it down.
Friends of the Belleview Biltmore, group president Rae Claire Johnson, Belleair residents Doris Hanson and Mary Lou White as well as both the National and Florida Trust for Historic Preservation are joint plaintiffs in the suit filed Thursday in Pinellas Circuit Court....
Since I embarked on a “weird hair” kick at the end of 2014, I figured I'd not only keep the important news wheel churning but also give you a twofer!
Today, we highlight eyelash jewelry and human hair stilettos.
Eyelash jewelry is the brainchild of former Seattle deli worker Natalie Russo who has been wearing the handmade fashions since college. The artist says her jewelry – which takes falsies to a whimsical new level, with designs ranging from unicorns to fruit to webby Spiderman-like tentacles – is lightweight, waterproof and flexible … and surprisingly comfortable....
BELLEAIR — Another preservationist group is taking the town to court in a bid to block the Belleview Biltmore's owners from selling the historic hotel to a developer who plans to tear most of it down.
Save the Biltmore Preservationists president Diane Hein and Belleair resident Thomas Charles "T.C." Hayes filed court papers Wednesday accusing the town of approving a demolition permit and rezoning inconsistent with Belleair's Comprehensive Plan, which lists the Biltmore's preservation as a top goal....
01/08/15 Local Government
SAFETY HARBOR — Two seats. Two candidates each. That's the decision before voters at the ballot box this March.
When qualifying ended at noon Tuesday, City Commissioner Cliff Merz was automatically re-elected to Seat 2 after no candidates lined up to challenge him.
Meanwhile, Commissioner Andy Zodrow will defend Seat 3 against former mayor Joe Ayoub.
Local businessman Chris Logan and Mattie Williams Neighborhood Family Center executive director Janet Hooper will vie for the spot currently held by Commissioner Richard Blake, who is not seeking re-election to Seat 1....
DUNEDIN| Thursday's public hearing on the Taoist Tai Chi Society's $14 million Fenway Hotel redevelopment plan has been postponed until next month, a spokeswoman said.
After winning support from neighbors and citizen advisory board members, the society had been poised to take its plan to remodel the crumbling hotel into its international headquarters and eventually build townhomes behind it to city commissioners this week....
TARPON SPRINGS — The night before Epiphany, 18-year-old Kosta Pseftelis and his friends paid a visit to Spring Bayou to scout out the scene of the annual cross dive. In the moonlit darkness, they peered at the dinghies that were anchored in a semicircle, waiting for the divers to perch on the next day.
This would be Pseftelis' third and final chance to dive for the cross. Next year he'd be too old. He was looking for an edge, and something told him the second boat on the left might give him a prime position....
Divas. It's been one of those days.
I went, I saw, I conquered at work today. Exhausted, I headed toward home in hopes of cramming in a few hours of precious sleep before I'm back on the grind at o'dark thirty covering Tuesday's Epiphany celebration in Tarpon Springs.
But somewhere between buying an extra phone battery in prep of tomorrow's festivities, a quick dinner, laundry and bed, I realized that I had not in fact conquered all. I neglected to share today's outfit and that just won't fly....
TARPON SPRINGS — Plan to travel in or around Tarpon Springs on Tuesday? Listen up.
For decades, Greek Orthodox Christians here have upheld the traditions of their ancestors by recognizing Epiphany, a religious ceremony that celebrates the baptism of Jesus Christ by John the Baptist in the Jordan River.
Held each year on Jan. 6, Tarpon's celebration is often called the largest in the Western Hemisphere....
DUNEDIN| Development will be the hot topic at next week's City Commission meeting.
During the meeting, set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Dunedin City Hall, commissioners will:
*Hold the first of two public hearings on the Taoist Tai Chi Society's $14 million plan to remodel the dilapidated Fenway Hotel into its international headquarters and also eventually build tax-generating townhomes behind it....
Sitting with fellow choir members in the pews of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Theodora Lialios squinted as the group's director handed a slip of paper to a priest who'd just told the congregation he had an announcement.
It was Christmas Eve — the night that church elders annually name a young songstress to release a white dove, the embodiment of the Holy Spirit, over Spring Bayou, kicking off the city's renowned Epiphany cross dive....