Anyone who knows me can be sure of two things: I love both September (the entire 30 days of which I claim for my month-long birthday celebration) and autumn (Florida sunshine mixed with a break from the unrelenting summer heat).
So of course you know I just HAD to bring in the first day of fall in style.
Today's shoutout goes to the Ann Taylor Outlet store in Ellenton, which I visited for the first time on Labor Day....
A stationary front that dumped a glut of rain on the Tampa Bay region since Friday has left in its wake flooded roads, a sewer line break, collapsed roofs and at least one submerged car.
First the bad news: Bay News 9 meteorologist Mike Clay said the wet stuff will hang around for at least a couple more days.
The good news? This pattern, typical for Florida's rainy season, might break as Saturday nears and potentially brings with it the usual cold fronts and drier air associated with autumn....
CLEARWATER — A drunken driver speeding down rain-slicked U.S. 19 in the Countryside area struck a vehicle which burst into flames Saturday night, shutting down a mile-and-a-half stretch of the road for several hours, authorities said.
Florida Highway Patrol troopers say the crash happened about 9:20 p.m.
Officials say Robert Nelligan, 36, of Tampa was speeding north on U.S. 19 when the southbound Temitope Babalola, 35, of St. Petersburg made a U-turn in front of him near Estancia Boulevard....
DUNEDIN| The public is invited to submit questions for city and county commission candidates who will participate in a forum Wednesday at the Hale Center, 330 Douglas Ave.
The forum — hosted by the Dunedin Chamber of Commerce — will include:
• Dunedin mayoral candidates Julie Ward Bujalski and Julie Scales.
• County Commission District 2 candidates Pat Gerard and Ed Hooper.
• County Commission District 4 candidates Dave Eggers, Carl Folkman, Marcus Harrison and Mark Weinkrantz....
This lass recently got new glasses and, despite there being what appeared to be an awesome and totally Diva-like BOGO Free deal, I ended up shelling out nearly $500.
You already know. The Deal Diva in me complained about the cost. I denounced the lack of selection, which meant I ended up with one frame I wasn't the most fond of. I used all kinds of words unbecoming a family publication.
But alas! A coworker heard my (foul-mouthed) plea....
CLEARWATER — Fervor over the debut of Whole Foods Market's first Pinellas County store was so intense that admirers began lining up 12 hours before Wednesday's grand opening.
About 9 p.m. the night before, 29-year-old University of South Florida public health student Melanie Marshall of Clearwater piled her homework onto a table and settled in for a sleepless night just outside the natural food retailer's doors....
DUNEDIN| The City Commission gave city staff permission to start negotiating a development agreement with the historic Fenway Hotel's new owners and to pause discussions on proposals submitted by developers interested in building Dunedin a new City Hall.
*Fenway: The Taoist Tai Chi Society of the United States of America, which bought the dilapidated 1920s Fenway in June, has plans to renovate the hotel into the health and wellness group's new headquarters and add townhomes. Zoning on the property requires developers to follow guidelines that maintain its historic integrity, subject to commission approval. Elected leaders said last week that they are eager to see more details about the society's $14 million proposed project....
DUNEDIN| Fire Chief Jeff Parks and City Manager Rob DiSpirito say this month's houseboat fire at the city marina underscores the city's need for a fire boat.
The Sept. 6 blaze that left a family of four homeless raged for 30 minutes before Clearwater's boat arrived while Dunedin rescuers fought from onshore, officials said. The boat also helped rescue people trapped at the end of the dock....
09/18/14 Human Interest
In the lobby, a boy with his arm in a sling toddled away with a toy tiger.
In the prosthetics wing, a curly-haired brunet in a wheelchair opened her arms wide as she rejoiced to her mom about her new "My Little Pony" puzzle.
In the physical therapy ward, 7-year-old Chelsea Moore lifted herself onto her elbows to peer from her hospital bed into Madison Jayanna's bag of goodies. The Lakeland girl's shy eyes creased into a smile as she pulled out a wide-eyed black penguin she quickly named Waddles....
09/17/14 Human Interest
SAFETY HARBOR — Madison Jayanna was 4 the first time her mother discovered in her room stapled stacks of paper covered with stories and illustrations about her family.
By the time she was 7, Madison was a published author and a philanthropist.
Her fantasy book based on a special-needs child, Tripp McQueen, became the basis for a local nonprofit, Giving Foundation for Children. She and her parents raised thousands of dollars for the book's namesake, a Georgia boy with a brain injury. The foundation paid for a special-needs girl's visit with Winter the dolphin, helped pay medical bills of a child car crash victim and donated toys to homeless kids. ...
BELLEAIR| Residents can weigh in on redevelopment plans for the former Belleview Biltmore hotel during a series of public hearings kicking off this month.
JMC Communities is buying the historic landmark from Miami investors Daniel and Raphael Ades for $6.6 million. The development firm plans to build a 33-room inn with meeting space and a small pub that mimics the original hotel, plus 132 upscale condos and townhomes....
SAFETY HARBOR| Disagreement over spending on outside organizations led the City Commission to just narrowly pass a 2015 budget Monday and to okay an 8.4 percent property tax rate hike by a 4-1 vote.
Next fiscal year’s $62,183,950 budget, which starts Oct. 1, was approved 3-2, with Mayor Andy Steingold and Commissioner Andy Zodrow voting nay....
Weary of the long winter chill of upstate New York, Ray Fisher had promised his wife, Jamie, that if the couple ever moved to that paradise called Florida, they'd live on the water.
So it seemed like fate when mere months after moving into a Florida apartment they both loved, the complex was sold to make way for condos — giving the couple just the push they needed to finally purchase Water Bed, the houseboat of their dreams....
09/11/14 Local Government
SAFETY HARBOR — A developer is suing the County Commission, saying the board twice illegally blocked plans for a controversial apartment complex against the recommendation of an administrative judge and the advice of its own attorney.
The Richman Group of Florida's lawsuit, filed in Pinellas circuit court, says commissioners Ken Welch, Janet Long, Norm Roche, Charlie Justice, Susan Latvala, Karen Seel and John Morroni bowed to political pressure last winter when they rejected plans for a high-end residence in Safety Harbor. The 246-unit, three-story luxury residence and offices were proposed for a 35-acre, industrially zoned property on the northeast corner of 10th Street S and McMullen-Booth Road....
Let's face it: It's almost the weekend. Shopping is on the agenda.
But what if I told you that you could start gorging out on fashion a day or two early, PLUS spread feelings of cheer to others?
How, you ask? By attending Tampa's fourth annual Haute Accessories Week!