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!
Remember that line in The Internship where Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson are booted from their watch salesmen jobs because -- as their boss so eloquently demonstrates by asking the elderly receptionist the time -- the advent of smartphones means literally no one uses watches anymore?
I beg to differ.
OK, fine, it's true that I'm still very likely to absentmindedly whip out my cell when faced with a time crunch. But for those of us who feel naked when our wrists are bare, there's nothing like the sophistication of a chunky gold wrap watch or the pop of color that a wacky zigzag-patterned arm party offers....
09/03/14 Local Government
DUNEDIN — The newest owners of the long-shuttered Fenway Hotel plan to pour $14.1 million into a project that would not only restore the historic icon to its 1920s heyday, but also add townhomes and conference space along the city's waterfront.
On Wednesday, three months after the Taoist Tai Chi Society of the United States of America bought the 5.2-acre waterfront parcel at 453 Edgewater Drive and paid off code enforcement liens that had accrued over the years, the group unveiled its proposal for transforming the property into its new international headquarters....
SAFETY HARBOR| At at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and Sept. 15, the City Commission will host hearings on the proposed 2015 budget. Among the highlights:
*The property tax rate would jump nearly 9 percent from $3.73 per $1,000 of taxable assessed property value would rise to $4.05 - aiding a bump in revenue from higher property values by generating nearly $600,000 for city coffers.
*The city would spend $1.6 million for design and other startup costs for a long-anticipated waterfront park along Old Tampa Bay....
08/28/14 Human Interest
DUNEDIN — T.J. Guerrero has gained international attention this week because of his lemonade stand. • Since a story about a neighbor's efforts to shut down the 12-year-old boy's venture ran in Sunday's Tampa Bay Times, T.J. has been given donations, treated to a limo ride and featured in news reports from New York to Europe. He also has given back by donating some of the money to a local animal shelter....
08/28/14 Local Government
SAFETY HARBOR — The property tax rate would jump nearly 9 percent and construction on a long-anticipated waterfront park would finally begin under the budget proposed for next fiscal year.
According to finance director June Solanes and City Manager Matt Spoor's 2015 plan, the current tax rate of $3.73 per $1,000 of taxable assessed property value would rise to $4.05 — aiding a bump in revenue from higher property values by generating nearly $600,000 for city coffers....
08/23/14 Human Interest
DUNEDIN — It seemed like a scene out of a Norman Rockwell painting. T.J. Guerrero served cookies and strawberry Country Time at his lemonade stand with a wave and a smile.
The 12-year-old had tested various locations and hours of operation before settling on 3 to 7 p.m. at Patricia Avenue and San Salvador Drive. He got a neighbor's permission to pitch a homemade yellow sign in the grass and sell his fare from Tupperware on a white card table....
CLEARWATER — A Starbucks, Bob Evans and auto shop are among tenants poised to move into a sprawling retail complex where a Walmart Neighborhood Market already stands, and a Wawa gas station and apartment complex are under construction, on the southwest corner of Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard and Belcher Road.
The city issued permits for the Starbucks and Bob Evans, and crews have broken ground....