CLEARWATER — The last time someone tried running a ferry service between Clearwater Beach and the mainland, it didn't work out. Not enough passengers rode the ferry back in 2000, so the city-sponsored service got discontinued.
It will be different this time, say the owners of a company that's launching a privately funded Clearwater Beach ferry service. At least initially, the new ferry will be geared toward employees of beach businesses, although other beach visitors won't be turned away if there's enough room on the boat....
CLEARWATER — A private company announced Friday that it will begin a ferry service between Clearwater Beach and downtown Clearwater.
Beginning next Thursday, employees of Clearwater Beach businesses will be able to board Tropics Boat Tours ferries for $3 per trip. They must provide proof of employment.
Ferries will run between downtown's Coachman Park, the Clearwater Beach Marina and the Clearwater Beach Recreation Center on a schedule that is yet to be determined. Parking is more readily available at Coachman Park than on the beach....
ST. PETERSBURG — Just last summer, the University of South Florida St. Petersburg brought in Dr. Han Reichgelt to be part of its leadership team.
Now he's suddenly out, for unexplained reasons.
Reichgelt was hired in June as the school's new regional vice chancellor of academic affairs, essentially making him USFSP's chief academic officer. He moved here from a university in Georgia....
Baseball is a game of tradition — hot dogs, peanuts, Cracker Jack, the crack of the bat, the seventh-inning stretch, and rooting for the home team. • Around here, there's a local baseball tradition that's about to return: an annual migration of Northerners arriving to escape the brutal winter weather in Philadelphia and Toronto.
Spring training opens this weekend in Clearwater and Dunedin. As below-freezing temperatures linger up North, the Philadelphia Phillies and Toronto Blue Jays expect to draw plenty of local and vacationing fans who will be slathering on the sunscreen....
LARGO — Where was all the money going? Some members of the Down Syndrome Network of Tampa Bay had been wondering that for a while.
Every year the local charity and its members raised tens of thousands of dollars, supposedly to help Pinellas County children born with Down syndrome. But some parents felt it offered little or nothing for their kids.
Police now say the group's president, 53-year-old Shirley Lawyer of Largo, had been quietly siphoning more than $100,000 from the charity over at least five years....
02/12/15 Local Government
CLEARWATER — Breaking ground on a major new apartment complex downtown. Buying a $62,500 terrazzo floor for the new Countryside Library. Trying to get other cities to kick in money for the county's homeless shelter. Changing up the rules for how stores can light their awnings.
Clearwater officials are moving forward on a number of fronts. Here's what the City Council has been up to:...
LARGO — Every October for 10 years, the Down Syndrome Network of Tampa Bay held a "Buddy Walk," a fundraiser in a local park featuring a mile-long walk, games, clowns, giveaways, food and raffles. It raised tens of thousands of dollars — purportedly to fund programs for children with Down syndrome.
But last October, the Buddy Walk was canceled.
"We have had a problem with our nonprofit status," the charity's website announced. "This event is near and dear to our hearts, but is not possible this year."...
02/06/15 Public Safety
CLEARWATER — Doug Carey, the Clearwater crossing guard who was killed on the job last year, has been posthumously honored with the 2014 Florida Crossing Guard of the Year Award for bravery and outstanding service.
Carey's wife, daughter and grandson accepted the award on his behalf from state officials Thursday night at a Clearwater City Council meeting.
Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos called for a moment of silence to recognize Carey. St. Petersburg Police Chief Tony Holloway, who was Clearwater's chief when Carey was killed, was in attendance, as were several of Carey' fellow crossing guards....
Visiting Clearwater Beach in the 1990s: You drive your family down from Michigan or Ohio, and stay a week or two in your favorite little mom-and-pop motel, renting a room with a kitchenette for $60 a night.
Visiting Clearwater Beach today: You jet in from London or Berlin or Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. You check into a $600-a-night suite in a luxury high-rise resort. What to do first? Book a massage in the spa? Grab a cabana on the pool deck? Dine on lobster in the four-star restaurant?...
02/05/15 Local Government
This place officially became a city 100 years ago, back when it was a few hundred pioneer homes huddled around the downtown bluff of what was then called Clear Water Harbor.
Clearwater's city government was chartered on May 27, 1915. Throughout this year, it's marking the milestone with a wide-ranging slate of events that are intended to get the entire city involved....
01/29/15 Local Government
CLEARWATER — Downtown Clearwater doesn't have a Jeff Vinik like Tampa has, or a Bill Edwards like St. Petersburg has. There's no multimillionaire white knight who's looking to invest tens of millions downtown.
Bearing that in mind, city leaders still hope to get the private sector involved as they embark on a laundry list of projects intended to revive Clearwater's historic downtown core....
CLEARWATER — He had a tough childhood. His father, a commercial fisherman, was lost at sea when he was just 11. He was placed in foster care.
At age 16, he moved to Pinellas County, where he eventually started a wholesale fish business. Then he opened a restaurant. Then another. Then another. Then another.
Along the way, he got seriously involved in his community. So, on Wednesday night, restaurateur Frank Chivas was named "Mr. Clearwater" at the 93rd annual meeting of the Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce....
CLEARWATER -- The huge vehicle bay of Clearwater's new main fire station is big enough to hold four fire engines side-by-side. Monday afternoon, it was filled by a crowd of people for a grand opening ceremony.
The three-story, 33,000-square-foot fire station at 1140 Court St. will double as the Clearwater Fire Department's headquarters. Its top floor is administrative offices, its second floor is living quarters, and its bottom floor is for operations....
The gateway to south Clearwater Beach is going through some changes.
The upcoming construction of a huge, high-end Wyndham Grand resort just south of Pier 60 and the Clearwater Beach Marina will have a ripple effect on the entire beach, of course. It's another sign of the trend of modern, upscale resorts replacing the beach's older mom-and-pop motels.
But Dr. Kiran Patel's 700,000-square-foot resort will have an especially profound impact on its immediate surroundings. The well-known philanthropist and health care entrepreneur's resort will be built over the next two years on the nearly 3-acre site of a former parking lot at the split between S Gulfview Boulevard and Coronado Drive....
01/15/15 Human Interest
CLEARWATER — I have a dream, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said.
A group of determined neighbors in Clearwater's impoverished North Greenwood area had a dream too — to reopen the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, which closed in 2010.
After years of effort, they're making it come true. On Saturday, just before Martin Luther King Jr. Day, they're holding a grand reopening ceremony and open house from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m....