10/02/14 Local Government
TAMPA — The rezoning for a 400-room hotel proposed by Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik comes up for final approval today at the City Council.
At about 25 stories, the hotel would go up at the corner of S Florida Avenue and Old Water Street, just west of Amalie Arena.
With tourism booming and revenues from the hotel bed tax setting records, Mayor Bob Buckhorn said downtown Tampa is ready for the project....
10/02/14 Local Government
CLEARWATER — Now that Clearwater has decided to put a seven-story parking garage north of the Clearwater Beach Roundabout, some elected officials are already talking about where the next public parking garage on the beach should go.
Looking ahead, they're thinking a garage closer to the water, perhaps at the small Mandalay Park in the Rockaway area where Clearwater Beach's fire station is located....
The Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners announced the recipients of the inaugural Fire Service Professionals of the Year awards at its meeting Sept. 23. The awards are given to honor those who go above and beyond the call of duty and provide exceptional service to the community. Pinellas County 911 telecommunicator Patrick Lavender was named Dispatcher of the Year. He routinely helps fellow communicators to dispatch units more quickly and better identify locations of those in need. Largo Fire Rescue District Chief Keith Daliendo was named Firefighter of the Year for his efforts in training new and experienced firefighters and making process improvements. Palm Harbor Fire Rescue's vehicle extrication team was honored as the Special Operations Team of the Year. The team, stationed along U.S. 19, has a long history of winning national and international awards for their work. Award winners each received a plaque and a cash award from the Pinellas Federal Credit Union....
TARPON SPRINGS — Dodge ghosts with Ms. Pac-Man and smack pinballs until your fingers go numb, but don't call it an arcade. Visitors won't pay by the quarter at Brian and Becky's Replay Amusement Museum, opening today (Oct. 3).
The historic district storefront features more than 80 arcade games, from the household names to the rarities, as well as 40 vintage pinball machines.
"You play tic-tac-toe only so many times. Pinball is wild," said Brian Cheaney, 36. "You can play 10,000 balls and you're going to get 10,000 different games. That's really our jewel of this place."...
First-Responders honored: The Pinellas County Commission announced the recipients of the inaugural Fire Service Professionals of the Year awards at its meeting Sept. 23. The awards honor those who provide exceptional service to the community. Pinellas County 911 Telecommunicator Patrick Lavender was named Dispatcher of the Year. He routinely helps fellow communicators to dispatch units quicker and better identify locations of those in need. Largo Fire Rescue District Chief Keith Daliendo was named Firefighter of the Year for his efforts in training new and experienced firefighters and making process improvements. Palm Harbor Fire Rescue's vehicle extrication team was honored as the Special Operations Team of the Year. The team, stationed along U.S. 19, has a long history of winning national and international awards. The award winners each received a plaque and a cash award from the Pinellas Federal Credit Union....
10/02/14 Local Government
PINELLAS PARK — Council members narrowly approved a zoning change to transform a used car lot into low-cost apartments.
The 3-2 vote on Sept. 25 clears the way for a three-building, 60-unit complex on about 3.5 acres called Parkside Commons Apartments to be built on the south side of Park Boulevard. The land, 6740 Park Blvd., is a little less than a block west of 66th Street N. It is across from the Lodges, a 120-unit affordable apartment complex, and adjacent to the Park Ridge Mobile Home Park. ...
10/02/14 Public Safety
ST. PETERSBURG — St. Petersburg police are happy to turn blue.
The department will soon clean out its wardrobe, replacing its standard green uniform with a dark blue that officers say will give them more cover at night and respect on patrol. New Chief Anthony Holloway said he hopes to have about two-thirds of the 550-person force outfitted by January.
"We are a paramilitary organization so no matter what we have on, we're going to look like someone in a uniform," Holloway said in a statement. "It doesn't change who we are, it doesn't change our DNA, because we are still going to be involved a lot in community policing."...
10/02/14 Local Government
LARGO — City commissioners narrowly approved a car dealer's request to put up a bigger sign than allowed by Largo rules.
The 4-3 decision last month was a rare reversal of a unanimous planning board vote to turn down the request by Dick Norris Pontiac GMC.
Norris wanted to put up a 226-square-foot sign on his dealership at 18200 U.S. 19 N so it can be more easily seen over the overpass that's being built there. Largo rules limit sign size there to 187.5 square feet. Norris' existing sign is 127 square feet....
He had writhed in pain for 12 years before he reached for the gun.
Ronald Britton's COPD was killing him. He had lost much of his independence and required an oxygen tank. For the agonizing aches in his neck and legs, Britton popped two morphine pills and six oxycodone daily. He'd had operations and injections, but nothing helped. Most nights, the 70-year-old cried himself to sleep....
There weren't many surprises in Week 4, but the Buccaneers and the Saints had parts in two of them. The Buccaneers weren't supposed to go to Pittsburgh and beat the Steelers, and the Saints weren't supposed to get blown out by the Cowboys after blowing them out 11 months ago.
But that's what happened. Other than the league and retailers cashing in on — um, I mean "raising awareness for" — breast cancer every October, few things are a certainty in the NFL....
10/01/14 TV and Radio
Baseball playoffs ALDS, Game 1: Tigers at Orioles 5:30 p.m. TBS; 620-AM ALDS, Game 1: Royals at Angels 9 p.m. TBS; 620-AM College football UCF at Houston 7 p.m. ESPN Fla. Atlantic at Fla. International 7 p.m. FSF Alabama State at Alcorn State 7:30 p.m. ESPNU Benedict at Miles 8 p.m. CBSSN Arizona at Oregon 10:30 p.m. ESPN College soccer Women: Kentucky at Missouri 7 p.m. SEC Golf PGA Europe: Dunhill Links Championship 8 a.m. Golf LPGA: Reignwood Classic 11 p.m. Golf High school football Bloomingdale at Alonso 7 p.m. BHSN NFL Vikings at Packers 8:15 p.m. Ch. 10, NFL; 1010-AM, 98.7-FM NHL preseason Flyers at Capitals 7 p.m. NHL Lightning at Panthers 7:30 p.m. 970-AM Canucks at Oilers 10 p.m. NHL Soccer UEFA Europa League: Everton at Krasnodar noon FS1 UEFA Europa League: Lille Metropole at Wolfsburg 12:50 p.m. FS2 UEFA Europa League: Sevilla at Rijeka 1 p.m. ESPND UEFA Europa League: Limassol at Villareal 3 p.m. ESPND UEFA Europa League: Besiktas at Tottenham 3 p.m. FS1 UEFA Europa League: Dinamo Zagreb at Celtic 3 p.m. FS2 UEFA Europa League: Besiktas at Tottenham (taped) 5 p.m. ESPND Philadelphia at Chicago 8 p.m. ESPN2, ESPND Tennis ATP: China Open 4:30 a.m. Tennis
10/01/14 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — In another attempt to thwart the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum, City Council member Wengay Newton has proposed cutting the organization's funding and funneling it elsewhere.
The money, $31,996 from the St. Petersburg Housing Authority's Payment in Lieu of Taxes, or PILOT, fund, is the museum's largest source of financial support and has been used primarily to pay utility bills, purchase office supplies and pay the salary of their part-time office manager, the museum's only paid employee. ...
ST. PETERSBURG — Six days before he re-signed with the Bucs and caught the biggest pass of the season, Louis Murphy was just another armchair quarterback.
"I was at home, relaxing on the couch, watching football," he said Wednesday.
Murphy's 41-yard reception set up the winning touchdown pass in the Bucs' 27-24 victory Sunday in Pittsburgh.
By the time quarterback Mike Glennon connected with Vincent Jackson on a 5-yard strike in the end zone with seven seconds remaining, the Bucs had a season-high 302 yards passing. Five of the daring downfield throws went for 20 yards or more, as many as they had in three previous games. Murphy and rookie Mike Evans each had catches of more than 40 yards....
ST. PETERSBURG — So many children at Bay Point Elementary gave the same wrong answers to the same Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test questions last school year that the results were flagged as statistically improbable.
But the state Department of Education has concluded no cheating or tampering was involved, after an investigation by the Pinellas County school district's own employees....
TAMPA — Employees at a roofing company that officials say stole insurance money from nearly 100 homeowners have been arrested, the Florida Department of Financial Services said Wednesday.
Officials said 97 homeowners in six counties, including Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco, had unfinished roof repairs and liens on their homes after the Tampa-based NBRC Roofing Company visited them after storms and convinced them their roofs needed repairs....