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  1. Jeff Vinik's proposed new downtown Tampa hotel coming up for City Council vote

    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....

  2. Clearwater official pushes for beach parking garage near his business

    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....

  3. Hometown Pinellas for Oct. 3

    Briefs

    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....

    Kaitlyn Pamplona from the Pro Karate Center in Palm Harbor will compete in Poland this month with the national team.
  4. Replay Amusement Museum brings video game, pinball nostalgia to Tarpon Springs (w/video)

    Retail

    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."...

    Brian Cheaney plays pinball Monday at the Replay Amusement Museum that he and his wife are opening in Tarpon Springs. Collecting machines started as a hobby, then turned into a business.
  5. Pinellas County gives awards for fire service distinction

    Briefs

    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....

    Fire Service Professionals of the Year awards went to, from left, Largo Fire Rescue District Chief Keith Daliendo; Palm Harbor Fire Rescue vehicle extrication team members Lt. William M. Fisher, Joshua Lovetere, Matthew Quinn, Ryan Fisher, Kyle Drozdowski and Andrew Bittner; and Pinellas emergency dispatcher Patrick Lavender.
  6. Pinellas Park council okays affordable apartments on Park Boulevard

    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. ...

  7. St. Petersburg police to change uniforms from green to blue

    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."...

    CAPTION: St. Petersburg police officers model the department's new test uniforms. 

SOURCE: St. Petersburg police
  8. Largo commission says car dealer can have bigger sign

    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....

    The current sign at the Dick Norris dealership at 18200 U.S. 19 N is 127 square feet. The business was granted a variance for a 226-square-foot sign.
  9. At Dr. Jay's Suncoast Hospice clinic, East meets West

    Health

    CLEARWATER

    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....

    Hospice patient Richard Fretz, 91, undergoes Chinese cupping therapy, which gets blood flowing to help manage pain.
  10. Scouting report, Week 5 vs. Saints: Will Bucs pull off another road upset? (w/film review)

    Bucs

    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....

    When Tampa Bay last played New Orleans in December, Saints quarterback Drew Brees torched the Buccaneers defense for 381 yards and four touchdowns. [Associated Press]
  11. Thursday's sports on TV/radio

    TV and Radio

    TODAY

    Baseball playoffs
    ALDS, Game 1: Tigers at Orioles5:30 p.m.TBS; 620-AM
    ALDS, Game 1: Royals at Angels9 p.m.TBS; 620-AM
    College football
    UCF at Houston7 p.m.ESPN
    Fla. Atlantic at Fla. International7 p.m.FSF
    Alabama State at Alcorn State7:30 p.m.ESPNU
    Benedict at Miles8 p.m.CBSSN
    Arizona at Oregon10:30 p.m.ESPN
    College soccer
    Women: Kentucky at Missouri7 p.m.SEC
    Golf
    PGA Europe: Dunhill Links Championship8 a.m.Golf
    LPGA: Reignwood Classic11 p.m.Golf
    High school football
    Bloomingdale at Alonso7 p.m.BHSN
    NFL
    Vikings at Packers8:15 p.m.Ch. 10, NFL; 1010-AM, 98.7-FM
    NHL preseason
    Flyers at Capitals7 p.m.NHL
    Lightning at Panthers7:30 p.m.970-AM
    Canucks at Oilers10 p.m.NHL
    Soccer
    UEFA Europa League: Everton at KrasnodarnoonFS1
    UEFA Europa League: Lille Metropole at Wolfsburg12:50 p.m.FS2
    UEFA Europa League: Sevilla at Rijeka1 p.m.ESPND
    UEFA Europa League: Limassol at Villareal3 p.m.ESPND
    UEFA Europa League: Besiktas at Tottenham3 p.m.FS1
    UEFA Europa League: Dinamo Zagreb at Celtic3 p.m.FS2
    UEFA Europa League: Besiktas at Tottenham (taped)5 p.m.ESPND
    Philadelphia at Chicago8 p.m.ESPN2, ESPND
    Tennis
    ATP: China Open4:30 a.m.Tennis
    ...

  12. Carter G. Woodson museum could lose funding under city council proposal

    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 City Council member Wengay Newton believes the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum’s funding could be better used elsewhere.
  13. Bucs' long drought on offense ends

    Bucs

    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....

    Five of quarterback Mike Glennon’s downfield throws on Sunday went for 20 yards or more.
  14. State clears St. Petersburg magnet school of FCAT cheating

    Testing

    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....

  15. Roofing company stole insurance money from homeowners, officials said

    Crime

    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....