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Tony Marrero, Times Staff Writer

Tony Marrero

Tony Marrero covers Pinellas County government and politics. A Baltimore native, he joined the Times in 2009.

Phone: (352) 848-1431

Email: tmarrero@tampabay.com

Twitter: @TMarreroTimes

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  1. No-party political newcomer files to challenge Pinellas Commissioner Ken Welch

    Blog

    Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch has his first challenger for 2016.

    Sharon McManus, a 57-year old Pinellas Park resident and political newcomer, filed papers this week to run as no party candidate against Welch in the District 7 race. Welch, a St. Petersburg Democrat, has held the south county seat since 2000.

    McManus says she has no problems with Welch's performance, she just wants to give people a choice. She said she got a sense of satisfaction by serving on the Lealman Fire Board some 15 years ago. ...

  2. NACCP revives branch in St. Petersburg

    Local

    ST. PETERSBURG — St. Petersburg's NAACP branch is in the midst of a revival.

    One year after the branch was mysteriously shuttered by the national office, the local branch installed new officers Thursday night after an election held at McCabe United Methodist Church.

    "It is finding its legs again," said state Rep. Darryl Rouson, a past president of the local branch and a member of the new executive committee. ...

    Maria L. Scruggs was elected president of the NAACP’s St. Petersburg branch.
  3. New transgender policy and sensitivity training at St. Petersburg police timely after India Clarke murder

    Public Safety

    ST. PETERSBURG — Standing in front of a roomful of police officers to educate them on the most sensitive of issues, Chris Rudisill started with the basics.

    A transgender man was born female and identifies as a male, and vice versa. A person's internal gender makes them feel as if they were "born in the wrong body," but not all transgender people have made the physical transition to their right body. And don't ever underestimate the power of a simple pronoun. ...

  4. Three developers bid on Toytown site

    Growth

    ST. PETERSBURG — A St. Petersburg developer who pitched a baseball stadium for the Carillon area a few years ago is among three groups bidding to build on the former landfill known as Toytown.

    So what does Darryl LeClair have in mind for the county-owned, 240-acre site in a prime location near Interstate 275 and Roosevelt Boulevard? That's unclear because the proposals, solicited by Pinellas County Economic Development, aren't yet public record and LeClair isn't talking. ...

    Darryl LeClair isn’t saying what his intentions are for the 240-acre parcel in Pinellas.
  5. St. Petersburg developer Darryl LeClair submits proposal for Toytown site

    Blog

    A St. Petersburg developer who pitched a baseball stadium for the Carrillon area a few years ago is among the parties that has submitted a development proposal for the former landfill known as Toytown.

    So what does Darryl LeClair have in mind for Toytown, the county-owned, 240-site in a prime location near Interstate 275 and Roosevelt Boulevard? That’s unclear because the proposals, solicited by Pinellas County Economic Development, aren’t yet public record and LeClair isn’t talking. ...

  6. PSTA board split on CEO Brad Miller's leadership

    Local Government

    Pinellas County's chief transit executive is serving a board of directors divided over his ability to lead.

    Some members of the 15-member Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority believe CEO Brad Miller is doing a stellar job. Others have serious concerns and gave Miller low marks in his annual evaluation.

    The division was evident at a Monday meeting of PSTA's personnel committee tasked with reviewing the evaluations and making a recommendation to the full board on Miller's future....

    CEO Brad Miller received his lowest score in “organizational leadership.”
  7. Former St. Petersburg business executive files to challenge Pinellas Commissioner Charlie Justice

    Blog

    Pinellas County Commissioner Charlie Justice has drawn his first challenger for 2016.

    Mike Mikurak, a 61-year-old St. Petersburg Republican, filed papers Tuesday to run for the countywide District 3 seat Justice, a Democrat, has held since 2012. A married father of three grown children, Mikurak most recently worked as a partner at Accenture, Plc., providing consulting services in business strategy and supply chain management for Fortune 100 companies. He retired in 2003....

  8. Tropical Storm Erika dissipates, area watches and warnings lifted

    Hurricanes

    Tropical Storm Erika broke up in the Caribbean on Saturday, leaving behind a wave of moisture expected to bring heavy rainfall to the Tampa Bay area in the next few days.

    The National Hurricane Center lifted tropical storm warnings and watches about 9 a.m. after Erika dissipated into a trough of low pressure, a victim of wind shear and high terrain in Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Cuba....

    Joe's Stone Crab employees Jordan Garcia, left, and Manny Cortes install hurricane shutters in preparation for Tropical Storm Erika on Friday in Miami Beach. [David Santiago | El Nuevo Herald via TNS]
  9. In cost-cutting move, PSTA scraps two bus routes, spares two more

    Transportation

    Faced with a decision to cut four little-used bus routes to save about $2.6 million in operating and capital costs, Pinellas County's transit board opted to end two and save two — at least for now.

    The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority board of directors voted unanimously Wednesday to eliminate Route 30 in St. Petersburg and the East Lake Connector. The board delayed a decision on Route 58 in the Largo area and the 444 in Pinellas Park after a parade of people pleaded to keep them. ...

    The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority is in better financial shape than predicted a year ago because of fuel cost savings.
  10. PSTA exploring partnership with Uber for north Pinellas pilot project

    Blog

    Pinellas County’s transit agency is working on a partnership with Uber to get riders to and from bus stops and transfer hubs in north Pinellas County.

    Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority chief executive officer Brad Miller met with Uber representatives Monday to discuss a pilot project that, if successful, could be expanded to other parts of the county, Miller said.

    “We’re very much looking to provide alternatives to as many people in Pinellas County as we can and a partnership with Uber would really fit a niche,” Miller said....

  11. Hundreds gather to reminisce at St. Pete's farewell party for the Pier

    Human Interest

    ST. PETERSBURG — Ciara Dibert stood under a blazing sun, her 8-month-old son, Emerson, boun­cing gently in a carrier on her back.

    It was nearly 5 p.m., and Dibert, 22, had arrived at Spa Beach Park three hours earlier to make sure she got a commemorative paver from the Pier, a memento from the city's farewell party to the iconic structure.

    Born and raised in St. Petersburg, Dibert recalls visiting the inverted pyramid with her grandmother to buy dinosaur-shaped cookies. She spent many more hours there as a teen, visiting friends at Cha Cha Coconuts. ...

    Guests wait in line Friday for brick pavers at Spa Beach Park during a farewell ceremony to the Pier in St. Petersburg. Hundreds came to say goodbye to the inverted pyramid.
  12. Church of Scientology says item on Jolly's upcoming appearance was 'cheap shot'

    Blog

    The church of Scientology was none-too-pleased about Bay Buzz noting that U.S. Rep. David Jolly planned to appear at the church's upcoming concert to celebrate the city of Clearwater's centennial. 

    The item, which was also post on the Buzz with a different headline, noted that the Indian Shores Republican running for U.S. Senate is listed as a guest of honor at the Aug. 29 event titled "Clearwater: A Century in Music." It will take place at the Fort Harrison Hotel, one of the church's signature buildings in the city's downtown. Jolly's spokesman said he is attending to present a proclamation to Mayor George Cretekos to celebrate the city's 100th birthday....

  13. Church of Scientology says item noting David Jolly's upcoming appearance was 'cheap shot'

    Blog

    The church of Scientology was none-too-pleased about the Buzz noting that U.S. Rep. David Jolly planned to appear at the church's upcoming concert to celebrate the city of Clearwater's centennial. 

    The item noted that Jolly, an Indian Shores Republican running for U.S. Senate, is listed as a guest of honor at the Aug. 29 event titled "Clearwater: A Century in Music." It will take place at the Fort Harrison Hotel, one of the church's signature buildings in the city's downtown. Jolly's spokesman said he is attending to present a proclamation to Mayor George Cretekos to celebrate the city's 100th birthday....

  14. Pinellas County leaders warn IT manager: No more drama

    Local Government

    CLEARWATER — Keep doing your job and quell the drama.

    That was the message for Martin Rose, Pinellas County's chief information officer, courtesy of his high-profile bosses Thursday after a survey found discord among his executive leadership team.

    The Business Technology Services board expressed concern about the survey but told Rose they supported his plan to get the department back on track....

    Pinellas leaders back Martin Rose’s plan to address discord among his team.
  15. David Jolly and his wife to hang with the Scientologists

    Blog

    U.S. Rep. David Jolly will hobnob with some of his most controversial constituents later this month.

    Jolly, an Indian Shores Republican who recently launched a bid for U.S. Senate, is listed as a "guest of honor" at the Church of Scientology's Aug. 29 concert celebrating the city of Clearwater's centennial.

    According to a press release, the semi-formal event titled "Clearwater: A Century in Music" will feature appearances by actress Anne Archer, Grammy-award winning jazz artist Chick Corea and impressionist Jim Meskimen....

    U.S. Rep. David Jolly, an Indian Shores Republican who recently launched a bid for U.S. Senate, is listed as a "guest of honor" at the Church of Scientology's Aug. 29 concert celebrating the city of Clearwater's centennial.