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. ...
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. ...
New transgender policy and sensitivity training at St. Petersburg police timely after India Clarke murder09/04/15 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. ...
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. ...
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. ...
09/03/15 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....
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....
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....
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. ...
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....
08/21/15 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. ...
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....
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....
08/20/15 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....
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....