For the second time this year, county officials have discovered toxic waste on land they bought from private companies. County commissioners agreed in April to pay $5.3-million for the Fortune Savings Bank in downtown Clearwater, county real estate manager Ellyn Kadel said. But after an environmental study, officials discovered that Union Oil of California, which owned a service station on the property before selling it to the bank, had left petroleum wastes near where a fuel tank was stored, Kadel said. Union Oil has agreed to set aside $500,000 to clean up the property, Kadel said, and the county is not expected to lose money because of the contamination. County officials were told in July that toxic wastes were discovered at a manufacturing plant near the Pinellas County Jail that the county had agreed to purchase for $1.9-million. Officials still hope to use the plant as a minimum-security detention center to relieve overcrowding at the jail.Schools to get lesson on blood
Maintaining a safe and adequate blood supply will be one of the lessons taught this year in Pinellas middle and high school science and health classes. Nancy Unrue, education director for the Hunter Blood Center in Clearwater, will be the teacher. Because of the fear of acquired immune deficiency syndrome and other blood-related diseases, maintaining an adequate blood supply has been difficult for blood banks in recent years, said Karen Crown, director of the Hunter Foundation, which is paying for the program. "Our aim is to make students our most knowledgeable donors," Ms. Unrue said.
Jail may start release project
Officials may begin a program in November allowing inmates to be released from the Pinellas County Jail on their promise to appear for trial and remain drug-free. Federal officials have approved a $483,980 grant that will allow jail officials to implement the Treatment Alternatives to Street Crime program, or TASC, said Vance E. Arnett, director of the county's office of justice planning. County Commissioners agreed Tuesday to set aside $210,280 for the program. The federal Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, which authorized the federal government to pay for programs similar to the county's, required the county to pay one-fourth of the project's costs, Arnett said. To be eligible for release, jail inmates must agree to accept treatment from Operation Par in St. Petersburg, and submit to urine tests to show they are not using drugs, officials said. Charles Felton, director of the 1,800-inmate jail, said he hopes the program will enable the county to reduce the jail's population by as much as one-fifth because many of the county's prisoners are awaiting trial on drug offenses. County Commissioners also agreed to pay $36,660 toward a release program for juveniles with drug problems, County Administrator Fred Marquis wrote in a memo. The justice planning office received a $109,940 federal grant to help pay for that program.
Man robs hospital pharmacy
CLEARWATER _ An armed man wearing pancake makeup held up a pharmacy at the Morton Plant Hospital complex Tuesday, taking narcotics and cash. Pharmacist Elbert Krause, 61, was tied up by the robber but managed to free himself and call authorities, Clearwater police spokesman Wayne Shelor said. "We're just grateful no one was hurt," said Paul Gramblin, Morton Plant spokesman. "We have not had anything like this happen ever." The pharmacy at 414 Pinellas St. is used by outpatients, hospital employees and the rehabilitation center, he said. The main pharmacy is in the hospital. The robbery occurred about 8:30 a.m. as Krause arrived, Shelor said. A man armed with a chrome-plated revolver confronted Krause. The robber demanded a large amount of specific drugs valued at about $4,500 and took an undisclosed amount of cash. He also took some rings from Krause, Shelor said. "The robber was wearing cosmetic makeup on his face, apparently in an attempt to alter his appearance," Shelor said. The robber was described as in his early 40s, white, 5-feet-8 and weighing 160 pounds. He had black hair and wore wire-rimmed glasses.