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There's a buzz in the air over spelling bee

The Pinellas County Spelling Bee will be held at 1 p.m. today at Seminole Middle School, 8701 131st St. N. More than 80 spellers in grades six to eight, representing the top two spellers from all public, private and parochial schools, will compete. The competition is sponsored by the St. Petersburg Times and Delta Zeta Sorority alumni. The word pronouncer will be Audrey Convery, a Delta Zeta member. Eddie Moran, the Literacy and Education Program administrator for the Times, is coordinator of the event. The top three spellers in the Pinellas competition will join the top threes from Pasco, Hernando and Citrus counties to compete in the Suncoast Spelling Bee on March 23 at the Times' downtown St. Petersburg office. The Suncoast winner will go to the National Spelling Bee during the last week of May. Today's event is free and open to the public.

Choir marks the Rev. Harwell's 25th year

ST. PETERSBURG _ The choir of Maximo Presbyterian Church, directed by Velma Rowe, will sing a choral evensong at 5:30 p.m. Sunday. The service is in honor of the Rev. Lacy R. Harwell, who is completing 25 years of service. The evensong will be followed by a reception at the church, 3200 58th Ave. S. The public is invited.

Clearwater braces for spring breakers

CLEARWATER _ It is March, and that means it is time for that annual ritual on Clearwater Beach known as spring break. According to Clearwater police, who gauge the timing of this event by vacation schedules of area college and high schools, spring break officially began Friday and ends April 8. Police spokesman Wayne Shelor said as many as 30,000 students are expected to make the pilgrimage this year to Clearwater Beach, a popular destination for the revelers. Combined with the tourists and local beachgoers, the city's population will swell to its highest point of the year. "We will be assigning extra officers to deal with the sheer number of people," Shelor said Wednesday. "It will be the worst on the weekends. But, historically, our only problem of consequence is traffic." A new Clearwater law that bans T-back swimsuits will not go into effect until after spring break.