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COUNTY CASTS AN EYE ON AIRCO GOLF COURSE

CLEARWATER

It's years away, but Airco Golf Course could become a part of Pinellas history after nearly a half-century in existence.

On Tuesday, the County Commission agreed to explore closing the course and dividing its 129 acres up for aviation, office, industrial and hotel use.

The commission's decision was based on a consultant's feasibility study for the course, which is part of St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport and sits on Old Tampa Bay.

The study suggests limiting the intensity of the project to avoid additional levels of review by state regulators.

What's proposed would reserve 25 acres for aviation use and dedicate 78 acres for two hotels and a mix of office and industrial buildings that would help satisfy the county's long-range economic development needs. The remaining land is unsuitable for development.

TAMPA

Nader campaign exhorts faithful few

Ralph Nader, the Ecology Party presidential nominee, schooled his supporters on how to "make people angry enough to vote Nader-Gonzalez in 2008" at Ybor city's Cuban Club Tuesday night.

More than 150 faithful listened as the three-time presidential candidate said both Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain were slaves to corporations. Voting for him, Nader said, will give the Ecology Party's agenda political leverage.

TAMPA

Fired building official sues Hillsborough

Hillsborough's former top building official has sued the county, claiming he was wrongfully fired earlier this month.

Jerry Sparks, who worked for the county for three years, claims he was entitled to know why he was being dismissed and have an opportunity to defend himself. Instead, he was fired Oct. 3 without explanation, his lawsuit says.

Sparks is represented by Brad Bole, with Rahdert, Steele, Bole & Reynolds, the same firm that represents the St. Petersburg Times.

County Administrator Pat Bean said she was not aware of the lawsuit or the provision it says exists in the construction code. As far as she is concerned, Sparks was an at-will employee.

"With at-will employees, we typically don't have to go through any type of process in terms of giving notice," Bean said.

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