Community radio station WMNF-FM 88.5 announced Wednesday night that three employees who were laid off a week ago will now be able to keep their jobs, thanks in part to a large donation. The layoffs were the first in the station's 30-year history. WMNF officials said the bad economy forced them to give notice to longtime music director Lee "DJ Flee" Courtney, receptionist Julie Scheid and special events coordinator Linda Reisinger. But because of voluntary staff benefit reductions and the donation, that won't have to happen. Station manager Jim Bennett announced the news shortly before an evening broadcast, according to the station's website. "Good news has come to WMNF after more than a week of controversy," he said in a statement on the site. "We are happy to have our WMNF family back together." Bennett said the donation came at a critical, and coincidental, time on Tuesday. He did not reveal the amount, but described it as a "legacy bequest" in his statement. He also emphasized the station still isn't out of the woods, and hopes that a three-day membership drive beginning July 13 will help WMNF regain its financial footing.
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Rabbits, birds taken from home
More than 70 rabbits and about 50 birds were removed from a Pinellas County home by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday. Many of the animals were being kept in small kennels in the back yard of a home at 4650 68th St. N, sheriff's deputies said. Pinellas County property records indicate the home is owned by Sevdo and Desa Aslanovich. The SPCA found a few cats in the residence as well, but "nothing extraordinary," communications director Megan Trethewey said. Among the 50 birds were a mix of pheasants, pigeons and Chukar partridges.
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Witnesses sought for pileup inquiry
Clearwater police are looking for witnesses to an eight-vehicle collision on U.S. 19 the evening of June 19 that killed two people. Daniel Barga, 27, of St. Petersburg was arrested Thursday after police say they discovered he was responsible for the collision. Jancarlos Alberto Schaffer, 22, of Odessa and Richard Kelly of Tampa, whose age was unavailable, were killed in the crash. Seven others were hospitalized. Barga initially told detectives that he was a passenger in the Chevy Avalanche that caused the crash and that the driver had run away. Clearwater police spokeswoman Elizabeth Watts asked witnesses to contact the Clearwater police traffic investigation division at (727) 562-4119.
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Pair accused of multiple robberies
Police have arrested a man and woman who they say are responsible for a string of armed robberies around Tampa Bay. Detectives linked Ricky T. Fields, 24, and Stephanie S. Malatesta, 23, to 12 robberies committed since June 1, Clearwater police spokeswoman Elizabeth Watts said. Six of those robberies were committed in Hillsborough County. The other six took place in Clearwater since June 20. Both suspects were charged with six counts of armed robbery.