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Tracey McManus - Clearwater and Scientology Reporter

Clearwater and Scientology Reporter

I cover a range of topics in Pinellas County with a focus on the Church of Scientology, which is downtown Clearwater's largest and most influential property owner. Before joining the Times in 2015, I spent five years with The Augusta Chronicle in Georgia. I've wanted to be a journalist pretty much since I was old enough to read the newspapers my dad kept stacked near the kitchen table every day. I was born in Brooklyn but grew up in south Florida and graduated from University of Florida in 2010 with degrees in journalism and Spanish. When not on deadline, I'm usually out running with my two dogs Tiger and Ollie, both strays I found in Georgia.

  1. Corp. Jarred Stiff, left, and Lt. Nate Burnside, with the Clearwater Police Department, set up a "beach rules" sign on Clearwater Beach moments before Pinellas County beaches are opened to the public on Monday, May 4, 2020, after being closed since March 20. The Pinellas County Commission voted on Thursday to lift the local mandate for social distancing on beaches. Swimming pools and playgrounds can also reopen to full capacity. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times]
  2. Fireworks explode over Clearwater Harbor next to the Memorial Causeway on July 4, 2019. The city's display is usually one of the largest and most attended in Tampa Bay, but city officials decided Thursday to cancel the event this year because of crowd concerns during the coronavirus pandemic.
  3. Golfers practice on The Landings Golf Club's driving range with planes parked at the Clearwater Airpark in the background Tuesday. The Clearwater City Council has voted to begin negotiations with a developer seeking to build an industrial park on the course. Voters will have the final say on the project in November. [DIRK SHADD  |  Times]
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  5. Fireworks explode over Clearwater Harbor next to the Memorial Causeway on July 4, 2018. The city's display is usually one of the largest and most attended in Tampa Bay, but city officials decided Thursday to cancel the event this year because of crowd concerns during the coronavirus pandemic.
  6. Protesters gather Wednesday in front of the Clearwater Courthouse downtown to push for the reopening of bars, still closed as part of the state's effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times]
  7. A sign marks the first tee at The Landings Golf Club in Clearwater, where a Tampa developer is proposing to build a $131 million industrial park that would cover most of the course. The City Council is expected to vote Thursday on whether to begin negotiations with the developer. City voters would have a say on the deal in November. [DIRK SHADD  |  Times]
  8. An aerial view of downtown Clearwater, which was a major topic at Monday's City Council workshop. Council member Mark Bunker said the city should ask the FBI to investigate Scientology in relation to recent downtown real estate purchases tied to the church. His council colleagues disagreed. [LUIS SANTANA  |  Times]
  9. The building at 708 Chestnut Street has been an eyesore at the busy intersection with Myrtle Avenue for years. On Monday the city granted real estate broker Ray Cassano and his partner Shahab Emrani $500,000 to aid their proposal for a 14-unit apartment building with retail. [TRACEY MCMANUS  |  Times]
  10. Jillian Bruckner, owner of Taco Bus, and Alan Mock, publisher of Resort Magazines, ate lunch on Wednesday at a table set up in what used to be a street parking spot in front of Downtown Pizza Sports Bar and Grill on Cleveland Street. The city of Clearwater closed the 400 and 500 block of Cleveland to traffic to allow businesses to use the street for social distance seating. [TRACEY MCMANUS  |  Times]
  11. The Church of Scientology's cross rises above downtown Clearwater. Members of Scientology's Volunteer Ministers program distributed materials published by the church in car lines at Pinellas County public schools where free lunches were given out last week. A church spokesman said the volunteers were in error. [Times (2011)]
  12. Clearwater Police officer Mike Morea places a flier on the door to Mac's Sports on March 26 as part of a shutdown in reaction to the coronavirus. The city on Thursday approved a grant program help businesses trying to recover during the crisis. [CHRIS URSO      |  Times]
  13. Visitors returned to Pass-A-Grille Beach, St. Pete Beach, Monday morning as beaches in Pinellas County reopened during the coronavirus pandemic. The view is looking north. [SCOTT KEELER  |  Times]
  14. An electronic sign alerts drivers Wednesday, April 29, 2020 in Clearwater. Pinellas County leaders decided to open the beaches on May 4. [CHRIS URSO      |  Tampa Bay Times]
  15. Talmadge Rutledge is remembered in Clearwater as a persistent leader in the effort to end racial injustice while carrying on his family’s legacy of black entrepreneurship. He died on April 16 at age 91. [Times (1968)]
  16. A view of the former Tides Golf Club in Seminole looking northwest toward Boca Ciega Bay. The 96-acre course abuts the Millennium Park nature preserve and is the subject of intense debate over the future of green space in Pinellas County. [DIRK SHADD  |  Times]
  17. City Council member Mark Bunker addresses his appointment to the Downtown Development Board at a City Council meeting on Thursday. Four council members, including Bunker, participated via video conference in other rooms of City Hall to practice social distancing amid the coronavirus outbreak. [City of Clearwater]
  18. In Clearwater, recycled materials like these are being diverted to the Pinellas County waste-to-energy plant instead of going to the usual processing center. It's one of the ways local sanitation departments are adapting to make waste disposal safer for workers. [Times (2009)]
  19. Clearwater City Council member Mark Bunker, a long-time Scientology critic, wants to serve on a city board with several Scientologists. A judge's order from 20 years ago could make that difficult. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Times]
  20. Hernando County Sheriff detectives along with the Medical Examiner investigates the scene where multiple victims found dead inside of a home on Dunkirk Road on Friday in Spring Hill. [LUIS SANTANA  |  Times]
  21. Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. [Times]
  22. Volunteers from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine talk with Sylvia Ungar, center, who is homeless, as they do outreach with the homeless population during the new coronavirus pandemic Friday in Miami. They are working with Dr. Armen Henderson who has partnered with local organizations and volunteers to educate the homeless about the virus. [LYNNE SLADKY  |  AP]
  23. This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. [AP] [AP]
  24. Big Cat Rescue founder Carole Baskin walks inside her sanctuary for exotic animals in 2017. She says a recent Netflix documentary has upended her life, distorted her work and left her receiving death threats. [Times (2017)]