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Pinellas news briefs

Published Jun. 4, 2018


The Bay Pines VA Healthcare System has introduced Operating Room /Post Anesthesia Care Unit family waiting room displays. The new VetLink feature allows family and friends to monitor a patient's progression through a procedure or surgery taking place at the C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center operating room or outpatient surgery center.

When a veteran arrives for check-in at a surgical unit they are provided a surgery brochure with a unique and confidential queuing number associated with their name. The brochure instructs the family member or friend the patient chooses to share the brochure with, the ability to monitor the progress of their surgery or procedure in addition to frequently asked questions.

The new enhancement is one of several improvements made to the health VetLink Kiosk system. Kiosks are located at all Bay Pines VAHCS facilities to include the C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center and community based outpatient clinics in Palm Harbor and St. Petersburg.

For information visit or call (727) 398-6661, ext. 10122.

Safety Harbor seeks volunteers, eaters for watermelon eating contest

Watermelon eaters and volunteers are needed July 1 to help Safety Harbor break the Guinness World Record for "Most Participants in a Watermelon Eating Contest." The free, family-friendly event will be at Safety Harbor Waterfront Park and is open to all. Register by June 23 to be a part of the world record. Each participant will be required to attempt to eat at least one plate of watermelon. The fastest eater after two rounds will be crowned the "2018 Melons for Moolah Champion." Participants are encouraged to fundraise for a nonprofit of their choice. Volunteers to help judge and prepare are needed as well. Volunteer stewards will monitor 15-20 watermelon eaters each during the event to ensure they follow Guinness rules. Volunteers are also needed to set up and tear down the event. For volunteer and participant registration and more information, go to, email or call (727) 314-5664.

Call for vendors: 37th Annual John's Pass Seafood Festival

The John's Pass Village and Boardwalk is seeking craft and art vendors for the 37th Annual John's Pass Seafood Festival. This year's festival dates are Oct. 25 – Oct. 28. For full event vending details or to download an application, visit:


  1. The main exhibit center at the Museum of Science & Industry in Tampa once stirred the imagination with dinosaurs and stars. Now, it's empty, but on the verge of rebirth as a movie studio.
    The County Commission has set aside $2 million for the project as the Film Commission studies the demand for it.
  2. President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in the East Room of the White House, Friday, Sept. 20, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) PATRICK SEMANSKY  |  AP
    Hunter Biden worked for a Ukrainian gas company.
  3. Reclaimed water rates are increasing 6 percent in St. Petersburg.
    Potable, waste and reclaimed water fees will all increase. So will garbage fees, though the stormwater fee will drop for some.
  4. Joshua Russell, 26, faces a charge of aggravated manslaughter, according to deputies. Pinellas County Sheriff's Office
    A dose of kratom caused the caretaker to fall asleep for hours inside the hot car with the disabled man in the back seat, investigators said.
  5. Tampa Mayor Jane Castor announces federal grants Friday that will equip at least 600 officers with body cameras. CHARLIE FRAGO  |  Charlie Frago
    Mayor Jane Castor announces a nearly $600,000 Department of Justice grant Friday.
  6. Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri spoke Friday about a child protection investigator who was arrested on charges of falsifying reports. JOSH SOLOMON  |  Josh Solomon
    It’s the second time in two years a Pinellas child protection investigator has faced falsification charges.
  7. Stay with for the latest news and updates. Times
    The Challenger K-8 student didn’t have access to a gun, deputies said.
  8. Life changed for Chad Cagley with the birth of daughter Aaliyah, now 3. Cagley was killed Monday when a drunk driver slammed into the back of his motorcycle on Interstate 75, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. FAMILY PHOTO  |  Courtesy Stephanie Coomes
    The drunk driver who ran into Chad Cagley was caught after a witness followed him, troopers said.
  9. Former Tarpon Springs police Officer Steven Bergren, seen in this 2012 picture with his K-9 partner Dobies Jr. Bergren resigned before he could be fired by the Tarpon Springs Police Department for threatening a mass shooting. Bergren said he was joking. Tampa Bay Times
    The detective said he was joking. The Tarpon Springs Police Department said it would have fired him had he not resigned.
  10. A student holds a sign while participating in a "Global Climate Strike" at the Experiential School of Greensboro in Greensboro, N.C., on Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. Across the globe, hundreds of thousands of young people took the streets Friday to demand that leaders tackle climate change in the run-up to a U.N. summit. KHADEJEH NIKOUYEH/NEWS & RECORD  |  AP
    With a coastline stretching 1,350 miles, Florida faces some of the gravest risks from rising ocean levels.