1. News

Pinellas news briefs

BOX CAR RALLY TO BENEFIT LOCAL SCHOOLS: There will be a Box Car Rally in downtown Clearwater's Cleveland Street District that will benefit local schools through the Achieva Foundation.

Guests can enjoy box car races, food, drinks, music, children's games, face painting, balloons, local merchant tables and more. Those interested in racing can still register and entries will be accepted in both the homemade and All-American soap box derby style.

Car divisions are: Pee Wee (ages 7 to 12); Teen (13 to 17); High school (high school students only); Corporate (businesses only); and Auto league (auto industry businesses only). Races will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with the start ramp at the corner of Cleveland Street and Osceola Avenue, on Oct. 3.

For information, call Chelsey Wilson at (727) 431-7362.

For information such as box car construction specifications, team registration, rules and regulations, please visit:

TARPON SPRINGS SUNSET BEACH MUSIC SERIES: Enjoy local band Slickside from 7 to 9 p.m., Sept. 3 at Sunset Beach, 1800 Gulf Road. Slickside specializes in blues, classic rock and country rock. The event is free and overflow parking and shuttle services are available at Tarpon Springs High School. Refreshments will be available. Pets and alcohol are prohibited. For information, visit or call (727) 942-5628.

THE CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY has opened its new information center at the corner of Cleveland Street and Fort Harrsion Avenue in downtown Clearwater.

The center features full audio-visual displays on Scientology, Dianetics and life of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. The center also serves as an open-door informational meeting spot at which community organizations can hold their meetings.

The center is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Workshops and personal consultations can be scheduled by calling (727) 467-6966.

PHOTOGRAPHY CONTEST: The Safety Harbor Public Library is holding a photo contest. The theme is Florida landscapes and nature photography and is open to Pinellas Public Library Cooperative Library registered card holders. There are two award categories: Youth (up to age 17) and Adults (18 and up) with a chance to be awarded up to $150.

Digital submissions accepted by email only from Sept. 1 until Oct. 1. For rules and entry form, visit: Winners will be announced during the Friends of the Library Gala on Oct. 15. For information, contact (727) 724-1525 x 4107 or email

MOMMY AND ME SWIM PROGRAM: Every Friday for the reminder of August and all of September moms can bring in their little ones from 10 to 11 a.m. at Dunedin's Highlander Pool for themed activities. Registration is at the pool, 1937 Ed Eckert Drive, or at the Community Center, 1920 Pinehurst Road. Cost is $20 with recreational ID card or $30 with no card. For information about programs or volunteering, call Alicia Castricone at (727) 298-3266 or email

WRITERS' CONFERENCE: Registration is under way for Eckerd College's 12th Annual Writers' Conference, Writers in Paradise. The admissions process is based on writing samples and limited to fewer than 100 attendees. The conference offers a better understanding of the writing craft and ideas about how to find an agent and get published. At least 20 competitive fellowships and scholarships are available.

Faculty and lecturers will include: Pulitzer Prize winner Gilbert King; conference co-founder and best-selling author Dennis Lehane; co-founder Sterling Watson; conference co-director Les Standiford; MacArthur "Genius Grant" poet Campbell McGrath; Florida Poet Laureate Peter Meinke; Andre Dubus III; Ann Hood; Laura Lippman,;Laura Williams McCaffrey; Aimee Nezhukumatathil; Stewart O'Nan; Scott Ward; and more. The conference will be from Jan. 16 to Jan. 23 and costs $875. Applications, which cost $25, will be accepted through Nov. 15. For information, visit

PASSPORT FAIR: The Clearwater Main Post Office at 100 S Belcher Road will be holding a Passport Fair from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Aug. 29. Appointments are not required.

To obtain a passport, applicants need to bring proof of American citizenship. This must be either a certified birth certificate issued by the city, county or state; a previous U.S. passport; a certificate of citizenship; or a naturalization certificate. Note that a hospital-issued birth certificate alone is not acceptable.

Plus you'll need a recently issued U.S. passport; a recently issued naturalization certificate; a recently issued certificate of citizenship; or a current valid driver's license, government ID or military photo ID. Bring a photocopy of proof of identity. Each applicant must bring a photocopy of the front and back of the ID.

The passport application requires a recent color passport photograph of you (2-inch by 2-inch). The Post Office will offer passport photo service for $15. To save time, customers should download the passport application at and complete beforehand, however, do not sign the application.

All applicants must appear in person, including minors. Minors under the age of 14 must appear with both parents. If one parent is not available, a notarized authorization from the absent parent is required. Each passport for an adult must be accompanied by a check or money order for $110, made payable to the U.S. Department of State and a $25 acceptance fee made payable to USPS. Costs for children under 16 are $80, payable to the U.S. Department of State and $25 payable to USPS. The cost to expedite processing at the U.S. Department of State is $60. For information, visit or call toll-free 1-877- 487-2778.