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Clearwater / North Pinellas

  1. Scientology leader David Miscavige ups offer for aquarium property before Clearwater vote on land deal

    Special Topics

    CLEARWATER — The city may be poised to vote next month on whether to buy a vacant downtown lot from the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, but that hasn't stopped the Church of Scientology from trying to acquire the property.

    NP_365129_DAMA_clwmarina_2  (1/10/2013 CLEARWATER)  The vacant  The Clearwater Marine Aquarium owns the vacant downtown lot between City Hall (bottom) and the Church of Scientology's Oak Cove religious retreat (above.) The City Council will vote April 20 to buy the land, but the church hasn't given up trying to buy the land itself and has made an offer that it said "far exceeds what the City can pay." [JIM DAMASKE  |  Times]

  2. Pinellas Suncoast fire district spent more than 10 times budget for lawyers


    INDIAN ROCKS BEACH — A small fire department that services several coastal communities spent more than 10 times what was budgeted for legal fees last year, the result of several lawsuits and personnel disputes.

    Pinellas Suncoast Fire Chief Salvatore D’Angelo says legal action was needed.
  3. Mayor Rick Kriseman: Ridership numbers show a need for ferry service between Tampa and St. Petersburg


    CLEARWATER — With the ferry service between St. Petersburg and Tampa ending in April, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman vowed in front of the Pinellas County Commission to find money to help bring it back in November.

    Passengers board the Cross-Bay Ferry near the Tampa Convention Center.  JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times
  4. New Sunpass lanes open on Sunshine Skyway


    We recently traveled south over the Sunshine Skyway bridge at evening rush hour after miles of traffic getting to the bridge from the 118th Avenue entrance on I-275.

    New Sunpass lanes are open on the Sunshine Skyway.
  5. Hometown North Pinellas


    m 14-year-old earns Eagle Scout rank: Simon Mesen, a ninth-grade student at St. Petersburg High School, recently earned Eagle Scout rank, the highest in Boy Scouts. Mesen, 14, is a member of Troop 219 at St. Raphael Church. He earned 29 merit badges. For his service project, Mesen organized the …

    The Belleair Country Club held the second annual spring fashion show and luncheon benefiting the Veterans Mall.
  6. Pinellas news briefs


    Pinellas Citizen University begins new session April 13: Pinellas County residents can experience an up-close and behind-the-scenes look at the services provided by county government in this year's Pinellas Citizen University.

  7. Pinellas colleges notebook


    Tilar Mazzeo, the bestselling nonfiction author and biographer, will speak at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg on Thursday at 11 a.m. Mazzeo teaches English at Colby College and has written several books, including the New York Times bestseller The Widow Cliquot (2008), about the widow who …

  8. Epilogue: Former Dunedin mayor, legislator Jerry Rehm remembered for dedication to the public


    DUNEDIN — Gerald "Jerry" Rehm's community advocacy started in the 1960s when he became one of the youngest mayors ever elected in the city. From there, it never really stopped.

    Gerald “Jerry” Rehm died on March 10, his 90th birthday.
  9. Richard Wagner's 'Rienzi' will be presented by Tarpon Springs' New Century Opera

    Human Interest


    There is a populist leader. The disenfranchised are pitted against the wealthy. There is a church with strong political influence. No, it is not a story about life in 21st century America. It is the 19th century opera, Rienzi: The Last of the Tribunes composed by Richard Wagner and …

    Russell Andrade, in the title role of Cola di Rienzi, performs during the dress rehearsal. Andrade, a tenor, said the five-act opera requires stamina.
  10. Pinellas businesses look forward to end of blue law on Sunday mornings

    Local Government

    Greg Lore, manager of Clear Sky Beachside Cafe in Clearwater, was thrilled when he heard the county might allow alcohol sales starting at 8 a.m. on Sundays.

    Diners and pedestrians enjoy a pleasant Sunday morning, March 19 on Central Avenue in downtown St. Petersburg  In early March of 2017 the Pinellas County Commission unanimously passed an ordinance that allows restaurants and stores to sell alcohol at 8 a.m. The vote brought uniformity to alcohol sales for each day of the week: 8 a.m. to 3 a.m.Local breakfast and brunch spots are impacted by the ordinance allowing morning alcohol sales.
  11. Police: Drunk man pushed horse in face in St. Petersburg



    A 21-year-old Maryland man pushed a police horse in downtown St. Petersburg on March 18, according to an arrest report. Alexander Luke Fahmy was kicked out of Yard of Ale on First Avenue N about 1:45 a.m. He pushed a bar security guard and took a "fighting stance," an officer wrote. The …

  12. Pinellas County Commissioner John Morroni says he'll retire next year


    CLEARWATER — After representing residents for 25 years, Pinellas County Commissioner John Morroni announced Tuesday that he will not seek re-election to a fifth term in 2018.

  13. Pinellas County Commission: There were no kickbacks in ambulance contract

    Local Government

    CLEARWATER –– After agreeing to pay $92,700 toward a federal lawsuit involving ambulance-service kickbacks in Texas, Pinellas County commissioners on Tuesday delivered a message to residents: No kickbacks took place in their county.

    Pinellas County on Tuesday agreed to pay $97,200 settlement related to a federal whistleblower lawsuit in Texas involving its ambulance service but denied any wrongdoing. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  14. Pinellas news briefs


    Palm Harbor Rotary Charity Golf Tournament

  15. Have you found a painted rock in Tampa Bay? It's part of this Facebook craze

    Human Interest

    Tara Brogan did not expect to make more new friends than she could count, or discover places she never knew existed in her hometown. But she did, and it's all because of a Facebook page and a few rocks.

    Lily Broganan and  her mother, Tara, placed this tic-tac-toe rock arrangement at Sheffield Park in Oldsmar. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times