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Clearwater / North Pinellas

  1. Report slams Pinellas construction licensing agency and leaders

    Local Government

    LARGO — The Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board mismanaged its finances, lacked accountability and disregarded its own rules, according to a scathing report released Wednesday by the county's inspector general.

    Rodney Fischer, the executive director of the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board, resigned in January.  [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  2. 80 books disappear from classroom that sheltered Irma evacuees

    K12

    DUNEDIN — When Martha Hereford-Cothron returned to her classroom at Dunedin Highland Middle School on Monday morning, her heart sank as her eyes scanned the room and landed on a white bookshelf, empty except for a broken DVD player and a thermal blanket.

    Gone from this shelf at Dunedin Highland Middle School were some 80 books and several board games in the classroom of teacher Martha Hereford-Cothron. The items disappeared after the classroom was used to shelter evacuees from Hurricane Irma. [Photo courtesy of Martha Hereford-Cothron]
  3. Dunedin woman fatally struck by semi-trailer on U.S. 19 in Clearwater

    Accidents

    CLEARWATER — A Dunedin woman was killed early Wednesday morning when she was struck by a semi-trailer after walking onto the southbound lanes of U.S. 19 in Clearwater.

  4. Clearwater firefighters sue siren manufacturer over hearing loss

    Fire

    CLEARWATER — Five current and former Clearwater firefighters are suing a siren manufacturer, saying that some of the Illinois-based company's sirens were so loud they caused hearing loss.

    . Five firefighters from the department are suing a siren manufacturer, claiming the company's sirens were so loud they caused hearing loss Newer  trucks like this one, f rom a 2014 photo, are equipped with air conditioning so firefighters ride with the windows rolled up and are insulated from the siren noise.  JIM DAMASKE   |   Times
  5. Humane Society of Pinellas collects donations after Hurricane Irma damage

    Briefs

    The Humane Society of Pinellas (3040 State Road 590, Clearwater) is seeking donations to repair $15,000 worth of damage to its building. The shelter relocated its more than 200 animals to emergency foster homes during the storm. During the storm, the roof of the cat isolation area was damaged, medical supplies, vaccines …

  6. Airplane makes emergency landing on Sand Key

    Accidents

    CLEARWATER — An airplane made an emergency landing Monday on Sand Key on Clearwater Beach.

    This single engine plane with two on board made an emergency landing on Sand Key Monday 9/18/2017. No injuries were reported. [Clearwater Police Department]
  7. Hometown North Pinellas

    News

    Jared S. Hechtkopf Community Food Bank opens with ribbon-cutting

    From left, Bill Van Law, vice chair of Free Clinic board of directors; Michael Bice, chair of the board; donor Bonnie Hechtkopf; Beth Houghton, executive director of the Free Clinic; Shaina Bent, director of food programs and Abi Paz, food bank supervisor. (Photo Courtesy MamaRazzi foto).
  8. Police seek suspect in armed robbery at Largo convenience store

    Crime

    LARGO — Police are seeking the public's help in locating a man wanted in connection with the armed robbery of a Speedway store early Monday morning.

    Police are seeking the public's help to locate a man they say robbed a Speedway store with a weapon early Monday morning. [Largo Police Department]
  9. Officials will use Irma to convince voters to renew Penny for Pinellas tax

    Local Government

    LARGO — As Election Day approaches, Pinellas County's elected officials will point to Hurricane Irma as a big reason why voters should renew the next round of the Penny for Pinellas 1-cent sales tax.

    The Pinellas County Public Safety Complex opened in 2014. It is a Category 5-rated facility that houses the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, the Emergency Operations Center, the 911 dispatch center and Emergency Medical Services. It also has a hardened parking garage with more than 600 spaces, can hold the sheriff's helicopters and boats and has its own power plant. It was paid for with Penny for Pinellas money, and county offiicals hope to use the complex to convince voters to renew the 1-cent sales tax for another decade this fall. [Courtesy of Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
  10. Duke Energy tells customers to ignore high bill estimates, suspends late fees for latest billing cycle

    Energy

    ST. PETERSBURG — TJ Noor felt like one of the lucky ones: His home on 22nd Avenue N didn't lose power long when Irma's winds downed trees and power lines throughout Tampa Bay.

    Linemen from Duke Energy work to restore power along 22nd Ave S and 38th Street  in St. Petersburg on Sept. 11, 2017, after the high winds of Hurricane Irma knocked out power. [SCOTT KEELER | Times]
  11. Clearwater boat builder earns Hall of Fame honors

    Human Interest

    CLEARWATER — The year was 1947. A gallon of gas was 15 cents and the brand new car to put it in was $1,300. Here in Pinellas County, a population boom was happening, and with it, a need to better develop activities for family and children.

    Clark Mills will be inducted into the Sailing Hall of Fame this month.
  12. Pinellas beaches seem to have escaped without major erosion issues

    Hurricanes

    While an official analysis of Hurricane Irma's impact on beach erosion is not yet available, early indications show some optimism.

  13. Pinellas extends emergency status another week

    Local Government

    CLEARWATER — As parts of Pinellas County continue waiting for electricity after Hurricane Irma, the County Commission voted unanimously Thursday to extend an emergency declaration until Sept. 21.

    Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri talks to the County Commission before the storm. The board was considering Thursday morning whether to extend the county's emergency order. JIM DAMASKE   }   Times

  14. Pinellas to remove storm debris starting Monday

    Local Government

    As storm debris starts to litter curbs, Pinellas County plans to start removing debris on Monday for residents in unincorporated areas.

    Pinellas County says it plans to start removing storm debris on Monday for residents in unincorporated areas. [EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  15. 17 floors, 225 seniors, 1 real estate mogul, no power and one sense of community

    Hurricanes

    CLEARWATER — Tony Hull, 62, rolled his wheelchair into his fifth floor apartment in Prospect Towers and peeked at the thermometer: 81 degrees.

    Prospect Towers resident Tony Hull makes his way to his 5th floor apartment.  JIM DAMASKE   |   Times