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Clearwater / North Pinellas

  1. Art, music and cocktails in the downtown Clearwater park

    Local Government

    CLEARWATER — The city will host an evening of art, music and cocktails on Saturday in Station Square Park for the Painting in the Park series that will run through June.

  2. Clearwater's water update begins Monday

    Local Government

    CLEARWATER — The first phase of a water treatment update will take place from Monday through April 24 and will impact Pinellas County and Clearwater utilities customers.

  3. Tarpon Springs to honor 'Billy the Kid' for his music

    Human Interest

    TARPON SPRINGS — The Florida Folklife Program and the city will recognize 2017 Florida Folk Heritage Award recipient William "Billy the Kid" Emerson, at 3 p.m. Sunday in a ceremony at the Tarpon Springs Heritage Museum, 100 Beekman Lane.

    "Billy the Kid" Emerson
  4. Seminole dementia facility uses animatronic pets for memory care patient comfort

    Nursing Homes

    SEMINOLE

    Posters of Life magazine covers featuring Bing Crosby, Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn line the walls of the Clare Bridge Place at Brookdale's Freedom Square, where about 10 residents gathered, watching the Hallmark Channel's Home and Family.

    Marie McCauseland, 87, pets “Clare,” an animatronic companion pet at Clare Bridge at Freedom Square in Seminole. Kathy Breese helps her with the exercise, which can help dementia patients reduce anxiety and stress.
  5. 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.

    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 church really wants that lot.
  6. Under new leadership, Pinellas construction board starts judging contractors again

    Local Government

    LARGO — For years, a Pinellas County committee judged complaints against contractors without legal guidance, or transparency, or even rules.

    Gay Lancaster, interim executive director at the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board, leads a committee meeting Wednesday where the agency ruled on homeowners' complaints against contractors. It's the first time the panel has met in weeks, after a Tampa Bay Times investigation raised questions about the way the agency operates and treats consumers and contractors. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]
  7. Joint Pinellas effort has reduced number of unwanted pets and strays that are euthanized

    Local Government

    A five-year effort by Pinellas County animal welfare agencies coordinating data and resources helped lower the number of unwanted and stray animals being euthanized and trapped in shelters.

    A five-year effort by Pinellas County animal welfare agencies coordinating data and resources helped lower the number of unwanted and stray animals being euthanized and trapped in shelters. Euthanasia is down 40 percent and stray pickup has dropped 25 percent since 2012 between Pinellas County Animal Services, Humane Society of Pinellas, SPCA Tampa Bay and Friends of Strays. This stray cat and her litter were brought to animal services in 2013. [JIM DAMASKE   |   Times]
  8. Want to learn more about Tarpon Springs' Greektown district? Now there's an app for that

    Human Interest

    TARPON SPRINGS

    The connections to Greece are everywhere. You can spot them as you watch workers fill wooden tubs with sponges outside the tourist shops on Dodecanese Boulevard. You can smell them as the scent of fresh Greek pastries floats down the sidewalk on Athens Street. You can hear them as you stand …

    Tourists are helped from the deck of the St. Nicholas VII, a sponge-diving exhibition boat at the Sponge Docks. Visitors can learn much about the area’s history by using the new tour app.
  9. Belleair Town Manager Micah Maxwell hired as Clearwater assistant city manager

    Local Government

    CLEARWATER — In his search to replace Assistant City Manager Rod Irwin, who retired in December, City Manager Bill Horne said he was looking for someone with vision, work ethic and a track record of success. Among more than 100 applicants, Horne said he found just that in Belleair Town Manager Micah Maxwell …

    Micah Maxwell, Belleair town manager, will start his job in Clearwater on May 8.
  10. Pinellas Suncoast fire district spent more than 10 times budget for lawyers

    Fire

    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.
  11. Mayor Rick Kriseman: Ridership numbers show a need for ferry service between Tampa and St. Petersburg

    Transportation

    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
  12. New Sunpass lanes open on Sunshine Skyway

    Roads

    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.
  13. Hometown North Pinellas

    News

    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.
  14. Pinellas news briefs

    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.

  15. Pinellas colleges notebook

    Education

    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 …