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Clearwater / North Pinellas

  1. Richard Wagner's 'Rienzi' will be presented by Tarpon Springs' New Century Opera

    Human Interest

    TARPON SPRINGS

    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.
  2. 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.
  3. Police: Drunk man pushed horse in face in St. Petersburg

    Crime

    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 …

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

    Local

    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.

    Morroni
  5. 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]
  6. Pinellas news briefs

    News

    Palm Harbor Rotary Charity Golf Tournament

  7. 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
  8. Three decades later, son of prominent criminal defense lawyer takes on his father's 1983 murder case

    Criminal

    Frank McDermott remembers the picture his father showed him when he was a teenager. It was a school photo of a thin boy in a collared shirt with dark, straight hair framing his pale face.

    At 15, David Michaud and a friend broke into a Largo home, stole $400 and choked the 79-year-old man who confronted them.
  9. Scientology retail plan is rare, as few churches back non-religious businesses

    Special Topics

    CLEARWATER — Scientology has long set its practices apart from other tax-exempt religions by charging members for auditing sessions and courses required to advance through the faith.

    Churches creating retail districts, like  Scientology plans to do on Cleveland Street in downtown Clearwater, are unusual but not unique.
  10. Meeting on Pinellas Bayway project cancelled

    Roads

    The Florida Department of Transportation has cancelled a meeting scheduled for Thursday to talk about the Pinellas Bayway project. The project will run from south of Madonna Boulevard on Tierra Verde to State Road 682 (the east/west 3.7-mile-long road that carries traffic over three bridges known as the Pinellas Bayway …

  11. Art project to thank for designer traffic signal boxes

    Roads

    I have noticed a couple of traffic signal boxes that have been painted eclectic designs and wondered what was going on. One is at the Ruth Eckerd Hall entrance/exit onto McMullen Booth Road, and the other is just north of there at State Road 590. This may not be your area, but I didn't know who else to …

  12. Alma mater honors Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos

    Politics

    CLEARWATER — The University of Pittsburgh's Graduate School of Public and International Affairs selected Mayor George Cretekos as its 2017 Distinguished Alumnus last week.

    Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos. JIM DAMASKE   |   Times
  13. Tarpon Springs' Monahan to retire

    Local Government

    TARPON SPRINGS — Kathy Monahan, 67, who has been a fixture in the Tarpon Springs cultural community for more than 35 years, has announced her retirement from her post as the city's cultural and civic services director. In her place will be Diane Wood, who has served as Tarpon Springs' arts marketing and programs …

    Kathleen Monahan will retire from her post as cultural and civic services director for the city of Tarpon Springs in April.
  14. New leader for leisure in Oldsmar

    Local Government

    OLDSMAR — Felicia Donnelly has been named the city's new director of leisure services. Before the appointment, Donnelly was with the city of Clearwater's parks and recreation department, responsible for developing park lands, creating programs and procuring grants and supervising personnel. She holds a master's …

    Felicia Donnelly is the new director of leisure services for the city of Oldsmar.
  15. Safety Harbor's Grapefruit Project needs help

    Human Interest

    SAFETY HARBOR — Help create a public art piece, a nod to the community's heritage, by painting and decorating wooden disks to resemble a grapefruit. The program will take place at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Safety Harbor Library, 101 Second St. N. The decorated grapefruits will on display with an unveiling on June 17, …