LARGO - When John Piazza Sr. founded the Armed Forces History Museum in 2008, his goal was to share his collection of military memorabilia and preserve history. After his death in October and the subsequent announcement that financial losses would force the museum to close Jan. 29, the goal has become to preserve the museum itself.
Piazza’s son, Steven, and museum staff say those efforts won’t stop until every option has been explored - even after Jan. 29.
“It was very, very important for (my father) to share this and be able to preserve the history,” Piazza said. “In the next 20 years, World War II vets, Pearl Harbor vets and maybe even Korean vets, they won’t be around to tell the stories. So this is a great venue that still carries on the history of what they went through, and that’s important. That’s important to us as a family and it really should be important to us as a society to maintain that. So we are working diligently to preserve that.”
CLEARWATER - Clearwater firefighters were joined with firefighters from around Pinellas as they battled a brush fire Sunday afternoon along the easement under high-voltage power lines in the Countryside area just south of Northside Drive.
Officials said high winds caused the fire to spread quickly, but firefighters were able to keep it from damaging any homes. Some fences, sheds, screened enclosures and other out buildings did receive damage.
The cause of the fire was still unknown as of Sunday evening.
CLEARWATER - Hundreds took to the streets Monday morning as they remembered a man who had a dream and how that dream changed this country.
The 33rd annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration kicked off Jan. 16 at 7:30 a.m. with a breakfast at North Greenwood Recreation Center. Later residents, city officials and students marched from the center to Coachman Park where a day of activities was planned to honor King.
Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos opened the day’s activities as he urged the crowd to remember King, whose legacy continues to live on in the hearts and minds of generations.
SEMINOLE - For decades, Seminole’s “iconic and historic” water tower has served as a landmark for city residents and visitors, said Mayor Leslie Waters at the Jan. 10 City Council meeting. It’s also located on a popular, “sweet, little park.”
“The city of Seminole is known for the water tower,” she said.
She added, “It gives our city a sense of place, like nothing else in the city, probably because it is the only landmark that can be seen for miles around.”
CLEARWATER - Pinellas County Commissioners listened to opinions Jan. 10 for and against a proposed moratorium on approving new medical marijuana dispensing facilities in unincorporated Pinellas.
They want to give staff time to prepare zoning regulations that would ensure the “health, safety and welfare relating to the cultivation, possession, processing, transfer, transport, selling, distribution and dispensing of medical marijuana,” according to the proposed language governing the moratorium.
DUNEDIN - Opinions vary whether a proposed mixed-use development at Douglas Avenue and Main Street in Dunedin would be an eyesore or an eclectic addition for the city’s vibrant downtown.
The fate of it now rests with the City Commission.
The Local Planning Agency Jan. 11 recommended approval of the development, reversing an earlier recommendation Nov. 9 that it be denied.
After the Nov. 9 Planning Agency vote, Arlis Construction revised its plans for the M&D Lofts, which would have 20,000 square feet of retail space on the ground level, 18 condominiums on two stories above it and basement parking.
INDIAN ROCKS BEACH - Long time Indian Rocks Beach resident and former commissioner Bert Valery appeared before the commission in his capacity as a member of the Pinellas Bicycle Pedestrian Committee to talk about crosswalk safety in Indian Rocks Beach.
“Our goal is to have the city have painted crosswalks all along Gulf Boulevard,” he said. “After 30 years of talking about pedestrian safety you would have thought that things have gotten better, but no, they have been getting worse.”
OLDSMAR - A string of small-time crimes, including car burglaries, stolen statues and the lights being snipped on the city’s Christmas tree, has plagued Oldsmar in recent weeks, prompting officials to urge residents to be more vigilant and to contact authorities when seeing anything suspicious.
The wave of incidents began in early December when staff members noticed the lights had been cut in the city’s old Christmas tree, which had been set up on the stage at R.E. Olds Park for a holiday performance during the annual Christmas Wonderland event.