SEMINOLE - For years, Rotarian George Bessler financially supported Rotary International’s program to eradicate polio around the world.
This year the Rotary Club of Seminole Lake member and retired Seminole fire chief decided to take his support a step further. In February, he traveled to India for a week to assist the program in any way he could, including by administering immunizations.
“Like most Rotarians, I did not just want to be involved putting money toward projects; I also wanted to be physically involved,” Bessler said. “It’s one thing to get involved with donations.
Nominations are open for Tampa Bay Newspapers 2016 Reader’s Choice Awards with an all-new balloting system online only.
We want to know your favorites for best dining, entertainment, businesses and services in Pinellas County. You can vote as many times as you like between now and May 30.
Ballots must include a minimum of 10 nominations. Nominees must be Pinellas County businesses.
Ballots will be entered into two prize drawings to be held June 8. Prizes are $50 cash or four tickets to a Rays game. Ballots with fewer than 10 Pinellas County businesses or incomplete contact information will be disqualified. Employees of Tampa Bay Newspapers are ineligible for the drawing.
LARGO - Pinellas County Sheriff’s detectives are investigating a prescription drug ring involving 41 suspects that brought in at least $200,000 over a 17-month period.
Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri updated the media on the results of an ongoing investigation, Operation Script Rip, at a news conference the afternoon of Friday, April 22, at the sheriffs’ Administration Building in Largo. He said detectives began making arrests on April 21. Twenty-three suspects were in custody and deputies were looking for 18 more.
LARGO - For the ninth straight year, Largo officials reached out to the community for a series of conversations designed to engage residents and help direct city leaders in future decisions.
The results, which were discussed at a recent work session, reinforced what residents have been saying for several years. They want the city to focus on communication, pedestrian and bicycle safety, small business outreach and improving Largo’s image.
“We’ve really evolved over the years from a budget-cut prioritization process, where we asked people to pick what cut they liked the best, or least as it may be, to determining what they actually valued in their community, which helps the City Commission and city leaders make decisions on funding priorities as we move forward,” said Office of Management and Budget Manager Meridy Semones, who helped organize and facilitate the meetings.
BELLEAIR - Many years ago the town fathers wanted to make sure that people knew when they were in Belleair. They wanted the town to look different, more elegant, than neighboring communities so they passed an ordinance requiring that Indian Rocks Road and some others be lined with palm trees.
Thus it was, until time took its toll. While there were still plenty of palms on each side of Indian Rocks, it wasn’t what one might call an unbroken line of trees.
Belleair’s Director of Parks and Recreation, Eric Wahlbeck, said over time many of the original palms disappeared. Some died and others were ripped up by storms. They had to be replaced and now is the time.
CLEARWATER - The 13th annual Charity Softball Challenge will pit Clearwater and Tarpon Springs police against Largo police and the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office Saturday, April 30, 3:30 p.m., at Bright House Networks Field in Clearwater.
The charity softball game is a long-standing tradition, usually benefiting a law enforcement family in the Tampa Bay area.
“It’s always for a law enforcement cause,” explained organizer Mike Blickensdorf of the Largo Police Department. “We try to find a family in need and raise the funds for them.”
The Atlantic hurricane season begins officially June 1, and forecasters are already making predictions about the season.
But this year, there seems to be more than usual disagreement due to uncertainty about weather patterns that could make a significant difference. In addition, one of the most respected experts in the field won’t be here to offer his sage input.
Florida’s budget does include a back-to-school sales tax holiday for 2016, scheduled for Aug. 5-7, but shoppers should be aware, there are some big changes.
For example, unlike last year, the holiday will last only three days instead of 10. And unlike the past three years, computers and accessories are not on the list of tax-exempt items. Lastly, the cap for clothing has been reduced to $60. For the past two years, the cap had been $100.
TALLAHASSEE - Florida’s spring training attendance reached a record high per game in 2016.
Gov. Rick Scott announced the good news April 20. The average per game attendance of the 2016 Major League Baseball Spring Training Games was 7,096, marking the first time the number has topped 7,000 in over 100 years of Florida Grapefruit League games.