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SEMINOLE - Tampa Bay Newspapers office will be closed Monday, Sept. 7, for the Labor Day holiday. Early deadlines are in effect Thursday and Friday, Sept. 3-4, for the Seminole Beacon, Beach Beacon, Largo Leader, Belleair Bee and Clearwater Beacon.

Deadline for press releases and other editorial copy is noon Thursday, Sept. 3.
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PINELLAS PARK - As plans for the Wounded Warriors Abilities Ranch at Lurie Park progress, the organization is planning its first fundraiser - the Alive Ride - a 5.2-mile bike ride for veterans, set for Tuesday, Sept. 1.

The bike ride, which kicks off at Lurie Park, 5500 62nd Ave. N. in Pinellas Park, at 9 a.m., will stop at Skyview Elementary School before ending with a barbecue cookout and reception at Custom Mobility, 7199 Bryan Dairy Road, around 11:30 a.m.

Mike Delancey, the founder of the WWAR, said the ride is open to all veterans, but he hopes to especially encourage disabled veterans to participate. A Pinellas Park native who served in the Marines after high school, was left paralyzed in 2006 after being shot by a sniper in Iraq.

In fact, the fundraiser is planned for Delancey, called his “Alive Day,” which is the anniversary of when he was wounded in Iraq.

Ever since that day, his focus has been on not only his own recovery, but also on motivating other soldiers who have been disabled in the line of duty.

The WWAR, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, is a part of this goal. The ranch will empower and strengthen disabled veterans through recreational activities.
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Pinellas County has ended distribution of sandbags after supplying more than 10,000 since Saturday, Aug. 29, in response to the remnants of Tropical Storm Erika. 

Distribution ended at noon today, Sept. 1.

While Pinellas County was spared from the brunt of this tropical system, the storm should serve as a reminder for residents to prepare, county officials said in a press release. The traditional peak time-period for hurricane season is from late August through October.
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With the likelihood of additional rainfall early next week due to Tropical Storm Erika, residents are being urged to take steps to eliminate mosquito breeding grounds and use repellants to prevent being bitten.

The first human case of West Nile Virus was confirmed in a 32-year-old male in Pinellas County Aug. 28. Health officials issued a mosquito-borne illness advisory Aug. 21 to alert the public of the need to protect against the threat.

Twenty-three sentinel chickens have tested positive for WNV so far in the county’s Mosquito Control coops located in Palm Harbor, Tarpon Springs, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Oldsmar and Seminole. 
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National Hurricane Center downgraded Hurricane Fred’s status back to that of a tropical storm Monday night.

Forecasters say the storm will likely continue to weaken, becoming a tropical depression by Friday night and a remnant low by Saturday night.

At 11 p.m. Monday, Fred was 55 miles north of Santa Antao in the Cape Verde Islands. Maximum sustained winds were 70 mph. The storm was moving northwest at 12 mph.

A tropical storm warning is in effect for Sao Vicente, Sao Nicolau, Santo Antao, and Santa Luzia in the Cape Verde Islands.
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Outdoors & Recreation
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The recent heavy rain and rough weather along southwest Florida’s Gulf Coast impacted sea turtle nests along the beaches along the Florida's west coast, jeopardizing the eggs and hatchlings emerging from the nests.

Many nests of loggerhead and green turtles have been documented this year in Charlotte, Collier, Lee, Manatee, Pinellas and Sarasota counties by people working under Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission permits to survey the beaches for sea turtle activity.
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Crime, Crashes & Fires
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SEMINOLE - Pinellas County Sheriff’s deputies arrested a Largo High School student Thursday afternoon after he reportedly displayed a BB gun on a school bus.

Logan A Burton, 15, of Seminole was riding the bus home from school when the incident occurred about 2:38 p.m. Aug. 27. The bus was near 9200 113th St. N., according to a media release from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies said the school bus driver saw the student holding what she thought was a black-colored handgun. She called 911 and pulled the bus off to the side of the road.
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Seminole Beacon
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SEMINOLE - Spoto’s Grill 131, 13079 Park Blvd. N., changed hands earlier this month. James Gilbert and his son, Christopher Gilbert, purchased the restaurant from Bob Spoto, who retired.

Spoto is a well-known local restaurateur whose previous eateries included Spoto’s Stockyard Inn and Spoto’s Supper Club in Seminole, Smokey’s Texas Barbeque in Pinellas Park, and Spoto’s Steak Joint in St. Petersburg and Dunedin.

James, who lives in California, has been in the restaurant business for 60 years, and owns several seafood restaurants and steakhouses in Monterey and Santa Cruz.
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