CLEARWATER - Clearwater Fire & Rescue and Clearwater Police report that investigators have ruled that a fire at the former Woodlawn Terrace Apartments was arson.
Firefights and police responded to a fire at the abandoned apartment complex at Woodlawn Street and Tilley Avenue just before 5:30 p.m. June 21. Firefighters quickly gained control of the fire at the eight-unit, two-story complex, which was abandoned. Authorities say that the building had no power or water. No injuries were reported.
CLEARWATER - Decreased funds from the federal government and the need for easement agreements on private property is putting a snarl in plans to replace sand on Pinellas County’s beaches.
Environmental Management Division Director Kelli Levy updated Pinellas County Commissioners June 6 on the status of four nourishment projects during a presentation on Capital Improvement Projects.
She started with the Upham Beach stabilization project slated to begin after Fourth of July holiday. The project remains on track and should be complete by February 2018. The $9.5 million cost is split 50-50 between the state and the county with each party paying $5.75 million. The project at the north end of St. Pete Beach includes removal of the five yellow sand-filled geotextile T-groins that will be replaced with four permanent rock T-groins.
LARGO - After Tropical Storm Hermine struck last year, city officials said one of the biggest reasons for the more than 24 million gallons of sewage overflows was that two wastewater projects were still under construction.
Once June ends, that shouldn’t be a problem anymore.
After more than two years of construction throughout the city and several more years of planning, the Wet Weather and headworks projects are expected to be in operation by the end of the month, according to City Engineer Jerry Woloszynski.
TARPON SPRINGS - The city of Tarpon Springs is looking to hit undelete on one of Gov. Rick Scott’s budget vetoes. Commissioner Rea Sieber called for an addendum to the June 6 City Commission agenda to discuss Scott’s veto of the Anclote River dredge project funding in the budget for the state’s 2018 fiscal year, which begins July 1.
On Friday, June 2, the commissioners received word that the governor would use his veto power to remove close to $11.9 billion dollars from the coming state budget.
CLEARWATER - The Clearwater Threshers host several special theme nights throughout their summer-long season, from wing tasting events to the immensely popular Star Wars Night. But none of the food and fun themes can compare to the team’s annual Veterans and Military Appreciation Night.
The Threshers held the latest installment on Saturday, June 3, and it featured an array of patriotic tributes and attractions, including a trio of softball games featuring service veterans, a swearing-in ceremony for roughly 70 new military recruits, three para-commandos parachuting into Spectrum Field and an appearance by longtime wrestling legend and onetime drill instructor, Sgt. Slaughter.
TARPON SPRINGS -- St. Petersburg College Tarpon Campus held a dedication ceremony of the new Maria Nieves Edmonds Women on the Way Center, on June 6.
City dignitaries including Mayor Chris Alahouzos and former Mayor David Archie, SPC officials and trustees, aides to state Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, and friends of the Haddad family filled the small room, which was left to standing room only in the event hosted by Campus Provost Marvin Bright.
“I want to say timing is everything,” said Executive Director of Retention Services at SPC, Linda Hogans.
BELLEAIR - Had he not raised his hand in class one day, J.P. Murphy might never have gotten the job as town manager of Belleair.
Murphy was sworn in to the position in early May and to many people in town it was no surprise that he got the job after the resignation of Micah Maxwell. Yet, the unlikely act of raising his hand was what started him on the road to the top staff position in the community.
Murphy was born in Miami and lived there until the eighth grade when his parents moved to Lecanto in Citrus County.
Tropical Storm Cindy made landfall early Thursday morning between Cameron, Louisiana and Port Arthur, Texas. The National Hurricane Center issued its last advisory at 11 a.m.
Although downgraded to a depression, the storm is still expected to bring lots of rain to Texas, Louisiana and Texas with lesser amounts in Alabama and the Florida Panhandle. On the current forecast track, Cindy is expected to move into southeastern Arkansas early Friday and into Tennessee later that day. The storm will likely become a remnant before that time.
LARGO - Pinellas County’s Emergency Operations Center kicked off the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season June 1 by hosting a media day to unveil new preparedness tools and urge residents to check to see if their evacuation zones have changed.
One big announcement was the launch of a new tool, the “Ready Pinellas” mobile app. Sally Bishop, Emergency Management director, described the new technology as a “plan in your pocket.”
Ready Pinellas connects to Alert Pinellas, the National Hurricane Center, social media and more. It provides information needed to assess risks, check evacuation levels and storm surge. Residents and visitors can enter information to create a personal emergency plan. The app also has checklists and up-to-date evacuation information based on your location.
NOAA’s climate experts say that the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season will most likely have above-normal activity.
Ben Friedman, acting NOAA administrator, revealed this year’s seasonal outlook during a press conference May 25. Forecasters with the Climate Prediction Center give odds of 45 percent that the season, which runs June 1-Nov. 30, will have above-normal activity, a 35 percent chance of near-normal activity and a 20 percent chance of a below-normal season.
TALLAHASSEE - As the 2017 hurricane season begins, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles urges every citizen to be prepared for potential emergencies by making a disaster preparedness plan that includes registering or updating their Emergency Contact Information.
Residents with a valid driver license or identification card may enter up to two emergency contacts into the department’s secure ECI database. ECI can only be accessed by law enforcement and only during emergencies such as a hurricane or crash.
Citizens can register or update their ECI free of charge on the DHSMV website and in local driver license and tax collector offices to ensure their designated family or friends will be contacted in the event of an emergency.