INDIAN ROCKS BEACH - When Michael Ryan Schaffer was born, the doctors at All Children’s Hospital told Vonnie Schaffer her son would only live about three days.
So, Vonnie and her husband, Tom, had the family come to say hello and goodbye for the last time to Michael, who was born with a rare form of dwarfism called campomelic dysplasia that causes bowing of the bones and skeletal abnormalities.
SEMINOLE - The city celebrated the grand opening of a Holiday Inn Express - Seminole’s long-awaited first hotel - April 12.
The InterContinental Hotels Group hotel is part of a 60-acre mixed-use development anchored by a Wal-mart SuperCenter and located across from the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System. The development also includes The Courtney at Bay Pines, a 330-unit luxury apartment complex; The Cove at Bay Pines, a subdivision of single-family homes; a Village Inn; a Texas Roadhouse restaurant; and other retail stores.
CLEARWATER - Clearwater Police economic crimes detectives are asking for the public's help in identifying a credit card fraud suspect.
Police say that the suspect is a white male who drives a newer model, full-size dark-colored SUV. He is connected to a number of cases, including one on April 6 at the Wal-mart Neighborhood Market at 1803 N. Highland Ave. The cases involve stolen credit card numbers and counterfeit cards.
Anyone with information on his identity should call Clearwater Police at
The number of people in Pinellas County with jobs continues to climb as unemployment rates fall to pre-recession levels, according to the April 21 report from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.
In March, the county reported a not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 3.9 percent, which is considerably lower than the 4.3 percent in February and 4.3 percent in March 2016.
The good news continued to the local metropolitan statistical area with Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater unemployment rate down to 4.1 percent, compared to 4.6 percent in February and 4.5 percent in March 2016. The state reported an unemployment rate of 4.3 percent, compared to 4.7 percent in February and 4.8 percent in March 2016. On the national level, March unemployment came in at 4.6 percent with 4.9 percent reported in February and 5.1 percent in March 2016.
CLEARWATER - The Clearwater branch of Tetra Health Care, located in an office building at 2963 Gulf-to-Bay Blvd., resembles a typical medical office.
The lobby features clean carpeting, bright walls and sleek graphics displaying the company’s logo, and the staff members, dressed in medical scrubs, are professional and courteous. Only Tetra Heath Care, or THC, is not your typical clinic - at least not yet.
It’s a “premier medical marijuana recommendation clinic,” according to the company’s website, a place where patients consult with physicians and attend seminars to learn about the benefits of medical marijuana use.
OLDSMAR - As calls to conduct a survey of Oldsmar residents regarding the possible Rays move have intensified, city officials continue to claim such a move would be premature and ill-founded at this stage of the game.
Based on the recent announcement that the team will not make a decision on a new stadium location until the end of the year. Coupled with the news that St. Petersburg is finally going all-in on its proposal to keep the Rays in town, asking Oldsmar residents if they want a Major League Baseball team might not matter at this point.
DUNEDIN - Some city of Dunedin officials don’t mince words in calling for construction of a consolidated city hall.
Particularly Commissioner Moe Freaney, who complained April 10 about Municipal Services Center, 750 Milwaukee Ave., which she said has been renovated many times.
“It is time to have a consolidated building. And you can quote me on that. That municipal services building is a piece of crap,” she said.
City officials recommended that a new government center be funded from the $40 million that they expect to receive from the 10-year extension of the Penny for Pinellas, if voters in the Nov. 7 election approve it.
CLEARWATER - They say you can’t go home again, but Shawn Williams is proving that old adage to be untrue.
Williams, son of former Major League manager Jimy Williams, played high school baseball at Clearwater Central Catholic and spent seven years in several Major League Baseball organizations before going into coaching in 2012, and he has returned home this year to coach the Clearwater Threshers, the Philadelphia Phillies’ Single-A Florida State League affiliate.
TREASURE ISLAND - After more than 90 minutes of discussion, city commissioners voted 3-2 on April 4 to pass a resolution that authorizes the first phase of a study on the possibility of returning tolls to the Treasure Island Causeway.
Commissioners Ken Keys and Deborah Toth, and Mayor Bob Minning, voted for the measure while commissioners Ralph Kennedy and Larry Lunn voted against it.
Cost of the 8-month first phase is $295,107. It will be headed by Atkins North America Inc., the primary consultant for the state of Florida’s Sun Pass program and a number of other toll projects around the state.
CLEARWATER - In professional sports, chemistry is considered an overrated aspect of a team’s success, or failure. But in high school athletics, on-field chemistry can be as important as getting a good grade in chemistry class.
The Calvary Christian Warriors baseball team is currently enjoying one of the most successful seasons in program history, owning an unblemished 16-0 record at the time of this writing, sitting atop the unofficial top 25 in Tampa Bay standings and coming off a huge, come-from-behind road win at perennial Pinellas County power, Countryside.