CLEARWATER - The city of Clearwater will honor America’s 240th birthday with an evening of food, fun and fireworks at Coachman Park. The annual event kicks of at 4 p.m. on July 4 and vendors will be lined up to dole out traditional festival fare.
Festival-goers are welcome to bring their own food and nonalcoholic beverages. All bags and coolers will be checked when entering the park and all beverages must be unopened. Beverage vendors will be onsite selling alcoholic drinks.
A variety of activities will be available for the little ones, including DJ Jake Dela Cruz, who will provide music for the Kids’ Zone, and yard games like corn hole and football toss. A video game trailer will be on-site and face painting will be available.
Fireworks are an American tradition oftentimes associated with Independence Day celebrations. But in Pinellas County, it is illegal to sell, purchase or use fireworks that project into the air and explode. Firing of guns in the air as part of any celebration also is against the law.
The reason is simple - fireworks and firearms are dangerous, especially when combined with alcohol use.
The National Fire Association reports 15,600 fires were caused by fireworks in 2013, including 1,400 structure fires, 200 vehicle fires and 14,000 outside and other fires. According to statistics from 2009-2013, 47 percent of reported fires on the Fourth of July were started by fireworks.
PALM HARBOR - Pinellas County Sheriff’s detectives are asking for help to locate a suspect wanted in connection with the robbery of a Jefferson Bank of Florida in Palm Harbor.
According to a media release from the sheriff’s office, the robbery occurred about 3:10 p.m. Friday, June 24, at the Jefferson Bank of Florida, 35320 U.S. 19 N., in Palm Harbor.
Detectives assigned to the Robbery/Homicide Unit said once the suspect entered the bank, he displayed a black handgun and demanded cash. After receiving an undisclosed amount of cash, he fled in a silver sedan and was last seen traveling southbound on U.S. 19.
CLEARWATER - As promised, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman presented Pinellas County Commissioners with details of a business plan June 21 for a six-month high-speed ferry pilot set to launch Nov. 1 and continue through April 30, 2017.
Commissioners then voted 6-1 on a resolution approving the “primary business points” for the pilot program. Commissioner Dave Eggers voted no.
The commission’s approval is contingent on the next step in the process, which is negotiation of an interlocal agreement between four governmental entities - Pinellas and Hillsborough counties and the cities of St. Petersburg and Tampa. Each would pay $350,000 of the $1.4 million cost for the public-private partnership with HMS Ferries Inc. headquartered in Bainbridge Island, Washington.
SEMINOLE - In the wake of Christopher Andrew Leinonen’s death, his longtime friend Catherine McCarthy can’t help but wonder what her life would be like if she had never met him.
“I think about that. Would I be more shut off to the world? It’s sad to think about all the other people who didn’t have a Drew in their life,” she said.
Friends of Leinonen - known as Chris while at Seminole High School and Drew later in life - say he always had more foresight than most teenagers. The 2003 SHS grad, who founded the school’s chapter of the Gay Straight Alliance, “was definitely ahead of his time,” said Andrea Laing, one of his best friends since high school.
TIERRA VERDE - Tampa Bay Watch will host its annual Mid-Summer Coastal Cleanup after the Fourth of July holiday weekend on Saturday, July 9, 9 a.m. to noon.
Volunteers are needed for seven sites throughout the bay. Cleanup sites will include Fort De Soto Park, Cunningham Key, Skyway Fishing Pier, Weedon Island, Coffee Pot Bayou, Palonis Park and Coquina Beach. This event is family-friendly and open to all ages. Volunteers are welcome to bring their own kayak or canoe to participate in the water-based cleanup at Fort De Soto, Tierra Verde and the Skyway. The Coffee Pot Bayou cleanup is only for canoes and kayaks and participants must provide their own vessel. Visit tampabaywatch.org to get more information and to register for the event.
TARPON SPRINGS - Tarpon Springs City Commissioners and Mayor Chris Alahouzos were updated with new information about the Anclote River maintenance dredge by project manager Robert Robertson and Pantelis Klonaris, chairman of the Marine Commerce Committee, during the June 21 commission meeting.
The dredge would be a federally authorized project, with all operations and maintenance responsibilities assigned to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Robertson said.
Robertson informed the commission that a spoils site should be acquired within three months of the start of the design and permitting phase of the plan. USACE will review potential spoil site locations to assist in site purchase recommendations.