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CLEARWATER - County Commissioners proclaimed May 19 as Pinellas County Day in celebration of the Utilities Department’s 80th birthday.

In a video presented during the meeting, Utilities Director Robert Powell described utility systems as a “silent service.”

“The only time you notice is when it is not there,” he said. “And then it is a surprise because most of the time, the majority of the time, it is there.”

Former Utilities Director Pick Talley, who retired in 2008 after 23 years with the department, joined Powell in the video that reviewed the history of utility service in Pinellas.

“The beach communities in the early 1900s could sink a well and hit a lens of fresh water that was sufficient for their use,” Talley said.

But in the 1920 and 1930s, the volume of water needed increased and wells began to draw in saltwater from the Gulf of Mexico and Intracoastal Waterway. They had no choice but to move to the mainland to develop wells farther away for the coast, he said.

In 1935, an Act of the Legislature created the Pinellas County Water System.

The customer base for the first Walsingham plant was 200 served by a 1.5 million gallon a day system, Powell said. The first expansion of that system came in 1955.
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Summer Lifestyles 2015
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Pinellas County
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CLEARWATER - As Pinellas County Commissioner Janet Long said May 19, the devil is in the details.

Commissioners agreed unanimously, after much debate, to defer a decision about proposed changes to the Tourist Development Plan and to future allocations of the county’s bed tax proceeds.

Most agreed there were details that needed discussion, most importantly the levy of a sixth cent (bed tax), which the county is now eligible to do after meeting requirements to become a high impact tourist destination in 2014.
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CLEARWATER - Despite protests from about a dozen residents, Pinellas County Commissioners voted 6-1 to approve four years of rate increases for water and sewer, as well as user fees and rates for reclaimed water May 19.

Commissioner Dave Eggers voted no.
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Health News
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More children die in Florida from drowning than any other state, according to the state Department of Health.

“Annually in Florida, enough children to fill three to four preschool classrooms drown and do not live to see their fifth birthday,” according to information at FloridaHealth.gov.

In 2010, the state’s unintentional drowning rate for children ages 1 to 4 was 7.29 per 100,000 population - the highest in the nation. The state also had the most drownings and highest rate (2.67 per 100,000) for ages 1 to 14. Oklahoma came in second for ages 1 to 14 with a rate of 2.48 per 100,000, and Arizona was third with a rate of 2.05 per 100,000.
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Outdoors & Recreation
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LARGO - In the not so distant past, golfers would have blanched at the site of a group of middle schoolers with soccer balls “teeing off” on their favorite golf course. Now they are used to it.

The sport of FootGolf is growing by leaps and bounds and may be the deciding factor in the survival of Largo Golf Course.

The sport was introduced to the course at 12500 Vonn Road two years ago.

“We were just looking for different ways to bring people to the golf course,” said Chip Potts, athletic programmer and golf course manager. “We came across the program FootGolf and decided to give it a try.”
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Belleair Bee
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INDIAN ROCKS BEACH - A committee is trying to increase flood insurance awareness in Indian Rocks Beach and hopes to reduce the rates that property owners pay for their policies.

The city’s Program for Public Information Committee is trying to get the word out about flood insurance as part of the steps the city takes to upgrade their rating through the National Flood Insurance Program’s system.

Indian Rocks Beach Planning and Zoning Director Danny Taylor said the city reduced rates by 5 percent five years ago. With the help of the committee, the city hopes to reduce the rates an additional 5 percent this year.
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School News
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LARGO - This year, seven students claimed Largo High School’s highest academic scores in its traditional and, for the first time, International Baccalaureate, programs as the school’s 101st class prepares to graduate June 1.

Representing the school’s traditional and magnet programs, Elisa Duka earned the title of valedictorian with a GPA of 4.63. The salutatorian is Jenna Zimmer with a GPA of 4.6.

For the school’s first graduating IB students, Terek Zidi is the valedictorian with a GPA of 4.87. Four students tied for second place with a GPA of 4.8, and all were named co-salutatorians. They are Alec Emser, Vivian Huynh, Arber Muharemi and Robert Metyjek.
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Whether they prefer to belly up to the bar or drink at home, beer lovers will find that the Pinellas County craft brewing industry has plenty of new products on tap for them this summer.

Legislation allowing breweries to sell 64-ounce growlers, considered one of the preferred containers of the industry, is reality. Gov. Rick Scott signed Senate Bill 186 May 14, legalizing the sale of 64-ounce growlers in Florida.

Plans for more breweries and tap houses - as well as more flavors - continue to crop up, and some existing craft beer tap beer establishments are expanding.
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TALLAHASSEE - Gov. Rick Scott signed Senate Bill 186 May 14, legalizing the sale of 64-ounce growlers in Florida.

“By making the sale of 64 ounce growlers legal in Florida, we are eliminating another burdensome regulation and allowing more Florida businesses to succeed,” Scott said in a media release. “We are pleased to continue to create a world class business environment where all businesses, including breweries, can succeed.”
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Phone: (727) 397-5563
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