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CLEARWATER - On the breeze is the unmistakable hint of autumn in Florida.

Nature may not treat the Tampa Bay area to a colorful display of changing leaves experienced by our northern neighbors, but fall manages to reveal itself in other ways - from the return of our treasured seasonal residents to pleasantly cooler temperatures.
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Just 4 Women
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Beach Beacon
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MADEIRA BEACH - A crowd in excess of 280,000 is expected Thursday through Sunday, Oct. 26-29 when the 36th edition of the John’s Pass Seafood Festival unfolds at John’s Pass Village.

Hours are Oct. 26, 3 to 10p.m.; Oct. 27, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Oct. 28, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and Oct. 29, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Admission is free. Parking and food are extra.

The event features plenty of tasty seafood, lots of music on three stages and a number of other amenities for all ages.
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Belleair Bee
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BELLEAIR BLUFFS - The crowd was large and ready to celebrate. They had gathered Oct. 12 for a long-awaited grand opening. After years of planning and months of construction, the hard work was now over. The new Fire Station 43 in Belleair Bluffs was ready to open.

Bluffs Mayor Chris Arbutine drew the most applause of the day when he told the group, “I come here with a sigh of relief. We did it!”

Largo Fire Chief Shelby Willis spoke of Belleair Bluffs’ long history of providing fire services. The department began in the 1960s as an all-volunteer force, she said, locating first in a facility called “the barn” next to the old city hall on Florence Drive. In the late 1960s, Willis said, the fire department moved to a converted gas station on Indian Rocks Road, where it would later be joined by the Belleair Bluffs police and public works departments.
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Pinellas County
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The Florida Department of Transportation announced Oct. 2 that it is making changes to the design of the Howard Frankland Bridge project “to improve safety and emergency evacuation, while better accommodating future travel demand, transit on express lanes, a possible rail corridor in the future and bicycle/pedestrian traffic.”

According to Forward Pinellas, who is on record in support of the project, an average of 72,500 vehicles each day cross the northbound span of the I-275 Howard Frankland Bridge from Pinellas County into Tampa, meaning county residents have a big stake in this project, which officials say will add capacity and alleviate traffic congestion.
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Largo Leader
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LARGO - After nearly a decade of work to develop a long-vacant property, city officials hope the end of an apartment complex’s construction leads to a new beginning for downtown Largo.

On Oct. 6, representatives from the city and project gathered to cut the ribbon on the newly opened 158 Ridge Apartment Homes, a contemporary community of 29 urban loft-style units in the West Bay Drive Community Redevelopment District.

The 30,000-square-foot facility features one- and two-bedroom homes with walk-in closets, in-unit washers and dryers, stainless steel appliances, outdoor balconies, an outdoor barbecue, lounge area and gated access. Rent ranges from $1,160 to 1,700.
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Seminole Beacon
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SEMINOLE - Bev Anderson moved to Indian Rocks Beach in 1986, less than one year after Hurricane Elena hit the Tampa Bay area.

For 20 hurricane seasons, she weathered storms from her apartment, no matter how powerful, no matter what the forecast.

“None of them ever worried me,” she said.

After all, she had lived in Tornado Alley for a decade, and grew up in southern California, where she experienced earthquakes at a young age. So hurricanes didn’t concern her much.
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Dunedin Beacon
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DUNEDIN - U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor, a longtime proponent of veterans’ rights and causes, recently spoke at a special ceremony at the Dunedin VFW Post 2550 honoring World War II and Korean War vets.

The Aug. 29 event saw dozens of veterans from every service branch, as well as city officials including Dunedin Commissioner Deborah Kynes, pack the Douglas Avenue facility to listen to the four-term Congressman, who began his speech by telling the audience how much their service means to him.
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Tarpon Springs Beacon
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TARPON SPRINGS - People wanting to reduce the crime in the area near Spring Bayou had been eagerly awaiting the Oct. 3 meeting of the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency, hoping it would produce one possible way of dealing with the problem.

It didn’t.

A divided City Commission, sitting as the board of the CRA, turned thumbs down at the meeting last week on a plan to buy the Sunbay Motel.

The city has been considering the purchase since Jan. 10, when the CRA authorized City Manager Mark LeCouris to begin negotiations with Fun City Enterprises, the company run by Peter Fanoudis that owns the Sunbay Motel, 57 W. Tarpon Ave.
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Palm Harbor Beacon
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PALM HARBOR - Maryanne Harman has taken her “Music with Mar” program to China, India and South Korea, but this time, Harman is staying domestic, taking her talents to Capitol Hill.

On Thursday, Oct. 12, Harman flew to Maryland, and then headed to Washington to speak to congressional representatives about music in the United States.

It all started when Harman began to work with Altavoz.

“I signed with Altavoz, which is a distribution company,” Harman said. “They work with this company called Hoopla.”
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Hurricane Irma
Hurricane Season
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If you’ve not yet taken time to prepare, now would likely be a good time, as hurricane season enters what is historically the busiest time of the season. And forecasters are saying activity could be more than the pre-season outlook predicted.

NOAA’s climate experts gave odds of 45 percent that the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season would have above average activity in the May pre-season outlook. Those experts have since updated those odds to 60 percent.

NOAA updated its seasonal forecast Aug. 9. Forecasters increased the predicted number of named storms and major hurricanes. They say the season could be the most active since 2010. Nineteen named storms formed that year and 12 strengthened into hurricanes.
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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.
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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.
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Tampa Bay Newspapers
9911 Seminole Blvd.,
Seminole, FL 33772
Phone: (727) 397-5563
Fax: (727) 397-5900
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