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CLEARWATER - Pinellas County Commissioners listened to opinions Jan. 10 for and against a proposed moratorium on approving new medical marijuana dispensing facilities in unincorporated Pinellas.

They want to give staff time to prepare zoning regulations that would ensure the “health, safety and welfare relating to the cultivation, possession, processing, transfer, transport, selling, distribution and dispensing of medical marijuana,” according to the proposed language governing the moratorium.

State law allows counties to decide the criteria for the number, location and other permitting requirements as long as they do not conflict with state law or other rules. The legislature is expected to approve legislation this year that would regulate the requirements of Amendment 2, passed by the voters in November. The state Department of Health is responsible to draft the rules. It has six months, starting this month, to complete its mission.
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CLEARWATER - Creative Pinellas is proof that leadership can make all the difference.

Two years ago, the organization was floundering and Pinellas County Commissioners were frustrated with the progress made since passing the reins of the county’s arts and cultural affairs department to a private organization in 2011.

Then Commissioner Karen Seel took the organization under her wing, and in January 2016, Barbara St. Clair joined the organization as executive director.
 ... Read More 
Pinellas County Government values its citizens as partners and welcomes their feedback on our community’s quality of life.

As Pinellas County continues to focus on its vision to be the standard for public service in America, residents are invited to take a brief online survey. The survey is available at www.p­inell­ascou­nty.o­rg, or through the Pinellas County “Doing Things” mobile app, which is available for a free download on smartphones and tablets through the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Every year, the County gathers input from residents about living, working, and playing in Pinellas. This helps the County identify what it’s doing well and how it could improve to meet Citizens’ needs. Feedback from the survey and other outreach efforts are used to develop and prioritize plans and resources for the public.
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Pinellas County is hosting a free waste tire disposal event for residents on Saturday, Jan. 21, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at several locations throughout the county.

In partnership with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Pinellas County Mosquito Control and Pinellas County Solid Waste are hosting this countywide event in a continued effort to reduce the spread of mosquitoes and mosquito-borne illnesses.

Tires will be collected at the following locations:
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Friday, January 6
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CLEARWATER - A new 76-unit apartment development in Clearwater will offer a new affordable housing option for local residents thanks to a partnership among Pinellas County, the city of Clearwater, the Florida Housing Finance Corporation and a local affordable housing development company.

Local and state officials will join developer Southport Financial Services Inc., to celebrate the opening of Garden Trail Apartments on Wednesday, Jan. 11. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for 11 a.m. at the new apartment complex, 609 Seminole St. 
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Charles W. Thomas was sworn in as Pinellas County's new tax collector Jan. 3 by Judge Myriam Irizarry.

"It is my supreme honor to take the oath of office to serve as Pinellas County's next Tax Collector," said Charles W. Thomas in a press release. "I have worked as Diane Nelson's Chief Deputy Tax Collector for the last 16 years. During that time, I learned the integral role public servants play in the health of our community. I look forward to continuing to work with our outstanding team at the Tax Collector's office to provide excellent customer service to the residents of Pinellas County each and every day."
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Applications are now being accepted for appointments to the Citizen Advisory Committee for the Lealman Community Redevelopment Area. Applications must be received no later than the close of business on Jan. 23.

The purpose of the Citizen Advisory Committee is to advise the Community Redevelopment Agency for the Lealman CRA on the community redevelopment plan and any amendments thereto, and on issues and policies with the Lealman CRA. The committee was created to set up the framework for establishing and administering the Lealman Community Redevelopment Area.

The committee has nine members who are appointed by the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners. Applicants must be residents, business and/or property owners or other stakeholders from within the Lealman Community Redevelopment Area.
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LARGO - Ken Burke, Pinellas County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller, announced that registration is now open for the Clerk’s 11th annual Valentine’s Day group wedding. Up to 50 couples are expected to be joined together for one group wedding ceremony on Valentine’s Day, Tuesday, Feb. 14, in the Wedding Garden of the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo.

“Our Valentine’s Day Group Wedding event is a memorable occasion many in the community look forward to and we are very thankful for the couples who allow us to partake in their special day,” Burke said in press release.

A single ceremony will unite all couples in attendance. The couples and their guests will celebrate with wedding cake and refreshments provided by local sponsors. In addition, everyone will be serenaded with a cappella melodies performed by the Charmonizers Barbershop Quartet.
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CLEARWATER - The Pinellas County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller’s office will dedicate two weeks at the end of February and through early March to help citizens reset the past and start the New Year right.

The Clerk’s office will waive collection fees for a limited time only at the locations listed below when citizens pay their outstanding fines and fees in full. Citizens can look forward to saving up to 40 percent during this special campaign.

Anyone with a ticket or court fine in collections can visit the locations listed during the week of Monday, Feb. 27 through Friday, March 3, and the week of Monday, March 6, through Friday, March 10, to avoid paying the collection fee.
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Friday, January 6
Cold night shelters for the homeless in Pinellas County will be open Saturday, Jan. 7, and Sunday, Jan. 8.The shelters open between 6 and 6:30 p.m. (Peace Memorial opens at 5 p.m.), accept guests all night long, and close the following morning at about 6 a.m.

Shelter guests are provided a hot evening meal, a warm safe place to spend the night, and breakfast the following morning.

Shelters for adult men and women include one primary shelter in Clearwater at Peace Memorial Presbyterian Church, 110 S. Ft. Harrison Ave., Clearwater. Capacity is 110. Church phone: 727-446-3001.
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ST. PETERSBURG - St. Petersburg College Women on the Way, H&R Block, University of Florida Family Nutrition Program, Rotary, Bare Board Group, Allen Collins Realty, United Way and other dedicated partner organizations have committed their expertise and the first 42-donation drop locations for CASA’s second annual “Soup-er Bowl: Food Drive for a Safe Home.”

Community Actions Stops Abuse expects to have more than 100 such locations lined up for the food drive’s launch on Jan. 9, positioning CASA to collect five months of nonperishable food by the time the initiative ends on Feb. 28.

CASA also hopes to raise funds in order to purchase fresh, nutritious food throughout the year.
 ... Read More 
Tuesday, January 3
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SEMINOLE - Wreaths Across America, organized locally through the Oakhurst Cadet Squadron, a civil air patrol unit, was able to lay twice as many wreaths as the previous year on the graves of veterans at Bay Pines National Cemetery during the Dec. 17 event.

A ceremony was held following the laying of the wreaths. Eleven cadets from the Oakhurst and St. Petersburg cadet squadrons organized and presented during the ceremony.

The group had around 1,800 wreaths through monetary donations and purchases by community organizations and individuals, said SM Kimberly Sonderegger, public affairs spokesperson for the squadron. She said the group was “thankful” for the donations and said nearly 300 people showed up to help lay the wreaths.
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The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority has received the highest honors in safety at the 2016 Florida Public Transportation Association Bus Safety Excellence Awards.

PSTA earned the Gold Award for the creation of a database called AIMS, or Accident and Incident Management System, and was recognized as having the highest standard safety program in the state.

“AIMS has changed the way we record, manage, and monitor incident reports at PSTA and has the potential of becoming a new standard of safety in our industry,” said PSTA Superintendent of Safety, Security, and Training Mike Gloss, in a press release.
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LARGO - The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office is seeking individuals interested in becoming crossing guards.

Crossing guards work two hours a day, split shifts, at a pay rate of $17.50 per hour during the 180-day school year. Uniforms, equipment and training are provided.

The Sheriff’s Office says becoming a crossing guard is a great opportunity for retirees and stay-at-home parents.
 ... Read More 
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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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