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Pinellas County
CLEARWATER - Pinellas County Commissioners voted, 4-3, Feb. 24 to deny a request for a zoning and land use change for an assisted living facility in Seminole.

Commissioners denied a similar request from the same ALF on Aug. 19, 2014.

In August, the applicant, Gib Properties LLC, requested a zoning and land use change to allow Oak Tree Manor to build an expansion on an adjacent parcel of land on De Long Way and Park Boulevard. The applicant modified its latest request, proposing to build a wing on the same parcel the facility is currently located on and use the adjacent property as grass parking.

To accomplish the expansion, the applicant still needed the north 0.55 acre on 7749 De Long Way to be changed from a land use of Residential Suburban to Institutional, and a zoning change from E-1, Estate Residential to IL, Institutional Limited was needed.

John Cuevas, zoning manager for the county’s Planning Department, told commissioners that Oak Tree Manor could proceed with construction of a wing off its current building without the rezoning and land use amendments; however, it cannot increase the number of beds without the change.

The applicant needs to be able to transfer the number of beds from the 0.55 acre on De Long Way, to the parcel where the main facility is located.
 ... Read More 
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Drucilla J. Gross, 88, of St. Petersburg, Florida, passed away on Monday, Feb. 23, 2015.

She is survived by her husband of 67 years, Harold Gross; a daughter, Deborah Cheney; a son, Gregory Gross and daughter-in-law, Jana Gross; a sister, Marlene Reed; nephews, Larry and Terry Reed, and her extended family and friends.

Memorial services will be private. Arrangements are entrusted to Reese Funeral Home & Crematory, 6767 Seminole Blvd., Seminole, FL 33772. (727) 391-9954.
 ... Read More 
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CLEARWATER - Pinellas County Commissioners approved a staff request Feb. 24 to schedule a public hearing on a proposed ordinance adding a slow speed/minimum wake zone and a combustion motor exclusion to a portion of Bear Creek.

The hearing is scheduled on March 24, 6 p.m., in the Fifth Floor Assembly Room of the Pinellas County Courthouse, 315 Court St., Clearwater.

According to a staff report, the Bear Creek drainage project is almost complete. However, a side effect is that the project has made parts of the creek more navigable, which has raised boating safety concerns due to the narrowness of the creek and the amount of stone riprap along the creek banks and bottom. In addition, a sewer pipe and weir crosses the creek in one area that is now accessible to boaters.
 ... Read More 
CLEARWATER - Circuit Judge Anthony Rondolino was unanimously elected Feb. 25 the chief judge of the Sixth Judicial Circuit, the court system for Pasco and Pinellas counties.

Rondolino was elected by the 68 other judges in the circuit to succeed J. Thomas McGrady, who opted not to seek re-election after serving three two-year terms.

The term for Rondolino, who has been a judge in the circuit since 1990, begins July 1, and will last until June 30, 2017.

“I appreciate the confidence my fellow judges have shown in my ability to carry out this important responsibility,” Rondolino said. “And I look forward to seeking ways to improve the service we provide the public.”
 ... Read More 
Tuesday, March 3
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SEMINOLE - Pinellas County Sheriff’s detectives assigned to the Special Victims Unit arrested a Seminole man Tuesday, March 3, for various child porn related charges.

Michael Lawrence Frontz, 27, was arrested after he arrived to meet who he thought was a “14-year-old-male” for engaging in sex.

In late 2013, detectives received a tip about an individual who was posting child porn images on Twitter. But, they were unable to substantiate the information.
 ... Read More 
Monday, March 2
CLEARWATER - Pinellas County Commissioners gave unanimous approval Feb. 24 to two resolutions urging action by the Florida Legislature.

The first is support for health care expansion, and the second is elimination of a loophole in the law regulating residential gun ranges.

The health care resolution, brought forward by Commissioner Janet Long, supports expansion of health care in the state and the drawdown of federal funds provided for in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010.

Nearly 50,000 county residents, living at or near the poverty level would be eligible for health care, including mental health, according to the resolution. The county spends more than $21 million annually on a health care program that serves about 7,000 residents.
 ... Read More 
Sunday, March 1
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DUNEDIN - Florida Highway Patrol is looking for the driver who rear-ended a vehicle and then left the scene about 10:19 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 28, on U.S. 19 north of Republic Drive in Dunedin.

Five persons were transported to Mease Countryside with serious injuries, according to FHP’s report.

A 2005 Ford F150 was traveling southbound in the inside center lane of U.S. 19, north of Republic Drive. The second vehicle, a 2015 GMC Yukon, also was traveling southbound in the inside center lane. The Yukon began to slow down for a yellow traffic signal at the intersection of U.S. 19 and Republic Drive.
 ... Read More 
CLEARWATER - Pinellas County Property Appraiser Pam Dubov reminds permanent residents that they may qualify for one or more property tax exemptions, which may result in hundreds of dollars in property tax savings.

But, they must apply by the Monday, March 2, deadline. Regular office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Property owners may also apply online at www.pcpao.org.

Florida offers several property tax benefits for qualified residents, including homestead exemption for a primary residence, low-income senior exemptions, widow/widower exemptions, disability exemptions and exemptions for blind persons.

Exemptions for veterans with a service-connected disability (or for his or her surviving spouse) also are offered as is a discount for combat wounded Florida veterans over age 65. An additional property tax exemption is allowed for certain deployed members of the United States military.
 ... Read More 
Pinellas County Justice and Consumer Services celebrates National Consumer Protection Week 2015 with a series of events, March 2-7.

In recognition, of the week, which runs March 1-7, Pinellas County Consumer Protection will offer public presentations and information booths to provide free resources to help people protect their privacy, manage money and debt, avoid identity theft, understand credit and steer clear of frauds and scams. All events are free and open to the public.

- Monday, March 2, 8 a.m. to noon, information booth with free consumer resources at Enoch Davis Center, 1111 18th Ave. S., St. Petersburg.

- Tuesday, March 3, 10 to 11 a.m., “Deter, Detect, Defend - Against Identity Theft” presentation at Dunedin Hale Senior Center, 330 Douglas Ave., Dunedin.
 ... Read More 
Saturday, February 28
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A Pinellas County Sheriff’s deputy voluntarily retired effective Feb. 24 while under investigation for grand theft, according to a report from the Professional Standards Bureau.

Todd Brown, 46, was employed as a detention deputy when detectives arrested him Jan. 9 after he turned himself in. He was booked into the Pinellas County Jail Jan. 9 and charged with one count of felony grand theft. He was released on $2,000 bond the same day.
 ... Read More 
Each year new scams are developed to con innocent victims, a majority of which is older adults. The February edition of the Aging on the Suncoast show brings attention to the wide variety of strategies used by scammers so that consumers can take steps to reduce their risk of victimization.

The show once again welcomes Doug Templeton, the operations manager of the Office of Consumer Protection at Pinellas County Justice and Consumer Services, to continue his discussion from the January edition of the program about aging-specific scams. Kathy Cornwell, a victim advocate with the Area Agency on Aging, joins him to offer information about available assistance for victims over the age of 60.

Aging on the Suncoast is a half-hour monthly show featuring subjects of interest to those ages 60 and older. It is produced by Pinellas County Communications and the Area Agency on Aging of Pasco-Pinellas Inc.

Watch this episode on Pinellas County Connection TV or on YouTube at www.youtube.com/pcctv1, where past shows are archived. Pasco County residents can watch on Pasco County Government Access. For the current broadcast schedule and past programs, visit www.agingcarefl.org/aging-on-the-suncoast.
 ... 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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