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April 28 issue

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CLEARWATER - Ever since Michele Smith burst onto the national scene more than two decades ago, the two-time Olympic gold medalist and longtime ESPN softball analyst said she regularly gets recognized for two things - her iconic hairstyle and her softball success.

But while her ringed blonde locks and wicked riseball helped catapult her to international superstardom after she led Team USA to consecutive gold medals in 1996 and 2000, Smith has remained firmly connected to the greater Clearwater area, a place she used to visit as a kid and where she now donates a great deal of her time to promoting the sport.

“I grew up in New Jersey and went to school at Oklahoma State University, but I had a lot of aunts and uncles in the Tampa area, so I would come down and visit them,” Smith said by phone recently during a break in her broadcasting schedule.
 ... Read More 
CLEARWATER - In efforts to move forward with implementation of a variety of suggestions put forth to city leaders in the Imagine Clearwater master plan, the Clearwater Parks and Recreation department is working to increase entertainment offerings in downtown Clearwater, specifically Coachman Park, Station Square Park and the East Gateway area.

Parks and Recreation Director Kevin Dunbar updated city council members during a strategic planning session on plans to activate the downtown entertainment district by scheduling multiple events throughout the week that would serve to bring more people to the area.

“Basically, what we are looking to do, is looking at expanding event opportunities and cultural opportunities,” Dunbar said. “We’ve been working the CRA to come up with a common piece. We’re focused right now on enhancing our existing events and try to expand those to be even greater.”
 ... Read More 
CLEARWATER - The city’s annual street resurfacing contract was recently executed, and streets within city limits are on schedule to be milled and repaved this year. Construction began in April and is expected to continue through July.

Streets currently scheduled for resurfacing include: Enterprise Drive (Countryside Boulevard to McMullen Booth Road); Village Drive (Countryside Boulevard to Village Drive); Landmark Drive (South of State Route 580 to Lake Chautauqua); and, Northside Drive (from U.S. 19 to Countryside Boulevard). Additional areas may be added as needed, and construction on current streets may be altered contingent on field conditions.

Notices will be distributed to affected neighborhoods 48 hours in advance of street resurfacing. The majority of construction will take place between 7 a.m. through 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Work may take place in the evenings or on Sundays dependent on schedule and/or field conditions.
 ... Read More 
CLEARWATER - The city of Clearwater, along with the Southwest Florida Management District and partners, will host a public information open house about the Clearwater Groundwater Replenishment Project from 5 to 7 p.m. on May 2 at Clearwater East Library, 2251 Drew St.

Groundwater replenishment is a two-step process that includes purifying recycled water to better-than-drinking water standards and recharging the aquifer using that purified water.

After years of research and testing, the city is moving forward with the design of an Advanced Water Purification Plant with plans for it to be constructed at the Northeast Water Reclamation Facility off of State Route 580 and McMullen Booth Road. The plant will have the capacity to produce up to 3 million gallons of purified recycled water every day.
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CLEARWATER - The city of Clearwater will start a stormwater and sanitary sewer improvement project in the East Gateway neighborhood, from Cleveland to Court streets and Missouri to Hillcrest avenues. Construction is just beginning and will last through the spring of 2018.

Work includes construction of stormwater collection systems, replacement of sanitary sewer pipes and manholes, and replacement of the water main on Hillcrest Avenue. Driveway aprons and various portions of sidewalk will be restored or replaced with the resurfacing of the roadways.

Expect traffic detours with roads open to local traffic only while underground work is completed and roadways are reconstructed.
 ... Read More 
Tuesday, April 25
CLEARWATER - After weeks of public and private discussions, widespread resident outcry and an enigmatic courting effort by the Church of Scientology, members of the Clearwater City Council finally put to an end the campaign for control over a downtown parcel of land identified as vital to the future growth of the city.

The council voted 5-0 on April 20 to move forward with the $4.25 million purchase of a 1.4-acre parcel of land adjacent to City Hall, which now gives the city a contiguous tract of 2.1 acres of property along the north and south sides of Pierce Street between Osceola Avenue and the waterfront.

The unanimous decision effectively blocked the Church of Scientology’s bid for the coveted property, currently owned by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, and cut short the Church’s hopes to develop the parcel into a swimming pool and playground area for guests of its adjacent hotel, The Oak Cove.
 ... Read More 
Thursday, April 20
CLEARWATER - City economic development leaders made one last pitch to their bosses for the purchase of a parcel of property they’ve identified as vital to the activation and future growth of downtown Clearwater.

Clearwater city council members were presented with a number of reasons why moving forward with the purchase of a 1.4-acre parcel of land located adjacent to City Hall would be in the best interest of the city as it sets the stage for a $55 million redevelopment plan for its underutilized downtown waterfront area.

The property, located at 301 Pierce St., was purchased by Clearwater Marine Aquarium a number of years ago in anticipation of building a new aquarium in downtown Clearwater. CMA, instead, decided to renovate its current facility on Island Estates and put the property on the market.
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A Cincinnati-based transportation firm has filed a federal lawsuit against the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority following a decision by the PSTA to award a trolley contract to a local provider.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Tampa, comes two months after the PSTA board of directors went against its own staff recommendation on Feb. 22 when it unanimously voted to extend its contract with local transportation provider, the Jolley Trolley, to provide transportation services in Clearwater and Dunedin.

The Jolley Trolley, a Clearwater-based nonprofit, was at risk of losing its contract with the PSTA - which accounts for approximately 75 percent of its business - when members of the PSTA financial committee unanimously recommended a Cincinnati-based firm, First Transit, following a proposal process that saw both organizations neck and neck with one another, with First Transit eking out a small numerical lead.
 ... Read More 
Jeanne Lenore Laurine, formerly of Weirton, West Virginia, passed away peacefully on March 30, 2017, in Houston, Texas at the age of 84.

She was born to the late Lucian and Anita Laurine on July 20, 1932.

Jeanne Lenore and her family relocated to various locations before she traveled to and fell in love with Clearwater Beach, Florida, and made it her home for nearly 35 years. She made many good friends who loved her sense of humor and very quick wit.
 ... Read More 
Thursday, April 13
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CLEARWATER - They say you can’t go home again, but Shawn Williams is proving that old adage to be untrue.

Williams, son of former Major League manager Jimy Williams, played high school baseball at Clearwater Central Catholic and spent seven years in several Major League Baseball organizations before going into coaching in 2012, and he has returned home this year to coach the Clearwater Threshers, the Philadelphia Phillies’ Single-A Florida State League affiliate.
 ... Read More 
CLEARWATER - Amid growing concerns over the purchase of a parcel of land adjacent to City Hall, residents, business owners and Scientologists urged city leaders to look past any religious bias they might feel and focus on the redevelopment of downtown Clearwater.

It was a sentiment shared by the majority of residents who spoke during a regular meeting of the Clearwater City Council on April 6 at City Hall.

The property, located at 301 Pierce St., is 1.4 acres and is atop the Clearwater bluff. The property was purchased by Clearwater Marine Aquarium a number of years ago in anticipation of building a new aquarium in downtown Clearwater. CMA, instead, decided to renovate its current facility on Island Estates and put the property on the market.
 ... Read More 
CLEARWATER - Local public safety officers will don gloves and batter up Saturday for some good-natured rivalry - all for a good cause.

The 14th annual Charity Softball Challenge will kick off at 3:30 p.m. at Spectrum Field in Clearwater.

Public safety officers and dispatchers with the Clearwater Police Department will face off against officers with the Largo Police Department and Pinellas County State Attorney Office. The game will be followed by a matchup between the Clearwater Threshers and the Palm Beach Cardinals at 6:15 p.m.
 ... Read More 
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CLEARWATER - Quincy, the accelerant detection dog for Clearwater Fire & Rescue, is in the running for the American Humane Hero Dog Awards.

Voting continues through May 3. Eight four-legged finalists and their two-legged companions will be flown to Hollywood for an awards show to be telecast live in the fall on the Hallmark Channel.

Quincy was a 4-month-old Labrador mix when Assistant Fire Marshal Ron Neuberger, who quickly noticed he always wanted to smell and look for things, adopted him from Pet Pal Animal Rescue. He is now almost 9 years old and has helped investigate hundreds of fires and has assisted in the conviction of more than 100 people.
 ... Read More 
CLEARWATER - Clearwater Chorus Singers, an auditioned group from the Clearwater Chorus at Ruth Eckerd Hall, will be traveling to New York City to sing at the legendary Carnegie Hall in June.

Manhattan Concert Productions, the presenting organization, specifically chose the chorus to participate in this unique event. The Clearwater Chorus Singers and other select choirs from across the country will come together for a weekend of musicianship and education, culminating in a performance of Duruflé Requiem with the New York City Chamber Orchestra under the baton of guest conductor Karen Kennedy on Monday, June 19 at 8 p.m.

With more than 40 years of tradition, the Clearwater Chorus, the official adult chorus of Ruth Eckerd Hall’s Marcia P. Hoffman School of the Arts for more than 11 years, receives partial funding from the city of Clearwater. The Clearwater Chorus Singers is an auditioned group of singers from the Clearwater Chorus under the direction of Conductor Yohance Wicks.
 ... Read More 
Thursday, April 6
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CLEARWATER - The 2017 spring training season was extended due to the World Baseball Classic, but baseball fans and visitors to the greater Clearwater area didn’t seem to mind.

For five weeks in March, newly christened Spectrum Field was routinely packed with patrons rooting on the home team, the Philadelphia Phillies, or their opponents, and the Grapefruit League finale against the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday, March 31, was no different.

On an unseasonably warm Friday afternoon, the Phillies and Rays played a thrilling 7-7 tie, and before the players and coaches boarded the buses waiting to take them to the airport for the next flight to Philly, fans basked in their enjoyment of the final nine innings of the spring.
 ... Read More 
CLEARWATER - City of Clearwater leaders moved forward with the final phase of the Cleveland Streetscape Project during a workshop on April 3 at City Hall.

Council members approved a work order from Bellomo Herbert and Company Inc. in the amount of $217,520 as the project enters into its third and final stage.

The final stage of the Cleveland Streetscape project will extend from Missouri Avenue to San Remo Avenue to the east, and will include Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard, from its intersection with Cleveland Street up to the downtown gateway at Court Street.
 ... Read More 
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Send news to editor Logan Mosby
E-mail news to lmosby@tbnweekly.com.
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