Toronto Blue Jays Jose Bautista blasts a homerun out of the park to help the Blue Jays beat the Phillies 4-3. The Philadelphia Phillies hosted its first spring training exhibition game aat Bright House Stadium on Feb. 26.
CLEARWATER - Three employees of Lokey Automotive were arrested March 6 in connection with a scheme to defraud case after they reportedly embezzled approximately $400,000 from the Clearwater dealership.
Detectives assigned to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Economic Crimes Unit said the three were associated with an off-site marketing business and funneled money to that company by signing and issuing checks from the car dealership business accounts.
The suspects were employed through Lokey Automotive, which includes Lokey Nissan and Lokey VW located at 27758 U.S. 19 N. in Clearwater. The investigation began Jan. 14, 2013.
According to detectives, between June 1 and Sept. 30, 2012, James Surrett, 45, of Orlando, Larry Dubose, 39, of Tarpon Springs and Patricia Lipka, 51, of Ft. Myers were employed with Lokey Automotive and also associated with the off-site marketing company.
CLEARWATER - At the Clearwater City Council’s March 3 work session, Parks and Recreation Department spokeswoman Felicia Leonard updated the council on the current status of the Parks and Recreation Master Plan that the city adopted last year.
She said that the information gathering “community engagement” portion of the plan is complete and the parts dealing with vision, mission, guiding principles and action items are in place.
A total of 625 participants provided their input, 490 of them via a mail survey, 110 at community workshops and 25 as members of the city’s Stakeholder Advisory Committee. Leonard said that the methods used provided a “confidence level” of approximately 95 percent in the accuracy of their input.
“Clearwater Parks and Recreation creates diverse and outstanding recreational, natural and cultural experiences within our community to enrich the quality of life for all of our current residents and for future generations,” according to the mission statement that Leonard presented. “We preserve, enhance and protect our open spaces as safe and secure environments.”
CLEARWATER - Clothes to Kids is in need of clothing and shoes for elementary school-aged boys and girls. CTK is a nonprofit organization that provides a free week’s worth of clothing to needy school-aged children in Pinellas County.
The group is in special need of pants, jeans and shorts sizes 4 to 16, long- and short-sleeved shirts sizes small to extra-large and shoes sizes kids 11 through adult sizes. The inventory is currently extremely low, and the public’s help is needed to fill the racks.
New or gently used pants, shorts, shirts and shoes can be dropped off between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday either at 1059 N. Hercules Ave., Clearwater; or at 3251 Third Ave., St. Petersburg. Unopened new packages of socks and underwear of all sizes are always needed, and monetary donations go to buying socks, underwear and any other clothing that is in critically low supply.
Call 441-5050 for the Clearwater store or 327-7100 for the St. Petersburg store or visit www.clothestokids.org.
CLEARWATER - The Clearwater Aging Well Center is looking for volunteer instructors to help teach computer skills to older adults. Topics of classes range from smartphones, tablets and iPads, to online shopping, digital photos, Facebook, games, Skype, and others.
An introduction to computers class and introduction to the Internet class also will be offered. The class size that instructors will teach is capped at four people while using laptops, due to a limited number of laptops. Tablet and smartphone classes can be larger, as participants will bring their own devices.
FSPA Hall of Fame inducts local man CLEARWATER - Frederick Howard of Clearwater was recently inducted into the Florida Swimming Pool Association Hall of Fame. The Florida Swimming Pool Association is a trade association for the pool and spa industry in Florida.
Hall of Fame inductees are nominated based on criteria including a minimum of 10 years of active service and participation in state-level activities, demonstration of actions that are clearly intended to benefit the entire industry and being widely respected. The Hall of Fame committee reviews all nominations and has chosen Howard to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Howard got his start in the pool industry in 1978, before starting his own company in April of 1981 at the age of 18. He joined the FSPA/NSPI Florida West Coast Chapter in May of 1992 and began his service on the FSPA Board of Directors when he was elected Florida West Coast chapter president in 2004. He served on the FSPA Board as Chapter President until March of 2009 when he was elected to the FSPA executive committee as treasurer. He served as treasurer in 2010, secretary in 2011, and at-large director in 2012 and 2013.
Roperti earns reprographic award CLEARWATER - Bob Roperti recently was awarded the 2014 George K. Bukovsky Award from the International Reprographic Association. The Bukovsky Award recognizes individuals who have made significant, long-term contributions to the reprographics industry.
CLEARWATER - Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office reports that Michael Pezzano has been found safe and uninjured in the Largo area. He has been taken to a local hospital for evaluation.
Detectives announced Wednesday that they needed the public’s help in locating an elderly Clearwater man who has been missing since Monday, March 3.
According to detectives, 70-year-old Michael Pezzano, left his home on South Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, in Clearwater in the afternoon to early evening hours and has not returned home. Pezzano left his home in a 2000 Buick Century four-door, tan in color with the Florida license plate reading 644WPZ.
CLEARWATER - Clearwater police arrested a man accused of holding up the Thorntons at 1698 Gulf-to-Bay Blvd. around 7 a.m. on March 2, according to a police report.
The suspect allegedly threatened to shoot the cashier if she did not hand over money. A few hours later, police arrested him. Police had a video of him and his car from the gas station, as well as images from a 7-Eleven that he had visited before as well. At the 7-Eleven, he even covered his license plate before going in, but he did not commit any crimes there, the report said.
CLEARWATER - Voters who missed the Jan. 15 candidates’ forum at the Salvation Army’s Joy Center got another chance to meet and evaluate the City Council candidates, when Bay News 9 anchor Al Ruechel moderated a candidates’ forum at City Hall the evening of Feb 13.
Incumbent Bill Jonson is defending his Seat 4 against challenges from David Allbritton and Konrad McCree. Hoyt Hamilton and Jon-Paul Rosa are competing for Seat 5 that Paul Gibson is vacating because of term limits.
Car and Truck Show benefit TREASURE ISLAND – American Legion Post 158 plans its second annual Car and Truck Show benefit Saturday, March 8 on Treasure Island Beach behind Gulf Front Park.
The event will feature about 200 cars and trucks.
To help out with sponsorship or for more information, call Greg Tong at 235-1784.
Indian Rocks Beach Greenfest
INDIAN ROCKS BEACH – The seventh annual Indian Rocks Beach Greenfest will be Saturday, March 8, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at 200 24th Ave. The festival will feature eco-friendly vendors, art, jewelry, live music, food, beer and wine.
COTI Community Christian School, Plumlee Gulf Beach Realty, CYMplify, Crabby Bills, Tampa Bay Newspapers and Crunchy Mama will sponsor this community event celebrating all things earth friendly.
Lupus support group meeting
LARGO – The Living with Lupus support group meets second Saturdays at Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, 13255 118th St. N., Largo.
Sponsored by the Lupus Foundation of Florida, this group is a place where attendees can speak freely about the challenges of living with lupus with others who are facing the similar struggles and challenges. Family and friends are welcome.
For information, call 585-7381.
Managing pests in the vegetable garden
ST. PETERSBURG – A program on managing pests in the vegetable garden will be offered Saturday, March 8, 10 to 11:30 a.m., at Weedon Island Preserve, 1800 Weedon Drive NE.
Urban Horticulture agent Theresa Badurek will explain how to manage Florida vegetable gardens in a safe and environmentally friendly way. Attendees will learn about integrated pest management, scouting for garden pests, harmful and beneficial insects and common weeds.
SEMINOLE – The Kiwanis Breakfast Club of Seminole will hold its 33rd annual Pancake Day on Saturday, March 8, 7 to 11 a.m., during the city of Seminole’s 46th annual Pow Wow Festival, at the Seminole Recreation Center auditorium, 9100 113th St. N.
Breakfast will include all the pancakes you can eat in two different flavors, a choice of toppings, sausage and beverage (fresh orange juice, coffee or milk).
There will be live entertainment during breakfast. Free books for children of all ages will be distributed.
Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for children 5- to 10-years-old. Children 4 and younger eat for free. Tickets can be purchased at First Home Bank in Seminole by contacting Charlene Jasmin 399-5602, or at the door.
Poker night and silent auction
PINELLAS PARK – The Fraternal Order of Eagles, 3451 63rd Ave. N., will host a poker night and silent auction Saturday, March 8, 5 to 11 p.m. Admission is free; $10 per person for the clam/seafood bake.
Funds raised will benefit Alzheimer’s organizations.
Call 527-2896 for more information.
Scrapbookers Anonymous Group meeting
PINELLAS PARK – The Scrapbookers Anonymous Group meets second Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., at St. Giles Episcopal Church, 8271 52nd St. N.
Attendees will enjoy a “fun day of cropping and sharing,” according to a press release. Everyone is welcome – particularly those who have not been involved in scrapbooking previously. There will be plenty of people sharing information and equipment. Attendees should bring a bag lunch or join the group for a take-out.