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Clearwater Beacon
CLEARWATER - Restaurants from all over the Tampa Bay area offered up scrumptious samplings at the Taste of Clearwater Oct. 9 at the Westfield Countryside Mall in Clearwater. From seafood and salads, desserts to appetizers, pasta to sushi, there was something for everyone at the 25th annual event.

Crabby Bills, a classic Clearwater Beach staple, served a mixture of seafood, including broiled scallops and Mahi tacos. Lu Lu’s Beach House Café of Palm Harbor had a full spread, including garlic polenta with shrimp, bacon, chipotle cream sauce; lobster macaroni with goldfish crumbled on top; the drunken pancakes with a Guinness pancake with a sangria strawberry sauce and a whiskey cinnamon maple icing. They also were serving iced coffee with crumbled Kit-Kats on top.

Alisa McCarthy of Clearwater enjoyed one of those iced coffees, and she said she comes to the event each year.
 ... Read More 
A Clearwater wrestling coach arrested and charged with two counts of simple battery the morning of Oct. 21 had a previous arrest in 1999 for a similar incident in Pinellas Park.

But Assistant State Attorney Stephanie Colen determined that the “facts and circumstances” did not “rise to the level of criminal prosecution.”

Almost 15 years later, Pinellas County Sheriff’s detectives arrested Scott Stern, 45, after an investigation of an anonymous complaint received Oct. 6 that the wrestling coach had battered a student at a location in unincorporated Clearwater.
 ... Read More 
Thursday, October 16
CLEARWATER - Because there is no statute of limitations on murder, unsolved homicide cases are never closed. But they are sometimes put on the back burner after months or years with no new leads.

Now, thanks to a pending federal grant, Clearwater investigators are preparing to dust off the files on 20 unsolved murders that occurred years or decades ago.

“These cases reach as far back as 1968 and extend forward to 2008,” a police memo to the Clearwater City Council explains. “The families and victims are still awaiting justice and closure.

“Like most other law enforcement agencies with numerous unsolved cases, (the Clearwater Police Department) is operating under staff shortages, budgetary restrictions and heavy caseloads, leaving neither the time nor resources available to identify, review and prioritize violent crime cold cases that have the potential to be solved using DNA analysis. As a result, cold cases are unable to be pursued as vigorously as desired.”
 ... Read More 
CLEARWATER - The city of Clearwater will offer school-day-out camps.

The camps will offer opportunities for kids to enjoy the day off of school while giving working parents options for childcare.

The Long Center, Countryside Recreation Center and Ross Norton Recreation Center will offer a school-day-out camp Oct. 20 and Jan. 5 for kindergarten through eighth grade. Holiday camps include a three-day camp from Nov. 24-26 and two four-day December camps, Dec. 22-26 and Dec. 29 through Jan. 2, with no camp Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. Camp hours run from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
 ... Read More 
Sunday, October 12
CLEARWATER - When Diane Sutton had to close her private practice as a physician due to back issues after more than 20 years, she wasn’t sure what to do.

Helping people - particularly women - and a life in health was all she’d known. From volunteering as a candy striper as a child, to working as a nurse’s aide in college, to going on to a career as an OB/GYN and psychiatry and teaching residents at USF and Bayfront Medical Center, she had worked with women and in medicine her whole life.
 ... Read More 
CLEARWATER - Congressman David Jolly, FL-13, announced the opening of a third district office in Clearwater at 29275 U.S. 19 N. in the Northside Square.

“With a goal of always improving accessibility and making constituent services more convenient, the opening of a fully staffed office in Clearwater will help to better serve the people who live in Northern Pinellas County,” Jolly said.

To celebrate, Jolly and his staff will be holding an open house on Tuesday Oct. 14, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

“We also want people to know we are here to serve and can assist them with issues ranging from the Veterans Health Administration and benefits, Social Security and the Internal Revenue Service,“ Jolly added.
 ... Read More 
Thursday, October 9
CLEARWATER - With an improving economy and the two Dolphin Tale movies bringing tourists to Clearwater in record numbers, hoteliers are scrambling to meet the demand for hotel rooms on Clearwater Beach.

Decade Sea Captain LLC wants to get on the bandwagon by building an 85-unit hotel on part of a 0.831-acre parcel it owns at 40 Devon Drive, approximately 150 feet east of Coronado Drive.

“The immediate area is characterized by a variety of uses, including overnight accommodations, a surface parking lot and detached dwellings,” a staff memo to the Clearwater City Council explains. “The property to the west is currently developed with a 108-room, 89-foot hotel (Pier House 60.) The property on the west side of Coronado Drive has been approved for a 450-room hotel (Wyndham Grand) for which a foundation permit has been approved. The property to the south is developed with a surface parking lot, and the properties to the southeast are developed with detached dwellings.”

There are currently 27 motel rooms in four two-story buildings located on the western half of the site, according to the memo. But the developer has a site plan, valid through May 21, 2017, that allows an 85-room hotel on the portion of the site that is zoned “tourist.” It will be accessed via a single two-way driveway at the corner of the building along Devon Drive.
 ... Read More 
CLEARWATER - City officials are going all-out to celebrate next year’s 100th anniversary of Clearwater’s incorporation as a full-fledged city.

“The City Centennial Celebration Committee and city council have been working for over a year on developing a plan to recognize and celebrate the city’s 100th year of existence,” a staff memo explained. “It is designed to be an exciting year of remembering the past, celebrating the present and anticipating the future for the citizens of Clearwater.”

On Oct. 2, the Clearwater City Council budgeted $200,000 for a “major concert” in Coachman Park and $75,000 for a downtown parade with fireworks.
 ... Read More 
CLEARWATER - The way parking tickets can be paid, reviewed and contested changed as of Oct. 1, as the city of Clearwater’s parking system office took over some of its ticket processing and customer service operations.

The following are the five ways that people can pay parking tickets:

- Pay online - Visit www.myclearwater.com/payparkingticket and select the yellow “Pay ticket here” button, which will take users to the citation processing center for payment. A $3.50 convenience fee will be applied.

- Pay by phone - Call 800-969-6158. A $3.50 convenience fee will be applied.
 ... Read More 
CLEARWATER - Teams and facilities of the city of Clearwater’s Public Utilities Department received two national water association awards, given by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies.

The association unites water quality professionals that are responsible for protecting the clean water environment.

Clearwater’s East and Northeast Water Reclamation Facilities each received a Silver Peak Performance Award in recognition of consistent National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit compliance in 2013.

“The Public Utilities department works hard to ensure that Clearwater residents receive high quality water for all their needs,” said Tracy Mercer, director of public utilities. “Water is our most valuable resource, and our team does all it can to conserve and protect our water supply and to provide high quality reclaimed water.”
 ... Read More 
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Community Calender
• Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014
AHEC iQUIT sessions
The Gulfcoast North Area Health Education Center provides free services to help people quit any form of tobacco.

In October, two IQUIT classes will be presented at these Florida Department of Health in Pinellas (DOH-Pinellas) health departments: • Wednesday, Oct. 22, 10 a.m. to noon, in Conference Room 109A, at 205 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N., St. Petersburg. • Tuesday, Oct. 28, 1 to 3 p.m., in Conference Room 1226, at 8751 Ulmerton Road, Largo.

AHEC’s tobacco training and cessation program, iQUIT, provides services that include in-person classes and free nicotine-replacement patches, gum and lozenges (while supplies last and if medically appropriate). The program is sponsored by AHEC and the Florida Department of Health. To register for these free sessions, call Nicole Kelly at 813-929-1000, ext. 204, or email nkelly@gnahec.org. Visit www.ahectobacco.com.
 ... Read More 
Breast Cancer Basics
CLEARWATER – Morton Plant Mease Hospitals will sponsor a lecture on breast cancer detection and treatment to bring focus to breast health during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October.

Breast Cancer Basics will be presented Wednesday, Oct. 22, 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., at YMCA of the Suncoast, Teen Room, 1005 S. Highland Ave.

Jola Baginski, ARNP, will discuss breast cancer detection and treatment. There is no cost to attend. To register, call 800-BayCare.

Visit www.BayCare.org.
 ... Read More 
City Power Toastmasters Club meeting
ST. PETERSBURG – The City Power Toastmasters Club, a nonprofit communication and leadership club, meets Wednesdays from noon to 1 p.m. at the Municipal Services Building, One Fourth St. N., Sixth Floor, Room 600.  

The club teaches self-confidence and skills to help listen, think, speak and gain leadership qualities. Participants gain poise, positive body language and speak more easily.  

Guests are welcome to visit for free with no pressure to join.  

For more details, call 893-7918.
 ... Read More 
Fall Fest Open House
LARGO – Pinecrest Place, a Brookdale Senior Living Community located at 1150 Eighth Ave. SW, will host Fall Fest Open House – Wednesday, Oct. 22, 11 a.m. – Attendees will enjoy seasonal treats such as pumpkin pie and cinnamon ice cream.

During the event, guests will have an opportunity to tour residents’ homes for a firsthand look at the spacious floor plans.

RSVP is required by Oct. 20. To RSVP, call 581-8142.
 ... Read More 
Master gardener clinics
PALM HARBOR – The Palm Harbor Library, 2330 Nebraska Ave., will present master gardener plant clinics throughout the month of October on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Pinellas County master gardeners provide the free weekly gardening help desk. Residents are invited to bring plant samples and any questions regarding landscaping.

No registration is required. For additional information, call 784-3332, ext. 3006.
 ... Read More 
Roger Day performance
SAFETY HARBOR – The award winning children’s performer, Roger Day, will perform at the Safety Harbor Public Library on Wednesday, Oct. 22, 4 p.m., at 101 Second St. N., courtesy of Ruth Eckerd Hall.

Day’s energetic live show incorporates his trademark wit, whimsy and wordplay, all grounded in the joy of a powerful love and respect for children. He creates an imaginary world populated by pachyderms, sherpas, isopods, and mosquito burritos. He urges kids to reach their potential by using their bodies and brains, mind and muscle.

Visit www.rogerday.com.
 ... Read More 
Wednesday afternoon book club
TARPON SPRINGS – The Tarpon Springs Library offers a Wednesday afternoon book club called “Expand Your Horizons.” Fiction and  non-fiction books from a variety of genres are discussed each month. For the date of the next meeting, call 943-4922 or email tslibrary@pplc.us.
 ... Read More 
• Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014
Amendment 2 debate
GULFPORT – A debate on the Florida Right to Medical Marijuana Initiative, or Amendment 2, is set Thursday, Oct. 23, noon, in Grant Hall at Stetson University College of Law, 4101 61st St. S.  

Attorney John Morgan will argue the merits of the initiative with former State Supreme Court justice Kenneth Bell, who has questioned whether the amendment might result in marijuana getting into the hands of children. Morgan is a proponent of the medical benefits of marijuana.  

The initiative is on the Nov. 4 ballot.  

TO RSVP, email events@law.stetson.edu. For more information, call 562-7381.
 ... Read More 
Annual candlelight vigil
LARGO - Narcotics Overdose Prevention & Education and the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office will host the sixth annual candlelight vigil Thursday, Oct. 23, 7 p.m., at Largo Central Park, 105 Central Park Drive.

The vigil is a time to remember those who have died as a result of drug and alcohol related overdose; help those who are currently living with addiction; and bring hope that the community working together can make a difference for the future.

The vigil will bring together a wide range of groups from the religious, government and private sectors of the community. Pinellas County School students also will attend. Attendees will hear the personal stories from the families of those who have lost loved ones to drug overdose or are struggling with addiction today.

For more information about the vigil, or to add your story and video to the memorial wall, contact Laurie Serra at 727-424-6906 or email nope.pinellas@gmail.com.

The event is being hosted by NOPE, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office and Operation PAR in partnership with the LiveFree Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition of Pinellas County (livefree@operpar.org), among many other community partners.
 ... Read More 
Garden tour
LARGO – Vegetable, herb a tropicals tours will be offered Thursdays, Oct. 2 and 23, 9 to 11 a.m., at Florida Botanical Gardens, 12520 Ulmerton Road.

Participants will explore the vegetable garden and compost demonstration areas in the Florida Botanical Gardens and learn about growing their own food. Tours are limited to groups of four to 16 people and recommended for adults only.

Tours are free but registration is required. Call 582-2100. Visit tinyurl.com /k78n7vq.
 ... Read More 
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