PINELLAS PARK - Two of the three candidates running for Pinellas Park City Council Seat 2 showed up at a candidates’ forum at the Mainlands of Tamarac on Feb. 23.
They met with interested residents and answered specific questions put forth by the organizers and individuals from the audience.
Incumbent Patti Johnson and candidate Keith Sabiel came out for the forum; candidate Eugene Hendry did not attend.
In their opening remarks, the candidates were given time to introduce themselves. Sabiel, who went first, told the audience that he and his family have lived in the city since the 1970s. He is retiring from his position of director of the city’s Public Utilities Department this year.
PINELLAS PARK - Two new businesses moved into the two mixed-use structures the city built in the United Cottages area, a cluster of small homes located between 57th and 58th Streets N. along 75th Terrace, last year.
MyDirndl, a German and Bavarian import shop, and Hoeft Music School moved into 5721 75th Ave. N. and 5741 75th Ave. N. respectively.
The businesses, both established prior to moving into the United Cottages, held their ribbon cutting ceremonies on Feb. 19.
The structures, built to serve as business incubators, with living space for the owners on the second floor and a storefront on the first floor, previously housed a sign shop and art gallery.
PINELLAS PARK - The Pinellas Park Police Department announced March 6 the availability of TipSoft, a service for citizens to anonymously submit crime-related tips through the web, a text message, or from any Android or iPhone mobile device with the TipSubmit mobile app. The use of TipSoft is part of the agency’s proactive efforts to prevent, reduce, and solve crime.
TipSoft uses technology that is familiar to citizens, which allows them to carry on an anonymous two-way conversation with the agency without requiring them to speak directly to an officer. To date, the TipSoft system, used across the country, has received more than two million tips, resulting in 145,000 arrests, 55,000 fugitives caught, and more than $5.3 billion recovered in drugs and property - including 11,000 vehicles and 22,000 weapons.
Assistant Chief Michael Haworth provided the following, “The public contributes greatly in combating crime in Pinellas Park and we need their input when it comes to reporting suspicious activity. Our new tip software will give our citizens the opportunity to communicate directly and anonymously.
“Chief Thomas and our police department are committed to driving criminal activity down and improving the quality of life in our community. This new tool, and the public’s input, is critical in that process.”
PINELLAS PARK - The city of Pinellas Park hosts its annual Pride in the Park Spring Cleanup Saturday, March 8, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The city will open eight, free drop-off sites throughout the city for city residents.
Drop-off sites include:
- Bank of America rear parking lot, 5100 block of 72nd Avenue
- Broderick Park parking lot, 6700 block of 62nd Street
PINELLAS PARK - Saddle Up Riding Club recently lost the use of the facility it rented for six years following landlord issues.
Now the club is trying to raise the $80,000 it needs for the down payment required to secure a loan to purchase land and build a brand new facility in Pinellas Park.
Saddle Up is a 501(c)3 that offers equine assisted therapy to disabled children, adult and veterans. It also offers affordable classes on horse safety and care to the able-bodied community. It’s the only program of its kind in Pinellas County.
There are four phases to Saddle Up’s plan to build a Professional Association of Therapeutic Horseman (PATH) Center.
PINELLAS PARK - Spc. Robert R. Ortiz Jr., a supply specialist with the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Army Reserve Medical Command, recently competed in ARMEDCOM’s prestigious Best Warrior Competition.
The event took place Feb. 24-27.
Ortiz, 20, a Pinellas Park soldier, started his intense training for this competition last year when he was selected as alternate.
“I chose to compete in the Best Warrior Competition to better myself as a soldier, develop confidence and to improve my soldering skills,” said Ortiz. He is one of only 13 soldiers of approximately 9,500-strong ARMEDCOM Warriors to be selected to compete for this honor.
PINELLAS PARK - The Pinellas Park/Gateway Chamber of Commerce recently presented the 2013 Medium-Sized Business of the Year Award to Paul Matton.
Matton is the chief operations officer for Park Auto Mall in Pinellas Park. Presented at the chamber’s annual installation banquet at the Pinellas Park Performing Arts Center, the award is in recognition of Matton’s “commitment and dedication” to the chamber and business community, and for “setting an excellent example for free enterprise.”
Matton currently serves on the chamber’s board of directors. He is also the recipient of the Florida Independent Automobile Dealers Association 2013 Quality Dealer Award, and will represent FIADA at the national competition on June 2014 in Las Vegas, Nev.
PINELLAS PARK - Pinellas Park High School teacher Jonathan Dunn entered a guilty plea to two counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor March 5.
Dunn, 29, of Gulfport was arrested March 21, 2013 following an investigation after the school’s resource officer received a tip about an inappropriate relationship between a male teacher and female student.
The relationship is reported to have taken place during a three week time period in December of 2011 and included sexual activity both on and off the school campus, according to a police report. At the time of the relationship, the victim was 16 years of age and has since turned 18. The suspect is also accused of engaging in sexually explicit, online conversations, with the victim during the relationship period.
PINELLAS PARK - An adult female reported to Pinellas Park police March 1 that a female relative under the age of 18 had been sexually battered three times by a known suspect.
A sex crime detective investigated and developed probable cause to charge Victor Villalobos, 49, of Pinellas Park with three counts of sexual batter, a first degree felony, and one count of lewd and lascivious exhibition, a second degree felony.
Villalobos was arrested and taken to the Pinellas County Jail where he is being held without bond.