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Joanne Kennedy was fully prepared to open her Indian Rocks Beach hair salon this past Monday. Gov. Ron DeSantis’ stay-at-home order had forced her business to be closed for a month, but she was certain that was going to end when he made his announcement April 29.

Billions of dollars of federal aid is on the way to small businesses across the country. Getting it into the hands of their owners will take precious time, though. Until it arrives, some city leaders in Pinellas County have no intention of sitting idly by while the lifeblood of their communities — small businesses and their employees — suffer. Here’s a look at how some communities are getting involved.

CLEARWATER — This city of empty beaches and closed libraries will swear in its newest mayor and City Council members March 30 and hold a second ceremony for the public a few days later — ensuring the continuity of local government during the coronavirus outbreak.

CLEARWATER — Sid Klein, the Clearwater police chief who prepared his department for civilian unrest during the Y2K crisis and was one of the first to institute the philosophy of community policing in the nation, died Thursday, March 19. He was 78.

CLEARWATER — The Clearwater Planning and Development Department and other city departments are staffed and operating, but the public may not go beyond the lobbies of those buildings. But myclearwater.com — the website where residents can pay fines, apply for and pay for various licenses and …

CLEARWATER — Under a perfect blue sky, Clearwater Beach was empty, parking spaces were abundant and the only sound was the “wham-ring” of a pile driver pounding steel pilings for a hotel under construction. The restaurants were largely closed, with chairs and tables chained together, umbrell…

Former Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard is now the next mayor of Clearwater after beating his closest rival, Elizabeth Drayer, 13,030 to 5,603 in early tallies. Mark Bunker and Kathleen Beckman also scored victories in a contest that included 13 candidates.

CLEARWATER — The City Council may declare a state of emergency at its Wednesday, March 18, special meeting, which could give the city manager emergency powers to close the beaches and make other decisions to reduce the expected spread of COVID-19.

CLEARWATER — March 17 is not only St. Patrick’s Day. It is also Florida’s Presidential Preference Day, when the political parties vote for the candidate of their choice. In Clearwater, voters will choose a new mayor and two city council members in citywide voting. Polls open at 7 a.m. and cl…

CLEARWATER — Police Chief Dan Slaughter was a little miffed. It was August 2019 and one of his officers had received a letter from her homeowners association threatening hundreds of dollars in fines if she continued to park her marked Police Interceptor in her own driveway.

CLEARWATER — Workers broke ground on the renovation of Crest Lake Park on Feb. 21, the morning after the City Council approved a $5.788 million construction contract with Wharton-Smith Inc., the company that will oversee the work.

CLEARWATER — Firefighter paramedics (fire medics for short) arrive on firetrucks. When they jump off at a scene, they not only fight fires, they extract victims from burning structures and other dangerous situations. Then they administer emergency medical care until an ambulance arrives.

CLEARWATER — Chief Petty Officer William Meyers, a hospital corpsman originally from Clearwater, is responsible for providing medical care for the 72 sailors aboard USS Freedom, which has its home port in San Diego.

CLEARWATER — The mayoral candidate forum at the Main Library started with a good-natured warning from former Bay News 9 Anchor Al Ruechel, who moderated the forum: Anyone in the audience who clapped, voiced approval or made other demonstrative noise would be escorted out of the room.

CLEARWATER – Westfield Countryside announced Feb. 19 that The Cheesecake Factory will join the retail center and plans to open in the fall. It will be located off Countryside Boulevard in between JCPenney and Macy’s, and will be the first in Pinellas County.

CLEARWATER — HEAVENDROPt, the Largo nonprofit that refashions military parachutes into purses, neckties, pet bandanas and other items to raise money for disabled veterans, is holding its annual awards banquet.

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