Ride & Run With The Stars returns

The Ride and Run With The Stars event will be held Saturday, Dec. 3, at Fort De Soto Park. 

The event is the largest law enforcement-organized holiday charity fundraiser in the Tampa Bay area. All money raised will benefit economically disadvantaged children and families, and crime victims

Ride And Run With The Stars has races for all ages and fitness levels, including a 5K chipped race, a 1-mile fun run/walk/skate, a 10K family bike ride and a 25-mile bike ride. Registration for the race includes a short-sleeved logo T-shirt, as well as food and giveaways.

A K-9 unit will give a demonstration and Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive in a PCSO helicopter, with elves as their ground crew. 

Participants can bid on vacations, sports gear, and gift baskets in our silent auction too.

After the event, deputies and other PCSO members act as Santa's helpers and shop for the sponsored families. 

Proceeds benefit the Pinellas County Sheriff's Christmas Sharing Project, which helps crime victims, children, and families through the holidays. In 2021, the Christmas Sharing Project raised $72,000 and provided gifts for 217 families and 539 children in our community.

To register or for more information visit www.rideandrunwiththestars.com.

Commission commits $8 million to transit hub

CLEARWATER — Pinellas County Commissioners have voted to approve up to $8 million in funding to create a new Clearwater Transit Center, which will serve as a hub for more than 700,000 bus, rideshare, bike and scooter users getting to and from downtown Clearwater, area beaches and beyond.

The new transit center will support downtown businesses and relieve area traffic congestion, replacing a nearby 40-year-old facility that has become functionally obsolete.

The majority of the $45 million project is being funded through contributions from the city of Clearwater, the Florida Department of Transportation, Forward Pinellas and the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority.

With the Nov. 15 vote, Pinellas County commissioners agreed to provide the final portion of the funding, up to $8 million. PSTA had originally requested up to $15 million, but PSTA was able to secure more funding from other sources and lowered its request to the county. 

The new transit center will be constructed on vacant land at the corner of Court Street and Myrtle Avenue and will include 16 bus bays, scooter storage, ride-sharing connections, ADA boarding requirements and design featuring solar panels and electric bus charging stations.

Construction is set to begin next year. 

Pinellas OKs ARPA funds for nonprofit projects

Pinellas County Commissioners on Nov. 15 approved $2.25 million in funding from federal American Rescue Plan funds to be distributed to 34 non-profits.

Each of the non-profits will receive $200,000 or less that will be used for critical needs ranging from passenger vans to medical equipment.

The projects were selected from 80 applications.

The commission has partnered with the Pinellas Community Foundation to disperse $19 million to local nonprofits from the county’s $189 million in federal ARPA funds. The remaining nonprofit capital funds will be distributed in two rounds, with another round for additional small purchases of $200,000 or less and one for large purchases up to $5 million.