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St. Pete Times

  1. A new treat comes to Safety Harbor: pizza cones

    Business

    SAFETY HARBOR

    The first time Javier Hernandez saw the peculiar treat, he was an ocean away from Safety Harbor.

    Javier Hernandez, right, opened Pizza Cones with his nephew, Daniel Hernandez, left, at 500 Main St. in Safety Harbor.
  2. Last steel beam marks construction milestone for Tom and Mary James' museum

    Growth

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom and Mary James on Wednesday signed their names to the last steel beam framing the 105-ton stone mesa that will be built at the entrance of the museum that bears their name: the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art.

    The topping-out ceremony of the James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art was held Wednesday morning in downtown St. Petersburg. Mary James (from left), husband Tom and Mayor Rick Kriseman signed the final beam before it was put into place. When finished, the $55 million museum at 100 Central Ave. will hold up to 500 pieces of the couple's 3,000-piece art collection. [Courtesy of James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art]
  3. 'Today is not a dream;' St. Petersburg ready to start building new pier

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG —Three years ago, with the now demolished inverted pyramid still standing stubbornly in the background, Mayor Rick Kriseman laid out a plan to replace or renovate the iconic pier.

    St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman addresses the crowd Wednesday morning at the groundbreaking ceremony for the new pier. Construction will start next week. [SCOTT KEELER  |  Times]
  4. Hillsborough and Pinellas officials can't even agree that they agreed to meet

    Local Government

    Tampa Bay political leaders often tout taking a regional approach to solve the area's most pressing issues. But the challenge has been getting Hillsborough County and Pinellas County leaders together on the same page.

    Or in this case, in the same room.

    This month Hillsborough County administrator Mike Merrill (above) nixed a joint meeting of the Hillsborough and Pinellas County Commissions. But Pinellas County Commission chair Janet Long said her Hillsborough counterpart, Stacy White, had already agreed to two meetings. [DANIEL WALLACE   |   Times]
  5. In Treasure Island, a controversial name comes up for interim city manager: Shane Crawford

    Local Government

    TREASURE ISLAND — Shane Crawford, the former city manager of Madeira Beach, might still have a place in city government, in the next town to the south.

    Shane Crawford, who left the city manager's job in Madeira Beach under a cloud of controversy, is being mentioned by some as a possibility for interim city manager in neighboring Treasure Island. [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]
  6. PSTA foresees no cutbacks in bus service through 2021

    Transportation

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority on Wednesday unveiled the first look at next year's budget and the agency said it does not project any cuts to bus service through 2021.

    A Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority bus leaves the terminal at  3180 Central Ave. in St Petersburg in 2014. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]
  7. Pinellas sees spike in infant deaths from unsafe sleeping, and advocates are concerned

    Health

    The reports from the Department of Children and Families are tragic: A Pinellas County mother falls asleep on a recliner during an early morning feeding and wakes to find one of her 3-month-old twins unresponsive. Another finds her 6-month-old daughter lying still, a blanket over her head. Another infant is found wedged …

    Advocates are looking to step up their public information efforts this year after reports show a spike in sleep-related infant deaths in Pinellas County. [iStockphoto.com]
  8. St. Petersburg showdown: Kriseman and Baker pull no punches in first forum

    Local Government

    A standing-room-only crowd packed a Midtown church banquet hall Tuesday to witness the first face-off between Mayor Rick Kriseman and former mayor Rick Baker in what is a watershed mayoral contest in the city's history.

    Former Mayor Rick Baker, left, is challenging incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman, right, to become St. Petersburg mayor.
  9. Unlicensed contractor accused of faking death triggers policy change at Pinellas licensing board

    Local Government

    The unlicensed contractor accused of faking his death to avoid angry homeowners has triggered an immediate change in policy at the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board.

    Last year Glenn and Judith Holland said they paid a contractor thousands of dollars to renovate their future retirement home in Seminole. But when they tried to move in on Dec. 14, they said the home was in shambles and uninhabitable. They sent a text message to contractor Marc Anthony Perez at 12:36 p.m. looking for answers. Fourteen minutes later, they got back this text: "This is Marc's daughter, dad passed away on the 7th of December in a car accident. Sorry." Turns out Perez was still alive. Now the Hollands are suing him in Pinellas-Pasco circuit court. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  10. Pinellas news briefs

    Briefs

    Gulfport seeks Gecko Queen candidates : Gulfport's fifth Gecko Queen will be crowned at this year's Gecko Ball on Aug. 26. Candidates are invited to apply. This is a gender-neutral opportunity for those 21 and over. The Queen's costuming should reflect this year's theme of "Geckostock" (Woodstock, hippies and all …

  11. St. Petersburg police: Former pest control worker targeted 12 homes being tented for termites

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — A former pest control worker was arrested for burglarizing 12 homes over the last five weeks, according to St. Petersburg police.

    David Cooper, 36, targeted homes being tented for termites to burglarize, according to police.
  12. Dunedin selects Jennifer Bramley as its next city manager

    Local Government

    DUNEDIN — In a unanimous vote Monday, the City Commission chose Jennifer Bramley as the next city manager.

    Jennifer Bramley, 52, was selected Monday as Dunedin's new city manager. She currently works as deputy city manager for the city of Coral Springs. [Photo courtesy of Jennifer Bramley]
  13. Hometown Pinellas

    Briefs

    WOA collects backpacks for human trafficking victims: Women of AT&T (WOA) Florida collected 22 backpacks, clothing and toiletries for victims of human trafficking. The supplies were delivered to Community Action Stops Abuse (CASA), which operates Pinellas County's 24-hour crisis hotline and a 100-bed emergency …

    Phanna Latas, a member of Women of AT&T (WOA) Florida, was among those who helped collect 22 backpacks, clothing and toiletries for victims of human trafficking.
  14. Rick vs. Rick: St. Petersburg sewage crisis edition

    Elections

    ST. PETERSBURG — For nearly two years, the political stench of a sewage crisis has permeated City Hall.

    Former Mayor Rick Baker, left, is challenging incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman, right, to become St. Petersburg mayor.
  15. Motorcyclist, 25, critically injured after crashing into car in St. Petersburg

    Accidents

    ST. PETERSBURG — A 25-year-old motorcyclist suffered life-threatening injuries when he crashed into a car Thursday afternoon, according to St. Petersburg Police.