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St. Pete Times

  1. 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]
  2. 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.
  3. PSTA foresees no service cuts as it rolls out proposed 2018 budget

    Transportation

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority will unveil the first draft of its 2018 budget at Wednesday morning's meeting of the governing board.

    A Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority bus leaves the terminal at  3180 Central Ave. in St Petersburg in 2014. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]
  4. It took a decade, but groundbreaking for St. Petersburg's new pier is finally here

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The day that the city has long awaited — and some long fought — will finally arrive Wednesday: the groundbreaking ceremony for the new pier.

    This architectural rendering shows what the new St. Petersburg Pier District will look like when it's set to be completed in 2019. The groundbreaking will start at 9 a.m. Wednesday. [Courtesy of St. Petersburg]
  5. 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]
  6. 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 …

  7. 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.
  8. 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]
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.

  12. Lawsuit: Florida contractor fakes death to dodge angry homeowners

    Human Interest

    SEMINOLE — For weeks, Glenn Holland, 67, crawled out of bed before the sun rose to look for a dead man.

    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]
  13. Investigation Discovery TV show profiles 2011 Landy Martinez murder case

    Crime

    The murder of a St. Petersburg man will be featured this week on a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery.

    Jose Adame sits in a Pinellas County courtroom during his 2016 trial and conviction for first-degree murder. Adame was convicted of first-degree murder last year for torturing and then executing his boyfriend as he pleaded for his life in 2011. Now it will be featured in a new true crime series Murder Calls on Investigation Discovery. The episode will air on June 26 at 9 p.m. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  14. Gay, black leaders speak about finding their place

    Relationships

    When Lillian Dunlap moved to Florida at age 52 in 1999 she could finally breathe. The journalism professor from the University of Missouri and Indiana University hadn't been able live openly as a gay woman until then. She had considered coming out before but never did.

    Terri Lipsey Scott (standing) welcomed panelists Bob Devin Jones, Desmond Clark, Lillian Dunlap, Trevor Pettiford and Sheree Greer. Moderator Nadine Smith not pictured.
  15. Work to start soon on new Morningside Recreation Center

    Local Government

    CLEARWATER — The city awarded a $5.7 million contract last week to Largo-based Caladesi Construction Co. to build the Morningside Recreation Center, replacing the former facility that was demolished in 2009.