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Headlines through the years

A look back at the events, people and places that made North Pinellas the unique place that it is. The information is compiled from past editions of the St. Petersburg Times.

By Times Staff Writer
Published September 25, 2005

Sept. 28, 1977: Ozonians have steamy session with county

OZONA - In a scene reminiscent of a Norman Rockwell painting, a platoon of top county officials confronted more than 100 straight-talking residents of Ozona Monday night in an effort to lay to rest the residents' feeling that Pinellas County doesn't care about them.

Amid the steamy rafters of the old wooden Ozona Recreation Hall, the people and their public officials thrashed out a variety of issues, including sewers, drainage, roads, dog control, police services and taxes.

Maintaining a watchful presence over the shirt-sleeved crowd was an aging picture of George Washington. Slung over the front of the one-room hall was Old Glory, unmoved by the single large fan that grudgingly pushed the humid air from one tongue-and-groove wall to the other.

After an unusually hearty pledge to the flag, the questions came quickly. The first to speak was Jim Zedlis, who stood up and reminded County Commissioners Joe Wornicki and John Chesnut, county Administrator Duane Zussy and other officials that Ozona's 450 residents have paid $500,000 in taxes over the last 10 years.

"So how come we get such a small return?" Zedlis asked, to the applause of the crowd.

Zussy told the crowd that many of their tax dollars go for services, such as the county courts, the sheriff's office and administration, which may not be immediately visible. But he was cut off when several residents in the crowd demanded to know what had been done for Ozona proper.

Zussy then pointed to an improved water system affecting Ozona and new fire hydrants in the community. But the biggest change to affect Ozona will be the new county sewer system.

William Dunn, director of the system, discussed the new sewer lines, which will be constructed in Ozona in about six weeks.

"We hope this rainy season will be the last rainy season in which you will have to live with septic tanks," a smiling, perspiring Dunn said. He said the system should be installed in about nine months and asked for patience during construction.

Some residents angrily protested that the cost of the system to residents was too high and unfair. Others said they didn't want the system at all. Each homeowner will be required to tie into the system at a cost of $200 plus a special assessment levied on each house.

"I just don't like being told what I have to do," said Sherman Reuther, a retired five-year resident of Ozona.

But Dunn said failing septic tanks and the health hazard they can create make sewers essential, especially in Ozona.

Sept. 21, 1937: Grocers asking for Sunday closing

CLEARWATER - R.A. Dempsey, Clearwater grocer, presented to city commissioners last night a petition of 33 grocerymen asking that all food stores in the city be required by a city ordinance to remain closed on Sundays. Ten of the 33 signers now keep their stores open on Sunday.

John Polhill, city attorney, said a Florida statute requiring grocery stores to close on Sunday is ineffective because of loopholes. On his recommendation, commissioners took Dempsey's request under advisement.

Sept. 12, 1931: Parents oppose repairs to school

CLEARWATER - Any attempt to repair the recently condemned brick building of the Clearwater South Ward school will be met with opposition from members of the South Ward Parent-Teacher Association. A group of architects and building engineers appointed by the county school board recently declared it unsafe for occupancy. Suggestions that it be repaired met with immediate disapproval from the association. At a meeting Friday, they stated that they did not wish to see their children go into a "patched up schoolhouse" and would oppose any move to use the old building under any conditions.

Attending the meeting was Ray B. Matthews, chairman of the Pinellas board of public instruction. He agreed with the parents.

"I have never felt that it could be repaired to the satisfaction of the parents of schoolchildren," he said, "no matter what guarantee might be given as to conditions of safety after repairs."

It is expected that disposal of the matter will be made Tuesday at a meeting of the school board, along with arrangements to provide other housing means.

[Last modified September 25, 2005, 02:15:40]

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