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 Tampa Bay: July 23, 2000 South Pinellas County news
Flooding bedevils retailers
Officials and Beach Drive merchants think dirt from the BayWalk site clogged sewers.

2 churches at odds over gay unions
Congregations of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) are addressing whether same-sex union ceremonies, or holy unions, should be blessed by the church. The Tampa Bay Presbytery will vote in February.

Upham Beach erosion rate raises concerns
ST. PETE BEACH -- Upham Beach, recent recipient of 321,000 cubic yards of renourishment sand at a cost of more than $2-million, has eroded by nearly 100 feet in some areas in the last six weeks.

Couple say police office is 'hostile'
An officer and his wife ask for an investigation into the problems and biases within the Pinellas Park Police department.

Neighbors troubled at Publix's departure
The grocery chain orders the store closed because it wasn't making enough money, but its exit from the Coquina Key Plaza leaves a large section of the city without a large chain supermarket.

Tyrone Gardens' Eckerd shuts doors
Property managers say another retailer is discussing the site, but not a drugstore.

Sunrise Sale draws bargain hunters
Mary Jo Thompson of the Straw Goat felt a bit overwhelmed during Wednesday's Sunrise Sale. "It's mayhem in here," she said, as she helped one of the day's 400-plus customers.

First Avenue S is third to get thinner
Central Avenue and First Avenue N already have become narrower. It's meant to slow traffic and lend more of a village feel.

3-year term for mayor is facing a vote
ST. PETE BEACH -- Commissioners last week approved a ballot referendum that would increase the mayor's term of office from two to three years. The voters will decide in March 2001.

Beach city takes a step back from trolley proposal
Several people speak out against joining the county's proposed trolley system, fearing it may bring unwanted taxes.

Firefighter appealing decision to fire him
PINELLAS PARK -- A firefighter who twice slept through alarms and later filed religious discrimination charges against the city has appealed his firing. Barac Wimberly, 28, was dismissed earlier this month. City Manager Jerry Mudd, who fired Wimberly, also will pass judgment on his appeal. Mudd said the idea is to give Wimberly a chance to make points or cite facts that may have been ignored in the city manager's initial evaluation. Even if Mudd upholds the firing, Wimberly still has an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claim against the city. Wimberly has said that officials and firefighters discriminated against him and treated him badly because he is a Jehovah's Witness. City officials deny the charge.

Police chief's memo takes issue with bias complaint
Acting Chief Bob Hempel denies a male sergeant called a female officer's shoe size a "physical deformity" or "birth defect."

Team bound for national tournament
Childs Park Eagles players learn more than the rules and techniques of winning at basketball, their coach says.

Five-year-old tips his hat to the Devil Rays
ST. PETERSBURG -- Alex Hall couldn't wait to show his father, Tom, his Devil Rays baseball hat. After more than a year of collecting autographs, 5-year-old Alex finally got the last signature he needed when shortstop Felix Martinez signed his hat before the July 14 game against Montreal.

Intersection leaves road chief shaking his head
Jessie and I are always on the lookout for bizarre traffic configurations, and Irene Harris has pointed out a small one that we have traveled ourselves, always in wonderment. As in: What in the world were they thinking??!!

Socially unacceptable -- and attention-getting
"Mommy, I finally got it," my 3-year-old said proudly from the back seat.

Resurrection House poised for new era
The program for homeless families will soon break ground on a new $2.7-million facility made possible only through private donations and churches.

Social service agencies dot St. Anthony's land
ST. PETERSBURG -- When Resurrection House soon breaks ground on its $2.7-million apartment and administration building, it will become part of a small network of social service agencies occupying land owned by St. Anthony's Hospital.

'It just feels like home'
The minor-league park was more than just a weekend event for some workers and fans. A part of it is embedded in their lives.

City to consider revitalization plan
Stirred by a resident's plea, the City Council talks of reviving one of the city's fading areas.

The life of Mr. Sun is a bowl of cherries (and then some)
Let us consider cherries.

Rough lives of 4 pitbulls likely will end
Chained behind an abandoned house, the dogs are taken to the county shelter.

Ordinance bars new centers for homeless downtown
ST. PETERSBURG -- Designers of a new ordinance restricting homeless shelters and soup kitchens downtown call the legislation a compromise with the neighborhoods. To homeless advocates, the ordinance doesn't go far enough to protect the disenfranchised and will inconvenience them unnecessarily.


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