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At Tiger Bay event, George Cretekos calls for Clearwater to get more respect

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

As leaders of the region’s two biggest cities, Bob Buckhorn and Rick Kriseman dominate headlines in Tampa Bay politics. But it was Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos who became the breakout speaker at Tuesday’s meeting of the Suncoast Tiger Bay Club. All three mayors were on stage at the St. Petersburg Marriott Clearwater on Roosevelt Boulevard. Only recently has Cretekos emerged as a leader in his own right, coming into the spotlight after 36 years serving as an aide to the late C.W. Bill Young before he was elected to the Clearwater…

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House Health Quality panel hears from former Colorado pot czar

in Statewide by

The former Colorado marijuana czar encouraged Florida lawmakers to invest in public education as they begin discussions about implementing Amendment 2. Andrew Freedman, the former director of marijuana coordination in Colorado, told the House Quality Subcommittee that the state should consider investing in public education, even before tax dollars derived from the medical marijuana industry starts rolling in. Freedman said his state waited until they received tax dollars, and officials were “surprised by what people didn’t know.” The state spends…

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Bill to expand juvenile civil citations raises questions on officer discretion

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A bill to set up a civil citation program for juveniles statewide advanced Monday through a Florida Senate committee. However, questions about removing officer discretion may need to be addressed before the proposal gets widespread support from lawmakers later this Session. Miami Republican Senator Anitere Flores’ bill (SB 196) would mandate law enforcement officers to offer a civil citation for youths admitting to one of 11 separate misdemeanors: possession of alcohol beverages; battery; criminal mischief; trespassing; theft; retail and farm theft; riots; disorderly conduct;…

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David Jolly presents flag at Ray Neri’s memorial service

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Former U.S. Rep. David Jolly on Wednesday presented an American flag to Laura Neri, the widow of community activist Ray Neri, who died Jan. 3. The flag was one that U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis had had flown over the Capitol especially for Mrs. Neri. “Ray Neri was a special person,” Jolly said. “Ray touched peoples’ lives.” Jolly was only one of many of Pinellas’ political leaders who came to Neri’s memorial service. Others included Pinellas County commissioners  Pat Gerard, Karen…

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Pinellas Sheriff’s PAL program holds fundraising breakfast

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Almost 500 people showed up Friday morning to hear stories about the successes of the Pinellas Sheriff’s PAL program. The Police Athletic League program, which opened in Pinellas in 2001, is currently focused on helping underprivileged kids in the unincorporated Lealman area. Lealman is generally located between Pinellas Park and St. Petersburg and I-275 and Park Street. Kenneth City divides the area into two. Lealman is a “very under-served part of Pinellas [with] a lot of kids, a lot of…

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Charlie Justice wins second term on Pinellas County Commission

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Democrat Charlie Justice faced down a challenge from first-time candidate Mike Mikurak to win a second term on the Pinellas County Commission. Justice took the lead early in the evening with about 53. 5 percent of the vote and never looked back. Voters were treated to two distinctly different styles in the race for the District 3 seat, which was voted on countywide. Republican Mikurak, who was making his first run for public office, was on the attack early on…

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Lauralee Westine, wife of Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, among 20 applying to be a judge

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Lauralee Westine, wife of Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, has applied for a circuit judgeship. Westine is one of 23 Pinellas County lawyers seeking to replace 6th Circuit Judge Bruce Boyer, who is retiring. Westine is a graduate of the Stetson University College of Law who worked for the Pinellas County State Attorney’s Office until 1999. After leaving the state attorney’s office, she opened a practice in Palm Harbor focusing on local government and land use law. Her practice particularly focuses on…

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