Monday, December 11, 2017


Tracey McManus

Tracey McManus

Tracey covers Clearwater government and general topics in the city. Before joining the Times in August 2015, she spent five years covering everything from education reform to animal welfare for The Augusta Chronicle in Georgia. Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., she was raised in Palm City, Fla., and graduated from University of Florida in 2010 with degrees in journalism and Spanish.

Veteran sushi chef Charlie Lam, right, assembles a line of orders during a lunch service at Charlie's Sushi, which opened at 1200 Cleveland St.,  21 years to the day after he opened the long-time Kaikos sushi on McMullen Booth Road. Lam said he learned the recipes and techniques behind his success from his Chinese-born parents while growing up in Vietnam. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times

Veteran Tampa Bay chef returns from retirement with sushi, jazz bar in downtown Clearwater

CLEARWATER — Behind his sushi bar on Cleveland Street, Charlie Lam slices fresh fish and vegetables exactly how his parents showed him as a child in Vietnam.The recipes are the same ones he’s been repeating since he first started making them in...
Published: 12/06/17
The House tax bill includes a provision to revise the Johnson Amendment, giving churches the ability to endorse political candidates. In a city like Clearwater, where Scientology owns $207 million worth of property under its name, including the mammoth Flag Building, the prospect of an unbridled and politically active Scientology is real, said Mark Silk director of Leonard Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College. [Times files]

In a potential win for Scientology, House tax bill favors more political freedom for churches

CLEARWATER — It was the evangelical Christian right that cheered President Donald Trump’s early promise to revoke the law that forbids churches, with their tax-exempt status, from endorsing political candidates.Now that Republican lawmakers...
Published: 12/04/17
Updated: 12/07/17
JIM DAMASKE   |   Times  The city expects to break ground on a new $20 million solid waste transfer station early next year. Nearly 400 tons of garbage are processed at the transfer station each day and taken on tractor trailers to the county facility. Solid Waste Director Earl Gloster says the transfer station saves the city about $3 million a year in fuel, operating and personnel costs.

Here’s why Clearwater is about to spend $20 million on garbage

CLEARWATERThe city is about to spend $20 million on garbage. But it’s worth it, Solid Waste director Earl Gloster says.All of the trash collected from city streets and homes makes a pit stop at a discreet dump site on Old Coachman Road...
Published: 12/01/17
[Photo courtesy of The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado]
Tigers lounge at The Wild Animal Sanctuary outside of Boulder, a 720-acre sanctuary outside of Boulder that rescues exotic animals from abusive situations, many the result of the overpopulation of captive wildlife, said founder Pat Craig. On Nov. 12, 19 tigers at the center of a lawsuit between PETA and Dade City's Wild Things arrived at the sanctuary for their forever home.

Amid lawsuit, 19 Dade City’s Wild Things tigers relocated to Colorado sanctuary

From barren cages in Dade City to a troubled roadside zoo in Oklahoma, 19 tigers at the center of a federal animal welfare lawsuit have been permanently placed in a 720-acre wildlife sanctuary in Colorado.The tigers arrived at The Wild Animal...
Published: 11/29/17
Artist and designer Mishou Sanchez is alleging the City of Clearwater's Mercado plan for a parcel east of downtown is remarkably similar to a design she created for a 3-acre parcel in Tampa in 2014. This rendering shows one angle of the Clearwater Mercado project approved in September.
[Rendering courtesy of City of Clearwater]

Tampa artist alleges Clearwater Mercado project is remarkably similar to hers

After designer Mishou Sanchez was unable to raise the $50,000 needed to jump-start her Mercado proposal, an affordable retail plaza built from shipping containers on a 3-acre parcel in Tampa, she reluctantly moved on.Mercado Tampa was a concept...
Updated one month ago
A judge has dismissed a lawsuit against the  Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority over the Jolley Trolley. [Luis Santana | Times]

Lawsuit over Jolley Trolley dismissed

A federal judge on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit against Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority that Cincinnati-based First Transit filed in April, alleging it lost the county’s trolley contract because a "who’s who of Clearwater" lobbied the board to...
Updated one month ago
This photo shows marijuana clone plants that are used to grow medical marijuana displayed under a light, at The Joint, a medical marijuana cooperative in Seattle. (AP Photo)

Some cities faced with all-or-nothing medical marijuana rules are playing it safe

When it comes to weighing the options for regulating medical marijuana through the law passed this year, Dunedin city commissioners declared local governments face a "conundrum" and "a false dilemma."They said they would welcome a dispensary in...
Updated one month ago
Steven Jameson, 36, left, and Joe Gustafson, 31, listen to Pastor Keith Stanton's sermon during Sunday church service at The Refuge. Gabriella Angotti-Jones  | Times

Not a shelter, not a food pantry, but a refuge for the homeless

CLEARWATER - As the sun rose Sunday morning, they woke up on somebody’s couch, in bushes by the waterfront, on a bench in a park.
Updated one month ago
Paid parking spots are taken as businesses open on Tuesday on Main Street in downtown Dunedin. The Dunedin City Commission on Dec. 12 will decide the future of the controversial paid parking program..DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times

After a vitriolic trial year, Dunedin City Commission to decide fate of paid parking next month

DUNEDIN — It has been, without question, the most contentious issue to consume the city in decades, bringing residents out in droves to public meetings and pitting neighbor against neighbor. At a recent town hall meeting to discuss the yearlong...
Updated one month ago
The Clearwater City Council approved a 3 percent raise for City Manager Bill Horne and City Attorney Pam Akin. (Photo courtesy of Bob Bentz).

Clearwater gives raises to top officials

CLEARWATER — The City Council approved 3 percent raises for City Manager Bill Horne and City Attorney Pam Akin following their favorable evaluations. The raises passed 4-1 with Mayor George Cretekos voting no, saying he was opposed to giving...
Updated one month ago