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Thursday, June 29th, 2017


Final Beam Set in Place on Tom and Mary James’ ‘Gift’ to St. Pete

James Museum | St. Petersburg | Museum

By SHELLY STECK REALE, Correspondent, TB Reporter

The final steel beam was set in place on the James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art.

ST. PETERSBURG – Patronage has always played a role in the arts: Florence, Italy, had its Medici family. St. Petersburg has Tom and Mary James.

The James were joined by St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman and other elected officials, community leaders, dignitaries, and crew members on Wednesday (June 28) to inscribe their names on to the final structural beam supporting the 219-foot-high, 105-ton-stone sculpture of a mesa that will serve as the landmark showpiece of the James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art.

The museum, 100 Central Ave., will be the anchor of about 133,000 square feet of space fronting Central Avenue. Of that, 50,000 square feet will include retail shops, a restaurant, and office space. The remaining space, more than 83,000 square feet, will make up the James Museum, taking its place as one of the largest museums in downtown St. Pete’s growing arts and cultural scene.

The museum will include more than 30,000 square feet of gallery space housing 400-500 premier works of art, a Native American Jewelry collection, 6,000 square feet of event space, a commercial catering kitchen; a museum store, and café, as well as the space required to support and operate a large-scale 21st Century museum.

The cost of the art, as well as the $13.5 million purchase price for the building and $36 million construction budget, has been entirely shouldered by Tom and Mary James.

“I love St. Petersburg,” said Tom James, former chairman of Raymond James Financial. “St. Petersburg has been good to me, not just as a person, but as a business owner; and we’re very glad to give back some of that success to the city.”

Project manager Laura Hine said, “It’s truly meant to be a gift. Certainly it’s all their art collection, but also Tom and Mary have paid every penny to purchase the building, for design, and construction; they’ve paid all the cost. The realization of this project is meant as a gift from Tom and Mary to the St. Petersburg community.”

“The James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art is the cornerstone of the progress we are seeing here in St. Petersburg,” Kriseman said. “This museum will be a hub of activity, of learning, and of exploration.”

Construction is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year, with a grand opening planned for early 2018.

James Museum | St Petersburg | Topping Off

From left: Tom James, Mary James, Mayor Rick Kriseman, Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin

James Museum | St Petersburg | Topping Off

Mayor Rick Kriseman and Tom James sign the final steel beam before it was lifted into place on the James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art.

James Museum | St Petersburg | Topping Off

The final steel beam is lifted into place atop the sculpture of a mesa that will serve as the entrance to the James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art.















For information about the James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art and a glimpse of some of the art, go to

Photos by Shelly Steck Reale, TB Reporter Correspondent

The James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art | The James Museum | Art | Tom James | Mary James | Rick Kriseman | Tampa Bay News | TB Reporter

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Bayfront to Break Ground on Emergency, Trauma Center Expansion

Emergency Room | Medicine and Health | Hospital

The  $22 million project will nearly double the size of the existing emergency room and increase the number of beds to 48 private rooms.

ST. PETERSBURG – Throughout Bayfront Health St. Petersburg’s 110-year history, the hospital has grown and expanded to meet the city’s healthcare needs, and, now, officials said, they’re ready for another expansion.

Bayfront plans to break ground on renovations and expansion of a new emergency and trauma center.

The $22 million project will take about 18 months to complete. The updated center will nearly double the size of the existing emergency room and increase the number of beds to 48 private rooms.

“The new ER will allow us to deliver the same quality care, but in a more comfortable setting,” said Lisa Nummi, Bayfront’s chief operating officer who will oversee the project. “The renovation will also help streamline our processes, which will reduce ER wait times.”

In addition, it will feature:
* A designated area where community members with less serious illnesses can receive walk-in care;
* A new entrance for patients arriving by ambulance that will connect directly to a newly built critical care and trauma area;
* On-site computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance;
* Imaging (MRI) for patients experiencing stroke symptoms or who have sustained serious injuries; and
* Two dedicated rooms for community members seeking emergency help for mental health disorders.

“Bayfront Health St. Petersburg has served the Tampa Bay area residents for more than a century. Upcoming renovations will ensure our community continues to have access to a higher level of care for years to come,” said Kathryn Gillette, market president and chief executive officer. “As part of our commitment of 100 million over five years, since April of 2013 – more than $81 million has been invested in infrastructure, equipment and technology to enhance the delivery of patient care.”

Founded in 1906, Bayfront Health St. Petersburg is a 480-bed medical center, and Level II trauma center that is affiliated with the University of South Florida Health Morsani College of
Medicine and is the regional flagship hospital for a network of hospitals bearing the Bayfront Health name.

For information, go to

Bayfront Health | Bayfront Hospital | Emergency Medical Services | Trauma | Medicine | Health | Tampa Bay News | TB Reporter

Bayfront Health | Bayfront Hospital | Emergency Medical Services | Trauma | Medicine | Health | Tampa Bay News | TB Reporter

Pasco Traffic Stop Results in Forgery Arrest

Mickey Curtis Bearden | Pasco Sheriff | Arrests

Pasco Clerk of Court Paula O’Neil’s office was one of the victims, according to the Pasco Sheriff’s Office.

PASCO COUNTY – A traffic stop for a stolen vehicle lead to the arrest of a man in connection with multiple check forgeries, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office said.

Mickey Curtis Bearden, 33, of Dade City, was charged with 32 counts of forgery, two counts of possession of instruments for forgery, and one count of possession of personal information on five or more victims.

Deputies said they stopped a car on Wednesday (June 28) because it had been reported stolen. Witnesses said Bearden, who was inside the car, had two large duffel bags.

Inside one, deputies said, they found an HP laser jet pro printer, super glue, a check starter kit, sticker project paper, small scissors, and refill kits for business checks and vouchers. The items can be used to forge checks.

Deputies said they looked in the second duffel bag and found four separate drivers licenses, a Social Security card and seven credit cards belonging to seven different people. They also found a red folder containing 32 forged checks. The victims included the office of Pasco Clerk of court Paula O’Neil, a clerk’s office in Kentucky and a Dade City computer business.

For information about the Pasco sheriff, go to

Pasco Sheriff | Crime | Arrests | Forgery | Paula O’Neil | Pasco Clerk of Court | Tampa Bay News | TB Reporter

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Learn about Clearwater Government from the Inside Out

Clearwater | Government | Citizens Academy

The Clearwater Citizens Academy is designed for residents interested in learning how the city operates.

CLEARWATER – Applications are being accepted for the 16th annual Citizens Academy, Clearwater 101, a 10-week program providing citizens with a hands-on learning experience about the people, equipment and infrastructure it takes to run Pinellas County’s second-largest city.

The classes will be from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesdays beginning Sept. 5. Graduation will be Nov. 16.

This interactive program is an educational experience for Clearwater residents interested in civic affairs. Sessions are led by elected officials, department directors and city staff who share information about the city’s operations and key issues facing Clearwater today. Participants must attend at least eight of the ten sessions in order to graduate at the City Council meeting on Thursday, Nov. 16.

Applications can be completed online: Printed applications are also available at or by calling (727) 562-4708.

A selection committee will choose 20 participants from the applications received. The committee will judge applications based on responses to questions while ensuring that the class reflects the diversity of the Clearwater community, with representatives from different neighborhoods and sections of the city. For information, go to

The application deadline is Aug. 1.

Clearwater | Citizens Academy | Government | Tampa Bay News | TB Reporter

#Clearwater #CitizensAcademy #Government #TampaBayNews #TBReporter


23 Pinellas Schools Improve Their Grades

Schools | Education | School Grades

Three Transformation Zone schools improved by two letter grades.

PINELLAS COUNTY – A total of 23 Pinellas County schools saw improvements in school grades according to information released by the Florida Department of Education.

“Our commitment to academic rigor and quality instruction is reflected in the significant improvement in letter grades throughout the district,” said Michael A. Grego, superintendent. “The most important elements to school success are strong leadership and dedicated teachers. We will continue to build on our success and learn from our challenges until all schools in Pinellas earn an A or B.”



School grade improvement highlights:

  • The number of schools with a grade of A or B increased from 43 to 51.
    • Seven schools improved to an A:
      • Anona Elementary, Bear Creek Elementary, Curlew Creek Elementary, Safety Harbor Elementary, Starkey Elementary, Sunset Hills Elementary and East Lake High
    • Eleven schools improved to a B:
      • Belcher Elementary, Frontier Elementary, Garrison Jones Elementary, High Point Elementary, Northeast High, Plumb Elementary, Ridgecrest Elementary, Sawgrass Lake Elementary, Skyview Elementary,Tarpon Springs Elementary, and Tarpon Springs Middle
    •  Five schools improved to a C:
      • Gibbs High, Gulfport Elementary, John Hopkins Middle, Melrose Elementary and Campbell Park Elementary
  • Four schools improved by two letter grades, including three Transformation Zone schools:
    • Bear Creek Elementary improved from a C to an A.
    • Transformation Zone Schools: High Point Elementary (D to a B), Campbell Park Elementary (F to a C) and Melrose Elementary (F to a C).
  • The number of D and F schools in Pinellas continues to decrease. Nine schools fell in the D and F range this year, a decrease from 11 in 2016 and 17 in 2015.

To view the complete results for Pinellas County Schools from the Florida Department of Education, go to Pinellas County School Grades 2017.

Pinellas Schools | School Grades | Transformation Zone | Education | Tampa Bay News | TB Reporter

#PinellasSchools #SchoolGrades #TransformationZone #Education #TampaBayNews #TBReporter

Florida Bar Disbars Pasco Attorney

Lawyers | Attorneys | Scales of Justice

The Bar also suspended a Tampa attorney.

TAMPA BAY – The Florida Bar has disbarred a Trinity attorney and suspended a Tampa attorney for three years.

The two Tampa Bay lawyers are part of a group of 20 from across the state the Bar announced it has recently disciplined.

Constantine Kalogianis of Trinity in Pasco County was disbarred effective 30 days from a May 25 court order, according to the Bar. Kalogianis, who was admitted to practice in 1993, was accused of borrowing more than $225,000 from a client’s inheritance for real estate development and giving $35,000 from the funds to his paralegal. Subsequently, Kalogianis decreased the monthly payments to the client and then stopped making payments on the loan.The Bar said he showed a “pattern of misconduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation regarding the loan agreement.”

Joe Manuel Gonzalez of Tampa was suspended for three years, effective retroactive to Dec. 3, 2016, after a May 4 court order. Gonzalez, who was admitted to practice in 1981, pleaded and was adjudicated guilty to the felony charge of structuring financial transactions to avoid currency requirements, which violated a federal law, the Bar said.

As an official arm of the Florida Supreme Court, the Florida Bar and its Department of Lawyer Regulation are charged with administering a statewide disciplinary system to enforce Supreme Court rules of professional conduct for the 104,000-plus members of the Florida Bar. Key discipline case files that are public record are posted to attorneys’ individual online Florida Bar profiles. To view discipline documents, follow these steps. Additional information on the discipline system and how to file a complaint are available at

Court orders are not final until time expires to file a rehearing motion and, if filed, determined. The filing of such a motion does not alter the effective date of the discipline. Disbarred lawyers may not re-apply for admission for five years. They are required to go through an extensive process that rejects many who apply. It includes a rigorous background check and retaking the bar exam. Historically, less than 5 percent of disbarred lawyers seek readmission.

For information about the Florida Bar, go to

The Florida Bar | Attorney Disbarred | Attorney Suspended | Attorneys | Lawyers | Tampa Bay News | TB Reporter

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FHP Trooper Injured in I-4 Crash

Patrol Car | Florida Highway Patrol | FHP

The passenger in the car that hit him helped move the trooper out of danger, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY – A Florida Highway Patrol trooper was injured Wednesday (June 28) when he was hit by an SUV the driver was unable to control.

Trooper Jack Hypes, 58, of Tampa, was taken to Tampa General Hospital with minor injuries. Jose L. Feliciano, 37, the driver of the SUV, was also taken to Tampa General Hospital for medical issues not resulting from the crash. He had no crash-related injuries.

The crash happened about 11:12 a.m. on westbound I-4 east of I-275. Feliciano was driving a 2007 Mitsubishi SUV when he had a medical emergency that made it difficult to control his vehicle. The SUV started weaving back and forth across multiple lanes, troopers said.

Kenneth E. Franklin, 26, of Temple Terrace, the passenger in the SUV, helped bring the vehicle to a controlled stop. Hypes, who had seen the erratic driving, stopped with the SUV on the inside shoulder of the road. Hypes approached the SUV on foot. The SUV lurched, hit Hypes, knocked him to the ground and partially ran over him with its left rear tire.

Franklin got out of the SUV and helped Hypes get to safety away from the SUV, which Feliciano was unable to control because of his medical condition. Franklin then helped get the runaway SUV stopped. Troopers said Franklin was instrumental in protecting Hypes from further injury and getting the SUV completely stopped.

No charges have been filed.

For information about the Florida Highway Patrol, go to

Florida Highway Patrol | FHP Trooper Injured | I-4 Crash | Traffic Crash | Tampa Bay News | TB Reporter

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