Friday, November 17, 2017


Kathryn Varn

Kathryn Varn

Kathryn Varn covers public safety in north Pinellas County and news in the city of Largo. She is from the Jacksonville area and graduated from the University of Florida, where she studied journalism.

A rendering of the proposed West Bay Lofts project, a conglomeration of mixed commercial and residential buildings. [Courtesy of City of Largo]

Developer changes approach as downtown Largo project lags in financing

LARGO — Driving down West Bay Drive, you may notice some changes to downtown Largo.A new 29-unit apartment complex on Ridge Road stands finished and ready for residents. South of the complex, land that was formerly home to a community of...
Published: 11/17/17
St. Petersburg residents Bethany Hogan, and her husband, Shane Hogan, both 29, enjoy their dinner on a bench overlooking Tampa Bay from Vinoy Park as the sunset casts a pink glow in the eastern sky in this August 2017 file photo. The Tampa Bay Times has created a Facebook group for news across Pinellas County from St. Petersburg, where this photo was taken, up to Tarpon Springs. LARA CERRI   |   Times

Attention Pinellas readers: Stay up-to-date with our new Facebook group

We at the Tampa Bay Times know how overwhelming it can be to find the news most useful to you in today’s constant churn of information.We also know decisions made by your mayor, city council, police chief and other representatives have the...
Published: 11/13/17
Updated: 11/14/17
Mission City Church in Largo has decided to hire an off-duty police officer to provide security during services. CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times

Tampa Bay churches grapple with safety, security after Texas shooting

Chris DeFayette had just gotten home from a smooth morning of services at Mission City Church in Largo when he saw the news.A shooting at a small church in Texas. Multiple casualties. Information was still rolling in, but the death toll would...
Published: 11/10/17
Updated: 11/13/17

Largo police department offers public training for active shooter situations

LARGO — A police department training Nov. 18 for residents to learn strategies to survive in the event of an active shooter is full, but officials are asking interested people to contact the department to potentially hold another class.The...
Published: 11/09/17
A Tampa Fire Rescue firefighter holds up a nasal spray applicator of naloxone, a drug that temporarily blocks the effects of opioid overdoses more commonly known by its brand name Narcan, in this file photo from July 2016. Tampa Bay area law enforcement agencies have started supplying officers and deputies with the drug to protect the public and their own employees who may come in contact with powerful synthetic opioids. Andres Leiva   |   TIMES

On front lines of opioid epidemic, Tampa Bay cops add Narcan to toolkit

The scene has become all too familiar.A woman found slumped over in a running car. Police officers breaking through the window to get to her and the two children inside. A used syringe, silver spoon and lighter lying on the...
Published: 11/01/17
Updated: 11/10/17
Area around 6200 Gulf Boulevard, St. Pete Beach where the weekend shooting occurred. The Beachcomber Resort is on the left.   SCOTT KEELER   |   Times

St. Pete Beach, Treasure Island communities baffled by weekend shootings

UPDATE: Pinellas County deputies say they have arrested two men responsible for a pair of drive-by...
Updated one month ago
David Sommer, 60, of Safety Harbor and a longtime Tampa Tribune courts reporter, was killed in June, according to deputies. Investigators on Friday arrested a man they believe killed him. [Courtesy of Fred Bellet]

Deputies: Safety Harbor man killed neighbor over yard work money

SAFETY HARBOR — A four-month death investigation ended Friday when deputies arrested a 40-year-old man on a charge of first-degree murder.Michael Robert-Jose Harbaugh is accused of killing longtime Tampa Tribune courts reporter David Sommer,...
Updated one month ago
State attorney Andrew Warren says Hillsborough County has been behind the curve when it comes to civil citations for juvenile offenders. .ANDRES LEIVA   |   Times

For kids seeking second chances, Pinellas a better place to be than Hillsborough, study shows

When it comes to second chances, one side of Tampa Bay is a better place to be a kid in trouble than the other.That’s according to a report released this week grading Florida counties on how often they use juvenile diversion programs, which...
Updated one month ago
LUIS SANTANA   |   Times
Protesters scream at supporters of Richard Spencer after his speech at the Phillips Center at the University of Florida.  [Thursday October 19, 2017] [Photo Luis Santana | Times]

Richard Spencer speaks, and Gainesville emerges weary but at peace

GAINESVILLE — Fists raised, a sea of defiant student protesters at the University of Florida relentlessly shouted down the white nationalist on stage. Richard Spencer paced, irritated, clinging to his chance to talk."Go home, Spencer," hundreds...
Updated one month ago
One man is dead after the owner of a car fired shots at the thieves who were stealing it on Oct. 16, 2017, Clearwater police said. The unidentified car owner reported the theft, at the Bank of America at the corner of Belcher and Belleair roads, to police around 8 p.m. The car owner also fired shots at the thieves. [Clearwater Police Department]

Police: Woman shoots, kills teen who carjacked her son in Clearwater

CLEARWATER — They met after dusk in the parking lot of a bank for what seemed like a routine transaction.Louise Ornduff and her son Kalaeb were there to negotiate the sale of a 2016 Nissan Rogue with Lasupta Singletary, 18, and Jernalen Dreshaw...
Updated one month ago