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Pinellas County school students return to class Monday, Aug. 18, and the state wants to help reduce the burden on households budgeting for the necessities of learning.

Florida’s 2014 Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. Friday, Aug. 1, and continues through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 3. During the three-day period, purchases of certain school supplies, clothing, and computers and computer-related accessories will be exempt from sales tax.

The state’s first sales tax holiday occurred in 1998 and it ran for seven days. For the first few years, the tax holiday applied only to clothing and footwear. In 2001, lawmakers added school supplies to the tax-exempt list. In 2013, legislators added computers and related accessories valued at $750 or less for personal or home use.
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LARGO - Logan Hofstetter, 11, like any competitive surfer, pays close attention to weather patterns, winds and storms. Catching waves big enough for him to surf can be a bit of a challenge - based, as he is from Largo, closest to the often-lackluster Gulf waves.

But it’s nothing Logan’s focused self-motivation can’t handle. He and his father, Mike Hofstetter, travel to prime surfing spots on both Florida’s west and east coasts to catch the best waves. They’re usually trekking across the state on the weekends.

“It’s nothing for me to ... get 20 texts: ‘The wind’s blowing.’ ‘When are we going?’ ‘Where are we going?’ ‘The truck’s loaded.’ ‘Let’s go.’ ‘I don’t care about your meeting.’ ‘Let’s move,’ ” Mike explained with a smile. “Things of that nature is what we deal with.”

Mike and his wife, Debbie, are proud of their son and his determination. And they admit that they had a part in his love for the beach.

“We’ve always been water people,” said Debbie. “Logan’s been in the water since he was a baby.”
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School News
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As summer draws to a close, I am optimistic about the journey ahead for Pinellas County Schools. It promises to be an exciting school year for our district as we strive to meet the needs of students and respond to the changing landscape of the 21st century.

This spring our district was awarded a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Next Generation Systems Initiative grant to expand personalized learning opportunities for students. Personalized learning tailors what, when, how and where students learn to each student’s individual needs and interests.
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Clearwater Beacon News
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CLEARWATER - Daniel Slaughter, a veteran of more than two decades with the Clearwater Police Department, has been named the agency’s new chief.

City Manager Bill Horne made the announcement Tuesday morning, picking the patrol commander as the 13th chief of the department after an internal search, necessitated by the recent resignation of Chief Tony Holloway.

Slaughter meets all the criteria that we are looking for and need in a police chief. He is a highly competent police professional with the appropriate education credentials, field experience, and respect and support from his peers, subordinates, police unions, city department directors, neighborhood leaders and the Tampa Bay law enforcement community, Horne said.
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Pinellas County
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CLEARWATER - After more than seven years on the job, the executive director of Visit St. Pete/Clearwater is moving on.

D.T. Minich announced the news Monday morning that he is leaving Pinellas County to work for the Kissimmee Convention Visitors Bureau effective Aug. 15.

“As you might imagine, this was not an easy decision to make,” Minich said in an email sent out Monday morning. “I have many fond memories of my time here, and I'm extremely proud of all the accomplishments we have achieved together as an industry. I'm also extremely proud of my incredibly talented and dedicated CVB staff, whose hard work and dedication is responsible for the amazing leaps we have made in Pinellas County tourism.”
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Seminole Beacon News
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SEMINOLE - For over a decade, since his retirement, James Swart has regularly met his friends at Seminole Mall.

The group sits in the same spot every day - at a table at the center of the mall, right in front of Stein Mart. Sometimes there are just a handful of them; sometimes their numbers swell to more than a dozen.

“It’s just someplace to sit,” he said. “You don’t have to buy anything, and we can catch up on things, talk about life, what we’re going to eat that night.”
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Dunedin Beacon News
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DUNEDIN - City officials continue to talk to the Toronto Blue Jays about the team’s needs for spring training, including the possibility of building a new stadium on 22 acres off Patricia Avenue.

The Jays’ contract with Dunedin expires Dec. 30, 2017, and city officials hope to get a commitment from the Jays for at least another 20 years.

In a memo City Parks and Recreation Director Vince Gizzi said city officials and Jays executives discussed expanding training facilities at a meeting March 24. After further discussion a suggestion came up that 375 Patricia Avenue, known as the former Neilson property, would make a better site to meet the needs of the Blue Jays.
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Latest Updates
Pinellas Park Beacon
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School News
•  Superintendent's message - Exciting year ahead for Pinellas schools
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Seminole Beacon
•  Seminole community reacts to mall plans
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Largo Leader
•  Largo man in jail for second-degree murder
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Viewpoints
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Reader's Forum
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Clearwater Beacon
•  Clearwater names new police chief
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Palm Harbor Beacon
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Pinellas County
•  Pinellas’ tourism guru takes new job
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Tampa Bay Newspapers
9911 Seminole Blvd.,
Seminole, FL 33772
Phone: (727) 397-5563
Fax: (727) 397-5900
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