Brooker Creek Preserve

partially reopens after fire

TARPON SPRINGS – Brooker Creek Preserve partially reopened to the public last week after having to close for nearly a week because of a wildfire.

As of last week, visitors were limited to hiking on the Ed Center Trail and Bird Path. Trails affected by the wildfire were not accessible and remained blocked off until further notice.

The wildfire started in a swampy area of the preserve, which is located at 3940 Keystone Road. Officials state that the fire spread slowly and impacted about 70 acres.

The preserve’s Environmental Education Center will resume its normal hours of operation, which are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursday through Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday.

Dunedin woman

arrested on

molestation charges

DUNEDIN – Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office detectives arrested a 32-year-old Dunedin woman last week on two counts of lewd and lascivious molestation for incidents that allegedly began in 2014.

According to a press release, an investigation began March 25 after a 19-year-old victim informed authorities of inappropriate sexual contact by a known person. Detectives stated the victim reported that Heather Matuszek, who was 28 at the time in 2014, was the victim’s church youth leader at the Clearwater Community Church. At the time, the report states, it was not uncommon for youth leaders to spend time with their groups outside of the church setting.

The victim, who was 15 at the time, stated that Matuszek spent the night in her bed on two separate occasions. Each time, Matuszek allegedly kissed the victim’s face, rubbed and caressed the victim’s arms, body and breasts over her clothing.

The victim reported additional incidents occurred outside of Pinellas County.

Detectives believe it’s possible there are more victims in this case. Anyone who believes their child may be a victim or has information regarding this case is asked to call 727-582-6006.

Children take the

ice with Lightning

CLEARWATER – Children associated with Tarpon Springs-based nonprofit organization Wheelchairs 4 Kids got to take the ice with former Tampa Bay Lightning player Brian Bradley last week at the Clearwater Ice Arena.

The June 13 event allowed the physically challenged children to try out sled hockey as well as receive tips from Bradley and meet ThunderBug, the Lightning mascot. Other Lightning staff members helped assist children who are unable to propel themselves and a two-time Paralympic gold medalist was in attendance to provide instruction as well.

One child was also surprised with a Lightning themed hand trike.

Discounted PSTA

youth bus passes

Local youths on summer break can still take advantage of discounted bus rides to get around the area by contacting the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority from now until Aug. 31.

The Youth Summer Go Card Haul Pass first went on sale for $35 on May 1. The pass allows riders to board all regular bus routes, excluding Routes 100X and 300X.

For more information, go to www.PSTA.net or call the InfoLine at 727-540-1900.

Pinellas Schools

launches IG account

In an effort to reach as many students and parents, Pinellas County Schools launched the district’s first official Instagram account.

The account can be followed by searching for “Pinellas County Schools” on Instagram or by visiting www.instagram.com/pinellascountyschools.

According to a press release, the account complements the districts current social media presence on Facebook and Twitter. Followers can expect photos from around county schools, including student stories, and information about the district’s history on Throwback Thursday (#TBT).

Youth performing

on stage

TARPON SPRINGS – Young, aspiring thespians who participated in this year’s Tarpon Arts’ Children’s Theatre Workshop will be showing off what they learned June 22-23 as they perform Disney’s Aladdin Jr.

Children spent weeks learning everything about plays and musicals, from on-stage performing to behind-the-scenes responsibilities.

The June 22 performance begins at 6:30 p.m. and the June 23 matinee starts at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $18 for general admission, $16 for Tarpon Arts members and $8 for children. Children under 5 get in free.

For more on the performances and other Tarpon Arts events, go to www.TarponArts.org or call the box office at 727-942-5605.

Ask the Experts

medical event

PALM HARBOR – AdventHealth North Pinellas will host its annual Ask the Experts event at Innisbrook Golf Resort on June 26.

The informal event invites residents to hear directly from a variety of medical specialists and ask questions. Area vendors offering health and lifestyle services will be on site with booths for guests to visit before and after a sit-down dinner with the physicians.

A seven-member panel, moderated by urologist Paul M. Arnold, will answer questions from the audience after the dinner.

For more information about Ask the Experts and to make reservations, call 727-943-3600 or go to www.adventhealthnorthpinellas.com.

—Suncoast News staff