Tracey McManus, Pinellas County Commission, Scientology and Clearwater Reporter

Tracey McManus

Pinellas County Commission, Scientology and Clearwater Reporter

I cover Pinellas County with a focus on the workings and impacts of government, environmental issues, the City of Clearwater, the Church of Scientology, animal welfare and other topics. Before joining the Times in 2015, I spent five years with The Augusta Chronicle in Georgia. I've wanted to be a journalist pretty much since I was old enough to read the newspapers my dad kept stacked near the kitchen table every day. That's never changed. I was born in Brooklyn but grew up in south Florida and graduated from University of Florida in 2010 with degrees in journalism and Spanish. When not on deadline, I'm usually out running with my two dogs Tiger and Ollie, both strays I found in Georgia.

Scientologists win majority on downtown Clearwater board

A Church of Scientology staff member, left, crosses Cleveland Street while Miami tourists Elena Norma, left, and Martha Suarez, center, explore downtown on May 4 2017. A majority of candidates associated with the Church of Scientology were elected to the Downtown Development Board on Tuesday, a body tasked with setting culture and promoting downtown. The church established its international spiritual headquarters downtown in 1975 and is the largest property owner. Douglas R. Clifford  |  Tampa Bay Times
The results are believed to be the first time the church has had a majority presence on an elected city body.

Pool service worker in hospital after near drowning in Clearwater

Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. tmccarty  |  times staff
The 30-year-old man remained in critical condition on Saturday

Election could put majority Scientologists on Clearwater downtown board

A Church of Scientology staff member, left, crosses Cleveland Street while Miami tourists Elena Norma, left, and Martha Suarez, center, explore downtown in 2017. Three of the five candidates for Downtown Development Board are business owners who are also members of Scientology, bringing the potential that a majority of parishioners will fill the board tasked with supporting downtown revitalization. Douglas R. Clifford  |  Tampa Bay Times
Though it has little power, the Downtown Development Board shapes culture downtown, where Scientology has its international spiritual headquarters

Scientology policy enabled years of child sexual abuse, lawsuit says

A team of a dozen victims' rights attorneys on Wednesday filed the third lawsuit in three months against the Church of Scientology and its leader David Miscavige. The complaint states a woman was repeatedly sexually abused as a child in Scientology's care and that church policy enabled the abuse. PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU  |  AFP/Getty Images
The third lawsuit filed against Scientology and leader David Miscavige in three months accuses the church of sexual battery, racketeering and conspiracy

Dade City’s Wild Things owner arrested on fraud charges

Kathy Stearns, Dade City’s Wild Things owner, was arrested on fraud charges Pasco  County Sheriff's Office
The criminal charges come amid an ongoing civil lawsuit with PETA, which alleges Wild Things’ cub petting business is abusive for pulling cubs from mothers and confining adults to barren cages.