News item No. 1: Ryan Howard has a 19,578-square-foot mansion in Belleair Shore, Fla., a town on the Gulf of Mexico just a bit south of Clearwater Beach.
News item No. 2: That house apparently has had an illegal construction fence up on the beach-facing side of the property for two years, and not because of any actual construction.
No, the fence is up there to stop fans from taking pictures of the property, and perhaps of the Howard family, too.
Belleair Shore Mayor Bob Schmidt said the town has been trying to convince Ryan, 37, and his wife, Krystle, 27, to remove the construction fence for nearly two years.
At the Jan. 17 Town Commission meeting, Ryan and Krystle Howard offered their solution to the problem and explained why they've kept the construction fence up for years.
"What people are doing in front of our house, they're actually stationing out and they're trying to interact with us," Krystle said. "If we have our daughter out in the pool, they'll just come up, stop and stare and not even say anything. So, that's why we've really left our construction fence up. We've had no intention to keep it permanently there."
Commissioners urged the Howards to contact Pinellas Sheriff's deputy Scott Vaughn, who patrols their stretch of beach, when encountering trespassers. Dep. Vaughn said he was aware of the problem.
"Well, they're celebrities. So, people will climb over their fence," he said. "We've arrested them, numerous times. They go up on their second-floor balcony and take pictures of themselves, selfies, and then post it."
Good job, people. You made enough of a nuisance of yourselves that you actually gave the Howards a legitimate reason to put that ugly fence up on the beach.