The U.S. House of Representatives passed a flood insurance bill Tuesday night that could signal the coming of relief for Florida families trying to deal with massive rate hikes.
Governor Rick Scott called the action the “right thing for Floridians.”
“The House’s action on this flood insurance fix tonight is an important win in our fight to undo unfair insurance flood insurance rate hikes that are hurting Florida families,” Scott said in a press release.
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson said the House bill didn’t do enough, but was a good first step.
“Although it doesn’t go as far as the bill we passed in the Senate, it’s good the House has approved some curbs on flood insurance,” Nelson said. “For the sake of policyholders facing massive rate hikes, I hope we can get a final version sent to the president quickly.”
The U.S. Senate approved legislation proposed by Nelson Jan. 30, which would delay many of the flood insurance rate increases for four years, during which time FEMA would be required to study the affordability of the policies and re-evaluate the accuracy of new flood maps.
Nearly 110,000 mail ballots had been returned to a Pinellas County Elections Office as of March 5 - well over half of the 201,000 distributed thus far.
According to a fact sheet from the Elections Office, 477,635 registered voters are eligible to take part in the District 13 special election to pick a new U.S. Representative as well as 12 municipal elections. Of that number, 460,600 can vote in the District 13 election - 170,565 Republicans (37 percent), 159,213 Democrats (34.6 percent), and 130,822 registered as minor party or no party affiliation (28.4 percent).
With 73,192 mail ballots returned the Elections Office as Feb. 21, and early voting set to begin Saturday, March 1, campaigns are in full swing for candidates looking to win Pinellas County’s District 13 seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Republican David Jolly, 41, Democrat Alex Sink, 65, and Libertarian Lucas Overby, 27, are running for the seat left vacant after for C.W. “Bill” Young died Oct. 18. Write-in candidate Michael S. Levinson also qualified. His name does not appear on the ballot; however, a blank appears on the ballot where voters can fill in his name.
Applications are being accepted through March 31 for the Sunstar FirstCare Ambulance Membership Plan. The Sunstar FirstCare Ambulance Membership Plan is a Pinellas County government program that works with insurance companies to cover out-of-pocket expenses associated with medically necessary ambulance transportation.
It covers unlimited medically necessary transportation to or from a medical facility within Pinellas County, offering protection that may be lacking with insurance coverage. For members without insurance, the plan provides a 20 percent discount on ambulance charges.
Memberships are $58.53 for an individual; $91.05 for the family plan. Coverage is effective through March 31, 2015 upon receipt of a completed membership application and remittance payment.
ST. PETERSBURG - A gust of wind caused the driver of a Brinks Armored vehicle to lose control and collide with the concrete barrier walls while crossing over the Dick Misner Bridge about 9:20 a.m. Friday, March 7. Southbound I-275 was closed until about 11 a.m.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Geoffrey Ross Andrews, 25, of Tampa was traveling southbound on I-275 in the inside lane, crossing the Dick Misner Bridge, which is the first span of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, when a gust of wind blew against the high profile vehicle. Andrews lost control and the vehicle traveled to the inside shoulder and then collided with the concrete barrier wall.
ST. PETERSBURG - Pinellas County Sheriff’s deputies are conducting a death investigation following an apparent industrial accident that occurred Thursday, March 6, at the Pinellas County Solid Waste Facility, 3001 110th St. N. in St. Petersburg.
According to investigators, Brian Keith Porter, 47, of Sarasota, drove the dump truck into the front gate of the waste facility at 11:29 a.m. He proceeded to the Waste to Energy Plant building, where he backed into bay No. 3 with a full load of trash. Deputies said it appears that he started to dump the load and encountered some type of malfunction with the bed of the truck.
At approximately 11:39 a.m., a worker found Porter pinned between the frame rail of the truck and the fully loaded dumping bed. Deputies said the worker reported the incident when he noticed that the dump truck had remained stationary.
Various fire department personnel responded to the scene and used fork lifts to raise the bed and free the man. The Medical Examiner’s Office will conduct an autopsy to determine cause and manner of death.
CLEARWATER - Pinellas County Commissioners gave unanimous approval Feb. 25 to a contract for professional design build services with Caladesi Construction Company of Largo for the Belleair Causeway bait house.
The bait house will be located adjacent to the Belleair Causeway Bridge at 3900 West Bay Drive in Belleair Bluffs.
According to staff notes, the building will be constructed on an elevated deck system of about 1,760 square feet and will be designed to allow space for a private concessionaire to do business. The concessionaire, to be selected through a separate competitive process, will be required to install his or her own equipment and furnishings.
Antique Alley Spring Antique Show
BELLEAIR BLUFFS – The Spring Antique Show will be presented Sunday, March 9, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Antique Alley, 580 N. Indian Rocks Road.
The alley overflows with more than 50 outside antiques vendors at this annual event, plus several charming and eclectic shops that are open year-round. Admission is free and parking is available in designated areas.
Art show and fresh market
ST. PETE BEACH – The Suntan Art Center, 3300 Gulf Blvd., hosts a juried art show and fresh market each Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Admission and parking is free. Call 367-3818 for details.
Corey Fresh Market
ST. PETE BEACH - Corey Fresh Market every Sunday October through May, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., on the 300 block of Corey Avenue in St. Pete Beach. Corey Fresh Market hosts an average of 50 local vendors, offering roduce, flowers/plants, arts/crafts, specialty foods, live music, special appearances. Free admission and parking. Visit www.coreyave.com or call 727-498-8778.
Kiwanis Club annual fire truck pull
SEMINOLE – The Kiwanis Club of Seminole will hold its annual fire truck pull, Pulling for Kids, Sunday, March 9, 1 to 3 p.m., at the Seminole Community Library at St. Petersburg College, 9200 113th St. N., south parking lot.
This fundraiser benefits several of the club’s projects, including the Key Club at Seminole High School, the Builders Club at Seminole Middle School, K-Kids at Bauder Elementary School, Every Child a Swimmer and Horses for the Handicapped.
The club is looking for sponsors and teams to register for the event. Adult and teen teams should have no more than eight members, and kids’ teams should have 10 to 12 members. Cost per team is $150.
For more information, call Steve Zazzaro at 432-3544.
Latin ballroom dance classes
ST. PETE BEACH – The St. Pete Beach Community Center, 7701 Boca Ciega Drive, offers Latin ballroom dance class on Mondays from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., from Feb. 24 to March 17.
The cost is $40. For more information, visit www.spbrec.com or call 363-9245.
Non-Trivial Pursuits CLEARWATER – The next Non-Trivial Pursuits program will be presented Monday, March 10, 7:30 p.m., at Chapel-By-The-Sea, 54 Bay Esplanade, Clearwater Beach.
The event will feature guest speaker Capt. Tyson Wallerstein. Wallerstein will present Better Weather! Better Fishing! He will make recommendations about where to fish in the area and will offer other helpful fishing tips.
Non-Trivial Pursuits is a long-standing program at Chapel-By-The-Sea offering presentations to the public on various topics. There is no charge for the programs and light refreshments are available. Seat reservations are requested so proper arrangements can be made.
PINELLAS PARK – Senior Solos will meet on the second Monday of the month, 1:30 p.m., at the Pinellas Park Recreation Center, 7625 59th St. N.
Bring a potluck dish to share and pay $2 or pay $5 without a dish.
All singles 55+ are welcome.
Call Pat at 520-8797 for more information.
Speak Easy Toastmasters Club meeting
PINELLAS PARK – The Speak Easy Toastmasters Club meets Mondays at 6 p.m. at Lin’s K Hibachi Buffet, 7610 49th St. N.
Guests are welcome.
The Toastmasters program helps members become better speakers for their jobs, presentations and meetings.
Call Jim Martin at 536-3392 or email email@example.com.
OLDSMAR – The city of Oldsmar offers high-energy zumba fitness sessions Mondays, 6 to 7 p.m., at the Cypress Forest Recreation Center.
The price is $5 per class with a recreation card or $7.50 per class without a card.
Community Chorus meeting
PALM HARBOR – The Palm Harbor Community Chorus meets Tuesdays from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at Crystal Cove Community Church, 6900 County Road, Palm Harbor. No auditions are necessary. For more information, call Anita at 939-2952.