CLEARWATER - It was nothing more than routine business March 24, when Pinellas County Commissioners, sitting as the Emergency Medical Services Authority, authorized staff to negotiate a contract for ambulance services with the No. 1 ranked firm, Paramedics Plus of Largo.
It was the first year in some time that the Commission’s Assembly Room wasn’t packed with fire chiefs, firefighters and paramedics voicing objections to the use of a private company to provide emergency and nonemergency transport services.
Commissioner Charlie Justice thanked County Administrator Mark Woodard for the work he did to take the controversy out of renewing the ambulance contract. He said in the past, some of the people on the evaluation committee “didn’t feel they had a voice.”
“Thanks for including them,” he said.
Commissioner Karen Seel described this year’s process as “peaceful.”
“Not a firefighter in the audience,” added Commission Chair John Morroni.
Commissioner Ken Welch pointed out that the ambulance contract was a very large contract and “very important.”
CLEARWATER - Pinellas County Commission Chair John Morroni read a proclamation at the March 24 meeting declaring April as Water Conservation Month.
The county and the state designate April because it is typically a dry month, Morroni said. Water demands are high, making it an ideal time to educate people about conserving.
Pinellas County has been successful in its longtime water conservation campaign. Morroni said citizens had managed to reduce their personal daily consumption of potable (drinking) water from 153 gallons in 1990 to 68 gallons in 2014.
Pinellas County reclaimed water seasonal restrictions begin Wednesday, April 1. These restrictions limit reclaimed water irrigation during authorized hours to three days per week based on house number.
Addresses ending in an even number (0, 2, 4, 6, 8) can use reclaimed water Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Addresses ending in an odd number (1, 3, 5, 7, 9) can water Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Addresses with mixed or no addresses, such as common areas associated with a residential subdivision, can water Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.
Lawn irrigation is prohibited between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and on Monday.
ST. PETERSBURG - Genius Central Systems, Inc., a leader in retail software solutions and actionable intelligence, announced March 26 that it is relocating to and expanding its headquarters operations in St. Petersburg.
The growing company plans to hire 40 new employees. In addition, about 60 positions currently in Florida will be transferred to the new St. Petersburg headquarters at 2232 5th Avenue South, St. Petersburg.
Gov. Rick Scott visited St. Petersburg for the March 26 announcement.
ST. PETERSBURG - For many people “Spring Break” is a magical time of year when Floridians and tourists alike enjoy picture perfect weather, award-winning beaches, spring training and tourist dollars streaming into the local economy.
For others, especially those living along the gulf beaches, “Spring Break” means something very different: Traffic.
To help reduce that traffic congestion (and the demand for “mom’s taxi service”) Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority is holding a special promotion encouraging transit use by offering a limited number of free, all-day bus passes.
CLEARWATER - For years, Pinellas County kept a pot of money to help people with emergency financial needs. It was part of its arsenal to prevent homelessness.
But the program fell victim to the budget axe wielded by previous county administrator Bob LaSala.
“We went many years without an emergency fund,” County Administrator Mark Woodard said March 24 during a presentation about a new pilot program that will restore money to provide a one-time hand up for those in need.
ST. PETERSBURG - The Bay Pines VA Healthcare System will host a Stand Down for Homeless Veterans event Saturday, April 11, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., in the courtyard located between buildings 2 and 37 at the C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center, 10,000 Bay Pines Blvd.
The event, to be held rain or shine, will feature a wide range of services available for homeless veterans and those at risk of becoming homeless. Services available will include access to medical care; free meals, toiletries, hot showers and clothing items; benefits and housing information; and employment assistance.
ST. PETERSBURG - A St. Petersburg woman died at a local hospital Friday, March 27, after the vehicle she was driving crashed into the rear of a stopped Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority bus about 8:10 a.m.
Florida Highway Patrol reports that the PSTA bus was stopped in the outside southbound lane of 66th Street at a bus stop located just north of 54th Avenue in St. Petersburg. Jennifer Hall Brugnoli, 54, also was traveling southbound on 66th Street.