TALLAHASSEE - With summer coming to an end and the school year right around the corner, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is promoting Child Safety Awareness Month. The theme of this awareness campaign is “Every Child is a Human Caution Sign.”
“Children are living caution signs, whether riding in cars, playing in the park, or waiting for the school bus,” said Lt. Col. Troy Thompson, deputy director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “Very soon, kids will be using all modes of transportation to get to school. It’s the perfect time to remind everyone of the ‘Rules of the Road’ regarding pedestrian, bicycle, school bus, and seatbelt safety.”
During the school year and especially as school starts, DHSMV is focusing on traffic-related safety concerns involving Florida’s children. Troopers are asking parents, caregivers and guardians to talk to your children about these important safety tips for going back to school.
CLEARWATER - Pinellas County’s Tourist Development Council fund has more than $6.7 million extra to spend this year, thanks to record bed tax collections.
County commissioners unanimously approved a resolution Aug. 18 that appropriates $4,735,601 in “unanticipated” Tourist Development Tax, aka bed tax, and reallocates $944,380 from the TDC reserve fund. The remainder of the extra money comes from the $2,038,695 fund balance for the current fiscal year.
CLEARWATER - St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport is celebrating its biggest month in history.
The airport, call letters PIE, served 173,743 passengers in July, which is a 50 percent increase from 2014.
PIE has seen a 31 percent increase in the number of passengers served during the first seven months of the year. Domestic travel increased by 31 percent and International by 22 percent.
Allegiant, the airport’s primary carrier, will begin offering service to Memphis Oct. 1, and Allegiant recently announced that beginning in November it will add flights to Appleton, Wisconsin (Nov. 6); Scranton, Pennsylvania (Nov. 6); and Kansas City, Missouri (Nov. 12).
ST. PETERSBURG - Despite severe weather and record rainfall throughout the county, the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority set a new record for the highest ridership ever in July.
Riders boarded PSTA vehicles 1,260,603 times, a 0.7 percent increase from the same month in 2014, and the 74th consecutive month of ridership exceeding 1 million. The nearly 9,000 additional trips made last month came despite several days of heavy rainfall that left three counties flooded, dozens of roads closed, and forced evacuations, according to a media release from PSTA.
“The safety of our passengers is always our first priority and that is even more so during severe weather,” said Safety, Security, and Training Superintendent Michael Gloss. “PSTA bus operators go through months of training and practice to help prepare them for all types of weather situations.”
CLEARWATER - Tampa Bay Rays President Brian Auld was one of the special guests attending the Aug. 18 Pinellas County Commission meeting.
He was there to receive special recognition from the commission for the Rays Honor Pass program, which is the team’s latest effort to honor and thank local veterans.
“We thank the Rays for their continued service, outreach and contributions to our community,” Commission Chair John Morroni said, before presenting Auld with a certification of recognition signed by all the commissioners.
LEALMAN - Upgrades to railway crossings on 49th Street North in Lealman area are complete and the road is now open, according to a media release from Pinellas County Communications.
This railroad reconstruction project was part of a systematic maintenance and railway improvement and replacement program by Pinellas County and CSX Transportation, Inc. Public railroad-highway grade crossings in the county are identified for replacement according to the age or condition of the crossing.
The project included replacement of undersized rails and a replacement of the existing rubber pad crossing with a prefabricated, tie-less concrete crossing. The roadway was then reconstructed to match the new elevation of the railway.
Pinellas County’s not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for July is 5 percent, just a tad higher than the rate of 4.9 percent reported in June.
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity released the latest numbers Aug. 21. The state’s not seasonally adjusted rate also increased from 5.6 percent reported in June to 5.7 percent in July. The U.S. unemployment followed the same pattern with the not seasonally adjusted rate in July up to 5.6 percent compared to 5.5 percent in June.
ST. PETERSBURG - More than 40 local businesses were honored Aug. 6 during LocalShops1’s seventh birthday bash and annual Best in Biz Awards, presented by C1 Bank.
This year there were five categories - Most Community-Minded, Best in Grassroots Marketing, Best New Business, Best Established Business and Best Nonprofit. Winners were chosen through an online poll - in which more than 2,500 people participated - and by a panel of independent judges including local journalists and business professionals.
The event featured keynote speaker St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman and was hosted by channel 10 News journalist Noah Pransky.
CLEARWATER - The Housing Finance Authority of Pinellas County in partnership with Pinellas County is now accepting proposals for the use of new Land Assembly Funds to promote the development of workforce housing.
All proposals must focus on increasing the number of affordable rental units in Pinellas County through the construction of new housing or the preservation of existing affordable units.