ST. PETERSBURG - Incumbent U.S. Rep. David Jolly and former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist agree on one thing - the Tampa Bay Rays should keep their stadium in Pinellas County.
They also agree that St. Petersburg is a good location for a Cuban consulate and they both support a repeal of the Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United vs. the Federal Election Commission that said political spending is protected under the First Amendment.
Both said that in hindsight, it had been a mistake to invade Iraq; however, Jolly pointed out adamantly that the decision should not deter from the service done by men and women in the military. Crist said he was sympathetic to the people who made the decision to go in using the information that was available at the time.
CLEARWATER - The Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners honored the achievements of Hispanic residents in Pinellas County and across the country by recognizing National Hispanic Heritage Month with a proclamation at its Sept. 14 meeting.
According to the 2015 U.S. Census estimate, Hispanic residents make up 9 percent of Pinellas County’s population.
Members of the Hispanic Outreach Center were in attendance to receive the recognition.
The Hispanic Outreach Center was founded as a partnership with the Clearwater Police Department in 2000 to provide interpreter services for police officers and advocacy for Spanish-speaking crime victims.
ST. PETERSBURG - Seventeen Pinellas County Sheriff's Office deputy recruits were recognized for completing the Corrections Academy training during a graduation ceremony Sept. 15 at the St. Petersburg College Allstate Center in St. Petersburg.
During the academy, the recruits completed a total of 456 hours training at the college.
Assistant Chief Deputy Sean Jowell with the Sheriff's Office presented sponsored recruits with their new badges and administered the Oath of Office to the group.
ST. PETERSBURG - Pinellas County Utilities will begin construction to repair a damaged 36-inch reclaimed water supply line on Monday, Sept. 26. During construction, commuters should anticipate traffic delays in the vicinity of 54th Avenue North and Park Street in St. Petersburg.
The outside southbound lane on Park Street will be closed on both sides of the intersection. Additionally, the southbound turn lane from 54th Avenue North to Park Street will also be closed. Contract work in the area damaged the pipe on Monday, Sept. 19.
Pinellas County Utilities’ reclaimed water customers in south county may experience low pressure or service outages during construction and until a repair to this service line is completed.
TIERRA VERDE - Just when it seemed as though the $1 million beautification grant along the Pinellas Bayway was dead and buried, the Pinellas County Commission stepped in and breathed new life into it.
Mary Scott Hardwick, the intergovernmental liaison for Pinellas County commissioners gave an update on the grant’s reactivation at the Tierra Verde Community Association meeting Sept. 12.
Last spring, the TVCA wouldn’t accept the grant under the original terms that included Tierra Verde coming up with matching funds. The TVCA board did not give up and pursued the Pinellas County Commission for a better deal. They got it.
To raise citizens awareness of the environmental threat of microplastics, the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension in Pinellas County has designated September as Microplastics Awareness Month.
Pinellas County residents are encouraged to learn about microplastics and ways they can reduce contributions to problems microplastics may potentially cause.
There are several ways to participate in Microplastic Awareness Month:
CLEARWATER - Pinellas County Emergency Medical Services struck gold with a 2016 Mission: Lifeline EMS Gold Level Recognition Award from the American Heart Association.
The award honors responders for implementing quality improvement measures to treat patients who experience severe heart attacks which would result in death without speedy intervention.
“We are proud to be recognized with this prestigious award,” said Craig Hare, director of Pinellas County Emergency Medical Services and Fire Administration. “This award exemplifies all of the efforts of our paramedics, emergency medical technicians, Critical Care Team members and emergency medical dispatchers to rapidly identify, treat and transport heart attack patients.”
TALLAHASSEE - The Florida Department of Health announced Wednesday morning that it was continuing to monitor the waters in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties following the discharge of a large amount of partially-treated wastewater by the city of St. Petersburg into Tampa Bay.
As part of the Florida Healthy Beaches Program, the department routinely monitors and conducts water testing at nine beaches in Pinellas County and five beaches in Hillsborough County. Some of these beaches are near the area of the sewage spill.
Sampling was conducted on Monday, Sept. 12, at all 14 sites. Water quality levels were either good or moderate for all locations but one. The department issued one advisory for Simmons Park Beach, which is across the bay from St. Petersburg. All testing results are reported on the department’s website each week and are available to the public.
TALLAHASSEE - Gov. Rick Scott directed the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Sept. 21 to investigate the recent sewage discharges in St. Petersburg.
While the city of St. Petersburg is responsible for conducting testing in the immediate area of the sewage spill, Scott directed the Florida Department of Health Sept. 20 to begin additional testing at this site.
Additionally, DOH continues to monitor the water quality and conduct sampling at 14 beaches which includes nine in Pinellas County and five in Hillsborough County. Earlier this month, following Hurricane Hermine, the city of St. Petersburg dumped about 150 million gallons of raw and partially-treated sewage and wastewater into Tampa Bay and Boca Ciega Bay.
The Pinellas County Housing Authority was recently notified by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that the agency had received a "high performer" designation in the Public Housing Assessment System Scoring Report.
The HUD report is a collective system that the department uses to assess a public housing authority's performance in managing its low-rent public housing programs. The score is comprised of a combination of four categories: physical, financial and management assessment, and the capital fund program. The agency also received a perfect score in its Section 8 Management Assessment score from HUD earlier this year.
The office of Ken Burke, Clerk of the Circuit Court & Comptroller’s Division of Inspector General announced another milestone in the division’s continuous self-improvement program.
During the first week of August, the Association of Inspectors General conducted an independent, external quality assurance peer review. The review included a thorough assessment of all aspects of the IG’s policies and procedures, management, audit and investigative operations, and support services to determine compliance with the recognized audit and investigative standards of excellence.
The Peer Review Team concluded that the Division met all relevant standards of the Institute of Internal Auditors’ International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing and the Association of Inspectors General’s Principles and Standards for Offices of Inspector General, which is the highest affirmation.
CLEARWATER - Millions of gallons of sewage - some treated and some not - spilled into waterways around Pinellas County due to torrential rainfall that flooded the system from Hurricane Hermine Aug. 31-Sept. 2.
It is not the first time that tropical weather has caused such a mess, but it may be the worst. Sewage also was pumped into local waterways in June when Tropical Storm Colin passed by.
Rep. Kathleen Peters, R-Treasure Island, has requested a special meeting of the Pinellas Legislative Delegation to discuss “critical infrastructure concerns,” and Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, chairman of the Delegation, scheduled a special meeting on Tuesday, Sept 20, to talk about the problem.