The county seeks to inform you about upcoming meetings and agendas, events and issues that affect your lives and the community that we serve. Check back often for updates on the latest county news.
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Pinellas County’s Department of Health and Community Services will close its offices for training at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 13, and will reopen on Monday, Dec. 16. This includes the department’s four locations:
The offices of the Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County on Ulmerton Road in Largo and Disston Avenue in Tarpon Springs will still be open.
Want to follow along with a meeting of the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners while you’re on the go? If you have a smart phone or tablet computer, you’re in luck. Pinellas County is now live streaming board meetings right to you.
Mobile Internet users can visit the Pinellas County mobile website and click on the Live Streaming Video link which provides a video stream optimized for portable smart devices including iPad, iPhone, tablet computers and Android phones.
Through the Affordable Care Act, there is an opportunity for those who do not have health insurance, who are under-insured or who are not old enough for Medicare to enroll in an insurance program that will match their household’s budget and family needs.
But the options in the Affordable Care Act Health Insurance Marketplace can be confusing. Pinellas County Health and Community Services is here to help. Healthcare Navigators are stationed in offices throughout Pinellas County and are ready to help residents with answers to their questions, and information to help guide them through the process.
Residents can make an appointment with a Navigator to:
Enrollment is open through March 31, 2014. Make an appointment online at Pinellas County Navigators, pr call (727) 464-8411.
St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport (PIE) posts seven consecutive months with double-digit increases in passengers over 2012. Beginning in May, PIE has posted 28 percent, 28 percent, 22 percent, 19 percent, 14 percent, 16 percent, and 20 percent increases over the prior year’s monthly passengers.
November was a big month for Allegiant Airline’s growth starting service to six new destinations between Oct. 31 and Nov. 23. We also welcomed back Sunwing Airlines even earlier this year when service to/from Toronto began on Oct. 21. In February, Sunwing Airlines adds Halifax to their destinations served at PIE.
Airport Director Noah Lagos states, “We are thrilled with the service we are offering the community and the boost to our tourism economy. We see many happy travelers that have become frequent fliers with the great rates and non-stop service Allegiant offers to 31 destinations. Our partnership with the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino flying the Gulfport-Biloxi on Vision Airlines also has a regular following enjoying this great getaway.”
St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport’s November monthly passengers of 84,125 bring our year-to-date total to 919,951, on track to exceed the one million passenger milestone in 2013 last achieved in 2004.
It’s the busiest shopping time of the year and consumers need to be prepared. Pinellas County Office of Consumer Protection offers the following tips:
Ready, set, shop
Exchanges and refunds
Don’t get scammed
For more consumer tips call (727) 464-6200 or email email@example.com
A video about these and other services may be viewed on YouTube.
Pinellas County Commission Chairman Kenneth T. Welch looks back on – and ahead to – several key issues facing Pinellas County in his year-end State of the County video posted this week and on the county’s Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages. The links are provided n the county’s homepage.
“This has been a productive year for your County Commission, our county leadership team and our county employees,” said Welch. “The county has tackled a diverse set of issues this year.”
Welch’s presentation gives an encapsulated view of the major issues facing local government; links provided under the video direct residents to online sources for more information on each topic.
State of the County topics highlight ongoing efforts such as the need to revise the county’s emergency medical system and the successful campaign to address important stormwater needs in Florida’s most densely populated county.
Important items Welch identified for the upcoming year included the Greenlight Pinellas comprehensive transportation plan, the push for healthy communities and the future economic impact of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act.
The State of the County message can also be viewed on PCC-TV at noon, 6:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. on weekdays; 12:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on weekends. PCC-TV may be seen over Bright House Networks Channel 622, Verizon Channel 44 and WOW! Channel 18.
The old Pinellas Bayway bridge became part of the Pinellas County’s artificial reef system in the Gulf of Mexico over the summer.
About 12,500 tons of bridge material from the demolition of the old Bayway bridge went to the South County Reef. The deployments began in May and were completed by mid-September. The bridge material was donated by Orion Marine Group Inc., who was contracted by the Florida Department of Transportation to demolish the old Bayway bridge and construct a new four-lane high level bridge.
The Indian Shores and Treasure Island II Reefs also received some new material; each received 50 large reef balls. The project was funded in part through a grant from Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to provide new fishing and diving opportunities.
The reefs provide valuable underwater habitats for marine life. There are 43 reef sites along the gulf coast of Pinellas County from Tarpon Springs to St. Pete Beach, located from 200 yards to 38 miles offshore, and one in Tampa Bay located northeast of the St. Petersburg Municipal Pier.
The Pinellas County Artificial Reef Program is managed by Pinellas County Solid Waste in coordination with state and federal agencies. Watch a video to see how the old Pinellas Bayway bridge became part of Pinellas County’s artificial reef. For more information, visit Pinellas County Reefs or call (727) 464-7500.
Pinellas County’s Weedon Island and Brooker Creek preserves offer exhibits that are free and give people a great reason to come in out of the heat as part of their exploration of the county’s natural wonders.
At Weedon Island’s Cultural and Natural History Center is the permanent exhibit, Connecting People and Place, an art-inspired, hands-on educational exhibit which reveals the area’s history, ecology and people. Weedon Island Preserve is located at 1800 Weedon Drive NE in St. Petersburg
The Brooker Creek Environmental Education Center features Windows To Our Wildest Place, interactive exhibits and 22 discovery-oriented experiences that are fun for the entire family. It is located at 3940 Keystone Road in Tarpon Springs.
Both centers are operated by the Pinellas County Parks and Conservation Resources Department and are open Thursday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. They are closed all Pinellas County holidays.
Videos featuring the preserves can be viewed on YouTube.
The holiday season is just around the corner and Pinellas County can help deck the halls with the First-Time Homebuyer Program, available to those who have never owned a home, have not owned a home in the last three years or are veterans.
The rate for the Home Key 1st Mortgage is currently at 3.75 percent and is available to qualified first-time homebuyers in Pinellas, Pasco and Polk counties. If you need help with down payment and/or closing costs, the Home Key Plus 2nd Mortgage can help with up to $8,000.
To qualify for these programs, buyers must meet certain income requirements, have a minimum credit score of 640 and take a required homebuyer education class.
“There are many great opportunities for buyers to purchase a home,” said Anthony M. Jones, executive director of the Housing Finance Authority said. “Those who have been thinking about it can take a free class and learn if this is the right time for them.”
For more information, visit Community Development or call (800) 806-5154 or (727) 464-8210.
On any given night there are over 6,000 homeless children, families and adults in Pinellas County.
There are three aspects of the Affordable Care Act that make it easy for scams to thrive. First, the law affects nearly every American in some way, so consumers across the U.S. are vulnerable to getting scammed. Second, the act is not standardized nationwide, allowing each state to administer the law in different ways. Third, the complexity of the law leaves consumers confused.
Expect scammers to be counting on consumers’ lack of knowledge and confusion regarding the law in order to perpetrate their scams. Government officials will not call about health insurance and would never ask for personal information over the phone.
Those shopping for insurance through the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Marketplace are reminded that Pinellas County has a Navigator program set up to guide individuals through the selection process. Interested parties can call (727) 464-8411 to set up an appointment to talk with a Marketplace counselor at any one of three convenient Pinellas County locations.
For more information on the Affordable Care Act go to www.healthcare.gov. If you think you may be a victim of a scam, contact the Pinellas County Department of Justice & Consumer Service or call (727) 464-6200.
The Florida Department of Transportation and AAA are partnering to reduce distracted driving on Florida’s roadways by educating the public about the new Florida law banning texting while driving.
The Put It Down campaign is part of a comprehensive approach that includes law enforcement and education.