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Registration is now open for one-week summer camp programs at Brooker Creek and Weedon Island preserves.
Brooker Creek Preserve
Brooker Creek Preserve will offer a Herpetology Camp for children ages 7 to 11.
Herpetology Camp participants will explore the fascinating world of amphibians and reptiles through close encounters with a variety of animals, including tortoises, frogs, lizards and snakes. The camp will be led by wildlife biologist and environmental educator George L. Heinrich.
The Herpetology Camp runs Friday, Aug. 11 through Friday, Aug. 15, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., is limited to 30 participants, and costs $150 to register.
For more information or to register, contact Heinrich Ecological Services, (727) 865-6255, or email email@example.com.
Brooker Creek Preserve protects more than 8,700 acres of natural ecosystems and is located at 3940 Keystone Road in Tarpon Springs. The preserve, the horse trails and the Friends Trail are open daily and holidays.
The Pinellas County summer schedule includes a Herpetology Camp, Wildlife Ecology Camp and Archaeology Camp for children ages 7 to 11 at Weedon Island Preserve.
Herpetology Camp participants will explore the fascinating world of amphibians and reptiles through close encounters with a variety of animals, including tortoises, frogs, lizards and snakes. Wildlife Ecology Camp participants will learn about the ecology of Florida’s wildlife and natural habitats through hands-on activities, classroom sessions and guest presentations. The camps will be led by wildlife biologist and environmental educator George L. Heinrich.
The Wildlife Ecology Camp runs from Monday, July 7 to Friday, July 11, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the Herpetology Camp runs from Monday, July 14 to Monday, July 18, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. They are limited to 30 participants each, and each costs $150 to register.
For more information or to register your child, please contact Heinrich Ecological Services, (727) 865-6255, or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
Two hands on Weedon Archaeology Summer Camps sessions are offered for campers ages 7 to 11.
These camps are designed for children with a strong interest in prehistory and history as well as learning how early people interacted with their environment. Campers will learn about the importance of archaeology and will gain understanding about early natural resources that were necessary for life in the Tampa Bay region.
Highlights of the camps include guest experts, tour of an archaeological site, hands-on archaeology, lab analysis, pottery making and earning the certificate of Tommy the Tortoise, Junior Archaeologist.
The Archeology Summer Camp sessions run from Monday, July 21 to Monday, July 25 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and July 28 to Aug. 1 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. The cost is $150 for each camp session, and sessions are limited to 25 participants.
For more information, contact the Florida Public Archaeology Network at (813) 396-2325, or email email@example.com.
Learn more online about 2014 Pinellas County summer camps.
Hop on over to Pinellas County Animal Services to take advantage of spring specials through the end of April.
As part of the spring specials, the adoption fee will be $25 for large dogs and cats and $75 for puppies and small breeds during normal shelter adoption hours. The fee includes a medical checkup, spaying/neutering, vaccinations, internal and external parasite control and microchipping. The required Pinellas County license is also provided.
Rabies vaccines will also be offered at a reduced fee of $5 with the purchase of a Pinellas County license fee of $20.
Pinellas County Animal Services is located at 12450 Ulmerton Road in Largo. Normal hours of operation are Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., with the adoption center closing at 5:30 p.m. Saturday hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and services include adoptions. Rabies vaccinations are administered on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 2 to 3 p.m. through the end of April and Thursdays from 1 to 4 p.m. The facility is closed on all Pinellas County holidays.
For information on how to adopt, donate or volunteer, visit Pinellas County Animal Services online or call (727) 582-2600. The lost or found pets hotline is (727) 582-2604.
Visitors to Pinellas County government facilities will now be able to stay connected even better than before. Wi-Fi access is now live in approximately 800 access points across 99 Pinellas County government buildings.
Guests at the Pinellas County facilities will be able to log in by choosing to connect to the Pinellas_Guest network and agreeing to the Pinellas County Acceptable Use Policy that will open in a browser.
The Pinellas County wireless network supports both 802.11g and 802.11n wireless devices.
Internet access for guests requires no personal information but is temporary and requires authentication every eight hours.
Buildings with Wi-Fi access include:
Visit the WiFi website for a full list of access points and more information on connecting to the networks.
Pinellas County residents can safely dispose of many household electronics and chemicals at upcoming mobile collection events in April. These household mobile collections offered by Pinellas County Solid Waste are free for county residents.
Upcoming events in April are Saturday, April 5 at the Palm Harbor University High School at 1900 Omaha St., Palm Harbor, and Saturday, April 26 at Tarpon Springs High School at 1411 Gulf Road, Tarpon Springs. The events run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Scheduled events are subject to change due to severe weather. For everyone’s safety, participants must be in a vehicle.
Residents can drop off electronics such as camcorders, cell phones, computers, TVs, DVD players and microwave ovens. Chemical items accepted include automotive fluids, batteries, fuel, paint and fluorescent bulbs along with other mercury containing devices.
Residents should not mix chemicals together or place them in dark plastic bags, and should keep products in original, labeled containers if possible. Individual batteries should be placed in separate plastic bags or have terminals covered with heavy tape to prevent short circuits.
Items that will not be accepted include: air conditioning units and other large appliances, radioactive, biological or infectious waste, fire extinguishers, tires and propane tanks.
Businesses can participate in the mobile collection events for a fee. Businesses can arrange for drop-off and payment by calling EQ Florida at (813) 319-3400 for chemicals and Creative Recycling at (813) 621-2319 for electronics.
See the mobile collections website for more information on mobile collections including a full list of accepted items, instructions on how to transport chemicals and future dates.
Pinellas County reminds pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers to take measures for everyone’s safety. Some basic tips:
If on a bike:
Drivers are reminded to:
For more information on the Planning and Development Department, visit the website or call (727) 464-8200.
It is still a few months until the start of the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season, and now is the prime time for residents to review their survival plans. Activities such as outdoor improvements and adding additional bracing to an attic are easier to accomplish before the summer heat sets in.
Some key actions that can be taken now include:
While these preparations are essential for hurricane season, they can also help residents get ready for other hazards, including the summer thunderstorms.
For more information about how to prepare yourself and your family for hurricanes, visit the Emergency Management website to find your evacuation level, learn about storm dangers and discover how to create your own disaster plan.
Pinellas County reclaimed water seasonal restrictions will begin Tuesday, April 1. These restrictions limit reclaimed water irrigation during authorized hours to three days per week based on house number.
Pinellas County Utilities customers are encouraged to follow these restrictions throughout the year to promote a healthy, drought-tolerant lawn with deep roots. These restrictions are mandatory during Florida’s traditional dry seasons from April through June and October through November.
Violations of these restrictions may result in a $193 fine. For more information on reclaimed water, visit the website or call (727) 464-4000.
If you are not a Pinellas County Utilities customer, please check with your water supplier to verify your watering days.
Customers are also reminded that Pinellas County is under a Southwest Florida Water Management District Phase II Water Shortage Order allowing irrigation using potable, well, lake or pond water two days per week on assigned days based on house address. Verify your watering days online.
Pinellas County is planning to upgrade the Park Boulevard Bridge, which leads to the beaches at Indian Shores and Redington Shores. The project is expected to begin this June to reduce the impact on the tourist season. Due to the nature of the work, the bridge will be closed in both directions for a maximum of 30 days.
Indian Rocks Causeway and Tom Stuart Causeway bridges will be used as the detour routes, and signs will be in place to give motorists ample detour information. While this construction will be an inconvenience for travelers during the closure, the project will improve the roadway bridge for many years to come.
Constructed in 1979, the Park Boulevard Bridge connects mainland south and central Pinellas County with the barrier islands at Indian Shores and Redington Shores. A history of mechanical failures has prompted the county to replace the primary reducer, motor brake and adjust the air buffer mechanisms of the bridge mechanics.
Residents can visit the www.pinellascounty.org/roadwork.htm for more information.
A new electric cart donated by Pinellas Trails Inc. helped volunteer Auxiliary Rangers log nearly 350 miles maintaining the Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail since November.
Volunteers use the vehicle to monitor the approximately 38-mile trail, picking up trash and other debris to keep the trail clean and clear.
“It is a safe, quality cart that has earned rave reviews from volunteers who use it to maintain the trail,” said Bert Valery, president of Pinellas Trails Inc.
The cart is equipped with a bed that acts similar to a dump truck, making it easier for operators to dispose of debris. Because the cart is electric, there are no fuel costs, and the vehicle is exhaust-free.
“This is a great new cart,” said Phyllis Romanski of Largo, a volunteer Auxiliary Ranger. “The lack of exhaust fumes coming from the cart makes working on the trail for an extended period much easier.”
A video story on the Trails electric cart can be found on YouTube.
Pinellas Trails Inc. partners with Pinellas County to provide amenities and maintenance for the trail. The purchase of the cart was funded through donations from citizens.
The Office of Ken Burke, Pinellas County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller, launched a new website that allows users to view financial transactions undertaken by the Clerk of the Circuit Court and the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners. The Spending in the Sunshine website is the latest offering by Pinellas County to provide citizens an electronically accessed, transparent view of government activities.
The Spending in the Sunshine website allows users to view detailed financial transactions down to the invoice level, and if applicable, the check number and funding source across both departments. The site offers multiple methods of searching for information under various categories including by vendor, department and spending.
The site also provides records of salary expenditures for employees under both entities. Tutorial videos are placed on each tab of the site to help users navigate the different functions associated with each type of search. Users are also able to export data into multiple programs.
Clerk of the Circuit Court Ken Burke requested the in-house project be developed to offer citizens an easy-to-use, convenient way to view government spending.
“I am very pleased that all Pinellas County citizens will now be able to open the books, so to speak, and view government spending on their behalf,” Burke said. “I wanted to eliminate any barrier to being absolutely transparent. With Spending in the Sunshine, I believe we have accomplished just that—a companion piece to the state’s sunshine laws regarding open record keeping.”
The project was led by Clerk of the Circuit Court internet technology staff and developed by staff in Pinellas County’s Business Technology Services division, leveraging the county’s recent investment in the Oracle Business Intelligence Enterprise business planning and financial application.
To view the Spending in the Sunshine website visit the Clerk of the Circuit Court’s website and click on the Spending in the Sunshine tab at the top of the page.
With tax season in full swing, finances are a hot topic. The newly releases, There’s No Place Like Home, the radio show sponsored by the Housing Finance Authority of Pinellas County, tackles this timely issue. Listeners will hear information about free tax preparation sites and the Earned Income Tax Credit, as well as money management tips, like how to rate their financial fitness, for tax season and beyond.
The featured guests are Eddie Burch, communications and outreach coordinator with the Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County, and Nan Jensen, extension agent with Pinellas County Extension.
The radio program, which features different issues each month, airs the first Thursday of each month from 10:05 to 10:35 a.m. on WRXB 1590 AM. The show can also be watched on PCC-TV (Bright House 622, WOW 18 and Verizon 44), YouTube, or viewed online.
Pinellas County water restrictions will change for Pinellas County Utilities customers effective Saturday, March 1. These new changes will allow for lawn irrigation to return to two days per week according to the seasonal guidelines of a Phase II Severe Water Shortage Order previously issued by the Southwest Florida Water Management District’s Governing Board.
Pinellas County Utilities customers using potable, well, lake, or pond water for irrigation will be allowed to irrigate their lawns on two authorized watering days per week according to the schedule below:
In addition, the following conditions of the order remain in place:
New lawns and landscaping must continue to follow a 60-day establishment period irrigation schedule. Visit our website for schedule details at www.pinellascounty.org/utilities/water-restrict.htm.
If you are not a Pinellas County Utilities customer, please check with your water supplier to verify your watering days.
As a reminder, Pinellas County supplied reclaimed water customers are encouraged to follow the watering schedule shown below all year long to promote a healthy, drought-tolerant lawn:
The Pinellas County supplied reclaimed water three days per week watering schedule is mandatory during Florida's traditional dry seasons, which run April 1 through June 30 and Oct. 1 through Nov. 30. Watering using reclaimed water is not recommended between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Water restrictions can change at any time. Customers are responsible for staying up to date on restrictions and watering schedules. Violations of such restrictions or schedules may result in a $193 fine. Customers should monitor Pinellas County Utilities website, or the SWFWMD website to ensure they are following the most current water restrictions.
Property appraiser relocates office
The Tangible Personal Property Division of the Pinellas County Property Appraiser’s office has relocated from the Supervisor of Elections building in the Starkey Lakes Corporate Center, to their main branch office, which is on the second floor of the Pinellas County Courthouse, 315 Court St, Clearwater.
Non-Tangible Personal Property personnel (real estate only) will remain co-located in the Tax Collector’s Starkey Lakes location at 13025 Starkey Road, Largo.
Many Property Appraiser services are available online. Customers may also call the office at (727) 464-3207 for assistance.
The two additional Property Appraiser’s branch offices are:
Starting on Sunday, Jan. 16, residents will have another location to have their lawn and garden questions answered. The University of Florida/IFAS Master Gardeners of Pinellas County will hold a Plant Clinic on the first and third Thursday of each month starting on Jan. 16 (excluding holidays).
Volunteers will be available to answer questions and look at plant samples between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on those days. The plant clinic will be located in the lobby of the education center.
Other UF/IFAS Extension, Pinellas County Plant Clinic locations:
Nutrients from landscape debris are major contributors to water pollution in Pinellas County. Education of landscape industry personnel is key to improving water quality and certification of these professionals is a requirement in Pinellas County.
Anyone providing landscape services in Pinellas County must complete a Best Management Practices (BMP) training and obtain a vehicle decal for landscape maintenance per Pinellas County fertilizer and landscaping ordinance #10-06. This requirement includes all employees who use mowers, edgers, leaf blowers or other landscaping equipment. This also includes tree service employees.
The Pinellas County Extension offers Landscape BMP certification classes monthly. Classes are offered in English and in Spanish. The class cost is $15.
See a class schedule and register for a class session. For more information about the countywide fertilizer & landscape maintenance ordinance, visit the fertilizer website or call (727) 464-4425. Spanish speakers needing assistance with registration may call (727) 464-4605.
Pinellas County Extension is a partnership between Pinellas County government and the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences as part of a nationwide network of land grant universities. The University of Florida is an equal-access/equal-opportunity institution.
Pinellas County Extension offers a variety of programming focusing on sustainable living, lawn and garden, families and consumers, and 4-H youth development. Many of these programs are offered at the Extension office, 12520 Ulmerton Road, Largo, (727) 582-2100. The Largo office is open Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Pinellas County complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act. If you are a person with a disability who needs any accommodation in order to participate in an event or class you are entitled, at no cost to you, to the provision of certain assistance. At least seven days prior to the event or class, please contact the Office of Human Rights, 400 S. Fort Harrison Ave., Suite 500, Clearwater, FL 33756, (727) 464-4062 (Voice/TDD).
The new Recycle Today: 2014 Pinellas County Recycling Directory has just been released. The directory is packed with the latest information about how to recycle in Pinellas County including local options for recycling cans, glass bottles, plastics #1-7, paper, yard waste, cardboard, electronics, chemicals and motor oil.
Find out the new recycling options that are now available in Pinellas County. Many municipal recycling programs have been improved and citizens are encouraged to check for the changes in their municipality.
Free copies of the new directory are available in local newspapers. The directory will be distributed with the inserts in the Sunday, Jan. 19, edition of the Tampa Bay Times (formerly the St. Petersburg Times) and the St. Petersburg Tribune (formerly the Tampa Tribune - Pinellas County edition). Copies will also be distributed in the Thursday, Jan. 23, edition of The Weekly Challenger newspaper. Citizens can also pick up the copies in the Friday, Jan. 24 edition of the tbt* Newspaper, Tampa Bay’s free daily newspaper.
After Jan. 21, citizens can pick up a free copy at local libraries, Nature’s Food Patch or Pinellas County drop-off recycling centers.
Recycle Today is published by the Solid Waste Division of Pinellas County’s Department of Environment and Infrastructure each year to make recycling easier by providing detailed and updated information on local programs, including:
To learn more about recycling, visit the recycling website or call (727) 464-7500.
Pinellas County has been designated as a 2013-15 Citizen-Engaged Community by the Public Technology Institute. The PTI created this designation program to recognize excellence in the use of web technology and citizen engagement tools in local government.
Pinellas County is creating a coalition of community leaders to work on the issues surrounding changes made to the National Flood Insurance Program.
In a letter from Chairman Kenneth T. Welch, written on behalf of the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners, he states that the group effort is to develop a cooperative, broad-based and data driven approach to dealing with the issues.
“A key part of the strategy is to enlist the active engagement of every city in Pinellas County and develop an accurate portrayal of the nature and magnitude of the impacts our communities will face, dispelling the myth that this only affects the rich living on the beach,” said Welch. “It is a much different and pervasive problem.”
Changes made to the program is expected to affect more families and businesses in Pinellas County than in any other community in the nation and the effects of rising insurance rates are being felt in the local real estate market.
Wendy Nero, Pinellas County’s manager of intergovernmental relations, will be leading the effort for Pinellas County in coordination with Pam Dubov, Pinellas County property appraiser. The plan is set to begin in January.
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.