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Locally-transmitted Zika comes to Pinellas

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Pinellas County has its first case of locally transmitted Zika. The Department of Health is investigating five new cases of locally acquired Zika, including one case in Pinellas County. The remaining four cases were found in Wynwood, the trendy Miami arts neighborhood where health officials first identified local cases of the mosquito-borne illness. According to the Governor’s Office, there are now 42 cases of locally transmitted Zika in Florida. While the investigation is ongoing, Gov. Rick Scott said in a…

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Tampa Bay ranks second in job gains

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By Michael Moline The Tampa Bay region posted strong numbers in the latest report by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, released Friday. The Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metropolitan area recorded 37,700 new jobs, a 3 percent increase compared to the same point last year. Only Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford posted stronger gains, at 4.1 percent. Of the 701,642 people in Hillsborough County’s labor force, 668,853 held jobs — for an unemployment rate of 4.7 percent. That compares to 5.3 percent at the same point in 2015. Pinellas County…

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Pinellas slated for extra money to fight Zika

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Pinellas County Mosquito Control will receive a bit more than $106,000 in supplemental state funds for the month of August to combat the spread of the Zika virus. The funds are part of Gov. Rick Scott’s executive order that allocated $26.2 million in state funds for Zika preparedness, prevention and response in Florida. Each month, the risk across the state will be re-evaluated and funds may be reallocated. The funding award comes as Pinellas County Mosquito Control continues to aggressively…

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Norm Roche asks judge to overturn her decision in ‘un-hiring’ lawsuit

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Former Pinellas Commissioner Norm Roche has asked a judge to reconsider her decision that the county did not violate the state public records law. Roche contended Pinellas officials had failed to give him documents and other records concerning his termination from county employment before his first day of work. Earlier this month, Circuit Judge Cynthia Newton disagreed, saying Roche had “failed to meet the burden of establishing evidence that there were un-produced responsive documents within [the county’s] control.” In his…

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Pinellas County chooses new assistant county administrator

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Pinellas County has hired a new assistant county administrator, Bill Breckinridge, a U.S. Navy veteran and engineering professional with 20 years of experience, ranging from public works to environmental management. Breckinridge, who started work Monday, will oversee the following county departments: the St. Petersburg-Clearwater Airport, public works, and solid waste and utilities. He replaces Pick Talley, who held the position on an interim basis since last year and previously served Pinellas County for nearly two decades leading up to retirement.…

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Multi-million dollar Gateway Express project gets the go ahead

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Pinellas County commissioners unanimously agreed Tuesday to sign an agreement with the state Department of Transportation for a project designed to improve transportation in the Gateway area. “It’s going to greatly improve transportation in mid-county,” Commissioner Karen Seel said. “Hooray.” Commissioner Dave Eggers agreed, saying, “This is truly an exciting day.” Seel “enthusiastically” made the motion to accept the deal. The Gateway Expressway has been under development for 15 to 20 years, officials said. Construction is expected to cost about…

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High-speed ferry between St. Petersburg and Tampa is a go

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With a 5 to 1 vote, Pinellas County on Tuesday became the fourth governmental body to collaborate on the launching of a high-speed ferry between Tampa and St. Petersburg. The vote cements a deal among St. Petersburg, Tampa and Hillsborough County to link the two counties by a high-speed ferry. The lone holdout was Commissioner Dave Eggers who has opposed the proposal from the beginning. Among Eggers’ objections are a lack of market research on the viability of the project…

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