Archived Blogs & Articles

 
Posted: 3/21/2013
SWFWMD Tampa Bay Cooperative Funding Public Meeting Apr. 16th
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A key program for building partnerships is the Southwest Florida Water Management District's Cooperative Funding Initiative (CFI) program. The CFI covers up to 50 percent of the cost of projects that help create sustainable water resources, enhance conservation efforts, restore natural systems and provide flood protection. All CFI funding decisions are made by volunteer Governing Board members who are well informed on the specific resources and challenges within their areas. Each April, District staff presents recommendations and rankings of which projects to fund, and answers questions from the Governing Board members.

The Hillsborough County Lake Management, Adopt-A-Pond, and Stream Waterwatch Programs are supported by the SWFWMD CFI. Their continued funding is not guaranteed.

An upcoming public meeting will be held by the SWFWMD to receive comment on CFI proposals. Anyone wishing to make comment can attend the April 16th meeting that deals with Tampa area projects. It will begin at 10:00am at the SWFWMD Tampa office located at 7601 US Hwy 301. Tampa, FL 33637.





















Posted: 3/18/2013
Public Meeting To Be Held April 4 To Discuss The Ruskin Area Recreation Center

Hillsborough County will conduct a public meeting on Thursday, April 4 at 6:30 p.m. to receive public comment and discuss plans to build a new recreation center in the Ruskin area. The meeting will be held at the Ruskin Recreation Center, 901 6th St. SE in Ruskin.

This Capital Improvement Project will cost approximately $1.5 million for construction, and $150,000 for site work. The meeting will discuss construction of a new approximately 9,000 to 10,000 square-foot multi-purpose recreation center.

For more information on the meeting, contact the Parks, Recreation and Conservation department at 813-635-3500.

Posted: 3/11/2013
Imagine 2040 Working Group: "Our community needs clear vision!"
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Several rounds of questions were posed to the Imagine 2040 Working Group at its first visioning workshop held on February 12. Eager participants used hand-held electronic voting devices to express themselves.

The group spoke loudly when asked: "Does this community have a clear vision for the future?"
56% voted "No" with only 16% voting "Yes."

One thing we can be sure of, is over the next year, we will be working together to clearly define our community's vision in order to obtain the best possible quality of life for our current and future citizens.

Able to view the results of each poll instantly, the group engaged in open discussions on big ideas to guide land use and transportation decisions going forward, on topics related to our region's past and future growth. Solutions were sought when tackling our greatest challenges, like:

  • identifying our most critical challenges
  • effective, collaborative leadership
  • prioritizing and funding for needed transportation improvements
  • maximizing the potential for land available for development and redevelopment
  • achieving long term economic prosperity
  • creating and retaining well-paying jobs
  • addressing the needs of an aging population
  • meeting the quality of life desires of the younger generation
  • water supply, environmental concerns and disaster relief

Summary of responses from working group participants

Posted: 2/20/2013
Florida Wildlife Corridor film to premier March 3rd in Tampa

Sunday, March 3 - 6:30 pm
Tampa Bay History Center
801 Old Water Street, Tampa

WUSF Public Media presents the premiere screening of the documentary film on the 2012 Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition. The 3-month expedition traversed the wildlife habitats, watersheds and working farms and ranches from the Everglades to Okefenokee which comprise the Florida Wildlife Corridor opportunity area. Team members will be on hand for Q&A session following the screening. The film will be projected on an outdoor screen in Cotanchobee Park, next to the Tampa Bay History Center; bring lawn chairs or blankets for seating. Admission is free.

The Team:
  • Carlton Ward, Jr. – Photojournalist and eighth generation Floridian
  • Elam Stoltzfus – Award-winning cinematographer
  • Joe Guthrie – Bear biologist
  • Mallory Lykes Dimmitt – Conservationist
Florida Wildlife Corridor movie trailer:

Visit the Florida Wildlife Corridor website

Posted: 2/11/2013
HCSO launches new bicycle registration program
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On January 7, 2013, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office (HCSO) launched a Bicycle Registration Program countywide. Should a bicycle be lost or stolen, the best way to help the Sheriff's Office locate, identify, and return a bicycle to its rightful owner is to register it. You can register your bicycle with the Bicycle Registration Program by completing the bicycle registration form and submitting it to HCSO. Once registered, you will be issued a decal with a registration number to affix to the bicycle frame.

The registration number assigned to your bicycle and your information will be entered into the Sheriff Office's records management system. Simply by registering your bicycle, YOU are helping to deter bicycle theft!

View the HCSO's Bicycle Theft Prevention website.

View the registration form.

Posted: 2/11/2013
USF adds bicycle repair station
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The first Bicycle Repair station at the University of South Florida has been installed on the first floor of the Beard Garage located off of Alumni Drive. The repair station is convenient to use and offers an air pump and an assortment of tools. The location is covered, providing shelter for users.

Purchased by the New North Transportation Alliance (NNTA), a public/private partnership in the USF area managed by the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) with funding from the Florida Department of Transportation District 7, the station is "encouraging bicycling as a mode of transportation, an important part of a sustainable campus," said Julie Bond, NNTA co-chair. "We are working to make the campus a safe and enjoyable place for both bicyclists and pedestrians." NNTA has also provided bicycle racks that are installed in USF parking garages and at local businesses.

For more information and to provide comments on this new facility, please visit: Tampa BayCycle

Posted: 1/14/2013
Hillsborough County’s Division of Children's Services Recognized For Service Excellence

Hillsborough County is proud to announce that, last December, the Division of Children’s Services earned a prestigious accreditation from the Council on Accreditation (COA). Children's Services manages a wide range of residential and non-residential services for at-risk children and parents, oversees the Child Care Licensing office, and offers parent education classes in conjunction with Hillsborough County Schools. Services include residential group care for dependent, abused or neglected children; counseling services to reunite families and prevent runaway and ungovernable behavior; and short-term residential respite care and shelter.

“I am delighted to inform you that Hillsborough County Department of Family and Aging Services/Division of Children's Services has been accredited” said Richard Klarberg, President and CEO of COA, in a letter to Hillsborough County. “Accreditation is a tremendous achievement that demonstrates that your organization has been recognized as a provider that has successfully implemented high performance standards and, as such, is delivering the highest quality services to all of its stakeholders.”

COA accreditation is widely recognized by state and national organizations as a process that contributes significantly in the improvement of behavioral health, child welfare, and other human service fields.

According to The Congressional Report on Child Welfare, COA accreditation reduces caseloads, resulting in more attention and better care for clients. It increases emphasis on professional credentials, leading to more qualified staff; and reduces supervisor-to-staff ratios, allowing more supervision of front-line staff.

Some of the benefits for seeking COA accreditation include:

  • National and external validation of performance;
  • Establishing credibility that the organization is effective and professionally sound;
  • Demonstrating accountability in management of resources;
  • Showing a high degree of commitment to comparing agency practices to national standards;
  • Improving workforce morale and community and public confidence;
  • External validation that the organization has met accepted national standards;
  • Stimulating organizational improvement and increasing program effectiveness; and
  • Facilitating uniformity in practice without compromising flexibility.

For more information on Hillsborough County’s Division of Children's Services, call 813-264-3807.

About The Council on Accreditation
Funded in 1977, the Council on Accreditation (COA) partners with human service organizations worldwide to improve service delivery outcomes by developing, applying, and promoting appropriate best practice standards. Over 1500 organizations-voluntary, public and proprietary, local and statewide, large and small-have either successfully achieved COA accreditation or are currently engaged in the process.

Posted: 1/11/2013
County Commissioners Chooses Automated Garbage Collection Option

Calling the bid process a “home run” for County garbage customers, Hillsborough County Commissioners voted unanimously today (Jan. 10), during a special workshop, to select a new service option that will bring automation to the way residential garbage and recyclables are collected from more than 250,000 households.

Known as “2-1-1 Automated Service,” County residential garbage customers will continue to receive twice-weekly garbage collection, once-weekly recyclables collection, and once-weekly yard waste collection. But beginning this October, they will be bringing garbage and recyclables to the curb in wheeled carts provided by the County for emptying by specially-equipped trucks.

The current residential solid waste collection contracts, which have been in place for nearly 17 years, expire Sept. 30. Bids were sought last fall on four possible service options, including the current manual collection of garbage and recyclables.

When the bids were tallied, all of the options meant lower costs for the County, and ultimately customers. The 2-1-1 Automated Service option is projected to save the County more than $7.5 million annually, a 22 percent reduction than if the current contracts had been renewed.

Besides lower costs, the new contract will enhance the financial integrity of the County’s solid waste system, County Administrator Mike Merrill told Commissioners during the workshop this afternoon.

“This contract will allow us to get to a place we’ve never been before,” he said.

Commissioners are scheduled to award contracts to private haulers for residential collection in each of five newly-defined districts during a regular Board meeting on Jan. 24. Commercial customers will still be able to negotiate directly with any of the private haulers for collection.

In supporting the automated service option today, Commissioners cited trends in the industry, safety for workers, and the convenience and sturdiness of the carts that will be provided. Answering questions from Commissioners, industry consultant Mitch Kessler said that approximately 7 million residents in Florida, including the City of Tampa, have automated collection service.

However, Commissioners also expressed concern about job loss when the automated option is implemented. Commissioner Al Higginbotham said he would be bringing back an agenda item to discuss what the County might be able to do to help.

Commissioners made their decision following an extensive campaign to gather public input into how customers felt about the service options.

Posted: 1/8/2013
Economic Prosperity Stakeholder Committee issues recommendations

The Hillsborough County Commission created the Economic Prosperity Stakeholder Committee in March 2012. With their mission to examine the County's regulatory structure, their ultimate recommendations are intended to ease the burden and cost of regulatory oversight on economic development while maintaining the County's commitment to quality of life and responsible environmental stewardship. Chaired by Commissioner Sandra Murman and vice-chaired by Commissioner Lesley "Les" Miller, the group recently issued an extensive report with 30 recommendations on Economic Development/ Planning Recommendations and Regulatory Streamlining Recommendations. Visit the link below to view a snapshot of these 30 recommendations, positioning the local government to be a champion of economic prosperity. These recommendations are a major step towards changing previous mindsets and achieving this goal. A presentation on the report will be made at the Planning Commission's January 14th meeting which can be viewed on HTV or via live webcast.

30 Key Economic Prosperity Recommendations

Posted: 1/8/2013
Tampa Changing: Rephotography Shows City Then And Now
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Cuban Club, by Burgert Bros. (1926) and Bryan Weinstein (recent)

Rephotography, or taking a repeat picture of the same site with a time lag between the images, has been around in a formal way since the 1970s. Some scientists and sociologists even use the technique to study changing ecosystems or social change. For Bryan Weinstein of Tampa, it's both a passion and an art.

"It's a honor that people like what I'm doing and want to hang [my photos] up in their place of business,'' says Weinstein. "That's really all I'm looking for.''

A Tampa native and University of South Florida graduate, Weinstein has been a photographer for 15 years. While obtaining his engineering degree, he took an art collective class that changed his perspective on architecture and history. Having spent a lot of time photographing during his travels, he realized there's a wealth of history in Tampa that he was taking for granted. From that, Tampa Changing was born.

In 2009, Weinstein tapped into a repository of 15,000 photos of the Tampa area at the Hillsborough County Public LIbrary, taken 70 to 100 years ago by well-known photographers the Burgert Brothers. The pictures provide a glimpse into Tampa' rich history. Among the images are Clydesdales at city hall, a streetcar on Kennedy Boulevard (formerly Grand Central Avenue), cigar factories in action, and even an automobile driving up the steps of the downtown post office during a publicity stunt.

Continued...

Read the full article in 83 Degrees Media and see "Then and Now" Pictures of Tampa

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