Archived Blogs & Articles

Posted: 1/5/2016
Delivering on the Promise for Water and Fire Protection Improvements in Palm River Area

Hillsborough County, Fla. (Dec. 30, 2015) - Residents and businesses in the Palm River community will soon have access to a reliable supply of high-quality drinking water and improved fire protection. The Palm River Drinking Water Project, kicking off this summer, will extend Hillsborough County water service to approximately 760 homes and add about 150 fire hydrants over the next two years.

"When I took office, I promised to make clean water for Palm River a priority," stated Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners Chairman Lesley "Les" Miller, Jr. "Now, that promise is being delivered. And the County is able to do it in a way that minimizes expenses for homeowners, thanks to county and state funding. I want to thank the residents of Palm River for their patience."

The fees to connect individual residential properties to the more than 14 miles of new pipes will be funded through state grants. Once connected, customers will be responsible for their monthly water bills. A typical Hillsborough County water bill for a family of four using 6,000 gallons is about $35 per month.

The $14 million project was unanimously approved by the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners this fall as part of the $1.4 billion countywide Capital Improvement Budget. Construction in the neighborhoods north of Causeway Boulevard is scheduled to start in mid-2016, with water service connections beginning in 2017. Pipeline construction south of Causeway Boulevard is anticipated to begin after the north section is finished.

Hillsborough County will work closely with the Palm River community as the project progresses from design through construction. Detailed information about the project construction and connections will also be provided to property owners in the project zone as pipe routes are finalized.

Posted: 10/12/2015
Children’s Board sponsors screening of “Paper Tigers” documentary film
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Be certain to attend this special screening of Paper Tigers! This documentary film follows four teens who attend Lincoln High School in Washington state. The students at this high school had behavioral issues and poor academic performances and were often suspended from school.

After discovering the studies on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), the high school changed its approach to handling the students with kindness versus automatic punitive punishments. Lincoln was the first high school in the country to integrate trauma-informed and resilience-building practices, which resulted in an 85% decline in suspensions and a 40% decline in expulsions after the first year. Florida is one of five states selected to premiere Paper Tigers before its official release thanks to Florida’s Ounce of Prevention, Prevent Child Abuse Florida.

The documentary is one hour and forty minutes long and will be followed by an interactive discussion on the film.

This event is targeted towards teachers, counselors, parents and other community members concerned about the well-being of youth in our community.

Watch the trailer here:

Paper Tigers Trailer - KPJR Films from KPJR FILMS LLC on Vimeo.


Online registration through EventBrite »

Posted: 10/5/2015
Newly-renovated Rubin Padgett Sports Complex in Palm River to open Sept. 12

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY – The crack of a baseball bat and cheers from the crowd will again be heard at the Rubin Padgett Sports Complex in the Palm River community of south Hillsborough County. The Parks and Recreation Department is adding to the recreational opportunities in the county with the revitalization of three baseball fields.

Concurrent activities will take place on all three fields when County leaders hold an opening ceremony to celebrate the revitalized complex on Saturday, Sept. 12 at 1 p.m. District 3 County Commissioner Les Miller, and former County Commissioner and complex namesake, Rubin Padgett, will be in attendance to officially open the fields.

Rubin Padgett was the first African-American elected to the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners, and the first African-American Commission Chair. Now 84, he will throw out the first pitch on Sept. 12.

Posted: 10/5/2015
Hillsborough County Code Enforcement to Host Landlord/Tenant Forum

Hillsborough County Code Enforcement will host a forum to help residential landlords and rental managers provide safer dwellings, avoid code violations, and assist tenants in crisis. The event is free and will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 29 from 10 a.m. until noon at the Town 'N Country Regional Library, 7605 Paula Drive in Tampa. Additional presentations will be offered in the coming months at locations across the County.

The Landlord/Tenant Forum series provides participants with education and information about County services, including safety nets for renters in crisis and County code requirements. Topics of interest range from rental assistance programs to smoke detectors and building permits, with experts available to answer questions.

Hillsborough County agencies participating in the Landlord/Tenant Forum include:

  • Code Enforcement
  • Building Services
  • Community Affairs
  • Consumer Protection
  • Fire Rescue
  • Neighborhood Relations
  • Pet Resources Division
  • Social Services

Spanish-speaking representatives with the County will be on hand to provide translation. Property owners and managers of rental housing in the Town 'N Country area are encouraged to attend the forum; renters are also welcome. For more information or to RSVP for the Landlord/Tenant Forum in Town 'N Country, email Bob Sheehan or call (813) 903-2242. Visit Hillsborough County Code Enforcement at

Posted: 10/5/2015
Florida Coalition for Children Conference registration deadline approaching
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From the Florida Department of Children and Families:

As one of Florida's child welfare advocates, we want to make sure you know about the upcoming Florida Coalition for Children Foundation (FCCF) 2015 Annual Conference! The conference will be focused on the agencies and individuals who work on behalf of Florida’s abused, abandoned, neglected and at-risk children. The conference is expected to see over 600 attendees, 30 exhibitors and provide access to over 24 continuing education units.

The conference will be held at the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate in Orlando, Florida, June 29 - July 1, 2015.

Recognizing Child Welfare Leaders

We will also be holding an awards luncheon to recognize the numerous frontline workers and advocates like you who go to work every day committed to improving the lives of Florida’s children and families!

We are pleased to announce that Leigh Anne Tuohy will be the keynote speaker for the Awards Luncheon! Leigh Anne is the inspiration behind the best-selling book and film "The Blind Side" in which she is portrayed by actress Sandra Bullock, who won an Oscar for her portrayal of Leigh Anne. The Awards Luncheon will be held Wednesday, July 1, 2015 at 12:45 PM in the International Ballrooms of the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate.

Individual tickets are available for the Awards Luncheon for $50. These tickets are only for individuals not registered for conference who wish to attend the awards luncheon only. For individuals who are planning to register or who have already registered for conference, the awards luncheon is included in your registration.

If you haven't registered for the FCCF 2015 Annual Conference, you can do so by visiting the conference website (link below). Registration for the FCC Foundation's annual conference continues through June 19.


JenniferMcDougald,Director of Development and Foundation,, 411 East College Ave., Tallahassee, FL.32301
phone:(850) 561-1102.

Posted: 9/29/2015
Pay now or pay later for Hillsborough County transportation solutions

By William March

Jeffrey Siewert, an engineer who lives on Davis Islands and works in downtown Tampa, wants to leave his car at home when he goes to work and see more bike- and pedestrian-safe thoroughfares in the center city.

James Wilder of Temple Terrace is job hunting, and would like better bus service to and from Tampa.

Karen Peoples of Silver Oaks Apartments in East Tampa thinks there have been too many deaths on East Hillsborough Avenue, particularly around 43rd Street, and wants the road made safer.

And virtually everyone is sick of the daily jam-ups on Interstates 275 and 4, Dale Mabry Highway, Bruce B. Downs Boulevard, the Selmon Expressway, the Veterans Expressway and just about every other local major thoroughfare.

The question is, what to do about it.

Local government officials are proposing a new sales tax to finance a surge of countywide transportation improvements — the Go Hillsborough project — saying there’s no other way get the job done. That will require a vote of Hillsborough County residents, which officials are projecting for the November 2016 election.

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Posted: 9/22/2015
USF area in Tampa gets new pedestrian safety beacons

New pedestrian safety beacons have been installed along a one-mile stretch of 50th Street between Fowler and Fletcher Avenues in North Tampa. The goal is to help prevent accidents such as one that involved a University of South Florida student who was seriously injured in November 2014 while crossing the busy two-lane thoroughfare.

The flashing beacons were officially unveiled on Wednesday (Sept. 16, 2015), and transportation officials spent the morning along the road passing out educational cards to pedestrians to help teach them about the new safety measures. Deputies from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office were also out in force, pulling over speeding motorists.

“Speeding is one of the biggest problems we face when it comes to pedestrian safety,” says Julie Bond, a senior researcher at the Center for Urban Transportation Research. “We don’t want people to be scared to walk. Walking is a healthy and enjoyable way to get around, and we want our community to enjoy these benefits and feel safe.”

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Posted: 9/22/2015
Safe & Sound Hillsborough reports efforts to prevent violence
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Who: Safe & Sound Hillsborough
When: Tuesday, September 22, at 10:30 a.m.
Where: Grant Park Community Center at 3724 N 54th St, Tampa

TAMPA – A diverse group of community leaders on Tuesday will report on the progress of their long-term efforts to prevent violence in Hillsborough County. This will include compelling efforts to reach out to local teens to measure and understand risk factors in their lives and learn how to counteract the so-called "no snitch" culture.

Representatives from Safe & Sound Hillsborough (formerly the Violence Prevention Collaborative) will discuss the results of a survey of Hillsborough County youth and plans for a more wide-ranging survey in the coming school year. They also will share the results of a brief survey conducted during a mock trial last month in which teens presented a court case related to gun violence. The mock trial—the first of several planned around the county — provided an opportunity for teens to explore the potentially life-altering impact of their decisions.

The event Tuesday also will include comments by County Commissioner Kevin Beckner, chair of Safe & Sound; a teen who participated in the mock trial; a University of South Florida professor who will discuss the survey research, a member of the Hillsborough County School Board, and others.

Safe & Sound Hillsborough was launched by the Board of County Commissioners after the school shootings in Newtown, Ct., shocked the nation. It includes representatives from government, schools, law enforcement, the judicial system, and several area agencies and organizations that deal with the effects of violence every day. The group's goal is to develop data-driven, evidence-based strategies that deal with violence as a public health crisis.

"The problem of violence can't be solved by law enforcement alone," said County Commissioner Kevin Beckner, chair of Safe & Sound Hillsborough. "We have laid a strong foundation by bringing all parts of our community together to pursue data-driven, evidence-based strategies that address violence as a public health issue."

Learn more about Safe & Sound Hillsborough –

Posted: 9/22/2015
HART upgrades innovative app so you can track your bus

No more standing at the bus stop wondering where your bus is.

Living in a world with modern technology definitely has its pros, one being the ability to track the bus you are waiting for on your phone. HART recently launched a new technology for its customers called OneBusAway. Hart partons can instantly track buses to see where the bus is, and calculate the distance either by number of bus stops or miles from the customer's location.

Features include an interactive map with vehicle locations, search engine-based interface, and an ADA compliant text-only mobile interface. OneBusAway can be accessed by both traditional computers as well as smart phones.

According to Shannon Haney of HART, OneBusAway improves the passenger experience.

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Posted: 9/21/2015
Advocacy group launches campaign to protect children online
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TALLAHASSEE – Lauren's Kids, a non-profit organization that works to prevent abuse and help survivors heal, launched a new blog series this week to educate parents and caregivers about the dangers lurking online for children and teens. The series, called Don't Miss the Signs in the Digital World, runs through November 1 and addresses the impact of such 21st century issues as Internet predators, human trafficking and cyber bullying, while offering guidance in how parents can keep their kids safe.

The two-week campaign consists of 10 blog posts released every weekday. The posts utilize subject matter experts, counselors and authors who provide insight into these emerging and unfamiliar online issues. Every blog ends with specific resources that inform parents and caregivers on where they can get additional information and how they can open up the conversation with their children.

"From social media to instant messaging to smartphones, children and teens are exposed to more and more harmful material, and it can come from both trusted peers and unseen predators," said Lauren Book, child sexual abuse survivor and CEO of Lauren’s Kids. "This campaign brings in experts who help explain Internet-based issues affecting children and how we can prevent our kids from being victimized online."

Today almost every child in America has access to the Internet, and more than 90 percent of teens carry smartphones. The skyrocketing presence of anonymous online communities increases the opportunities for predators to prowl in the shadows, and this silent threat has the potential to follow young people around wherever they go – even into their own homes.

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