Posted: 4:44 am Thursday, September 29th, 2016
By Ann Kelly
In the wake of Hurricane Hermine, President Obama signed a Florida disaster declaration on Wednesday. That means federal dollars will become available for many counties. In the Bay area that include Pinellas, Pasco, and Hillsborough counties and you can start applying for funds today. You can do that online, or call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing- or speech-impaired. There’s also help on the way from the federal government to fight Zika. Congress approved $1.1 billion dollars in funding yesterday.
We have another tropical storm to watch this weekend. Tropical Storm Matthew is moving to the west but is expected to make a turn to the north. Track the storm in the Dove Hurricane Guide for constant updates.
The city of Clearwater says they’re following the recent emergency order by Governor Scott to let the public know about hazardous waste spills with the news that a leak at the lift station on McMullen booth allowed 150,00o gallons of sewage to get into Alligator Creek on Wednesday. Warning signs are posted and city officials will keep testing the waters.
That emergency order was prompted by the spill at the Mosaic plant, where it was three weeks before they told anyone about it. Now they first report is on the affect the spill had on our aquifer. Environmental Consulting and Technology is a private company that was hired by Mosaic to test private well water. They found only trace amounts of Uranium, normal in Florida.
Red Tide is still making for a stinky mess mainly along the beaches in Sarasota but it’s affecting the waters all the way up to Pinellas County. There’s a new red tide report out from Florida Fish and Wildlife and you can check how your beach is doing by going to visitbeaches.org.
The Metropolitan Planning Organization has meeting scheduled for next Tuesday, Oct 4th to talk about adding a toll lane to the Howard Frankland Bridge as part of the TBX project. Some members of the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Committee aren’t happy with the proposed plan which would not add a lane for tolls as they thought, but would just use an existing lane. That toll could be a much as $6 each way at peak travel times. FDOT is also meeting that same day to talk about the TBX project.
New rules go into effect this Saturday, aimed at protecting us from skimmers, like those that have been found at area gas stations. Starting Oct 1st, security seals must be on all pumps. Make sure you’re checking the pump before you gas up and let the station know there’s a problem.