Pinellas okays $1,200 bonus for employees
The Pinellas County Commission approved a $1,200 one-time bonus for county employees on Tuesday, as well as three additional days off. Because of the recession and falling property values, many county employees have gone at least four years without a raise. After Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri announced plans to give his employees a one-time salary increase, the county commissioners felt pressure to do the same, at a cost of $3.45 million.
Last week to use old EBT cards
If you have an electronic benefits transfer card — better known as EBT cards — for food assistance and other benefits, an important deadline looms this week. Those EBT cards, designed with a flag theme, will be deactivated Friday and replaced with the ACCESS card, designed with a lighthouse theme. The ACCESS cards began to be phased in earlier this year and already are in the hands of most EBT clients, according to the Department of Children and Families. Changing the cards allows for better security and durability, the agency said. The ACCESS card has an expiration date and will be replaced every four years. Any client with the old card should call 1-888-356-3281 for a new one.
Judge sets date for Brantley retrial
A federal judge has scheduled the retrial of Cortnee Brantley for Oct. 29. Brantley was the girlfriend of Dontae Morris when, prosecutors say, he shot and killed two Tampa police officers in 2010 during a traffic stop. Brantley is charged with failing to aid investigators. At her first trial in July, a mistrial was declared after a jury could not agree on a verdict.
Student hit by car is hospitalized
Shortly after school let out Tuesday afternoon, a Sickles High School student was struck by a car driven by a fellow student and injured while trying to dash across a busy, four-lane highway, authorities said. Paramedics rushed Andrew Dennis, 14, to St. Joseph's Children's Hospital after the crash at 3:15 p.m. near 7700 Gunn Highway, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. The ninth-grader was conscious when transported, a sheriff's spokeswoman said. The 1999 Honda Civic that struck him was driven by a senior at the school, identified as Sebastian Rueda, 18, of Tampa. The Sheriff's Office said it did not anticipate filing any charges in the crash.