Sunday, May 27, 2018
News Roundup

Pinellas County reduces response to certain emergency medical calls

Pinellas County commissioners narrowly agreed Tuesday to reduce the number of paramedics who go to some medical emergencies.

But some charge that commissioners broke a promise they made a year ago to state legislators to temporarily hold off on changing the system until after a study had been done.

Many firefighters and several of the county's 18 districts wanted to change to a system where firefighters transport patients to hospitals. But Pinellas County Administrator Bob LaSala said such a system would not work and would be too expensive.

The study, suggested by state Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, was supposed to help determine what system would best suit Pinellas. Missouri-based Fitch and Associates is scheduled to complete the study in late spring or early summer.

"We all agreed to stand down," St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster said. "We agreed to status quo pending the Fitch study. The cities and local governments did not violate that. The county did."

Foster added, "In spite of the county's action today, I want to find a permanent solution to medical first response for St. Petersburg and Pinellas County."

The commission voted 4-3 to send only the private ambulance company to certain, low-level calls, such as some falls, hiccups and insomnia. Those callers do not generally need immediate medical help, which firefighter/paramedics provide, but do usually go to the hospital.

The new system would kick in June 1.

The county said sending only an ambulance would be cheaper in the long run because it would not have to pay fire departments as much money if they ran fewer calls.

County officials added that the firefighters would be free to respond to other emergency calls.

But 10 of the departments objected to the plan, saying it would not save money. They also argued that they were obligated to serve their residents, so the county altered the plan in order that firefighters can still respond to those calls.

The three commissioners who voted against the change — Ken Welch, Charlie Justice and Norm Roche — said they wanted to hold off until after the Fitch study was finished. A decision on how many paramedics go to what calls could better be made, they said, when done in tandem with other changes to the system.

Comments
Rays pitchers Ryne Stanek, Anthony Banda dominate in 5-1 win over Orioles

Rays pitchers Ryne Stanek, Anthony Banda dominate in 5-1 win over Orioles

THE BASEBALL LABORATORY IN ST. PETERSBURG — Up is down. Down is up. Hello is goodbye. Goodbye is hello. A reliever is a starter. A starter is a reliever.These are your 2018 Tampa Bay Rays.You never know what's going to happen. And just when you...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Rays journal: After Alex Colome trade, Rays’ closer situation is fluid, Kevin Cash says

Rays journal: After Alex Colome trade, Rays’ closer situation is fluid, Kevin Cash says

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays have had to get creative in how they start games. Now, after Friday's trade of closer Alex Colome, they might have to get creative in how they finish them.How they handle the ninth inning going forward will be a fluid ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Former Bucs QB Josh Freeman says he’s retiring from football

Former Bucs QB Josh Freeman says he’s retiring from football

Former Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman, who was trying to resurrect his career with the CFL's Montreal Alouettes, said Saturday that he is retiring from football.Freeman, 30, was a first-round draft pick of the Bucs in 2009 and was their starting ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Her husband wouldn't apologize to her father — so she shot him, police say

Her husband wouldn't apologize to her father — so she shot him, police say

RIVERVIEW — A Riverview woman shot and killed her husband Saturday because he punched her father and wouldn’t say sorry, the Hillsborough Sheriff’s Office said. Sabrina Michelle Hendley, 40, faces a first-degree murder charge in th...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Thomas Bassinger’s takeaways from Saturday’s Rays-Orioles game

Thomas Bassinger’s takeaways from Saturday’s Rays-Orioles game

Interesting decision by the Rays to start RH reliever Ryne Stanek on Saturday. The Orioles' Nos. 1 through 5 hitters were righties, and Stanek came in allowing a 1.228 OPS against righties and a .592 OPS against lefties. It ended up working.How ...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Hernando officials seize 36 neglected dogs from sanctuary

Hernando officials seize 36 neglected dogs from sanctuary

WEEKI WACHEE — A woman who runs an animal sanctuary will face dozens of animal cruelty charges after Hernando County animal enforcement officers said they found dogs, equine, pigs, cats and chickens housed in poor conditions on her property.Animal of...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Police investigating shooting outside nightclub

ST. PETERSBURG — Police are investigating a fatal shooting that occurred outside a south St. Petersburg nightclub early Saturday morning.Brennan-Aire D. Williams, 28, was pronounced dead shortly after arriving by cab at Bayfront Health. Police invest...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Vegas envy: Is Tampa Bay ready for a Vegas’ birth-to-best story?

Vegas envy: Is Tampa Bay ready for a Vegas’ birth-to-best story?

What in the name of the 0-26 Bucs is going on here?The breathtaking Vegas Golden Knights are the greatest expansion team in professional sports history. They are the best (or worst) thing to ever happen to our games, having won 51 times during the re...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Woman dies in Plant City after SUV flips off road

PLANT CITY — A Seffner woman died Saturday from injuries sustained when her sports utility vehicle flipped off the road and crashed into a fence near the intersection of Tanner Road and State Road 574.Amanda K. Cepeda-Duque, 21, was traveling west on...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Updated: 11 hours ago