Thursday, May 24, 2018
Public safety

Four Pinellas fire districts form council

Four districts responsible for providing fire protection and emergency medical service to residents of unincorporated Pinellas County have formed a political coalition designed to advocate for residents in their areas.

The four — Lealman, Pinellas Suncoast, Palm Harbor and East Lake — represent people in all areas of unincorporated Pinellas from south county to the beaches to north county.

The Council of Special Fire Districts of Pinellas was formed in response to the ongoing fire and EMS issues within the county. More specifically, the formation has come at a time when EMS has become a high profile issue with the county looking for ways to cut costs.

The four districts cover a population of about 158,100 and together they have about 183 in personnel. Land value in the four districts is estimated at $9.9 billion, according to council data.

Fire and EMS services in Pinellas are provided by 18 fire departments. Of those, 14 are city-based with municipal taxes paying for fire coverage and a countywide tax for EMS.

Four of the 18 are so-called independent districts because they are governed by popularly elected boards with the ability to levy taxes or fees to provide fire protection in their areas. Like the city departments, the independents receive money from the countywide EMS tax to provide emergency services.

"Over the years I have witnessed the four fire districts working with local and state officials independently on issues of common interest," Palm Harbor fire Commissioner Norm Atherton said.

"It was my goal with this Council to allow us to work on these issues collectively."

In a debate that has consumed major amounts of county time and money, the independent districts have come into their own with high-profile stands on various issues. The districts also provided the seed bed for a movement to allow firefighters to take patients to the hospital.

Under the current system, ambulances take patients to hospitals. But under a proposed plan created by Lt. Scott Sanford of Palm Harbor and Capt. Jim Millican of Lealman, firefighters would take over those duties.

Comments
Police: Toddler injured in Bayshore racing incident has died

Police: Toddler injured in Bayshore racing incident has died

TAMPA — The 21-month-old toddler who was critically injured Wednesday when she and her mother were struck by a car racing on Bayshore Boulevard has died.The child, Lillia Raubenolt, was pronounced dead at the hospital on Thursday, police said.PREVIOU...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Bayshore race claims two lives: child dies day after mother’s death

Bayshore race claims two lives: child dies day after mother’s death

TAMPA — Jessica Raubenolt seized on the sunshine and blue sky at midday Wednesday to take her daughter out in the stroller for a walk along scenic Bayshore Boulevard. Visiting from Ohio, the family had been cursed by rain all week.At the same time, C...
Updated: 1 hour ago
One day after fatal accident, Tampa moves to lower speed limit on Bayshore Blvd

One day after fatal accident, Tampa moves to lower speed limit on Bayshore Blvd

TAMPA — City officials announced Thursday they are reducing the speed limit on Bayshore Boulevard, one day after a mother and her 21-month-old daughter were struck and fatally injured by a speeding car as they crossed the street.Starting today , city...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Pasco sheriff: Man stabbed driver, kicked officer

Pasco sheriff: Man stabbed driver, kicked officer

DADE CITY — A 42-year-old man was arrested Tuesday night after the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office said he jumped on top of a car, stabbed the driver multiple times and then kicked an officer.Roscoe James faces charges of attempted murder, two counts o...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Three men charged with street racing in Bayshore Boulevard crash are recent graduates of Tampa Catholic High School

Three men charged with street racing in Bayshore Boulevard crash are recent graduates of Tampa Catholic High School

TAMPA— The Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg confirmed Thursday that the three men involved in the Bayshore Boulevard crash that killed an Ohio mother and critically injured her 21-month-old daughter are recent graduates of Tampa Catholic High Schoo...
Updated: 9 hours ago
GoFundMe page for woman killed on Bayshore has raised more than 10 times its goal

GoFundMe page for woman killed on Bayshore has raised more than 10 times its goal

TAMPA — Friends were hoping to use GoFundMe to raise $2,000 for the family of Jessica Raubenolt, who was struck and killed Wednesday while pushing her 21-month-old daughter in a stroller across Bayshore Boulevard.As of Thursday morning, more than $20...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Three arrested for street racing after mother fatally struck pushing stroller on Bayshore Boulevard

Three arrested for street racing after mother fatally struck pushing stroller on Bayshore Boulevard

TAMPA — The two cars raced each other along Bayshore Boulevard just before noon, witnesses told police. One was a black 2018 Mustang. The other a gold Nissan. They sped side-by-side, trading the lead, police said, despite the traffic and pedestrians ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Clearwater deputy fire chief resigns as report on sick leave abuse is released

Clearwater deputy fire chief resigns as report on sick leave abuse is released

CLEARWATER — A months-long probe into abuse of sick leave within the fire department concluded this week with the resignation of a deputy chief and the release of an internal review.The city paid $93,816 in unearned or unauthorized sick time, benefit...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Son tells NC police he found dog leash around neck of strangled Hillsborough developer Bill Bishop

Son tells NC police he found dog leash around neck of strangled Hillsborough developer Bill Bishop

After a prominent Hillsborough County developer died last month in North Carolina, word spread it was a heart attack that claimed his life.But records from that state show the death of William "Bill" Bishop was much more complicated.His 16-year-old s...
Published: 05/23/18
Updated: 05/24/18

Woman hit, killed while crossing road in Tampa

TAMPA — A pedestrian was struck and killed by a vehicle while crossing N 40th Street near E Hanlon Street on Wednesday night, according to Tampa police.The crash took place just before 8 p.m. The driver was heading north on 40th Street before strikin...
Published: 05/23/18