Rescued Bald eagle finds permanent home
She was found two years ago in the woods of Tennessee, dehydrated, with broken feathers, was sent to two rehabilitation centers and finally has a permanent home.
Sarge, a 5-year-old bald eagle, is the newest addition to the Narrows Environmental Education Center at George C. McGough Nature Park, 11901 146th St. N. The center's birds of prey program has owls and hawks, but this is the first bald eagle, said Patrick Bradley, director of the program.
For unknown reasons, the eagle has brittle feathers, and she molts, or sheds her feathers, differently than other eagles do. Typically, when a feather drops off on one wing or one side of the tail, another drops off on the other side so the birds will maintain balance when they fly, Bradley said. Sarge's feathers fall off on one side but not the other, and once they grow back in, they could break at any time.
She was deemed non-releasable while receiving treatment at the World Bird Sanctuary near St. Louis. Bradley said the director there knew he was looking for an eagle for the program and let him know about Sarge. Before they could care for her, the city had to obtain a permit from the federal government, Bradley said.
Bradley said he's working on making her feel comfortable at the park before he trains her to sit on a glove on his arm as he does when he shows other birds to the public.
"This is all new to her,'' he said.
He said Sarge has been adapting well and described her as a mellow bird, unlike most bald eagles. She's also getting used to her new name after park officials decided to change it from one that was Tennessee-inspired: Bourbon.
"We decided we couldn't use that in front of the kids," Bradley said.
Parking system's app offers discount program
The city's parking system now allows residents to avoid having to pay a 35-cent convenience fee when using the Parkmobile app.
Residents can sign up for the discount program by submitting any two of the following identification documents: valid photo ID, valid vehicle registration or valid proof of residency.
The documents should be sent to StPeteResidents@parkmobileglobal.com. If approved, an email will be sent confirming the discount within three business days.
If you want to donate to the Power of Change donation program, residents should choose Zone 2000 in the app for no additional fee.
Additionally, users can increase the time on their parking spot for up to six hours for an additional charge.
Fire district sues over funding
The Pinellas Suncoast Fire and Rescue District is suing Pinellas County after district officials said they were shortchanged millions of dollars in emergency medical services funding.
According to the lawsuit, the county took away funding for EMS costs associated with Fire Station 28 in fiscal year 2009-2010 and Station 26 the next year. A financial report commissioned by the district found that the defunding resulted in about $5.2 million of lost revenue.
District and county officials said they hope to resolve the problem through a dispute resolution process.
"The goal is to sit down at the table and work this out," Chief Salvatore D'Angelo said.
Mike Cooksey, director of the county's safety and emergency services, agreed.
He added that he could not discuss the findings in the lawsuit citing pending litigation.
Pinellas Suncoast is one of the 18 departments that contracts with the county to provide emergency medical services. The department's fire services are paid for with a fee charged to residents in the district, which covers Belleair Beach, Belleair Shore, Indian Rocks Beach, Indian Shores and the unincorporated Oakhurst area.
According to the lawsuit, county officials slashed about $800,000 between 2009 and 2010 and roughtly another $400,000 the following year.
The suit comes at a time when the county is reworking how it doles out money to the fire departments. Last month, county officials agreed to pay about $800,000 for three administrative positions for three departments that officials said were overloaded with EMS calls and paperwork.
Residents can air views at town hall with Rep. Latvala on Tuesday
State Rep. Chris Latvala will hold a town hall for Largo residents on Tuesday.
The meeting will go from 6 to 8 p.m. in Jenkins Room B at the Largo Public Library, 120 Central Park Drive. Residents who'd like to attend should email Chris.Latvala@myfloridahouse.gov.
For information, contact the representative's office at (727) 724-3000 or email Janine.Kiray@myfloridahouse.gov.