After assessing conditions following Tropical Storm Eta, Pinellas County Schools and district offices will be open and fully operational tomorrow (Friday). Schools closed early Wednesday in preparation for the storm.
The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office high water rescue teams helped 33 people after Tropical Storm Eta brought high sustained winds, high tides and flooding throughout the county. No injuries were reported to either civilians or sheriff's deputies, a news release said. The rescue team used humvees, flat bottom boats, and inflatable boats to rescue people from homes and roadways while the sheriff's office dive team assisted in several rescues from vehicle-inaccessible areas. Most of the rescues occurred in the area from Pass-a-Grille in south St. Pete Beach north to Madeira Beach. Rescued people were taken to area hotels or other shelters. Deputies worked overnight with Pinellas County highway crews to clear roadways and as of early Thursday reported no road closures.
Orchid Underwriters Agency and Homesite Group have partnered to launch TRUE, a new reciprocal insurance company to protect homeowners in coastal states. TRUE, which stands for Trusted Resource Underwriters Exchange, is based in Tampa. TRUE will offer owner-occupied homeowners insurance, as well as bundled, optional coverages and a private flood solution, for medium-to-high-value homes, a news release said. Agent partners will distribute the products beginning in Florida and eventually expanding into the Gulf, Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states. Michael London is CEO of TRUE. He is former chief financial officer of Homesite, a Boston-based national property insurer. AM Best, a credit rating agency, has assigned a financial strength rating of A- (excellent) and a long-term issuer credit of a- to TRUE with a stable outlook. The ratings reflects TRUE's strong balance sheet, as well as adequate operating performance, limited business profile and approva enterprise risk management, AM Best said.
The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority will resume service starting at noon Thursday, Nov. 12. This includes all routes and paratransit. Bus service was suspended Wednesday due to what was Hurricane Eta and later Tropical Storm Eta. Riders can also find the latest information on PSTA bus service by calling 727-540-1900 or by visiting the Facebook and Twitter feeds at Ride PSTA.
University of South Florida closed all campuses at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday and said they will remain closed through Thursday, Nov. 12 because of Tropical Storm Eta. All classes will be delivered remotely on Thursday, the school said. All employees who can work remotely should continue to do so, and only USF employees who are classified as essential personnel and/or those identified by their supervisors as vital to campus operations should report to on-campus work while campuses are closed. All campuses are expected to reopen on Friday, Nov. 13. Residence halls and residential dining facilities at the USF Tampa and USF St. Petersburg campuses will remain open, although hours for some on-campus facilities may be adjusted. USF Health has canceled clinical operations at all of its facilities through the morning of Thursday, Nov. 12.
Five more people in Pinellas County have died as a result of Covid-19, according to a report from the Florida Department of Health. The Wednesday report said there have been a total of 838 deaths in Pinellas County since the pandemic began in March. Four of the five fatalities are identified by age and gender in the health department report, and all four of them were under 60 years old. They are a 43-year-old woman who died on Oct. 25, a 58-year-old man who died on Oct. 9, and two other deaths that occurred several months ago and were only now identified as Covid-19 deaths — a 55-year-old man who died on June 15 and a 42-year-old woman who died on Aug. 4. There were 210 more cases reported overnight, bringing the county total to 28,242 cases since March. The positivity rate reported for Tuesday was 5.46 percent. The positivity rate has averaged 6.3 percent over the past two weeks.
The City of St. Petersburg currently has a stock of 1,300 pre-made sandbags at the Pavement and Traffic Operations Building, 1744 9th Ave. North, that can be picked up this afternoon (Wednesday) starting at 3:30 p.m. Residents must provide proof of residence (such as a driver's license) to receive sandbags.
In response to Hurricane Eta, the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority suspended service at noon Wednesday and will resume as soon as it is deemed safe after the storm passes. All PSTA terminals, including Park Street, Grand Central Station, and Pinellas Park will be closed as well. Riders can find the latest information on PSTA bus service by calling the InfoLine at 727-540-1900 or by visiting Facebook and Twitter.
The drive-through Covid-19 testing site at Tropicana Field will not open Wednesday due to anticipated high winds associated with Hurricane Eta. The National Weather Service has placed portions of Pinellas County under hurricane and tropical storm watches and anticipates the area may begin to experience tropical storm-force winds Wednesday.
Pinellas County Schools will close early today (Wednesday) and remain closed Thursday due to Hurricane Eta. All extracurricular activities are canceled through Thursday and free meal distribution will also be canceled for Thursday. Updates on future plans will be shared on the district's website and through social media.
Oracle Elevator, a Tampa-based elevator service company, has acquired Premier Elevator in Atlanta. Financial terms were not disclosed, but the deal enhances the combined company’s position as the leading independent alternative to the multinational elevator companies, a news release said. The Premier Elevator brand will continue to be used in the Atlanta and Nashville markets. In Florida, the company will go to market using the combined branding of Premier – Oracle Elevator. In all other current Oracle territories, the company will use the Oracle Elevator brand. Oracle Elevator relocated its corporate headquarters from Connecticut to Tampa in 2017, in part because Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik invested in the company.
The Baseball Writers' Association of American voted for Kevin Cash, manager of the Tampa Bay Rays, as the 2020 American League Manager of the Year. Cash is the second manager in Tampa Bay Rays' history to win the award. Joe Maddon won it in 2008 and 2011, a news release said. The Rays had a 40-20 win-loss record and a 0.667 winning percentage in the shortened 2020 season, which was the third-highest for a BBWAA Manager of the Year since the award was introduced in 1983. Cash led the Rays to the team's second World Series appearance.