Month: September 2016

Gov. Scott: Now That Zika Bill Has Been Signed, Florida Needs Funding Immediately

 

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ORLANDO, Fla. – Today, following President Obama signing the bill to provide federal funding for the Zika virus, Governor Rick Scott called on the federal government to work quickly to provide necessary funding to Florida. The Governor also again called on the Obama administration and the CDC to fulfill his many outstanding requests for Zika preparedness and prevention resources.

Governor Scott said, “After two visits to Washington D.C. and months of calling on Congress to get something done, it is great to finally have federal funding approved.  However, we are still waiting on many details about how this bill will be put to use. We do not yet know how much funding our state is getting and we do not know when we will receive it. But one thing is absolutely certain: Florida needs this funding now. Our pregnant women and their developing babies cannot wait.

“As the first and only state fighting local Zika cases, we are at the epicenter of this national crisis. While the federal government was dragging their feet, our state was taking aggressive action to protect our families and visitors. Since June, I have authorized $61.2 million in state funds for Zika, including $25 million to support research to develop a vaccine against the Zika virus and enhance Zika testing methods. Now that the president has approved this bill, the federal government must work quickly to send necessary funding to our state so we can continue to protect our state’s expecting mothers and their future children.

“I also still have multiple outstanding requests to the Obama Administration for resources and I hope these will be fulfilled quickly. The fight against Zika is not over and we still need the federal government to do their part.”

OUTSTANDING REQUESTS TO OBAMA ADMINISTRATION

  • The CDC to match Florida’s $25 million investment in Zika research to help develop a vaccine. (Governor Scott requested on Sept. 28th)
  • The CDC to take immediate action to accelerate their testing process. (Governor Scott requested on Sept. 28th)
  • The CDC to provide Miami-Dade County and the City of Miami Beach with guidance on how to better control the mosquitos that carry Zika. (Governor Scott requested on Sept. 28th)
  • An additional 10,000 Zika prevention kits. (Governor Scott requested on Aug. 19th)
  • A detailed plan from the Obama Administration on how they would like Florida to work with FEMA now that Zika has become mosquito-borne. (Initially requested on June 1st – requested again Aug. 19th)
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GOV. SCOTT: I AM DIRECTING IMMEDIATE CHANGE TO PUBLIC NOTIFICATION LAWS FOLLOWING POLLUTION INCIDENTS

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, following the sewage spill in Pinellas County and the sinkhole at Mosaic’s New Wales facility, Governor Scott is directing Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Jon Steverson to issue an emergency rule that establishes new requirements for public notification of pollution incidents to take effect immediately. This emergency rule will ensure the public, local governments and DEP are notified within 24 hours by all responsible parties following a pollution incident.

Governor Scott will also propose legislation during the next legislative session to ensure the public is kept informed of incidents of pollution that may cause a threat to public health and to Florida’s air and water resources. This legislation will amend current law which only requires public notification when pollution moves off-site of where the incident took place and threatens public health. This legislation will put the 24-hour public notification requirements into law as well as increase the fine amounts and penalties on any violators.

Governor Scott said, “It does not make sense that the public is not immediately notified when pollution incidents occur and that is why I am directing DEP to immediately issue an emergency rule implementing strict requirements for public notification within 24 hours. Today, I am demanding any business, county or city government responsible for a pollution incident to immediately tell the public. That is common sense and our residents deserve that.

“While DEP was on-site to investigate the situation at Mosaic in less than 24 hours and followed current state laws to notify the public, our laws are outdated and must immediately be changed. When we find laws, rules and regulations that aren’t common sense, it is incumbent on us to immediately make changes like we are doing today. Not only am I directing an emergency rule to begin today, but I will fight for legislation next session to ensure the 24-hour public notification requirements are codified in law and the penalties to any violators are severely strengthened.

Tomorrow, I will be at Mosaic’s New Wales facility to get a briefing from company officials and to view the sinkhole. Last week, I directed DEP to immediately investigate the sewage spill in Pinellas County and also to expedite their investigation into the sinkhole at Mosaic. I also directed DOH to immediately assist DEP to ensure our drinking water is safe. Both of these investigations are still ongoing, and should a violation be found, all responsible parties will be held accountable with appropriate penalties and sanctions once DEP concludes their work. We must do everything we can to ensure residents and visitors have access to clean and safe water, and are informed when incidents occur that could potentially have an impact on their health.”

As directed by Governor Scott, the emergency rule will require the owner or operator of any facility, including a city or county government, to provide notification of incidents of pollution within 24-hours to DEP, local governments and the general public through the media.

The new rule will apply regardless of whether the impacts of the pollution remain on-site or not. This will apply to any pollution affecting Florida’s air or water resources, such as unauthorized discharges of treated and untreated wastewater and industrial wastewater releases. The emergency rule will last for 90 days. DEP will also simultaneously begin the formal rulemaking process to gather public input and make the rule change permanent.

Secretary Jon Steverson said, “The safety of Floridians and our environment is always a top priority of the department. It is extremely important that Floridians are quickly notified of incidents of pollution that could potentially affect public health and the environment, and this emergency rule will give DEP the authority needed to ensure the public is kept informed when these instances occur.”

The following outlines the new notification requirements directed by Governor Scott that will begin immediately:

  • Within 24 hours, DEP, local governments and the general public must be notified of pollution by any and all responsible parties;
  • Within 48 hours, DEP, local governments and the general public must be notified of any potential risks to public health, safety or welfare and to surrounding areas by any and all responsible parties; and
  • Within 24 hours of becoming aware pollution has affected areas off-site, adjacent and nearby property owners, in addition to DEP and local governments, must be notified of any potential health risks by any and all responsible parties.

Locally Known Teen Killed in Traffic Accident near Bartow

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Picture of Joshua Pollard, courtesy of Go Fund Me Memorial Page

At approximately 2:41 am on September 22, PCSO deputies responded to the report of a single vehicle crash in the area of Highway 640 and Highway 17 North in Bartow.

Upon their arrival, deputies located 19-year-old Joshua Allen Pollard of Travis Court E., Bartow pinned inside a gray, 2013 four-door, Ford Fusion.

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Picture of Joshua Pollard Courtesy of Go Fund Me Memorial Page

Emergency responders arrived and Pollard was extracted from the vehicle and transported to Lakeland Regional Health.

The go fund me page which was created by the family is located here:

https://www.gofundme.com/2qkhzuxg

It posts that:

Throughout the course of today (9/22/2016) he has been declared brain dead. The family has decided to donate Joshua’s organs if the 2nd and final test declares what we fear. Unfortunately the part no one wants to think about is the financial side of it, but now our family needs to start planning on laying Joshua to rest, if the Lord calls him home. Any help would be greatly appreciated by our family and we thank you! Prayers are needed!

Unfortunately it is the update that Joshua did succumb to his injuries.

If there is any further information Fort Meade Daily will bring it to you as soon as possible.

 

 

Gov. Scott Authorizes $25 Million in State Funds for Zika Virus Vaccine Research and Development

zika_1MIAMI, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott announced that following the inaction of the federal government to allocate funding to fight Zika, $25 million in state funds will be authorized to support research to develop a vaccine against the Zika virus and enhance Zika testing methods. To date, Governor Scott has used his emergency executive authority to authorize $61.2 million in state funds for Zika, including $26.2 million in July, $10 million last week for Zika preparedness and preparation and $25 million today for research and development. The $25 million in state funding will be allocated following a competitive grant process by the Florida Department of Health. This funding will be spent for the purpose of Zika research, including:

  • Expediting the development of a vaccine to prevent Zika infection; and
  • The development of innovative, cost-effective Zika testing methods.

Governor Scott said, “We must focus on finding a vaccine and enhancing our Zika testing capabilities to further protect pregnant women and their developing babies. Today, I am authorizing $25 million in state funds to support research to help develop a vaccine against the Zika virus here in Florida. I have traveled multiple times to Washington this year to meet with Congressional leaders to tell them how urgent this need is. Yet, despite endless claims of support from those within both parties, nothing has been done. Every minute that passes that Congress doesn’t approve funding means more time is lost from researching this virus. For the sake of our state’s future children, this is time we cannot afford to waste.

“Every action we take against the Zika virus is to help protect pregnant women and keep their developing babies healthy. This $25 million is a step forward for research and development in order to find a vaccine, but we still need the federal government to do their part to fully fund this mission. While I hope the federal government will recognize the dire importance of developing a vaccine and immediately pass funding, we will continue to allocate every available resource from the state. I look forward to seeing research partners across Florida come together to help combat the Zika virus and ensure our state is safe.”

The Florida Department of Health will oversee the grant process to distribute Zika vaccine research funding. More details will be released in the coming days.

BoCC seeking residents to serve on Polk County Sidewalk Advisory Committee

 

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Bartow, Fla. (September 22, 2016) — Polk County Commissioners are looking for volunteers who would like to serve on the Polk County Sidewalk Advisory Committee.

The 12-member advisory committee will assist the Board of County Commissioners in determining priority of locations for new sidewalk replacement and streetlight locations throughout the county. Five members of the committee are appointed by the Board, with each board member appointing one member. Five members are county staff selected by the county manager, one member represents the Polk County School Board and the final member is a staff member of the Polk Transportation Planning Organization.

Terms for members of the Sidewalk Advisory Committee are for three years, with members eligible to be re-appointed for one additional term. Members appointed by a commissioner must be approved by the board prior to serving. Currently, there is one vacancy on the Sidewalk Advisory Committee.

If you are interested in becoming a member of the Polk County Sidewalk Advisory Committee, please email a letter of interest, your resume and contact information to miannenelson@polk-county.net by Monday, October 3, 2016.

Event Featuring Student Thank You Letters to First Responders

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 Bartow, Fla. (Sept. 22, 2016) – RSVP Polk and AmeriCorps Polk Reads recently sponsored a writing campaign with the Polk County School Board for the 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance. Local students wrote more than 2,000 thank you letters to first responders in Polk County.

An event will be held at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016 to present the letters to representatives from the Polk County Sheriff’s Department, Polk County Fire Rescue and other local fire and police departments. This will be located in the media room at the Polk County Sheriff’s Office at 1891 Jim Keene Blvd. in Winter Haven.

A local middle school student, whose father just recently returned from deployment and is a Polk County Sheriff’s officer and veteran, will be surprising her father with the letter she wrote.

The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program is a Senior Corps program administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service. In Polk County, RSVP is locally sponsored by the Polk County Board of County Commissioners. RSVP partners with community organizations throughout Polk to provide volunteer support to nonprofit organizations while making an impact on the community. For more information, contact Kathy Drainville at (863) 534-5249.

Benefits to Support Local 10yr old – Cooper Hicks

Meet Cooper Hicks.

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Cooper has epilepsy on both sides of brain he has Neuro and Cardi syncope which is a condition which causes Cooper to pass out or become very light and clammy.
He has been diagnosed with Aspergers disorder (high function autism); mitochondrial disease (body doesn’t accept protein and can’t give energy); Tachycardia; severe juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, and Dysautonimia which is a condition that attacks your autonomic nervous system basically shuts organs down. He can’t keep temperature so he’s always cold doesn’t matter if its 100 degrees outside.

Because of the Asperger’s (it effect smells touch taste texture- what he eats today he won’t tomorrow) Mitochondrial and Dysautonimia disorders have caused him to have to have a feeding tube inserted in his stomach. At this point he still eats and drinks by mouth but it’s day to day basis.

He tired easily, noises are harsh on him and sometimes crowds are to much. Has blood draws weekly, and is currently being monitored for transplant evaluation of stomach and / or intestines.

Cooper has to travel between all these different specialists:
All Childrens St Pete
Nemours Kissimmee
Wolfson Jacksonville
Arnold Palmer Orlando
Chicago children’s hospital Chicago
Jackson Memorial Transplant Miami

The First Baptist Church are having a benefit Spaghetti lunch and cake auction to help with the load of medical bills and costs associated with Cooper’s care. The Benefit and Cake Auction will be held on October 30th from 12:00 noon – 1:30pm at the First Baptist Church in Fort Meade. For more information, about this worthwhile event… call
Donnie and Teresa True at 698-0927 or Charlie and Beverly Graves at 559-1154.

There will also be a benefit taking place on November 12th at the Bartow Mosiac Park from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. Area country artist Chas Kincaid from Lake Wales area, we be returning home from Nashville to take part in the event.

T-Shirts are also being sold in support of Cooper. The first order will be on October 1st and all shirts are pre order. They are $27 for adults and $17 for kids. You can get more information about the shirts on Coopers official facebook page,  https://m.facebook.com/supercooperismyhero/