CW44 News - 7.22.2020 - McKeonHillsborough Emergency Management Discusses Hurricanes and COVID-19
CW44 News - 7.22.2020 - Citrus County Schools Extend Start Date for 2020/21 School YearCITRUS COUNTY, FL (CW44 News At 10) -   The Citrus County School Board Approves New School Start Date and Mask Policy This afternoon, during an emergency meeting of the Citrus County School Board, Superintendent Sam Himmel presented her recommendations regarding the reopening of schools for the 2020-21 school year. Her first recommendation was to delay the start of the 2020-2021 school year for students until Thursday, August 20, 2020.  This recommendation was discussed and approved unanimously.  This new start date also includes students who are enrolled in our Citrus Virtual School.  Mrs. Himmel's recommendation was to provide ample time for teachers and staff to prepare for the upcoming school year, as we have had more than 2,600 students enroll in our Citrus Virtual School. Mrs. Himmel then recommended to the board to require face coverings for all students and staff on school buses, and while on school campuses when social distancing is not feasible.  After some discussion, the board unanimously approved this recommendation and policy. "As it is well noted, the fluidity of this situation is unprecedented," says Superintendent Himmel.  "Therefore, the relationships and collaborations we have established with our local health authorities are invaluable as my staff and I prepare for the reopening of schools.  As plans develop, we remain mindful these circumstances are likely to change, however, we will remain flexible and compassionate to the needs of our students and staff." With these changes, parents can revisit our enrollment options. We will be flexible with families wishing to change their enrollment options now that new recommendations have been approved. If you wish for your child to return to brick and mortar, contact your child's school.  If your decision is to enroll in our Citrus Virtual School, click here to complete the process.  This form is also located for parents in Skyward Family Access.
CW44 News - 7.22.2020 - AlvarezFrostproof, Fla. (CW44 News At 10)- "Here's Tony Wiggins. Pure evil in the flesh." - Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd The cause of massacre revealed to be a dispute over the previous sale of the suspected shooter's truck engine. According to Polk County Grady Judd at a press conference on Wednesday, July 22 at 11am, three arrests have been made in the horrific massacre of three friends fishing. According to Judd, Tony (TJ) Wiggins, 26, was "the trigger man". His criminal career began at 12 years old. Wiggins is now 26 years old. His criminal history includes 230 felony criminal charges, 15 convictions and 2 times in state prison. Sheriff Judd paused to emphasize, "...his criminal history should shock your conscience. It certainly does mine." Tony has been charged with 3 counts of First Degree Murder. Sheriff Judd is seeking Death Penalty. Mary Whittemore, 27, Tony Wiggins girlfriend has zero criminal history. She was charged with 3 counts of Accessory and 1 count of Tampering With Evidence. Robert (William) Wiggins, 21, Tony's brother has 1 misdemeanor arrest. He was charged with 3 counts of Accessory and 1 count of Tampering With Evidence. Each of the suspects are from the Lake Wells and Frostproof, Florida area, as were the victims. It was tips from the community that directed the Polk County Sheriff's Office to this known community criminal. Sheriff Judd exclaimed how grateful he was for the outreach of support and tips. "We've had people as far as Tennessee willing to send us money for a reward."
CW44 News - 7.21.2020 - McKeonHillsborough County, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) - The Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group consists of three county commissioners, the mayors of Tampa, Plant City and Temple Terrace, the sheriff and the chair of the school board. For decades, the EPG typically only activated during hurricanes. The EPG, not the county commission, currently has the power to renew the state of local emergency. Of the 67 counties in Florida, Hillsborough is the only county that operates in this manner. The board of commissioners aims to end this, and Tuesday's meeting was yet another successful step in that direction. A public hearing is set to be scheduled for August 5, 2020.
Arrests Made In Frostproof Massacre Of 3 Friends FishingArrests Made In Frostproof Massacre Of 3 Friends Fishing Credit: Polk County Sheriff's Office
CW44 News - 7.21.2020 - McKeonHILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FL (CW44 News At 10) - July 20 EPG Summary: Emergency Officials Extend Face Coverings Order COVID-19 Coronavirus Update No. 185 Hillsborough County, Fla. (July 20, 2020) - With community transmission of COVID-19 coronavirus widespread in Hillsborough County, a majority of the members of the Emergency Policy Group today voted to extend their face coverings executive order for at least another seven days. The order requires the wearing of face coverings inside businesses that are open to the public and where employees and customers aren't able to maintain social distancing. "Business" means any business entity that provides goods or services directly to the public. Non-profit organizations that supply goods and services in inside areas accessible by the public must also follow the mandate. The order allows several exceptions, such as for people who have health conditions, or whose jobs can't be performed while wearing a face covering, or during exercise, among others. Under the conditions by which they originally approved the order, EPG members revisit the decision weekly. Residents and business operators can read the order and a list of frequently-asked questions by going to HCFLGov.net. Data presented today to EPG members included the following observations: The rolling 14-day average of cases is 670, an increase of 5.9%. The positivity rate is approximately 15%, based on the daily test results. The current trend in data reported by the Florida Department of Health shows a higher aggregate amount of hospitalizations for individuals above 50 years of age. Just over 13% of Hillsborough's population have been tested for COVID-19. In other news, Hillsborough County Emergency Management Director Tim Dudley thanked volunteers from the University of South Florida College of Nursing who have been staffing the public testing sites at County community resource centers in east Tampa, Plant City, and SouthShore. With the summer semester coming to an end, the volunteers will be departing the sites next week. The County will transition medical staffing at those three sites to a contracted provider, with the state funding the initial 14-day period. The Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group is comprised of three County Commissioners, the mayors from the cities of Plant City, Tampa, and Temple Terrace, the Sheriff, and Chairman of the School Board. Authority is granted by Article 8 of the Florida Constitution, Section 125.66 and Chapter 252, Florida Statutes. Hillsborough County enacted Hillsborough County Code of Ordinances and Laws Chapter 22, Article II, Sections 22-23 in order to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the County's residents during declared emergencies. The next EPG meeting is scheduled Thursday, July 23 at 1:30 p.m. Other Hillsborough County News Thermometer giveaway has ended. The Hillsborough County Office of Emergency Management has closed out an initiative to provide non-contact infrared forehead thermometers to operators of small businesses. The thermometers were available as long as the supply of 1,250 lasted. All of the devices were spoken for in approximately three days. Business operators can find other resources related to COVID-19 at HCFLGov.net/BizHelp. Get Connected. Stay Alert. For more information on COVID-19, and any other potential emergency in the county, visit HCFLGov.net/StaySafe and sign up for the HCFL Alert system. Additionally, you can follow Hillsborough County on social media at Facebook, Twitter, and Nextdoor for updates. For general County information, call (813) 272-5900, the County's main information line.
CW44 News - 7.20.2020 - EpsteinMan That Killed Fed Judges Son Found Dead "Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound"
CW44 News - 7.20.2020 - Alvarez_Frostproof Triple Homicide UpdateFrostproof, FL - Triple Homicide Update. CW44 News At 10's Andrea Alvarez receives new details in the massacre of three close friends while fishing in Frostproof, Florida.
CW44 News - 7.17.2020 - McKeonHillsborough County Opens New COVID-19 Testing Site Testing Demand Decreases This Week At County Testing Sites Per Emergency Management Director, Tim Dudley COVID-19 Continues Spread Throughout Tampa Bay Area
CW44 News - 7.17.2020 - AlvarezFlorida State Representative, Anthony Sabatini held a press conference on July 17, 2020 to announce a lawsuit against the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners for their unlawful ordinance requiring face coverings in Pinellas County. Representative Sabatini is lead counsel on the lawsuit filed against the Hillsborough County EPG for their mandatory mask order. Unlike the other Hillsborough lawsuit, Representative Sabatini's lawsuit has not been detrimentally delayed by a transfer to federal court. Hearing to be announced. Representative Sabatini was be joined by renowned Constitutional attorney, co-counsel KrisAnne Hall. Press conference began at 11:00 AM and was followed by Q&A. Time: July 17, 2020 at 11:00 AM Address: Clearwater Courthouse 315 Court Street Clearwater, FL 33756
CW44 News - 7.17.2020 - AlvarezScalloping season in Pasco County, Florida this year is July 17 through July 26, 2020. “Scalloping is basically a big giant underwater Easter egg hunt,” said Captain Wendy Longman, who owns Windsong Charters and Boat Rentals in New Port Richey. “You… are alive in your own natural aquarium. To go and search and see what is down there.” Captain Wendy Longman has been preparing for scalloping season for weeks now. Friday is the officials start of scalloping season in Pasco County. The season runs from July 17th through July 26th this year. “You see a scallop and all of a sudden he wants to swim away and the first time I actually saw a scallop swim I was just mesmerized,” said Longman. CW44’s Andrea Alvarez visited two captains who were out on the water Friday to talk about what to expect. Longman and Captain Mark Dillingham head for the gulf every day in Pasco County during the 10-day season with a packed schedule. “My phone has still been blowing off the hook. Everyone trying to get last minute charters booked. Fortunately for me I’m booked almost solid but unfortunately a lot of people are waiting too long to get into the action,” said Mark Dillingham, Charter Captain at Inshore Adventures. “The weather’s been perfect. I don’t think you could ask for anything better.” Some of that could be a response from the 25 year gap in Pasco County’s scalloping season which reopened in 2018. But Captain Mark says the closure helped. “These last few years, our numbers increased dramatically. I mean when we throw our cast net catching live bait for our fishing charters, we’re pulling in scallops in our cast net on almost every single throw,” said Dillingham. Despite the rush, both captains tell me there’s plenty to go around. “Everybody’s going to catch their limit in a couple hours. I’ve been seein’ ‘em out there and they’re plentiful,” said Longman. “Just being out there, I’ve done some pre-scouting and our numbers are looking as good if not better than last year,” said Dillingham “I’ve seen tons from the boat, not even being in the water.” So don’t forget your supplies… “Yea you definitely want a dive mask and snorkel. You want a mesh bag so you can throw your scallops in there,” said Longman. And most of all, keep an eye out for the shiny blue reflections! “When that sun’s shining on them, it makes them really stand out,” said Dillingham. “It’s family fun, you’re social distancing, you get outside, fresh air, you get exercise, and they’re just so yummy,” said Longman. “You’re in the Gulf and pick a spot, any spot and drop anchor and go lookin’ for scallops!”
Triple Murder In Frostproof Florida While FishingTriple Murder In Frostproof Florida While Fishing CREDIT: Polk County Sheriff's Office
CW44 News - 7.16.2020 - Schools Delay ReopeningSchools Delay Reopening
CW44 News - 7.16.2020 - McKeonHillsborough County, Fla. (July 16, 2020) – Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group members today extended a state of local emergency enacted in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. By Florida statute, a state of local emergency can be in effect for only seven days, unless rescinded. The declaration gives the County Administrator and emergency managers the ability to quickly take certain actions to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of the community, and provides a path for federal reimbursement of certain expenses. Data presented today to EPG members included the following observations: There were 21,018 total positive cases in Hillsborough County on July 13, an increase of 30% from one week earlier. The rolling 14-day average of cases is 679 per day, an increase of 30%. The rolling 14-day daily positive rate is 16.16%, based upon the daily test results. COVID-19 hospitalization admission rates have shown a general upward trend as reported by the Florida Department of Health. An analysis of cases by ZIP code shows that community-based transmission of the virus is widespread. The Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group is comprised of three County Commissioners, the mayors from the cities of Plant City, Tampa, and Temple Terrace, the Sheriff, and Chairman of the School Board. Authority is granted by Article 8 of the Florida Constitution, Section 125.66 and Chapter 252, Florida Statutes. Hillsborough County enacted Hillsborough County Code of Ordinances and Laws Chapter 22, Article II, Sections 22-23 in order to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the County’s residents during declared emergencies. The next EPG meeting is scheduled Monday, July 20 at 1:30 p.m. Other Hillsborough County News COVID-19 Dashboard makes coronavirus data accessible to residents. To help residents make the most informed decisions to keep themselves and their families safe, Hillsborough County has launched a comprehensive COVID-19 coronavirus dashboard, easily accessible on the County’s website at HCFLGov.net/Covid19Dashboard. The dashboard, an aggregate of such important data as testing numbers, positive cases, and the number of COVID-19 patients being treated in local hospital systems, is laid out on a clear, easily digestible webpage. The dashboard utilizes the most up-to-date data available in Hillsborough County, and is just the latest tool to be added to HCFLGov.net/Stay Safe, Hillsborough County’s public safety website. Please don’t flush it. After you wipe down surfaces in your home or office, make sure those disposable wipes make it to your trash can. Flushing wipes, even those labeled as “flushable,” can create a costly plumbing mishap in your home later. Visit HCFLGov.net/DontFlush. Free non-contact thermometers available for small businesses in Hillsborough – Operators of small businesses in Hillsborough County may request a non-contact infrared forehead thermometer, free of charge, from the Hillsborough County Office of Emergency Management. There is a limited supply available, with restrictions of one per business. To make a request, submit this form: https://hcflgov.formstack.com/forms/non_contact_infrared_thermometer_for_small_businesses. Instructions for pickup will be provided at the time the request is approved. Face Covering Business Toolkit helps businesses in Hillsborough County comply with executive order. Following the EPG’s Executive Order requiring that face coverings be worn inside businesses open to the public and certain operations run by non-profit organizations, Hillsborough County created a digital toolkit. The toolkit includes printable posters of safety tips and FAQ’s, door signs, and social media graphics. Each item is available in English and Spanish. Downloading, printing, and sharing is encouraged to protect workers and customers.
CW44 News - 7.16.2020 - AlvarezPinellas County Shortage On Some Medical Supplies
CW44 News - 7.15.2020 - Trump Demands COVID Numbers Channel Through White House Instead Of CDCTrump Demands COVID Numbers Channel Through White House Instead Of CDC
CW44 News - 7.15.2020 - McKeonHillsborough EPG Meeting
CW44 News - 7.15.2020 - AlvarezUPDATE: CW44 News at 10 received an update from Hillsborough County schools hours afte the meeting took place. Superintendent Addison Davis plans to recommend to the school board to delay the start of the 2020 - 2021 school year by two weeks beginning august 24th. During the Florida Board of Education’s meeting Wednesday morning Governor Ron DeSantis made his appearance in Hillsborough County to stress one thing: “I’m confident it can be done,” said Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. He has a tunnel vision focus on reopening schools, safely, come August. “Were in the midst of a Coronavirus pandemic, but were also in a situation where we need to provide as many options to parents as possible,” said DeSantis. State Board of Education officials listened as Governor DeSantis pointed to data suggesting those under the age of eighteen have shown to be at a lower risk of contracting the virus compared to adults. “I am really amazed at the extent to which people under 18 are low risk for this,” said DeSantis. He also put the decision up against that of keeping daycares open during the pandemic. “Even though we went to distance learning with the K-12, we never closed daycares. There was never a government mandate at the state level,” said DeSantis. “The best interest of the child is obviously paramount, but we also understand that there are a lot of adults who are working in our school system and I think it’s paramount that there’s a safe environment.” State education officials pointed to the executive order released on July 6th, stating it gives complete flexibility for parents to make their own decision ahead of the upcoming academic year. “I want everybody who’s watching this to know, we don’t have a playbook, so we are writing it every single day along the way, and we’re going to get better every day. But we have to be flexible and we have to be able to create innovative educational models to serve our children,” said Addison Davis, Hillsborough County Superintendent. A move Governor DeSantis also supports. “I think it’s important that parents have the ability to make a choice. If they’re not comfortable, the last thing you want to do is shove people in if they’re just not comfortable,” said DeSantis. Superintendent Davis is expected to present the 3rd step of the plan to the school board Thursday.
CW44 News - 7.14.2020 - McKeonST. PETE’S MAYOR SAYS SOME *RECENT COVID-19 TRENDS LOCALLY ARE ENCOURAGING DESPITE STATEWIDE NUMBERS.
CW44 News - 7.14.2020 - AlvarezManatee County (CW44 News At 10) - “This project basically is a federal response thinking ahead to maintain the shoreline and the navigable waters of the United States,” said David Ruderman, a spokesman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District. “It’s basically to preserve the coastal environment, to reduce the damage that we know hurricanes and storms will do in the future.” If you’ve been to Anna Maria Island lately, you may have noticed something besides the sound of waves hitting the sand. “We cannot know in advance where a hurricane is going to land, however we understand what the most vulnerable sections of the coastline are,” said Ruderman. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is leading a $17 million shore protection project along the coastline in Manatee County. With federal and state funding, they’re working with the county to help preserve and maintain the coastal environment prior to potential hurricane damage. “We’ve got a very confident crew out there now. They were going to dredge sand from a designated offshore borrow area, goes through pipes down the length of the beach, pump it onto the beach, and then they shape it,” said Ruderman. A contractor for the group began beach re-nourishment this month, restocking more than 5 miles of beach along Anna Maria Island. “They’re doing like 300, 400, 500 feet of beach a day. They’re going to be operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Ruderman. And with construction set to wrap up in November, Ruderman says crews are working to make sure the new construction doesn’t cause disruption. “The actual construction area will be fenced off. There will be a walkway, an area where people can move along north, south. Folks will be able to cross over that pipe that runs down the beach, it’ll be covered with sand ramps,” said Ruderman And to be sure Florida’s coastline remains sturdy and maintained, they plan to continue with the project in the future. “This is the second iteration. The corps will come back in three years, five years, seven years and do it again, depending upon the conditions of the beach depending on what’s happened in the meantime,” said Ruderman “We have a national interest in protecting this environment for the folks who live there and for the economy at stake.” The corps is doing another similar project just up the coast at Lido Key, and another with Pinellas county based on assessed risk while also searching for a sponsor. Stick with CW44 News for updates.
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