Thursday, April 30, 2009

Swine Flu Education Resources

The following links have great on-line checklists about communicating with and educating staff members and persons in the communities that you serve rteagrding the H1N1 Virus.

You can download the short versions of the checklists on the top of the weblink pages but if you scroll down you can complete the more in-depth versions of the checklists.

Here are the links:

If we find out other verified resources, we will post them here. 

Letter Carrier Food Drive

Every second Saturday in May letter carriers in more than 10,000 cities and towns across America deliver much more than mail when they walk and drive along their postal routes. They also collect the goodness and compassion of their postal customers who participate in the NALC Stamp Out Hunger National Food Drive – the largest one-day food drive in the nation and probably the world. 

In Pinellas, food will be unloaded from the back of the postal trucks in Clearwater/ Dunedin and placed in large postal boxes for transport to the Mallory Powell Center at 1521 E Druid Rd.

The food tends to come in all at once which is why we need we need folks to move the food as quickly as food banks can offer the trucks for transport to MPC.

The food comes in first to the post offices so peak times are generally noon-2pm and 3 pm to 5:30 pm.

Volunteers and donations are welcome and EVERYBODY can participate.


All citizens need do is to place a box or can of non-perishable food next to their mailbox before their letter carrier delivers mail on Saturday, May 9. The carrier will do all the rest. The food is taken back to a postal station, sorted, and then delivered to an area food bank or pantry. There it is available for needy families.


1) Dunedin Post Office from 12 noon to 5:30 pm. Dunedin Post Office is on CR1 just north of Main St in Dunedin – just show up.

2) Downtown Clearwater Post Office from 12 noon to 5:30 – just show up.

3) Salvation Army - Main Social Service Campus ( Mallory-Powell Center) at 1521 E Druid Rd, Clearwater from around 1 pm through 6 pm.   (Folks can volunteer for one hour, two, hours, or as long as they are able/willing). People interested in volunteering should contact either JoAnn Bruner, Volunteer Coordinator at 725-9777 or Kip Corriveau, Director of Social Services at 446-6507.

4) RCS Food Bank will need volunteers the same day.  They have three afternoon shifts available: 1:30-3:30 / 3:00-5:00 / 5:00-7:00. Those interested may contact Rachel Thurber, RCS Volunteer Coordinator at (727) 242-4606.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Swine Flu Update

The Pinellas County Health Department continues to be the lead agency for the county’s response.  Emergency Management is monitoring the situation in coordination with them as well as with the State Department of Emergency Management.

While the number of confirmed cases in the United States continues to rise, no cases have been reported in Florida. The only reported fatalities from the swine flu have been in Mexico.

While Swine Flu (aka H1N1 Influenza) can be a serious public health threat, but at this time there are no confirmed cases in Florida. The public should be advised to go about their normal daily activities, but exercise standard precautions such as hand washing and proper cough/sneeze technique(for example cough/sneeze in sleeve).

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has a set of standard precautions and other information available at:

Citizens who are experiencing flu-like symptoms should avoid public gathering places, and contact their primary healthcare provider for further advice. There are no local school or government office closures planned at this time.

General public/community inquires should be routed to the Disease Control Division of the Pinellas County Health Department at 727-824-6932

Monday, April 27, 2009

Florida Department of Health is Ready to Respond to Swine Flu

While no cases have been identified in Florida at this time, swine flu has been confirmed in the U.S., according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

“This is a situation where we must all be on the alert,” said Dr. Ana Viamonte Ros, Florida’s State Surgeon General. “We have increased our surveillance and we’re telling doctors that with flu season waning, if they see patients with sudden onset of high fever and a cough or sore throat, they should collect a specimen for testing.”

Dr. Viamonte Ros said the Florida Department of Health (DOH) and county health department have response plans and have put them into play. “Our state laboratories have the equipment necessary and our personnel are trained in identifying influenza samples.  We have increased surveillance, alerted doctors and are working with our local county health departments,” she said.

Florida has prepared for influenza events: 

·        All state laboratories have the facilities to safely identify influenza samples. 

·        The state has almost 100 sentinel physicians who report any unusual influenza-like activity to DOH and the CDC. 

·        We have the ability to monitor the sale of over the counter drugs, as an early warning sign for increased influenza activity.

The State Surgeon General provided these recommendations:

·        As always, individuals with respiratory illness should stay home from work or school to avoid spreading infections, including influenza, to others in the community.

·        Avoid close contact with people who are coughing or otherwise appear ill.

·        Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

·        Wash your hands frequently to lessen the spread of respiratory illness.

·        If you have cough, fever and fatigue, possibly with diarrhea and vomiting, you should contact your physician or health care provider.

Swine flu viruses are not transmitted through food and you cannot get swine flu from eating pork products.  The infections appear to spread from person to person.  Anti-viral drugs can reduce the consequences of the flu, if taken early. 

Dr. Viamonte Ros said Florida is receiving regular updates from the CDC, and is working with local county health departments to monitor the situation and immediately follow up on any suspected cases.  The CDC has created a web page with information at .

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Transportation Disadvantaged (TD) Program

Outside of finding work, transportation is the greatest obstacle for the homeless and at risk population to overcome. There is some help available if you qualify.

Pinellas County Transportation Disadvantaged (TD) Program

Through its TD Program, the Pinellas County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) provides transportation services to transportation disadvantaged persons and to eligible Medicaid recipients. The MPO contracts with Greater Pinellas Transportation Management Services (GPTMS) to take calls from program participants and schedule trips with the contracted providers.

If you qualify, GPTMS can provide monthly bus passes for as low as $1.00. Please follow the link provided for more information.

PSTA Joins the Google Transit Network

Planning trips on public transit in the Tampa Bay area has just gotten easier thanks to a new collaboration between PSTA and Internet powerhouse Google. Google has given this specialized module to PSTA free of charge, allowing this new tool to be added to their website at no cost to taxpayers. “Riders around the world will now be able to use their computers, Blackberries or iPhones to easily plan a trip on PSTA by using Google and for the first time ever, they’ll be able to use one website to plan trips on both sides of the bay,” says PSTA Executive Director Tim Garling.

“This partnership not only enhances PSTA’s customer service, but is also a major step forward in preparing for the regional transit network being formulated by the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority (TBARTA),” adds Mr. Garling.

Google Transit features and benefits include:

  • Plan a trip using a mobile device (like an iPhone or Blackberry)
  • View a trip on a Google Map
  • Google’s street-level views and aerial photos will allow riders to see the bus stop and surrounding area.
  • Automatically translates 40 languages
  • Easy and intuitive interface
  • Interconnected with Hillsborough Area Regional Transit’s (HART) Google Transit information for seamless trip planning

Riders can access Google Transit right from the home page of the PSTA website at or at

April is Alcohol Awareness Month

As part of Alcohol Awareness Month, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration provides valuable tips on raising awareness about alcohol abuse.

Parents can find information on educating their children and being a good role model

Teenagers can find answers to many of their questions.
To locate additional information on substance abuse resources in the FAQ's section of

Or call 2-1-1 for information on drug and alcohol related resources and support group programs in your community.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Beware of Foreclosure Rescue Scams

Help for American Home Owners is here.

This program connects you with a HUD-approved Housing Counselor who may be able to help you re-finance your mortgage or help you modify your monthly payments through modification. There is never a fee for the Making Home Affordable program. Check this program out today.

Additionally, here is some advice concerning your mortgage process:
  • Beware of any person or organization that asks you to pay a fee in exchange for housing counseling services or modification of a delinquent loan. Do not pay – walk away!
  • Beware of anyone who says they can “save” your home if you sign or transfer over the deed to your house. Do not sign over the deed to your property to any organization or individual unless you are working directly with your mortgage company to forgive your debt.
  • Never submit your mortgage payments to anyone other than your mortgage company without their approval.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Making National News

If you happen to pick up a USA Today paper - today, you will see a great section on "Sharing in the US."  2-1-1 Tampa Bay Cares, Inc. was interviewed for the national 2-1-1 article which appears in this section.  We recommend picking up a paper copy of todays USA TODAY because the "Sharing in the US" section discusses the challenges facing the non-profit sector as well as how various national organizations are making a difference. Below is a link to the 2-1-1 article in USA Today article on line:

Volunteering Makes a Difference.

It's National Volunteer Week!
Visit our page on YouTube for more exciting videos. Click here.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Statewide Honor...

One of our 211 TBC Board members, Jim Mills, was the recipient of the 2009 Chiles Advocacy Award.  This award is given annually by Children's Week partners - more than 80 non-profit, private and public sector organizations - to a Floridian who has demonstrated a commitment over many years to advocating for public policies that improve the lives of Florida's children and their families.  Awardees are chosen for their integrity, dedication, and commitment to improving the lives of Florida's children and families. Congratulations Jim!

10 Security Threats to Watch Out for in 2009

10 Security Threats to Watch Out for in 2009

There are some security threats that have been around long before the advent of the Internet, and even some Internet threats have been around for a while. Still, according to one analyst, attackers are becoming more sophisticated in circumventing our security controls, and new threats are starting to emerge.

In an article on the TechRepublic website, analyst Debra Littlejohn Shinder outlines the 10 security threats she sees as growing in prominence this year. They include:

  • Social networking: It’s finding its way into the workplace, Shinder says, and too many people “let their hair down when posting on these sites and share much more personal data (and even company data) than they should.”
  • More attacks on the integrity of the data: It used to be attackers were just looking for a free ride on your Internet connection, but now data is quickly becoming the target.
  • Attacks on mobile devices: Laptops, smart phones and new technology carry around more sensitive data than ever — and most people don’t take the proper corrective measures.
  • Virtualization: Shinder says virtualized environments are becoming commonplace in the business world, and, if it’s “properly deployed, virtualization can even increase security — but that’s a big ‘if,’” she says. “Virtualization makes security more complicated because it introduces another layer that must be secured.”
  • Cloud computing: “Cloud advocates envision a day when we’ll all use inexpensive terminals to access our resources that are located someplace ‘out there,’” Shinder says. “But when your data is ‘out there,’ how can you be sure that it’s protected from everyone else ‘out there?’”

Some of the other threats Shinder sees include more attacks on non-Windows operating system, increased vulnerability of third party applications, increased recycling of computer components, IP convergence and people simply being too overconfident in their existing security controls.

To read the full article, click here:


Digital TV Conversion Now Set for June 12, 2009

On June 12, 2009, all television stations in the U.S. will switch from analog to digital broadcasting. The switch was originally set to occur in February 2009, but Congress delayed the transition to give stations and consumers more time to prepare.

If you have an analog TV and do not subscribe to a paid service (such as cable or satellite), you’ll need to purchase a TV converter box. To help with the transition, every U.S. household is entitled to two coupons (each worth $40) that can be applied towards the cost of the converter box. Apply online for coupons.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Walgreens Take Care Clinics offer free care to jobless

Walgreens Take Care Clinics offer free care to jobless

Take Care Clinics, located inside Walgreens drugstores, are offering free medical care to families of people who lost jobs and have no health coverage.

There are some catches. Patients have to have lost their jobs after March 30. If patients have never been treated by Take Care before, they must pay for the first visit. Prescriptions are not part of the deal.

Otherwise Take Care, which treats most minor ailments, is waiving $59 to $80 fees depending on the type of service through the rest of 2009. Quest Diagnostics also won't charge for tests Take Care commonly uses to diagnose strep throat and bladder infections. Free care is being offered to spouses, same-sex domestic partners and children if they have no other health coverage.

Visits are limited to between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. weekdays.

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