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In the News:

2014 Media Coverage of the Pinellas County Clerk of the Circuit Court


December 30, 2014
Channel 8 News WFLA: Preparations, mixed with uncertainty as marriage deadline nears

TAMPA BAY - A week before a ban on same-sex marriage in Florida is scheduled to be lifted, there is still uncertainty about whether clerks in all counties throughout the state will issue marriage licenses to gay couples. "We've gone forward with getting ready," said Ken Burke, Pinellas County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller. "If Judge Hinkle's decision is such that it allows same sex marriage, we'll be ready come January 6 if that's the date that's decided upon." Burke said his office has already been preparing documents and marriage ceremony details. He and other clerks want a "clarification" of the judge's order, regarding whether it applies to all counties. Meanwhile, couples including Shirley Winslow and Brenda Cuevas are also preparing. "We are going to go down the courthouse hopefully be the first in line," Winslow said. "Even if we have to camp out and wait."
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE ON WFLA.COM

December 30, 2014
ABC Action News WFTS: Same-sex couples prepare to marry Jan. 6, wait for judge's response

TAMPA BAY - Shirley Winslow met Brenda Cuevas met in the summer of 1989. They've been together ever since. They finish each other's sentences as married couples often do. "We've been together ever since," Winslow said. "Our hopes, our dreams are January 6th will be the day," she said. The Lutz couple hopes they will be married a week from Tuesday in Florida after 25 years of commitment recognized by their hearts. "It just validates the relationships that people have. It just says ours is as strong as someone else's," Winslow said. Right now Florida's clerks of court are waiting for a federal judge to give them the go-ahead. He's the same judge who lifted Florida's same-sex marriage ban in August.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE ON ABCACTIONEWS.COM

December 24, 2014
TBO: Survey: Most Florida clerks won't give gays marriage licenses

ORLANDO - Most of Florida's 67 clerks of court don't plan to issue marriage licenses to gay couples on Jan. 6 because they are paralyzed by confusion over whether a same-sex marriage ban is being lifted across the whole state that day, according to an Associated Press survey. The overwhelmingly majority of clerks who responded to AP's inquiry this week said they wouldn't offer marriage licenses to same-sex couples without further clarification from a federal judge on whether his ruling applies beyond Washington County. A lawsuit filed in the remote Panhandle county by two men seeking to be married became a key basis for U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle's decision ruling the state's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE ON TBO.COM

December 22, 2014
TBO: Gay marriage in Florida by Jan. 6? Maybe, maybe not

TAMPA - A U.S. Supreme Court decision last week cleared the way for same-sex marriage in Florida by Jan. 6, but that doesn't necessarily mean gay couples will immediately be able to get married in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. Clerks of court in both counties say Friday's Supreme Court ruling left unclear the legality of Florida clerks issuing same-sex marriage licenses. They said they won't issue licenses to same-sex couples until they are certain they can legally do so. U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle struck down Florida's 2008 ban on gay marriage in August, saying his decision would not take effect until after Jan. 5. Attorney General Pam Bondi requested a stay on Hinkle's ruling, but the Supreme Court on Friday rejected that request by a 7-2 vote. Bondi has argued that allowing gay marriages in Florida before all appeals were completed would cause "confusion," but in a statement Friday she said her office will abide by the ruling. "The Supreme Court has now spoken, and the stay will end on January 5," Bondi said.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE ON TBO.COM

December 22, 2014
Tampa Bay Newspapers-Beacon, Leader, Bee: Bay area court clerks will not issue same-sex marriage licenses Jan. 6

TAMPA BAY - Pinellas Clerk of Court Ken Burke expects same-sex couples will show up to his office Jan. 6 to seek a marriage license. At this point, they will leave empty-handed, and so will couples who try in Hillsborough, Pasco and Hernando counties. "We're sympathetic but we have to follow what we know is the direction of the court, based on advice from our legal counsel," Burke said Monday, three days after a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that gay marriage advocates say clears the way for clerks throughout the state to marry same-sex couples. Gay-rights groups on Monday vowed to take legal action against Florida clerks who deny licenses to couples on Jan. 6. That's the day after a federal judge's stay on a ruling striking down the ban on gay marriage expires.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE ON TAMPABAY.COM

December 17, 2014
Tampa Bay Newspapers-Beacon, Leader, Bee: CASA honors Pinellas Clerk of the Court

ST. PETERSBURG - Community Action Stops Abuse hosted its 18th annual Peace Breakfast Dec. 9 at the Coliseum in St. Petersburg. CASA honored Pinellas County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller Ken Burke with the John E. Stross "Victory Over Violence" award in appreciation of his domestic violence advocacy. The award is named after the late John E. Stross, a longtime CASA supporter who passed away in May. The event included several inspirational keynote speakers, all speaking from the heart, highlighting the importance of working together to help domestic violence victims feel safe.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE ON TBNWEEKLY.COM

December 16, 2014
TBO: Clerks association warns against issuing gay marriage licenses

TALLAHASSEE - Lawyers for Florida's 67 clerks of court are warning that those who issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples will be "subject to criminal penalties," including arrest and imprisonment. The Florida Association of Court Clerks and Comptrollers on Tuesday released the revised legal opinion from its attorneys. Some clerks had been preparing for same-sex unions after a federal judge in Tallahassee declared the state's ban on those marriages unconstitutional. Hillsborough County Clerk of Court Pat Frank was not available for comment Tuesday afternoon. Frank has said she was willing to marry same-sex couples in a mass ceremony in a park across from the courthouse. Pinellas County Clerk of Court Ken Burke said he too was ready to marry same-sex couples but will follow the lawyers' advice.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE ON TBO.COM

December 16, 2014
Tampa Bay Times: Law firm tells clerks gay marriage order affects just one Florida county

PINELLAS COUNTY - The fight to prevent gay marriage from becoming legal in Florida received a boost Tuesday from one of the state's most prominent law firms, which advised court clerks they could face misdemeanor charges if they issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Greenberg Traurig, the law firm for the association representing Florida's 67 court clerks, warned that a federal judge's ruling overturning the state ban on gay marriage only applies to one Panhandle county, Washington County, the only place named in the lawsuit. According to the Florida Association of Court Clerks and Comptrollers, clerks in all other counties are not bound by U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle's ruling in August that the gay marriage ban is unconstitutional.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE ON TAMPABAY.COM

December 9, 2014
Tampa Bay Times: Steve Yerrid tells CASA audience of the abuse he suffered at his own father's hands

ST. PETERSBURG - As the hard-charging Tampa lawyer who has fought for clients against the tobacco industry, BP and many others, Steve Yerrid keeps a high profile. Yet he stunned an audience of about 400 people gathered at a fundraiser to fight domestic violence Tuesday morning with this admission: As a child, Yerrid was a victim of his own father's abuse. His voice occasionally breaking, Yerrid said that by the time he was 7, he had suffered four or five concussions from his father's blows. Stepping in front of his mother to protect her from his father, he said, "I had never been so terrified in my life."
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE ON TAMPABAY.COM

December 8, 2014
Tampa Bay Newspapers-Beacon, Leader, Bee: Clerk's office awarded for hiring practices

ST. PETERSBURG - Vocational Rehabilitation recently recognized the Pinellas County Clerk's office as an outstanding employer in the state of Florida for hiring persons with disabilities. The Disability Employment Awareness Celebration took place Oct. 31 at the Hilton hotel in St. Petersburg. The celebration included several other outstanding employers who were also honored for their commitment. The event was in recognition of National Disability Employment Awareness which is celebrated in October. "Being recognized in the community for our efforts to employ people with disabilities is a true honor" said Ken Burke, Pinellas County Clerk of the Circuit Court and comptroller.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE ON TBNWEEKLY.COM

December 5, 2014
Miami Herald: Tampa Bay area prepares to issue same-sex marriage licenses

PINELLAS COUNTY - After reciting their vows in front of a Vermont bed-and-breakfast fireplace, after drinking champagne and sharing a white-frosted wedding cake, Kate and Beth Bauer-Jones boarded a flight home to Tampa. They got on the plane in Boston as a "fully married, equal, regular couple," Kate Bauer-Jones said. "And we got off the plane in Florida, and we weren't any more. We were nothing. Legally, we were strangers." But under a court decision this week, their out-of-state, same-sex marriage in October could be recognized in Florida as soon as early next month. And with the possibility of the state's ban against gay marriages ending, court officials across Tampa Bay are revising documents and preparing to conduct same-sex wedding ceremonies in the coming weeks.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE ON MIAMIHERALD.COM

December 4, 2014
Tampa Bay Times: Tampa Bay area prepares to issue same-sex marriage licenses

PINELLAS COUNTY - After reciting their vows in front of a Vermont bed-and-breakfast fireplace, after drinking champagne and sharing a white-frosted wedding cake, Kate and Beth Bauer-Jones boarded a flight home to Tampa. They got on the plane in Boston as a "fully married, equal, regular couple," Kate Bauer-Jones said. "And we got off the plane in Florida, and we weren't any more. We were nothing. Legally, we were strangers." But under a court decision this week, their out-of-state, same-sex marriage in October could be recognized in Florida as soon as early next month. And with the possibility of the state's ban against gay marriages ending, court officials across Tampa Bay are revising documents and preparing to conduct same-sex wedding ceremonies in the coming weeks.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE ON TAMPABAY.COM

November 27, 2014
TBO: Some potential jurors bail on serving in local courts

ST PETERSBURG - Though some summoned jurors skip out on their duties, tracking down local violators and holding them in contempt of court hasn't been a high priority. Most residents show up to serve - even if begrudgingly. Wanda Macon, who oversees jury pools for Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court, anticipates about 70 percent of summoned jurors showing up on their reporting date. Most who don't are excused or call with a last-minute conflict. Potential jurors - adults in either county with a driver's license or identification card - receive summonses four weeks before their reporting dates, and can reschedule their service one time for any reason.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE ON TBO.COM

November 17, 2014
The St. Petersburg Tribune: Pinellas sheriff's event clears 60 minor warrants

ST. PETERSBURG - More than 50 people with nonviolent misdemeanor warrants out for their arrest got off the hook this weekend. The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office hosted a one-day event, "Operation Safe Surrender," on Sunday to encourage locals who had outstanding warrants to turn themselves in in the hopes of getting the issue resolved. Fifty-two people went to the Suncoast Safety Council to surrender, and 60 misdemeanor warrants were processed, and $1,879 in fines, court costs and restitution was collected by the clerk of court's office. A sheriff's office report also said about 50 people turned themselves in ahead of the event to pay or settle parking ticket violations. If parking tickets go unpaid, the city of St. Petersburg will issue an arrest warrant. Public Defender Bob Dillinger said St. Petersburg is the only municipality in Pinellas to issue warrants for unpaid tickets. The surrender event is a good way to purge the system of offenders who aren't a threat to public safety.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE ON TBO.COM

November 13, 2014
Suncoast News: "Safe Surrender" option for misdemeanor warrants

CLEARWATER - The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office and other law enforcement agencies are extending a deal to individuals they are seeking. A one-day event on Nov. 15 called Operation Safe Surrender will offer individuals with non-violent misdemeanor warrants an opportunity to turn themselves in and resolve their cases. it will take place from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Suncoast Safety Council North Office located at 1145 Court Street. According to a sheriff's office news release, "Those" individuals with warrants meeting the criteria established by the State Attorney's Office will have their cases reviewed and potentially resolved either by a case continuance, monetary fine and/or case dismissal." The Sheriff's Office is working in coordination with the State Attorney's Office, Public Defender's Office, Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court judges and the Clerk of the Courts on Operation Safe Surrender. Operation Safe Surrender is not an amnesty program but does offer favorable considerations from the court.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE ON SUNCOASTNEWS.COM

November 12, 2014
Tampa Bay Newspapers-Beacon, Leader, Bee: Operation Safe Surrender set for Nov. 15

CLEARWATER - Operation Safe Surrender allows individuals with non-violent, misdemeanor warrants to turn themselves in and receive favorable considerations from the court. Operation Safe Surrender is Saturday, Nov. 15, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Suncoast Safety Council - North Office, 1145 Court St. in Clearwater. The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office in partnership with the State Attorney's Office, Public Defender's Office, 6th Judicial Circuit Judges and the Clerk of the Courts will host the event. In lieu of an arrest, those individuals with warrants meeting the criteria established by the State Attorney's Office will have their cases reviewed and potentially resolved by a case continuance, monetary fine and/or case dismissal. This operation is a one-day event and is not an amnesty program, but will offer favorable considerations from the court. Persons with outstanding warrants should arrive with a valid photo ID. No weapons or children are allowed.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE ON TBNWEEKLY.COM

November 11, 2014
Tampa Bay Newspapers-Beacon, Leader, Bee: County OKs contract for WTE facility

CLEARWATER - Despite a threat of a lawsuit and pleas from employees, Pinellas County Commissioners approved a nearly 600-page service agreement with Covanta Energy to operate the waste-to-energy facility during a Nov. 3 special meeting. The vote was 6-1 to award the $477 million 10-year contract to Covanta. Commissioner Norm Roche voted no. GCS Energy Recovery of Pinellas took over operations at the facility from Veolia Environmental Services, headquartered in France, in December 2012, after Veolia sold the county's contract. Veolia was awarded a $615 million 17-year contract to renovate and manage the county's facility in January of 2007.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE ON TBNWEEKLY.COM

November 10, 2014
TBO: Pinellas "safe surrender" day helps clear cases

ST PETERSBURG - Illegal parkers and garbage violators running from the law are getting their chance to come clean. The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office is hosting a one-day event, "Operation Safe Surrender," on Saturday so individuals with nonviolent misdemeanor warrants may surrender to have their situations reviewed and potentially resolved. The sheriff's office is working with the State Attorney's Office, Public Defender's Office, Pinellas-Pasco judges and the Clerk of the Courts. Pinellas-Pasco Public Defender Bob Dillinger said the courts need to clear out people who aren't a threat. "St. Petersburg is the only municipality in the county that issues warrants for parking tickets. Like a $30 parking ticket," Dillinger said. "It's really to get rid of cases that need to go away."
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE ON TBO.COM

November 5, 2014
Tampa Bay Newspapers-Beacon, Leader, Bee: Clerk's Office extends hours for passports

CLEARWATER - Pinellas County Commissioners awarded a $470 million contract to run the county's Waste-to-Energy plant, a decision likely to be challenged in court. Commissioners voted 6-1 on Tuesday to enter a 10-year contract with Covanta Energy to take over the plant next year despite a lawsuit from GCS Energy Recovery of Pinellas, which has run the plant for the past two years. Covanta will be paid $19.49 per ton of trash that it burns and converts to energy at the plant on 110th Avenue, just south of Ulmerton Road. It also will get $25 million to manage about $150 million of upgrades and maintenance to the facility. The contract is one of the largest the county awards.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE ON TBNWEEKLY.COM

November 4, 2014
Tampa Bay Times: Pinellas approves new contract for waste-to-energy plant

CLEARWATER - Pinellas County could spend up to $477 million to run its waste-to-energy plant over the next decade, under a contract awarded Monday. The County Commission voted 6-1 to approve a 10-year contract that will pay Covanta Projects $19.49 for every ton of garbage processed at the plant on 114th Avenue N in St. Petersburg. That portion of the contract is expected to yield the New Jersey-based company at least $158 million in revenue.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE ON TAMPABAY.COM

November 3, 2014
Tampa Bay Times: Pinellas approves new contract for waste-to-energy plant

PINELLAS COUNTY - Pinellas County could spend up to $477 million to run its waste-to-energy plant over the next decade, under a contract awarded Monday. The County Commission voted 6-1 to approve a 10-year contract that will pay Covanta Projects $19.49 for every ton of garbage processed at the plant on 114th Avenue N in St. Petersburg. That portion of the contract is expected to yield the New Jersey-based company at least $158 million in revenue. Covanta also will receive a 10 percent share of annual revenue from electricity sales and 30 percent from the sale of metals recovered from the waste, provisions that together are worth about $3.2 million a year. And the county will pay the company a $10 million management fee to oversee capital projects with a maximum budget of $150 million.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE ON TAMPABAY.COM

November 1, 2014
TBO - The Tampa Tribune (Community Events): Holiday Passport Acceptance Event

CLEARWATER - The busy months of the holiday season have prompted an initiative to provide additional passport acceptance hours in the Pinellas County Clerk's office. In an effort to provide citizens with plenty of opportunities to apply for a passport, the Clerk's office will offer extended office hours on the following two days - Saturday, November 8, 2014 from 9 am -1 pm, Clearwater Recording Services, 315 Court St., Room 150, Clearwater, FL 33756; and Saturday, December 6, 2014 from 9 am - 1 pm at the Clerk's Tyrone Branch Office - 1800 66th St. N., St. Petersburg, FL 33710.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE ON TBO.COM

October 26, 2014
The St. Petersburg Tribune: Forum set on domestic violence

CLEARWATER - The more people know about domestic violence, the more they are able to help. That's the thinking behind a forum set for 6 to 8 p.m. Monday at the Pinellas County Justice Center. Vanessa Castrogiovanni, a spokeswoman for Pinellas County's clerk of the circuit court and comptroller, said domestic violence is "chronically under-reported." One in every four women and one in every seven men has been or will be a victim of domestic violence, and every year three million children are exposed, she said. The forum is intended to make "people aware of the reality of the situation" because anyone could be a victim.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE ON TBO.COM

October 20, 2014
Tallahassee Democrat: Employment is Whitby's path to independence

ST. PETERSBURG - Brittany Whitby has made a special place for herself in the Pinellas County Clerk of the Circuit Court office in Tyrone. Whitby's job, office clerk assistant, was created by bringing together tasks that other workers did not have time to accomplish, but needed to be done. Job coach Mona Andrews with Placement Works helped structure the work and teach Whitby the skills needed for the tasks she performs. Tyrone branch office manager Nancy Dickman said, "Whatever you ask Brittany to do, she is more than willing to do it or learn how to do it if she hasn't done it before. We have found tasks to make this a positive and special experience for Brittany. I think she enjoys being here and looks forward to coming to work."
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE ON TALLAHASSEE.COM

October 2, 2014
Centro Tampa/The Tampa Tribune: Violencia doméstica, una lucha sin tregua

CLEARWATER - Cuando decenas de líderes comunitarios, especialistas y público en general se reúnan a fines de este mes en el Condado de Pinellas para hablar sobre violencia doméstica, es muy probable que las estadísticas continúen llamando la atención de las autoridades. En Estados Unidos una mujer es abusada por su pareja cada 15 segundos. Las agresiones –que pueden ser físicas, verbales e incluso de tipo financiero- no hacen distinción sobre la condición social de la persona, poder económico o nivel educativo.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE ON CENTROTAMPA.COM

October 2, 2014
Tampa Bay Times (Clearwater Community Events): Domestic Violence Forum

CLEARWATER - The Pinellas County Clerk's office is inviting the general public to attend a domestic violence educational forum hosted by the Pinellas County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller. This event will be held at the Pinellas County Justice Center, 14250 49th St. N, Largo, in the Jury Assembly room from 6 to 8 p.m., on Oct. 27. The forum will consist of an informational panel of speakers from the Haven and CASA domestic violence shelters, the Largo Police Department, and Ken Burke, Pinellas County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE ON TAMPABAY.COM

September 25, 2014
World News: Pinellas Clerk Hosts Domestic Violence Educational Forum on Oct. 27

CLEARWATER - The general public is invited to attend a Domestic Violence Educational Forum hosted by the Pinellas County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller on Monday, October 27, 2014. The event will take place at the Pinellas County Justice Center (14250 49th St N, Clearwater, FL) in the Jury Assembly room from 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Please note this event will take place in a secure building.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE ON WN.COM

September 20, 2014
East Lake Blister: Pinellas Clerk Hosts Domestic Violence Educational Forum on October 27th

PINELLAS COUNTY, FL - The general public is invited to attend a Domestic Violence Educational Forum hosted by the Pinellas County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller on Monday, October 27, 2014. The event will take place at the Pinellas County Justice Center (14250 49th St N, Clearwater, FL) in the Jury Assembly room from 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Please note this event will take place in a secure building. All visitors will need to enter the building through the security access area and be screened.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE ON EASTLAKEBLISTER.COM

September 4, 2014
Tampa Bay Newspapers-Beacon, Leader, Bee: Clerk warns residents of email scam

PINELLAS COUNTY, FL - The Florida Court Clerks & Comptrollers recently released a warning for all residents to be aware of fraudulent emails by entities impersonating Clerks' offices across the state. This newest round of activity comes in the form of an email referencing a missed court appearance. Unlike past scams, these emails attempt to retrieve personal data, forcefully, using a computer virus attached as a .zip file. These malicious attachments contain a Trojan Horse virus that becomes active as soon as the file is unzipped.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE ON TBNWEEKLY.COM

August 29, 2014
Clearwater Gazette: Officials warns residents of e-mail scam

STATEWIDE - The Florida Court Clerks & Comptrollers released a warning for all residents to be aware of fraudulent e-mails impersonating the clerks' offices across the state. This newest round of scams comes in the form of an e-mail referencing a missed court appearance. Unlike past scams, these e-mails attempt to retrieve personal data, forcefully, by a computer virus attached as a .zip file. These malicious attachments contain a "Trojan Horse" virus that becomes active as soon as the file is unzipped. Recent examples of these scams have been signed by fictitious county clerks.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE ON CLEARWATERGAZETTE.COM

August 26, 2014
Tampa Bay Times: Email scam claims to be county Clerk's office, contains info-stealing virus

CLEARWATER - Authorities want to warn people about a scam that steals information from their computers by sending out fake emails that claim to be from the local county clerk's office. The scam dupes people into opening an email that says the person missed a court date. An attachment in the email, if opened, forces computers to download a virus that tries to steal personal information.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE ON TAMPABAY.COM

July 23, 2014
Tampa Bay Newspapers-Beacon, Leader, Bee: New software improves court case management

CLEARWATER - Flanked by other elected officials and Pinellas County technology experts, J. Thomas McGrady, chief judge of the Sixth Judicial Circuit, recently announced the implementation of a new $10-million court case management system that is more user-friendly and efficient than the old one. The new software system, known as Odyssey, replaces CJIS, the acronym for the Consolidated Justice Information System, a mainframe system dating to the 70s whose technology eventually became obsolete, McGrady said. Odyssey went live over the weekend of July 11-14.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE ON TBNWEEKLY.COM

July 17, 2014
Tampa Bay Newspapers-Beacon, Leader, Bee: Clerk's office receives NACo award

CLEARWATER - The National Association of Counties picked the Spending in the Sunshine website, created by the Pinellas County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller, as a recipient of the 2014 Achievement Award in the category of Civic Education and Public Information. Started in 1970, the annual Achievement Award Program is a non-competitive awards program that recognizes innovative county government programs in 21 different categories.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE ON TBNWEEKLY.COM

July 14, 2014
Tampa Bay Times: Pinellas launches new $10 million computer system for court records

LARGO - A new $10 million computer system that tracks civil, criminal, traffic and other court records is now online, and officials say it will eventually help make it easier to read many court files from a home or office computer. The new system, called Odyssey, can be used by the public as well as police, prosecutors, public defenders and others. For the public, it can be used for many tasks, including finding the date of an upcoming court hearing or learning whether a job applicant has an arrest record in Pinellas County. Access it at pinellasclerk.org and click on "search records."
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE ON TAMPABAY.COM

July 14, 2014
Bay News 9: Pinellas justice center launches $10M case management system

LARGO - The Pinellas County Justice Center has launched a new $10 million case management system that's supposed to improve efficiency and save taxpayers money. Odyssey, as the software is known, replaces the approximate 30-year-old Consolidated Justice Information System (CJIS). After more than 10 years of planning, installation and preparations for the switch, Odyssey went live over the weekend.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE ON BAYNEWS9.COM

July 14, 2014
Channel 8 WFLA: Pinellas justice system converts to computerized records

PINELLAS COUNTY, FL (WFLA) - Pinellas State Attorney Bernie McCabe likens the 30-year-old courthouse records mainframe known as the Consolidated Justice Information System, or CJIS, to a rickety old car "that you can't find any parts for anymore." Today, McCabe joined Pinellas-Pasco Chief Judge J. Thomas McGrady, Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri and Pinellas Clerk of Courts Ken Burke in announcing the debut of a brand new computerized records system called Odyssey that is sleeker, easier to use and fully integrated across a number of local government agencies involved in the justice system.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE ON WFLA.COM

July 14, 2014
TBO: New computer system puts Pinellas court officials on same page

CLEARWATER - Pinellas County court and law enforcement officials unveiled a new electronic records system Monday that they say promises to make case management and research significantly easier. The nearly $11 million system took five years to create, and millions of documents have been put into it. Dubbed "Odyssey," officials say it replaces the 30-year-old Criminal Justice Information System, or CJIS, which they characterized as clunky and outdated. "This is a system that we're very proud of," said Circuit Judge Tom McGrady, chief judge of the 6th Judicial Circuit, which covers Pinellas and Pasco counties.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE ON TBO.COM

June 25, 2014
Tampa Bay Newspapers-Beacon, Leader, Bee: Clerk's office plans service disruption

CLEARWATER - Pinellas County's Odyssey Case Management System will be expanded July 14 from the civil and probate court to the criminal, traffic and juvenile courts. The Odyssey Case Management System is the system, which last year replaced the county's old legacy mainframe system. The system is shared by the courts, clerk of the court, the state attorney, public defender, sheriff's office and all court-related agencies.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE ON TBNWEEKLY.COM

June 5, 2014
Clearwater Gazette: County plans for next phase of IT system expansion

CLEARWATER - The next phase in the implementation of Pinellas County's new Odyssey Case Management System, which will include the Criminal, Traffic and Juvenile Court processes, is expected to be completed by July 14. The first phase of the conversion to the new system, which will eventually replace the county's old legacy mainframe system, occurred last year. The new system will be shared by the Courts, Clerk, the State Attorney, Public Defender, Sheriff's Office and all other court related agencies.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE ON CLEARWATERGAZETTE.COM

April 9, 2014
Tampa Bay Newspapers-Beacon, Leader, Bee: Update: Wireless access available at county

PINELLAS COUNTY - Visitors to Pinellas County government facilities will now be able to stay connected even better than before. Wi-Fi access is live in approximately 800 access points across 99 buildings. Guests at the Pinellas County facilities will be able to log in by choosing to connect to the Pinellas_Guest network and agreeing to the acceptable use policy that will open in a browser.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE ON TBNWEEKLY.COM

April 2, 2014
Digital Journal: Update: Bay Pines VA to Host Stand Down for Homeless Veterans

BAY PINES - The Bay Pines VA Healthcare System (VAHCS) will host a Stand Down for Homeless Veterans event on Saturday, April 5, 2014 from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. The event is scheduled to take place in the courtyard located near building 37 at the medical center campus located in Bay Pines. The event will be held rain or shine and feature wide range of services available for homeless Veterans and those at risk of becoming homeless. Services available will include access to medical care; free meals, toiletries, hot showers and clothing items; VA health care, benefits and housing information; employment assistance and more.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE ON DIGITALJOURNAL.COM

March 25, 2014
Tampa Bay Newspapers-Beacon, Leader, Bee: New website reveals county's spending

CLEARWATER - A new "Spending in the Sunshine" website allows users to view financial transactions by the Clerk and the Circuit Court and Pinellas County Commissioners.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE ON TBNWEEKLY.COM

March 17, 2014
Channel 8 WFLA: Pinellas Co. Clerk launches website that shows county spending

By Press Release
PINELLAS COUNTY, FL (WFLA) - The Office of Ken Burke, Pinellas County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller, launched a new website that allows users to view financial transactions undertaken by the Clerk of the Circuit Court and the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners. The Spending in the Sunshine website is the latest offering by Pinellas County to provide citizens an electronically accessed, transparent view of government activities.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE ON WFLA.COM

March 14, 2014
Tampa Bay Times: Editorial: Keeping tabs on government, with a click

A Times Editorial
TAMPA BAY - Information is power, and for too long in state and local governments elected officials and bureaucrats have been circumspect about creating an easy way to view how public money is spent. That is changing in Pinellas County, where Clerk of Court Ken Burke has set a new standard for openness.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE ON TAMPABAY.COM

February 20, 2014
Tampa Bay Newspapers-Beacon, Leader, Bee: Operation Safe Surrender set for Feb. 22

by Douglas R Clifford
ST. PETERSBURG - Individuals with non-violent, misdemeanor warrants can turn themselves in during Operation Safe Surrender Saturday, Feb. 22, and have their warrants resolved in a safe environment, as well as receive favorable considerations from the court.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE ON TBNWEEKLY.COM

February 15, 2014
Tampa Bay Times: (Video) Valentine's Day means weddings at Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo

by Douglas R Clifford
LARGO - Marry Elswick, 44, left, takes a first dance with her new husband, Rolando Florian, 41, moments after they were married Friday at the Pinellas County Clerk of Court Ken Burke's eighth annual Valentine's Day Group Wedding.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE AND WATCH THE VIDEO HERE ON TAMPABAY.COM

January 9, 2014
Tampa Bay Newspapers-Beacon, Leader, Bee: Clerk plans Valentine's Day Wedding

PINELLAS COUNTY - Ken Burke, Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller has announced that numerous couples will be joined together for one group wedding ceremony on Valentine’s Day, Friday, Feb. 14, in the romantic Wedding Garden at the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE ON TBNWEEKLY.COM

January 2, 2014
Tampa Bay Times: Massive Valentine's Day wedding ceremony planned in Botanical Gardens

by Sharon Kennedy Wynne
CLEARWATER - Once again, Ken Burke, the Pinellas clerk of courts, has announced that up to 50 couples can sign up for a group wedding ceremony on Valentine's Day, which falls on Friday this year, to be held in the romantic Wedding Garden at the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo.
READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE ON TAMPAYBAY.COM

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