TALLAHASSEE -- Florida's online system that processes unemployment claims is going dark for several days.Floridians who are jobless will not be able to apply for unemployment insurance benefits starting at noon on Wednesday. The claims system will remain unavailable until Oct. 15.People who fail to put in their claims in time may have their payments delayed.Florida is switching to a new $63 million computer system to process what the state calls "reemployment assistance."State officials tout the new system -- called CONNECT -- as a huge improvement over the current 30-year-old system. The new system will also feature new anti-fraud measures.There are roughly 240,000 people in Florida receiving unemployment insurance benefits.The state in 2011 began requiring that unemployed people file their claims online.
Bi-Lo to convert Sweetbay to Winn Dixie
JACKSONVILLE -- Bi-Lo Holdings, LLC and Winn-Dixie supermarket chains, will retire Sweetbay's banner name following the close of its transaction with Delhaize Group, parent company of Sweetbay.
Once the transaction is closed, Sweetbay stores will convert to the Winn-Dixie banner. The company said it intends to retain all store-level associates within the stores being acquired and operated.
The transitioning of Sweetbay to Winn-Dixie is to reduce overlapping footprints, company officials said.
In May 2013, Bi-Lo Holdings and Delhaize entered into a definitive agreement under which Bi-Lo Holdings will acquire substantially all of the stores in the Sweetbay, Harveys and Reid's supermarket chains from Delhaize. The transaction is anticipated to close in the first quarter of 2014. Until the transaction is complete, Sweetbay, Harveys and Reid's will continue to operate independently from Bi-Lo Holdings and its subsidiaries.
Bradenton pet store moves to larger location
BRADENTON -- Retailer "Holistic For Pets" is moving its store to a large location.
Formerly located at 8728 SR 70 in Bradenton, the pet store has moved 2 blocks west. The new address is 5770 Ranch Lake Blvd, Bradenton.
Store hours will remain at 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday. The store's grand re-opening will take place Nov. 9. Everything in the store will be 20% off on that day and there will be raffles and free samples for customers.
First Bank collecting new and used books
First Bank offices in Manatee County will serve as donation sites for new and gently used books for Manatee Reads! Fall Annual Book Sale.
The book drive, which kicked off this summer, will culminate with the annual book sale on November 2 at First Bank's Village Green branch located at 7051 Manatee Ave. W.
From now until the middle of October, new and gently used books can be dropped off at the following First Bank locations:
In Bradenton, 2412 Cortez Road W.; 9819 Cortez Road W.; 4601 Manatee Avenue W.; 7051 Manatee Avenue W.; 415 53rd Avenue W.; 3005 53rd Avenue E.; in Longboat Key: 5390 Gulf of Mexico Drive and in Palmetto: 995 N. Haben Blvd.
-- Herald staff and wire reports