Health News Florida
6:33 pm
Fri January 30, 2015

Florida Leads in ACA Enrollment, See Why

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 6:55 pm

Florida continues to lead every other state using the federal marketplace health insurance marketplace, with just over 1.3 million who were enrolled or were automatically re-enrolled in a health plan as of Jan. 23.

The high numbers are due to high demand, federal health officials say.

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Health News Florida
5:13 pm
Fri January 30, 2015

United Way Suncoast Offers Free Tax Help

Credit Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press

It's tax season, and for the first time, people filing tax returns will be asked if they have health insurance. Under the federal health law, there is a tax penalty for not having insurance.  United Way Suncoast is once again offering free tax prep help.  This year, they're partnering with Covering Tampa Bay, a group that works to enroll people in health plans.  Danielle Laughlin is an income strategies manager for the United Way.

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Culture
4:23 pm
Fri January 30, 2015

B-17 Comes to Bay Area

Credit Quincy Walters

Paul Workman worries that this old war bird’s time may be running out.

As mechanic and flight engineer for the B-17 Flying Fortress, he knows what it means when the fuselage of the World War II bomber creaks and whines as it taxis the Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport's runway.

“We honestly don’t know how long we’re going to be able to do this—given the cost, given the changing the regulations,” he said during a recent visit.

Designed by Boeing for the U.S. Army, the B-17 was the flagship bomber of WWII in the European theater. 

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Health News Florida
9:23 am
Fri January 30, 2015

Sheriff Explains Medical Pot Bill Support

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 9:34 am

The latest push to legalize medical marijuana in Florida is getting support from law enforcement.

Back in November, voters defeated Amendment 2, and state Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, now wants to run the idea by Florida's legislature.

One supporter of this legislative approach is Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, who tells WUSF News that  while he opposed Amendment 2,  there's more to like in SB 528.

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Health News Florida
8:45 am
Fri January 30, 2015

Scott's Budget Includes Iffy Fed Money

Gov. Rick Scott

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 8:31 am

Despite uncertainty about whether the federal government will agree to continue the program, Gov. Rick Scott's proposed 2015-16 budget includes funding for a program that many hospitals say is crucial to caring for poor and uninsured patients.

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Off The Base
7:46 am
Fri January 30, 2015

Making Strides for Paralyzed Veterans

(April 2014) Lead therapist Michael Firestone adjusts the Exoskeleton computer backpack for veteran Josh Baker, paralyzed after a motorcycle accident.
Credit Bobbie O'Brien / WUSF Public Media

Tampa’s James A. Haley VA Hospital is using cutting edge technology to help injured veterans rehabilitate.

One of the devices, at the Spinal Cord Injury Center, helping paralyzed veterans stand and walk again is the Exoskeleton.

Using a computer backpack, robotic leg braces and a walker, veteran Josh Baker demonstrated the Exoskeleton during the April 2014 ceremonial opening of Haley’s new Polytrauma Center.

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Health News Florida
5:12 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Free Clinics Beat Insurance, for Some

Gary Babcock of Clearwater
Carol Gentry Health News Florida

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 10:32 am

With open enrollment for health insurance ending in just two weeks, the push is on to get everyone who qualifies signed up. But some of the uninsured are balking, and it’s not only the so-called “young invincibles” who think they don’t need it.

Gary Babcock of Clearwater, for example, is neither young nor invincible.  He’s 55, with diabetes so severe he has to give himself daily insulin shots.

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Culture
2:48 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Gasparilla 2015: Street Closures, Schedule, Maps

Lottie Watts WUSF 89.7
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Politics
1:16 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Pam Bondi Blames Gov. Scott's Staff in FDLE Case

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi speaks to the press during a pre-legislative news conference on Jan. 28 in Tallahassee
Credit AP Photo

Attorney General Pam Bondi said Wednesday she believes Gov. Rick Scott's staff acted without his knowledge in the way former Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey was pushed out last month.

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Culture
4:23 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Ceremony Remembers Those Lost in Coast Guard Disaster

The bell retrieved from the wreckage of the Blackthorn. It rang once for each of the victims lost on January 28, 1980.
Credit M. S. Butler

It still stands as the U.S. Coast Guard's worst peacetime disaster. And 35 years later survivors, family members and supporters still gather near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge each year to remember the sinking of the Blackthorn.

On Wednesday morning, a memorial service was held to remember the 23 crew members who lost their lives when the Blackthorn sank near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. The ship sank when it collided with a tanker, the Capricorn.

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11:11 am
Wed January 28, 2015

USF Under Federal Investigation for Handling of Rape Case

The accuser, a 22-year-old woman who spoke with the Tampa Bay Times this month, said the university failed to properly investigate her case, which she said happened last February when she was still a student. The woman did not report the incident to the police. She said she feared they wouldn't believe her because she was dating the man and also worked with him on campus. However, she reported it to university officials, who conducted an investigation and an appeal, both times finding insufficient evidence.
TAMPA - The University of South Florida is under federal investigation for possibly mishandling a sexual assault case, making it the second Florida school to face scrutiny since the White House created a task force on campus rape last January.
10:58 am
Wed January 28, 2015

American Businesses Preparing to Flood Cuba

As part of the deal between President Obama and Cuban President Raúl Castro to normalize relations, the two sides agreed to open new trade channels for farming equipment, construction materials and a wide variety of other resources for Cuba's emerging private entrepreneurs. That interest has been so intense that membership in the United States Agriculture Coalition for Cuba, a group of businesses that want to increase trade to the island, has doubled to 50 in the month following the announcement.
MIAMI - American diplomats completed their first high-level meetings with their Cuban counterparts in Havana last week. Now come the suits. A wave of U.S. business leaders are preparing to flood the island to explore new opportunities and to learn about a market that has been largely closed for 50 years.
Health News Florida
10:14 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Senate Bill Targets Troubled Prison System

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 9:32 am

With Florida's corrections system under scrutiny because of inmate deaths and alleged misconduct, a Senate committee next week will take up a wide-ranging bill aimed at improving prison safety and addressing issues such as the use of force by guards.

The 29-page bill is slated to go Monday to the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, which heard testimony last week from newly appointed Corrections Secretary Julie Jones. During that testimony, Jones pointed to problems including understaffed prisons and a lack of training for guards who deal with mentally ill inmates.

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Law & Order
8:55 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Marissa Alexander Released From Prison Into House Arrest; Protesters Say It's Not Enough

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 3:39 pm

A Jacksonville woman went home from prison yesterday after originally being sentenced to 20 years for firing a warning shot at her estranged husband. Marissa Alexander will serve two years under house arrest but a judge stopped short of tacking on two additional years of probation prosecutors had sought.

Dozens of activists descended on the Duval County Courthouse lawn Tuesday afternoon. The caravans traveled from as far away as Berkeley, California, all for the expected release of Marissa Alexander.

Annie Thomas came from Miami with the Power U Center for Social Change.

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Education
6:15 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Opting Out Of State Tests Isn't An Option, Education Commissioner Tells Lawmakers

Education Commissioner Pam Stewart told lawmakers that nothing in state law allows students to refuse state-required exams.

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 2:34 pm

Education Commissioner Pam Stewart says students cannot skip state-required tests, and teachers and schools can be punished for refusing to administer required exams.

Stewart’s letter is a response to questions from senators as they prepare for the upcoming legislative session. Senators wanted to know if students could opt out of state-required exams and how doing so might affect their progress in school.

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