Health News Florida
12:02 pm
Sun July 5, 2015

On The Rebound, Panthers Prowl Expanding Swath Of Land In Florida

Panthers roam in rural Collier County, in southwest Florida. As the Florida state animal's population has grown, wildlife officials may seek to take the panther off the endangered species list.
Courtesy of the Conservancy of Southwest Florida

Originally published on Fri July 3, 2015 6:31 pm

In Florida, the official state animal triggers mixed feelings. The Florida panther has been on the endangered species list for nearly 50 years. From a low point in the 1970s when there were only about 20 panthers in the wild, the species has rebounded.

Now, nearly 200 range throughout southwest Florida. And some officials, ranchers and hunters in the state say that may be about enough.

Florida panthers are a subspecies of the cougar or mountain lion. They're slightly smaller than their cousins, but like them, the panthers need lots of room to roam.

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Health News Florida
10:45 am
Sun July 5, 2015

Aetna Announces $37 Billion Merger With Health Insurance Rival Humana

Health insurance giant Aetna has announced a $37 billion plan to acquire rival Humana.
Jessica Hill AP

Originally published on Fri July 3, 2015 12:01 pm

In what could prove the largest-ever merger in the insurance industry, Aetna has announced a $37 billion deal to acquire rival Humana.

The agreement, announced by the Hartford, Conn.-based Aetna, "would bolster Aetna's presence in the state- and federally funded Medicaid program and Tricare coverage for military personnel and their families," according to The Associated Press.

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12:46 pm
Fri July 3, 2015

July 4th Events Around the Bay

Credit Wiki Commons

There are various events this weekend around Tampa Bay, celebrating the Fourth of July:

Fireworks Cruise

Channelside, Tampa

July 3

Tickets include a 2.5 hour cruise, reserved table, buffet, water views of Tampa at sunset, live DJ entertainment, and fireworks show.

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NPR Story
11:36 am
Fri July 3, 2015

State Releases Partial Results For English, Language Arts Florida Standards Assessments

Originally published on Thu July 2, 2015 1:53 pm

Results for the 10th grade English-Language Arts Florida Standards Assessment, are in. And students performed largely the same as they did under the old FCAT exam. As the FSA undergoes an evaluation to see if it’s a valid measure of student ability, the state is using it to determine students graduate from high school.

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NPR Story
11:35 am
Fri July 3, 2015

Florida Shark Attacks On Par Despite North Carolina Increase

Florida Shark attacks aren't rising, despite record number in North Carolina

Originally published on Thu July 2, 2015 5:18 pm

Shark attacks in Florida are on par with last year, despite an alarming increase off North Carolina, experts say. University of Florida researcher George Burgess says unusual conditions off the Carolina coast are to blame.

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NPR Story
11:35 am
Fri July 3, 2015

Solar Power Battle Heats Up In Supreme Court

Critics of a solar power ballot initiative says the language is misleading and could force utilities to give free electricity to solar customers.

Originally published on Thu July 2, 2015 5:06 pm

Oral arguments are set September 1st in the Florida Supreme Court battle over a solar power ballot initiative. The state’s largest utilities say Floridians for Solar Choice is trying to hoodwink voters.

Backers say the initiative gives small solar generators the right to sell power. And it prevents utilities from denying solar customers regular service.

Utilities attorney Barry Richard says that could mean free electricity for solar customers.

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Deceptive Cadence
11:29 am
Fri July 3, 2015

Simone Dinnerstein On A Trip To Cuba And Making Music Out Of Difficulty

Dinnerstein's performance in Cuba followed the release of Broadway-Lafayette, an album of piano concertos.
Lisa-Marie Mazzucco Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri July 3, 2015 9:52 am

Classical pianist Simone Dinnerstein is just back from Havana, where she performed with Cuba's National Youth Orchestra. She is also working with young people back in her hometown, New York. One of her goals? To introduce students to the composer she's best known for performing — Johann Sebastian Bach. She's taking digital pianos into public schools in a program she calls "Bach-packing."

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10:46 am
Thu July 2, 2015

AAA Provides Sober Rides Home During Holiday Weekend

Tow-to-Go is a partnership between AAA and BudLight and provides sober rides home during holiday weekends.
Credit Tow-to-Go

This Fourth of July weekend, intoxicated drivers can get help getting off the road and getting home safely.

Tow-to-Go is a partnership between  AAA and BudLight. Matt Nasworthy, AAA's Traffic Safety Consultant, said impaired drivers can call this Friday through Sunday.

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10:41 am
Thu July 2, 2015

Driving This Weekend? Put Cell Phone Down

Using cell phones while driving can have serious consequences.
Credit Oregon Department of Transportation

AAA expects more than 40 million Americans to drive at least 50 miles from home this 4th of July weekend. That's the most to travel since 2007.

With so many people on the highways, AT&T is asking drivers to put down their cell phones.

“Put it in a place where they can’t reach it and keep their eyes on the road. That’s our main message – is that we want people to keep their eyes on the road, not on their phone,” Karen McAllister, media relations manager for AT&T, said.

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10:09 am
Thu July 2, 2015

FL To Get $3.25 Billion In BP Settlement

Florida will receive at least $3.2 billion  from an $18.7 billion settlement with BP over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

BP and five Gulf states announced the massive settlement Thursday, resolving years of legal fighting over the environmental and economic damage done by the energy giant's oil spill in 2010.

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9:29 am
Thu July 2, 2015

Audubon: Protecting Birds on July 4th, Patriotic

Birds roam on the beach at the Florida Keys Wild Bird Center.
Credit Associated Press

   While many people anticipate lighting fuses on the 4th of July, some people are encouraging the use of caution.

Ann Paul, of the Audubon Society--an organization that aims to conserve ecosystems, said that birds are often unintentional casualties of the bombs bursting in air. 

She said that baby birds can be separated from their family  while trying to flee the sound of fireworks.

Paul also said that protecting American wildlife is one of the most patriotic things a person can do. 

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Health News Florida
6:30 pm
Wed July 1, 2015

Loved Ones Remembered With Cremation Jewelry

Nelson Jantzen memorialized his deceased wife, Dianne, by incorporating her ashes into this fused glass pendant. The ashes are sealed inside the cat's face.
Daylina Miller/Health News Florida

Originally published on Thu July 2, 2015 10:31 am

 When someone dies, a lot of people honor the memory of a loved one with a funeral.

Those who chose a traditional casket burial spend about $7,000 or more. A service that includes a cremation costs about a third of that.

But there’s a growing number of people who want to remember their loved ones long after the funeral ends in a different way.

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2:58 pm
Wed July 1, 2015

Tampa Bay Counties Partner with Germany for Student Apprentice Program

State Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam is briefed on AMskills.
Credit M.S. Butler

Not every high school student wants to or even needs to go to college, but graduating students without a college degree may have a hard time gaining entry or experience at companies hiring for high paying, high skilled jobs. A local program is trying to bring that experience to graduating students.

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Off The Base
2:40 pm
Wed July 1, 2015

July Opens With Two Veterans Events

Credit U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

The Vice-Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), is holding a Veterans’ Town Hall today, July 1, 2015 starting at 5:30 p.m.

The event is open to the public and will offer the audience a chance to participate.

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The Two-Way
1:59 pm
Wed July 1, 2015

U.S., Cuba Formally Resume Diplomatic Relations

President Obama, accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden, spoke about U.S. ties with Cuba during remarks Wednesday in the Rose Garden of the White House.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Wed July 1, 2015 2:26 pm

President Obama on Wednesday announced the formal resumption of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba after more than half a century of hostilities. The two countries have agreed to reopen embassies in Washington and Havana.

Standing in the White House Rose Garden, Obama called it "a historic step forward in our efforts to normalize relations with the Cuban government and people."

Obama said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will visit Havana this summer to "proudly raise the flag over our embassy once more."

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