Politics
10:10 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Florida TaxWatch Shares Its Take On Upcoming Constitutional Amendments

Dominic Calabaro speaking at the press conference.

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 5:11 pm

The nonprofit government watchdog group Florida TaxWatch released its voter’s guide Wednesday detailing proposed state constitutional amendments. 

Unlike some other issuers of voting guides, fiscally conservative TaxWatch doesn’t take a yes-or-no stance on the initiatives.  Instead, it offers a take on the pros and cons of enacting the amendments.    

Dominic Calabro, head of the organization, says it’s important to exercise caution when changing the state constitution.

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Education
10:05 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

State Universities Want $45 Million To Offset Bright Futures Changes

State university officials are asking for $45 million in needs-based aid to help make up for cuts to Bright Futures.

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 4:32 pm

State university leaders want to add $45 million in needs-based financial aid to help make up for changes to the Bright Futures scholarship program. Those new, higher qualifications will eliminate more than $250 million a year in college aid by 2018.

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University Beat
10:00 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

With Many Groups Ranking Schools, The University System Governing Board Weighs Which Is Best

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 6:35 pm

The Florida Board of Governors is weighing how national rankings should impact the state’s public universities. When it comes to evaluating schools, the board agrees metrics should matter, but how much?

Florida’s state university system governing board wants the public universities to climb in the national rankings. But which one? Several groups rank schools. U.S. News and World Report is the most popular,  but there’s also Newsweek, and Kiplinger. The Princeton Review. And none of the outlets ranks the schools the same way. s

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Environment
4:20 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Florida Gets Tax Holiday For Energy-Saving Appliances

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 2:37 pm

  State officials are promoting the potential for long-term savings on utility bills as they tout sales-tax breaks this weekend for shoppers who buy energy-saving and water-conserving appliances.

The discount period, which begins Friday, is the third sales-tax "holiday" offered by Florida lawmakers as part of an election-year package of tax cuts.

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Politics
1:19 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

President Obama Puts the Islamic State in His Sights During Tampa Address

The president addresses the nation from MacDill Air Force Base

President Barack Obama put the Islamic State - or ISIS - squarely in his sights Wednesday during an address at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. He spoke to more than 1,000 servicemen and women at the home of Central Command, which conducts operations in the Middle East.

The president reiterated earlier comments that the U.S. will not go it alone against the Islamic State, but coordinate with more than 40 countries in a combined effort to contain and ultimately push back the militants.

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Health News Florida
8:44 am
Wed September 17, 2014

The Secret Prices Of Health Care: How What You Don’t Know Can Cost You

Health care pricing is shrouded in secrecy.

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 8:36 am

When Uwe Reinhardt tries to explains the Gordian Knot of hospital pricing to his health care economics students at Princeton University, he has a go-to metaphor:

“It's almost like blindfolding people, shoving them into Macy's and saying, ‘buy — efficiently — for a shirt.’ Well you come out with a pair of shorts,” says Reinhardt.

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Off The Base
11:05 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

President Obama Arrives at MacDill, Stops by Military Spouse Appreciation Event

A map of U.S. Central Command's AOR, area of responsibility.
Credit CENTCOM / U.S. Department of Defense

President Barack Obama landed at Tampa’s MacDill Air Force Base shortly before 7  p.m. Tuesday, following a flight from Atlanta where he announced a major U.S. response to  the Ebola crisis in Africa.

The President was greeted by the Commander of U.S. Central Command Gen. Lloyd Austin, the newly installed Commander of U.S. Special Operations Command Gen. Joseph Votel, Commander of MacDill and the 6th Air Mobility Wing Col. Daniel Tulley, and U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL-D).

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The Two-Way
10:05 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Boeing And SpaceX Win $6.8 Billion In NASA Contracts

In an image provided by NASA, astronaut Randy Bresnik prepares to enter Boeing's CST-100 spacecraft for an evaluation at the company's Houston Product Support Center. NASA awarded Boeing with a $4.2 billion contract Tuesday.
AP

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 7:29 pm

NASA has chosen Boeing and SpaceX to build the vehicles that will transport its astronauts to the International Space Station, putting the two American companies on a course to take over a job that NASA has recently relied upon Russia to perform: carrying out manned space flights.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden says vehicles from the two companies are expected to be ready for service by 2017.

Announcing its decision Tuesday, the space agency included these details:

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Environment
8:08 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Captain Citrus Reborn as Superhero

The redesigned Captain Citrus, the mascot of the Florida Department of Citrus, will appear in a series of Marvel Comics with superheroes, the Avengers,
Credit Marvel Comics / AP Photo

Captain Citrus was born in 2011 as a big, fat talking orange wearing a green cape. Now he's being transformed into a buff Marvel Comics superhero who will fight evil alongside the likes of Captain America.

His first mission? Promote the benefits of orange juice in a country where carb-conscious dieters are increasingly turning away from even seemingly healthy beverages that nutritionists have slammed for having too much sugar.

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Politics
6:40 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

USF's Sunshine State Survey Results on Jobs

Credit sunshinestatesurvey.org

USF's school of Public Affairs has released the latest results of its annual Sunshine State Survey.  USF and Nielsen are asking how Floridians feel about a variety of issues.

USF Political Scientist Dr. Susan MacManus said Floridians believe the biggest threat to Florida's economy is unemployment. But they rated undocumented immigrants as the third biggest concern.

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Science
5:17 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

NASA Picks Boeing and SpaceX to Ferry Astronauts

Invited guests walk up the steps to look at the inside of the SpaceX Dragon V2 spaceship at the SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, CA, in May 2014.
Credit Jae C. Hong / AP Photo

NASA is a giant step closer to launching Americans again from U.S. soil.

On Tuesday, the space agency announced it has picked Boeing and SpaceX to transport astronauts to the International Space Station in the next few years.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden named the winners of the competition at Kennedy Space Center, next door to where the launches should occur in a few years.

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Health News Florida
4:29 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Uninsured Rate Remains Unchanged in FL in 2013

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 11:45 am

The rate of Floridians without health insurance stayed the same in 2013 from the previous year, according to figures released Tuesday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Twenty percent of Floridians lacked health insurance last year, down slightly from a rate of 20.1 percent in 2012. But the change was within the margin of error, rendering it insignificant.

Nationwide, the rate was 14.5 percent.

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The Two-Way
4:03 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

BP Lawyers Use Old-School Trick; Judge Not Amused

U.S. District Court Judge Carl Barbier ruled nearly two weeks ago that BP acted recklessly in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon rig accident and oil spill.
Alastair Grant AP

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 1:04 am

Back in school, did you ever fudge the spacing on a report to meet the teacher's page-length requirement? Lawyers representing oil company BP tried something similar in a recent court filing connected to the company's 2010 drilling rig accident and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

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Health News Florida
11:39 am
Tue September 16, 2014

35K in FL Risk Losing Health Law Tax Credits

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 11:38 am

Thousands of consumers risk losing financial aid for health care premiums under President Barack Obama's law unless they clear up lingering questions about their incomes, administration officials said Monday.

The Health and Human Services Department said some people who got coverage have reported incomes that don't square with what the government has on record. At least 279,000 households with income discrepancies face a Sept. 30 deadline to submit documentation. If not, their premiums will be adjusted up or down in November.

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Florida Matters
9:15 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Florida Matters Preview: A Look at Aging in Place

Mildred Barnett remodeled her home to accommodate her 81-year-old mother (seated). Barnett lives with her husband and two children.
Yoselis Ramos

Mildred Barnett of Tampa says she once saw a picture with three faces: one of a baby, one of a woman and one of an older lady.

"And it says, ‘the sunrise is as beautiful as the sunset,’ and with proper planning, it most certainly can be," she said.

Barnett is a VA geriatric psychiatrist who recently remodeled her home to accommodate her 81-year-old mother. 

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