4:39 pm
Mon December 22, 2014

Piano Music is in the Pinellas County Air

Piano located on Clearwater Beach as part of "Pianos for Pinellas."
Credit M.S Butler

Pianos are popping up on street corners, sidewalks and other unexpected places in Pinellas County. This is all  part of the Pianos in Pinellas program an interactive project designed to encourage public music and art throughout the county.

So, for anyone who is a music lover this is an opportunity to discover new talent right next door.. Plus any opportunity to say "play it again" is always welcome.

Project Director Colin Bissett of the Clearwater Arts Alliance tells us how the program got started.

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4:37 pm
Mon December 22, 2014

Legal Fights Loom if Licenses Denied to Same-Sex Couples

With the U.S. Supreme Court clearing the way for same-sex marriages to start Jan. 6 in Florida, gay-rights groups Monday vowed continuing legal fights if county clerks do not issue marriage licenses.

Equality Florida, a prominent group supporting legalization of same-sex marriage, issued a news release Monday that said clerks "have a legal obligation to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples --- or risk expensive litigation, including liability for damages and attorney fees."

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12:12 pm
Mon December 22, 2014

Jeb Bush’s Ties to Donors Put Rivals in a Bind

Mr. Bush is heir to a vaunted network of Republican contributors built over his family’s two presidencies, his own governorship and other campaigns. It is one of the most formidable assets in GOP politics and could hamper the fund-raising of Republican potential rivals, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie . The donors’ ties to the Bushes also could undercut possible interest in a third White House campaign by Mitt Romney . If the 2012 GOP presidential nominee runs, he would compete for the same contributors, many of whom helped finance his latest campaign.
Jeb Bush's announcement that he will explore a White House bid threatens years of painstaking spadework by other Republicans who have cultivated many of the wealthy donors loyal to the former Florida governor's family. Mr. Bush is heir to a vaunted network of Republican contributors built over his family's two presidencies, his own governorship and other campaigns.
12:11 pm
Mon December 22, 2014

If Jeb Bush Runs, Did he Wait Too Long?

Eric J. Ostermeier, political science professor at the University of Minnesota, pointed out on his Smart Politics blog that few successful presidential candidates waited as long as Bush did since his last election victory. The 2016 election will come 14 years after Bush's last electoral victory — a 2002 re-election win as Florida governor. It's been 154 years since someone won the presidency that long after his last election victory. That someone was Abraham Lincoln, elected to the U.S. House from Illinois in 1846. Lincoln served only one term and didn't win another race until the White House in 1860.
WASHINGTON - Skeptics of a Jeb Bush candidacy for the White House in 2016 tick off plenty of reasons why he can't win: He's too moderate to get the nomination. He's too tied in with Wall Street. The nation isn't ready to elect another Bush.
Law & Order
12:00 pm
Mon December 22, 2014

Suspect in Murder of Tarpon Springs Officer 'Felt Like a Caged Rat'

Tarpon Springs police officer 45-year-old Charles Kondek was shot & killed Sunday morning.
Tarpon Springs Police Dept.

UPDATE 12/22, noon with details on Parilla's first court appearance & info on fund for Off. Kondek's family:

A first appearance for suspect Marco Parilla will be held Monday at 1:30 p.m. at the County Justice Center at 14250 49th St. N.

The following statement came from the City of Tarpon Springs:

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StateImpact Florida
10:34 am
Mon December 22, 2014

The Education Year In Review -- And What To Expect In 2015

Barry University's Sean Foreman thinks Gov. Rick Scott will deliver on a promise for record per-student education funding.
Credit Photo courtesy of FLGOVSCOTT

2014 was a big year for education in Florida.

Activists in Lee County convinced the school board to ditch state testing -- before the board reversed the decision a couple of days later.

Florida schools pushed ahead with new Common Core-based math and language arts standards in every grade, despite rising opposition to Common Core across the country.

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World Affairs
10:34 am
Mon December 22, 2014

Cuban Emigré Helps U.S. Companies Prepare For An Embargo-less Future

Emilio Morales doing Cuba market research.

Originally published on Mon December 22, 2014 2:31 pm

Now that President Obama wants to normalize U.S. relations with communist Cuba, the big question is: Can the U.S. trade embargo last much longer? WLRN Americas editor Tim Padgett spoke to a Cuban émigré here in South Florida who doesn’t think so – and who’s helping U.S. companies prepare for an embargo-less future:

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World Affairs
10:33 am
Mon December 22, 2014

Older Cuban-Americans Protest Obama, But Poll Suggests Younger Generation Approves

Cuban exile protesters at a rally in Little Havana hold up a sign that says in Spanish: "We are all part of the resistance."

Originally published on Mon December 22, 2014 2:30 pm

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NPR Story
9:22 am
Mon December 22, 2014

Attorney: FSU's Winston Cleared In Code-Of-Conduct Probe

Jameis Winston's attorney tweets out the decision by Retired Florida Supreme Court Justice Major Harding.

Originally published on Sun December 21, 2014 7:27 pm

A Florida State University probe cleared Jameis Winston of code-of-conduct violations stemming from a 2012 sexual assault allegation. But the most recent development does not mean the quarterback’s legal troubles are over.

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NPR Story
9:21 am
Mon December 22, 2014

SCOTUS Won't Stop Gay Marriage In Florida

A celebration at Florida's Capitol in 2013 after the U.S. Supreme Court Struck down DOMA and California's Proposition 8.

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 7:44 pm

MIAMI (AP) - Same-sex weddings may soon begin in Florida after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to block them.


The court said Friday it wouldn't block the marriages. A federal judge previously declared Florida's ban on gay marriage unconstitutional and said same-sex marriage licenses could start being issued in the state after Jan. 5 unless the Supreme Court intervened.


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8:30 am
Mon December 22, 2014

StoryCorps Tampa Bay: An Escape from Nazi Invasion

Marietta Drucker (right) talks with her daughter Debbie Drucker (left) about her escape from the Nazi invasion in Austria.
Credit StoryCorps

In this installment of StoryCorps Tampa Bay, Marietta Drucker tells her daughter, Debbie, of her escape from the Nazis when they invaded her native Austria. Drucker was just eight years old. Her parents were not able to get out in time but she was, traveling alone on the Kindertransport-- a train carrying children to England.

She came to the StoryCorps booth with her daughter to share the story of her escape and her journey to America. She begins with the day that changed her life.


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Making Sense of the Media
9:34 pm
Sun December 21, 2014

Making Sense of Sony Pulling "The Interview"


"The Interview" is a comedy from stoner bros Seth Rogen and James Franco about a TV entertainment reporter and his producer who get an interview with the leader of North Korea -- and then try to assassinate him at the request of the CIA.

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2:00 pm
Sun December 21, 2014

GOP Sens. Rubio, Paul Square Off Over Cuba Policy Shift

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., the son of Cuban immigrants, expresses his disappointment in President Obama's initiative to normalize relations between the U.S. and Cuba, on Wednesday.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Sun December 21, 2014 2:47 pm

In what could prove a sneak peek at the 2016 Republican presidential primaries, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a strong critic of President Obama's decision to open relations with Cuba, appears to be stepping up an attack on fellow Republican Sen. Rand Paul over his support of the policy shift.

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12:00 am
Sun December 21, 2014

FL Hosting 7 College Football Bowl Games

Credit BitCoin Bowl St. Petersburg

There are seven college football bowl games across Florida, including the BitCoin St. Petersbug Bowl on Dec. 26 at 8 p.m. between North Carolina State and the University of Central Florida.

It used to be called the Beef O'Brady's Bowl, sponsored by a familiar sports bar and restaurant that got its start in Brandon, Fla. Now, the college football bowl game played at Tropicana Field is called the BitCoin Bowl.

Beef O’Brady’s – most of us know that. But BitCoin?

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3:26 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Gov. Scott: Florida Has Reached His 2010 Jobs Goal

Gov. Scott
Credit Mark Wilson / Getty News Images

Gov. Rick Scott declared Friday that Florida has reached his 2010 campaign goal of creating 700,000 jobs within seven years, as the state's unemployment rate was posted at its lowest rate since May 2008.

Four years ago, Scott's jobs pledge was accompanied by the line "on top of what normal growth would be," a phrase abandoned by the governor shortly after he took office but not forgotten by Democrats.

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