3:00 pm
Sun December 21, 2014

Slain Tarpon Springs Police Officer, Suspect ID'd

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

UPDATE AT 12/21, 3:o0 p.m. with info/picture of suspect & statement from Gov. Scott:
The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office has identified the suspect in the fatal shooting of Tarpon Springs police officer Charles Kondek as Marco Antonio Parilla Jr., who has been charged with one count of first degree murder.

Parilla, 23, who is described by law enforcement officials as a transient, is in custody at the Pinellas County Jail.

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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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1:12 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

U.S. Companies Clamor to Do Business in New Cuban Market

Despite Cuba’s long stagnation and isolation from the global economy, the potential trade opportunities go both ways. While some Americans will be itching at the opportunity to obtain the famed Cuban cigars more easily, the country also has a surprisingly robust biotechnology industry that makes a number of vaccines not now available in the United States. Another hot spot for the economy could be mining, as Cuba has one of the largest deposits of nickel in the world. While United States companies are eager to establish a toehold in the country, many expect former Cuban businessmen and leaders in the rum or sugar industries to lead the charge.
PepsiCo wants in. So do Caterpillar and Marriott International. Within hours of President Obama's historic move to restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba, companies in the United States were weighing how to introduce their products and services to a market they haven't been in for the better part of 50 years - if ever.
World Affairs
11:57 am
Fri December 19, 2014

What's Next For Cuba? The Headlines That Tell The Story

A tourist takes a cab ride in a classic American car as the driver takes him past the Capitolio in Havana, Cuba on Thursday.
Ramon Espinosa AP

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 7:10 am

Two days after the U.S. and Cuba decided to end a more than 50-year estrangement, the natural question is: What's next?

On Morning Edition, NPR's Michelle Kelemen reports that the process of normalizing diplomatic relations will be pretty straight forward and is likely to be done quickly.

"We can do that via an exchange of letter or notes. It doesn't require a formal sort of legal treaty or agreement," Roberta Jacobson, assistant secretary of state for the western hemisphere, said during a briefing on Thursday.

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Off The Base
8:52 am
Fri December 19, 2014

When Fishing Is About More than the Fish

One of the free outings offered by the Central Florida Chapter of Heroes on the Water.
Credit Heroes on the Water Central Florida Chapter / Facebook

The number of Gulf War era veterans is growing as is the list of non-profit organizations formed to help returning service members.

Heroes on the Water is a top-rated, all-volunteer non-profit organization formed specifically to provide free therapeutic recreation to veterans of all eras, active-duty military and their families.

Florida has seven chapters many of which offer events year round.

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10:30 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

St. Pete Council KO's Rays Move

On Thursday, the St. Petersburg City Council rejected by a 5-3 vote Mayor Rick Kriseman's  proposed agreement with the Tampa Bay Rays that would have allowed the team to explore new stadium options in Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties.

Mayor Kriseman said the agreement was designed to keep the Rays in the bay area but several city council members were skeptical of the terms of the plan. Some would prefer to redevelop the team's current stadium.

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7:45 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Fl Power and Light Gets OK for Gas Drilling Plan

Florida's largest power company can now get in the natural-gas production business with its customers' money.

But it won't be able to use money from those same ratepayers to advocate against new federal clean-water rules.

Juno Beach-based Florida Power & Light won permission from state utility regulators Thursday to sign a 30-year contract with Louisiana-based PetroQuest to conduct exploratory drilling for natural gas in southeastern Oklahoma, with the $191 million cost spread to customer bills.

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6:46 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

St. Pete Council Vetoes Rays Stadium Deal

The deal was hailed as a way to end years of fraught negotiations as Rays owners sought an escape from a cast-iron contract that bound them to Tropicana Field, where attendance has been among the lowest in Major League Baseball. Council members, though, said the proposed compensation would not make up for the lost economic impact and expressed concern that approving the agreement would weaken the city’s legal position. Instead, the council voted to schedule a workshop on building a new stadium. The decision is a major setback for Mayor Rick Kriseman, who negotiated the deal and urged council to back it.
The much trumpeted Rays deal is dead, at least for now.In a shocking move, the St. Petersburg City Council voted 5-3 to reject Mayor Rick Kriseman’s proposed deal to let the team explore new stadium sites across the Tampa Bay area.
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World Affairs
4:00 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

5 Defining Moments In The U.S.-Cuba Relationship

Obama shakes hands with Castro during a memorial service for former South African President Nelson Mandela in Soweto, South Africa, on Dec. 10, 2013. Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro says his brother introduced himself to Obama in English, telling him, "Mr. President, I'm Castro," as the two leaders shook hands.

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 7:32 pm

1. Obama, Raul Castro Announce Normalization Of Relations

President Obama said Wednesday the U.S. and Cuba will normalize relations, which have been strained since being severed in 1961. He spoke to Cuban President Raul Castro on Tuesday to finalize details of the announcement.

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3:58 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

The Cuba Illusion Has Vanished – And Now The Embargo Should Too

Cuban women walk by wall graffiti in Havana.

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 9:20 pm

In the wake of the historic Cuba policy changes President Obama ordered yesterday, Congress will now debate whether to scuttle the failed, 52-year-old trade embargo against the communist island.

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11:37 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Rays Stadium Vote Scheduled for Thursday

Credit Tampa Bay Rays

The near future of the Rays in the Tampa Bay area could be determined on Thursday afternoon.

The St. Petersburg City Council is scheduled to vote at 3 p.m. on Mayor Rick Kriseman’s proposal to give the Rays three years to analyze possible alternative sites for the team in Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties.

The Rays currently have a lease with St. Petersburg to play at Tropicana Field until 2027.

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Health News Florida
7:59 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Enrollment Targets Uninsured Hispanics

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 4:31 pm

Luis Alejandro Larrorte has lived the past two decades in the United States -- all of it without health insurance.

But the 56-year-old who sells cable satellite plans as a contractor was diagnosed with eye cancer. And the Pembroke Pines resident was eager to sign up on the federal healthcare marketplace.

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5:00 am
Thu December 18, 2014

With Vinik Plan Unveiled, Buckhorn Waits on Rays

Credit Photo courtesy of the Tampa Bay Rays.

It's a "big week," according to Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn - an understatement for a man who may get all of his gifts well before the holidays this year.

Now that Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik has unveiled his billion dollar "vision plan" for redeveloping the southern portion of downtown Tampa, Buckhorn is turning his focus to the possibility that the Tampa Bay Rays could be part of his city's new look.

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