10:55 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Belleair Commissioners Approve Rezoning Measure

Lead in text: 
Belleair commissioners approved the RM-10 rezoning measure that affects the Belleview Biltmore Hotel.
BELLEAIR - The Belleair Town Commission voted 4-1 Tuesday night to create a new zoning district a developer could apply for if he or she wanted to raze the historic Belleview Biltmore Resort & Spa and build condos or townhomes in its place. Current zoning on the Biltmore site allows only for a hotel or single-family homes.
Health News Florida
9:11 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Ex-Pres. of Medicare Plan Arrested

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 10:56 am

Haider Ali Khan, patriarch of the now-defunct Quality Health Plans Inc., has been arrested and charged with more than a dozen felonies involving health-insurance fraud, state officials said.

Khan, who was president of the Tampa-based Medicare plan before it closed, turned himself in to Leon County Jail officials on April 3 and was released on $150,000 bond, according to the state Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR). His arrest came 20 months after that of his son and daughter, both of whom were also executives in the company.

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Politics
8:44 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Surplus Creates Push for Hometown Projects

Gov. Rick Scott
Credit Florida House of Representatives

Florida legislators with extra money to spend are trying to steer taxpayer funds to everything from gun ranges and a military museum to a course designed to teach "sexual risk avoidance."

There's $10 million for SkyRise Miami, a planned observation tower that would be the city's tallest building once completed. There's $500,000 for a livestock pavilion in Ocala. There's money to help relocate a lighthouse now at Cape San Blas in the Panhandle.

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Politics
8:36 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Speed Limits, Gun Bills Remain in Play

After taking this week off and holding committee meetings Monday and Tuesday, the Florida Senate will face a flurry of bills when it returns to the floor April 23.

The Senate is expected to pass a proposal (HB 7035) that would revamp laws dealing with juvenile sentencing in cases that involve murders or other series felonies. Also, it will begin debating a proposal (SB 392) that could allow speed limits to go as high as 75 mph on some highways.

Senators also are expected to take up two proposals backed by gun-rights advocates.

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Business
9:00 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Rays Owner: Tampa Ballpark "Attractive"

Credit Photo courtesy of the Tampa Bay Rays.

Six years after saying they wanted to explore alternative sites to downtown St. Petersburg for a new ballpark, the Tampa Bay Rays still are in search of a location.

“Tampa is obviously very, very attractive on the list, and we expect to at some point, hopefully sooner, look there as well as some other parts of the region,” Rays owner Stuart Stern­berg said Tuesday during a panel at the MLB Diversity Business Summit.

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Politics
7:11 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

It’s Lawmaking Time—But Sometimes The Clock Runs Out Before Debate’s Over

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 4:46 pm

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Law & Order
4:48 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Dozier Update: DNA Tests, Facial Composite & A Second Graveyard?

A facial approximation of one of the sets of remains excavated at Dozier: an African-American boy believed to be between 10 and 12 years old
USF Dept. of Anthropology

As is fitting for a case that dates back to the early 1900's, progress is slow in coming for researchers looking at the mysteries found on the grounds of the Dozier School for Boys - but it is being made.

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10:30 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Alex Sink Won't Run Against David Jolly Again in November

Lead in text: 
"I am so honored and humbled by the outpouring of support our campaign received, but after reflection with my family I have made a personal decision not to run for the 13th Congressional District seat in the 2014 election," Sink said in a statement. "I want to thank every voter, volunteer and donor for their support — we can all be proud of the strong campaign we ran. I look forward to finding new, rewarding avenues where I can continue to effectively serve the people of Florida.
Democrat Alex Sink has decided not to run for Congress again this year, meaning there will not be a rematch of the nationally watched and extraordinarily costly campaign that Sink lost in Pinellas County a little over a month ago by less than 2 percentage points.
Health News Florida
9:45 am
Tue April 15, 2014

High Court Weighs Scott’s Drug-Testing Requirement for State Workers

Gov. Rick Scott addressing a crowd after the end of the 2012 legislature.
Florida House of Representatives

TALLAHASSEE — More than three years after Gov. Rick Scott issued an executive order seeking across-the-board drug testing for state employees, the U.S. Supreme Court could be poised to decide whether to weigh in on the controversial policy.

The court is expected Friday to discuss privately whether to hear an appeal filed by Scott after a lower court found that the drug-testing plan was too broad, according to an online Supreme Court docket. Behind the scenes, justices sift through thousands of cases a year but decide to hear arguments in only about 100.

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Health News Florida
8:59 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Health Advocates Steamed About Bill Preempting Local E-Cig Rules

Lawmakers debating the electronic cigarette bill mentioned popular brand Blu. Artiles says it's now legal for a 10-year-old to buy them in Florida.

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 9:29 am

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Law & Order
8:54 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Stand Your Ground Author Says Effort To Tweak Law Could Get ‘Second Life’

Sen. David Simmons (R-Altamonte Springs), the main author of Florida's Stand Your Ground law. He's also the sponsor of a bill aiming to tweak the law.

Originally published on Mon April 14, 2014 6:04 pm

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Business
4:59 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Tampa Bay Times Wins Pulitzer for Local Reporting

The Tampa Bay Times has won a Pulitzer Prize for an investigation into the squalid conditions of Hillsborough County's homeless housing program.

The Times' award was among the 2014 Pulitzer Prizes announced at Columbia University on Monday.

The paper received a tip from a homeless man that the Tampa Port Authority chairman operated a squalid trailer park for the homeless.

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StateImpact Florida
4:13 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Florida Polytechnic University Selects First President

Randy Avent, left, shakes hands with Florida Polytechnic Board of Trustees Chair Rob Gidel.
Credit Courtesy of Florida Polytechnic

Randy Avent has a career of turning research into new defense, computer science and life science projects.

Florida Polytechnic's Board of Trustees said they want Avent to inspire future entrepreneurs at the Polk County campus.

Avent was the board's unanimous choice for the university's first president.

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Business
3:08 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Commissioners to Vote on Belleview Biltmore Hotel's Fate

The "White Queen of the Gulf" has been closed down for five years in need of serious repairs. Commissioners will decide whether to allow preservation for the wooden structure or allow demolition to build future condominiums.
Credit National Trust for Historic Preservation

The future of one of the largest wooden structures in the world will be decided Tuesday. Belleview Biltmore hotel near Clearwater is up for demolition if a rezoning measure is approved.

The Belleview Biltmore Hotel, built in 1897, hosted business giants, local socialites and even presidents back in the day. It closed in 2009 for renovations but with the housing market crash it never reopened.

Now, a rezoning measure would allow developers to bulldoze it and build condos in its place.

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Making Sense of the Media
12:37 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Making Sense of New News Startups

Credit fivethirtyeight.com

Statistician Nate Silver made quite the splash with his "FiveThirtyEight" blog on the New York Times website.

Why? Well, he very accurately predicted the outcome of the 2012 Presidential Election, for one thing.

So, now Silver -- with backing from ESPN -- has launched his own FiveThirtyEight website.

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