12:50 pm
Tue July 7, 2015

States Face Shaky Financial Futures; Florida Looks Good

In states like Nebraska and Florida, which get funding from a variety of different taxes revenues have increased steadily. Nebraska and Florida try to keep stable ratios of debt and spending to personal income, according to Norcross' research. New York, on the other hand, relies heavily on capital gains tax revenue and has seen large fluctuations in that income source due to federal legislative changes in recent years.
States are mounting an uneven fiscal recovery from the Great Recession, with energy-rich states leading and Northeastern states with big pension obligations lagging, a new study shows Alaska, the Dakotas, Nebraska and Florida are on the most solid financial footing, according to rankings of the 50 states released Tuesday by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.
Health News Florida
11:33 am
Tue July 7, 2015

Doctors Call For More State Oversight After Infant Deaths

Originally published on Tue July 7, 2015 9:37 am

 After the deaths of five infants, a team of doctors from across the state was asked in 2014 to review a Palm Beach County hospital's highly specialized program for doing heart surgeries on children.

The team's recommendation: St. Mary's Medical Center should not perform heart surgeries on babies under 6 months old because the program did not handle enough cases to maintain the expertise needed for quality care.

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Health News Florida
11:32 am
Tue July 7, 2015

Winter Park Hospital Plans $90M Expansion

Winter Park Memorial Hospital plans to add 160 hospital beds in a five-story tower, and add to the ER.

Originally published on Tue July 7, 2015 11:42 am

Winter Park Memorial Hospital hopes to start construction at the beginning of 2016 on a major expansion. The $90 million expansion would double the emergency room and add a five-story, 160-bed tower.

If all goes according to plan, the hospital would add 26 bays to its ER by the end of 2016 and open the new tower by the end of 2017. Hospital Administrator Ken Bradley says the hospital is looking to build now because the community is growing: In particular, senior citizens.

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Health News Florida
11:32 am
Tue July 7, 2015

Kratom Users Dodge A Legislative Bullet In FL

Originally published on Tue July 7, 2015 9:39 am

Kratom users are celebrating after the Florida Legislature failed to begin a crackdown on the controversial Southeast Asian plant. But the fight isn’t over.

A U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration fact sheet lists Kratom as an addictive substance that’s mildly stimulating or, in large doses, “profoundly euphoric.”

Susan Ash, executive director of the American Kratom Association -- and a Lyme disease sufferer -- calls it a lifesaver.

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Environment
5:00 pm
Mon July 6, 2015

DEP Maps Out Beach Access

Credit DEP

UPDATE: The URL for the Beach Access Map has been shortened to fdep.maps.arcgis.com.

Florida has 825 miles of sandy coastline, but it may not feel that way if you don't know where to find public access in between the privately-owned properties.

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Health News Florida
3:25 pm
Mon July 6, 2015

State Sees Sharp Spike In Number Of Children In Foster Care

Originally published on Mon July 6, 2015 9:31 am

 The number of Florida children in the state's foster-care system has reached its highest level since 2008 --- driven by both a spike in the number of kids being removed from their homes and a drop in the number being discharged after a stint in foster care.

In the last 24 months, the number of children in what's known as out-of-home care has reached 22,004 statewide, up from 17,591 in 2013.

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Health News Florida
3:16 pm
Mon July 6, 2015

Millions In Free Clinic Funds Vetoed

Originally published on Mon July 6, 2015 9:02 am

Gov. Rick Scott single-handedly vetoed funding for a 10-page list of local and statewide projects that legislators hoped to included in the state’s 2015 budget. The cuts totaled $461 million from the $78 billion state budget.

One area where Scott’s cuts hit particularly hard: health care for the poor. Among his bigger cuts was $9.5 million for the Florida Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, which supports free and low-cost clinics that provide health-care to low-income communities across the state.

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11:26 am
Mon July 6, 2015

Marco Rubio Is Hardly a Hero in Cuba-He Likes That

Resistance to Fidel Castro’s Communist government has served as the foundation of Mr. Rubio’s personal and political identity. A Florida Republican who has been identified in the state-controlled newspaper here as a “representative in the Senate of the Cuban-American terrorist mafia,” he has argued for years that normalized relations with the United States would only strengthen an oppressive Cuban government that impoverishes its people, limits access to information and violates human rights.
CABAIGUÁN, Cuba - In the lush countryside and teeming city neighborhoods where Senator Marco Rubio 's family cut sugar cane, toiled in tobacco mills and scraped by to make a better life for their children, the first Cuban-American to have a plausible chance to become president of the United States is the island's least favorite son.
NPR Story
10:28 am
Mon July 6, 2015

Who's Been Giving To Jeb Bush's Education Group?

The education foundation started by Jeb Bush has released a list of donors.
World Affairs Council of Philadelphia/Flickr

Originally published on Fri July 3, 2015 12:20 pm

This week, the education advocacy group started by former Gov. Jeb Bush released a detailed list of donors for the first time. The Foundation for Excellence in Education posted the list on its website.

The Foundation for Excellence in Education conducts research and advocates for states to adopt education policies, including expanding school choice, measuring student, teacher and school progress and adopting the Common Core math and language arts standards. The group has raised $46 million since 2007.

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Law & Order
9:44 am
Mon July 6, 2015

Tampa Responds to Gun Violence Spike

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn announcing the gun buy-back event.
Credit Yoselis Ramos

Responding to a surge in gun deaths, Tampa police say they will increase patrols through East and West Tampa, where a higher concentration of the gun violence is happening.

"It's just this particular spike in violent crime is obviously very concerning so we're doing even more than what we traditionally do," Andrea Davis with the Tampa Police Department said. "We want to have that very visible police presence to deter some of this violent crime."

A federal grant received last year will cover overtime pay, she said.

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StoryCorps Tampa Bay
8:00 am
Mon July 6, 2015

StoryCorps Tampa Bay: Childhood Innocence

Clarice Pennington and Cora Royal talk about Cora's childhood, her favorite memory and growing up in segregation times.
StoryCorps

In this intallment, Cora Royal tells her friend, Clarice Pennington, about her childhood and the experience of segregation in St. Petersburg. 

Cora Royal was a teacher, and Clarice Pennington was a principal in Pinellas County. Both women are retired.

Music Used:

"One Nation Under the Groove," by Funkadelic from the album, One Nation Under the Groove

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Education
8:00 am
Mon July 6, 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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Health News Florida
3:24 pm
Sun July 5, 2015

Abortion Wait Period Back On Hold

Originally published on Mon July 6, 2015 8:56 am

  In the latest move in a legal and political battle, a circuit judge has issued an order blocking a new law that requires women to wait 24 hours before having an abortion in Florida.

After a hearing by conference call on Thursday, Leon Circuit Judge Charles Dodson granted a motion by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Reproductive Rights to vacate a stay that had allowed the 24-hour waiting period to remain in effect.

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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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