10:21 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

CFO Atwater Not Ready to Replace Insurance Commissioner

Florida CFO Jeff Atwater

State Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater isn't ready to discuss a Louisiana official tabbed by Gov. Rick Scott as a possible replacement for Florida's longtime insurance commissioner.

Atwater's office reiterated Tuesday that he wants Cabinet members to clearly establish a new process to replace Cabinet-level appointees before discussing a potential move by Scott to replace leaders at the Office of Insurance Regulation, the Office of Financial Regulation and the Department of Revenue.

Read more
10:17 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Tampa Bay Drives Times May Be Getting Shorter - And More Expensive

Simulation of the proposed express toll lanes.
Credit Express Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay interstates may be getting express toll lanes, but drivers won't see the changes anytime soon.

The plan, called Tampa Bay Express, is in its beginning phase, so it may take almost a decade before drivers see the final product.

To cut down on drive times, current interstates would have additional middle lanes that would require drivers to use a SunPass. These express lanes would alleviate some traffic on the regular highways by offering a faster option to drivers willing to pay the toll.

Read more
NPR Story
9:17 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

HUD Awards Florida $84 Million To End Homelessness

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 6:47 pm

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has awarded Florida $84.3 million to support homeless services and housing facilities across the state.

Nationwide, HUD gave $1.8 billion, making Florida the sixth-largest recipient, trailing New York and California.

Read more
Law & Order
8:55 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Expunging Juvenile Records Earlier Among Fla. Legislative Black Caucus' Priorities

Rep. Mia Jones standing last week with members of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus, outlining their priorities.

Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 6:27 pm

Two Democratic lawmakers have filed a bill to make it easier for minors to have their records expunged.

Rep. Mia Jones (D-Jacksonville) says getting a record expunged is particularly problematic for African American youth who want to do things, like get a job, go to school, or join the army—but can’t because of mistakes made when they were younger.

“It puts them in a situation where they become the marketplace for recidivism. And, we want to be able to help to clear their records once they become 18 as opposed to waiting until they’re mid-to-late 20s.”

Read more
University Beat
5:16 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

USF, MOSI Strike Up 'Innovative Partnership'

Rocky the Bull and MOSI's "steampunk scientist" Sky Captain Fallwind pose after the signing ceremony

Previously, the main connection between the University of South Florida and MOSI was a physical one - a walkway over Fowler Avenue that joined USF's campus to the museum.

Read more
Fl Wildlife Corridor Expedition
4:55 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

The Florida Wildlfife Corridor Expedition on the Withlacoochee

Kayakers on the Withlacoochee River "Trail Mixer"
Robin Sussingham

The Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition is crossing the state to bring attention to Florida's wilderness and the need to connect it all. Expedition members Mallory Lykes Dimmitt, Joe Guthrie and Carlton Ward recently met up with several dozen friends and fellow environmentalists in their first "trail mixer" along the Withlacoochee River.

Read more
3:33 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Fact-Checking Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn on the Economy

Credit politifact.com

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn's reelection campaign is off and running with an ad playing on local cable TV.

And the 60 second commercial makes a lot of claims, especially about the fiscal health of Tampa under the Buckhorn administration.

For one thing, the commercial says that the Tampa Bay area leads Florida in job creation.

Read more
1:52 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

NPR's Alan Cheuse With His Current Favorites

Credit Josh Cheuse

Alan Cheuse has been reviewing books for NPR's All Things Considered since the 1980s. He's giving a talk this week at All Saints' Academy in Winter Haven, where he'll also be teaching student workshops.

He sat down with WUSF's Robin Sussingham to talk about his favorite books now, and what advice he'd give to book clubs.

The books he suggested:

"Honeydew" by Edith Pearlman

"Twelve Days" by Alex Berenson

"The Other Joseph" by Skip Horack

"The Architect's Apprentice" by Elif Shafak

Read more
Florida Matters
11:21 am
Tue January 27, 2015

Florida Matters Preview: Same-Sex Marriage in FL

Jan. 6 marked the first day in Florida history that same sex couples were able to legally marry. To mark the occasion, Hillsborough County Clerk Pat Frank held a group wedding at a park across the street from the courthouse.
Robin Sussingham WUSF News

Same-sex marriage has been legal in Florida since Jan. 6, 2015. The issue is heading to the U.S. Supreme Court this summer, but in the meantime, marriage licenses are being issued to same-sex couples.

Read more
9:39 am
Tue January 27, 2015

Calls Escalate For Outside Investigation Into FDLE Chief's Departure

Happier times: Gov. Rick Scott seems relaxed on a visit to FDLE as Commissioner Gerald Bailey laughs in the background.

Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 9:56 pm

Watchdog groups want an outside investigation into the apparent ousting of well respected Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey, and now a private citizen is asking the FBI to investigate claims that Gov.

Read more
Off The Base
9:38 am
Tue January 27, 2015

Florida Is For Veterans Begins Defining Mission

Florida is for Veterans Chair Jim Bagby

Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 6:24 pm

Plans are taking shape in the agency tasked with pitching Florida to newly discharged veterans.  Florida is For Veterans held its second strategy meeting Monday in Tallahassee.

Read more
World Affairs
9:33 am
Tue January 27, 2015

Cuba Digs in Heels on Concessions for Better U.S. Ties

The start of talks on repairing 50 years of broken relations appears to have left President Raul Castro's government focused on winning additional concessions without giving in to U.S. demands for greater freedoms, despite the seeming benefits that warmer ties could have for the country's struggling economy.

Read more
Health News Florida
8:41 am
Tue January 27, 2015

Ex-NFL Players Drop Pounds, Boost Health

Former NFL Players (from left) Rob Taylor, Brian Holloway, James Harrell, and Jason Maniecki pose with Dr. Jon Paul Gonzalvo
Tampa General Hospital & USF Health Bariatric Center

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 9:40 am

Many people struggle with their weight, and former athletes are no exception.

But athletes who gain weight once they retire are at a higher risk for serious medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. That's why four retired NFL players, including two from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, teamed up as part of a weight loss study by Tampa General Hospital and the USF Health Bariatric Center to tackle their obesity.

Read more
Health News Florida
7:42 am
Tue January 27, 2015

Lawmakers Want Review of 'Baker Act'

Rep. Lori Berman, D-Lantana, is one of two lawmakers proposing revisions to Florida's Baker Act law.
Credit Florida House of Representatives

Two South Florida lawmakers have filed bills that would require a review of Florida's "Baker Act,'' which allows for the involuntary commitment of people who have mental illnesses and are considered dangers to themselves or others.

The proposals (SB 514 and HB 505), filed by Sen. Joseph Abruzzo, D-Boynton Beach, and Rep. Lori Berman, D-Lantana, will be considered during the legislative session that starts in March.

Read more
7:30 am
Tue January 27, 2015

Scott Wants $7.4 M for Vet Nursing Homes

Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 10:38 am

Florida Gov. Rick Scott wants money to start planning to build the state's eighth and ninth nursing homes for veterans.

Scott will announce Monday that he is asking for $7.4 million from state legislators. Scott wants the money to help build a recently-approved home in St. Lucie County as well as two additional homes.

Groundbreaking on the nursing home in St. Lucie County is scheduled to begin later this year. No sites have been chosen for the next two.

Read more