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Sen. Frank Artiles Resigns

A Florida state senator who used a racial slur and vulgar language in a conversation with two African-American colleagues resigned Friday, saying the incident is causing a distraction to the legislative process. Republican Sen. Frank Artiles submitted a resignation letter to Republican Senate President Joe Negron and issued a separate statement.

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St. Petersburg native Brad Snyder has earned an invitation to swim with the U.S. Paralympic Team in the London 2012 Games.

Snyder, a 2006 U.S. Naval Academy graduate and swim team captain, competed in his first swim meet this past weekend since being blinded by an explosive six months ago in Afghanistan. Swimming the 50 free at the Bobby Flowers Swim Meet in Colorado Springs, Snyder finished just 1.8 seconds off the paralympic blind division world record.

Yes, it was only a game. And with just one miss from freshman point guard Anthony Collins, it could have easily gone the other way.

But it was hard not to see the 46-45 win by USF over Cincinnati this weekend in the larger context of USF's recent budget fights.

Play Ball!

Feb 27, 2012
City of St. Petersburg

It was February 27th, 1998, when the brand-new Tampa Bay Devil Rays played their first spring training game.

It took place in St. Pete's Al Lang Stadium (which was officially renamed Florida Power Park on the same day.)  The Rays lost that first game to the Florida Marlins 2-1.

Today, the Tampa Bay Rays train in Port Charlotte.  They'll open up the season this year with an away game against the Minnesota Twins this Sunday in Fort Myers.

In Orlando, Another Melee Caused By Shoes

Feb 27, 2012

Last night at midnight, Nike released a pair of expensive glow-in-the-dark basketball shoes. And as has happened before for big shoe releases, a melee broke out among the hundreds of people who waited outside of an Orlando, Fla. mall to buy them.

The Orlando Sentinel reports that the release of the shoes was timed with Orlando's hosting of the NBA All-Star Game and by 9:45 p.m., police in riot gear were called in to control the crowd.

Bay News 9

A federal grand jury in Tampa is investigating Sarasota Congressman Vern Buchanan, according to a story today in the New York Times.

The Times cites several unnamed sources in revealing the grand jury inquiry.

It’s part of an FBI  and IRS investigation into whether Buchanan took part in a scheme to reimburse people who contributed to his campaign.

A bill to grant immediate independence to a new university in Polk County generated some passionate debate from its sponsor, Senate budget chief JD Alexander, R-Lake Wales.

With his voice cracking with emotion, Alexander again criticized USF President Judy Genshaft for what he called dragging her feet on creating Florida Polytechnic, which would be the state’s 12th university.

USF President Judy Genshaft expressed some relief after hearing that state Senators trimmed USF's share of its budget cut from nearly 60 percent to 23 percent. But she hopes the cuts won't last beyond the next year.

Even at the lower level, she says just about every state university will have to scramble to find enough money to continue their current level of operations.

We’ve been asked by several of our listeners about WUSF’s relationship to USF as the station covers the fight over budget cuts to the university. I’d like to take this opportunity to answer some of them.

Why don’t you put a disclaimer on every story you run on USF?

WUSF is part of the University of South Florida. I believe that is very clear to our audience.

USF is part of our call letters. We often announce that we’re a service of the University of South Florida.

USF President Judy Genshaft says there’s one positive side effect of almost having $128 million cut from the budget: seeing the Tampa Bay delegation and community rally around USF.

“We believe the University of South Florida is very strong and will remain strong. And we’ve shown this strength through the outpouring of comments and e-mails and calls,” she said.

“The legislators have heard very loudly that the University of South Florida system: Don’t mess with it.”

Senator JD Alexander has said the the way USF supporters have portrayed proposed budget cuts is unfair.

He says the cuts proposed for USF are justified because of the university's reserves and not that different from other similar institutions, such as UCF.

On Florida Matters, we interviewed USF President Judy Genshaft about how she's dealing with the budget fight and what she calls a "crisis."

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