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'Why Gridlock Rules Washington' Tour Features Two Ex-Congressmen

Former Congressmen David Jolly, a Republican, and Patrick Murphy, a Democrat, are currently on a speaking tour to address the lack of bi-partisanship in Congress.

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The Tampa Bay Lightning won Tuesday night and remains in the playoff hunt – despite a team roster depleted by recent player trades, injuries and most recently the flu.

But, the team’s owner is in good health. We interviewed Jeff Vinik Wednesday for an upcoming episode of Florida Matters.

This Saturday marks the second anniversary of Vinik’s purchase of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Many sports analysts are astounded that in such a short time he’s resurrected the bay area’s National Hockey League franchise.

USF College of Pharmacy Dean: We Need Full $6 Million

Feb 29, 2012

Students and faculty at the USF School of Pharmacy told the media today that $3 million is not enough.

The Florida Senate originally proposed a $6 million cut to the USF College of Pharmacy, but later reinstated half of it.

The dean of USF's College of Pharmacy, Dr. Kevin Sneed, is working to get back the original whole amount.

Clermont Struggles With Homeless Students

Feb 29, 2012
60 Minutes

The Associated Press has a terrific profile out on a homeless student in Lake County, the latest in a series of stories using Florida as the face of the Great Recession.

Courtesy of The Florida Orchestra

The Florida Orchestra is hosting an extended stay by the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.  It's part of the Florida Orchestra's multi-year cultural exchange. 

Late this year, the NSOC will be coming to America for its first U.S. tour.  And while it will perform in many places, the musicians will be in the Tampa Bay area a little longer, for master classes and for a joint Chamber Music Concert at Tampa's Historic Cuban Club.   Read more about it here.

NPR has a great story about politicians getting in trouble with musicians for using their music without permission. Anyone remember President Reagan using Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A."?

Turns out, whether politicians can use the music depends on when and where they play it. Big convention center with a blanket policy, you're probably OK. Moose Lodge in Sheboygan, probably not.

And then, there was Gov. Charlie Crist, whose campaign used David Byrne's "Road to Nowhere" on a commercial attacking now-Senator Marco Rubio.

That didn't end well:

In a Weekend Edition segment about Ralph Nader and his search for a reasonably priced airplane ticket, Scott Simon said he was surprised that a screen didn't pop up on the airline's computer saying, "GIVE RALPH NADER WHATEVER HE WANTS AND SAVE US ALL A LOT OF TROUBLE." After all, Nader is known for his persistence and successful consumer advocacy. All cars now have seatbelts thanks to Nader and his 1965 book Unsafe at Any Speed.

City of St. Petersburg

John Williams arrived from Detroit in 1875.  Peter Demens arrived from St. Petersburg, Russia, 13 years later.  Williams built a grand hotel.  Demens brought in a railroad. 

Legend has it that the city's name was decided by the flip of a coin:  Williams wanted Detroit and Demens wanted St. Petersburg.  Demens won the toss.

The City of St. Petersburg was incorporated on February 29th, 1892.

- Learn more about the history of St. Petersburg

In the last few weeks, USF President Judy Genshaft found herself in the fight of her career, taking on powerful lawmakers who wanted to slash USF's budget and make USF's branch campus in Lakeland into an independent school.

Florida Matters had a chance to talk with President Genshaft recently while she was in the middle of the budget fight. We've reported on that before.

Soon millions of people will shop for health insurance on their own.

The health care overhaul requires nearly everyone to have health insurance, after all, and employer coverage has been slowly, steadily declining.

P.L. Bartow Steam Power Plant Demolished

Feb 28, 2012
Bay News 9

If you've come across the Gandy Bridge from Tampa to St. Petersburg, you've seen them -- the three smokestacks of the P. L. Bartow Steam Power plant.

Now, they're gone.  At exactly 10 this morning, those smokestacks came tumbling down.

The explosives go off first, followed by the rumbling of a power plant and its three smokestacks falling down like trees being cut down in a forest.

The power plant has not been used since 2009 when Progress Energy replaced it. The new plant makes more electricity and reduced emissions by 80%, according to the company.

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