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Jessica Meszaros / WUSF

Reusable Menstrual Pad Business In Guatemala Funded By Florida Nonprofit

There’s a village in rural Guatemala where women are selling hand-sewn reusable menstrual pads. It’s a product medical experts say is necessary in some impoverished areas because women and girls cannot afford disposable pads.

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You may have noticed gas prices going up...and up.  Some are predicting $5 dollars a gallon by summer, but The AAA Auto Club South doesn't think it will get that high. 

Politicians have been weighing in on the gas situation. GOP presidential hopeful Ron Paul even used a debate in Arizona this week to claim that on that day, gas prices hit $6 a gallon in Florida.

USF is facing a budget cut of around 20 percent. That could affect everything from summer school to the operation of the new pharmacy college.

Senate budget chief JD Alexander is says USF should dip into its reserve fund to offset the cuts. But USF Board of Trustees Chairman John Ramil says the university can't do that.

It's mandated to set aside a percentage of its budget - and it has to keep cash on hand for an emergency, such as a hurricane.

Remember earlier this year when we reported on the fiery end to the "Senator", a 3500-year-old cypress tree in Seminole County? It was the centerpiece of Big Tree Park near Longwood, and was a tourist attraction long before the states' theme parks.

Now authorities have charged a 26-year-old meth addict with setting the fire.  Beth Kassab, a columnist for the Orlando Sentinel, says it's a sad but unsurprising outcome to a long history of neglect:

The Florida Board of Governors has just announced that student enrollment in the state's universities is up three percent from last year.

But there's are three exceptions to that growth -- FAMU, University of Florida, and the biggest drop of all -- the University of South Florida, which lost almost one percent of enrollment.

That means USF is no longer the 3rd largest university in Florida -- it's fourth, behind University of Central Florida (up four percent!), UF, Florida International University, and then USF.

Hillsborough County Classroom Teachers Association

Hillsborough County Classroom Teachers Association president Jean Clements says dual efforts to toughen Florida's school grading system and approve a law allowing a majority of parents to choose how to restructure their child's failing school amount to an education land grab for private business.

Clements' op-ed was published on the Washington Post's Answer Sheet blog.

Clements argues Florida Department of Education is changing its grade standards with the intention of failing more schools. The agency argues raising standards will compel schools to find ways to improve.

Ryan Haczynski was 22, a college drop-out who worked at an auto parts store and smoked. No girlfriend, no future. He was depressed, and he had the body to show for it.

While doing laundry at his mom’s house one day, the 6-foot-1 Haczynski stepped on her bathroom scale.

257.

“That was my rock bottom,” Haczynski says. “I actually had to lean forward to look past my stomach to see what the number was on the scale. I just snapped.”

University of South Florida

The USF Board of Trustees is currently holding its first meeting after the Florida Senate approved both a 23 percent cut to the USF budget and the splitting off of USF Polytechnic. 

USF'S student newspaper, the Oracle, reports the Senate's desire to have USF tap its reserve funds to make up for some of the funding cuts is one of the major topics of this morning's meeting: 

Another School Bus Crash in Manatee County

Mar 1, 2012

We've just received word that eight children have been injured, none seriously, in a bus crash in Manatee County this morning.

This comes less than two months after another big school bus accident in Manatee County that injured 23 students.

Which leads to the question - is this just bad luck for Manatee County bus drivers, or is there some sort of training they need?

Tampa City Council is to decide today on spending around $4 million to equip police with additional safety equipment aimed at controlling crowds at the upcoming Republican National Convention.

In an interview with WUSF, former Sen. George LeMieux is standing behind his decision to attack Rep. Connie Mack as the Charlie Sheen of Florida politics.

The Republican Senate primary campaign in Florida has heated up fast, after information about Connie Mack IV's legal troubles -- including fistfights and financial woes -- was published in the Tampa Bay Times and Miami Herald.

Now, LeMieux's campiagn is using that information in "Two and a Half Macks" -- an animated ad on the internet.

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Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition

Steve Newborn/WUSF Public Media

Heartland To Headwaters

The Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition team trekked through scrub, swamp and forest from one end of the state to the other. WUSF News travels with them on the third expedition, which just wrapped up.

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FPREN Storm Center