Culture
6:49 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Same-Sex Couples Still Will Not Marry In The Keys

Plaintiffs Aaron Huntsman and William Lee Jones.

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 10:43 am

Wedding bells are not ringing yet for same-sex couples in Monroe County.

Aaron Huntsman and William Lee Jones had hoped to apply for a marriage license on Tuesday after last week Monroe Circuit Judge Luis Garcia ruled in their favor seeking the right to marry. But State Attorney General Pam Bondi immediately appealed Garcia’s decision, automatically putting the process on hold.

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Politics
6:16 pm
Wed July 23, 2014

Poll: Governor's Race Gets Closer Amid Attacks

Side-by-side in more ways than one

With the campaign dominated by a barrage of back-and-forth attacks, Democrat Charlie Crist's lead over Republican incumbent Rick Scott has narrowed in the race for Florida governor, a new poll shows.

Crist leads Scott by a margin of 45 percent to 40 percent in a head-to-head contest, down from a 10-point advantage in April, according to the Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday.

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Culture
9:19 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

TB History Center Showcases Florida Highwaymen Art

Artist: Isaac Knight
Tampa Bay History Center

Back in the 1950s and '60s, a group of African-Americans, known as the Highwaymen, sold Florida landscape paintings to locals and tourists on the side of the road. The paintings were sold for only a few bucks at the time but after the '90s, their value soared. The Tampa Bay History Center is showcasing these prized paintings.

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Florida Matters
4:09 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

What Passengers Say About the Future of Cruises at Port Tampa Bay

The Carnival Legend at Cruise Terminal #2
Bobbie O'Brien WUSF

Early Sunday morning, before the 2,000 passengers from cruise ship disembark, a line of taxi cabs forms outside Port of Tampa Bay Terminal #2 just beyond idling tour buses.

That’s where cab driver John Bailey stood waiting for fares.  He’s fully aware of the cruise ship debate and the options explored in a recent study.

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Law & Order
1:51 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

FSU Addresses Campus Safety Amid Federal Probe

Florida State University is hiring a Title IX director and two sexual violence prevention coordinators before the fall term starts in five weeks.

Interim President Garnett Stokes tells the Tallahassee Democrat  that the university is not waiting for a federal investigation to conclude before addressing campus safety and sexual assaults.

Stokes says the university has formed several committees to assess its response to sexual violence complaints and is preparing to make changes.

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12:52 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

After 150 Years of Rolling Them, Tampa Is Close to No Cigars

Lead in text: 
On the northern side of Ybor City sits the J. C. Newman Cigar Company factory, a family-owned business tucked inside a classic brick building nicknamed El Reloj, a nod to its clock tower. Both have defied the maw of modernity to outlive a century. But now J. C. Newman faces its biggest threat: the possibility that the Food and Drug Administration may introduce strict, expensive regulations on cigars that the Newman brothers, who operate the company, say could close the last working cigar factory in town.
TAMPA, Fla. - Some unforgettable places waft into memory on a scent. For Floridians, it may be the sweetness of mangoes in Miami, the salt-sprinkled air of the Keys, the pungency of the Everglades.
Politics
9:18 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Fact-Checking the Battle of Gubernatorial Campaign Ads

Credit politifact.com

It's the battle of the TV ads -- literally -- in the race for Florida governor. 

Former Republican governor and presumed democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist has launched his first TV ad, with lots of claims that were immediately countered by a fresh TV commercial from the Republican Party of Florida -- using parts of Crist's own ad.

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Health News Florida
2:35 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Trauma Industry Fight Nears End

Credit Tampa General Hospital

Florida's trauma drama could be almost finished.

With an appeal deadline passing Monday, the Florida Department of Health and hospitals owned by HCA Health Care chain appear to have prevailed after a three-year legal and political battle about approving new trauma centers.

The key point came last month when an administrative law judge upheld a rule that the department proposed for determining where trauma centers could be allowed across the state. Hospitals in the Tampa Bay and Gainesville areas unsuccessfully fought the proposed rule and then had until Monday to appeal.

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Health News Florida
12:39 am
Tue July 22, 2014

FL Nursing Forecast: 50,000 Short

The Florida Board of Governors addressed Florida's need for 50,000 nurses in a workshop with medical-school and nursing-school deans.
Credit workingnurse.com

Based on current trends, Florida will be short by more than 50,000 registered nurses by the year 2025, a nursing expert warned a committee of the State University System's Board of Governors on Monday. 

While the number of nurse training programs in the state has doubled in the past four years, most of the students are emerging as licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and registered nurses with just a two-year or associate's degree from college.

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Health News Florida
10:13 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Court: Agency Wrong in Money Distribution

Credit Wikimedia Commons

An appeals court Monday found that the state Agency for Persons with Disabilities did not properly carry out a law that created a new system of funding services for people with developmental disabilities.

The case, brought on behalf of four people with disabilities, focused on a system known as "iBudgets." Lawmakers in 2010 approved moving to iBudgets, but Monday's decision by the 1st District Court of Appeal said rules proposed by the agency to carry out the law "directly conflict with and contravene the Legislature's clear language."

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Environment
6:02 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

State Power Companies Ask to Scale Back on Energy Efficiency Goals

TECO's Big Bend Power Station
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Florida's biggest electric providers are asking state regulators this week to let them scale back energy-efficiency programs --- such as rebates for installing solar panels and power-saving appliances --- that they say have become expensive and benefit few customers.

But conservationists argue that dramatically reducing energy-efficiency programs will only result in higher monthly bills for customers as the utilities eventually will need to build more natural-gas and nuclear power plants.

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Health News Florida
10:13 am
Mon July 21, 2014

FL Department of Health Asks About Diseases from Border Kids

Dr. John Armstrong, FL Surgeon General

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 10:24 am

Florida Gov. Rick Scott's administration expressed concern in a letter Friday about reports that the federal government planned to send unaccompanied immigrant children from the Southwest border to Miami over the weekend, seeming to be unaware that it is a regular practice and asking for any health information the government had about the minors. The letter seemed unusual to immigration attorneys who say the practice has been going on for years.

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Kaiser Health News
9:01 am
Mon July 21, 2014

FL Blue Signals Rate Hikes Ahead

Florida Blue CEO Patrick Geraghty

Originally published on Mon July 21, 2014 9:03 am

Florida Blue, the state’s dominant health insurer, snagged more than one in three consumers on the health law’s exchange this year, but many could face rate hikes as the carrier struggles with an influx of older and sicker enrollees, said the company’s top executive.

Several factors could drive up rates next year — including a paucity of younger and healthy enrollees and a greater-than-expected surge in people seeking expensive health services, CEO Patrick Geraghty said in an interview.

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Education
8:00 am
Mon July 21, 2014

StoryCorps Tampa Bay: Two Siblings, Two Schools, Two Stories

Lolita and Lou Brown
Credit StoryCorps

Lou and Lolita Brown are brother and sister, born about eight years apart - just a big enough separation to give them very different life experiences.

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StateImpact Florida
6:58 am
Mon July 21, 2014

What We Learned This Year Watching Schools Prepare For Florida’s New Standards

Darlene Paul, principal of West Defuniak Elementary, speaks to a student during a visit to a third-grade classroom. Paul says she has been impressed with the academic success of young students who have been taught only using the new Florida Standards.
Credit Jackie Mader / The Hechinger Report

For the past year The Hechinger Report and StateImpact Florida have taken you into two schools to hear what preparations for Florida’s new Common Core-based standards sound like. The standards outline what students should know in math and language arts. When classes start this fall every grade in every Florida public school will use them. But are schools ready?

The Hechinger Report’s Jackie Mader and StateImpact Florida’s John O’Connor tell us what they’ve learned.

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