6:09 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Florida Primary Election: More Absentee Voters But Low Overall Turnout Expected

Originally published on Tue August 26, 2014 10:20 pm

Update, 10 p.m. 8/26/14:

With some precincts yet to report, Detzner says he believes more voters cast ballots early and absentee than on Election Day. However, the high percentage of voters taking advantage of alternative voting methods didn't contribute to high overall turnout. In fact, Detzner said he predicts fewer people participated in this midterm primary than in 2010, when 22 percent of registered voters cast ballots. 

Original post below:

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The Two-Way
5:51 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

ISIS Condo Project, Others Rethink Their Names

This image is from the Facebook page of the now-renamed 3 Thirty Three Downtown. The project in West Palm Beach, Fla., was previously called ISIS Downtown.
3 Thirty Three Downtown/Facebook

Originally published on Tue August 26, 2014 3:43 pm

It's not a good time to be called ISIS. A Florida condo project, a line of adult lingerie in the U.K. and others with similar names are rethinking their names.

ISIS Downtown, a development in West Palm Beach, Fla., is changing its name to 3 Thirty Three Downtown. No reason was given, but the change was noted on the project's Facebook page, which now has an updated image with the new name.

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5:03 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Primary Elections Today, But No Votes on House District 64 Race

A primary election for a house district covering parts of Hillsborough and Pinellas counties has been delayed.

The race between incumbent Republican James Grant and Republican challenger Miriam Steinberg is delayed because a circuit judge ruled that a write-in candidate, Donald John Matthews - who has no party affiliation - wasn't eligible to run in this race.

A write-in candidate would mean a closed primary election. But because of Matthews' ineligibility, the election is then open to all voters in the district, regardless of party affiliation.

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10:16 am
Tue August 26, 2014

Work Begins — Finally — on Miami-to-Orlando Fast Train

Lead in text: 
The new steel rails mark the first physical work on the future service since the ambitious project was announced in March 2012. All Aboard Florida, as the project is called, is expected to begin operations in two phases: first between Miami and West Palm Beach in 2016 and then between West Palm Beach and Orlando in 2017. Once in service, the train will travel the 235 mile route between Miami and Orlando – with stops at Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach — at an average speed of 78.3 mph. The maximum speed will be 125 mph.
Preliminary work has begun for construction of a $2.5 billion express passenger train between Miami and Orlando. In preparation for the project, 35,000 linear feet of new steel rails have been laid on the ground alongside existing freight train tracks at two sites in Palm Beach County just west of North Dixie Highway in Boca Raton.
10:12 am
Tue August 26, 2014

Report Accentuates Value of a Healthy Sarasota Bay

Lead in text: 
Paul Hindsley, an associate professor of environmental studies at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, ran the numbers and came up with a figure of $57.9 billion for Sarasota Bay's total economic value. That includes $11.8 billion of value for Sarasota and Manatee counties. Hindsley's analysis touches on everything from bay-related tourism spending to the increased property values that come from living near the water. It also attempts to quantify indirect benefits, such as the value of healthy mangroves in protecting against hurricane storm surge.
There's big money in a healthy bay. That's the conclusion of a new study being released today by the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program that attempts to quantify the bay's economic value for the first time. Paul Hindsley, an associate professor of environmental studies at Eckerd College in St.
Health News Florida
8:33 am
Tue August 26, 2014

Obamacare Sign-Ups to Rise 23%?

Jack McDermott, Director of Life & Health Products Review, Florida Office of Insurance Regulation

Originally published on Tue August 26, 2014 1:43 pm

The number of Floridians enrolled in individual health plans under the Affordable Care Act in June was 866,485, according to new state data compiled from insurers’ reports. The carriers expect enrollment to rise to 1.1 million next year, an increase of 23 percent.

The Office of Insurance Regulation is scheduled to present that and other information on the state's Affordable Care Act implementation Tuesday to the Florida Health Insurance Advisory Board. Made up mostly of industry representatives, it was created to advise state agencies.

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The Salt
8:29 am
Tue August 26, 2014

The 'Greening' Of Florida Citrus Means Less Green In Growers' Pockets

An orange showing signs of "citrus greening" this spring in Fort Pierce, Fla.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Tue August 26, 2014 3:42 pm

Orange juice has been an important part of breakfast tables since the 1950s, after development of frozen orange juice concentrate made it both convenient and affordable. Back in the 1960s and '70s, TV spokeswoman Anita Bryant even told Americans that "breakfast without orange juice is like a day without sunshine."

But today, sales are the lowest they've been in decades.

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Health News Florida
8:22 am
Tue August 26, 2014

DJJ Cancels Contract with Controversial Provider

Santa Rosa Substance Abuse Treatment Center
Credit Florida Department of Juvenile Justice

The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice has canceled a contract with a controversial operator of a 40-bed residential facility in Santa Rosa County, with potentially far-reaching implications for the way the state rehabilitates juvenile offenders.

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Health News Florida
7:34 am
Tue August 26, 2014

Physicians United Members Face Deadline

Originally published on Tue August 26, 2014 10:05 am

Sunday is the final day seniors covered by a now-defunct Medicare Advantage plan can select a different policy.

The state’s Department of Financial Services took over operation of the Physician’s United Plan in early June, when it was more than $13 million in debt and unable to pay many creditors.


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6:40 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

Duke Energy Called Before State Regulators to Explain Billing Change

Duke Energy Florida will have to explain to state regulators an ongoing change in its billing process that two lawmakers say is spiking costs.

Public Service Commission Chairman Art Graham on Monday asked Duke Energy Florida President Alex Glenn to appear at a Sept. 4 meeting to address concerns raised by state Sens. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, and Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, about billing-cycle adjustments and related increased customer payments.

Glenn will be at the meeting, a company spokesman said.

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4:19 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

Charlie Crist Campaigns in Tampa Ahead of Primary

Charlie Crist poses for a photo with a supporter at his campaign office in Tampa.
Credit Megan Milanese / WUSF Public Media

Former Gov. Charlie Crist was in Tampa today as part of a multi-city tour to drum up voter support before tomorrow's primary election. During the visit to his campaign office, Crist took pictures with supporters and made a few calls to voters in a final push to get people to the polls.

Crist, formerly a Republican, is running against Nan Rich for the Democratic nomination for the governor's race. Rather than discuss his primary opponent, however, Crist focused on current Gov. Rick Scott.

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Florida Matters
4:07 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

Florida Matters Preview: Human Trafficking

Panel (R-L) Attorney General Pam Bondi; Connie Rose; Dr. Maulik K. Trivedi; and WUSF's Carson Cooper.
Credit Mary Shedden / WUSF

According to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center, Florida is third in the number of calls to the national human trafficking hotline.

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11:42 am
Mon August 25, 2014

Invasive Insect Threatens Iconic Florida Citrus

Ellis Hunt Jr., 61, walks past an orange tree affected by "greening.” The Lake Wales family owns 5,000-plus acres of groves and is part of the co-op that contributes to Florida's Natural, the third-largest juice brand in the country.
Lynne Sladky/AP

The tourists stream to Florida in their cars, intent on a week at Disney or a sugar-sand seashore or a nonstop party on South Beach. Road weary and thirsty, they pull over at one of the state’s five official welcome centers. They walk inside, and then they look up.

“The best start under the sun,” reads a big sign. “FLORIDA ORANGE JUICE.”

Behind a counter, a woman sits with a stack of paper cups. “Welcome to Florida,” she says with a big smile. “Orange or grapefruit?”

The juice is cold and sweet. It tastes like the Sunshine State.

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10:39 am
Mon August 25, 2014

StateImpact Florida Essay: What A Teacher Score Doesn’t Tell Us

Teachers get a number score with the state's value-added model
Credit Flickr

I finally know my worth as a teacher—and now that the “value-added model” scores mandated by our state legislature are public, everyone else knows, too.

I’m a 37.5.

But, I have no idea what that number means.

Along with my 37.5, I was told I’m “highly effective” and given a $230 bonus. In case you’re wondering, that’s about half what the average teacher spends of his or her own money on school supplies per year.

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Health News Florida
9:43 am
Mon August 25, 2014

Obamacare Still 'Red Meat' for GOP

Tuesday's vote will determine party candidates in many Congressional primaries.

Originally published on Mon August 25, 2014 9:29 am

Beverly Hires, a former nurse running for Congress in Jupiter, one of the nation’s rare competitive House races, ticks off her problems with the federal health care law: higher premiums, cancelled policies and employers cutting full-time jobs.

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