Health News Florida
11:55 am
Fri February 20, 2015

Amid Tax Season, Feds Give Extra Plan Enrollment Time

Originally published on Fri February 20, 2015 7:19 pm

The deadline to buy health insurance coverage for 2015 has come and gone. But some people without insurance are just finding out now that they have to pay a tax penalty, and they're getting another chance to sign up.

Federal health officials announced Friday morning that they’re offering a new, special open enrollment period for consumers who are preparing their 2014 taxes now and figuring out that they owe a tax penalty under the Affordable Care Act.

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University Beat
10:18 am
Fri February 20, 2015

UCF To Press On With Downtown Campus Plan

University of Central Florida's downtown campus plan includes space for 13,000 students on a 20 acre site.
Credit UCF

The University of Central Florida has been given the go ahead to start designing its downtown Orlando campus.

The Florida Board of Governors today approved a funding request of nearly $5.8 Million for the first phase of the project.

The money will go towards designing a student support and services building for UCF and Valencia College.

The $206 million dollar campus would house 13,000 students on a 20 acre site.

It will include what university president John Hitt calls a ‘digital, communications interactive media and educational cluster’.

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Sports
9:21 am
Fri February 20, 2015

NASCAR Enters New Season After Shifting Gears To Bump Viewership

NASCAR drivers Kevin Harvick (in car on left) and Ryan Newman lead the pack during the Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 16, in Homestead, Fla.
Patrick Smith Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 8:13 pm

The green flag drops on the NASCAR season this Sunday, with the Daytona 500. NASCAR enters its new year with a giant TV contract and a revamped playoff system that led to wrecks, fights and some higher ratings last year.

But the sport is still nowhere near as well-viewed or attended as it was before the recession.

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Law & Order
9:03 am
Fri February 20, 2015

Putnam Asks FDLE for Further Dozier Investigation

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam
Credit State of Florida

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam is asking the head of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to evaluate new findings in the history of students at the former Arthur G. Dozier school for boys.

In a letter dated Wednesday, Putnam — who is one of three members of the Florida Cabinet — cited a recent report by researchers at the University of South Florida.

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News
6:06 am
Fri February 20, 2015

Waiting for Florida Bourbon

St Augustine's old electric and ice plant is now The St Augustine Distillery
Credit Marc Haze / WUSF news

If you've spent much time around places where alcoholic beverages are sold and consumed, you may have heard the following: "Tequila has to come from Mexico. Champagne has to come from France and bourbon has to come from Kentucky."

That last one is not true.

Bourbon can be made anywhere in the United States, as long as strict rules are followed.

No one has made or sold bourbon legally, using Florida-grown ingredients since before Prohibition.

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Politics
6:05 am
Fri February 20, 2015

Bills Aimed At Helping Florida's Disabled Foster Kids Gaining Traction

Sen. Nancy Detert (R-Venice) speaking at the Florida Senate Children, Families, and Elder Affairs Committee Thursday about her bill.

Originally published on Fri February 20, 2015 9:24 am

A bill that would help identify guardians and guardian advocates for children with developmental disabilities aging out of foster care passed its first committees this week.

Gerry Glynn is the Chief Legal Officer for Community Based Care of North Florida. But, before that, he worked as a law professor and child advocate in 2009. In that role, Glynn says he chaired a committee reviewing the tragic death of a young man by the name of Regis Little.

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University Beat
6:00 am
Fri February 20, 2015

Divorce Averted: FAMU-FSU Engineering Gets A Dose Of Counseling And Carries On

FSU President John Thrasher and FAMU President Elmira Mangum listen as the Board of Governors take up a report on the fate of the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 10:59 pm

The joint Florida A&M-Florida State University College of Engineering is staying together. The move comes after a year of uncertainty. Both institutions say they're committed to working out problems and have inked a deal to restructure the school.

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University Beat
4:09 pm
Thu February 19, 2015

Best of Times, Worst of Times: USF Presents 'A Tale of Two Cities'

Student-actors Cliff Kelley (l to r), Jordan DeShong and Landon Layland in a press photo for "A Tale of Two Cities"
USF Theatre and Dance

It will be the best of times, it will be the worst of times as University of South Florida Theatre and Dance presents an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities.

The play is adapted by Mike Poulton and directed by Eduard Lewis. Lewis is visiting USF as part of the school's British International Theatre program, which for almost 25 years, has brought leading theater figures from across the pond to Tampa.

"When I heard what it was all about and all the people who’ve been involved with it in the past as well and the reputation it has, and the fact I got to spend January and February in Tampa, when in London it’s absolutely freezing at the moment, was a huge pull," Lewis said.

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Health News Florida
12:39 pm
Thu February 19, 2015

Senators Look For More Ways To Boost Adoptions

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 8:46 am

A bill that would provide incentives to state employees who adopt children in Florida's foster-care system continued moving forward Wednesday with several changes.

The Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee unanimously approved the measure (SB 320) by Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, with amendments aimed at boosting adoptions still further.

The bill would provide a one-time cash payment of $5,000 per child to state employees who adopt children from the foster-care system and $10,000 per child for those who adopt children who also have special needs.

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Politics
11:25 am
Thu February 19, 2015

While Awaiting Study, Florida House Begins State Pension Overhaul Talks

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 11:02 pm

While the Senate has said it won’t start any talks to reform Florida’s Retirement System this year, a House panel is moving forward.

During Wednesday’s presentation, House State Affairs Committee members heard that Florida’s Retirement System is funded at 86.6 percent—a percentage proponents of the system say means it’s, “actuarially sound.”

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Education
9:58 am
Thu February 19, 2015

Scott Freezes 11th Grade Test As Lawmakers Consider Removal Of Others

Originally published on Wed February 18, 2015 6:43 pm

Governor Rick Scott has issued an executive order suspending at least one of the state-mandated exams students have to take, and that’s just the start of Florida’s efforts to dial back its testing requirements amid public discontent.

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Health News Florida
9:03 am
Thu February 19, 2015

White House Hosts Tampa Forum on Seniors' Priorities

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 9:02 am

  The White House is holding the first in a series of forums to hear about the most important issues facing older Americans. 

The event Thursday in Tampa comes amid a historic demographic shift in the U.S. as the massive baby boom generation moves closer to old age.

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Health News Florida
7:15 am
Thu February 19, 2015

$500M in New Nursing Home Beds Coming

Richard Montgomery is a short-term rehabilitation patient at The Commons at Orlando Lutheran Towers, a facility where nursing home beds are in short supply.

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 9:33 am

Nursing home beds have been in short supply in Florida for more than a decade.

But the Agency for Health Care Administration on Friday will authorize its top picks to add another 3,100 spots across the state.

The end of this 14-year moratorium can’t come soon enough for Lillian Lara of Orlando.

Her 87-year-old father fell in December and, after a hospital stay, he’s had a bed in the short-term rehabilitation section of The Commons at Orlando Lutheran Towers.

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Culture
6:12 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

Looking For Jack Kerouac Takes Road Through Florida

Barbara Shoup's novel

Some time ago, author Barbara Shoup of Indianapolis was talking to a friend and he had an idea for a book about a teenage boy growing up in the 1960s who goes in search of Jack Kerouac. She thought it was a good concept, so she told him, "if you don't use that idea, let me."

With her friends permission, she starting writing the story, but says she hit a wall. The story became boring, even to her. That was until life intervened. 

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Politics
5:10 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

House And Senate Advance Differing Alcohol Proposals

Rep. Steube (R-Sarasota) explaining his bill to the House Business and Professions subcommittee.

Originally published on Wed February 18, 2015 4:03 pm

Liquor sales could move under the same roof as the neighborhood grocery store under a measure making its way through the Florida House.  State lawmakers wrangled over the issue Wednesday.

Florida law requires stores selling liquor to put spirits like whiskey, rum, and vodka behind another storefront.  Rep. Greg Steube (R-Sarasota) says the state’s requirement for liquor stores to have their own exterior entrance is outdated.

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