Health News Florida
6:55 am
Thu January 15, 2015

Florida Chamber Says It Will Support Medicaid Expansion...With Caveats

The Florida Chamber of Commerce

Originally published on Thu January 22, 2015 10:50 am

The pro-business Florida Chamber of Commerce has unveiled its health priorities for the upcoming legislative session.

The list includes big battles of years past—like letting some nurses and physician assistants expand their scope-of-practice, revamping the rules regarding medical lawsuits and possibly expanding the state’s Medicaid program for low-income Floridians. But that last part comes with a caveat--like capping how much Medicaid can take up in overall state spending.

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Business
1:16 am
Thu January 15, 2015

Swoope To Depart Enterprise Florida Next Month

Enterprise Florida's Gray Swoope

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 6:56 pm

Florida’s top jobs recruiter is stepping down from his post.

At the end of February, Gray Swoope will resign.  He’s the state’s Secretary of Commerce as well as the head of Enterprise Florida, the state’s lead economic development agency.

Swoope was one of the few top officials who served during Governor Rick Scott’s entire first term.

In a statement following Swoope’s announced departure, Scott hailed Swoope for creating “a jobs legacy” and for making “major economic deals” happen for the state.

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Culture
6:17 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

Tampa Rep's Imagining Madoff

From left, Actors Jim Wicker and C. David Frankel

Deb Margolin's play "Imagining Madoff" digs into the deep issues that live in the edges of our lives.  Do I really know this person, can I trust them? 

Her play examines the relationship between a Torah scholar, here named Sol Galkin, but the character is based on famed author and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, and an imaginary Bernie Madoff, based on the infamous financial scammer who cheated thousands out of their life savings. 

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University Beat
5:36 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

USF Conference Examines Middle East Extremism

Militants of the Islamic State stand with a captured Iraqi army Humvee outside Baiji oil refinery, north of Baghdad, in June 2014.
Credit AP Photo / NPR

In just the last two weeks, members of terror groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS allegedly took part in a number of deadly attacks in France, as well as the hacking of social media sites for U.S. Central Command, based at Tampa's MacDill Air Force Base.

The growing reach of these extremist groups is the subject of a conference taking place Thursday at the University of South Florida.

Dr. Mohsen Milani, the Executive Director of the USF Center for Strategic and Diplomatic Studies, said the conference will focus on extremism in the Middle East and how it's effecting the policies of the U.S. and many other countries.

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Business
4:32 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

Ballot Proposal Seeks More Solar in Sunshine State

Businesses and property owners would be able to sell a limited amount of solar energy under a ballot initiative rolled out Wednesday by a coalition that brings together free-market conservatives, retailers and alternative-energy supporters.

The proposed constitutional amendment is expected to face opposition from large power companies, which offered little comment Wednesday.

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Business
1:57 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

Florida Legislative Support Grows For Film And TV Tax Incentives

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 10:05 am

After last year’s legislative session, Florida failed to secure the tax incentive money it needed to lure more movie and television projects to the Sunshine State.

But things could change in 2015. And Palm Beach County lawmakers want to play a starring role in replenishing those funds.

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Politics
12:48 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

Fact-Checking Marco Rubio's New Book

Credit politifact.com

Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio hasn't said if he's running for president in 2016.

But if you want a peek at what some planks of his presidential platform might look like, just crack open Rubio's new book, "American Dream: Restoring Economic Opportunity for Everyone."

PolitiFact Florida did just that and has fact-checked a couple of claims in Rubio's book.

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Health News Florida
8:46 am
Wed January 14, 2015

Report's Forecast Grim for Hospitals

Joan Alker

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 1:05 pm

Florida’s “safety-net” hospitals – the ones that provide the most charity care -- received another in a series of depressing projections Wednesday in a report from Florida Legal Services.  

Taken together, the three reports issued to date by the patient-advocacy organization describe a pending loss of $2 billion a year to the state’s health-care providers for the poor. Federal funding that has propped them up is scheduled to end June 30, Florida Legal Services said.

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Health News Florida
8:10 am
Wed January 14, 2015

Nurses Push to Prevent Workplace Violence

Dozens of nurses rallied on the streets of Tampa's Ybor City Tuesday to push for more workplace safety rules for health care workers.
Mary Shedden Health News Florida

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 1:15 pm

Members of a Tampa-based nurses’ union on Tuesday rallied against the physical and emotional abuse they say is an all-too-common occupational hazard.

The U.S. Department of Labor says that in 2010, more than 11,000 health care and social workers were the victims of workplace violence. Louise Eastty, an intensive care unit nurse for 15 years, said she’s seen co-workers attacked physically by patients, and has been verbally abused countless times.

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Fl Wildlife Corridor Expedition
5:00 am
Wed January 14, 2015

Journey of Nearly 1,000 Miles Begins with First Step

Expedition members Joe Guthrie and Mallory Lykes Dimmitt prepare to cross underneath Interstate 4 in Polk County on bicycles
Credit Steve Newborn / WUSF News

Three years ago, four conservationists embarked on a trip to walk and kayak the entire length of Florida. Their mission: to bring attention to the need to protect lands connecting the state's wild areas. Now, The Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition is back - and it's taking a different turn.

There's an old Chinese proverb that the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

Well, they're not going a thousand miles - only 925 miles, give or take. And their first step was on a pedal. Of a bicycle.

The members of the Florida Wildlife Corridor Expedition are off on an encore version of their epic thousand-mile journey in 2012. Then, they trekked from the tip of the Everglades through the remaining wild spaces of the peninsula, north to the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia.

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Health News Florida
9:53 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

Child's Death Prompts New Look at Old Problems

Phoebe Jonchuck

As the Tampa Bay area continues to reel from the death of 5-year-old Phoebe Jonchuck, whose father was charged with dropping her from a bridge last week, state leaders are looking for answers.

But records of the case reveal that many answers were already available --- in the form of arrests that could have raised alarms at the state abuse hotline operated by the Florida Department of Children and Families.

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Politics
9:21 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

Governor Insists Former FDLE Head Resigned As Bailey Says He Was Forced Out

Former FDLE Secretary Gerald Bailey during a press conference.

Originally published on Tue January 13, 2015 5:58 pm

Two of Governor Rick Scott’s new agency leaders earned cabinet-level approval Tuesday, but Scott still isn’t saying why he let go of one his longest-serving agency secretaries.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey has been replaced by Rick Swearingen.  Scott was twice asked by reporters Tuesday why Bailey was let go but didn’t answer the question.

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Business
7:05 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

Florida's Craft Beer Industry Wary A New Challenge May Be Brewing

Proof Brewing Company's vats at the Railroad Square brewery.

Originally published on Tue January 13, 2015 4:07 pm

Beer distribution interests in Florida have launched a legal attack against a well-established exception to the state’s three-tier system.  The ‘Tourism Exception’ allows brewers licensed for manufacturing beer to sell it directly to the public. 

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Environment
7:00 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

Florida Cabinet Approves New Land Purchases To Address Flooding In Southwest Florida

A map highlighting South Florida's hydrology.

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 10:46 am

The Florida cabinet approved a pair of land purchases Tuesday that it says will aid in efforts to manage water retention in Southwest Florida.

Part of the $13 million purchase approved by the cabinet allows The Department of Environmental Protection to buy 670 acres in Charlotte County. This land will provide the public with recreational opportunities like hiking and wildlife exploration.

The agency says, this purchase along with another one in Collier County, are key to an ongoing hydrologic restoration project in the region.

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Environment
5:24 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

Putnam Wants $18M To Combat Citrus Greening, Aid In Predicted Citrus Decline

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam speaking to reporters following Tuesday's Cabinet meeting.

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 10:10 am

Florida’s Agriculture Commissioner is asking for close to $20 million in this year’s budget to combat citrus greening. This comes as the most recent forecast is showing a further citrus crop decline.

Following Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting,  says citrus growers have it hard.

“We’re in the fight for the industry’s life,” said State Ag Commissioner Adam Putnam, following Tuesday's Cabinet meeting. “Florida’s signature crop continues to decline, continues to feel the effects as a result of the spread of citrus greening.”

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