9:02 am
Tue October 21, 2014

Former State GOP Chair Slade Dead at 78

Tom Slade
Credit www.tallahassee.com

Tom Slade, who led the Republican Party of Florida as Jeb Bush rose to power, died after being hospitalized last week for heart failure. He was 78.

A spokeswoman for the family confirmed the Monday afternoon death.

Slade led the party from 1993 to 1999, a period in which Bush lost a 1994 election to Gov. Lawton Chiles, Republicans took over the Legislature and Bush won the governorship in 1998.

The governor's mansion, House, Senate and Cabinet were all controlled by Democrats when Slade took over the party.

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8:00 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Weak Tropical Development Possible in Gulf This Week

A low pressure area is becoming more organized, and has a high chance of becoming a tropical cyclone in the next five days.

It's located in the southwestern portion of the Bay of Campeche. The National Hurricane Center forecast a path directed toward Cuba. Regardless of formation, the State of Florida is likely to see some impacts from this disturbance, mainly south Florida, as early as the weekend.

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NPR Story
5:43 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

FSU Trustees Approve $430,000 Five-Year Contract For Thrasher

Incoming FSU President and State Sen. John Thrasher (R, St. Augustine).

Originally published on Mon October 20, 2014 6:31 pm

Florida State University trustees have signed off on a $430,ooo a year five-year contract for incoming president, John Thrasher.

Thrasher will live in the president’s house. FSU will either provide a car, or if Thrasher chooses to drive his own he will get a $900 a month car allowance. The proposal is a five year contract, but Thrasher the ability to get bonuses based on his performance. Trustees have not announced how those bonuses will be decided.  

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University Beat
5:21 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

USF Cancels African Journalists Visit; Ebola Fears Blamed

African journalists from the 2010 Edward R. Murrow Program for Journalists pose along the USF St. Pete waterfront

Originally published on Wed October 29, 2014 10:21 am

Officials at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg have canceled a five-day visit by 14 African journalists that was to begin Oct. 31, because of fears of the Ebola virus.

In a letter today written by Han Reichgelt, regional vice president for academic affairs (see below), he says they're doing so out of an abundance of caution.

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Law & Order
5:15 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

FL Prisons Chief: Bad Guards Won’t Drive Future of Corrections

Mike Crews, Secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections
Credit State of Florida

Gov. Rick Scott tapped Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Michael Crews two years ago to oversee an agency that is responsible for more than 100,000 prisoners and supervises nearly as many people in the community.

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Florida Matters
3:10 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Florida Matters Preview: Attorney General Debate

Left to Right: Al Ruechel (Bay News 9), Ybeth Bruzual (News 13) and Adam Smith (Tampa Bay Times) moderate the only debate among the three candidates for Florida Attorney General: Pam Bondi (incumbent, Republican), George Sheldon (Democrat) and Bill Wohlsifer (Libertarian).
Credit Bay News 9

Florida's candidates for Attorney General met for their first and only debate earlier this month in the studios of Bay News 9.

We will bring you the highlights of the debate, co-moderated by the Tampa Bay Times, this week on Florida Matters on Tuesday, Oct. 21, at 6:30 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 26  at 7:30 a.m. on WUSF 89.7 FM.

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Making Sense of the Media
2:34 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Making Sense Of HBO Alone

Credit homeboxoffice.com

Netflix, there's going to be a new player in your neighborhood.  

HBO has announced that next year it is launching a standalone online service, meaning people who don't subscribe to HBO on cable will still be able to watch the entertainment service's top shows - online.

Is this the beginning of the end of cable subscription services like HBO?

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1:21 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Economic Doldrums Cloud Race for Governor

I-4 corridor is key to the election

By many measures, Republican Rick Scott should have a strong case for a second term as governor.

Elected four years ago, the former businessman reduced taxes, cut regulations and recruited businesses to help revive the economy. Florida is bouncing back, and Scott is claiming credit for adding 613,000 jobs and trimming unemployment to 6.1 percent.

But along this stretch of Central Florida, a crucial swing-voting area, the numbers are little more than an abstraction to middle-class voters who see a tepid turnaround.

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1:13 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

Gov. Scott: Early voting is Crucial to Winning

Florida Gov. Rick Scott says GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney lost in 2012 because not enough Republicans participated in early voting.

Scott on Monday said he's not going to let that happen in his current race with Democratic challenger Charlie Crist.

Scott gave an early-morning address to about 50 supporters at a seafood restaurant in Orlando on the first day that some early-voting centers opened in Florida.

The seafood restaurant was picked because of its proximity to an early-voting site at a nearby library.

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9:42 am
Mon October 20, 2014

Why Florida Is Fighting The U.S. Education Department Over English Learners

Althea Valle teaches a class of ELL's. She says of the new federal requirement, "I think it’s going to put a lot of pressure on the schools to get these kids where we think they should be."
Credit Gina Jordan/StateImpact Florida

A 10th grader born in Haiti struggles to read in his class at Godby High School in Tallahassee. The student is more comfortable with Haitian Creole than English. Teacher Althea Valle has students of various nationalities trying to master the language.

“It’s a challenge,” Valle says. “There’s a lot of gesturing, and you know sometimes I feel like I’m onstage and sometimes I have to be onstage to make myself understood.”

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Health News Florida
9:25 am
Mon October 20, 2014

35K in FL Lose Coverage over Documents

Originally published on Mon October 20, 2014 9:22 am

More than 35,000 Florida residents have lost the health insurance they enrolled in under the federal health law because they didn’t prove U.S. citizenship or legal residency status by Sept. 5, the Miami Herald reports. 

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Health News Florida
9:24 am
Mon October 20, 2014

CDC to Talk Ebola with Florida Hospitals

Originally published on Mon October 20, 2014 9:32 am

 Officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will hold a conference call today on Ebola preparedness and training with Florida hospitals.

Gov. Rick Scott said Saturday that the call scheduled Monday afternoon will provide guidance for proper use of personal protective equipment, safe handling of medical waste and effective clinical strategies within hospitals.

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StoryCorps Tampa Bay
8:00 am
Mon October 20, 2014

StoryCorps Tampa Bay: Young Actors Follow Their Dreams

Shelby Ronea, her mom Renea Elmore and Noah Diggs
Credit StoryCorps

Not every friendship starts on the set of a movie.

But that’s how Tampa teen Shelby Ronea and fellow actor Noah Diggs of St. Petersburg met. The pair was among the actors tapped for the Haley Joel Osment film, “Sex Ed,” filmed during the summer of 2013 in Tampa.  The film will be released on November 7th.

In this installment of StoryCorps Tampa Bay, the 15-year-olds talk with Shelby’s mom, Renea Elmore, about their love for performing and their hopes for the future.

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2:23 am
Mon October 20, 2014

Early Voting in Pinellas, Polk Starts Today

Credit commons.wikimedia.org

With the mid-term election coming up in just a couple of weeks, early voting is set to begin in Pinellas County today.

With so many ballot decisions for voters to make this year, Pinellas County Elections Administrator Nancy Whitlock says they expect good voter turnout.

“Counties have the option of providing early voting, two weeks before the election. So, we chose to have early voting for the full amount of possible days and hours for this general election,” Whitlock said.

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Around the Nation
8:24 pm
Sun October 19, 2014

The Kissimmee: A River Re-Curved

The restoration's goal is to put as much of the Kissimmee as possible back to the way it was. This photo shows the river after restoration.
Courtesy the South Florida Water Management District

Originally published on Mon October 20, 2014 3:18 pm

It sounds almost superhuman to try straighten a river and then recarve the curves.

That's what federal and state officials did to the Kissimmee River in Central Florida. They straightened the river in the 1960s into a canal to drain swampland and make way for the state's explosive growth. It worked — and it created an ecological disaster. So officials decided to restore the river's slow-flowing, meandering path.

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