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WUSF Public Broadcasting took home seven awards at the Florida Associated Press Broadcasters awards banquet Saturday night in Orlando. WUSF took home two first place awards, and five second place awards.

This is a reflection of the great work our staff has done during the past year. At WUSF, we strive to bring you balanced, informative reports every day. Please click on the links below to get a sample of some of these works. Congratulations to our reporters!

-Steve Newborn, Interim News Director.

FIRST PLACE: Sports Feature

This post is being updated.

Satellite images showing objects floating in the Indian Ocean have focused the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 and the 239 people who were on board to an area about 1,500 miles southwest of Perth, Australia.

The state's unemployment rates continues to drop - while job creation in the Tampa Bay area is lagging behind the rest of the state.

That's according to the numbers released today by state economists. The state's unemployment rate in January was 6.1 percent. That's the lowest the rate has been since June 2008.

There are an estimated 581,000 Floridians out of work. Florida's unemployment rate remains below the national average of 6.6 percent.

Gov. Rick Scott has contended the state's unemployment rate is dropping due to his policies.

Yoselis Ramos / WUSF

Gov. Rick Scott said Wednesday that the state will give Tampa International Airport $194 million to help pay for the largest expansion since the facility's opening in 1971.

Scott was at the airport to make the announcement, along with dozens of local officials, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn.

"I couldn't think of any greater investment in our future," said Buckhorn.

Fantasy of Flight

An aviation-themed attraction that's famous for its collection of aircraft and for a plane next to Interstate 4 in between Tampa and Orlando is closing.

Fantasy of Flight will close to the public on April 6.

Owner Kermit Weeks says the attraction will refocus its emphasis on its private event business and the design and development of a new future destination attraction. Weeks is a former aerobatics champion and aircraft designer who built Fantasy of Flight in part to house his collection.

The company — which planned to focus on intra-Florida flights — said on Feb. 10 that it would launch service from Orlando to both Fort Lauderadale and Tallahassee starting March 20. The carrier already had begun selling tickets on its website. However, those plans are now on hold.

Preliminary plans mentioned last week at a Central Florida Rail Commission meeting call for free service between April 15 and 18, and then again from April 21 to 25 to help introduce riders to the rail line, said Steve Olson, a spokesman for the Florida Department of Transportation. SunRail is a $1.3 billion commuter train with hours that will cater to workers from Monday through Friday.

Robin Sussingham

The United States Department of Agriculture recently announced it was putting $21 million toward saving the citrus industry. They're trying to rescue it from what's widely seen as its biggest threat ever -- a disease called citrus greening.

Today in Lakeland, the USDA official who's coordinating how that money will be spent, Dr. Mary Palm,  spoke to dozens of growers and others that work in citrus. But the growers  stressed that they can't wait for long term solutions, and said that the industry needs immediate help to survive.

The Lakelander

You often hear that print media is out -- or going digital.  So when an upmarket, city magazine  with big  production values suddenly appears in a mid-sized town like Lakeland, can it succeed? Publishers of the new magazine, The Lakelander, are banking on it.

The Seminole Compact includes a provision allowing blackjack and other card games at locations including the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa. The card game provision expires in mid-2015 unless it’s renewed. The deal guarantees the state a minimum $1 billion from the tribe’s gambling income over five years. But under certain scenarios, if the tribe loses its exclusive rights to offer Las Vegas-style games through expanded gambling, it can stop paying. “We don’t know how to draw a bill that does anything with regards to gaming that doesn’t affect the compact we have with the tribe,” Weatherford said. “And so for us to go down that road and start a big process and have a bunch of hearings on a bill that theoretically isn’t going anywhere … is a waste of everyone’s time.”

David Beckham's career in American soccer isn't over, despite his recent retirement from the field. Beckham confirmed Wednesday that he will create a Major League Soccer expansion team in Miami. Details about the team's stadium and start date are still being worked out.

On Tuesday, after years of delays and contentious negotiations over the farm bill, the Senate voted 68-32 for the $500 billion package that will end direct payments to farmers, expand the popular crop insurance program and cut spending on food stamps by 1 percent. Now it heads to the White House where President Obama is expected to sign it into law. Florida’s two senators split, with Democrat Bill Nelson voting for the bill and Republican Marco Rubio voting against it.

Just as Janet L. Yellen was sworn in as the first woman to head the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernanke announced his next move on Monday.

The former fed chief, who saw the country through a recovery from the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, will join Brookings' Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy.

On the Southeast coast of the U.S., jellyfish have earned a lengthy rap sheet for stinging beachgoers and getting tangled in shrimpers' nets. But lately, the tides have turned for shrimping, and some fishermen in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida are reaping profits from their local pests, the cannonball jellyfish, or "jellyballs."

"The shrimp season [of 2013] was the worst ever in history here," says Howell Boone, a shrimp trawler in Darien, Ga."The jellyfish industry has been about the best thing that's happened to us."

J. Pat Carter / Associated Press

The post-holidays hard news continues for employees of some major retailers.

One week after discount retailer Loehmann's started liquidating its inventory and Macy's announced it is eliminating 2,500 jobs, there's word that J.C. Penney is cutting 2,000 jobs and closing 33 stores.

SeaWorld Expects Record Revenue for 2013

Jan 14, 2014
NPR

SeaWorld announced Monday it expects record revenue for 2013. The company is reporting record fourth-quarter attendance despite ongoing backlash from the documentary Blackfish.

SeaWorld expects its 2013 revenue to be near $1.5 billion, thanks to record attendance at its theme parks in Orlando, San Antonio, Texas, and San Diego, Calif. 

City of Tampa: There's an App for That

Jan 8, 2014
City of Tampa

The City of Tampa is going mobile.

It has launched its first app available for smartphone users that allows folks to do everything from viewing upcoming events around town to reporting a pothole.

"Technology plays a critical role in the economic future of our city. That’s why I am committed to modernizing our infrastructure, bringing free Wi-Fi to our urban parks, and making the city more user friendly through apps like this," Mayor Bob Buckhorn said.  "The app puts city services and City Hall at the fingertips of residents."

File photo / Associated Press

If you're heading home after the holidays, or just hitting the road to squeeze in that last bit of fun before going back to work or school next week, there are a few websites you might want to check out.

Bay News 9

A winter storm that stretches from the upper Midwest into the Mid-Atlantic and New England is having an effect on travelers at Tampa International Airport.

Officials posted a message just after noon Thursday on the airport's Facebook page:

This is our entry for best newscast.  

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