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Pinellas County Government

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is updating its flood zone maps in the Tampa Bay area and the changes could affect thousands of home and business owners.

Florida this week declared a state of emergency because of a slow-moving natural disaster — red tide.

Red tide is toxic algae that have persisted off Florida's Gulf Coast for nearly a year. In recent weeks, the algae bloom has worsened, killing fish, turtles and dolphins and discouraging tourism on some of the state's most beautiful beaches.

Tourists weren't scattered on beaches in southwest Florida on Thursday, but hundreds of dead fish were.

The Herald-Tribune reports that visitors piled into the parking lot of Venice Beach, got out of their cars, started hacking, coughing and sneezing and then quickly left.

Manatee County

Days before Hurricane Irma hit last September, a lifeguard was entrusted with translating a public announcement in sign language to residents of Manatee County. 95% of his interpretation was incomprehensible.

Hillsborough County

With hurricane season here, authorities say residents should know whether they live in an evacuation zone, so they know when it’s time to leave.

USF Sarasota-Manatee

In the next 30 years, figures show the fastest growing demographic in the Sarasota-Manatee region will be people 80 or older. In addition, just 31 percent of the nurses currently there have baccalaureate degrees.

The University of South Florida Health College of Nursing hopes to remedy both of those issues by offering its program at its Sarasota-Manatee campus.

Wikimedia Commons

The National Park Service is considering adding a Bradenton park to its list of more than 600 locations considered part of the Underground Railroad Network to Freedom.

mymanatee.org

Manatee County Commissioners reopened a longtime discussion about decreasing the risk of flooding in residential areas Tuesday.

Florida health officials are reporting the state's first case this year of the Zika virus transmitted by a mosquito.

Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

Manatee and Sarasota Counties have seen overdose deaths from drugs like heroin, fentanyl and carfentanil spike in the past few years. At the same time, the number of children being removed from their homes and placed into the area’s foster care system has skyrocketed. There’s a connection between the increases.

Florida Storms

A man was found face-down dead in water next to his wheelchair after heavy rains flooded a Florida neighborhood.

UPDATE: Manatee County removed the Confederate monument in front of the county courthouse at 3:30 AM Thursday, Aug. 24, 2017. A county press release says the statue was broken during removal, and is now in an undisclosed place. 

After a few hundred protesters marched through downtown Bradenton Monday evening, Manatee County commissioners voted Tuesday to remove a Confederate statue from the front of the Manatee County courthouse. Although there were multiple heated interactions and three arrests, the protest ended peacefully.

Andy Callahan / Flickr

Several hundred supporters of Black Lives Matter and others rallied Monday evening in Bradenton to demand the removal of a Confederate monument that has stood for decades outside the Manatee County Courthouse. The protest also drew a smaller number of people to the city of Bradenton who wanted the monument, now clad in protective plywood, to stay.

Susan Giles Wantuck / WUSF Public Media

A Florida group trying to preserve Confederate monuments is backing a new effort: erecting a statue of Snooty the manatee.

Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

As Health News Florida reported last week, the opioid crisis in Manatee and Sarasota Counties is putting a strain on their foster care system. But the situation isn't entirely bleak. Now we'll hear from one mother whose relationship with her son's foster parents helped her reunify her family and overcome her addiction.


Local Organization Prepares Dogs For The Working World

May 17, 2017
Courtesy of Anthony Loffler

There are four-legged residents of the Tampa Bay area who stand out in public because of their harnesses and vests. Some are working guide dogs, others are guide dogs in training.

Southeastern Guide Dogs, a charitable organization in Palmetto, has spent decades preparing canines for the working world. 

Steve Newborn / WUSF News

UPDATED: 1/31:

Manatee County Commissioners extended a public hearing on the proposed rezoning of the Wingate East phosphate mine until Wednesday.

Commissioners Monday finished a two-day public hearing, where most of the speakers opposed the mine expansion. On Wednesday, Feb. 15, they'll question Mosaic engineers and county staffers, beginning at 9 a.m. The board is expected to vote on the rezoning request at the end of that meeting.

Monday, dozens of people told commissioners what they think about the mine expansion.

The Manatee County branch of the NAACP is accusing the Bradenton Police Department of racial discrimination. The civil rights organization is referencing public records it recently requested from the department.

Wikimedia Commons

Tonight (Aug. 30), there's a town hall meeting at The Dream Center at 922 24 St. East in Bradenton from 6 to 8 p.m. At issue is the desperate need for foster care families to take in the children who've lost parents to a heroin epidemic in Manatee County.

Thursday marked the last day of class at Manatee County’s Duette Elementary School - literally. It’s the end of an era as the one-room school house in the farming community about 40 miles outside of Bradenton closes for the last time.  Duette is the last one-room school house in Florida and had been one of only 27 left operating in the U.S.

WMFE

Heroin overdoses are rising most everywhere, but perhaps nowhere more dramatically than in Manatee County.

Village of the Arts

Sarasota is known around the world for its arts scene. Can Bradenton and Manatee County become a destination for the arts? 

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Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

For the first time in its almost forty year history, undergraduate freshmen will be attending University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee.

Until last year, USFSM was an 'upper-division transfer university,' offering two-year baccalaureate degrees, as well as master's degrees. In 2012, the school began accepting sophomores, and this year, the campus is welcoming its inaugural batch of freshmen.

Voters in Manatee County voted down a half-cent sales tax to provide health care to the poor, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports. The tax would have bolstered the Health Care Trust Fund, which has paid for care for years but is expected to run out in 2015 . Now, without the funds from the tax, Manatee will have to figure out how to care for its poorer residents in the wake of Florida lawmakers’ failure to approve Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

Manatee County Schools Ban Energy Drinks

Jul 24, 2012

Manatee School District is the first in the state to ban energy drinks in school.

Energy drinks like  5 Hour Energy, Red Bull, and Monster won't be allowed on school grounds in Manatee County this upcoming school year.

Monday night, the school board unanimously voted to ban energy drinks.

Manatee Schools spokeswoman Margi Nanney says secondary school administrators brought up the issue.