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Daylina Miller/WUSF News

  Businesses in downtown Tampa now have a direct line to patrol officers assigned to the area thanks to an expansion of the Tampa Police Department’s “Business Watch" program. 

The program started in 2011 in Ybor City, where police say crime has been reduced 60 percent during the day and 50 percent at night.

Ben Brown / Orlando Sentinel

One person was found dead after a small helicopter crashed into an Orlando house.

The Orlando Sentinel reports the helicopter crashed Sunday afternoon, scattering debris and starting a small fire.

Orlando Fire Department Assistant Chief Hezedean Smith said when the flames were put out, firefighters found the person dead inside the guest house.

Smith did not identify the person.

Daylina Miller/WUSF News

With visibly shaking hands, University of South Florida medical student Chris DeClue opened his envelope.

The sound of rustling paper echoed through the speakers.

“USF. Diagnostic radiology,” he said as the crowd erupted into cheers.

Friday was National Match Day and 128 USF students, the school’s largest ever medical class to celebrate,  gathered at Ulele, a restaurant near downtown Tampa, to find out where they're going to do their post-graduate medical training.

Amendment 1 Spending Plan Lands Mixed Reviews

Mar 18, 2015
Robin Sussingham / WUSF 89.7 News

Florida's natural springs would get $50 million, the Kissimmee River is in line for $30 million, and a wastewater plan for the Florida Keys is up for $25 million, under a newly released House proposal that would help carry out a voter-approved increase in conservation dollars.

But there are few other clearly outlined projects in a $772.1 million proposal for next fiscal year released Tuesday by the House Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee. The proposal is focused more on land management and water projects than on new land acquisitions.

Former U.S. Ambassador Chris Hill is talking tonight (March 17) at 6 p.m. at the Mildred Sainier Pavilion at New College in Sarasota. He has a new book out, "Outpost:Life on the Frontlines of American Diplomacy: A Memoir."

Hill served in South Korea, the Balkans and Iraq. And now serves as Dean of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver.

The Seminole Tribe of Florida is making an aggressive campaign for renewal of a gambling compact set to expire in July. The compact gives the tribe exclusive rights over games like blackjack.

Besides creating a television ad, the tribe also commissioned a poll which showed 61% of voters support the renewal of the compact.

Neil Newhouse, Partner and Co-Founder of Public Opinion Strategies, was one of the people in charge of conducting the poll. He discussed the poll's findings during a media conference call on Monday.

WEAR ABC 3

Human remains washed ashore in heavy fog Wednesday after seven Marines and four soldiers were killed in an Army helicopter crash during a night-time training mission off a Florida beach.

All 11 service members were presumed dead, according to a Pentagon official who spoke with The Associated Press on condition of anonymity for lack of authority to be identified in the media.

Kim Urr, 62, who works at the Navarre Beach campground near where the helicopter went down, said she heard a strange sound followed by two explosions around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Public's Choice for St. Pete Pier Looks Familiar

Mar 10, 2015
NewStPetePier.com

The public has voted on which design it would like to see replace the iconic inverted triangle of the St. Petersburg Pier, and it may look kind of familiar.

The state of Florida is the region most susceptible to the effects of global warming in this country, according to scientists. Sea-level rise alone threatens 30 percent of the state’s beaches over the next 85 years.

But you would not know that by talking to officials at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the state agency on the front lines of studying and planning for these changes.

FPL To Buy, Close Coal-Fired Plant

Mar 9, 2015
Wikipedia Commons

Pointing to what it says will be long-term savings for customers, Florida Power & Light said Friday it is seeking to buy a coal-fired power plant in Jacksonville --- and then shut down the plant within two to three years. 

FPL, which is asking for approval from the Florida Public Service Commission, entered into a long-term contract in 1988 to purchase power from the Cedar Bay Generating Plant. But the utility said in a news release that it can now generate electricity at a "much lower cost" than what the contract requires it to pay. 

Scott Drops Welfare Drug Testing Challenge

Mar 5, 2015

After spending at least $300,000 of taxpayer money on legal expenses, Gov. Rick Scott is abandoning his fight to force welfare applicants to undergo mandatory drug tests.

A federal appeals court ruled in December that the state’s mandatory, suspicion-less drug testing of applicants in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, program is an unconstitutional violation of Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures by the government.

Duke Seeks Early End to Nuke Plant Charge

Mar 3, 2015
Duke Engery

A monthly charge Duke Energy Florida customers pay for a nuclear-power plant that won't be built may be removed from their bills as early as this summer.

The utility filed a petition Monday with the Florida Public Service Commission that, if accepted, would disconnect nearly two years earlier than planned the monthly charge of $3.45 per 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity.

Regulators and utilities commonly use 1,000 kilowatt hours as a benchmark for residential customers, though many homes consume larger amounts of electricity each month.

Quincy Walters / WUSF News

On Thursday, Hillsborough County conducted its annual homeless count. Volunteers canvassed neighborhoods in an effort to get a better picture of the homeless population.

The Ybor Youth Clinic focused on an often unnoticed demographic: homeless youth. 

At 8 p.m., in a room of the YMCA on East Palm Avenue in Tampa, the Clinic's volunteers were on phones, looking for anyone under 25 without a home. 

Busch Gardens

Busch Gardens has made room for two new residents.  The Tampa-based theme park says its animal care team is providing 'round the clock care for 3-month-old cheetahs, Tendai, which means "thankful," and Thabo, which means "joy."

Moffitt Cancer Center

When the NCAA Women's Final Four comes to town, cancer researchers benefit. 

Since 2009, the Kay Yow Cancer Fund has awarded a women's cancer research grant to a research institution in the city hosting the NCAA Women's Final Four

Monday, Moffitt Cancer Center Professor of Oncology and Medicine Dr. Martine Extermann received the $250,000 grant.

tampabay.com

If you live in St. Petersburg, you can now weigh in on the designs for the new pier, through March 6th. 

The powers that be aren't bound by the survey, but it will inform their next meeting on March 20th. The survey results will be announced on March 9th.  

You can see the concepts and designs for the new pier here.  

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.

This is a compilation of WUSF's coverage of the University of South Florida investigation into the Dozier Reform School for Boys and the unmarked graveyard on the school's grounds:

USF Researchers Dig for Answers at Dozier, Find More Questions: http://bit.ly/1CB3V7Z

Dozier Update: DNA Tests, Facial Composite & A Second Graveyard?: http://bit.ly/1EgXx6V

Giving Dozier Victims Their Names Back: http://bit.ly/1CB3jPz

This is a compilation of WUSF's coverage of the University of South Florida investigation into the Dozier Reform School for Boys and the unmarked graveyard on the school's grounds:

USF Researchers Dig for Answers at Dozier, Find More Questions: http://bit.ly/1CB3V7Z

Dozier Update: DNA Tests, Facial Composite & A Second Graveyard?: http://bit.ly/1EgXx6V

Giving Dozier Victims Their Names Back: http://bit.ly/1CB3jPz

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