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Jim Turner

Jim Turner is a reporter for the News Service of Florida.

Florida emergency management efforts shifted Thursday from storm preparation to providing assistance as Hurricane Dorian, after devastating the Bahamas and skirting Florida’s East Coast, threatened to cause heavy damage in the Carolinas.

Emergency operations slowly started to wind down Wednesday as Hurricane Dorian remained offshore, inching its way north and away from Florida.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks Monday morning at a press conference about Hurricane Dorian at the State Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee.
Gov. Ron DeSantis' Facebook page

With powerful Hurricane Dorian at a near standstill over the Bahamas, Florida officials impatiently waited and completed preparations Monday as the historic storm was forecast to deliver a blow to the state’s East Coast.

Tolls were suspended Sunday on Florida’s Turnpike and other roads in South Florida and Central Florida, as local mandatory evacuation orders started and large portions of the state’s East Coast continued to face threats from catastrophic Hurricane Dorian.

Florida doesn’t plan to turn portions of highways into all one-way traffic when evacuation orders are issued for Hurricane Dorian.

Lengthy and widespread power outages are in the forecast after Hurricane Dorian hits Florida.

Eric Silagy, president and CEO of Florida Power & Light, said Friday the state’s largest utility is ready for the storm, with crews and equipment positioned to start restoring power after sustained winds dip below 35 mph.

Gov. Ron DeSantis warned Floridians to heed local evacuation calls as Hurricane Dorian could be a “Category 4-plus” storm that lingers over the state after making landfall early next week on the East Coast.

Forensic experts are gearing up to conduct a high-tech sweep of the grounds at the Dozier School For Boys.
File Pool Photo/Edmund D. Fountain Tampa Bay Times

Forensic experts are gearing up to conduct a high-tech sweep of the grounds at a notorious Northwest Florida reform school where survivors remain convinced bodies of long-lost boys are still concealed.

Marion Hammer
NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

After correcting four years of compensation reports for one of the entities she represents, Florida's top gun lobbyist Marion Hammer has been cleared of wrongdoing by the Florida Senate.

people at the beach
Lisa Peakes/WUSF Public Media

Bolstered by U.S. and Canadian tourists, Florida’s visitor count continued at a record pace through the second quarter of 2019, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office said Thursday.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said it’s not productive to any gun-safety dialogue to focus on partisan politics, as Democrats continued to criticize President Donald Trump after two mass shootings over the weekend.
Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons

Gov. Ron DeSantis pointed to “recesses of the internet” where people can share “vile” views and a need to look at white nationalism -- along with other causes -- when asked Wednesday about tackling mass violence.

But he also said, after a Purple Heart dedication ceremony at Tallahassee National Cemetery, that it’s not productive to any gun-safety dialogue to focus on partisan politics, as Democrats continued to criticize President Donald Trump after two mass shootings over the weekend.

Gov. Ron DeSantis formally asked Wednesday that the statue of civil-rights leader and educator Mary McLeod Bethune replace the likeness of a Confederate general as a representative of Florida in the U.S. Capitol.

Florida’s citrus industry ended its growing season on a slight uptick, regaining the Sunshine State’s dominance in orange production over California.
Flikr / Creative Commons

By Jim Turner/ News Service of Florida

Florida’s citrus industry ended its growing season on a slight uptick, regaining the Sunshine State’s dominance in orange production over California.

But struggles remain.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried on Friday encouraged supporters of a new state hemp industry to tell Gov. Ron DeSantis to sign a bill that would lead to a regulatory framework for the crop.

Gov. Ron DeSantis is getting closer to deciding whether to approve the bill (HB 629), which passed the House and Senate in early May.

Gov. Ron DeSantis favors a House plan to crack down on texting while driving, as the Senate on Wednesday delayed for at least a day a separate measure that would only allow motorists to use hands-free wireless devices while on the road.

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday downplayed growing concerns that President Donald Trump is putting Florida’s coastal waters back in play for oil exploration.

The tourism industry pushed Wednesday to keep the doors open at the state’s tourism-marketing agency as House and Senate budget committees advanced competing spending plans for next year.

Lawmakers are pushing forward with plans to continue carving up millions of dollars voters more than four years ago directed to be spent on land and water protection, despite environmentalists’ concerns about the way the money is being used to help the Indian River Lagoon and Apalachicola Bay.

Florida’s latest attempt to draw more film production to the Sunshine State started rolling Tuesday in the Senate.

A seemingly annual effort to turn off red-light traffic cameras – as Jacksonville has done - is again on the move in the Florida House.

When Gov. Ron DeSantis makes his first international trip to Israel, he plans to tout Florida but also will have a chance to get a new supply of water --- and probably will do a better labeling job.

Using chum to attract sharks in waters used by beachgoers, surfers and divers is closer to being banned in Florida, despite concerns the change will further squeeze out “blue collar” angling.

A follow-up report on the handling of the state’s concealed-carry permitting process pointed to a lack of management oversight by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, but the agency claims it is addressing the issues.

Caitie Switalski / WLRN

Brightline got the green light Wednesday from the state to negotiate for land to add high-speed passenger rail service from Orlando to Tampa --- a link envisioned to eventually connect with Brightline’s existing service in South Florida.

Roberto Roldan / WUSF Public Media

The commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said he is “deeply troubled” that Attorney General Pam Bondi thought he would not pursue investigations into potential criminal activity related to last week’s elections.

Water Woes Become A Political Wildcard

Nov 1, 2018

Throughout the summer, politicians heard from Floridians angered by the latest bouts of toxic blue-green algae in the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers, along with a festering red-tide outbreak on the Gulf Coast.

Tourism Marketing Backed After Hurricane, Red Tide

Oct 31, 2018

The state’s tourism-marketing arm wants to send a message to potential visitors: Hurricane damage and fish-killing red tide don’t cover all of the Sunshine State.

Three proposals on the November ballot that would make tax-related changes to the state Constitution have drawn conflicting views from the real-estate industry, local governments and other groups about the measures’ potential economic impacts.

Florida Democrats should find out by Friday if one of their candidates for attorney general could be knocked out of Tuesday’s primary election, which has already seen more than 500,000 Democratic ballots cast.

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