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Prosecutor Ayala Will Not Seek Second Term

May 29, 2019
Renato Sago / WMFE

More than two years after she created a firestorm by saying she would not seek the death penalty, Central Florida State Attorney Aramis Ayala announced Tuesday she will not run for re-election in 2020. 

Florida’s Director of Cannabis has only been on the newly-created job a few months, but is already helping architect the foundation for a state hemp program.

A class-action lawsuit has been filed challenging the use of solitary confinement in Florida prisons.

If you went to the beach over the Memorial Day weekend, you may have seen sea turtle nesting areas cordoned off for protection. That's because South Florida is in the midst of sea turtle nesting season, which began in March and ends in October.

Hurricane forecasting has come a long way since Ken Graham worked the night shift on the Gulf Coast, when warnings about killer storms like Hurricane Andrew came only three days in advance.

Governor, Cabinet Sued Over Plans To Meet In Israel

May 28, 2019
Gov. Ron DeSantis, seen in a file photo.
Daylina Miller / WUSF Public Media

An open-government watchdog group and several news outlets are suing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and members of the Cabinet in an effort to stop their planned meeting in Jerusalem. 

Gov. DeSantis Backs Lifting Airbnb Sanctions

May 28, 2019

While traveling in Israel this week, Gov. Ron DeSantis has twice said Florida should lift economic sanctions on the home-sharing platform Airbnb after the company reversed course on a move to delist about 200 West Bank properties.

Post-traumatic stress throws up roadblocks for people trying to go about their days normally.

Enjoyable pastimes for others, like Fourth of July fireworks, could trigger a fight-or-flight response from a veteran for whom the popping sounds or sulfur smell bring up combat memories.

Approval Of Disaster Relief Package Delayed

May 28, 2019

A long-stalled federal disaster relief package, which is expected to help the Panhandle’s recovery from Hurricane Michael, will have to wait for a vote until the U.S. House returns from this weekend’s holiday recess. 

Prosecutors Want Florida Massacre Suspect's Medical Records

May 28, 2019

Prosecutors are seeking mental health and medical records of the former student charged with last year's Florida school massacre. 

Pinellas County Sheriff Gualtieri pictured standing at a podium surrounded by law enforcement officers.
WUSF Public Media

At a forum tonight in Clearwater, community members will gather to discuss immigration, particularly bills that passed this year in the Florida House and Senate. 

The meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. at Centro Cristiano El Shaddai.

people rowings in a lake at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota
NBP

Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota has been selected as the site for the 2020 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic rowing team trials. The event will determine who represents the United States at the Olympics in Tokyo.

The inside of a Catholic Church sits empty.
Wikimedia Commons

The Catholic Church has been under public scrutiny since 2002, when the Boston Globe published stories showing how leadership covered up a series of sexual abuse cases. Almost two decades have passed, but the church hasn’t been able to shake its tarnished reputation.

Southeast High School in Bradenton tweeted that recent graduates Albert Ales and Zachary Morris were killed Friday while exploring in Peru.
Southeast High School

Two teens who recently graduated from high school in Bradenton have died in a crash while traveling in Peru.

An American flag blows in the wind.
Wikimedia Commons

Memorial Day weekend is a time to reflect and relax. There are many events happening across Florida and the United States in honor of  the holiday. Below, you will find plenty of parades, concerts, and commemorative events to fill your weekend.

Governor Ron DeSantis signed a tax bill Wednesday that is estimated to save Florida families nearly $47 million during two sales tax holidays. Another part of the bill is expected to save commercial real estate renters more than $64 million by reducing the tax rate.

This is the first time Sirena Saul is meeting Jason Louis in person. They’ve only been in touch by phone.

Louis, a high school senior at Miami Norland, gives Saul a tight hug and they get to work—shopping for a prom suit at Harrell’s Fine Fashions and Tuxedo Central in Lauderhill. 

Saul tells him she’s paying for everything: his suit, shoes, tickets to prom and a photographer.

Describing it as a “top priority,” Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday directed Secretary of State Laurel Lee to immediately start a review of the security of state and county elections systems after disclosures about Russian hacking during the 2016 campaign.

In a one-page letter to Lee, the state’s top elections official, DeSantis indicated the review will focus on cybersecurity and involve all 67 counties.

Construction equipment in a yard
Kerry Sheridan/WUSF

Nearly two-thirds of Florida –some 6.7 million customers - lost power during 2017’s Hurricane Irma. Utilities blamed most of those outages on falling trees and debris that knocked over power lines.

To strengthen the electrical grid against future storms, Florida Power and Light is moving more power lines underground.

By The Numbers: Florida’s Death Penalty

May 22, 2019

Serial killer Bobby Joe Long is scheduled to be executed at 6 p.m. Thursday at Florida State Prison in the 1984 murder of Michelle Simms in Hillsborough County. 

Questions Raised Over Florida Cabinet Meeting In Israel

May 22, 2019

Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is going to Israel with a large contingent of business leaders — not surprisingly, especially as the GOP woos Jewish voters ahead of the 2020 presidential election. But DeSantis' plan to hold a meeting with his elected Cabinet while he's there has raised concerns about whether officials are violating the state's open-meeting laws. 

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg made a campaign stop in South Florida on Monday, meeting with local students and holding a fundraiser in Wynwood where he discussed several national issues affecting the region.

During a nearly 20-minute speech in front of more than 70 people, the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana, said his candidacy marks an opportunity to “change the channel” in Washington and make politics more accountable.

a marker at Payne Park in Sarasota
Sarasota City Government

It's back to the drawing board for the Sarasota Orchestra.

Monday night, the Sarasota City Commission voted down the art organization's proposal to build a new 2,500 seat concert hall on seven acres of city-owned Payne Park.

Earlier today the Florida Democratic Party announced the launch of a voter protection program as a result of the recently passed amendment four bill and other perceived voter suppression tactics in past elections.

State Representative Evan Jenne called for negotiations with the Seminole Tribe of Florida to reinstate the annual payments of an estimated $350 million suspended by the tribe after a failure to reach an agreement about the future of gambling in the state. "That's just too much money to be left out there unaccounted for in our budget," said the legislator. 

More than 100 inmates condemned to death could face a major upheaval, as a revamped Florida Supreme Court ponders whether to undo a 2016 ruling that allowed nearly half of the state’s Death Row prisoners to have their death sentences revisited.

Subtropical Storm Andrea's projected path as of 6 p.m. Monday.
Florida Public Radio Emergency Network

The National Hurricane Center has begun advisories on Subtropical Storm Andrea, the first named storm of the 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season.

Lake Okeechobee’s Lower Level Debated Among Stakeholders

May 20, 2019

Lake Okeechobee is Florida’s “Liquid Heart,” and people who depend on it for irrigation, drinking water, recreation and their livelihoods are often in conflict on how to take care of it.

This year, the conflict has heated up because the Army Corps of Engineers has been keeping the level lower than usual. Some say it will save the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers from toxic algae blooms. Others claim it risks a devastating water shortage.

In a call with reporters from across the state on Friday, Florida Chief Science Officer Tom Frazer said he recognizes Florida’s ongoing struggle with harmful algal blooms and will make water quality issues his priority moving forward.

Tampa Bus Driver Stabbed To Death

May 19, 2019
A driver of a Tampa HART bus was stabbed and killed Saturday on N. Nebraska Avenue.
Wikimedia Commons

Updated at 5:50 p.m.

Tampa Police say a city bus driver was stabbed and killed Saturday by a suspect they say was a passenger. He has been charged with first-degree murder.

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