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Row of books on shelf
Cathy Carter

Typically, if a public library book isn’t returned, someone would be charged late fees. But now, Pasco County is following a national trend and eliminating the overdue fines.

Bob Woodward at lectern.
Clifford Roles

Investigative journalist and author Bob Woodward of the Washington Post spoke in Sarasota Monday.

Perhaps best known for teaming up with fellow reporter Carl Bernstein in uncovering the Watergate scandal, Woodward has also written books about the last nine U.S Presidents.

TD Ballpark sits sectioned off while crew work on renovations before 2020 spring training games.
CARL LISCIANDRELLO/WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA

It’s February and groundhog Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow, which means spring is here – in Florida at least – and with it comes baseball.

The month-long spring training series leading up to the regular season drew approximately 1.4 million fans last year and, according to the Florida Sports Foundation, raked in $687.1 million in 2018.

Hillsborough County Commissioners have agreed to a controversial potential solution for the spread of HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C and opioid overdoses - a needle exchange initiative.

Florida Gun Reform; Iowa Caucus

Feb 7, 2020

On Friday's Roundup we looked at the gun reform issue in Florida. We also discussed how people here in Florida took part in the Iowa caucus remotely.

JONAH HINEBAUGH/WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA

A tornado touched down in Pinellas Park on Thursday night, downing trees, billboards and power lines while ripping roofs off houses.

Construction cranes also were toppled, and thousands lost power across the region as a powerful squall line passed through the region late Thursday into the overnight hours.

The Tampa Bay region should brace for damaging winds and possible isolated tornadoes overnight as a strong squall line moves south into the area.

Direct Primary Care Bill Advances

Feb 6, 2020

A bill allowing patients and doctors to enter into primary care agreements has moved forward. These "direct primary care" agreements generally involve monthly payments between patients -- or patients' employers -- and their doctors. They cover routine medical care without involving insurance companies.

Ex-Broward Sheriff Scott Israel: Court Battle Should Continue

Feb 5, 2020

TALLAHASSEE — Arguing that proceedings resulting in his ouster “were little more than a sham,” former Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel wants a federal judge to reject a request by Senate President Bill Galvano and Gov. Ron DeSantis to toss out a lawsuit challenging Israel’s removal from office.

Florida House Eyes Changes to Medicaid-Managed Care

Feb 5, 2020

Florida House Speaker Jose Oliva and his allies have loudly contended during the past two years that there’s too much government interference in health care, leading to monopolies and rising costs. 

Religious Leaders Ratchet Up Debate Over Voucher Schools

Feb 5, 2020
Wikimedia Commons

Religious leaders and some black lawmakers on Tuesday escalated a fiery debate over anti-LGBTQ policies at private schools that receive state-funded scholarships, fueling discussions of religious freedom, discrimination and politics. 

Supreme Court Weighs Assault Weapon, Pot Proposals

Feb 5, 2020

Florida Supreme Court justices appeared critical Tuesday of proposed constitutional amendments aimed at preventing possession of assault-style weapons and allowing people to use recreational marijuana. 

Multiple weather-related hazards are possible over a large portion of the Sunshine State Wednesday night and Thursday thanks to a strong storm system approaching from the Mid-South.

Duke Energy Florida customers next month will start seeing extra charges on their bills to cover the utility’s costs of preparing for Hurricane Dorian, a mega-storm that threatened to smash into the state in September before turning away.

A total of 118 unlicensed contractors have been arrested following after a nine-month investigation by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

Fight Refueled Over Gas Pump Stickers

Feb 4, 2020

  Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried’s office would have to replace stickers that display her smiling face on gas pumps by mid-September under a House budget proposal.

The confetti had barely been swept up after the Kansas City Chiefs’ victory in Sunday’s Super Bowl 54 when the attention turned to next year’s game in Tampa.

ANDREA TUDHOPE / AMERICA AMPLIFIED: ELECTION 2020

On a Monday night, a week before the Iowa caucuses, about 20 residents gathered at the Norelius library in Denison, Iowa, for a mock caucus. Latina activist Alma Puga, the organizer, called the caucuses the "Disneyland of politics."

CARL LISCIANDRELLO/WUSF PUBLIC MEDIA

Concerns over Coronavirus and low demand have contributed to plummeting gas prices across Tampa Bay.

A female and male volunteer with clipboards of surveys for the Point-In-Time Count.
Cathy Carter / WUSF Public Media

People are lined up at 'Our Daily Bread' food pantry in Bradenton, and Maureen Mack of Turning Points, a local non-profit that helps the homeless, is giving directions to a group of volunteers for the annual Point-in-Time Count.

Updated at 12:15 a.m. Monday

The long wait is over for Kansas City. The Chiefs are Super Bowl champions for the first time in 50 years.

After a slow start in Super Bowl LIV, the Chiefs pulled off yet another double-digit comeback in the playoffs.

The Chiefs, led by quarterback Patrick Mahomes, navigated the San Francisco 49ers' defensive pressure by the fourth quarter. His two long touchdown passes took the Chiefs to a 31-20 victory Sunday over the 49ers.

The cost of rent for apartments in the Tampa Bay Area and other parts of Florida is climbing at a faster rate than many other parts of the country. 

Florida Wrestles With Prison Conditions, Including Emotional Trauma On Guards

Jan 31, 2020
JUSTIN BRIGHT/FRESH TAKE FLORIDA

Janice Spears spent her last shift as a correctional officer in the prison chapel.

She knows it was 2015 but says symptoms of what she described as post-traumatic stress disorder makes it hard to remember the time or day. She describes the end of her career working at Lowell Correctional Institution, Florida’s largest women’s prison, as “a moment of peace, of solace.”

A series of bills about the foster care system is moving through the Florida Legislature.

Rebekka Behr is focused on the Foster Youth Bill of Rights, which she says will take “all the rights that are already in law and (place) them into one document so that it makes it easier for youth to understand what their rights are as well as those in their case plan.”

It’s important for Behr, who aged out of Florida’s foster care system. She’s now 21-years-old and serves as the fundraising chair for Florida Youth Shine (FYS), a youth-led advocacy group working to improve the child welfare system.

Senate Poised To Take Up Parental Consent

Jan 29, 2020

Moving quickly on the controversial issue, the Senate is expected Wednesday to take up a proposal that would require parental consent before minors could have abortions. 

A new decade means a new United States Census.

Pinellas County is announcing an outreach program to ensure as many people take part in the 2020 count as possible.

Tampa is in position to host its fourth NCAA Women’s Final Four.

The NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee announced Monday that Tampa is a finalist for the tournament in 2025 and 2026.

Addressing community concerns with its initial plan, Sarasota’s Selby Gardens has announced its amended expansion proposal.

The initial plan was rejected in a 3-2 city commission vote Nov. 5 after area residents raised issues with the height of the parking garage, evening noise from the proposed roof-top restaurant, and the potential for increased traffic.

Duke Energy Florida should get approval to collect $171.3 million from customers to cover costs related to last year’s Hurricane Dorian, staff members of the Florida Public Service Commission have recommended.

By the end of the 62nd Grammy Awards on Sunday evening, a major star had been crowned: 18-year-old singer Billie Eilish, who swept all four of the night's biggest prizes — Best New Artist, Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Album of the Year — along with honors for Best Pop Vocal Album.

But that rush of awards came only at the tail end of a long, strange and emotionally ambivalent ceremony held Sunday night at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

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