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Pfc. Anthony Blankenship points to mold on the grout of his bathroom and a greenish mildew stain around the tiles next to the toilet.

"That's kind of a mold pattern growing underneath," he says. "Workers at times just put new grout over the mold. At times, contractors wouldn't show up at all for problems ranging from clogged plumbing to faulty ventilation ducts."

Firestone Grand Prix St. Petersburg Facebook page

For the fifteenth year, the Grand Prix is back with its 1.8-mile, 14-turn, waterfront circuit through the streets of St. Petersburg.

According to Kim Green, Chairman and CEO of Firestone Grand Prix St. Petersburg, the race is the largest spectator event in Pinellas County each year and is expected to rev up the economy.

Marco Verch/Flikr

Florida lawmakers introduced the Sunshine Protection Act to Congress this week. The legislation would make year-round Daylight Saving Time permanent across the country.

The Florida sheriff who was suspended by the governor and accused of failing to prevent the Parkland school shooting has filed a lawsuit alleging Gov. Ron DeSantis improperly ousted him for political reasons. 

Hillsborough County Sheriff's Department

A 116-year-old church bell went missing from a Presbyterian church in Lutz. The relic is of great importance to the church congregation, and members are hoping it will be returned to its rightful place.

The Broward County school board rejected a proposal from its newest member to fire Superintendent Robert Runcie, voting 6-3 against ending his contract after community members spoke for four hours in overwhelming support of his leadership.

Firefighters are at a greater risk of developing cancer than others. According to federal research, they’re also at greater risk from dying from it. But cancer isn’t explicitly part of their insurance coverage in Florida. An effort in the state legisalture is underway to change that and momentum is beginning to build. 

When Hurricane Michael struck Mexico Beach on October 10, 2018, it made history as the strongest storm to hit the mainland United States since Hurricane Camille in 1969.

Just shy of Category Five strength, the storm cut a path of destruction through ten North Florida counties, killing at least 47 people before heading into Georgia. Florida's Office of Insurance Regulation recently reported that the insured losses from the storm have topped $5.8 billion.

Winter has made a comeback in Florida. Freeze Warnings have been issued from Jacksonville to Pensacola, and a Wind Chill Advisory is in effect tonight as far south as Orlando.

Senate Fracking Bill Draws Criticism

Mar 5, 2019

Increased protections for the Everglades could be added to a controversial measure that would ban the oil- and gas-drilling technique known as fracking.

After about 90 minutes of public comment, the Senate Agriculture Committee delayed a vote until at least next week on the latest Senate anti-fracking proposal (SPB 7064). The delay will give time to consider changes based on testimony Monday, committee Chairman Sen. Ben Albritton, R-Wauchula, said.

Florida Senate President Bill Galvano is paving the way for a new transportation plan as the legislative session kicks into gear. But a bumpy road could lie ahead.

Compensation Funds Proposed For Parkland Victims

Mar 4, 2019

A Senate Democrat on Friday proposed creating two compensation funds for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting victims and family members and providing $160 million in state money for the programs.

Hyde Park Methodist Church

Local branches of the United Methodist Church are reacting to a landmark vote. 

On Feb. 26, representatives of the UMC voted 438 to 384 in favor of the “Traditional Plan,” which continues the ban on same-sex marriage weddings and LGBTQ clergy members.

Crew Capsule Rockets Toward Space Station With Test Dummy

Mar 3, 2019
NASA

America's newest capsule for astronauts rocketed Saturday toward the International Space Station on a high-stakes test flight by SpaceX.

Many 'Still Hurting' Nearly 5 Months After Hurricane Michael

Mar 3, 2019
Governor's Press Office

Paulina "Bela" Sebastiao would give almost anything to be able to do a load of laundry without having to drive miles from her Mexico Beach home. Anthony Campbell would appreciate having a gas station closer than an hour away from his house in Parker. And Patrick Muth just hopes it doesn't rain when it's time to go to work: His "office" in Panama City consists of a desk surrounded by rubble under an open sky.

Micah Kubic
ACLU

Micah Kubic has the deliberate, passionate cadence of a southern preacher.

“Our job today is to show the world, to tell them, rub your eyes. Don’t be adjusted to the deficiencies that we are seeing all over this country,” Kubic told a group gathered for an ACLU meeting at Stetson University in downtown Tampa on Saturday. “ In so many ways, we are adjusting to deficiencies and we can not let that happen in these very difficult, very challenging, very onerous times.”

Florida’s insurance industry has tried for years to reign in a practice known as assignment of benefits—where a property owner signs over payment of a claim directly to a contractor or service provider. The fight is back. This time, spearheaded by state Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis.

After Hurricane Irma slammed the Florida Keys in September of 2017, lots of volunteers came to help with clean up. Almost a year and a half later, there's still work to do repairing homes, and volunteers who want to help.

The challenge has been finding them a place to stay.

Florida A&M University is partnering with Duke Energy to build a 600-800 acre solar farm on the school’s property near Tampa. FAMU stands to get up to 680,000 a year once the project is operational.

If you look for vacation rentals in the Florida Keys, you may notice a lot of boats offered as lodging. Now Monroe County has brought a code compliance case against one of the owners.

Michael Dewitt says he's put $130,000 into fixing up his 40-foot sportfishing boat, docked behind his house on Little Torch Key.

So when a property manager approached him about renting it as a vacation rental on Airbnb, he agreed.

"It sat behind my house empty, I had a couple of neighbors that were doing the exact same thing - that are still doing the exact same thing," he said.

Hillsborough County Tax Collector's Office

If you’ve ever wanted to skip the line at the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Hillsborough County Tax Collector’s office is granting your wishes. It launched Florida’s first motor vehicle registration self-service kiosks on Wednesday in Brandon.

Steve Newborn/WUSF

Nearly 500 volunteers fanned out across Hillsborough County Thursday to tally the county’s homeless population.

Despite ongoing confusion about the roll out of a recent expansion of voting rights in Florida, county election offices across the state say people who rushed to register to vote when Amendment 4 went into effect in January have been issued voter information cards with no issues.

At The River I Stand / California Newsreel

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s last campaign is still bringing communities together as they fight for equality and respect in the workplace.

Tampa Police

Hurricane season may be about three months away, but the city of Tampa already has a plan to help residents after a storm.

The Florida Supreme Court is moving ahead with a plan to convene a statewide grand jury on school safety. 

The lengthy feature article on the front page of Monday's Washington Post was a profile of Rachel Crooks, one of more than a dozen women who have accused President Trump of sexual misconduct. After going public with her story in the fall of 2016 on the eve of the election, she is now running for the state Legislature in Ohio as a Democrat.

When he moved to Miami in 2012, Chris Barr was struck by people’s love for Publix supermarkets.

Hurricane Michael Caused $50M In Damage At Florida Prisons

Feb 25, 2019
NOAA

Officials say 20 state correctional facilities across 15 counties suffered about $50 million in damage from Hurricane Michael. 

Florida Sets Its Sights On A New Era In Space

Feb 25, 2019

Could Florida be the base for a new branch of the military to handle threats in space?

Last week, Governor Ron DeSantis asked President Trump to place the headquarters for the new Space Force Combatant Command in Cape Canaveral, tweeting that it would be “a logical fit” for the state.

WMFE’s Space Reporter Brendan Byrne said Friday on The Florida Roundup that having Space Command headquarters in the state would indeed be a natural progression for a fast growing space industry in Florida.

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