Sunshine State News Blogs
Appearing at JaxPort on Monday, Gov. Rick Scott said the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is penciled in to receive $8.8 billion, including almost $139 million for ports improvements, under his proposed budget.
“Last year, we secured a record $8.6 billion for transportation investments and we continue to see tremendous results in Florida as we spur economic development and create jobs, while reducing burdensome taxes on Florida’s families and businesses,” Scott said. “This year, our ‘It's Your Money Tax Cut Budget’ invests in transportation projects to further strengthen our world-class transportation system and enable Florida to be a global hub for trade and commerce. From construction jobs to increased trade opportunities, transportation projects provide tremendous job and economic benefit. This investment will enable our state to remain competitive for many years to come."
U.S. Rep. Dan Webster, R-Fla, compared Target’s handling of a major date breach to how the federal government was handling security and privacy in President Barack Obama’s federal health-care law -- and found the government lacking.
“During the holiday season, news broke that hackers had compromised the security of millions of customers from a major American retail store,” Webster said on Friday as he backed the Health Exchange Security and Transparency Act. “Fortunately, the retailer immediately alerted their customers, giving them the opportunity to monitor their credit cards and make any personal changes they deemed necessary to protect their finances.
“Rather than mandating the same accountability for themselves, the Department of Health and Human Services has refused to commit to promptly notifying Obamacare enrollees if their personal information has been compromised,” Webster added. “From the beginning, the Obamacare online health exchange has been a catastrophe and Americans deserve to know without undue delay if their personal information data is at risk. Our government should not have the option to disclose breaches or hide them from the public based on an undefined determination or convenience, especially when participation in the program is mandatory for many Americans and there isn’t an option to simply shop somewhere else.
“I was pleased to see bipartisan support for passage of the Health Exchange Security and Transparency Act, legislation I co-sponsored, to ensure that the federal government promptly informs Obamacare enrollees if their information has been compromised,” Webster said in conclusion. “The federal government should be held to the same level of accountability that they require of others.”
From his perch on the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Health Subcommittee, U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., turned up the heat on President Barack Obama’s federal health-care law on Friday.
Bilirakis supported the Health Exchange Security and Transparency Act which includes elements from his One Hour Notification Act ensuring the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) notifies Americans when their security has been compromised through the health-care website.
“Contrary to the very promises Obamacare was sold on, my constituents have lost their health care coverage, have seen their premiums rise, and were forced to choose new doctors under the law,” said Bilirakis on Friday. “Now, they’re faced with concerns regarding their personal information and whether it is compromised -- all because the president’s signature law was never ready for prime time.”
“Millions of Americans were forced to sign up for the exchanges in order to avoid individual mandate fines,” Bilirakis added. “Now, each of these individuals, including myself, are potential victims of identity theft. The Health Exchange Security and Transparency Act will bring accountability and transparency to the administration and the health care exchanges by requiring HHS to notify these hard-working Americans when their personally identifiable information may have been compromised.”
U.S. Rep. Trey Radel, R-Fla., is back to work on Capitol Hill after pleading guilty to possessing cocaine and going into rehab. Radel submitted 28 nominations to the military service academies on Friday.
“It is humbling that so many of our local students in Southwest Florida have a desire to serve their country and I am happy to nominate them to our prestigious service academies,” Radel said.
Radel is facing major opposition from fellow Republicans as both Gov. Rick Scott and the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) are calling for his resignation. Former state Rep. Paige Kreegel is already running against Radel in the Republican primary.
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., hit the national airwaves on Sunday, appearing on CBS’s “Face the Nation” to continue insisting the federal War on Poverty launched by President Lyndon Johnson relied too much on big government. Rubio offered a major speech last week on the 50th anniversary of LBJ announcing the War on Poverty.
“I’ve been talking about this now for the better part of the decade -- going back to my service in the Florida Legislature,” Rubio said. “And the reason is: I, myself, am but a generation removed from poverty and despair. And the reason why I live a better life is because my parents had the opportunity to come to a place where people like them had the opportunity to improve their lives. I think that is still true for the majority of Americans, but I think it would be wrong not to recognize that there is a significant number of Americans that do not have an equality of opportunity. That is not a political issue. That is something that threatens what makes us exceptional and different from the rest of the world. We need to address that. We need to address the fact that we have 40-some-odd million people who feel trapped in poverty and do not feel like they have an equal opportunity to get ahead. And I don’t view that as a partisan issue, or an electoral one. I think it goes to the heart of what it means to be American.
“As far as the War on Poverty is concerned, these programs have utility,” Rubio added. “They do help alleviate the consequences of poverty, but they don’t help people to emerge from that poverty. And that’s why I feel like the War on Poverty has failed, because it’s incomplete. I think we have failed to take the next step, which is to help people trapped with inequality of opportunity to have the opportunities to build for themselves a better life. And that’s what I hope we’ll be able to accomplish.”
Bob Schieffer asked Rubio if programs like Head Start were failures.
“That is not what my speech said," Rubio countered. “Actually, I think programs like Head Start are geared in the right direction in the sense that they’re trying to get children educational opportunities as young as possible. I think where those programs can be completed and improved is if we create flexibility in them at the local level. So I’m not saying we should dismantle the efforts. I’m saying that these efforts need to be reformed. And I believe the best way to reform them is to turn the money and the influence over to the state and local level, where I think you’ll find the kinds of innovations that allow us to confront an issue that is complex and, quite frankly, diverse. For example, rural poverty looks different than urban poverty. And there are different approaches to it.”
For the second year in a row, Florida Farm Bureau has received a national award for its programs and operations, according to a news release issued by the 147,000-member agricultural organization.
The organization received the American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) 2013 Pinnacle Award, highest recognition conferred upon a state Farm Bureau.
Presented Sunday during the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas, the award denoted Florida Farm Bureau as the best state Farm Bureau in the nation within its membership class.
Judges based the honor upon evaluations of six categories of activities. Those include leadership development, member service, policy development and implementation, membership initiatives, education and outreach and public relations and communication. The Florida Farm Bureau previously received the AFBF’s Award of Excellence for all categories.
Florida also took home the AFB President’s Award in public relations and communications, education and outreach, membership initiatives and leadership development. The President’s Award is bestowed on specific state Farm Bureau activities that are the best of their kind within each membership class.
Florida Farm Bureau President John Hoblick accepted the Pinnacle Award from AFBF President Bob Stallman at a morning general session. Hoblick said he received the recognition on behalf of all Floridians who are involved in the Farm Bureau.
“I am so proud of the accomplishments of our volunteer leaders, state staff, our county employees, our agents and our state staff,” Hoblick stated later. “They have once again proven their outstanding capacity for dedicated work that secures positive results.”
“To earn the Pinnacle Award in two consecutive years is a tremendous accomplishment,” he added. “It confirms that I have the privilege of serving in one of the best Farm Bureaus in the nation.”
Florida Farm Bureau is the Sunshine State's largest general agricultural organization, representing Farm Bureaus in 60 counties.
On Friday, Atwater’s campaign posted its December fundraising totals. According to the numbers, Atwater raised $355,120 during the month of December and has collected $1,169,876 overall.
Atwater hasn't spend a whole lot on the campaign just yet. So far, the CFO has spent $58,931, which leaves more than $1.1 million in his campaign account.
After not becoming one of the top three finalists for the position at FAU, Atwater took to his Facebook page to say he'd instead be focusing his efforts as CFO of the Sunshine State.
"I very much appreciate the invitation to submit my name as a candidate for FAU’s presidential search," said Atwater. "I was honored to have the university encourage my participation, and to have the opportunity to share my vision for the future of such a world-class institution. I wish the final candidates well, and I look forward to continuing to support the university in any way that I can. As I said to my staff about accepting an invitation to apply, my passion for serving as Florida’s CFO and my commitment to working with my great colleagues for years to come remains undiminished."
Atwater has served in the position since 2011. His opponent, Democrat William Rankin, raised far less cash in December, bringing in only $5,025.
The two Florida politicians were among 10 selected as finalists for the job.
When asked what his goals were for FAU, Atwater said his goals included "increasing the graduation rate, becoming a top three school in Florida, cooperating with local businesses, and engaging the community." He also said he hopes to put a "great deal" of financial and academic focus on expanding online classes for the university.
Atwater flaunted his vast experience in Florida politics as part of why he'd be a good fit for the position.
Atwater has close personal ties with the university -- two of his children are FAU grads and a third currently attends school there. On top of that, Atwater hails from North Palm Beach, a city that is nearly 15 minutes away from FAU's Jupiter campus.
At 2 p.m., LeMieux took the hot seat for his 90-minute interview with the presidential search committee. LeMieux pointed to low graduation rates as something the university could improve on.
"With all due respect, you have a graduation problem," he said. "Your four-year graduation rate is 15 percent. Your six-year graduation rate is 41 percent."
Using better technology, he said, could help with the school's graduation rate. LeMieux also said he wanted to help FAU's medical school become one of the top 50 in the country.
The presidential selection committee is expected to name its three finalists for the position on Friday evening.
With Steve Precourt resigning his seat from the Florida House this week, Gov. Rick Scott called a special election on Friday to fill the seat. The primaries will be held on March 11 while the general election will be held on April 8.
Precourt was facing term limits in November and three candidates -- Republican former Rep. Eric Eisnaugle and Democrats Lee Douglas and Shaun Raja -- were already running for the seat.
The seat represents parts of Orange County.
With Steve Precourt leaving the Florida House this week, House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, named Rep. Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, to replace him chairing the State Affairs Committee.
“I am honored and humbled to be asked by our Speaker Will Weatherford to chair State Affairs,” Boyd announced on Friday. “Looking forward to continuing our work.”
Boyd, who is serving his second term, previously led the Ethics and Elections, and Government Operations subcommittees.
"We always welcome Governor Christie to Florida," said House Speaker Will Weatherford. "An unfortunate situation has taken place and he's addressed it. He's not hiding from it. I think he handled it well."
According to the National Journal, Christie is scheduled to appear at a Republican Governors Association fundraiser for Scott in Naples.
On Thursday, Christie seemed deeply concerned over the revelations that his top staff members had caused traffic lane closures on the George Washington Bridge in a revenge-plot.
“I am a very sad person today,” he said during a two-hour press conference. “I am heartbroken that someone I permitted to be in that circle of trust for the past five years betrayed that trust.”
Christie visited Fort Lee’s mayor, Mark Sokolich, Thursday afternoon to apologize for the incident and denied any knowledge of the plot.
“I had no knowledge or involvement in this issue, in its planning or its execution,” he said. “And I am stunned by the abject stupidity that was shown here. Regardless of what the facts ultimately uncover, this was handled in a callous and indifferent way.”
On Friday in Orlando, pointing to record tourism numbers, Gov. Rick Scott called for investing an additional $100 million for Visit Florida in next year’s budget.
"Last year, we secured more than $63 million in our 'Florida Families First Budget,' for Visit Florida and we made record gains in tourism,” Scott said. “We are on track for another record year, and we hope to build on this incredible momentum and make the Sunshine State the No. 1 travel destination in the world. To do that, we are going to recommend an historic $100 million in our 'It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget' this year. Because every 85 visitors to our state support one Florida job, a growing tourism industry equates to more jobs for Florida families and a stronger economy."
A new Rasmussen Reports poll found 75 percent of likely U.S. voters consider radical Islamic terrorism at least a somewhat serious threat in the U.S., with 38 percent saying it is a very serious threat. Only 19 percent don't see this terrorism as a serious threat, but that includes only 3 percent who say it’s not at all serious.
Twenty-three percent of American voters believe the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have increased the threat of radical Islamic terrorism within the U.S., while 22 percent say they have had no impact.
The national survey of 1,000 likely U.S. voters was conducted Jan. 7-8. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95 percent level of confidence.
St. Pete Polls released a poll commissioned by Saint PetersBlog which shows attorney David Jolly, a former aide to the late U.S. Rep. Bill Young, R-Fla., with a solid lead in Tuesday’s Republican congressional primary to take on former state CFO Alex Sink, the Democrat in the contest, in March’s special election.
The poll finds Jolly in front with 37 percent followed by retired Marines Gen. Mark Bircher with 26 percent and state Rep. Kathleen Peters, R-St. Petersburg, in third with 24 percent. A St. Pete Poll from a month ago showed Jolly and Peters locked in a close contest and one from 10 days ago showed Peters in second, ahead of Bircher.
The poll of 653 registered Republicans in the district was conducted Jan. 9 and had a margin of error of +/- 3.8 percent.
The Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) continues to slam former Gov. Charlie Crist, looking to link him to President Barack Obama’s health-care law. On Friday, the RPOF insisted Crist is more concerned with appeasing liberal allies than the needs of Floridians. Despite spending most of his political career as a Republican, Crist is the favorite for the Democratic nomination to challnge Gov. Rick Scott in November.
"While Obamacare continues to be 'a huge liability' for Democrats, the human cost of Obamacare is the most significant liability,” said Lenny Curry, the chairman of the RPOF, on Friday morning. “Floridians will be forced to pay more for their insurance, while losing their doctors they like and insurance plans they wanted to keep. The fact that Charlie Crist continues to embrace Obamacare shows that he's more interested in appeasing his Washington buddies than doing what's right for the people of Florida."
The Everglades made the pages of the New York Daily News, but this time it wasn't the fragile nature of the River of Grass that attracted the press. It was the food. And some fairly exotic food at that.
A pizza joint in Fort Myers, Evan's Neighborhood Pizza, offers "a special slithering pie topped with virtually every creature that lives in the swamp."
Order the Everglades special and get a curious mixture of hog, alligator, tomato, frogs legs, swamp cabbage — and, yes, python.
“I'm very adventurous when it comes to food, that's for sure,” owner Evan Daniell, 52, told the Daily News on Thursday. “You have different flavors throughout each bite.”
The NYC tabloid takes full advantage of the quirky piece by promoting "related stories" on the same page -- story of a 15-foot python that strangled a man in Bali; a story of cops finding an 8-foot python, along with $35,000 worth of pot, in a Harlem drug den; story of a new steakhouse opening in Long Island City; and the latest on an Indonesian spa that offers snake massages.
Adventurous-eating folk apparently flock to the Fort Myers pie palace. So much so that the Daniells are flirting with offering a "roadkill" pizza that would include raccoon, armadillo and possum meat.
Meanwhile, a medium 14-inch Everglades pie will set you back a hefty $45, but that's apparently because python meat costs about $66 per pound.
Sixty-six bucks a pound? Really?
Maybe we'll hear more about it if pizza aficionado Roger Stone wanders west and is up for a slice at Evan's.
Rep. Steve Precourt, R-Orlando, announced on Thursday he was resigning from the Florida House to take over as the executive director of the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority.
“Today, I submitted my resignation as a member of the Florida House of Representatives to Speaker Will Weatherford,” Precourt said. Serving in the Florida Legislature has been a great experience, and I am grateful to have worked alongside such esteemed men and women. Working to establish fiscally conservative policies, reinforcing limited government, protecting the unborn, and standing for religious freedom were some of my proudest moments. Representing the constituents of Central Florida in Tallahassee has truly been an honor and I look forward to continuing my service in another capacity.
“As I work toward an agreement with the Orlando-Orange County Expressway Authority, I commit to maintaining their good reputation,” Precourt added. “I vow to work hard to uphold the highest standards when serving their customers, the public, the stakeholders and all the many constituents."
Precourt was facing term limits in 2014. Former Rep. Eric Eisnaugle, who stepped aside in favor of Precourt instead of battling it out in the primary, is already running to fill the now open seat.
Gov. Rick Scott cheered the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism and Economic Development passing his bill slashing auto registration fees in Florida. The bill is being sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Joe Negron, R-Palm City. While his bill does not go as far as Scott has proposed, Negron has left the door open to cutting more of the fees.
"I want to thank Senator Joe Negron and members of the committee for this important first step in rolling back some of the annual increases that were placed on families for registering their vehicles,” Scott said on Thursday. “We’re committed to undoing the 54 percent tax increase that families experienced in 2009, so we can give more back to families. Today, we’re a step closer to that goal and I look forward to working with the Legislature in delivering this victory for Florida families.”
In its latest in a series of attacks on former Gov. Charlie Crist, Lenny Curry, the chairman of the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF), slammed the newly minted Democrat for hurting the middle class. Crist, who spent most of his political career as a Republican, is the frontrunner for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination to challenge Gov. Rick Scott.
"Democrats in Florida and Washington can talk all they want this week about helping the middle class and getting people into the middle class,” Lenny Curry, the chairman of the RPOF, said on Thursday. “But as Charlie Crist continues to stand by his buddies in the White House, middle-class families and job creators across Florida and America will suffer from Obamacare's higher taxes. Obamacare isn't working and Florida can't afford a leader like Charlie Crist who doesn't see the harm in this terrible policy."
According to the 2014 Quality Counts report issued Thursday by Education Week, Florida improved its national K-12 achievement ranking to seventh in the country, an increase from 12th last year.
Florida received a letter grade of "C" in K-12 achievement. The average state grade was"C-."
Florida received an "A" grade for transitions and alignment as well as standards, assessments, and accountability. The state received a "B" letter grade for the teaching profession. All three letter grades were higher than the average state grade.
Gov. Rick Scott praised the results, attributing Florida's success to "great work" done by teachers in the Sunshine State.
“Today’s news that Florida jumped to seventh nationwide in K-12 achievement is the result of great work by our teachers," said Scott. "Florida families depend on an education system that provides every student with a quality education, and that’s why in our last budget we fought to provide our teachers with a pay raise and secured more than $1 billion in additional investments for K-12 education.”
Commissioner of Education Pam Stewart echoed Scott's praise of Florida's teachers.
“I am proud of Florida’s teachers who have worked so hard to help their students be successful,” she said. “Their commitment and dedication is exemplary. Quality Counts is a respected publication and shows that the Sunshine State once again is an example for the rest of the nation.”
According to Scott's office, the estimated annual savings for each motorist would be $25. Florida issues about 15 million sets of vehicle registrations every year.
The governor announced the plan last month at the Hilton Westshore Tampa Airport.
"Florida is on a roll," Scott told the crowd, pointing to Florida State University's victory in the BCS Championship, record tourism numbers, and jobs as some reasons why Florida is on a track of success.
There had been rumors swirling that Scott would announce a new lieutenant governor at the event, but the Tampa stop was mostly focused on cutting taxes. Scott did, however, mention Tom Lee at the event, saying the Brandon senator was "very supportive" of his plan to cut taxes. When asked by reporters about the recent lawsuit filed to force Scott to choose a lieutenant governor, Scott said he was still looking for "the right person" for the job.
The Senate Committee on Health Policy, chaired by Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, passed a committee substitute for SB 248 Wednesday, Assisted Living Facilities (ALFs), sponsored by the Senate Committee on Children, Families and Elder Affairs. Sen. Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood, chaired the committee.
“This bill is the product of years of study, discussion and input from constituents, health care experts, policymakers, advocates and other stakeholders across Florida. We also incorporated recommendations from the two reports compiled by the Agency for Health Care Administration’s ALF Workgroup,” said Sobel. “The atrocities we read about in the Miami Herald are primarily preventable. This legislation makes great strides toward improving oversight and strengthening the enforcement of current regulations for state-licensed ALFs.”
According to a written statement from the Senate office, PCS/SB 248 improves accountability in ALFs by clarifying who is responsible for assuring residents receive services and requiring a larger cross-section of caregivers to report abuse or neglect to the Department of Children and Families Central Abuse Hotline. The legislation creates additional and stricter penalties for ALFs by amending fine amounts and clarifying the criteria under which the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) must revoke or deny a facility’s license or impose an immediate moratorium.
Further, the statement says PCS/SB 248 improves transparency by requiring additional inspections for facilities with prior violations and requiring the AHCA to implement an ALF rating system by March 1, 2015. The legislation also requires AHCA to add certain content to its website by Nov. 1, 2014, to help consumers select an ALF that best meets their needs or the needs of a family member or friend who requires assisted living care.
“Floridians requiring an assisted living facility are among the most vulnerable in our society and we need to make sure facilities licensed by the state are both transparent and accountable,” said Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville.
“I commend Senator Sobel and others who have worked tirelessly on this legislation. We should strive to keep Floridians in their homes as long as possible, but certain situations arise where the best care can be provided by an assisted living facility. When the time comes to make this difficult choice for yourself or a family member, you should have confidence Florida’s assisted living facilities are a safe and caring place to call home,” Gaetz said.
PCS/SB 248 will now be available for consideration by the Senate Committee on Judiciary, chaired by Sen, Tom Lee, R-Brandon.
U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., continues to take aim at the federal budget agreement crafted by U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., which passed both chambers of Congress last month. On Monday, DeSantis slammed the deal for hurting military retirees.
“The Ryan-Murray budget deal contained a provision to reduce the cost-of-living increases for military pensions for retired military personnel under the age of 62,” DeSantis wrote on his congressional website’s blog on Wednesday. “Military retirees are essentially the only group affected by the budget; the changes to federal civilian retirement programs only applied to federal civilian employees not yet hired. This was not even done to fix America’s spending and debt problems but to mask the spending increases the deal institutes by busting the budget caps established in 2011 for fiscal years 2014 and 2015.
“There are much better ways to save money,” DeSantis added. “I am co-sponsoring HR 3788, which will repeal the changes to military retirement programs and replace those changes with a requirement that taxpayers provide a valid Social Security number in order to be eligible for tax refunds under the child tax credit. This loophole allows individuals, some of whom are in the country illegally, to fraudulently claim child tax credits. This reform will save roughly $7 billion over 10 years, which is more than the changes to military pensions are forecasted to save over the same time. Shouldn’t we take this sensible step to stop fraud and abuse in the federal government before fiddling with the pensions of military retirees?”
Florida might be seeing more of New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, 61, who has a Sunshine State girlfriend rumored to put a new kick in his step and make his ticker flicker quicker.
Linda Holliday, 50, is from Jupiter, just north of West Palm Beach, she has two children and she's no Miami Dolphins fan -- at least, not anymore.
Holliday got her bachelor's degree in radiography from Vanderbilt University in 1986. She met Belichick at a nightclub in 2007 and the couple are now reportedly engaged.
How often does Holliday get back to Jupiter? "As often as she can," according to a friend who reportedly spoke to WBZ-TV in Boston. Next time she's down, look for Belichick on her arm.
Sachs Media Group announced Wednesday that Herbie Thiele has been promoted to deputy director of public affairs at the public affairs promotions company.
According to the Sachs Media written statment, Thiele’s promotion, which occurs as preparations for the 2014 Florida legislative session ramp up, enhances the firm’s acclaimed public affairs division.
Since joining the firm in early 2009, Thiele has worked with local, state and national clients to develop strategic messaging and tactics, engage target audiences and achieve outstanding results. Recently, Thiele was recognized as one of the “30 Under 30″ rising stars of Florida politics by SaintPetersBlog.
“Herbie is a seasoned communicator with an extensive network of contacts and unmatched person-to-person skills that help us achieve our clients’ objectives,” said Ron Sachs, president and CEO of Sachs Media Group. “Whether the goal is to gain policymaker support, persuade key opinion leaders or energize grassroots advocacy, we are the go-to firm for public affairs and Herbie Thiele is a key part of our team.”
The public affairs division is headed by partner and senior vice president Ryan Banfill, who serves as the firm’s director of strategy and research.
“This ruling is a victory for Florida, as we are better suited than the federal government to establish the rules and laws necessary to protect our unique waterways," said Bondi in a statement released Wednesday. "Florida’s leaders should regulate our environment, and this ruling allows the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to determine numeric nutrient criteria and comprehensive standards for our waters.”
On Wednesday, U.S. News and World Report released its rankings of the best online colleges and universities in the nation for bachelor's programs, and schools from the Sunshine State did well.
While Central Michigan University led the pack, the University of Florida in Gainesville and Embry-Riddle University in Daytona Beach tied for fifth in the rankings of the best online bachelor's programs. Embry-Riddle was not the only school from Volusia County to break the top 10 as Daytona State College placed seventh.
“This second year of top-10 placement for Daytona State reaffirms our success with delivery of high-quality online bachelor’s programs,” said Carol Eaton, the president of Daytona State College on Wednesday. “Once again we see the stellar results of hard work by our innovative faculty and staff.”
Palm Beach Atlantic University cracked the top 25, placing 21st.
With less than a week to go until the Republican primary, former Marines Gen. Mark Bircher launched a new radio ad for his congressional bid. The ad plays up Bircher’s conservatism and insists he will oppose Preisdent Barack Obama’s policies.
The ad is being run during conservative talk-radio shows. “The traditional strategy in a special election like this is to target only the so-called ‘super voters’ who are most likely to turn out to the polls,” Bircher said on Wednesday. “We’re doing that, but I also want to reach that majority of voters who are dissatisfied with the status quo and the other options that have been presented to them. I want them to know that there is an experienced conservative in this race, and a reason to vote on Tuesday.”
Bircher takes on former Bill Young aide David Jolly and Rep. Kathleen Peters, R-St. Petersburg, in Tuesday’s primary. The winner will take on former state CFO Alex Sink, the Democratic nominee, and Libertarian hopeful Lucas Overby in the general election in March.
Florida State and University of Central Florida football players can't say their state government doesn't appreciate the nail-biting bowl games they gave us.
Florida is saying "congratulations" and "thanks" by giving their fans half off the price of admission to all state parks in January.
It's the way the Florida Park Service wants to celebrate FSU's BCS National Championship win and UCF's Tostitos Fiesta Bowl win.
All fans have to do to enter a park for half-price is wear FSU or UCF hats or shirts; or students can simply show a current ID. The offer is good for day-use of Florida state parks on Mondays through Thursdays.
“FSU and UCF are winners, just like the state parks,” said Donald Forgione, director of the Florida Park Service. “So it’s only natural that the state parks cheer on these bowl wins along with fans. The players and coaches of Florida’s universities work hard and we are applauding their success.”
Half-priced admission is good at all state parks except Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, Weeki Wachee Springs State Park and Skyway Fishing Pier State Park. The offer does not include additional usage fees, special events or Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 20.
In October, the Florida State Parks System had its own big win, when it was awarded a third Gold Medal of Excellence from the National Recreation and Parks Association. This makes Florida the first three-time gold medal award recipient. Since 1935, the Florida Park Service has provided recreational activities, while preserving, interpreting and restoring natural and cultural resources.
To find out a listing of the amenities for a state park near you, visit the Florida State Parks website, or download the official Florida State Parks mobile app.
Former U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., took aim at Democrats on Tuesday as he bashed them for supporting President Barack Obama. Despite his loss in 2012 to Democrat Patrick Murphy, West, a favorite of the tea party movement, has left the door open to a political comeback in 2016.
“We need to elect principled leaders to replace the mediocre bureaucrats who are nothing more than rubber stamps for Barack Obama's reckless radical agenda,” West insisted on Tuesday. “This needs be our No. 1 priority in the new year, because it's the only way to make America great again.”
While he is not running in 2014, West continues to support Republican candidates through his Allen West Guardian Fund PAC. West is supporting Arkansas Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Cotton’s bid for the U.S. Senate and congressional bids by Mia Love in Utah and Dan Bongino in Maryland.