Kenric Ward

Stories from Kenric Ward

Business
By: Kenric Ward | Posted: April 24, 2010 12:13 AM

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story updates, expands and clarifies our first report posted April 20.

 
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Politics
By: Kenric Ward | Posted: April 22, 2010 3:19 PM
 

Seeking higher ground in the investigation of the Republican Party's deepening financial swamp, Gov. Charlie Crist could end up sinking his own U.S. Senate campaign.

Crist's call for a federal probe of party credit-card use "may end up working as well as the rest of his campaign tacks — in other words, it may backfire," Robert Costa of National Review wrote Wednesday.

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Business
By: Kenric Ward | Posted: April 21, 2010 12:09 PM

Gov. Charlie Crist's veto of Senate Bill 6 didn't do Florida any favors scholastically or economically, business leaders say.

"We're very disappointed. It's critical that our students are on the cutting edge. Doing the same thing simply nets the same results," said Nancy Stephens, executive director of the Manufacturers Association of Florida.

"We need to challenge our students and we can't allow teachers to be complacent either."

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Business
By: Kenric Ward | Posted: April 21, 2010 12:21 AM

If you're not a cigarette smoker, chances are you've never heard of Dosal Tobacco Co. Lawmakers in Tallahassee apparently want to keep it that way.

Exempted from the state's Big Tobacco settlement in 1997, the little-known Opa Locka-based cigarette maker has quietly grown to be the third largest seller in Florida. Dosal has thrived as a bargain brand that doesn't have to pay the settlement costs required of its competitors.

By some estimates, that loophole has the state missing out on $200 million a year.

 
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By: Kenric Ward | Posted: April 20, 2010 12:08 PM
 

Senate Bill 6 is dead. Long live education reform.

Though the controversial teacher performance-pay bill was vetoed by Gov. Charlie Crist, leading Republican lawmakers vow to resurrect the measure during the 2011 session -- when a new governor is in office.

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Politics
By: Kenric Ward | Posted: April 20, 2010 12:01 PM

Gov. Charlie Crist assailed fellow Republicans for ramming Senate Bill 6 through the Legislature like Democrats ran health-care reform through Congress.

"Quite frankly it reminds me of what happened with the health-care bill in Washington where members of my party criticized the Democrats for sort of jamming something down their throat, and then here, about a month later after that happened, the very same thing happens here in education," Crist said after vetoing the teacher performance-pay bill.

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By: Kenric Ward | Posted: April 17, 2010 12:56 AM
 

Mobilizing against chemical and biological threats in Florida, 75 specialists converged on Indian River State College this past week.

 
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Politics
By: Kenric Ward | Posted: April 17, 2010 12:04 AM

A day before unconfirmed reports surfaced that Gov. Charlie Crist will bow out of the U.S. Senate race and let George LeMieux and Marco Rubio duke it out for the Republican nomination, Crist considered one of his defining acts as chief executive of Florida.

Losing his political clout amid sinking polls, a beleaguered Crist did the calculus.

 
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Politics
By: Kenric Ward | Posted: April 16, 2010 12:44 AM
"Not only do we have a gap, but we won't have a human space flight for a long time, and we will have to rely on the Russians to get into space. Even with a few more jobs, the loss of 5,000 to 6,000 jobs comes at a time when we can least afford it."
-- State Sen. Mike Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island


"The president made a very compelling case. He appears committed to a space exploration program that has a lot more flexibility and robustness than the earlier program."
-- Frank DiBello, president, Space Florida

 
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Business
By: Kenric Ward | Posted: April 16, 2010 12:30 AM
 

Pledging $40 million to "develop regional economic growth and job creation" on Florida's Space Coast, President Barack Obama on Thursday sought to soothe concerns about impending employment losses related to the phase-out of the shuttle program.

He didn't necessarily sway Florida officials.

 
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Business
By: Kenric Ward | Posted: April 15, 2010 12:37 AM
 
Generating 700 megawatts of increased solar-power output would create 40,000 jobs and expand economic activity in Florida by $8.1 billion, a new study says.

The report by the Washington Economics Group helped to fuel support for Senate Bill 1186, which the Senate Energy Committee passed Wednesday.
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Politics
By: Kenric Ward | Posted: April 14, 2010 1:40 PM
 

When Gov. Charlie Crist signed the Transparency in Private Attorney Contracting Act on Wednesday, it might have been the last time Floridians see him in the glowing company of Republican Party leaders.

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Politics
By: Kenric Ward | Posted: April 14, 2010 12:44 AM
 

Citing a return of his father's lung cancer, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio cut short his campaign bus tour.

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Politics
By: Kenric Ward | Posted: April 14, 2010 12:04 AM
 
Photo credit: Aaron Wiener, The Washington Independent

America's broadcast television networks brand the Tea Party movement as an insignificant assortment of cranks and reactionaries. Members are also portrayed -- when they're covered at all -- as tools for self-serving corporate interests and racists dragooned by the Republican Party.

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Business
By: Kenric Ward | Posted: April 13, 2010 12:48 AM

Two Medicaid reform bills cleared a key legislative hurdle Monday, and a new research study gave them another push forward.

Building on pilot programs already under way in five Florida counties, the new bills would expand managed-care initiatives to Miami-Dade County next year and implement a statewide program over five years.

"Reform has increased competition among health plans, reduced co-pays and expanded and diversified patient benefits," according to Michael Bond, a senior fellow at the James Madison Institute in Tallahassee.

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Business
By: Kenric Ward | Posted: April 13, 2010 12:02 AM
 

Three years before it's scheduled to roll, Florida's $1.2 billion SunRail commuter train is sputtering with talk of possible cost overruns.

The solution? Rob roads to run rails.
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Politics
By: Kenric Ward | Posted: April 12, 2010 12:35 AM
 

If Congress had a "Most Controversial Freshman Award," Rep. Bill Posey would be a leading contender -- if not a shoo-in.

 
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Business
By: Kenric Ward | Posted: April 10, 2010 12:56 AM
 

Calling President Barack Obama's NASA budget "unacceptable," U.S. Rep. Suzanne Kosmas joined Rep. Bill Posey in demanding a greater commitment for space exploration from the White House.

Kosmas, D-New Smyrna Beach, and Posey, R-Rockledge, spoke Friday at a congressional forum in Cocoa in advance of Obama's scheduled visit to Florida on Thursday.

 
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Business
By: Kenric Ward | Posted: April 8, 2010 12:41 AM
 

Gov. Charlie Crist promised Wednesday that he would veto any legislation that raises property insurance rates.

Speaking to a crowd of Realtors in the Capitol Courtyard, Crist pledged to hold the line on insurance costs, which could increase under several bills being considered by lawmakers.

 
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Business
By: Kenric Ward | Posted: April 6, 2010 4:05 PM
 

Being the Sunshine State, Florida is prime real estate for solar power, but energy experts say more fertile fields -- and bigger job generators -- can be found in the ground.

"There's huge untapped potential," says Mike Antheil, executive director of the Florida Alliance for Renewable Energy.

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Politics
By: Kenric Ward | Posted: April 6, 2010 12:01 AM
 
Florida's education reform bills would mean more money -- not less -- for public-school teachers, says Rep. John Legg, R-Port Richey.

"This bill (HB7189) does not affect retirement, it does not cut salaries, it does not eliminate tenure for current teachers," Legg told a packed meeting of the House Education Policy Council on Monday.
 
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Business
By: Kenric Ward | Posted: April 5, 2010 12:01 AM
 

Higher shipping rates could be in store if UPS can push a self-serving package through Congress, says Barney Bishop, president of Associated Industries of Florida.

The legislation would put Federal Express, UPS' chief competitor in the shipping business, under the National Labor Relations Act, ostensibly to level the competitive playing field.

But Bishop isn't buying.

 
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By: Kenric Ward | Posted: April 2, 2010 4:14 PM
Gov. Charlie Crist's call to forward the investigation of former state Republican Party Chairman Jim Greer to the U.S. Attorney's Office is being hailed by some as an appropriate step. Others say it's pure political theatrics.
 
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Business
By: Kenric Ward | Posted: April 1, 2010 12:01 AM

Bowing to resistance from the Department of Corrections, Senate Republicans scaled back their prison privatization plans Wednesday.

But the DOC is still directed to open the new 2,224-bed Blackwater River Correctional Facility as a privately operated facility by the GEO Group.

GEO, which built the $110 million Panhandle prison per state contract, can operate the facility for $5.7 million less per year than the state, according to the Department of Management Services. Those savings are based on GEO's daily contract cost of $41 per inmate vs. $48 projected by the DOC.

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Business
By: Kenric Ward | Posted: March 31, 2010 9:13 AM
 
While Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum challenges the legality of the new federal health-care law in the courts, the state's two leading health-care associations are split on the program's medical and fiscal impact.
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Business
By: Kenric Ward | Posted: March 31, 2010 (All day)
 

Touting his Cover Florida health program during his debate with Marco Rubio on "Fox News Sunday," Gov. Charlie Crist boldly declared:

"We negotiated with the private sector. We reduced the cost to those who were uninsured. We were able to provide access. And, the average cost for health insurance in Florida went from about $600 a month for an individual to about $150 a month. No tax dollars involved. No government mandates.

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Politics
By: Kenric Ward | Posted: March 30, 2010 9:04 AM
 
Attorney General Bill McCollum's lawsuit against the federal government's newly enacted health-care program has drawn political fire as a costly quixotic venture.

State Sen. Dan Gelber, who is running for McCollum's job, calls the litigation "frivolous" and "destructive to the office."

Gelber, a lawyer from Delray Beach, said he would not have brought the suit, and joins fellow Democrats from around the state in slighting its prospects for success.
 
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Business
By: Kenric Ward | Posted: March 30, 2010 12:09 AM
 

Amid predictions of an active hurricane season this year, Citizens Property Insurance Corp. is bulking up its reserves with a $2.4 billion bond offering.

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Business
By: Kenric Ward | Posted: March 29, 2010 12:01 AM
 
Florida's Grapefruit League is lagging in the attendance race this year, losing its once-formidable lead to Arizona's Cactus League.

Since holding a 22-8 advantage in Major League Baseball Spring Training sites in 1998, Florida is now tied with the desert venue at 15 teams apiece and attendance has flattened accordingly.
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