Aug 4 2015

Bear Hunting Permits Top 1,000

The number of permits for bear hunting topped 1,000 early Tuesday, with Tallahassee residents accounting for 42, the most of any city in Florida, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission data.

The sale of the special-use permits — available throughout the state at tax collectors’ offices, online and at sporting-goods stores that sell hunting and fishing supplies — went on sale at 5 a.m. Monday.

The hunt begins Oct. 24.  The hunt is slated to last from two to seven days, depending on the number of bears killed.

Permits, which will continue to be on sale until Oct. 23, cost $100 for Florida residents and $300 for non-residents.

The city with the second highest number of intended bear hunters was Orlando with 35, followed by Eustis — northwest of Orlando — at 25. Panama City and Crawfordville, just south of Tallahassee, both had 20 permit buyers.

Permits had been purchased by 18 Naples residents, 17 from Jacksonville, 17 from Ocala, 12 from Miami, nine from Tampa and five from St. Petersburg.

The News Service of Florida

Aug 4 2015

AFP Likes House Republicans. But Senate? Not So Much

It’s scorecard time in Tallahassee, with all sorts of groups grading the performances of lawmakers.

And when the conservative group Americans for Prosperity released rankings this week, it largely reflected the divide in the state Capitol.

The group named as “Champions of Freedom” lawmakers who got “A-plus” scores. In the House, that list included 46 Republicans. Among them: Speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, and Appropriations Chairman Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’ Lakes.

But in the Senate, the list included exactly two Republicans — Sen. Jeff Brandes of St. Petersburg and Sen. Travis Hutson of Elkton.

In fairness, six other senators scored a little lower and got “A” grades. They were Sen. Greg Evers, R-Baker; Sen. Denise Grimsley, R-Sebring; Sen. Dorothy Hukill, R-Port Orange; Sen. John Legg, R-Lutz; Sen. Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby; and Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland.

Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, got a “B” grade, as did Senate Appropriations Chairman T9m Lee, R-Brandon.

The News Service of Florida

Aug 4 2015

On Tap Update: Scott, CLC have quiet day

Gov. Rick Scott’s office sent out his daily schedule after the News Service’s On Tap feature hit subscribers’ inboxes Tuesday morning. So here’s an update about the comings and goings of Scott and Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera.

Scott and Lopez-Cantera were scheduled to start the day at their favorite type of event — a jobs announcement. That was scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m. at the Hoerbiger plant in Pompano Beach.

Other than that, Scott was scheduled to have staff and call time from noon to 7 p.m., while Lopez-Cantera scheduled staff and call time at 2 p.m.


The News Service of Florida

Aug 3 2015

Scott Takes Look at Pasco Flooding

Gov. Rick Scott on Monday announced a quick trip to Pasco County to tour areas hit by recent flooding.

Scott is scheduled to be in New Port Richey at 6:15 p.m. and tour the areas with Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco. A release from the governor’s office did not indicate how long Scott is expected to stay in the area.



The News Service of Florida

Aug 3 2015

Grayson Gets Some Love from Labor

Many state and national Democratic leaders have lined up behind Congressman Patrick Murphy in his campaign for U.S. Senate.

But with labor unions a pillar of the Democratic Party, Murphy’s primary opponent, Congressman Alan Grayson, could tout support Monday from the Central Florida Building and Construction Trades Council.

In a news release from the Grayson campaign, council President Wes Kendrick even name-dropped Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a political superstar on the left.

“Working people in Florida need a bold leader like Alan Grayson, who will stand with Elizabeth Warren in the Senate and take on Wall Street,” Kendrick said in the news release. “Alan is a fearless leader and fighter for all working people who has a proven track record of getting things done even when it was not easy.”

Grayson, meanwhile, got a lick in at his opponents.  “Wall Street and the corporate wing of the Democratic Party are attacking me because they know my vote can’t be bought and I can’t be bossed around, but with the support of grassroots Democrats, Labor and others who believe in fighting for working people, I’m going to win this race,” he said.

The News Service of Florida

Aug 3 2015

On Tap Update: Heading Back to School

Gov. Rick Scott’s office sent out his schedule after the News Service’s On Tap feature hit subscribers’ inboxes this morning. So here’s an update.

Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera will join Scott at 3:30 p.m. today at an Office Depot in West Palm Beach as part of the company’s “National Backpack Program,” which provides school supplies to students and parents. The event also comes as Florida prepares to start a 10-day “sales-tax holiday” Friday for back-to-school shoppers.

The Office Depot appearance is the only scheduled event for Lopez-Cantera, who is running for the U.S. Senate. Scott’s office announced earlier that the governor would start the day at 9 a.m. at a National Guard deployment ceremony in Orlando.  Scott’s schedule also includes a brief amount of staff and call time this afternoon.


The News Service of Florida

Jul 31 2015

Beware the Old World Bollworm

The old world bollworm is a nasty pest, damaging numerous types of crops such as corn, tomatoes and potatoes.

So it’s understandable that agriculture officials were concerned when three adult male old world bollworms were found in June in Bradenton — the first time the pest had been found in the continental United States outside of port interceptions.

But Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam offered some reassuring news this week when he said no additional old world bollworms have been found in the state. Nevertheless, state and federal agriculture officials have installed 202 traps within a nine-mile area that will continue to be monitored, Putnam said in a news release.

“The old world bollworm is the sixth new pest discovered in Florida in the past 90 days,” Putnam said in the release. “Invasive species cost Florida $100 million per year, and they continue to pose a threat to our $120 billion agriculture industry and the economy as a whole. Our scientists who conduct enhanced trapping and rigorous analysis at our laboratory are on the forefront of defending our agriculture industry.”

The News Service of Florida

Jul 31 2015

Scott Continues Calling Out Hospitals

It isn’t often that Gov. Rick Scott sheds his pro-business hat and publicly goes after employers.

But most employers aren’t hospitals.

And as Scott continues to signal he wants to overhaul the hospital industry, his office issued an unusual release Friday that was sure to make three hospitals unhappy. The release highlighted a Consumer Reports piece that gave low ratings for infection prevention to St. Petersburg General Hospital, UF Health Jacksonville and Venice Regional Bayfront Health.

The release also put in a plug for Scott’s Commission on Healthcare and Hospital Funding, which has been holding hearings across the state and looking into hospital finances.

“The news that three Florida hospitals are the worst in America for preventing infections is troubling and unacceptable,” Scott said in the release. “The study also further demonstrates the importance of the work being conducted by the Commission on Healthcare and Hospital Funding to shine a light on the services provided at these facilities.”

As a point of clarification, the Consumer Reports listed the three Florida hospitals among 12 nationwide that earned low ratings.


The News Service of Florida

Jul 31 2015

On Tap Update: Easing into the Weekend

Gov. Rick Scott’s office sent out his schedule after the News Service’s On Tap feature hit subscribers’ inboxes Friday morning. So here’s an update — well, sort of.

Scott does not have any scheduled events Friday.

Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera has a scheduled 2 p.m. Port Everglades meeting and tour in Fort Lauderdale.


The News Service of Florida

Jul 30 2015

Is Graham Playing Political Possum?

With congressional districts ready to be redrawn, U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham has faced widespread speculation about her political future.

But if a Twitter post is any indication, the first-term Democrat is still working hard in her Northwest Florida district. Graham tweeted a picture of herself holding a possum and wrote, “Looking forward to seeing everyone in Wausau this Saturday!”

For the uninitiated, the annual Wausau Possum Festival in Washington County is a must-do event for many politicians. Graham represents Washington County and surrounding rural areas. With her district boundaries likely to change, speculation has focused on whether she might make plans to run statewide. But the possum festival vote could help in a statewide race, too.


The News Service of Florida