Jul 29 2015

U.S. Rep. Clawson’s Mother Dies

Cherie Clawson, the mother of U.S. Rep. Curt Clawson, R-Fla., died Tuesday. She was 85.

The following statement was released by Clawson’s office:

“Congressman Curt Clawson’s mother, Cherie Marcil Clawson of Bonita Springs, passed away peacefully this afternoon with family at her side.

“Mrs. Clawson was Curt’s guiding light and a source of unwavering encouragement and support.

“She never missed any of Curt’s major events throughout his life, from attending every one of Curt’s basketball games, to being at his side as Curt took the oath of office in Washington, DC last year.

“Cherie Clawson is also survived by Curt’s father, Jack Clawson, and Curt’s six brothers and sisters.  The family asks for your thoughts, prayers and privacy during their time of mourning.”

The News Service of Florida

Jul 28 2015

Atwater Offers Help to Agencies

Nobody ever said being state chief financial officer was the most-glamorous job in the world.

But CFO Jeff Atwater appears to drill down into state contracts with the best of them. And with the state’s new fiscal year starting this month, Atwater has sent a memo to state agency heads offering help with the contracting process.

“Floridians have a right to know how their money is spent and should have comfort that it is being spent wisely,” Atwater wrote in the memo, released Tuesday by his office.

Atwater wrote that he is trying to build a more-transparent state government and that his office has an auditing staff that can help agencies with issues such as strengthening contracts and grants and holding vendors and grant recipients accountable for money they receive.

The News Service of Florida

Jul 28 2015

On Tap Update: Scott, Putnam on the Road

Gov. Rick Scott and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam released updated schedule information  after today’s On Tap feature hit the inboxes of News Service subscribers. So here’s information about their whereabouts.

Scott was scheduled to spend the morning at a base commanders meeting at Naval Air Station Jacksonville. As previously announced, he is then scheduled to head to Key Largo for a 4 p.m. reception to help start the lobster mini season.

Putnam, meanwhile, is scheduled at 11:30 a.m. to visit a Summer BreakSpot location at the L.A. Lee YMCA in Fort Lauderdale. The Summer BreakSpot program offers free meals and recreational and educational activities to children.

Also in the updated information, Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera does not have any scheduled events today.

The News Service of Florida

Jul 28 2015

Beer Industry Study Says Cold Ones are Economic Gold

Beer is good for Florida’s economy, according to a study released by — drum roll — the beer industry.

The National Beer Wholesalers Association and the lobbying arm for the beer industry, the Beer Institute, have released a study that taps the financial benefits of malted barley and hops.

Beer is responsible for a $14.1 billion annual economic impact in Florida, according to the study from the association and institute. The “Beer Serves America” study also places the number of people employed in Florida due to beer at 125,402 through brewers, beer importers, beer distributors, brewer suppliers and retailers. The study also claims that beer is tied to more than $5 billion in wages for Floridians and $3 billion in federal, state and local taxes.

Nationally, the only states where knocking more than one back has a greater economic impact than in Florida, according to these beer experts, are California, $34.2 billion, Texas, $21 billion, and Colorado, $14.8 billion.

Florida’s beer-flavored economy is chugging just ahead of New York, $14.04 billion, and Missouri, $13.2 billion.

The institute’s website also provides a glimpse of where Florida’s beer-related jobs are located.

Looking at Senate districts, the highest numbers of beer jobs fall under Sens. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, Maria Sachs, D-Delray Beach, Gwen Margolis, D-Miami, Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, and Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland.

At the other end, the state’s least beer-soaked employment is found in the districts of Sens. Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby,  Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, Tom Lee, R-Brandon, Charlie Dean, R-Inverness, and Anitere Flores, R-Miami.


The News Service of Florida

Jul 27 2015

Bush on Friendly Turf in Seminole County

Bringing his presidential campaign to Central Florida, former Gov. Jeb Bush was scheduled Monday afternoon to head from Orlando to an event in the Seminole County city of Longwood.

Granted, Bush hasn’t been on the ballot since 2002, but Seminole County was friendly territory for the Republican when he was elected governor in 1998 and again four years later.

In both of the wining campaigns, Bush captured nearly 64 percent of the vote in the suburban county, according to state Division of Elections records.

Bush won both of the races by large margins statewide, and he also did well in Orange County. In 1998, he received almost 59 percent of the vote in Orange and followed up with about 57 percent in 2002.

The News Service of Florida

Jul 27 2015

On Tap Update: Scott in South Florida

Here is the latest information on the Monday schedules of Gov. Rick Scott and Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera.

Scott will start the day at 10 a.m. in West Palm Beach at an event involving the PACE Center for Girls and Department of Juvenile Justice funding. After some staff and call time, he will head to a 2:30 p.m. veterans’ medal ceremony at the Robert A. Ballard Armory in Miami. He will end the day with more staff and call time.

The only event on Lopez-Cantera’s schedule is a 10 a.m. conference call with the Florida Chamber of Commerce.


The News Service of Florida

Jul 27 2015

Is DEP Secretary Appointment a Done Deal?

Gov. Rick Scott hasn’t declared victory in his call for Interim Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Jon Steverson to win Cabinet backing.

Scott spokeswoman Jeri Bustamante said there is a “selection process still ongoing” after Attorney General Pam Bondi on Thursday dropped what had been the only announced plans to consider  an alternative candidate to Steverson at the Aug. 5 Cabinet meeting.

“Governor Scott is proud of the work Secretary Jon Steverson has done at the Department of Environmental Protection,” Bustamante said in an email after Bondi signaled she would back Steverson.

Bustamante added, “Jon has dedicated his career to serving Floridians through the protection of our state’s water and natural resources and he is committed to our goal of protecting Florida’s natural treasures so future generations and millions of tourists can enjoy our state’s beauty.”

Some environmentalists, however, haven’t been enamored with a few of Steverson’s proposals to make state parks more financially self-sustaining.

Steverson was initially recommended for the position by Scott in December and got the Cabinet blessing a month later. However, Steverson got the interim tag back on his $150,000-a-year job after he was among 16 agency heads who failed to get Senate approval during the spring legislative session.

Steverson was among 59 people who applied for the job before the May 31 application cutoff.

The News Service of Florida

Jul 26 2015

Advances Update: Scott Takes Part in Guard Ceremony

The News Service’s Advances feature hit subscribers’ inboxes Friday afternoon. So here’s an update about an appearance Sunday by Gov. Rick Scott.

Scott is taking part Sunday morning in a departure ceremony in Pensacola for the Florida Army National Guard B Troop 1-153 Calvary. It’s Scott’s second Guard-related event in recent days. On Wednesday, he visited a Florida Air National Guard base in Jacksonville. That visit stemmed from an executive order he issued to try to increase protections for Guard members after a deadly shooting spree at a military-recruiting center and a Navy Reserve facility in Tennessee.

Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera does not have scheduled events Sunday, according to a release from the governor’s office.

The News Service of Florida

Jul 25 2015

Forest Service Twitter Account Hacked

The Florida Forest Service wasn’t trying to use its Twitter account to help people lose weight early Saturday.

“Our account has been hacked. Please disregard any unusual or spam-like messages or tweets from us. We apologize for the inconvenience,” @FLForestService tweeted a little before 12:40 a.m.

A few minutes later, the service followed up with, “Our account has been reset and we are working to remove the hacked spam tweets that went out today. Thank you for your patience.”

Followers of the service’s Twitter account, including a number of legislators and at least one congresswoman, received direct messages stating, “If you want to lose weight, read this article.”

The News Service of Florida

Jul 24 2015

Scott Touts Sales from Air Show

As lawmakers met in a special session last month to pound out a new state budget, Gov. Rick Scott took a quick trip to France for the Paris Air Show.

But his office said Friday the trip, which also included officials from Enterprise Florida and 17 companies and organizations, was worth it. In a news release, Scott’s office said the trade mission resulted in $151 million in total projected export sales for the participants.

Scott noted in the news release that “the aerospace and aviation industry is a key component to our state’s success.”

The News Service of Florida