Have You Not Hard of Floryda?

Five things I underlined in Rollins College English professor Maurice J. O'Sullivan's piece in the current issue of the magazine of the Florida Humanities Council:

1. It may seem surprising that Florida's first poem was written in French -- as was our first novel, Atala (1801), by Francois-Rene, the vicomte de Chateaubriand -- but our state has always been both multilingual and multicultural.

2. When Rachel Jackson visited Pensacola to witness her husband Andrew take possession of Florida for the United States in 1821, she expressed her surprise about the residents in a letter to her friend Eliza Kingsley: "The inhabitants all speak Spanish and French. Some speak four or five languages. Such a mixed multitude, you, nor any of us, ever had an idea of."

3. ... today education professionals claim that students speak 301 languages in the state's schools.

4. That extraordinarily complex heritage has provided Florida with the oldest, most diverse, and, arguably, richest literary tradition in the United States ...

5. ... we should recognize that when England finally established its first permanent North American settlement, Florida already had a flourishing multilingual literary heritage ...

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Daily Beast sponsored content says it's 'Tampa Time' this summer but uses a photo of St. Pete

Not Tampa.


Not Tampa.

Melissa Lyttle noted the flub. Here's the ... piece of content:

Heat is an inescapable part of Tampa's essence, and while visitors this summer will sweat profusely, they'll also be out experiencing the rich, understated history, natural beauty, and one-of-a-kind food and drink of this fast-rising Southeastern metropolis. These suggestions will help you wring every last drop out of the season, guaranteeing you'll fall into autumn bursting with more knowledge about a place that is much more than the cigars and outrageous pirate parties that the rest of the world seems to know it by. Keep reading.

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Wednesday now. Seven and then some.

1. The news today on 1A: An estimated 931,000 Floridians could lose $4.8 billion in subsidies to buy health insurance if a federal appeals court decision Tuesday striking down a major part of President Obama's signature health care law is upheld. …

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See Florida?

Lights in the dark.


Lights in the dark.

Spotted this in "World in a Snap" in today's tbt*. The picture was taken by an astronaut on the International Space Station on July 15. The long glow is from Miami, says Phil Plait on Slate, but you can see where the people are over on our coast, too, from Naples on up and then across the peninsula on and around I-4.

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This sixth-grade 'dork' from Jupiter taught scientists something additionally scary about the already scary lionfish

Invasives! Lionfish! Here's maybe my favorite thing I've read so far today:

When 12-year-old Lauren Arrington heard about her sixth-grade science project, she knew she wanted to study lionfish. Growing up in Jupiter, Fla., she saw them in the ocean while snorkeling and fishing with her dad.

Her project showed that the lionfish can survive in nearly fresh water. The results blew away professional ecologists. The invasive species has no predators on the Florida coast, so if they were to migrate upstream in rivers, they could pose a threat to the ecosystem.

"Scientists were doing plenty of tests on them, but they just always assumed they were in the ocean," Lauren, now 13, tells NPR's Kelly McEvers. "So I was like, 'Well, hey guys, what about the river?'" Keep reading.

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Lauren Groff in Oxford American on the mermaids of Weeki Wachee

I mentioned the piece here last month when the magazine showed up in the mail. Looks like now you can read it for free. Worth the click. …

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What we talk about when we talk about invasive species is ... Florida

Jeff Fobb with a python.


Jeff Fobb with a python.

17 things I underlined in this week's Time magazine cover story on invasive plants and animals:

1. "Removing a huge portion of all the mammals from the Everglades is going to have a dramatic impact on the ecosystem," says Michael Dorcas, a snake expert at Davidson College. "But right now we don't have anything that can significantly suppress the python population."

2. A quarter of the wildlife in South Florida is exotic, more than anywhere else in the U.S., and the region has one of the highest numbers of alient plants in the world.

3. ... Florida is America's soft underbelly when it comes to invasives.

4. ... during any 24-hour period, some 10,000 species are moving around in the ballast water of cargo ships ...

5. Add in climate change, which is forcing species to move as they adapt to rising temperatures, and it's clear that the planet is becoming a giant mixing bowl, one that could end up numbingly homogenized as invasives spread across the globe. "The scale and the rate is unprecedented," says Anthony Ricciardi, an invasive-species biologist at McGill University, who calls what's happening "global swarming." …

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Here are three quotes from the story about cigars and Ybor City and Tampa on the front of this morning's New York Times

Following the Times' Susan Thurston's story from earlier this month. Here's the NYT piece.

1. "When the cigar industry relocated to the Ybor City area, it basically transformed the economy of the state from agriculture to industrial."

2. "It goes to the heart and soul of Tampa. This would be a blow to our cultural history to have the last remaining cigar factory close."

3. "Cigars are to Tampa what wine is to Napa and automobiles are to Michigan."

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Tuesday. Back on track. Seven things.

1. It is not insignificant that Kriseman chose an African-American to be St. Petersburg's new chief. That reinforces his campaign message to residents in low-income, predominately black neighborhoods that their voices will be heard, and some of the scars left by the 1996 racial disturbances have not healed. Some black residents have fresh complaints about uneven or unfair policing, and Holloway has experience effectively dealing with such frustrations in Clearwater's North Greenwood neighborhood. Click.

2. Meanwhile: Florida town stunned by news of police department's KKK ties.

3. John Oliver, via the Times' Anna Phillips: "When the state of Florida gives you an award, that award is basically sarcastic." …

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A path to the middle class in Central Florida

Something I noted in a story I read in the Wall Street Journal I picked up at my hotel over the weekend:

From 2000 to 2010, the number of registered nurses increased by 24%. But the aging of the baby-boom generation will sharpen demand even as it reduces supply: Roughly a third of today's nurses are more than 50 years old.

Consider one microcosm: Orlando, Fla., where there are many different ways into the nursing profession. The University of Central Florida trains only bachelor-degree nurses. You need an outstanding high-school record, there's a long waiting list, and tuition is $14,000 for in-state students—and more than three times that if you're not from Florida. Two well-equipped, award-winning community colleges—Seminole State and Valencia State—offer associate-degree RN programs, where tuition is $7,500. Then there is Orlando Tech, a county-run career center, located in an old building in an industrial area near downtown, which trains licensed practical nurses for about $5,000. …

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Y'all read in Sunday's New York Times how the influx of South Americans is reinventing Miami?

13 things I underlined in the piece by Lizette Alvarez:

1. ... a tableau vivant of the new Miami, which has gone from a place defined by Cuban-Americans to one increasingly turbocharged by a surge of well-educated, well-off South Americans in the last decade. Their growing numbers and influence, both as immigrants and as visitors, have transformed Miami's once recession-dampened downtown, enriched its culture and magnified its allure for businesses around the world as a crossroads of the Spanish-speaking world.

2. "It's now the indisputable capital of Latin America."

3. "The Latin economic boom in the last 10 years has led to the creation of a huge middle class in countries like Brazil, Peru and Colombia, and they look at Miami as the aspirational place to be."

4. ... the Miami-Fort Lauderdale region eclipsed Los Angeles in 2012 as the major metropolitan area with the largest share — 45 percent — of immigrant business owners ...

5. More moderate than traditional Cuban-Americans, South Americans have nudged local politics toward the center. Radio stations no longer cater exclusively to Cuban audiences ... …

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Late-night edition because early this morning I was having technical issues and then I really had to finish a draft of a story. So. Seven things.

1. There's a lesson for Florida in Atlantic City, the New Jersey beach town that sought to re-create its former glory by marketing itself as Vegas East. Three decades later, the risks of gambling on such an economic development model are apparent. Unemployment and poverty both remain high, and one out of every three casinos is threatening to shut its doors. The industry is not the panacea supporters claim it is, and Floridians should take note. Click.

2. Here's a headline: Florida Gov. Rakes in Campaign Cash From CEO Who Makes Millions Locking Up Immigrants.

3. Here's another: Florida Supreme Court tosses conviction for death-row inmate in 1987 Sumter killing.

4. Florida is of course well-represented on some of these death penalty charts and lists.

5. Jim Schoettler in Jacksonville, via Ben Montgomery on Twitter: Moments before being sucked under the choppy St. Johns River, Buckman Bridge accident victim William Maddox cried out to a small group of helpless, stunned witnesses that he loved his family. …

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Still thinking about Robin Speronis of Cape Coral

I love this sort of stuff. Speronis, though, is taking it to another, even more interesting level. Here's the story again from today from the Fort Myers paper. Here's her blog. And here's the recent feature in Bloomberg Businessweek:

In Cape Coral, Fla., a city of snowbird retirees and strip malls off the Caloosahatchee River, there’s a part of town that never quite recovered from the real estate bust. Foreclosure notices spill from the mailboxes of homes lining the city’s shallow canals and gather in trash drifts by the front doors. Weeds run riot in the yards of properties built for no money down in the flush days and then abandoned when they went underwater. …

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A higher power in Orlando

Mina Kimes in the current ESPN The Magazine:

A few weeks ago, as the first stirrings of World Cup mania rolled through this country, the city of Orlando unveiled plans for its own paean to the beautiful game: a sparkling new stadium for a new MLS team. The Orlando City Soccer Club's $110 million facility will contain 20,000 seats, dozens of luxury suites and a massive lion statue that rotates to face the pitch during matches. The city is ready to break ground, but there's one thing standing in its way: a tiny church.

Unstoppable stadium, meet immovable altar.

Orlando has acquired 19 of the 20 parcels it needs to begin construction. The final plot belongs to Faith Deliverance Temple, a nondenominational church of about 100 members. After the city failed to reach an agreement to buy it, Orlando filed an eminent domain petition to seize the property. The land, Orlando's leaders argue, will serve a public good -- so they can use their public powers to take it. …

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'If you stand by values and principles and don't mindlessly submit ... things will be OK'

The most interesting Florida thing I've read so far today:

The saga continues in one Cape Coral resident's fight to live without electricity or running water.

Robin Speronis, 54, was expected Thursday in a code enforcement hearing at City Hall. She didn't show, and now she is expected to correct the issues with her home or vacate it by July 28.

Speronis has been in ongoing litigation with the city over what she believes to be her right to not connect to city water or sewer. The problem is, according to city ordinance, her house is considered uninhabitable.

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