The passing of Tom Petty robbed us all of a transcendent musical talent. But, as these tragedies have the power to do, it also brought us together this week as we remembered the various ways Petty's music moved us. We traded stories about the first time we heard "American Girl," or the last time we saw the Heartbreakers grace the stage. We belted out "Free Fallin'" and remembered the iconic Traveling Wilburys years....
09/23/17 State Roundup
After failing numerous times this summer to fulfill their nearly decade-long promise to repeal former President Barack Obama's signature health care bill, Senate Republicans pushed once more.
The proposal sponsored by Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana would overhaul the current system under the Affordable Care Act by sending revenue from ACA taxes to the 50 states in block grants. The states would be allowed to apply for waivers of current ACA regulations that require all health plans to cover certain "essential health benefits" such as maternity care....
In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, countless bay area residents have reported debris on their property. Here's what you need to know as you look to clear waste from around your home.
The county tweeted these instructions to Pinellas County residents Sunday:
Hurricane Irma is poised to affect nearly every Floridian in some way. Here are some key phone numbers that might come in handy as the storm approaches.
For citizens all over Florida:
FL Emergency Information Hotline: 1-800-342-3557
Florida Division of Emergency Management: Text FLPREPARES to 888777
Insurance consumer help line: 1-877-693-5236
United Way's information service: call 2-1-1 or text "Irma" to 898-211 ...
Publix has closed locations all over the state. Officials have asked almost 7 million people to leave their homes. Highways are clogged. Bottled water is hard to find. But one local institution is chugging along even as Hurricane Irma menaces the Sunshine State: the internet.
As Floridians all over the state batten down the proverbial hatches (whatever that means) for Hurricane Irma — which has already left a trail of devastation in the Caribbean — memelords from Twitter to Reddit have set out to poke fun at the monster storm....
Registered sex offenders who need to evacuate because of Hurricane Irma now have an option: The Pasco County Sheriff's Office will set up a space for them in the shelter at Wiregrass Ranch High School in Wesley Chapel.
"They need someplace to go just like any other citizen," sheriff's spokesman Kevin Doll said.
Hurricane Irma's potential landfall is still days away, but the Polk County Sheriff's Office made minor online waves Wednesday morning with a pair of tweets warning sex offenders and citizens with arrest warrants against seeking refuge in local storm shelters.
In the event that a serious storm event causes local shelters to open, the account tweeted, "If you go to a shelter for #Irma, be advised: sworn LEOs will be at every shelter, checking IDs. Sex offenders/predators will not be allowed."...
A St. Petersburg-based nonprofit that helps the Tampa Bay area's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities has begun offering hormone replacement therapy for transgender patients.
Metro Wellness & Community Centers, which has locations in Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco counties, provided the first treatments early this month at its primary care facility at 3251 Third Ave. N in St. Petersburg. ...
08/06/15 State Roundup
The first GOP presidential debate for the 2016 race was Thursday night at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, moderated by Fox News' Bret Baier, Megyn Kelly and Chris Wallace. In case you didn't stay up to watch the full two hours, here's your water-cooler recap.
The candidate Quote Best moment Biggest misstep Rating the performance Jeb Bush, 62, former governor of Florida (1999-2007), son of former President George H.W. Bush and brother of former President George W. Bush. "I am my own man. I governed as a conservative, and I governed effectively. And the net effect was, during my eight years, 1.3 million jobs were created. We left the state better off because I applied conservative principles in a purple state the right way, and people rose up." He effectively defended his conservatism when faced with sticky questions about education, immigration and his family's record. He struggled with explaining his involvement with Michael Bloomberg's foundation and how it funded Planned Parenthood. Fine, not great. No memorable moments, but that's far better than creating still more memorable gaffes. Ben Carson, 63, retired neurosurgeon born in Michigan. Resident of Florida. "The thing that is probably most important is having a brain, and to be able to figure things out and learn things very rapidly." Carson had a clever closing statement, quipping that as a surgeon he was the only candidate to have taken out half of someone's brain, "although if you went to Washington, D.C., you'd think someone beat me to it." It's nice not to sound like a typical politician, but Carson sometimes spoke so slowly he sucked the energy out of the room. ZZZZzzzzzzzzzz. Better suited for the JV debate next time. Chris Christie, 52, governor of New Jersey, elected in 2009. "We have a lot of work to do in New Jersey, but I am darn proud of how we've brought our state back." Focusing attention on the impact of entitlement spending on the federal budget. Looking rattled and livid when Rand Paul hammered him for hugging President Barack Obama. Thursday offered a great opportunity for Christie to pull his campaign out of the cellar. He did not succeed. Ted Cruz, 44, U.S. senator from Texas elected in 2012. "If you're looking for someone to go to Washington, to go along to get along, to get — to agree with the career politicians in both parties who get in bed with the lobbyists and special interests, then I ain't your guy." Responding to Trump, but saying it's not stupidity that's keeping Washington leaders from coming to grips with illegal immigration, it's sheer unwillingness. Never had a big moment. Surprisingly, the Texas senator seemed nearly invisible for much of the night. Mike Huckabee, 59, former governor of Arkansas (1996-2007). Former Southern Baptist pastor. Resident of Florida. "It's time that we recognize the Supreme Court is not the supreme being, and we change the policy to be pro-life and protect children instead of rip up their body parts and sell them like they're parts to a Buick."
President Obama’s Iran nuclear deal was dealt a blow Tuesday when Rep. Ted Deutch, a liberal Jewish Florida congressman, said he could not support the agreement.
“Too many issues I have long raised as essential to any nuclear deal with Iran are not adequately addressed in this agreement,” Deutch wrote in a Sun Sentinel Op-ed. I will vote against it when Congress reconvenes in September.”...08/03/15 Blog
When the pro-Hillary Clinton SuperPAC Priorities USA Action released its half-year contribution summary late Friday, there was understandably little fanfare.
The pro-Jeb Bush Right to Rise SuperPAC had already blown the doors off of any other campaign entity earlier that day, disclosing its astounding $103 haul Priorities USA netted barely more than 15 percent of that, at $15.6 million. ...07/31/15 Blog
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called for the lifting of the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba Friday.
A crowd of mostly enthusiastic supporters greeted Clinton as she gave a speech at Miami's Florida International University, although a few dozen protesters also demonstrated outside the event.
The Miami Herald has the story here. ...07/31/15 Blog
When Hillary Clinton advocated for the lifting of half-century-old trade and travel sanctions on Cuba Friday, the Democratic presidential candidate didn't pull punches.
In a speech at Florida International University in Miami, long the home city of anti-Castro sanction supporters, Clinton called for an end to the "failed policies" of embargo....07/30/15 Blog
Gov. Rick Scott never misses an opportunity to tout Florida's economy.
In a Thursday press release, Scott celebrated a Forbes article that named six Florida cities — Cape Coral, Orlando, Ocala, Port St. Lucie, North Port and Naples — to its top 10 "best cities for future job growth."...07/30/15 Blog
An environmental advocacy group touted new poll numbers Thursday that show the vast majority of Floridians favor making clean energy a priority.
A survey conducted by Hart Research and commissioned by NextGen Climate showed that 68 percent of likely Florida voters have either a favorable or a very favorable view of committing to a national goal of 50 percent clean energy by 2030. Just 5 percent of state voters held an unfavorable view....