According to polls, medical marijuana has strong support in Florida. Whether it actually will come to a vote in November is far less certain.
A group pushing for a constitutional amendment figures it needs about 400,000 more petition signatures to get medical pot on the ballot, and it has only a month or so left to pull it off.
"It's a big lift. We don't have a lot of give,'' Ben Pollara, campaign manager for United for Care, said last week....
12/03/13 The Heater
ST. PETERSBURG — The Tampa Bay Rays unveiled plans to renovate Tropicana Field on Tuesday, touting the creation of a 360-degree walkway around the lower bowl, an open air meeting spot in centerfield and smoother access from the rotunda entrance to the seats.
"This project will significantly improve the total ballpark experience," said Michael Kalt, the team's senior vice president for development and business affairs. "It will make it much easier for our patrons to navigate the ballpark and allow them to enjoy the game from exciting new areas and dynamic new vantage points."...
12/03/13 The Heater
ST. PETERSBURG — Along with unveiling renovations to Tropicana Field today, the Tampa Bay Rays will announce a new flex pass that offers up to 50 percent discounts on single game prices.
The pass —which will replace paper tickets — can also be used at concession stands. A radio frequency chip imbedded in the card will allow the Rays to track individual spending patterns and tailor promotions fan by fan....
Many people on Medicare maintain the same coverage from year to year — even when switching to a different option could save them considerable money.
But people who do evaluate their options don't mess around.
The average person who researches Medicare spends 22 hours reading brochures, talking to friends and otherwise gathering information, according to a recent survey by health insurance giant Humana....
11/25/13 Local Government
A baseball team wants a new stadium — still within its metro area but closer to its fan base.
The Tampa Bay Rays, St. Petersburg and Hillsborough County officials have gnawed over that prospect for years.
Now, suburban Cobb County, Ga. — population 700,000 — may pull it off. The County Commission votes today on building a new ballpark for the Atlanta Braves just outside the beltway....
11/18/13 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor-elect Rick Kriseman on Monday announced a 44-member "transition team," drawing from city officials, religious leaders, neighborhood activists, artists and business representatives.
The team will hold its first meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the St. Petersburg College downtown campus at 244 Second Ave. N, a news release said. The meeting is open to the public.
The team will break into subgroups to look at various issues facing the city, including the Tampa Bay Rays stadium, community safety, arts, the economy and neighborhood revitalization, said Ben Kirby, a Kriseman representative. Members will take stock of where the city stands and make recommendations for the future, he said....
SEMINOLE — A Seminole Middle School eighth-grader was arrested Monday after handing out prescription medicine to four fellow students, who took it and fell ill, authorities said.
The 14-year-old Madeira Beach girl, who is not being named, brought the pills from home without her parents' knowledge, said Sgt. David Di-Sano, spokesman for the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.
She will face a felony charge of dispensing medicine without a license and a misdemeanor charge of possessing the drug without a prescription, DiSano said....
11/18/13 Public Safety
SEMINOLE — A teenager entering his house near midnight Sunday was shot in the arm by his uncle, who apparently thought the youth was an intruder, authorities said Monday.
Taylor Titus, 17, was listed in stable condition at Bayfront Health St. Petersburg with non-life-threatening injuries, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said.
His uncle, James H. Wolf, 55, was booked into Pinellas County Jail on a charge of possession of a firearm by a felon. Detectives gave this account:...
11/14/13 Local Government
ORLANDO — Major League Baseball has no immediate plans to intervene in stadium negotiations between St. Petersburg and the Tampa Bay Rays, both Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg and baseball commissioner Bud Selig said Thursday.
Selig had expressed impatience in August that the city and the team could not forge an agreement to allow the Rays to explore new stadium sites in Tampa. "I've given very strong consideration to assigning someone from MLB to get involved in the process," Selig said at the time....
CLEARWATER — Clearwater's new planned aquarium, propelled by a tail-less dolphin, may shrink in size and cost less than half of the earlier $160.5 million estimate, aquarium officials said Tuesday.
Last week, Clearwater voters approved a referendum to allow Clearwater Marine Aquarium to build its new facility on land now occupied by City Hall. Discussions before the vote estimated the size at 200,000 square feet, though aquarium officials, at times, suggested that the size and cost might come down....
11/09/13 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — This summer, the Tampa Bay Rays and city officials quietly tried to find a way to let the team look for a new stadium site in Tampa.
Those negotiations fell apart in September, amid an intense election season, but they did lay groundwork for keeping baseball in Tampa Bay.
City attorneys and the Rays apparently overcame one major hurdle — contractual language to protect St. Petersburg's legal position if things go awry....
ST. PETERSBURG — Roz Vellines attends her local YMCA three times a week for an exercise class in the swimming pool — a $43-per-month perk from her AARP Medicare plan.
"I love it," said Vellines, 70. Classmates "are my Y family. Some of these ladies don't have much other contact with people.''
But come Jan. 1, Vellines will lose her free ride. Her insurance plan is dropping the popular fitness program Silver Sneakers....
10/28/13 Local Government
ST. PETERSBURG — Sheila Thorne, 76, finds herself in a quandary about her beloved Tampa Bay Rays and where they play.
Thorne lives in the Disston Ridge area of St. Petersburg, just 10 or 15 minutes from Tropicana Field. She doesn't want the team moving to a new stadium in Hillsborough County. But more than anything, she hates discord between her city and her team.
"The Rays did sign a contract,'' to play at the Trop through 2027, Thorne said, "but I sure as blazes am not going to hold them back from going to Tampa. I am proud to have the Rays be our team in the Tampa Bay area. Why did we come to this conflict of everybody being unhappy? It's defeating the purpose."...
Citrus County resident George Smith received a disturbing letter this month about his Medicare coverage. The AARP managed care network he had relied on for years will drop all eight of his and his wife's doctors as of Jan. 1.
"I couldn't believe it. I have my house and car and everything insured through AARP,'' said Smith, 73. "I thought, 'They are not going to drop me. I've been a member for years.' ''...
Health care has dominated the news lately, but do not confuse Obamacare with Medicare. They have nothing to do with each other. Medicare will operate pretty much as it always has.
If you are new to Medicare, or just want a refresher, here are some questions and answers on the basics:
How does Medicare work?
Under original Medicare:
• Part A covers inpatient hospital care and a few other services. You get this automatically, and usually with no premium....