State News

With same-sex marriage now the law in Florida, a lot of new husbands and wives will be able to join their spouse's state of Florida insurance plan.

Marriage qualifies as a life-changing event under the state's plan, so enrollees won't have to wait for the open enrollment period to add their spouses. But the window to do so is from now to March 6.

That's only about 60 days.

Mark Pudlow is a spokesman for The Florida Education Association. The union represents 140,000 Florida teachers.

Gay Marriage Fight Finds Unlikely Home In Rural Panhandle

Jan 1, 2015
Tom Urban / The News Service of Florida

Chipley, Fla. — Stephen Schlairet and Ozzie Russ have almost as much in common with their neighbors in the tiny Panhandle community of Chipley as the way of life that sets them apart.

They raise horses and dogs. They live on a 20-acre spread on the outskirts of town. They lend a hand for the annual back-to-school fundraiser. They help out with the United Way. They wear cowboy hats.

Kidde

Tomorrow, Jan. 1, a new Florida law aimed at preventing fire deaths goes into effect. Smoke alarms installed in homes must be powered by either electricity or so-called “permanent" batteries.

Before the change, fire alarms in new or remodeled homes had to be connected to the house’s electricity. Now, builders and residents replacing old smoke alarms have another option: a device with a tamper-proof battery that lasts 10 years.

B A Bowen Photography / via Flickr

The Florida Park Service invites the public to start 2015 outdoors by participating in First Day Hikes.

On New Year's Day, many Florida State Parks are offering free guided hikes for the public. This year there are more than 30 events throughout the state, including at parks in St. Augustine, Flagler Beach, and Palatka.

Most of the January 1st hikes begin at 10 a.m.

The events are part of a national initiative by America’s State Parks to get people outside and healthy.

One of the students shot last week at Florida State University is paralyzed.

Farhan Ahmed was shot three times in front of the Strozier Library last Thursday. He was one of three people injured by a gunman. Ahmed's sister, Farhana Ahmed spoke on behalf of the family in an update on her brother’s condition at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital Monday.

"He immediately knew something was wrong because one of the first bullets struck his spine and has left him paralyzed from the waist down. But despite his injuries he’s alive and we’re so grateful he’s here with us," she says.

A Florida lawmaker is warning the state’s highway guardrails may be unsafe. Hazard concerns and a lawsuit verdict have caused at least 13 other states to halt installation of a metal guardrail also used in Florida.

New Group To Grow State’s Veteran Population

Oct 21, 2014

A new state-formed group called “Florida Is For Veterans” is charged with helping promote Florida as a veteran friendly state and enticing military members to make Florida their new home.

The legislature created the group through a bill passed last session. During an organizational meeting Monday group members talked about several goals including a plan to contract with a university to create a veteran entrepreneur program. Florida Department of Veterans Affairs Legislative Director, Bobby Carbonell, talked about what that program could look like.

Hundreds of mourners gathered at Temple Beth Am in Pinecrest to remember Steven Sotloff, the South Florida native who was killed ​b​y militant extremists in Iraq.

​Video of Sotloff's beheading was released earlier this week.

On Friday afternoon,​ ​about 600 friends,​ ​family and complete strangers came together in memory of Sotloff.

"They want to celebrate his life, not just his death," said Robert Hersh, executive director of Temple Beth Am.

FSU Investigates Jameis Winston For Title IX Violations

Sep 5, 2014

Florida State University is investigating its star quarterback for possible federal Title IX violations. The investigation stems from a December 2012 incident where Jameis Winston was accused of, but never charged with sexual assault.

Tropical Storm Bertha is moving northwest, taking aim at Puerto Rico and expected to skirt the Dominican Republic's coast.

The National Hurricane Center has issued a tropical storm warning for Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, Dominica, Martinique, and the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, while the Dominican Republic has issued a tropical storm watch.

Luckily, forecasters with the Hurricane Center say upper level winds are not favorable for further strengthening, so maximum sustained winds should remain at about 50 mph.

As tens of thousands children from Central America have been fleeing for the United States, U.S. society is trying to figure out how to deal with the crisis -- at many different levels.

Courtesy John Dykes

A grassroots effort to shield military veterans with post traumatic stress disorder from the fear and anxiety associated with Fourth of July fireworks is gaining traction around the country.

Florida is still one of worst states for long term care for the elderly. A new survey ranked the state 43rd in the country for long term support for older Floridians and their care givers.

The City of Miami Beach will be the first in the state to offer transgender benefits to city employees, starting this October. The Commission voted unanimously last Wednesday to offer the coverage.

 

More than 1,500 members of the civic group 100 Black Men of America are in Fort Lauderdale this week for the organization’s 28th annual convention.

Semoran Boulevard in Orlando, lined with gas stations, strip malls and bus stops, is a good example of what's wrong with the roads in this busy Florida city.

It's the most dangerous street in a city that ranks No. 1 in the nation for pedestrian accidents, according to a recent national study. There have been 28 crashes involving pedestrians — and six deaths — on this stretch of road over the past seven years.

Florida Retail Federation

There are only three days left for Florida residents to stock up on emergency items like batteries and generators and not have to pay sales tax on them.

There are now three new inductees in the Florida Civil Rights Hall of Fame. They range from the author of the Black National Anthem to another who’s hailed as the “father of St. Augustine’s civil rights movement.”

Robert B. Hayling, a Tallahassee native, is one of the new inductees into the third annual Florida Civil Rights Hall of Fame. Speaking at a ceremony held in the Capitol building Wednesday, the 94-year-old recalled a time when he was much younger when it was just the Historic Capitol building.

As bicycling goes, America is far behind Copenhagen, the promised land where roads look like bicycle highways as people pedal to work. But commuting by bike in the U.S. is catching on — though geographic, income and gender disparities persist.

In Chicago, busy Sheridan Road is the start of the Lakefront bike trail on its north side. That's where you can find plenty of bicyclists commuting to work early in the morning.

On Tuesday, Miami-Dade and Florida transportation officials will gather at the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce to discuss a huge railroad project.

Wikimedia Commons

Residents of the First Coast and communities across Florida have a powerful, new resource in their disaster preparedness tool kit.

I-95 misery has bent Henry Flagler's railroad tracks full circle.

Long ago, passenger trains on lines Flagler built turned a community called Fort Dallas, pop. 300, into Miami. Then cars on I-95 turned Miami into the Miami metropolitan area, driving a stake into Flagler passenger trains along the way. Now, in a historic swing of the pendulum, that same highway system may be resurrecting Flagler passenger service.

A sinkhole that had been under repair at The Villages widened over the weekend, threatening two homes and drawing national media attention.

A comprehensive bill to protect and restore Florida's natural springs has been moving through the state senate with strong bipartisan support. Support for springs in the Florida House, however, is far less certain. Still, it's the biggest burst of momentum and  public attention concerning these natural wonders in recent memory.

From today's Morning Edition, an audio postcard from Florida's Ichetucknee Springs State Park, a popular destination for vacationers.

Florida is another step closer to joining 13 other states in making it illegal for certain minors to get married. 

Miami Democratic Representative Cynthia Stafford’s bill passed unanimously in the House Healthy Families Subcommittee Tuesday. The measure prohibits anyone age 15 and younger from getting married. Stafford says in the past couple of years, there have been several marriages that involve underage minors, including one with a 13-year-old groom.

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