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Dream Act’s Florida Push Dies as Senate Panel Kills Proposal to Give In-State Tuition to Undocumented Immigrants

| April 18, 2014

Supporters of the bill seemed taken aback by the news, which came less than a week after Sen. Jack Latvala, the Clearwater Republican who sponsored the bill, announced that half the Senate had agreed to join him in sponsoring the measure. Latvala and Negron are locked in a battle over the Senate presidency for the session beginning after the 2016 elections.

Raising Hope: Indian Trails Guardian Angels Lift Awareness of Teen Suicide and Depression

| April 17, 2014

The Guardian Angels, one of two Indian Trails Middle School Service Learning groups doing projects in conjunction with Palm Coast’s annual Arbor Day celebration on May 3, are raising money to dedicate a walkway at the Children’s Memorial Garden in Waterfront Park.

Your Amazon Holiday Is Over: Giant Starts Collecting Sales Tax in Florida in 2 Weeks

| April 17, 2014

For Floridians who are supposed to pay the taxes but haven’t, the announcement of Amazon’s entry into the state’s brick-and-mortar retail landscape could mean about $80 million a year in sales taxes, according to one business lobbying group.

Despite Parental Notification Law, Court Finds Room for Teens to Protect Privacy When Seeking Abortion

| April 16, 2014

Florida voters in 2004 approved a constitutional amendment that requires parents to be notified before their minor daughters can have abortions. But an appeals court ruling released Friday shows how far teens can go to challenge the law–and preserve their privacy when seeking an abortion.

No Thanks: Bunnell Votes 4-1 to Return Old Courthouse to the County, Citing Costs and Liabilities

| April 15, 2014

The stunning reversal culminates months of doubt and disappointment about the building on city officials’ part as they discovered a structure in more serious disrepair than the county had let on and tallied far more expensive bills ahead than the city could afford, if it were to keep the building.

House Balks at $2 Million-a-Year Tax Subsidy to Daytona Speedway as Other Breaks Advance

| April 15, 2014

Funding for Daytona International Speedway and a temporary tax break on gym memberships could be casualties when the House and Senate meet next week on their opposing packages to complete Gov. Rick Scott’s $500 million election-year tax cuts.

Trap, Neuter and Return: Feral Cat Program Makes Progress in Flagler Beach, But Not in Palm Coast

| April 14, 2014

The Flagler Humane Society is on pace to trap, neuter and return some 600 cats in Flagler Beach through a program that avoids killing the animals, though not without creating frictions among some residents. Attempts to to bring the TNR approach to Palm Coast continue to falter.

Rocky Mountain High or Reefer Madness? Legal Pot Comes with Risks

| April 13, 2014

Legal pot is attracting new and possibly naïve users — creating risks that some don’t bargain for. Second, the public health system’s desire to protect people may be well-intentioned, but regulation and efforts to track the health effects have a ways to go.

Palm Coast Voters Lose Again: The City Of Low Turnout Gets a Spoiled Election

| April 11, 2014

Even if Palm Coast and Supervisor of Elections Weeks work out their differences, as it now looks like they have, voters have already lost as this months-long manufactured controversy will become election campaign fodder for candidates who don’t have anything more substantial to offer.

Replacing Salisbury Steak With Sardines, Florida Prisons’ Kosher Option Raises Hackles

| April 11, 2014

Inmates contend that the peanut butter, sardines and cabbage served up daily by the Florida Department of Corrections are designed to discourage them from signing up for the kosher meals or to punish inmates if they do, and that the chow is far from what a federal judge had in mind last year when she ordered the state to start serving kosher meals to inmates.

On Again: Carver Center Auction Opens Bids for Safaris, Bowling, Pizza in a Commissioner’s Home (BYOB) and More

| April 10, 2014

The popular Carver Center Online Auction is back for the fourth year, with some 67 items to bid on through the rest of the month as Bunnell’s Carver Center foundation hopes to yet again raise at least $5,000. It has done so quite successfully in previous years.

Casino Legislation Is Dead This Year, But So Is Proposal to Report Injuries and Deaths of Race Greyhounds

| April 9, 2014

Florida will remain, along with Alabama, the only state that does not require require greyhound tracks to report dog injury and deaths. Also ended is a sweeping gambling overhaul that would have authorized two Las Vegas-style casinos in South Florida.

Open Skateboard Rinks to Scooters and Bikes? County and Flagler Beach Propose More Permissive Rules at Wadsworth

| April 9, 2014

The proposal is dividing officials and parents, some of whom like the broader allowance, some of whom consider it an invitation to accidents and lawsuits. The Flagler County Commission got in on the discussion earlier this week because the park belongs to the county, though it’s been run and policed by Flagler Beach for 10 years.

Palm Coast Prepares to Run Its Own Elections, But Cost Would Rise and Turnout Drop

| April 8, 2014

Supervisor of Elections Kimberle Weeks and Palm Coast have been in talks to resolve their differences, but in case they don’t, Palm Coast is planning on running its own elections in 2014, with paper ballots and at a single location only, which would most likely hurt turnout significantly.

Corruption Theorem: Money as Speech and the Supreme Court’s Death Blow to Democracy

| April 7, 2014

We’ve come a long way from the days of Lawton Chiles, who won his election for governor despite limiting contributions to $10 a pop. There is no longer any bidding limit on the vast auction block American politics has become since, writes Martin Dyckman.

Health Groups Oppose Bill Banning E-Cigarettes to Minors, Calling It a Stealth Favor to Big Tobacco

| April 7, 2014

The American Lung Association of Florida and other groups are fighting the measure because it would also ban local efforts to restrict the sales of cigarettes and other tobacco-related products.

My Agreement Or Else: Elections Supervisor Weeks Bluntly Rejects Palm Coast Proposals

| April 7, 2014

Reaffirming a stalemate, Weeks’s refusal to conduct the Palm Coast elections on any terms but hers means the city may have to go it alone, triggering costs and confusion.

Scoring the Legislature at the Half-Way Mark

| April 5, 2014

With the two chambers working in tandem on most issues, Gov. Rick Scott was able to sign a series of bills into law this week. They included a bill, dubbed the “Florida GI Bill,” aimed at making the state more military friendly; a package of bills aimed at keeping sexually violent predators locked up; and a bill that will roll back motor-vehicle registration fees.

Lawmakers Poised to Kill Florida KidCare Expansion for 25,000 Children of Legal Immigrants

| April 4, 2014

The proposal (HB 7 and SB 282) would eliminate a five-year waiting period for lawfully residing immigrants to be eligible for KidCare, a subsidized insurance program that serves children from low- and moderate-income families. Senate President Don Gaetz would vote against it.

As Baker Acting of Children Soars, Flagler School Board Grapples With Perceptions of “Outrage”

| April 3, 2014

Baker Acts involving children in schools has reached 32 so far this year, three times more than last year, prompting one school board member to call herself “outraged” at the police-led manner in which most such Baker Acts are carried out, even with teens and younger children.

Internet Café Crackdown: Gambling Task Force Serves Search Warrants in 5 Counties as Businesses Skirt Ban

| April 3, 2014

The Legislature essentially banned such businesses last year, but some continue to operate under different guises. At one point at least seven of the gambling parlors had been operating in Palm Coast, but none in Flagler Beach or the unincorporated part of Flagler County.

The Ten Tenors Renew Their Vows With Flagler in Two Broadway-Themed Shows at the Auditorium Saturday

| April 3, 2014

The Ten Tenors have been coming to the Flagler Auditorium for a dozen years, ever since they sprung out of Australia to set out on what’s become an increasingly popular, worldwide phenomenon.

Lifelong Republican Turned independent: Howard Holley Launches All-Business Bid For County Commission

| April 1, 2014

Howard Holley, a Hammock business executive, would face Flagler County Commissioner Frank Meeker in November if Meeker doesn’t have a primary opponent, no black candidate and no independent candidate has ever won a county commission seat.

Obamacare Tally: Florida Subsidies Average $3,000, But Some Families Complain of Costly Exclusion

| April 1, 2014

And yet only one in four Floridians who qualifies for a subsidy had enrolled in a plan by March 1, leaving 1 million eligible residents uninsured. A mother describes how the law’s employee-insurance provision barred her family from subsidies.

Rick Scott’s Dilemma: Helping Undocumented-Immigrant Students Or Sticking to His Base

| March 31, 2014

While Scott has repeatedly said he supports a proposal to end annual 15 percent tuition hikes, he’s remained mum about the portion of the bill that would grant in-state tuition to undocumented students, or Dreamers.

Weeks Against the World: Elections Supervisor Holds Out on Palm Coast Elections Despite Secretary of State’s Admonition

| March 31, 2014

The only higher official who hasn’t yet told Flagler County Supervisor of Elections Kimberle Weeks to move beyond her feud with the Palm Coast City Council over the city’s 2014 elections is Gov. Rick Scott. Sill, Weeks remains obstinate as time runs short for Palm Coast to decide who will run its 2014 elections.

News-Journal’s Mark Lane, Chronicler of the Darwinian, Will Try to Explain Florida In Library Talk Friday

| March 31, 2014

Lane will be bringing his wit, observation and histories to the Flagler County Public Library in Palm Coast on Friday, April 4, at 2 p.m., for a talk entitled, “Trying to Explain Florida in Print.” The free talk is hosted by the Friends of the Library of Flagler County.

Farewell To Bookstores:
Why I Won’t Miss Books-A-Million

| March 30, 2014

The closure of Books-A-Million is not as bad as it sounds: the chain bookstore was not living up to its billing as a cultural hub, and bookstores these days are becoming irrelevant thanks to Amazon, audio books and Google, which make the world’s libraries immediately accessible at a click.

Chris Christie’s Hormonal Problem

| March 29, 2014

Would someone please call Chris Christie and tell him that if he thinks he could be President of the United States, he doesn’t have a prayer. By insinuating that the lane closings were the handiwork of a woman suffering from a romantic setback, Christie’s lawyers have ensured that he will be scorned by every woman who has had to endure the canard that women are ruled by their hormones and their feelings.

Flagler-Palm Coast Under Tornado Watch Until 5 PM Saturday

| March 29, 2014

The National Weather Service placed Palm Coast and Flagler County under a tornado watch Saturday through 5 p.m., along with five other counties along a broad southwest to northeast band of severe storm activity.

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