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2013 January
Archive for: January, 2013

Eyeing Re-Election, Scott Ends Austerity: $4 Billion Extra Spending in $74.2 Billion Budget

| January 31, 2013

Gov. Rick Scott’s $74.2 billion budget proposal unveiled Thursday is the largest in the state’s history and includes a $4 billion spending increase that targets constituencies Scott hopes to win back as he seeks re-election in 2014, among them teachers, environmentalists and what state workers will remain on the payroll.

The Problem With Florida’s Medicaid Program Isn’t Cost. It’s Too Many Working Poor.

| January 31, 2013

Florida has too many working poor whose employers don’t provide health insurance. Rather than complaining about the costs of coverage, we should try to increase the earnings of our people, argues Rick Outzen.

Three-Vehicle Wreck Hurts 3 and Closes Florida Park Dr. at Fawn Lane Almost 3 Hours

| January 31, 2013

A three-vehicle crash shut down Florida Park Drive in Palm Coast between Fawn Lane and Fayette Lane shortly after 2 p.m. Thursday afternoon. Three people were hurt, none with life-threatening injuries.

A Shooting in Woodlands Leads to Arrest, 2nd Shooting at Madison Green Does Not

| January 31, 2013

Flagler County sheriff’s deputies and paramedics were busy Wednesday night with two shootings in Palm Coast. One, in the Woodlands, was related to a domestic fight between a married couple, and led to the husband’s arrest. The other took place at Madison Green Apartments, injuring a man. The shooter, in that case, is still at [...]

Beyond Doctor’s Orders: When Health and Fitness Are Not Always a Matter of Choice

| January 30, 2013

The discipline it takes aside, getting healthy can be costly, writes Milissa Holland, in many more ways than one: healthy food is more expensive, exercise isn’t always as easy as deciding to do it, and even health insurance plans for the poor are becoming intractable. An invitation to discuss a central issue in most people’s lives.

Gov. Scott Floats $1.2 Billion Boost to Education, Including $480 Million for Teachers

| January 30, 2013

Scott’s $2,500-a-year raise for Florida teachers, costing $480 million, would be included in the $1.2 billion increase for K-12 education, which would add to last year’s $1 billion increase, yet the total, if approved, would still be off the all-time high for per-student education funding.

Lt. Steve Cole Will Be Sheriff’s Point Man On Growing School Cops and Victims’ Beats

| January 30, 2013

Cole’s appointment might have been routine in any other year. But the use of school resource officers is the leading issue for the Flagler County School Board in the wake of the Newtwon school shooting, and ahead of a Feb. 5 meeting on the school district’s revamped security plans.

Economic Growth Contracts By 0.1 Percent In Worst Showing Since 2009, With Asterisks

| January 30, 2013

It is a sharp and unexpected decline from the previous quarter’s 3.1 percent growth rate, but may be due top one-time shocks, including a 22 percent decline in military spending and Hurricane Sandy. Several indicators, including personal spending and saving and residential investment, are encouraging.

Flagler’s Tourism Council Would Relax Rules Governing Subsidies for Special Events

| January 30, 2013

The changes, affecting $100,000 in bed-tax dollars county government, through the tourism council, awards organizations that put on special events, would dispense with the requirement that organizations spend the money advertising their event, and would allow them to spend it on incidental expenses that may be more difficult to track.

When Doctor-Assisted Suicide Is the Humane Option

| January 29, 2013

In oncologists’ offices and Alzheimer’s nursing homes, illness is not “a portrait in blacks and whites, but unending shades of gray, involving the most profound of personal, moral, and religious questions.” Including when may it be right to help end a life.

Rep. DeSantis, Claiming to “Reject” Federal Pension Benefit, Misleads and Exaggerates

| January 29, 2013

It is illegal for members of Congress not to participate in the retirement system U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis (who represents Flagler) said he was rejecting. He is, in fact, not rejecting it, but claims will decline cashing the checks if and when he becomes eligible for them. It is only one of several misleading statements in an announcement this week.

With Gimmicky Interpretations, Gov. Scott Says 23 Colleges Meet $10K Challenge

| January 29, 2013

Shedding light on the gimmickry, one college said it had met Scott’s challenge – as far as students are concerned. The cost of a degree at the school is about $13,700, but is less than $10,000 only when financial aid is taken into account.

As if Flu Wasn’t Enough: Flagler on Alert For New Strain of “Winter Vomiting Disease”

| January 29, 2013

It’s not here yet. But it’s spreading fast: a new, virulent strain of norovirus, an intestinal and very contagious virus that causes projectile vomiting, diarrhea and other symptoms, and that has the Flagler County Health Department cautioning schools, hospitals, nursing homes and other such places to beware.

“Don’t Miss the Signs”: In Florida, Campaign and Means to Report Child Abuse Broaden

| January 28, 2013

Last year, the Florida Legislature passed the nation’s most protective child abuse reporting law. The state’s abuse hotline will accept reports of abuse committed by people other than parents and primary caregivers, such as a coach, teacher or neighbor.

Deadly Force Averted as Deputies Confront Another Troubled, Knife-Wielding Man

| January 28, 2013

Flagler County Sheriff’s deputies drew their guns, then their Tasers, but ended up firing neither as Erik Flores, a 32-year-old resident of Lindsay Drive in Palm Coast, was wrestled to the ground and arrested in the latest confrontation between a potentially violent, mentally ill man and police, just five weeks after another 32-year-old man was shot and killed for wielding a machete at Flagler deputies.

Dennis Cross, Dauntless Palm Coast City Council Candidate in 2011, Is Dead at 78

| January 28, 2013

Dennis Cross made his name as he fought his disqualification by redistricting and won that battle to be a candidate for the Palm Coast City Council in 2011, only to lose to Jason DeLorenzo by 36 votes, the narrowest margin in any Palm Coast election.

What an Ode to Farting, Drug-Dealing’s Benefits and the FCAT Have in Common

| January 27, 2013

A Matanzas High School student who wrote a humorous essay on the health benefits of drug-dealing was threatened with a referral, though his teacher gave him a near-top grade: Jo Ann Nahirny explains how FCAT rewards dull, stupid and bad writing at the expense of creativity.

Union-Busting’s Tasteless Florida Flavors

| January 27, 2013

Labor union membership has been in precipitous decline since 1980, along with with a decline in job security, workers’ wages and benefits, and Americans’ standard of living. It’s not a coincidence, though the vilification of labor unions continues.

Union Membership in 2012: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

| January 27, 2013

Union membership in 2012 data by state, gender and other characteristics, including median salary earnings and other historical data, as released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Transparency 101: Rick Scott’s Pay Raise Ploy

| January 26, 2013

Florida’s “education” governor wants to give teachers a $2,500 across-the-board raise. Translation: He wants to get re-elected in 2014. He’s not popular. So he’s trying to win votes by any means necessary, argues Rhonda Swan.

Flagler Sheriff’s Employee Arrested Over Leak to Her Son, Who Was Being Investigated

| January 25, 2013

Elizabeth Cretella faces a third-degree felony charge that she leaked information of an active investigation of sex crime allegations to her son–Robert Allen–before he was to be questioned in connection with the allegations.

Flagler Beach City Government Wants to Take Over July 4 Events, But Unsure How

| January 25, 2013

Flagler Beach government, eager to replicate Palm Coast’s method of making money from special events, would take over July 4 festivities run until now by the chamber of commerce, but city commissioners are uncomfortable with a complete take-over.

Would-Be Convenience Store Robber Arrested; A 15-Year-Old Faces Felony Arson Charge

| January 25, 2013

William Cory Hall, Woodbury Drive in Palm Coast was arrested on a robbery charge resulting from a December incident at a Palm Coast Parkway convenience store, while 15-year-old Aatif Mims of Webb Place was arrested on an arson charge after firefighters responded to four fires in the W-Section Thursday night.

Bad News for Counties: Juvenile Detention Costs Would More Heavily Burden Locals

| January 25, 2013

Florida’s Juvenile Justice Department, in a case involving 14 local governments and the Florida Association of Counties, filed an order rejecting arguments that its interpretation of the law has improperly shifted extra costs to counties.

Coke’s Obesity Campaign: Get Real

| January 24, 2013

For the first time, Coke is using its slick commercials to address obesity. But the company’s new ads, which are brimming with misleading statements, just put lipstick on this pig, argues Jill Richardson.

Daniel Biles, Former Bunnell Teacher’s Aide, Sentenced to 7 Years on Child Porn Charges

| January 24, 2013

Daniel Biles, a former teacher’s aide at Bunnell Elementary school and a long-time employee of the district, pleaded no contest to 20 charges of possessing child pornography, and will serve seven years in state prison and five years on sex-offender probation.

FRS RIP: Public Employees Hired After 2013 Would Be Shifted to 401(k)-Like Plan

| January 24, 2013

A Florida House committee unveiled a proposal Thursday that would shift all future state employees to a defined contribution, 401(k)-style retirement plan that would gradually spell the end of the Florida Retirement System.

Flagler Sheriff Deputies Will Respond to Many Medical Calls in Policy Shift Triggered By Death

| January 24, 2013

The change, the first significant and visible policy change of Flagler County Sheriff Jim Manfre’s new administration, is a direct result of the hit-and-run death of Françoise Pécqueur in Palm Coast’s C-Section in November 2011, when medical and fire units were dispatched, but cops didn’t get to the scene until six hours after the incident.

Blaming the Gun-Violence Epidemic On Mental Illness Doesn’t Begin to Resolve It

| January 23, 2013

With a startling personal revelation of her own, Milissa Holland argues in her latest column that if mental illness is to be a focus of gun control, it must be much better defined–and far more de-stigmatized. Otherwise, it’s a shield behind which politicians will do nothing.

As Gov. Scott Calls for $2,500 Teacher Raise, Reactions Are More Skeptical Than Jubilant

| January 23, 2013

Even in Flagler County, teachers and the school board chairman reacted to Gov. Rick Scott’s proposal with a mixture of skepticism and guarded optimism, as questions about math, political motives and local control abound.

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