Sunburn — The morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics — 1.4.21

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Here's your AM rundown of people, politics and policy in the Sunshine State.

A special message from Michelle Todd Schorsch — Please forgive this very special, top-of-Sunburn takeover. Call it spousal privilege.

Today, we celebrate a man who spends a considerable amount of time celebrating others and promoting The Process.

He is as incredible a father, husband and friend as he is a political influencer. Although he may be most well-known for insightful, no-holds-barred takes on Florida politics, to us, he is the best RV driver, the butt of jokes, a loser of Uno Attack, and questioner of all game rules (even when presented with said rules in writing).

There is nothing he wouldn’t do for his daughter — even jump into an ice-cold swimming pool in 40-degree weather — and he loves all his friends’ children immensely.

He is a man who recognized he was blessed with a second shot to make the most of his life and taking every single opportunity to maximize that gift.

While this has been a challenging year for many, he has managed to find another gear to give even more to his business, colleagues, friends, and (most importantly) his family.

When so much we held dear was taken from us, he still found a way to make magic, creating a year that his daughter described as “one of the best ever.”

He spends most weekends at horse shows cheering on his daughter — despite being deathly allergic to horses.

There’s nothing he wouldn’t do for the people he loves.

So, please join us in raising a glass (and eating a meat and cheese board) to celebrate this great man.

Happy birthday Peter Schorsch!

A toast, to celebrate Peter Schorsch!


Today marks my 45th birthday. I am waking up in Pine Mountain, Georgia on the second-to-last-stop of another amazing family RV adventure.

If you had asked me a year ago on my birthday where I might find myself today, I’m not sure the Pine Mountain RV Resort would be at the top of the list. Yet, as I contemplate my birthday and — as so many of us are during this pandemic — my vitality and my mortality, I keep thinking of Jed Bartlett’s favorite line from “The Lion in Winter”:

“By God, I’m 50, alive and a king … all at the same time.”

Well, I’m not 50. And I’m certainly not a king. But I am alive. And for that I am grateful.

This sense of gratitude evokes poor Lester Burnham’s monologue at the end of “American Beauty”:

” … it’s hard to stay mad when there’s so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I’m seeing it all at once and it’s too much. My heart fills up like a balloon that’s about to burst. And then I remember to relax and stop trying to hold on to it. And then it flows through me like rain …”

If there is anything I ask you to take away from when you read or listen to me, it’s that I am enthusiastic about so much … about family … about my wife’s love … about Ella‘s horse-riding … about who I like and don’t like … about what I fight for and against … about what makes me laugh and cry.

That’s what I enjoy so much about my oyster-like position in Florida politics: that so many of you share these enthusiasms with me. That those of you who love Disney cruises take time out of your vacations to text me your family photos from Castaway Key. That those of you who build Legos with your own kids, send me mini-figures that they built after hearing about Ella’s Lego City. That those of you who love New York restaurants love to tease me with delicious Instagram shots of your favorite meals.

Not everyone gets to be connected like this. This, in no way, makes me important. But it does make me feel blessed. It does make me want to get up early in the morning.

As Lester said: “I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life. You have no idea what I’m talking about, I’m sure. But don’t worry: you will someday.”


It may be my birthday, but it’s Sunburn readers who are getting a surprise.

The latest edition of INFLUENCE Magazine — featuring the 2021 class of the Rising Stars of Florida politics — is now live.



First in INFLUENCE Magazine — Nancy Texeira, Matthew Yost launch new consulting firm to kick off the New Year — New year, new firm. That’s the motto for Texeira and Yost, two Converge GPS alumni who are moving on to start their own consulting firm, Innovative Strategy Group. With a Jan. 1 launch date, the organization will offer two-pronged services. For political candidates, the duo will help manage clients’ campaigns. That means handling budgeting work, finding campaign consultants and putting together full, cycle-long plans for those respective campaigns. Texeira and Yost also plan to offer public affairs services for corporate or association clients, helping to craft messaging for those groups’ legislative agendas. Texeira said she plans to keep a limited clientele.


Congrats — “Bachelor no more: Matt Gaetz is engaged” via Annie Blanks of the Pensacola News Journal — Gaetz got engaged Wednesday night to his girlfriend, 26-year-old Ginger Luckey, the sister of Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey. Gaetz retweeted a photo from Jeanine Pirro, more commonly known as TV’s “Judge Jeanine,” announcing the engagement along with an accompanying photo Wednesday night. “Thank you for sharing the moment with us Judge!” Gaetz said in a tweet. Luckey is an analyst at Apeel, a company that produces coatings for produce to keep food fresh, according to her LinkedIn. Her residence is listed as Santa Barbara, California.


Here are a few other items I am reading on my birthday:

 — Gov. Ron DeSantis named scoundrel of the year: The New Republic, an independent liberal reform publication, named DeSantis its 2020 scoundrel of the year. The scathing editorial highlights DeSantis’ actions, or lack thereof, on the coronavirus pandemic. It offers a blistering commentary based on the premise of, well, nothing. Nothing, the article claims, is what DeSantis not only did on the pandemic but what he amplified through a series of too little, too late actions and an ongoing commitment to downplaying the virus at every turn. Simply put, it’s brutal.

 — Anna Eskamani gets a national spotlight: Rep. Eskamani, an Orlando Democrat, was featured in a Washington Post article this weekend highlighting the struggle among both major political parties to heal political divisions brought on by a pandemic and a polarizing presidential election. Eskamani, who represents the liberal side of the challenge in the piece, nabs the spotlight for her work helping constituents who were left behind because of the state’s broken unemployment system. Her office helped some 21,000 Floridians, many not even in her district, obtain benefits for which they were entitled. In all, her office accounted for about 25% of all state lawmaker interventions.

Donald Trump and a pandemic mark 2021, but what about all that other stuff?: Everyone will remember bombastic headlines surrounding the presidential election, toilet paper shortages and lockdowns, but there was a lot that happened in 2020 that may fall through the cracks of our collective memories. Mashable, known in part for its click-worthy listicles, outlined 58 things folks may have forgotten. From pop culture news like Megxit (Meagan and Harry leaving the Royal Family) and J-Lo and Shakira‘s booty-shaking Super Bowl performance to natural disasters like California and Australia wildfires, Mashable’s got an extensive list to jog your memory on all that other stuff.

What will journalism look like in 2021?: The Nieman Lab spoke with top journalists and media experts about what the news might look like throughout the new year. In all, more than 150 veteran reporters and journalism experts weighed in with an analysis of post-2020 reporting. Their opinions about the future of journalism range from concerns about diversity in the field to breakdowns in American democracy. Some offer a downtrodden view of the new face of journalism, muddied by rampant misinformation campaigns that make sharing facts increasingly difficult. Others offer advice on how to move forward from the Trump presidency and return to journalistic roots. The nearly unanimous consent, however, is that journalism has transformed, and not always for the better.


@realDonaldTrump: Something how Dr. [Anthony] Fauci is revered by the LameStream Media as such a great professional, having done, they say, such an incredible job, yet he works for me and the [Donald] Trump Administration, and I am in no way given any credit for my work. Gee, could this just be more Fake News?

Tweet, tweet:

@RonBrownstein: There’s a direct line b/twn more Rs moving to subvert [Joe] Biden‘s win & the racially-infused closing case of [Kelly] Loeffler/[David] Perdue that if Ds win Senate “we will lose America.” If each election’s stakes are truly so apocalyptic, more in GOP will likely view ditching democracy a small price

@JonathanAlter: If we “move on,” the GOP will refuse to concede future elections, then judge-shop until they steal one. There must be a price paid for sedition or we will lose our democracy. This is critically important work in the next couple of years.

@MehdiHasan: Here’s the harsh reality for Americans who’ve long believed we lived in the greatest democracy on earth: if [Brad] Raffensberger wasn’t Sec of State in GA and/or if GOP controlled both chambers of Congress, there’s more than a high chance that Biden wouldn’t be President come Jan 20th.

@EvanLambertTV: Mayor is activating emergency ops center and @DCPoliceDept will have all hands on deck Tu & Wed.

@CarlosGSmith: What would @FloridaGOP do if I, as a state legislator, called @OCFElections Supervisor Bill Cowles (a Democrat) and demanded he find 11,000 votes for Senator Bill Nelson after he lost to @SenRickScott by 10,033 votes? Would I be in prison?


Georgia U.S. Senate runoff elections — 1; NHL season begins — 9; WandaVision premieres on Disney+ — 11; the 2021 Inauguration — 16; Florida Chamber Economic Outlook and Job Solution Summit begins — 24; Super Bowl LV in Tampa — 34; Daytona 500 — 41; “Nomadland” with Frances McDormand — 47; “Coming 2 America” premieres on Amazon Prime — 61; “The Many Saints of Newark” premieres — 67; “No Time to Die” premieres (rescheduled) — 88; Children’s Gasparilla — 96; Seminole Hard Rock Gasparilla Pirate Fest — 103; “A Quiet Place Part II” rescheduled premiere — 109; “Black Widow” rescheduled premiere — 123; “Top Gun: Maverick” rescheduled premiere — 179; Disney’s “Shang Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings” premieres — 187; new start date for 2021 Olympics — 200; “Jungle Cruise” premieres — 207; St. Petersburg Primary Election — 232; “Dune” premieres — 270; St. Petersburg Municipal Elections — 302; Disney’s “Eternals” premieres — 305; “Spider-Man Far From Home” sequel premieres — 347; Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” premieres — 340; “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” premieres — 445; “Thor: Love and Thunder” premieres — 487; “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” sequel premieres — 641.


DeSantis became a ‘mini-Donald Trump’ as COVID-19 struck Florida in 2020, critics say” via Steven Lemongello of The Orlando Sentinel — DeSantis had a tumultuous 2020, with his response to the coronavirus pandemic eating into his once-high approval numbers. And now the Republican Governor faces 2021 without his stalwart ally Trump in the White House and Democrat Biden taking over. Most Republicans defended DeSantis throughout the year as he kept businesses open so owners and workers would get paid and made sure children were able to continue their education face-to-face in schools. But critics blasted him as a faithful follower of the President’s playbook of downplaying the COVID-19 crisis.

Critics say Ron DeSantis ripped a page from the Donald Trump playbook when COVID-19 struck Florida. Image via AP.

Scoop — “Fred Piccolo out as Gov. Ron DeSantis spokesperson” via Peter Schorsch of Florida Politics — Piccolo, communications director for Gov.  DeSantis, is resigning his position, senior sources with the Governor’s Office inform Florida Politics. Piccolo will become the Executive Vice-Chancellor of the Florida College System on Jan. 6, where he will reunite with former boss Richard Corcoran. Piccolo served as Communications Director for Corcoran during his tenure as House Speaker. While Piccolo is not officially leaving office until he begins his new job, his responsibilities will be handed off to other staff members. “After 23 years in this business, It is the right time to finally put my health and family first,” Piccolo wrote in a draft letter obtained by Florida Politics.

First on #FlaPol — “Jimmy Patronis appoints Julie Jones as Deputy Chief Financial Officer” via Jason Delgado of Florida Politics — Patronis appointed Jones to serve as Deputy Chief Financial Officer. As Deputy CFO, Jones will oversee sworn law enforcement divisions in areas such as Investigative and Forensic Services, Public Assistance Fraud and Workers’ Compensation. Jones is no stranger to Florida law enforcement. She led Florida’s corrections agency from 2015 to 2019 after she was appointed by former Gov. Scott. During that time, Patronis noted that she added 200 more correctional officer positions and increased the agency’s budget to improve safety and recidivism rates. Before that, Jones served as the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ executive director from 2009 to 2014.


Florida sees record-breaking number of new COVID-19 cases, testing over New Year’s holiday” via Howard Cohen and Devoun Cetoute of The Miami Herald — On Saturday, the first reporting day of 2021, the Florida Department of Health confirmed 31,518 additional cases, the highest number recorded yet since the pandemic began and that’s counting data dumps and two-day reported figures post-Thanksgiving and post-Christmas. The state did not report figures on New Year’s Day, Friday. As was the case with Thanksgiving and Christmas Day holidays, Florida is reporting two-day today figures in its post-holiday report. Florida has now a total of 1,354,833 confirmed cases. Also, 217 new resident deaths were announced, bringing the resident toll to 21,890. Two-day totals for deaths after holidays were 140 on Dec. 26 and 109 on Nov. 27.

Florida is seeing a record post-holiday surge in COVID-19 testing, cases. Image via AP.

Florida reports 100 more COVID-19 deaths Sunday, 10,603 new cases” via Clayton Freeman of The Florida Times-Union — The Florida Department of Health added 100 more COVID-19 deaths in Sunday’s report on the coronavirus pandemic, one day before the expansion of vaccination efforts across Northeast Florida. The statewide death toll increased to 22,310 for the duration of the pandemic, with four newly-reported deaths in Northeast Florida. Duval County and Putnam County each added two fatalities, raising the regional toll to 1,220. With test volume decreasing, the Florida Department of Health positivity rate for laboratory results received Saturday jumped to 14.02%, its highest level since a single-day spike above 26% on Dec. 28. Positivity increased significantly in most of Northeast Florida.

New virus strain emerges in Florida” via News Service of Florida — A contagious new strain of the coronavirus that has spread in Britain has been detected in a man in Florida, the state Department of Health said. “Florida has evidence of the first identified case of the UK COVID-19 variant in Martin County,” the department said in a Twitter post. “The individual is a male in his 20s with no history of travel. The Department is working with the CDC on this investigation. We encourage all to continue practicing COVID-19 mitigation.” In another tweet, the department added, “Experts anticipate little to no impact on the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine.” “Preliminary epidemiologic indicators suggest that this variant is associated with increased transmissibility,” the CDC website said.

Vaccine rollout at Florida’s long-term care facilities marred by ‘mediocre’ response, lack of information” via Kate Santich of The Orlando Sentinel — Florida’s COVID-19 vaccination program was supposed to give top priority to residents in long-term care facilities, but critics say the process has been marred by confusion, delays and a lack of information, even as healthy 65-year-olds are able to get vaccines through county health departments. While the Florida Department of Health has taken charge of vaccination clinics operated in the counties the job of administering the vaccine program at more than 3,000 Florida nursing homes and assisted living facilities has been contracted to Walgreen’s and CVS Health with questionable results.


76,000 struggling students will be asked to return to school” via Scott Travis of The South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Parents of about 76,000 South Florida children will soon receive letters saying their kids are failing at distance learning and they need to come back to campus. Whether the kids actually return will be up to the parents. But those who still want to keep their kids in virtual learning due to COVID-19 concerns will have to sign acknowledgment forms saying they understand their kids are performing poorly, but they still want them to stay home. The letters are expected to go out to parents in early January, although some parents may have already been contacted.

In the dark: Lack of information hides full picture of COVID-19 in Leon County” via Casey Chapter and C.D. Davidson-Hiers of The Tallahassee Democrat — Data can tell a story. But a lack of it is obscuring a full picture of the COVID-19 virus’s impact in Florida’s capital county. In Leon County, the Florida Department of Health says out of 18,706 locals who have tested positive for COVID-19, 5,700 are Black residents. That’s 30%, but only out of the number of people who have tested positive. Not knowing who is going for a COVID-19 test in the first place provides an incomplete picture of who is testing positive for the virus in Leon County and could hinder public officials’ decisions as the pandemic rages on.

Reporting COVID-19 cases in Leon County make it difficult to get a grasp on its impact. Image via AP.

Broward’s COVID vaccination sign-up site sees more outages on Sunday” via Savannah Bryan of the South Florida Sun Sentinel — A hefty dose of patience was required Sunday for seniors hoping to use the state Department of Health’s Broward County site to sign up for a COVID-19 vaccination. People 65 and over can make an appointment on the site at But on Sunday, the site had some rocky moments where it went offline, came back online, then went offline again. The site also crashed on Wednesday, overwhelmed by the number of people trying to sign up.

New Year’s Eve parties crowded Tampa Bay on same day Florida broke coronavirus record” via Bailey LeFever and Luis Santana of The Tampa Bay Times — Packed New Year’s Eve celebrations raged across the Tampa Bay area on the same day that Florida broke its coronavirus caseload record with more than 17,000 cases added in one day. Administrations and agencies on both sides of the bay had encouraged residents to celebrate safely. Tampa Mayor Jane Castor tweeted advice to stay home from the CDC. The City of St. Petersburg told residents on Twitter: “Celebrating NYE virtually or with members of your own household poses the lowest risk for spread.” But crowds gathered in Ybor City, Channelside, St. Petersburg and at other local bars for partying that looked almost pre-coronavirus — with few masks and little social distancing in sight.

COVID-19 killed hundreds, sickened thousands and slammed Sarasota-Manatee economy” via Zac Anderson of The Sarasota Herald-Tribune — The coronavirus pandemic arrived in Southwest Florida with a bang in March, with one of Florida’s first two confirmed cases at Doctors Hospital in Sarasota. The community hasn’t been the same since. The tourism economy nose-dived, thousands were sickened and hundreds died. And even as vaccines began arriving and a light at the end of the tunnel came into view, the virus continued to have a significant effect on the region’s health and economy as 2020 came to a close. More than 900 people died of COVID-19 in Sarasota and Manatee counties in 2020, more than 40,000 residents of the two counties were infected with the virus and more than 2,100 were hospitalized.

500 Escambia residents get COVID vaccine Sunday, part of state pilot to test rollout” via Annie Blanks of the Pensacola News Journal — About 500 Escambia County residents were among the first in the general population to receive the COVID-19 vaccination on Sunday morning, thanks to a pilot program initiated by the Florida Division of Emergency Management and Florida Department of Health intended to test how the vaccine rollout will look on the ground.  The residents, all aged 65 or older and mostly minorities, were recruited by the state for the vaccine this past week through their churches and other grassroots community efforts.


More than 3 million people died in 2020 — the deadliest year in US history” via Mike Stobbe of USA Today — This is the deadliest year in U.S. history, with deaths expected to top 3 million for the first time, due mainly to the coronavirus pandemic. But preliminary numbers suggest that the United States is on track to see more than 3.2 million deaths this year, or at least 400,000 more than in 2019. The 2020 numbers amount to a jump of about 15% and could go higher once all the deaths from this month are counted. That would mark the largest single-year percentage leap since 1918, when tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers died in World War I and hundreds of thousands of Americans died in a flu pandemic.

Trump’s focus as the pandemic raged: What would it mean for him?” via Michael D. Shear, Maggie Haberman, Noah Weiland, Sharon LaFraniere and Mark Mazzetti of The New York Times — Throughout late summer and fall, in the heat of a reelection campaign that he would go on to lose, and in the face of mounting evidence of a surge in infections and deaths far worse than in the spring, Trump’s management of the crisis was in effect reduced to a single question: What would it mean for him? The result was a lose-lose situation. Trump not only ended up soundly defeated by Biden but missed his chance to show that he could rise to the moment in the final chapter of his presidency and meet the defining challenge of his tenure.

Donald Trump’s COVID-19 response was based on one question: What’s in it for him? Image via AP.

Why Congress ducked this COVID-19 legal fight (for now)” via Joel Rosenblatt of Bloomberg — The leader of the U.S. Senate, Republican Mitch McConnell, has warned that a forthcoming wave of litigation over COVID-19 will amount to a “second pandemic.” That’s the basis for a continuing effort in Congress to shield companies from lawsuits filed by workers and consumers who get sick. Though a liability shield ended up being dropped from the economic stimulus measure passed in the final days of 2020, the issue is not going away, and some states have moved to provide their own versions of legal immunity for businesses. While Congress has remained gridlocked on any federal measure, at least 10 states have created their own legal shields for businesses and individuals.

Americans’ readiness to take the COVID-19 vaccine spikes after the start of shots” via Susan Page and Sarah Elbeshbishi of USA Today — Americans’ willingness to take the coronavirus vaccine has jumped since the first two vaccines were authorized by the FDA and health care workers and nursing home residents began to receive the shots. That growing acceptance is a reassuring sign for public health experts who call the distribution of the vaccine crucial to controlling the pandemic that has killed more than 318,000 people in the USA. In a poll Wednesday through Sunday, 46% say they will take the vaccine as soon as they can. That’s close to double the 26% who were ready to get the shot as soon as possible in a poll in late October.

Sluggish vaccine campaign raises specter of U.S. dysfunction” via Angelica LaVito of Bloomberg — U.S. health officials acknowledged that a COVID-19 immunization campaign is crawling out of the starting gate, raising the prospect that the nation’s all-in bet on vaccines could be afflicted by the same dysfunction that hobbled other measures to contain the pandemic. Only about 3.05 million Americans had been vaccinated as of late Wednesday evening in New York, according to Bloomberg’s vaccine tracker. Senior public-health officials said the vaccination pace will accelerate as soon as next week. Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities are likely to get more shots done as the new year dawns and the holidays recede.

Vaccination is going slowly because nobody is in charge” via Ashish K. Jha of The Washington Post — Vaccine development for COVID-19 has occurred at a remarkable pace, thanks in large part to the careful work of the scientific community, both in the United States and around the globe. Operation Warp Speed played a key role in accelerating the creation of vaccines without cutting corners and producing millions of doses. As a result, the two vaccines that have been authorized by the FDA are safe and highly effective against the disease. That’s why we want them to reach people’s immune systems as quickly as possible and why the current delays in getting people vaccinated are so disappointing. The CDC is reporting that we have vaccinated about 2.6 million people. Assuming the reporting lags by a few days, we might be at 3 or 4 million total.

A lack of coordination is slowing down the vaccination effort. Image via AP.

Early vaccination in prisons, a public health priority, proves politically charged” via Isaac Stanley-Becker of The Washington Post — Colorado’s vaccination plan, which put incarcerated people in line for coronavirus immunization ahead of the elderly and those with chronic conditions, had been released by the state health department. It was the product of months of deliberation by members of the state’s medical advisory group. But their framework, when subject to the machinery of online outrage, quickly unraveled. Gov. Jared Polis said at a December news briefing there was “no way” the limited supply of shots would “go to prisoners before it goes to people who haven’t committed any crime.” He let out a short laugh as he pronounced the word “prisoners.”


Why Congress ducked this COVID-19 legal fight (for now)” via Joel Rosenblatt of Bloomberg — The leader of the U.S. Senate, Republican Mitch McConnell, has warned that a forthcoming wave of litigation over COVID-19 will amount to a “second pandemic.” That’s the basis for a continuing effort in Congress to shield companies from lawsuits filed by workers and consumers who get sick. Though a liability shield ended up being dropped from the economic stimulus measure passed in the final days of 2020, the issue is not going away, and some states have moved to provide their own versions of legal immunity for businesses. While Congress has remained gridlocked on any federal measure, at least 10 states have created their own legal shields for businesses and individuals.

Mitch McConnell and Congress dodged a legal bullet with COVID-19. Image via AP.

Questions remain about added jobless benefits” via Jim Turner of The News Service of Florida — Questions remained about when extended unemployment benefits from a newly signed federal stimulus package will be available for Floridians out of work. The state’s jobs agency had not posted a timetable about the extended benefits, and no formal announcement had been made about whether Floridians will be covered for the current week because of when the $900 billion federal package was signed. The Department of Economic Opportunity, already anticipating unemployment payments to be delayed two to three days because of banks closing for the New Year’s holiday, said that while it is “working diligently on these additional benefits,” it must first get direction from the U.S. Department of Labor.


Britain opens door to mix-and-match vaccinations, worrying experts” via Katherine J. Wu of The New York Times — Amid a sputtering vaccine rollout and fears of a new and potentially more transmissible variant of the coronavirus, Britain has quietly updated its vaccination playbook to allow for a mix-and-match vaccine regimen. If a second dose of the vaccine a patient originally received isn’t available, or if the manufacturer of the first shot isn’t known, another vaccine may be substituted, health officials said. The new guidance contradicts guidelines in the United States, where the CDC has noted that the authorized COVID-19 vaccines “are not interchangeable.”

Where Year Two of the pandemic will take us” via Ed Yong of The Atlantic — The coronavirus pandemic ignited at the end of 2019 and blazed across 2020. Many countries repeatedly contained it. The United States did not. At least 19 million Americans have been infected. At least 326,000 have died. The virus now has so much momentum that more infection and death are inevitable as the second full year of the pandemic begins. The pandemic will end not with a declaration, but with a long, protracted exhalation. Even if everything goes according to plan, which is a significant if, the horrors of 2020 will leave lasting legacies. And a nation that has begun to return to normal will have to decide whether to remember that normal led to this.

Going ‘back to normal’ in Year Two of COVID-19 may not be feasible. Image via AP.

Some COVID-19 survivors haunted by loss of smell and taste” via Roni Caryn Rabin of The New York Times — A diminished sense of smell, called anosmia, has emerged as one of the telltale symptoms of COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. It is the first symptom for some patients, and sometimes the only one. Often accompanied by an inability to taste, anosmia occurs abruptly and dramatically in these patients, almost as if a switch had been flipped. COVID-19 cases are piling up as the coronavirus sweeps across the world, and some experts fear that the pandemic may leave huge numbers of people with a permanent loss of smell and taste.

Could Beyoncé do for the coronavirus vaccine what Elvis Presley did for polio?” via John Woodrow Cox of The Washington Post — As millions of Americans continue to express reluctance or outright refusal to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, the country’s political and public health leaders are pondering a question critical to ending the pandemic: Who can change their minds? When the federal government faced a similar dilemma more than a half-century ago, it had a king at its disposal. In 1956, a huge number of teenagers were refusing or neglecting to get the polio vaccine developed by Jonas Salk. So Presley, then 21 years old, was recruited to help. This month, a viral tweet implied that Presley’s staged photo op was the primary reason that millions of teens began to get the polio vaccination in the late 1950s. Elvis had a marginal impact though.

Sneezed on, cussed at, ignored: Airline workers battle mask resistance with scant government backup” via Michael Laris of The Washington Post — Displays of rule-bucking intransigence are described in more than 150 aviation safety reports filed with the federal government since the start of the pandemic. The reports provide an unguarded accounting of bad behavior by airline customers, something executives hit by a steep drop in travel and billions in pandemic-related losses are loath to share themselves. Some reports raise safety concerns beyond the risk of coronavirus infection. A flight attendant reported being so busy seeking mask compliance that the employee couldn’t safely reach a seat in time for landing.


‘I just want to find 11,780 votes’: In extraordinary hour-long call, Trump pressures Georgia secretary of state to recalculate the vote in his favor” via Amy Gardner of The Washington Post — Trump urged fellow Republican Raffensperger, the Georgia secretary of state, to “find” enough votes to overturn his defeat in an extraordinary one-hour phone call that legal scholars described as a flagrant abuse of power and a potentially criminal act. In a recording of the conversation in which Trump alternately berated Raffensperger, tried to flatter him, begged him to act, and threatened him with vague criminal consequences if the secretary of state refused to pursue his false claims, at one point warning that Raffensperger was taking “a big risk.” Throughout the call, Raffensperger and his office’s general counsel rejected Trump’s assertions, explaining that the President is relying on debunked conspiracy theories and that Biden’s victory in Georgia was fair and accurate.

To listen to excerpts of the conversation, click on the image below:

Mike Pence’s very limited options to challenge Joe Biden’s win” via Amber Phillips of The Washington Post — Pence is supposed to serve as the presiding officer when Congress meets Jan. 6 to confirm the electoral college’s results. That’s got some allies of Trump hoping they can find a way around the law to get Pence to actually award the election to him. Pence will almost certainly have to declare Biden the winner as his boss refuses to concede. Pence can recognize or not recognize lawmakers and electoral votes. To not recognize official votes would be illegal and knocked down almost immediately by majorities in Congress.

Ted Cruz disrupting the Electoral College count won’t change anything. It can still hurt democracy.” via Edward B. Foley of The Washington Post — Cruz’s 11th-hour effort to derail certification of Biden’s election victory is the wrong solution to a non-problem at the wrong time. Fortunately, it also won’t succeed, but it nonetheless provides one more alarming sign of the perilous state of our democracy. Cruz and 10 colleagues announced Saturday that they will vote to challenge electoral college votes in “disputed states” when Congress meets Jan. 6, though it was unclear how many states that will be. Cruz’s call for a commission is just a ruse to prolong Trump’s attempt to sow doubt on the result when there should be none.

Josh Hawley faces heat from Senate Republicans over Electoral College plans” via Alex Isenstadt of POLITICO — McConnell pressed Missouri Sen. Hawley on a conference call to explain his plans to object to the Electoral College vote next week, which sets up an awkward vote for Hawley’s fellow Senate Republicans while boosting the Missourian’s national profile. But McConnell was met with silence. Hawley, unbeknown to some on the call, which was attended by Senate Republicans, was not present. He later emailed GOP colleagues to outline his decision to oppose final certification of President-elect Biden’s victory. According to multiple people familiar with the discussion, the Senate GOP leader also asked Hawley several times to walk through how his objection would play out.

In contesting the election results, Josh Hawley draws the ire of Mitch McConnell and other Senate Republicans. Image via AP.

Trump supporters gather in front of Marco Rubio’s West Miami home. ‘You work for us.’” via Lautaro Grinspan of The Miami Herald — About two dozen Trump supporters gathered in front of Florida Sen. Rubio’s residence in West Miami on Saturday to demand the senator challenge President-elect Biden’s victory next week when Congress meets to formally certify election results. In a joint statement published earlier Saturday, 11 Republican Senators and Senators-elect said they would vote to reject Biden’s win, a course of action they acknowledge is ultimately unlikely to overturn the results of the race. Neither Rubio nor fellow Florida Sen. Scott was among the statement’s signatories. At the West Miami gathering, protesters waved Trump flags and chanted “stop the steal.”

John Rutherford says he will object to certifying electoral college victory for Biden” via David Bauerlein of The Florida Times-Union — Rutherford will object to certifying the Electoral College results when Congress votes next week to make Biden’s victory official. Rutherford also called on state legislators in six states to decertify the results of their presidential elections so members of the U.S. House can step in to choose between Biden and Trump for who will lead the country the next four years. Rutherford joins a growing number of Republican lawmakers who say they will object when Congress officially records the results of the election that saw Biden defeat Trump by a margin of 306-232 votes in the Electoral College.

Byron Donalds plans to object to Electoral College count for President-elect Biden” via Bill Smith of The Naples Daily News — U.S. Rep.-elect Donalds said he will object to the certification process for making the results of the 2020 presidential election official. Donalds released a statement through social media that he “cannot in good faith vote to support the certification of the Electoral College results on Jan. 6.” Objections by Donalds and others would be a final challenge to the election of Biden. Biden defeated Trump in the November election by capturing 306 electoral votes to 232 for Trump. Donalds represents much of Collier and Lee counties. He received more than 61% of the vote in defeating Democrat Cindy Banyai in November. Donalds is set to be sworn in on Jan. 3.

Judge dismisses Louie Gohmert lawsuit seeking to stymie Biden Electoral College count” via Devlin Barrett of The Washington Post — A federal judge in Texas has dismissed a long-shot lawsuit by Rep. Gohmert that sought to overturn the presidential election, saying neither the congressman nor his allies have legal standing to pursue the case. The judge’s Friday night ruling tosses out what many election law experts considered a far-fetched theory to challenge the formal mechanism by which Biden will be affirmed as the winner of the race for President. U.S. District Judge Jeremy D. Kernodle issued an order dismissing the case because, he found, neither Gohmert nor his fellow plaintiffs have a sufficient legal stake in the process to justify the lawsuit. Kernodle was nominated to the federal bench by Trump.

Louie Gohmert gets a legal slapdown. Image via AP.

The new center of Trump’s political world: Palm Beach” via Meredith McGraw of POLITICO — The center of gravity for the MAGA universe is moving ZIP codes with Trump. In anticipation of Trump setting up permanent residence at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach after leaving the White House in January, Trump allies, conservative media firebrands and MAGA-boosting activist groups are setting up the next Trumpy hub of GOP power. Some Trump supporters have settled in South Florida, drawn by Florida’s friendly tax climate and the state’s current GOP leadership. Other prominent MAGA groups, like the student organizing outfit Turning Point USA, are holding events in the area. Meanwhile, the President and First Lady Melania Trump are renovating their private quarters at Mar-a-Lago to prepare for a permanent return.

Omari Hardy wants Mar-a-Lago punished for maskless New Year’s Eve bash” via Kimberly Miller of The Palm Beach Post — A newly elected state lawmaker from South Florida wants Palm Beach County to take on President Donald Trump‘s Mar-a-Lago club for its New Year’s Eve bash, at which many patrons and performers were seen without masks. Hardy, a Lake Worth Beach Democrat, wrote a letter Friday evening to Todd Bonlarron, assistant county administrator for Palm Beach County, asking whether the county will take action against the private club for violating a countywide mandatory mask policy.

Relax, a Trump comeback in 2024 is not going to happen” via John F. Harris of POLITICO — There are three primary reasons to be deeply skeptical that Trump’s moment of dominating his party and public consciousness will continue long after Jan. 20. Most important are the abundant precedents suggesting Trump does not have another important act in national politics. Trump, however, is singular in one sense only: No politician of his stripe has ever achieved the presidency. In multiple other ways, he is a familiar American type, anticipated by such diverse figures as Joseph McCarthy, George Wallace, and Ross Perot. Trump has largely abandoned any pretense that he thinks about anything other than his personal resentments, or that he is trying to harness his movement to big ideas that will improve the lives of citizens.


Biden asks nation for bell ringings, light shows to remember those lost to COVID-19” via Axios staff reports — To set the tone for his inauguration the next day, President-elect Biden will lead a memorial to remember and honor lives lost to COVID-19, with church-bell ringings and light shows across the country on Tuesday, Jan. 19, at 5:30 p.m. ET. The Presidential Inauguration Committee is announcing this morning that a D.C. ceremony will feature lights around the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool. “PIC is inviting cities and towns around the country to join Washington, D.C., in illuminating buildings and ringing church bells at 5:30 p.m. ET in a national moment of unity and remembrance,” the Committee says.

Joe Biden calls for a nationwide remembrance to mark his inauguration. Image via AP.

Assignment editors — Biden travels to Atlanta to campaign on behalf of Jon Ossoff, Rev. Raphael Warnock, and the Democratic ticket in tomorrow’s Georgia U.S. Senate runoffs. The visit will be livestreamed on Biden for President platforms and will be pooled press.

Trump hotel looks to cash in on Biden inauguration” via Daniel Lippman of POLITICO — As Trump allies plot a last-ditch effort Jan. 6 to try to prevent Biden from being formally selected as the next President, at least one part of Trump-world is tacitly acknowledging that there won’t be a second Trump term and is hoping to profit from Biden’s inauguration: Trump’s Washington hotel. A check of the Trump International Hotel D.C.’s website indicates that the hotel demands a two-night minimum stay during the inauguration and has hiked its rates to $2,225 per night for Jan. 19 and 20, while a similar room runs in the $400 range during most of the rest of January.


Rubio grifts on Georgia runoffs” via Janelle Irwin Taylor of Florida Politics — U.S. Sen. Rubio is asking supporters to help make sure Republicans hold on to two Senate seats in Georgia. Except none of the money raised from a fundraising email will go to help those GOP candidates. Instead, the money will be used to help Rubio himself get reelected in 2022. In an email sent Friday evening, Rubio called two Georgia runoff races “the battle of our lives.” “The crucial runoff in Georgia is just a few short days away,” Rubio wrote. The email includes three links, all to the same donation page where constituents are asked to “protect Georgia” and “donate today.” There are eight suggested contribution amounts ranging from $5 to $2,800, the maximum allowable under campaign finance law for U.S. Senate races.

Marco Rubio is using the Georgia runoffs to boost his own coffers.

What’s next for Florida’s Val Demings after a breakout 2020?” via Steve Contorno of The Tampa Bay Times — As Florida Democrats lick their wounds from a humiliating election year, there is already buzz building around Demings. At the top of the ticket in 2022 are races for Governor and U.S. Senate, and Demings could make a compelling case to be the party’s nomination for either. Demings said she hears the chatter. She expects to sit down with her family, including the other half of Orlando’s political power couple, her husband and Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings, early next year as she weighs options. The ballooning fundraising demands of a statewide campaign have forced candidates to decide sooner and sooner.

Kat Cammack staffs up as she starts first term in Congress” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Rep.  Cammack returned to Capitol Hill this week as a member of Congress after working as a staffer for predecessor Rep. Ted Yoho. That means the Gainesville Republican will now oversee a team of her own, including quite a few veterans from the office. The freshman announced hires in her Congressional and district offices, as well as announcing a political team she will keep in place. Larry Calhoun, Yoho’s chief of staff, will stay on in the role under Cammack. The University of Florida graduate has worked for more than a dozen years on Capitol Hill.

Proposed House rules eliminate gendered terms like ‘father’ and ‘daughter’” via Kaylee Greenlee of The Daily Caller — The Rules Package for the 117th Congress includes a proposal to replace gendered language referring to a representative’s family members with gender-neutral terms, House leaders announced. Democratic California Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Massachusetts Rep. James McGovern, chairman of the Rules Committee, announced changes to the House rules that will “honor all gender identities” by modifying the pronouns and familial relations references in the rules. The resolution would change “pronouns and familial relationships in the House rules to be gender-neutral or removes references to gender, as appropriate, to ensure we are inclusive of all Members, Delegates, Resident Commissioners and their families including those who are nonbinary,” McGovern’s announcement said.

Rest in peace — “Richard Bates, Disney’s longtime head of government relations, dies at 70” via Cynthia Littleton of Variety — Bates, the longtime head of government relations for Disney, died Dec. 31 at his home outside Washington, D.C. He was 70. Disney said the executive’s death was sudden. Bates had represented Disney in the halls of Congress and other public policy arenas since 1991. Disney insiders are “heartbroken” over Bates’ death, Disney executive chairman Bob Iger and CEO Bob Chapek said in a joint statement. Friends and co-workers described Bates as a “gentleman” who was extremely knowledgeable about governmental issues. Bates served as senior VP of government relations for Disney. He was the first to open a Washington, D.C. office for the studio when he signed on.


Florida TaxWatch sees uncertain future” via Karen Murphy of The Capitolist — Prognosticators looked into their crystal ball and saw … fog. According to Florida TaxWatch, “Floridians have plenty of reason to be cautiously optimistic as the state’s economic picture in 2021 appears mixed and uncertain.” Florida TaxWatch today released its 2021 Economic Preview: An Uncertain Yet Hopeful Year of Growth. It predicts in the upcoming year, the sectors with the projected fastest job growth will be Leisure and Hospitality (11.9%), Education and Health Services (8.1%), and Financial Activities (8.1%). “Although third on the list,” according to a news release, “Financial Activities will be the fastest-growing economic sector in Florida over the 2020-2023 period thanks in part to the sector’s high telework feasibility”

Unemployment rate hike goes into effect with new year” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics — Beginning Jan. 1, the unemployment tax rate will go up for businesses in Florida as claims continue to rise. A surge in new claims driven by the pandemic continued in December. The minimum unemployment tax rate on the first day of the year jumps from 0.1% to 0.29%, nearly tripling the lowest rate assessed to businesses, according to the Florida Department of Revenue. The maximum tax rate remains at 5.4%, except for those employers participating in the Short-Time Compensation Program. The rate will be imposed on annual wages of up to $7,000 per employee.

Unemployment tax will now be a little higher for businesses. Image via AP.

Florida crime dropped, murder rose in first six months of 2020” via The Associated Press — Overall, crime dropped 11.7%, but murders rose from 512 to 595, or 16.2%, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Murders by guns rose by an even higher percentage. There were 379 murdered committed with a firearm in the first six months of 2019, compared to 466 in 2020. That’s an increase of 23%. Reported rapes declined by 9.5%, from 4,224 in the first half of 2019 to 3,821 during the same period in 2020. Robberies, burglaries and larcenies also declined, while there were increases in motor vehicle thefts and aggravated assaults.

Supreme Court revamps key legal standard” via CBS Miami staff reports — The Florida Supreme Court revamped a key legal standard as its conservative majority continued to show a willingness to undo previous decisions that have guided the state’s courts. Justices, in a 6-1 ruling, decided to scrap a state standard for determining whether lower-court judges should grant summary judgment in civil lawsuits. The Supreme Court said Florida should align with a federal summary-judgment standard, an approach backed by business groups that have pushed for ways to cut down on litigation. “This is the Holy Grail of lawsuit reform in Florida,” William Large, president of the business-backed Florida Justice Reform Institute, said in a prepared statement after the Supreme Court issued the ruling.

Florida’s neglect of mental illness is a heartless, deadly and long-running problem” via Scott Maxwell of The Orlando Sentinel — A few weeks ago, a statewide grand jury issued a blistering indictment about the way Florida handles mental illness, describing it as serial neglect with deadly consequences. “To put it bluntly, our mental health care ‘system’ — if one can even call it that — is a mess,” concluded the jury, which was formed at the request of DeSantis after the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history. “Now is the time for our local and state institutions to take bold action.” For the grand jury’s harsh assessment is hardly new. Florida headlines have trumpeted problems and warnings for more than a decade.

FCC puts $191 behind Florida rural broadband expansion” via Drew Wilson of Florida Politics — The Federal Communications Commission has awarded $191 million to Florida internet providers to expand their infrastructure to pockets of rural Florida. The award was announced by Florida Internet & Television, a trade association representing many of the state’s largest internet providers. “Florida’s cable providers are dedicated to increasing internet accessibility, especially during this time when many are working from home, running their business, and attending school online,” said FIT President and CEO Brad Swanson. The funding was awarded through the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF), a program established in January to expand high-speed, low-latency broadband networks into unserved rural areas.

Brad Swanson is touting new federal money for rural broadband.

Energy rate changes kicked in Jan. 1” via Ryan Nicol of Florida Politics — With 2021 upon us, power customers throughout the state should be ready for monthly rate changes set to go into effect on Jan. 1. The state’s Public Service Commission (PSC) landed on most of those numbers during a November meeting. Some Floridians will see an increase in their monthly payment this year, while others will see their bills drop. Rates will rise for Florida Power & Light (FPL), Gulf Power and Tampa Electric Company (TECO) customers. TECO’s customers will see the largest increase, with customers who use 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month seeing their bills rise from $97.69 each month to $105.25.


New and renewed lobbying registrations:

Ron Book, Kelly Mallette: JARC Florida

Megan Fay, Capital City Consulting: Datum Tech

Warren Husband, Douglas Bell, Aimee Diaz Lyon, Patricia Greene, Allison Liby-Schoonover, Metz Husband & Daughton: Ecolab, Marquesas

Jonathan Johnson, Hopping Green & Sams: Water Street Tampa Improvement District

Caitlin Murray, National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies


2020 is over, but South Florida top political developments will reverberate long into the future” via Anthony Man of The South Florida Sun-Sentinel — Although a new Congress is about to be sworn in and Biden will soon be inaugurated as President, many of the year’s political trends will continue reverberating through the 2020 campaigns for Governor and U.S. Senate and in the 2024 presidential election. The coronavirus pandemic, of course, consumed politics and just about everything else in American life. It highlighted the differences between the two political parties. Democrats made public health and attempting to prevent virus transmission paramount, and Republicans focused on the health of the economy.


All 10 living former defense secretaries: Involving the military in election disputes would cross into dangerous territory” via Ashton Carter, Dick Cheney, William Cohen, Mark Esper, Robert Gates, Chuck Hagel, James Mattis, Leon Panetta, William Perry and Donald Rumsfeld for The Washington Post — American elections and the peaceful transfers of power that result are hallmarks of our democracy. With one singular and tragic exception, the United States has had an unbroken record of such transitions since 1789, including in times of partisan strife, war, epidemics and economic depression. This year should be no exception. Transitions, which all of us have experienced, are a crucial part of the successful transfer of power. They often occur at times of international uncertainty about U.S. national security policy and posture. Given these factors, particularly at a time when U.S. forces are engaged in active operations around the world, it is all the more imperative that the transition at the Defense Department be carried out fully, cooperatively and transparently.


Lockdowns needed a warning label, too” via Mitch Daniels of The Washington Post — The vaccines now becoming available are miracles not only in the speed with which they arrived but also in their apparent efficacy, with some reported protective rates above 90%. We need an equally efficacious program to deliver them swiftly to entire populations, and to persuade everyone to take advantage of them. We will do so in the certain knowledge that, very rarely, vaccinated individuals will suffer serious, possibly fatal, injury. The measles vaccine has led to anaphylaxis in a tiny percentage of children. The swine flu vaccine-induced Guillain-Barre syndrome in 1 of every 100,000 individuals, leading to 53 deaths.

It’s good to see DeSantis go back to being Florida’s ‘environmental Governor’” via The Miami Herald editorial board — Twenty years after the creation of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, evidence is building that the ambitious effort will succeed. Gov. DeSantis recently reaffirmed his support for the reservoir south of Lake Okeechobee that will prevent damaging discharges to coastal estuaries and store water that the Everglades needs. Senate President Wilton Simpson in November called the project “a mistake.” DeSantis called it “a top environmental priority.” With his comment, DeSantis perhaps headed off any attempt by Simpson to cancel the project. Since the South Florida Water Management District already has allocated money for the state portion it’s unclear what Simpson might have done. Still, we welcome the Governor’s commitment.


Stand by for one of the most dramatic weeks in the history of our republic. A new Congress convened Sunday for the start of a new Session, swearing-in lawmakers while a growing number of Republicans simultaneously work to overturn Biden’s victory over Trump as the coronavirus surges.

Also, on today’s Sunrise:

— This ain’t 2021 … it’s 2020 Part 2: the sequel nobody wanted.

— Remember all those times we’ve mentioned how Sunday COVID casualty figures tend to be low because of the way numbers are reported to the state? Well, the Department of Health reported more than 10,000 new infections Sunday, with another 100 fatalities.

— On the plus side, 255,000 Floridians have received their first vaccination for COVID-19. Most of the shots are now reserved for seniors 65 and up and can be found at hospitals and some county health departments … but the Governor warns that supplies are limited.

— You cannot just head out to get a vaccine … you must have an appointment. Even then, people have waited in long lines for hours.

— Five fresh faces are joining the state’s congressional delegation … all Republicans. But Maria Salazar had to skip Sunday’s official opening session after testing positive for COVID-19.

— Sunrise pays tribute to the handful of Florida Men and Women who defied the stereotype and made us proud in 2020 during the COVID crisis.

— And finally, a Florida Man tells police he robbed a house with an assault rifle to help keep drugs off the street.

To listen, click on the image below:

— ALOE —

Disney World brings back park-hopping: What you need to know” via Ashley Carter of Spectrum News 13 — Park-hopping has returned at Disney World and, for the first time since March, visitors can go to more than one theme park on the same day. Before the pandemic-related closure, Disney World visitors with the park-hopping option could go to multiple theme parks in one day. But when the parks reopened in July, park-hopping was temporarily suspended. But as of Friday, that changed and park-hopping resumed. With the return of park-hopping, some visitors might be wondering how dining reservations factor in. Disney recommends visitors make dining reservations at the park where they have a park pass reservation since dining reservations don’t guarantee access to a park.

Disney park-hopping returns in a somewhat modified form. Image via WDW News Today.

A romance, a spy caper and a lawsuit against Netflix — the story of Cuban exiles in South Florida is moving to a courtroom” via Mario Ariza of the South Florida Sun Sentinel — It’s a legal conflict that centers on a love affair. In the movie, Ana Maria Martinez is played by the bewitching Ana De Armas, dancing through nightclubs in backless dresses and marrying a handsome Cuban defector with a dark secret at a society wedding. But in real life, Martinez is suing Netflix for defamation in South Florida federal court over her portrayal in the 2019 film “Wasp Network.”


Happy birthday to my birthday twins Razi Amador Fink, Sandy Mortham, Mary Caroline Mica, Erin Moffet and Sydney Ridley of The Southern Group.


Sunburn is authored and assembled by Peter Schorsch, Phil Ammann, A.G. Gancarski, Renzo Downey and Drew Wilson.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

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