Takeaways from Tallahassee — Pop the cork

Blue Tally Takeaways (5)
Poco Vino, a boutique wine shop and event space in historic Gallies Hall, is set to open Oct. 11.

Pop the cork

Power couple Agustin “Gus” Corbella and Amanda Morrison are teaming up professionally in a new downtown venture called Poco Vino, a boutique wine shop and event space in historic Gallies Hall at 225 S. Adams St.

They plan to open Oct. 11, but the buzz is already building, with good reason.

“I love bringing what’s trending in other cities to Tallahassee,” said Morrison. “There’s no reason why we can’t have cool stuff here.”

Aside from selling about 100 different labels from smaller, more diverse wineries, the cool stuff will include wine tastings, ticketed dining pop-ups with chefs from Tallahassee and the Southeast, plus private event space.

Gus Corbella and Amanda Morrison plan to open Poco Vino next month.

The historic building, which held the city’s first theater, is an intimate setting with brick walls and arches and an actual greenhouse, which Morrison calls a “gorgeous magical space” perfect for private dinners.

“It’s the closest building to the Capitol,” said Corbella. “It’s a hidden gem that hasn’t seen a lot of foot traffic.”

The space, owned by the Florida Retail Federation, was occupied by Barnett Fronczak Barlowe Architects for decades. 

“The federation could have had a lobbyist or law firm occupy the space but the fact they’re committed to bringing this unique concept downtown is exciting,” Corbella said.

Scott Shalley, president and CEO of the Florida Retail Federation, is on board.

“We’re thrilled to welcome new energy downtown with the addition of Poco Vino,” he said. “It’s a good use of the available storefront, and I’m hopeful our members and team can enjoy all that it has to offer right next door.”

Corbella and Morrison are used to dreaming big. He’s a longtime lobbyist and governmental professional, currently the senior director of the Government Law & Policy Practice at Greenberg Traurig. He’s also the chair of Florida State University’s Opening Nights Performing Arts, among many other titles. Morrison, formerly a managing partner for Social Catering and Events, is now the owner of Happy Motoring at 1215 S. Adams St. and was named one of Tallahassee’s 25 Women You Need to Know in March.

They’re also both sommeliers with a passion for wine, great food and travel and they want to help make downtown Tallahassee come alive.

“We’ll be able to tell you something about every single wine in the shop and the story of how every single wine is made,” said Morrison, who is concentrating on wineries with sustainable farming methods. “Wine is becoming more accessible.”

The couple also wants to showcase a growing number of Black and women winemakers.

“These aren’t the wines you typically hear of or see on store shelves and to be able to put a spotlight on these is really great,” Corbella said. “But beyond the diversity, it’s all delicious.”

Coming up, the usual assortment of tidbits, leftovers and not-ready-for-prime-time moments by Peter Schorsch, Drew Wilson, Renzo Downey, Jason Delgado and the staff of Florida Politics.

Take 5

The “Takeaway 5” — the Top 5 stories from the week that was:

Masks on and off again – After Leon County Judge John Cooper vacated an automatic stay, putting Gov. Ron DeSantis’ mask mandate ban on hold, the 1st District Court of Appeal reinstated the stay Friday, again preventing school districts from requiring students be masked. The Governor has a case to make, the court said. The order does not mean the court will rule for DeSantis. However, it has historically ruled in favor of the Governor and the Legislature. Thirteen Florida school districts have mask mandates in effect that only allow parents to opt out with a medical excuse, if at all.

Anti-riot bill halted in federal court – A federal judge temporarily blocked Gov. Ron DeSantis and Republicans’ anti-riot bill on Thursday, calling the law unconstitutionally vague and overbroad. The bill “requires individuals to ‘speculate as to the meaning of penal statutes,’ at the risk of their liberty,” U.S. District Judge Mark Walker wrote in his order coming out of Tallahassee. DeSantis shrugged off the order as no surprise. “That’s a foreordained conclusion in front of that court,” DeSantis said. “We will win that on appeal. I guarantee you we will win on appeal.”

DeSantis vows action against Biden’s vaccine mandates — DeSantis vowed to oppose recent COVID-19 vaccine mandates President Joe Biden announced in a “hissy fit.” Saying Biden was “acting outside of the Constitution,” DeSantis on Friday vowed he was “going to have the Legislature involved as well” to “fight back and offer protections.” Speaking at a 9/11 observance event, DeSantis said he sees the vaccine mandate opposition as “important much beyond this particular issue.” “If the federal government can get away with doing this, what’s going to come next?” DeSantis asked. Disputes over President’s COVID-19 response plan is just the latest flashpoint between Biden and DeSantis, who could potentially challenge him for the White House in 2024.

Wilton Simpson files for Agriculture Commissioner – Senate President Wilton Simpson, who has long been rumored to be eying the Agriculture Commissioner’s office, officially filed to run this week. Simpson is entering his final year in the Senate, where he’s served since 2012. “As a lifelong farmer, President Simpson knows that the seeds we plant today — for our families, our businesses, and for our communities — are the only way to grow a stronger Florida,” spokeswoman Erin Isaac said. Former President Donald Trump even gave the Republican egg farmer a preemptive endorsement in May. Last week, Simpson also made headlines for saying the Legislature would consider a Texas-style heartbeat abortion bill.

Lauren Book stripped of chairmanship – In more Simpson news, the Senate President removed Democratic Leader Lauren Book from her role at the helm of the Senate Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee, a role she’s had since the 2018 Session. And it’s definitely not because of her comments about the Texas bill or her past refusal to consider a heartbeat bill in her committee. Simpson replaced her with Republican Sen. Ileana Garcia. “In my view, if anyone could take on a dual leadership role, it would be Leader Book. However, reassigning the role to another Senator is in the best interest of the institution,” Simpson said in a statement expressing his confidence in Garcia.

Bigs in Blue

Attorney General Ashley Moody traveled to Miami this week to promote the Bigs in Blue mentorship program to Florida’s retired law enforcement community. 

Facilitated by Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, the mentorship program matches at-risk youth with law enforcement officers in the area. 

The goal: establish a positive influence in the lives of at-risk children.

“As a juvenile judge, I witnessed firsthand the transformative difference a prime role model can make in a child’s life, and I can think of no better role models for our youth than law enforcement officers who devote their careers to protecting and serving others,” Moody said.

Ashley Moody wants more retired police to join Bigs in Blue.

In all, 400 law enforcement officers throughout the state are paired with a mentee.

The addition of retired officers, Moody said, will help further the mission.

“The amount of success the Bigs in Blue program has already had here in Florida is overwhelmingly positive,” Moody added. Now, thanks to our great retired LEOs, we are going to be able to pave the way for further success.”

Bigs in Blue celebrated its two-year anniversary in Florida in July. Notably, the 400 matches in Florida span 46 law enforcement agencies across the state.

“With hundreds of opportunities for new mentor placements of retired officers and at-risk youth, we can continue to spread positive influence and build a Stronger, Safer Florida,” Moody said.

Active or retired LEOs interested in the Bigs in Blue program can find more information here.

Farm aid

Agriculture producers can now apply for greater access to federal farming assistance.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has expanded eligibility and increased flexibility for its Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2. Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried is encouraging producers to file new applications or modify existing ones, which they can do until Oct. 12.

Florida farmers have until Oct. 12 to apply for assistance.

“Florida’s agriculture industry suffered catastrophic losses due to pandemic-related market disruptions — with our seasonal crop producers experiencing over $500 million in crop losses in the first few months of 2020 alone,” Fried said. “While we know the federal relief programs won’t cover the full extent of the harm felt since the start of the pandemic, they are providing much-needed direct financial assistance to our farmers in the face of continued challenges.”

The updated CFAP2 program has expanded to include breeding stock and eggs of all eligible poultry types, and grass seeds are now considered an eligible commodity. Other changes include allowing producers to use 2018 revenue and sales data instead of 2019 data. There are also additional flexibilities to consider the size of each operation.

“I am hopeful these updates will allow for more Florida farmers to benefit, and strongly encourage all eligible producers to apply if you have not yet done so to take advantage of this assistance before the October deadline,” Fried said.

Fraud alert

This week, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis urged Floridians to beware of post-disaster fraud and scams.  

The advisory comes as storm activity increases around the Sunshine State. Where storms go, Patronis warned, swindlers often follow. 

“I am reminding Floridians that it is important to know the signs of post-disaster fraud and scams anytime a storm takes aim at our state,” Patronis said. “Unfortunately, we know too well that after a hurricane hits, we see bad actors looking to make a quick buck.

Patronis shared several tips to help Floridians avoid post-disaster scams. 

Jimmy Patronis wants Floridians to be on the lookout for post-disaster scams.

Be skeptical of immediate clean-up and debris removal services, Patronis warned. Often, he said, swindlers may offer exorbitant prices or simply may lack the skills to provide a satisfactory service. 

Floridians should also inquire about licenses and insurance before paying for post-storm services.

“Don’t believe any promises that aren’t in writing,” said Patronis. 

Not least, beware of a rise in disaster-reacted charity scam and encouraged Floridians to guard their personal data. 

“Scammers will often try to make a quick profit from the misfortune of others,” Patronis said. “Check out the FTC’s advice on donating wisely and avoiding charity scams.”

Floridians who fall victim to a scam can report the incident online.

 

Instagram of the Week

The Week in Appointments

Florida Public Service Commission — DeSantis on Wednesday reappointed Arthur Graham and Andrew Fay to the PSC, the state’s utility regulatory body. Graham, a Jacksonville Beach resident, has been on the commission since 2010. An engineer by trade, the Georgia Tech grad is also a former Jacksonville City Council and Jacksonville Beach City Council member. Fay, of Tallahassee, has held a seat on the commission since 2018. He previously worked in the state Attorney General’s office as a Special Counsel and Director of Legislative Affairs, Cabinet Affairs and Public Policy. He earned his bachelor’s and law degrees from Florida State University.

Florida Commission on Ethics — The Governor reappointed former Reps. Travis Cummings and Jim Waldman to the Commission on Friday after initially naming them to the board in December. Other reappointments include former lawmaker John Grant and former state attorney Willie Meggs, both of whom the Governor previously appointed in 2019. Cummings is the Vice President of Benefits at The Bailey Group. He served eight years in the House, including the last two as Appropriations Committee Chairman. Waldman is a lawyer and Everglades College’s general counsel. The Pompano Beach Democrat previously was Coconut Creek’s Mayor and served eight years in the House. Grant is a lawyer with Tampa Estate Planners, specializing in estate planning, trust and probate administration, mediation and elder law. The Republican is currently the Commission’s vice chair and previously served in both the House and Senate. Meggs, of Tallahassee, is a retired state attorney for the 2nd Judicial Circuit. He was first elected in 1985 and decided not to seek re-election in 2016. The Democrat was among the list of nearly 170 Rick Scott appointees DeSantis pulled when he came into office in January 2019. However, the Governor placed him back on the panel at the same time as Grant, in July of that year.

University of North Florida Board of Trustees Kevin Hyde was reappointed to the UNF Board of Trustees Friday. Hyde, an attorney, is the current Board Chair. He is also the Jacksonville Office managing partner for Foley and Lardner. Previously, he served as chief administrative officer for the City of Jacksonville, on the Jacksonville City Council and as interim president of Florida State College at Jacksonville. Hyde earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of South Florida and his law degree from the University of Florida.

Northwest Florida State College District Board of Trustees — DeSantis on Friday appointed Shane Abbott to the Northwest Florida State College District Board of Trustees. Abbott, of Defuniak Springs, is a pharmacist and co-owner of The Prescription Place. He has served on the Northwest Florida State College District Board of Trustees since 2016 and serves on the board of First Christian Academy in addition to being a past Chair of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Emerald Coast board. Abbott earned his bachelor of pharmacy from the UF.

Halifax Health Board of Commissioners Thomas McCall and Harold Goodemote were named to the Halifax Health Board by the Governor. McCall, of Ormond Beach, is COO of ICI Homes, a position he has held since 2008. A certified public accountant, he is Chair of Halifax Health’s Treasury, Audit, Finance and Investment committee and also serves on the board of Kidds are First. McCall earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting and criminal justice from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.  Goodemote, of Daytona Beach, is VP of Coleman Goodemote Construction Company. He serves as Vice Chair of the Daytona Beach Regional Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, on the NASCAR Foundation Board of Directors and is a member of Rotary International and the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks. Goodemote earned his bachelor’s degree in building construction from Bowling Green State University and an MBA from Stetson University.

St. Lucie County Fire District Board of Commissioners — DeSantis placed Travis Leonard on the St. Lucie County Fire District Board of Commissioners. Leonard, of Port St. Lucie, is a Partner and Vice President of A & G Concrete Pools. He serves on the St. Lucie County Contractor’s Licensing Board and is Vice President of Christmas 4 Kids. Leonard attended Indian River State College.

 

“Caught off guard”

Senate Democrats held their first COVID-19 Facebook livestream Wednesday, billed as a contrary take to the successful response DeSantis likes to tout.

Democratic Leader Lauren Book, joined by Sens. Janet Cruz and Jason Pizzo, hosted guests specializing in health care, emergency response, education and economics.

“Florida is desperately in need of leadership promoting policies that put the safety of the public and the survival of our economy at the top of the list instead of ignoring the ongoing reality, allowing COVID to spread through the state like wildfire — upending people’s lives and livelihoods,” Book said.

Sen. Lauren Book says the state is desperately in need of leadership.” Image via Colin Hackley.

One guest was DeSantis’ former Division of Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz, who helped lead the state’s pandemic response. The Democratic former State Representative had to balance his assessment of Florida and the nation’s handling of the delta variant with his role as a prominent recent DeSantis administration official.

“As we took a breath and changed policies during that time, delta came to the United States and caught us off guard, quite frankly. We let our guard down in ways that may be nobody’s fault, because again, we’re dealing with a novel coronavirus, but we have 300% more cases now than we did at the same time last year. Florida was the first state to pass more deaths this summer than last summer.

Unless vaccinations increase, he predicted COVID-19 would remain like the flu for the foreseeable future.

South Florida critical care nurse Kevin Cho Tipton relayed that at ICUs statewide, more than 95% of people are unvaccinated. Conserving oxygen has become a problem, too.

“We were down to points where we only had 12 to 24 hours,” Tipton said. “The largest public hospital in the country in Miami was at a point where we were having to ration oxygen. This is something that does not happen in the lower 48.”

Mega billions

The Florida Lottery reached a historic milestone this week, contributing more than $40 billion in over 33 years to the state’s Educational Enhancement Trust Fund.

“This is a tremendous accomplishment in our mission to enhance education in Florida,” said Florida Lottery Secretary John F. Davis. “I fully believe that a solid education is the foundation to a successful life and the work we do every day at the Lottery provides vital support for all students – from the first day of kindergarten to college graduation.”

The Florida Lottery hit another major milestone.

To date, Florida’s public schools have received more than $21.2 billion, while colleges and universities have received a combined total of more than $10.5 billion.

The Bright Futures Scholarship Program, meanwhile, has benefited from more than $6.8 billion in lottery contributions.  

Those funds, the lottery says, have enabled more than 880,000 students to attend college since 1997. 

“We remain steadfast in our focus to provide Floridians the best Lottery games available so that we can continue to create lasting educational opportunities for students to pursue their dreams of a brighter future,” Davis added.

To date, the Lottery has averaged more than $5.6 million a day in contributions to education in this fiscal year alone.

Tourism Hall of Fame

VISIT FLORIDA has inducted South Florida tourism industry leader Bill Talbert into its Florida Tourism Hall of Fame.

Talbert has served the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau for nearly 30 years, including 20 as its president and CEO. During tenure, the bureau has consistently seen record-breaking growth, including welcoming 29.4 million visitors in 2019 that generated an economic impact of nearly $18 billion and 146,800 jobs.

Bill Talbert is the 2021 inductee to the Tourism Hall of Fame.

“Florida’s enduring popularity would not be possible without the outstanding individuals who have helped shape the Sunshine State vacation experience as we know it today,” said VISIT FLORIDA President and CEO Dana Young. “William Talbert’s contributions have been foundational to the success of our industry, and we are proud to induct him into the Florida Tourism Hall of Fame.”

Talbert helped Congress pass the United States Travel Promotion Act, and he helped form the Miami-Dade County Food & Beverage Tax. He also helped prepare five successful Super Bowl host bids.

“I have personally worked with Bill for over a decade, and his unparalleled knowledge and experience have made him an asset to all sectors of Florida’s tourism industry,” said VISIT FLORIDA Board of Directors Chair Danny Gaekwad. “Bill’s legacy is an incredible addition to the Hall of Fame, and we are thrilled to welcome him to this esteemed group of industry superstars.”

Simultaneously, VISIT FLORIDA gave 58 awards to 30 organizations in this year’s Flagler Awards. Those awards, created in 2000, recognize outstanding tourism marketing in Florida across a variety of categories.

‘Built for Opportunity’

Enterprise Florida on Thursday launched a campaign to highlight manufacturing and small business success stories across the state.

The ‘Built for Opportunity’ awareness campaign consists of a series of videos touting businesses that have rebounded from the economic pressures of the pandemic.

The new campaign credits each company’s renewed success to a business-friendly climate fostered by the state government.

A news release announcing the campaign points to so-called anti-lockdown policies, the Governor’s move to reopen schools to in-person classes and other directives that afforded businesses “the freedom to make their own decisions about operations, rather than dealing with government mandates.”

“While the rest of the country implemented draconian lockdown measures, in Florida we kept our businesses open, giving business owners the opportunity to provide for their families, keep employees on the payroll and serve their communities,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a news release.

“These videos from real Floridians are a testament to the fact that what we did in Florida was the right thing to do. Florida remains a beacon of hope for those looking to find economic prosperity in a difficult time.”

The Governor’s sentiment was echoed by Secretary of Commerce Jamal Sowell, who doubles as the president and CEO of Enterprise Florida, a public-private partnership that, among other missions, aims to lure businesses to set up shop in Florida.

“While other states were shutting business down, Florida was building them up, and that is the essence of the message we hope to send. We look forward to businesses continuing to thrive and seek opportunity in a state that facilitates success.”

Ready to roll

Beach wheelchairs are among the latest features at state parks thanks to a partnership between the Florida State Parks Foundation and the Surfing’s Evolution & Preservation Foundation.

In all, ten coastal parks have at least one or more beach wheelchairs in their arsenal. The specialized wheelchairs permit travel areas with soft sand where conventional wheelchairs may get stuck.

“Increasing accessibility for all is one of our missions and these beach wheelchairs will allow people with mobility problems the opportunity to get on the beach with their family and friends. They will help create a new experience for them,” said Florida State Parks Foundation President Gil Ziffer.

Beach wheelchairs are coming to 10 Florida parks.

State parks offering beach wheelchairs include Amelia Island,  Henderson Beach, Anclote Key, St. George Island, Bahia Honda, St. Lucie Inlet, Big Lagoon, Lovers Key, Bill Baggs Cape Florida and Caladesi Island among others.

“Surfing’s Evolution & Preservation Foundation is excited to expand our partnership with the Florida State Parks Foundation to ensure every coastal Florida State Park now has a beach accessible wheelchair,” foundation administrator Jacquie Youngs said.

“We believe that our beaches should be enjoyed by everyone, and we are so pleased to be able to increase accessibility for people who may not be able to get on the beach without assistance.”

Inside job

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement arrested a former Clermont cop this week after he reportedly stole tens of thousands from the Clermont Police Officers Union.  

Jeremy Edward Kevitt, the union’s former president, stole roughly $50,000 from the union, according to FDLE.  

Rather than using the funds to benefit Clermont Police officers or charities, FDLE said the 50-year-old used two union accounts to cover personal expenses such as travel, groceries and home improvement projects.

“Police officers are held to a higher standard, and while employed with the Clermont Police Department, Jeremy Kevitt violated the oath of office he swore to uphold and the trust that was placed in him by his fellow officers, staff and the International Union of Police Associations,” Clermont Police Chief Charles Broadway.

Authorities began investigating Kevitt after the police department received an overdraft notice and became aware he obtained an unauthorized ATM card.

Following an investigation, police arrested Kevitt Saturday and booked him into the Lake County Jail.  

The Office of the State Attorney, 5th Judicial Circuit, will prosecute the case. 

“The alleged actions of Jeremy Kevitt were solely his own doing and do not reflect the integrity, commitment and professionalism of the men and women of the Clermont Police Department,” Broadway added.

 

Helping hand

Feeding Florida joined forces with the Florida Division of Emergency Management to provide water and food for those affected by Hurricane Ida in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

In all, Feeding Florida delivered 13 loads of water — that’s 522,000 half-liter bottles — and 17,000 Meals Ready to Eat (MRE’s) from the state’s stockpile to the state’s Gulf Coast neighbors.

“We understand first-hand the impact immediate support can provide during a disaster,” FDEM Director Kevin Guthrie said. “The Division values strong interstate partnerships, especially during a disaster, and the state was proud to assist Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama during their Hurricane Ida response. I also want to thank Feeding Florida for their continued partnership and ensuring we’re able to quickly deliver critical resources, like food and water, when it’s most needed.” 

Hurricane Ida left four states with an overwhelming need for support from outside sources. Florida’s network of 12 food banks and the state’s agency worked together to assess their needs and quickly review existing inventory that could help.

Feeding Florida helped deliver more than a half-million bottles of water to hard-hit states.

State water bottles and MREs were allocated from Florida’s stockpile of supplies held by the Feeding Florida network — there’s plenty of stock left in the event Florida gets hammered later in the hurricane season. Feeding Florida covered the cost of transporting the supplies.

“We are grateful for such a wonderful partnership with the Florida Division of Emergency Management that allows us to help during times of great need,” Feeding Florida Executive Director Robin Safley said. “Our network regularly provides disaster relief aid within our state, but when the time comes to help our neighbors in the Southeast region, we are able to do so thanks to the support of the Division of Emergency Management and Feeding America.” 

In addition to the state-owned water and emergency food that’s already been delivered, the Feeding Florida network is continuing to work with the affected states to assess their needs and, if necessary, offer further aid.

Pittman promotion

Dana Dudley has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer of the Florida-based law and lobbying firm Pittman Law Group.

Dudley joined the firm in 2016 as its executive director. Founder Sean Pittman credited her with helping it expand across Florida to now Tallahassee, Orlando, Miami and Riviera Beach.

“As our firm continues to grow, Dana has effectively steered the ship to ensure that we operate at an extremely high and efficient level — and her fiscal management and leadership abilities are making us better and stronger every day,” said Pittman, who is also the firm’s managing partner.

Dana Dudley has been promoted to COO at the Pittman Law Group.

Dudley graduated from Florida State University College of Business and was formerly vice president of accounting and finance at McKenzie Tank Lines.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to continue to serve Pittman Law Group in this new role,” Dudley said. “It is truly a privilege to be part of an amazing team and I look forward to continuing to work together with my colleagues and our clients as we all strive for excellence.”

When she isn’t helping Pittman Law Group, Dudley spends time managing the Wilhelmina Foundation and on the leadership team of the Big Bend Minority Chamber of Commerce.

QB turned trustee

The Board of Governors recently appointed former Florida State University quarterback Drew Weatherford to the school’s Board of Trustees.

The 2008 graduate, who received bachelor’s degrees in finance and real estate, joined the Board of Trustees Sept. 1. Weatherford was the school’s starting quarterback for three years under the late Coach Bobby Bowden.

Weatherford founded Strategos Group, a leading business consultancy and advocacy firm in Florida, and private investment firm Weatherford Capital, where he is a founding partner with his two brothers.

Drew Weatherford joined the Board on Sept. 1.

After creating those two firms, he attended Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management for his master’s in business administration.

He helped found Onbikes in Tampa, a program to provide at-risk kids and faster youth with their first bikes.

He has also been appointed to the boards of the Florida Opportunity Fund, Space Florida and Enterprise Florida.

Weatherford replaced former Board of Trustees Chair Ed Burr, who is the president and CEO of GreenPointe Holdings.

Weatherford lives in Tampa with his wife, Morgan, and their three children.

JD to job

RumbergerKirk lawyers and staff will host a slew of developmental workshops this year for students of Florida A&M University, the law firm announced this week.

The series will kick off Sept. 16 and mark the third consecutive year of the developmental series. 

Three firm associates — Latravious Johnson of Miami, Stephanie Calcote of Orlando and Kathleen Shea of Orlando — will teach law students ways to shift from government work to a private law firm.

Latravious Johnson is one of three associates leading the professional development workshops.

“This year also includes a presentation by in-house counsel from Harley-Davidson who will talk with students about the in-house career path as well as what clients expect from their outside counsel,” the law firm said in a news release. “Several of the workshops will feature breakout sessions and polling questions to ensure a more interactive and engaging experience for the law students.” 

Other workshops will cover topics such as interviewing skills, the life of a law associate and the importance of writing, courtroom etiquette and professionalism. 

The workshops will also feature local judges, partners and associates.  

More information about the FAMU College of Law, located in Downtown Orlando, is available online.

 

Never forget

Leon County will soon be the home of a new 9/11 memorial.

The memorial, which will be located at the American Red Cross headquarters in Tallahassee, will serve as a sundial and feature a steel beam from the South Tower of the World Trade Center.

Afixed atop a pentagon-shaped base, the sundial will note the tragic moments of Sept. 11 beginning at 8:46 a.m., when the first plane struck the North Tower.

“Leon County is honored to partner with donor Michael Terhune and KCCI to bring this memorial to our community,” said Leon County Commission Chairman Rick Minor. “The September 11 Memorial at Florida’s Capital City will be a place to reflect and remember the nearly 3,000 lives lost that fateful day.”

Terhune, a retired Tallahassee Fire Department Lt. Paramedic and Iraq war veteran, donated the steel beam.

The memorial will be completed by the end of this year.

He served as a local firefighter for nearly three decades and served 24 years in the Navy Reserve. He deployed twice to Iraq after 9/11.

“This memorial will serve as a reminder of a point in history that plays a huge, important role in how we live our lives today,” said Terhune. “At no point ever in a single day have we ever lost that many firemen.”

The memorial is a collaboration between the Leon County government, Terhune’s Project Guardian Inc., KCCI, and several local businesses.

Construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2021.

Separate from the memorial announcement, Leon County on Thursday marked the 20th anniversary of the attacks with its annual “Day of Remembrance and Service.” The event, held since 2011, saw more than 100 County employees and community volunteers come together to rehabilitate 36 different homes and properties in the Frontier Estates Neighborhood.

Two years after the destruction of the World Trade Center, a pair of spotlights beam into the heavens from the Leon County Courthouse as a solemn tribute to those who died. Photo credit: Phil Sears.

“The County’s service today honors the more than 3,000 lives lost 20 years ago in the tragic attacks of September 11, 2001,” Minor said. “With our work today, we also show our appreciation for the first responders and veterans who have been and continue to serve our community during these challenging times.”

In addition to the rehabilitation projects, the county presented six local veterans with flags representing their military branch of service.

“For Leon County, our annual Day of Service is one of our proudest events, and that means even more as we near the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks,” said Leon County Administrator Vincent S. Long. “Today we honor those who sacrificed their lives, and through our work we acknowledge the nationwide spirit of unity and service that followed.”

More than books

With the Fall semester underway, Florida State University recently unveiled some new renovations on the second floor of Strozier Library. 

The updated space, with a price tag of $1 million, includes an open floor plan, new desks, seating, flooring and enhanced directional signage. 

“This remodel adds 134 learning spaces to Strozier, but it’s beyond adding seats: the renovated space sends a message to students that they are central to FSU and that we are confident in their success,” said Gale Etschmaier, dean of FSU Libraries. “It is a visual representation of the importance of learning at Florida State University — and of the importance of our students.”

The second floor received a complete redesign for the fall semester.

The university unveiled the new design Aug. 24 with a “Party at Club Stroz” event.

American School & University Magazine recognized the renovations with an Outstanding Design Award for Interior Renovation in the publication’s 2021 Educational Interiors Showcase Issue.

Among other highlights, the renovations include 360 additional electrical outlets as well as directional aides including wall graphics, accent carpet, signage and wall paint.

“This renovation was all about adding more of the features students need,” said Samantha Untea, facilities designer with FSU Facilities. “The increased capacity allows for 384 chairs at study and computer tables and 67 lounge-style chairs for a total of 451 places for students to sit.”

More information is available online.

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