Takeaways from Tallahassee — Do we have to let it linger?

Blue Tally Takeaways (3)
Even if businesses say having an arrest record doesn’t negatively affect a job candidate, the stats might say otherwise.

Lingering records

Floridians’ arrest records might be costing the state $40 billion a year.

The Alliance for Safety and Justice and Associated Industries of Florida joined forces to release a report Wednesday on the impact arrest records have on Floridians who want to join the workforce.

More than 6 million Floridians have an arrest record, meaning 6 million Floridians could face restrictions on their employment and licensing opportunities even after they have “paid their debt to society.” The report also frames itself around the national labor shortage, which has left Florida short by 150,000 workers.

The cuffs aren’t meant to last forever.

Restricting the job opportunities of people with arrest records costs Florida more than $40 billion a year in lost worker earnings and business productivity, according to the report.

“The priority of our criminal justice system should be to keep our communities safe and improve outcomes for those who have served their time,” ASJ State Director Subhash Kateel said in a statement. “The barriers that people with old records face when they’re reentering society do nothing to keep us safe or to end cycles of crime.”

Having a criminal conviction reduces hiring callbacks by half for White job applicants and by nearly two-thirds for Black applicants, according to the report. That’s despite employers touting the skills and capabilities of people with records.

“When businesses thrive, workers and communities thrive as well — but communities across our state face a worker shortage that desperately needs to be addressed,” AIF President and CEO Brewster Bevis said. “Our elected leaders can take steps to activate a workforce that is skilled and eager to get back to work, all while maintaining public safety.”

The report also outlines possible solutions, such as automatically sealing arrests at the local level that are already sealed at the state level — a measure that passed the Senate committee process with ASJ’s support this year but stalled partway through the House process. Other proposals include sunsetting old records and incentivizing job skills like certificates and GEDs.

“Millions of Floridians are shut out of the economy even after they have already paid their debt to society,” Bevis continued. “By eliminating barriers to employment for these individuals, we can help make sure everyone who wants a job can get a job.”

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Coming up, the usual assortment of news, intel and observations from the week that was in Florida’s capital city by Peter Schorsch, Drew Wilson, Renzo DowneyChristine Jordan Sexton and the staff of Florida Politics.

But first …

Take 5

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

Gov. DeSantis wants tolls halved for frequent commuters — Tolls would be cut in half for frequent drivers next year under a legislative proposal unveiled Wednesday by Gov. Ron DeSantis. Under the plan, any driver with a SunPass or E-ZPass that hits 40 tolls in a month will have 50% of those costs refunded to them at the end of that month. The proposal would benefit more than 750,000 Florida drivers with an average savings of $550 over the year, DeSantis said. The proposal comes on the heels of DeSantis’ move last month to discount tolls for commuters on Florida Turnpike roads for six months. DeSantis last month said that the program will save about 400,000 drivers a combined $40 million.

DeSantis mobilizes National Guard into prisons — Following legislative approval for a plan to temporarily alleviate the shortage of correctional officers in state prisons, DeSantis ordered the National Guard to immediately activate members who have stepped forward to fill the gap. DeSantis issued the order Friday, hours after the Joint Legislative Budget Commission (LBC) approved a $31.3 million plan to place 300 members of the Florida National Guard in state prisons for nine months. The Department of Corrections (DOC) has long struggled to recruit and retain officers in Florida’s prisons. But while the agency says recent initiatives are helping the state start to recover employees, DOC is still short thousands of officers.

Florida searching for new ratings agency — The LBC voted unanimously Friday to spend $1.5 million on consultants to look for alternatives to Demotech, an Ohio-based ratings agency that angered state officials this summer when it threatened to downgrade 17 insurance companies. Demotech’s initial move to downgrade 17 Florida insurers in July angered Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis and Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier, both of whom wrote letters to Demotech President Joseph Petrelli and federal housing authority leaders to condemn the move. The consultants will provide recommendations to DeSantis and the Legislature, which could act on those suggestions during the 2023 Legislative Session.

Patronis proposes holding IRS agents accountable — With his latest draft measure ahead of the 2023 Session and re-election, Patronis wants to establish civil penalties against IRS employees and contractors who retaliate against Floridians for their politics. The legislation, announced Tuesday, marked his second proposal in six days in response to President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats’ plan to hire 87,000 IRS employees over the next decade. “With 87,000 new IRS personnel, there is absolutely no doubt that some of those new agents are going to target Floridians based on their political beliefs, and in my view, you don’t get to ruin someone’s life without having your own skin in the game,” Patronis said.

Officials react to Queen Elizabeth II’s death — Florida officials joined people and leaders throughout the world in mourning Queen Elizabeth’s death on Thursday. Officials recognized the Queen’s 70-year reign and her commitment to the American and British alliance and to free institutions. Following Biden’s lead, DeSantis ordered flags at half-staff until the evening of the Queen’s burial. “Throughout her time as Queen, she cultivated a friendship with the White House and met more United States presidents than any other head of state,” according to a memo from the Governor’s office. “Queen Elizabeth II will be remembered for her devotion to public service, commitment to duty, and her diligence to deepen the alliance between the United Kingdom and the United States of America.”

Patriot Day

Flags will remain at half-staff for the next week until Queen Elizabeth is buried, but the United States has another reason to lower Old Glory this weekend.

Sunday marks the 21st anniversary of 9/11, and DeSantis is ordering flags be flown at half-staff on state and local land in honor of what is known as Patriot Day.

“May we never forget the valiant efforts of our military, first responders, and other emergency personnel who risked their lives to save others,” DeSantis wrote in a memo on Friday.

Sunday marks the 20th “Patriot Day” in America.

The order also includes a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m., the minute the first plane struck the World Trade Center. The attacks killed 2,977 people and injured 25,000 others, and more people continue to suffer from effects of the attack.

“2022 marks 21 years since this devastating loss, and September 11 will forever serve as a reminder of the tremendous strength, unity and resilience of our great nation,” DeSantis wrote in his proclamation.

Congress has decreed Patriot Day as an annual day of service and remembrance.

“As Americans and Floridians, we must work together to defend our national security, uphold our founding principles of liberty and ensure that our nation remains the land of the free where such atrocious attacks can never again occur,” DeSantis wrote.

Be prepared

The 2022 hurricane season is half over and, so far, Florida has been spared from a major storm. But Attorney General Ashley Moody says that’s no reason to get complacent.

There aren’t any storms lingering off the East Coast — Earl’s listing north and is currently several hundred miles east of North Carolina, and more attention is being placed on Kay off the coast of California.

Still, today is historically the most active day for tropical storms and hurricanes, and the next few weeks are only slightly behind according to data collected from 1944 through 2020.

Although no storm is threatening Florida, Ashley Moody says to be prepared.

“As we approach the peak day of hurricane season, I am urging all Floridians to remain vigilant and prepared. Sept. 10 has been a day to remember throughout history with a slew of named storms threatening or impacting North America on this day,” Moody said.

“You don’t have to look back very far in our state’s history to see the devastation Hurricane Irma caused in South Florida on Sept. 10, 2017. While we are lucky that no system is currently threatening our state, have a plan in place and stay safe, Florida.”

For Floridians who still haven’t made a hurricane plan, Moody’s office has an evergreen guide on how to prepare for a storm and the torrent of scams that typically follow. The 2022 Hurricane Preparedness Guide is available in English and Spanish.

If a major storm does start heading toward the Sunshine State, Floridians can get reliable information from the Florida Division of Emergency Management and monitor a storm’s progression using the NOAA’s National Hurricane Center.

Chow down

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried this week announced a $24.8 million cooperative agreement with the USDA under the Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program.

LFPA provides grant funds to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Food, Nutrition, and Wellness to purchase and distribute locally grown, produced and processed food from underserved producers.

FDACS and Nikki Fried will use the grant to maintain and improve food supply chain resiliency. Image via AP.

“This influx of federal funds will allow Florida farmers and producers to build sustainable and resilient market opportunities, with an emphasis on small and underserved producers,” Fried said. “By finding new opportunities for our producers, we are expanding our food distribution network to reach underserved communities and adapt to local challenges. I want to thank the USDA for this partnership as we take another step to reduce food insecurity and create a stronger food network for all Floridians.”

FDACS will use the $24.8 million grant to maintain and improve Florida’s food and agricultural supply chain resiliency.

The new program will focus on fostering long-term and in-state relationships, with an emphasis on small and underserved producers, to create sustainable market opportunities for state producers and increase the amount of product distributed to underserved populations outside the normal food distribution network.

By empowering local producers, the program will connect food banks, food pantries, and other organizations with new food sources to address the food insecurity issues in their communities.

The LFPA program, authorized by the American Rescue Plan and administered by the USDA, is awarding funding through non-competitive cooperative agreements with state and tribal governments to support local, regional, and underserved producers through the purchase of food produced within the state or within 400 miles of delivery destination.

Firefighters battling

September marks Suicide Prevention Month, and Patronis wants to raise awareness for the high rate of attempted suicide among firefighters.

Patronis, who doubles as the CFO and State Fire Marshal, issued a proclamation Wednesday recognizing the suicide epidemic among firefighters. Additionally, he recognized the high rate of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder among first responders due to their frequent exposure to traumatic incidents in the line of duty.

Firefighters are attempting suicide at a rate five times higher than the general population. Image via Colin Hackley.

“On a daily basis, Florida’s first responders answer the call and stand on the frontlines of our communities,” Patronis said. “Whether it’s a tragedy on a mass scale like the Surfside building collapse or a routine call to a car accident, these heroes are constantly making sacrifices for the communities that they serve.

“Unfortunately, they often respond to situations where they are exposed to more terrible things than most people will see in a lifetime. Because of this, PTSD within our first responder community is significant and firefighters alone attempt suicide at a much higher rate than the general population.”

Firefighters are attempting suicide at a rate five times higher than the general population, and first responders as a whole are attempting suicide at rates more than 10 times higher than the general population.

“It’s important to raise awareness for the mental health struggles that these men and women face so they can feel comfortable finding the support they need,” Patronis continued. “Our first responders are here for us on our worst day and we have to be there for them on theirs.”

Instagram of the Week

The Week in Appointments

Eastern Florida State College District Board of Trustees — DeSantis reappointed Robert “Bruce” Deardoff and Dr. Edgar Figueroa to the Eastern Florida State College District Board of Trustees. Deardoff is the chairman and CEO of Deardoff Automotive Group. He is a current member of the Civilian Military Foundation of Brevard, the Propeller Club of Port Canaveral, and previously served seven years as a Commissioner on the Canaveral Port Authority. Deardoff earned his bachelor’s degree in marketing from Fordham University. Figueroa is a physician and surgeon at Steward Health Care. Previously, he was a trauma surgeon at Health First Holmes Regional Medical Center. He is a graduate of the University of Puerto Rico, Humacao College and earned his medical doctorate from the University of Central del Este.

State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota District Board of Trustees —DeSantis named Jaymie Carter, Tracy Knight, Ryan Moore and Rodney Thomson to the Board of Trustees. Carter is a Realtor with Michael Saunders & Company. She attended State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota. Knight is the VP and owner of Knight Strategic Communications. She attended the University of Florida and earned her bachelor’s degree from Florida State University. Moore is the owner of Prodigy and PEOProdigy. Moore attended the State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota and earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Florida. Thomson is the owner of the Thomson Group, a communications and public relations company. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University.

Pensacola State College District Board of Trustees — DeSantis announced the appointment of Gabriel Bullaro, Julie Sheppard, and Gordon Sprague and the reappointment of Kevin Lacz to the Pensacola State College District Board of Trustees. Bullaro is CEO of HCA Florida West Hospital. He is a veteran of the U.S. Navy and earned his bachelor’s degree from Boston University and his master’s degree in business administration from Duke University. Sheppard is the EVP and chief legal counsel for the Florida Institute for Human & Machine Cognition. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English and psychology from the University of Virginia and law degree from Suffolk University. Sprague is a retired SVP and regional wholesaler for AIM, a Houston, Texas-based mutual fund money management firm. He is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and earned his bachelor’s degree from FSU, his master’s degree from the University of North Florida and his honorary doctorate from Vermont Technical College. Lacz is a physician assistant with Regenesis and a former U.S. Navy SEAL who served two tours of duty in Iraq, where his actions earned him a Bronze Star Medal with a Combat V, two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals and two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals. Lacz earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Connecticut and his master’s degree in medical science from Wake Forest University.

Seminole State College District Board of Trustees — The Governor appointed John Good, Amy Lockhart and Shawn Molsberger to the Board of Trustees. Good VP of Good Capital Group. He was previously an analyst for Independent Financial and Jones Lang LaSalle. Good earned his bachelor’s degree in economics with a minor in philosophy and history from the University of Georgia. Lockhart was elected to serve on the Seminole County Board of County Commissioners and was previously an elected member of the Seminole County School Board. She attended Florida Atlantic University. Molsberger is the SVP of Orlando Health and president of Orlando Health South Seminole Hospital. He is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and a board member of the Heart of Florida United Way. Molsberger earned his bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy from Utica College of Syracuse University and his master’s degree in business and health care administration from Belmont University.

Daytona State College District Board of Trustees — DeSantis announced the appointment of Kelly Kwiatek and the reappointment of Garry Lubi and Randall Howard to the Daytona State College District Board of Trustees. Kwiatek is the SVP and general counsel at Halifax Staffing. She currently serves on the Seventh Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission, as Chair of the Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce and as a member of the Halifax Area Civic League. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University and law degree from FSU. Lubi is the SVP of commercial banking at SouthState and CenterState Bank. He serves on the Palm Coast Regional Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. He earned his bachelor’s degree in business management from Canisius College. Howard is the SVP and CFO of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and earned his bachelor’s degree in mathematics and chemistry from Birmingham Southern College, his master’s degree in operations research from the Air Force Institute of Technology and his doctorate in finance from the University of Georgia.

Housing aid

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) is leading the nation in distributing relief to vulnerable homeowners.

DEO has awarded more than $354 million through the Homeowner Assistance Fund, including more than $11 million this week. More than 13,660 Florida homeowners have received assistance with their mortgage and other expenses.

Dane Eagle and DEO are putting in work on housing assistance.

“We are continuing to prevent active foreclosures, and now we are going even further to stretch every available dollar to reach even more homeowners,” DEO Secretary Dane Eagle said in a news release. “We anticipate helping 50% more homeowners than we initially thought possible by modifying forward payments to six months, instead of the previous 18 months.”

“DEO is working directly with homeowners’ mortgage lenders and service providers to ensure HAF payments are applied correctly and timely to help Floridians catch up on their homeowner expenses, prevent foreclosures, and stay in their homes,” he continued.

The department also has more than $1.6 million in grants available for local governments and nonprofits through the Recovery Housing Program (RHP).

RHP helps provide transitional housing assistance for veterans and individuals in recovery from a substance use disorder. Applications are open through Oct. 14 through DEO.

“Housing is a critical need for veterans and individuals who are recovering from a substance use disorder,” Eagle said. “Funds available through Florida’s Recovery Housing Program will continue Florida’s collaborative efforts to ensure that communities have vital resources available to aid Floridians in their substance use recovery.”

RHP funds, allocated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and administered by DEO, will assist public or private nonprofit organizations and local governments across Florida who prioritize serving veterans in recovery from substance use disorders. However, the program does not exclude organizations serving non-veterans.

Eligible uses of RHP funds include relocation payments, rental assistance, new construction, acquisition, and/or rehabilitation of housing facilities.

DEO will hold a webinar on Thursday to provide information on the application process.

Seeking volunteers

Volunteer Florida is seeking AmeriCorps programs that hope to benefit Florida communities next fiscal year.

Volunteer organizations have until 5 p.m. on Oct. 19 to respond to the request for proposal for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2023.

“Volunteer Florida is proud to offer this funding to help leverage our state’s community needs, including educational mentorship, environmental stewardship, healthy futures for veterans, and so much more,” Volunteer Florida CEO Josie Tamayo said in a statement. “We encourage organizations seeking to further strengthen their community resilience to apply for this opportunity.”

Florida is looking for repeat and new volunteer programs to sponsor. Image via Volunteer Florida/YouTube.

In the past year, nearly 1,500 people volunteered to improve the state’s communities through AmeriCorps and Volunteer Florida, which coordinates the state’s AmeriCorps programs. Volunteers tutored and mentored underserved students, supported veterans and military families, helped state parks, and responded to emergencies and disasters.

Volunteer organizations can view the RFP and application instructions online.

Volunteer Florida will also host a pair of webinars on Wednesday to provide technical assistance to applicants. Continuation applicants can register for the 10 a.m. webinar while new and recompete applicants can register for the 2 p.m. webinar.

Gone fishin’

As students return to the classroom for the new school year, educators and parents can encourage continued learning with Gone Fishin’ games.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission partnered with digital education company Pubbly to develop five interactive games aimed at engaging and educating students on marine fisheries conservation.

Take a virtual fishing trip, match habitats with Florida fish species and more. Image via Pubbly.com.

Games include a virtual fishing trip where players learn about the equipment used by anglers. Other games help students match habitats with Florida fish species, remove trash and invasive lionfish from a reef, learn proper fish handling techniques and complete a virtual fish dissection.

The games are geared toward a 4th-grade audience, though they can be enjoyed by people of all ages — simply navigate to FloridaFishing.Pubbly.com and drop a line.

The interactive games are part of FWC’s saltwater outreach and education programs. Floridians can peruse other educational materials and programs on FWC’s website. FWC also has a direct line for those who have questions about marine fishing — either call 850-487-0554 or shoot an email to [email protected]

FWC’s outreach and education programs are funded through purchases of fishing equipment, motorboat fuel and fishing licenses.

Irma anniversary

Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie was in Marathon on Friday to commemorate the 5th anniversary of Hurricane Irma.

Irma made landfall on Cudjoe Key on Sept. 10, 2017 as a Category 4 storm, leaving the Florida Keys as the hardest hit part of the state.

Irma was the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic and the hurricane that lasted at category 5 the longest. Although it didn’t strike Florida as a category 5, it was the costliest storm to impact Florida.

Kevin Guthrie is promoting a “halfway full is halfway there” initiative.

DeSantis has emphasized his hurricane relief efforts — particularly for 2018’s Hurricane Michael but also for Hurricane Irma. Under DeSantis, Florida has paid out $7.6 billion in disaster recovery funding, including almost $2 billion in public assistance funding involving Hurricane Irma. Just this week, the state has paid out $7.5 million.

While DeSantis and Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez couldn’t attend, Guthrie took the opportunity to promote hurricane preparedness.

DEM this year is promoting a “halfway full is halfway there” initiative imploring Floridians to keep their gas tanks half full during hurricane season.

“We do believe that on a half a tank, most of the individuals can get to an evacuation location on that half a tank of gas,” Guthrie said. “We do not need to go hundreds of miles. We are now at a point in Florida with our infrastructure to only evacuate tens of miles.”

Rep. Jim Mooney, who represents the Keys, told his constituents to not drop their guard and listen to officials this hurricane season.

“It’s early, it’s been quiet, but the reality of it is the season is far from over and we must keep our guard up and we must, again, listen to everybody,” Mooney said.

De-woke DAs

House Speaker Chris Sprowls is termed out of office, but he’s not out of politics.

The Republican from Palm Harbor has agreed to serve on an advisory board for a national fundraising organization that is dedicated to electing “enforce the law” state and local prosecutors.

Chris Sprowls will take on George Soros in his post-legislative career.

In joining the Protecting Americans Action Fund, Sprowls joins a board that includes former state Attorneys General. The board also includes Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares, Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr, West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, two former U.S. Attorneys, and commercial litigation attorney Fred Teece.

“In recent years, radical leftists like George Soros have spent tens of millions of dollars to elect prosecutors in communities around the country who are letting criminals off the hook,” Sprowls said of the Hungarian born 92-year old, Budapest-born philanthropist who survived the Nazi occupation of Hungary.

Soros funds progressive political causes through the Open Foundations grant network. Data collected by the Capital Research Center and the Law Enforcement legal Defense Fund show Soros has contributed to PACs that have donated more than $22 million to support the election of at least 23 District Attorneys including Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren. DeSantis removed Warren from office Aug. 4, a move that Warren is challenging in federal court.

“For decades, Florida has been a national leader in public safety and supporting our men and women in law enforcement. Under the leadership of Governor DeSantis and in conjunction with the Legislature, Florida has pushed back against lawlessness and the entities that threaten the safety and security of our communities,” Sprowls said.

According to its website, the Protecting Americans Action Fund “will serve as a new firewall to stop the advancement of progressive ‘left wing liberals.’”

GOPAC Executive Director Jessica Curtis is the president of the Protecting Americans Action Fund.

Captain’s table

Rep. Chip LaMarca was awarded the Florida Ports Council’s 2022 Seaport Champion Award during the organization’s Board of Directors luncheon last week.

FPC said that increased investment into the state’s seaports put Florida in the position to “take advantage of a realignment in global trade routes, and it credits LaMarca for helping “a constant and consistent supporter” of seaports.

Chip LaMarca has been a champion for Florida’s seaports. Image via Colin Hackley.

“Thanks to leaders like Rep. LaMarca, Florida’s seaports are seizing the opportunity to secure an even larger share of international trade and related commercial activities,” FPC President and CEO Michael Rubin said.

Earlier this year, a report produced by the Florida Seaport Transportation and Economic Development Council detailed the rise in cargo shipping volume and the addition of new container routes.

New lines of business recently secured include Sea Lead Shipping’s new Asia East Coast container service making its inaugural call to JAXPORT in June; a new direct Asia service at Port Tampa Bay; and the launch of MSC’s Zephyr service from northern China and South Korea to the U.S. Gulf Coast, including Port Everglades.

About $4.5 billion in port improvements have been identified over the next five years. About three-quarters of the total will go to improvements at Atlantic Coast ports.

Beginner’s luck?

Freshman Rep. Jervonte Edmonds has only been a state lawmaker since March — the day the 2022-23 budget was finalized — but he has already secured nearly $1 million in local projects for his district.

Through the Local Support Grant Program, the West Palm Beach Democrat secured $900,000 for Riviera Beach. The project will support Riviera Beach lift station control panel improvements, providing safe, reliable wastewater collection and treatment services to Riviera Beach’s residents and visitors.

Jervonte Edmonds has only been a lawmaker since the day the budget began “cooling off.” Image via House Media.

“This is a historical moment. Within the few months of being elected I have fought to bring home almost $1 million to help the residents within my district,” Edmonds said in a news release. “In particular with one of society’s most important basic needs: water.”

Edmonds won the House District 88 Special Primary Election on Jan. 11 with 66% of the vote, defeating Clarence Williams for the seat. He then defeated Republican Guarina Torres with 80% on March 8, two days before he was sworn in and six days before the Legislature adjourned Sine Die.

The project was just one of 11 requests Edmonds filed this summer for the Local Support Grant Program application period. While the funding was just a 10th of the $8.7 million he requested, it’s a pretty good return on investment for his Palm Beach County constituents.

That’s roughly $1 every 17 seconds he’s been their Representative.

Go (art) NOLES!

The Florida State University film, dance, theater, music and fine art programs are second to none in the Sunshine State.

All that talent will be on display Oct. 6-9 during the Festival of the Creative Arts supported by the FSU Office of Research Departments.

And it’s all free.

Born in Cardiff, Wales, Iain Quinn is an award-winning organist, musicologist, and composer with over ninety publications. Image via FSU.

“The festival is a celebration of the diversity of creative talent on campus,” said Associate Professor of Organ and festival organizer Iain Quinn.

More than 300 students and faculty will participate in the four-day festival. There will be an opportunity to catch documentary film screenings, concerts, symposia, author readings and MagLab activities. The FSU Marching Chiefs and the FSU Flying High Circus are also on the agenda.

Nico Gutierrez will perform an original concert piece titled “Pick a flower.” Voices from the FSU choirs as well as Leon County community choirs will accompany him.

“We very much want everyone in the community to explore the world of research and the arts at FSU,” Quinn said.

OG FAMU Law grads

The FAMU College of Law on Friday unveiled a plaque honoring the 57 original College of Law graduates as part of its Rattlers for Justice Day at FAMU.

“The FAMU College of Law’s legacy is engraved in the annals of our state and our country through the accomplishments of the initial 57 graduates of the program. They have set extraordinary examples for generations to follow, including today’s “Rattlers for Justice” and anyone motivated by service,” President Larry Robinson said. “This plaque will memorialize our original graduates and inspire current students to similar acts of selfless courage.”

FAMU Law, now based in Orlando, was first located on the Tallahassee campus from 1951 till 1968. Image via FAMU.

Among the graduates of the original law school are former judges, a former U.S. Congressman, a former Florida Secretary of State, a former state Senator, and other public servants.

“The original law school graduates paved the way for those who attend FAMU Law today,” said Deidré Keller, dean of FAMU Law. “We are thankful for our original alums, their accomplishments and the legacy of transformative service they established, which we endeavor to continue.”

FAMU’s law school is the only one of the six Historically Black College and University law schools currently in existence that was opened, shutdown, and re-opened again. Former Gov. Jeb Bush signed legislation re-establishing the law school in 2000. The law school is “dedicated to providing opportunities for minorities to attain representation within the legal profession proportionate to their representation in the general population.”

Arthenia Joyner, former Senate Minority Leader and the longest practicing Black female lawyer in the history of Florida, was slated to attend the unveiling ceremony. Joyner was one of the last six people to graduate from the FAMU College of Law in 1968 before it closed.

“This plaque serves as a historic testament to the early legal trailblazers who opened the door to so many Blacks to the rich rewards of the practice of law. I have spent the last 53 years practicing law and serving the public as an elected official,” Joyner said in a prepared release. “These rewards come courtesy of the law professors who encouraged me to utilize my legal training to continue my quest for justice and equality for Black people. As one of the six individuals in that last class to graduate from the original FAMU College of Law in 1968, I am forever grateful.”

History course

After years of research and documentation by a historic preservationist and Florida’s historic golf coordinator, Scott Edwards, Jake Gaither Golf Course is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The City of Tallahassee-owned golf course first opened in 1956. Earlier this year the city completed a $700,00-plus modernization that included landscaping, fairways and cart paths enhancement as well as a remodel of the pro shop.

We’d call it special, but Jake Gaither Golf Course is one of more than 1,700 historic places in Florida alone. Image via Talgov.com.

“The Jake Gaither Golf Course has been a pillar of the community for decades. It was the first local course to give African Americans an opportunity to play the sport, and many have flourished because of it,” Mayor John Dailey said. “This national recognition reflects the dedication of staff, golfers and volunteers who have given their time and talents over the years to make the course a welcoming place for all.”

Jan Auger, general manager of golf for the city said many different types of players have golfed on the course.

“They helped diversify golf in Tallahassee by teaching and mentoring young people and women. It’s a golf course for everyone, and I’m glad it’s finally getting the recognition it deserves.”

Leroy Kilpatrick was at the golf course the day the city opened it to the public. Now in his 80s, Kilpatrick made the Guinness Book of Records in 1995 for playing 1,363 holes at Jake Gaither Golf Course in seven days.

Edwards, who works at the Department of State, also has ties to the golf course. He started playing there in middle school and was joined on the course by his father and brother

Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service’s register is part of a “program that supports public and private efforts to identify, evaluate and protect America’s historic and archeological resources.”

The City produced a mini-documentary on the golf course in December 2021. The award-winning video is viewable on YouTube.

The City is planning a weeklong celebration to mark the accomplishment but details aren’t yet available.

Campaign Directions

Ron DeSantis — Down arrow — ESG isn’t wokenomics, it’s just capitalism.

Your tax dollars — Crossways arrow — DeSantis is using them for campaign-style events, but at least he’s showing up with a check.

DeSantis 24 — Up arrow — Club for Growth isn’t cheating on Trump, it’s just DeSantis-curious.

Richard Corcoran & Manny Diaz — Up arrow — According to school choice advocates, we really are the “Free State of Florida.”

Joseph Ladapo — Up arrow — His medical opinions may be controversial, but the man knows how to stroke and turn.

Cody Farrill — Up arrow — Welcome to the EOG, Deputy.

Fla. Nat’l Guard — Down arrow — Hey, at least Florida prisons aren’t active warzones.

Rebekah Jones — Down arrow — She wants to be a martyr more than she wants to be a Congresswoman. For some reason, the state keeps playing along.

Jason Brodeur — Crossways arrow — He’ll probably win in November, but don’t expect another Election Night party … he’s still paying for the last one.

Joe Gruters — Crossways — Mike Flynn will give the Sarasota GOP a boost, but he’s probably the most annoying colleague this side of Richmeister.

Kim Daniels — Up arrow — The blank line bowed out. Comeback complete.

Randy Fine — Down arrow — We need a Brevard parent to fabricate a non-bigoted story, because he’ll apparently believe anything.

Refugees — Crossways arrow — Welcome to America: The land of the free and the home of an arcane and underfunded public health system.

Duke Energy — Up arrow — It’s all sunshine and rainbows for its solar program.

Erik Eikenberg — Up arrow — Confidential settlements are the best type of settlements. Now, back to focusing on the Everglades.

John Tomasino — Down arrow — A “medium sized afterhours bomb” sits somewhere between Fat Man and Little Boy.

Will Weatherford — Up arrow — USF has wanted a stadium for years. Now they have a board chair who knows how to deliver.

Charlie Adelson — Down arrow — No bail? Wow, it must be so difficult for your family to not have you around.

Lawrence Revell — Crossways arrow — The Instagram post isn’t the problem, Chief. The picture it paints is.

FSU Football — Up arrow — Its first 2-0 start since the Obama administration. Keep it up!

Staff Reports


2 comments

  • Charlie Crist

    September 10, 2022 at 6:47 am

    Get arrested in Florida? Might as well move out of the state! Not worth your time and lost money over a lifetime. Have a record? Might as well leave. 😆

    • Hope

      September 10, 2022 at 8:14 am

      Don’t commit crimes!

Comments are closed.


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