Takeaways from Tallahassee — Promises kept, promises made

Blue Tally Takeaways (3)
Ron DeSantis wants to prove that Florida is committed to a years-long recovery effort.

Here for the long haul

It’s an act for the present and a gesture for the future.

The Northwest Florida communities impacted by Hurricane Michael four years ago will receive another $126 million in funding through the Department of Economic Opportunity’s Rebuild Florida Program.

Gov. Ron DeSantis announced the new awards on the fourth anniversary of the Category 5 hurricane’s landfall in Florida, but also as the state grapples with the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, which wreaked havoc in Southwest Florida two weeks ago.

Ron DeSantis hasn’t forgotten Michael. We don’t think he’ll forget Ian either. Image via Twitter.

The Governor framed the Michael recovery money as proof that the state is committed to the long-term recovery of storm-damaged communities.

“Today’s $126 million awarded to 24 Hurricane Michael-impacted communities is an example of our lasting commitment to helping Florida communities rebuild following a storm,” DeSantis said. “Four years later, Northwest Florida has made remarkable progress but it has been a difficult journey with more work ahead.”

The awards announced this week include $84 million through the Rebuild Florida General Infrastructure Repair Program. Awards range in size from $895,414 for Cottondale to replace more than 2,000 linear feet of its sewer system to $24.9 million for Panama City to retrofit and upgrade more than 50 damaged lift-stations in its warning siren notification system.

Another $42 million in awards will be disbursed through the Rebuild Florida Mitigation General Infrastructure Program. They range from $603,527 for Blountstown to repair pipes in the Lake Hilda Dam to $5.2 million for Marianna to construct a resiliency hub.

DeSantis is up for re-election next month. If successful, he would begin a second four-year term and could oversee the four-year anniversary of Hurricane Ian, giving him an opportunity to make good on his promise.

“The Governor’s announcement today of more than $126 million to Northwest Florida communities on the four-year anniversary of Hurricane Michael reaffirms his commitment to disaster-impacted communities across the state and sends a strong message to those impacted by Hurricane Ian that this administration will continue to have your back long after the cameras are gone,” DEO Secretary Dane Eagle said.

The Florida Housing Finance Corporation is also playing its part in responding to both Michael and Ian.

Over the last four years, Florida Housing has provided more than $15 million for down payment and closing cost assistance and invested $75 million into workforce housing properties. The public corporation has supported programs that rebuild rental housing in Northwest Florida, and now Executive Director Trey Price says it’s time to extend the relief to Southwest Florida.

“Florida Housing continues to support areas in recovery from Hurricane Michael, though we are now very focused on assisting the families in Southwest Florida that have been impacted by Hurricane Ian,” Price said. “Our team recognizes that recovery does not happen overnight. While we are working to ensure families have the necessary information for temporary housing assistance, our major role is being a part of long-term solutions.”

___

A pair of North Florida incumbents, Republican U.S. Rep. Neal Dunn and Democratic U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, will face off Tuesday in a debate for Florida’s 2nd Congressional District.

The debate, hosted by City & State Florida’s Jim Rosica, will begin at noon at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center. The Capital Tiger Bay Club is hosting the event. The debate will be preceded by a luncheon at 11:30 a.m.

Florida’s only incumbent-on-incumbent fight will ratchet up next week.

___

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 Downey, Christine Jordan Sexton and the staff of Florida Politics.

But first …

Take 5

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

Parkland shooter spared death sentence — Jurors recommended life in prison without parole for Nikolas Cruz, who shot 17 individuals dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The panel voted 17 times, once for each murder victim. Each time, the jury determined mitigating factors outweighed aggravating factors that merited a death sentence. Confusion gave way to disbelief as the jury’s findings became apparent. “It’s a stain,” said Ilan Alhadeff, father of Alyssa. “He’s not a human being, he’s an animal.” DeSantis condemned the verdict. “I don’t think anything else is appropriate except the capital sentence in this case,” DeSantis said. “They used to do this and he would have been executed in six months. … This legal system is not serving the interests of the victims.”

Incest victim denied abortion in Florida — An incest victim reportedly in middle school was unable to obtain an abortion in Florida because she was beyond the 15-week threshold allowable for the procedure in the state. Planned Parenthood of South, East and North Florida said the child had to travel “at least two, three states away” to terminate her pregnancy. The story, first reported by Buzzfeed News, reframes the gubernatorial election on Florida’s 15-week abortion restriction, which leaves no exceptions for rape or incest. Democrats, like Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book, conveyed their anger and empathy for the victim and others they said would undoubtedly face similar cases.

U.S. Treasury probes migrant flights — The Treasury Department’s Inspector General’s office is investigating whether Florida and DeSantis misused federal aid with his flights that transported migrants from Texas to Massachusetts. The program utilized COVID-19 relief aid, and President Joe Biden and Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Ed Markey have called the move a political stunt. Despite the media attention, which began when POLITICO reported the story, the Governor’s Office contends the investigation isn’t unordinary. Communications Director Taryn Fenske also says the office had previously discussed with the Treasury the possibility of using interest earnings to fund the program. Critics have argued DeSantis also flouted state budget policy with the move.

DeSantis eases election policies for Ian-stricken counties — DeSantis issued an executive order waiving some election laws in Charlotte, Lee and Sarasota counties to ensure ballot access for voters after Hurricane Ian. Among the changes, DeSantis is allowing early voting to run from Oct. 24 up to Election Day and creating flexibility for establishing “super sites.” The order comes at the recommendation of Secretary of State Cord Byrd, who has been working with local Supervisors of Elections since before Ian made landfall to accommodate their needs for the General Election.

Protesters disrupt Ben Sasse’s UF visit — Protesters drove Nebraska U.S. Sen. Sasse from a University of Florida stage this week during the Republican lawmaker’s first visit to campus since being named the lone finalist for school president. Students are outraged, citing his past statements and positions in opposition to gay marriage. Before he was interrupted, Sasse defended his remarks opposing forgiveness of student loans, endorsed tenure reviews for faculty and praised hybrid classes. Before a group of about 250 protesters entered the room, Sasse acknowledged their right to protest. Ultimately, he was escorted off-stage.

Weight of the badge

Four police and firefighter groups helping officers and members recover from Hurricane Ian will receive $2 million from the Florida Disaster Fund to aid those efforts, DeSantis and First Lady Casey DeSantis announced.

The Florida Sheriff’s Association, the Florida Fraternal Order of Police, the Florida Police Benevolent Association and the Florida Professional Firefighters will each receive $500,000 from the fund, the state’s private charitable organization.

The First Couple doesn’t want first responders to go unnoticed. Image via YouTube/First Coast News.

The groups will put the money toward helping officers and firefighters whose homes were damaged or destroyed by Ian. The Governor acknowledged that while Thursday’s donation won’t likely meet all of their needs, there’s likely more to come.

“We want to do more,” DeSantis said at an event in Punta Gorda. “This is not the end from the Volunteer Florida and the Florida Disaster Fund perspective.”

Many first responders have lost their own homes, he notes, but they act day-in and day-out to help their communities.

“First responders have worked day and night to ensure the safety of Floridians throughout all of Hurricane Ian, selflessly putting the safety of others first,” the First Lady said. “We couldn’t be more thankful for their efforts, and the Governor and I are honored to award $2 million from the Florida Disaster Fund to help first responders affected by the storm get back on their feet.”

N.O. to CO2 plan

Attorney General Ashley Moody is backseat driving, warning the U.S. Department of Transportation that it’s about to miss its exit from a proposed plan on reducing emissions.

In the comments filed Thursday with President Joe Biden’s DOT, Moody and 19 other state Attorneys General expressed concerns that a proposed plan from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) would overstep the authority granted to it by Congress. The Biden administration plan hopes for all states’ CO2 emissions to be net zero by 2050.

Ashley Moody is pumping the brakes on USDOT. Image via Colin Hackley.

“Given the Supreme Court recently made clear in West Virginia v. EPA that even the (Environmental Protection Agency) cannot use its existing authority to take unprecedented and unauthorized actions to address climate change, such action is clearly beyond the authority Congress has given FHWA,” according to the letter, spearheaded by the Attorney General of Kentucky.

The band also points out that the federal government would be requiring states to implement a federal regulatory program. In some cases, the program would be redundant.

“Congress never gave the Department of Transportation the authority to implement these overbearing and widespread regulations — requiring all states to reduce on-road CO2 emissions to net-zero,” Moody said in a statement. “This is just another example of Biden attempting to wield federal authority he does not have. Thankfully, state attorneys general are pushing back against this unlawful federal overreach.”

EVs and salt don’t mix

Florida may want to assemble search teams to identify electric vehicles (EVs) that were damaged with salt water to ensure they are nowhere near other vehicles or structures, Fire Marshal and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis was told this week.

Patronis reached out to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Executive Director Jack Danielson to ask whether search teams need to create missions to find the cars following an incident on Sanibel Island in which a Tesla caught fire and burned two homes.

Is Jimmy Patronis no longer a Musketeer? Image via @JimmyPatronis/Twitter.

Danielson said the NHTSA first became aware of the problem in 2012 after Hurricane Sandy flooded the Port of Newark in New Jersey, where 338 Fisker battery-EVs were submerged in salt water. He said the experience showed fires can occur immediately following the damage or several weeks after damage.

Following Sandy the NHTSA released the “Interim Guidance for Electric and Hybrid-Electric Vehicles Equipped with High Voltage Batteries,” which has been updated twice since then.

The guidance says, ‘Do not store a severely damaged vehicle with a lithium-ion battery inside a structure or within 50 feet of any structure, vehicle, or combustibles,’ Danielson wrote. “NHTSA, other Federal partners, and the NFPA have been sharing this information as broadly as possible.”

The Florida incident involved Tesla vehicles. The company released its own guide on handling submerged vehicles and released a YouTube demonstration to accompany the recommendations.

Danielson also told Patronis that the personal protective equipment firefighters wear keeps them safe from any toxic gasses that are emitted from the fires.

“First responders wearing appropriate PPE and self-contained breathing apparatus are protected adequately from toxic gasses emitted from EV batteries,” he wrote.

Meanwhile, Patronis also issued a public service announcement asking electric vehicle manufacturers to help address EV vehicle fires following the impacts of Hurricane Ian.

Life withholds lemons

Amid sour news for Florida’s citrus growers, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried maintains sweet hopes for the industry.

A forecast this week from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) projects the industry will produce just 28 million boxes of Florida oranges during the 2022-23 season, the lowest output since the 1941-42 season. And that’s before Hurricane Ian squeezed Southwest Florida.

“It is heartbreaking to see such an iconic Florida industry hurting right now,” Fried said in a statement. “This year will be tough, no one is disputing that, but I believe in the tenacity and passion of our citrus industry professionals to come back stronger than ever.”

Nikki Fried is optimistic about Florida’s orange outlook.

Non-Valencia oranges are also expected to be the smallest ever. Plus, production numbers for grapefruit and tangerines and tangelos are expected to be down.

The USDA is projecting just 2 million boxes of grapefruit will be produced this season, with 1.8 million boxes of red grapefruit and 200,000 boxes of white grapefruit. For tangerines and tangelos, the agency pegged a production level of 700,000 boxes.

Fried is on her way out of office, having opted for an unsuccessful gubernatorial bid. Still, she remains committed to protecting the citrus industry.

“Side-by-side with our industry partners and stakeholders, I promise I will do everything in my power to secure all the available resources for Florida’s growers to recover from Hurricane Ian,” Fried said.

Instagram of the Week

The Week in Appointments

Levy County Property Appraiser — DeSantis appointed Jason Whistler for the role. Whistler, of Chiefland, is the office’s Field Appraiser for the Levy County Property Appraiser. He has worked for the office for the past 22 years and is a certified Florida evaluator. Whistler is a deacon at First Baptist Church as well as a volunteer with the youth ministry.

Levy County Board of County Commissioners — The Governor appointed Desiree Mills to the county commission. Mills is a fourth-generation county resident and co-owner of a farm in Morriston. She is President of the Williston Future Farmers of America Alumni Association, a member of the Florida Cattleman’s Association, and a member of the Farm Bureau Women’s Committee. Mills attended Santa Fe College and the College of Central Florida.

Rehabilitation Council for the Blind — DeSantis appointed 14 to the council. Sead Bekric is the former President of All American Canteen. Sophia Eccleston is an External Affairs Manager with Florida Power and Light. Paul Edwards is the former Director of Access Services for Miami Dade College. Paul Martinez is a Banquet Server at the Tampa Convention Center and is President of the National Federation of the Blind – Florida. Roxann Mayros serves as a consultant to nonprofits and is the previous CEO of VisionServe Alliance. Ciawanda McDonald is the CEO of Disability Solutions for Independent Living. Arthur Moody is an Advocate-Investigator at Disability Rights Florida. Misty Porter is a Parent Liaison at the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind. Denise Valkema is a board member and past President of the National Federation of the Blind – Florida. Nancy Bateh is a Senior Rehabilitation Counselor at the Florida Department of Education’s Division of Blind Services. Jorge Hernandez is the Manager of Technology at the Miami Lighthouse for the Blind and serves on the Board of Directors for the National Federation of the Blind – Florida. Patricia Lipovsky is the Vice President of the Coalition for the Concerns of the Totally Blind, an affiliate of the Florida Council of the Blind. Donté Mickens is a Financial Consultant at the National Council on Compensation Insurance, is a member of the United States Association of Blind Athletes and is Chair of Lighthouse for the Blind of the Palm Beaches. Bessie Outman is a Registered Nurse at Conklin Davis Center for the Visually Impaired.

Enterprise Florida Board of Directors — The Governor named two to the Board of Directors. Jonathan Satter is the Chief Operating Officer and Managing Director for White Wolf Capital Group. He is a former Secretary of the Department of Management Services. Katherine San Pedro, a reappointment, is a Partner at Ballard Partners. She previously served as the Regional Director of External and Legislative Affairs for AT&T Florida as well as on the Board of Directors for the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce.

Class in session

All of Florida’s 40 public higher education institutions are finally open this week after closures for Hurricane Ian.

The return to normal comes just two weeks after the storm made landfall. The Department of Education and Commissioner Manny Díaz credit a collaborative effort from state schools, state agencies and local communities to provide assistance to the hardest hit counties.

Manny Díaz says higher ed is back. Image via Colin Hackley.

“Florida state colleges have stepped up to help their students, communities and neighboring institutions as our state recovers from Hurricane Ian,” Díaz said. “I am pleased to see all 40 state colleges and universities in Florida’s top-ranked higher education system now resume classes for all students and faculty.”

Díaz organized Florida College System presidents into a hurricane response strike group to facilitate quick responses to emergency needs, and dozens of university and college students volunteered to help reopen their schools. University students from across the state also volunteered to help clean up impacted areas, including the Florida Atlantic University’s softball team, which traveled to Fort Myers to assist.

“In the wake of Hurricane Ian’s impact on Florida, the State University System has worked closely together to provide support to our impacted campuses and surrounding communities during this difficult time,” said Marshall Criser, chancellor of the State University System of Florida. “I am proud that before, during and after the storm, our universities have leaned in to ensure that our students and employees received the necessary resources based on their individual and collective needs.”

Walk this safe way

October is National Pedestrian Safety Month, and the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) wants drivers and pedestrians to work together to keep the mode of transportation and exercise option safe.

“Last year, nearly 850 lives were lost in senseless and preventable pedestrian-involved crashes in Florida,” FLHSMV Executive Director Terry Rhodes said. “Pedestrian safety is a two-way street — a shared responsibility between all road users to look out for one another’s safety. No matter your mode of transportation, always keep your eyes on the road — this can be your best defense for avoiding crashes.”

Keeping pedestrians safe is a two-way street.

In 2021, there were 9,552 pedestrian crashes statewide, a 17% increase from 2020. Fatalities and serious bodily injuries (SBI) from pedestrian crashes in 2021 also increased when compared to the previous year — fatalities were up nearly 19%, and SBIs increased by nearly 15%.

The Florida Highway Patrol, a division of FLHSMV, is working on spreading the word, as are the Florida Sheriffs and Police Chief associations and AAA — The Auto Club Group.

“Florida is a top tourist destination with hundreds of miles of beachfront communities and other globally recognized attractions,” said Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis, president of the Florida Sheriffs Association. “This means we have a significant number of pedestrians along and near our roadways. As we drive, please remember the safety of pedestrians is a shared responsibility.”

And sometimes the pedestrians are the state’s youngest residents.

Motorists should be extra vigilant as children make their way to school and play in and around neighborhoods,” said Michele Harris, Florida Public Affairs Director for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “They are the most unpredictable of all pedestrians and generally don’t understand the rules of the road.”

Local funds

This week, Sen. Ileana García celebrated more than $1.1 million in funds distributed to local projects in her district.

On Wednesday, the Miami Republican announced that Cutler Bay received $620,000 total for Active Adult Services and improvements to Marlin Road. Meanwhile, the New World School of the Arts in Miami came away with $500,000 in support.

Ileana García is bringing in bundles for Senate District 37. Image via Colin Hackley.

In Cutler Bay, 14% of the population is 65 and older. Active Adult Services helps connect those seniors with services they may not know about, helping them maintain an active and energetic quality of life with plenty of socializing.

The project will help hold community outings at least once per month. Along with it comes recreational activities within Franjo Park Community Center, funds for new equipment like domino tables and an informational resource pamphlet.

Marlin Road is one of Cutler Bay’s main thoroughfares, but it has seen increasing bicycle and pedestrian crash reports. Segments of the road also have “D” or even “F” ratings.

To solve the problems, the plan is to install a pedestrian refuge within the medians, five-foot-wide sidewalks, 10-foot-wide visibility crosswalks, bicycle and shared lanes, and accessible ramps.

Finally, the New World School of the Arts is looking to support production expenses like costumes and sets, materials like studio rentals and lighting, and more. The funding will also help each division within the school meet goals to produce a minimum of three performances or exhibits.

I can see your halo

Rep. Travaris McCurdy is getting in formation behind the Queen B for Hurricane Ian relief.

McCurdy partnered with Beyoncé’s Bey Good Foundation to provide relief in Orlando on Wednesday morning.

“I am happy that my team and I can provide a little relief to Orlando in its time of need with the help of some amazing organizations,” McCurdy said in a statement.

Travaris McCurdy is crazy in love with Central Florida. Image via Colin Hackley.

“It is an honor to partner with such amazing organizations as the Bey Good Foundation, Adidas, and Matthew 25: Ministries,” the Orlando Democrat continued. “To be able to provide relief to not only the constituents in District 46 but Central Florida as a whole is something that I am happy that myself and my team were able to put together.”

McCurdy isn’t the only Central Florida lawmaker who’s been on the road providing relief after Ian. The Legislature’s Queen “Dee,” Tampa Democratic Rep. Dianne Hart, traveled to Fort Myers on Friday to provide supplies to residents.

She and the East Tampa Business and Civic Association made three two-hour stops in the area. Among the items distributed were food, clothing, shoes, school supplies and hygiene kits.

Amen to that

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is coming to the defense of the Florida High School Athletic Association in the case involving a private Christian school that hopes to broadcast prayers at state championships.

The Cambridge Christian School is making its case to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals after requesting a second opinion on the matter. Cambridge Christian argues that speech broadcast over a school’s PA system isn’t necessarily school-sanctioned. However, FFRF says PA systems exclusively transmit government speech.

Are PA systems hallowed ground for free speech?

“Cambridge Christian is not requesting equal access in this case; it is requesting special treatment,” FFRF lawyers wrote in the amicus brief, submitted Friday.

Tampa-based U.S. District Judge Charlene Edwards Honeywell ruled against Cambridge Christian in April. Honeywell had dismissed the case in 2017, but the 11th Circuit sent it back to her in 2019.

Cambridge Christian had argued the FHSAA committed viewpoint discrimination by deciding to block the prayer. However, Honeywell ruled that when Cambridge Christian requested FHSAA for the chance to offer a prayer before a 2015 state championship football game, the school was asking to make government speech, not private speech, and that the First Amendment did not apply.

“This is religious privilege run amok,” said FFRF Legal Director Rebecca Markert, who signed the brief on behalf of FFRF. “Cambridge Christian feels entitled to broadcast their personal religious message to a stadium full of spectators at a government-sponsored event.”

Living in the HOF

The Florida State University College of Business Alumni Hall of Fame stands at 62 members after Jim Henderson, Brett Lindquist, Brian Murphy and Scott Price were enshrined into the hall during a ceremony this week at the Student Union in Tallahassee.

Henderson, who graduated in 1969, is the chairman and CEO of AssuredPartners. He co-launched the company in 2011, and a decade later it is one of the country’s leading property/casualty agencies.

Henderson recently made a $500,000 gift to Legacy Hall, the future home of the business college and made a similar gift in 2019, earning him a Legacy Hall classroom named in his honor.

It takes a bit more than just a legacy to get into Legacy Hall.

Lindquist, who graduated in 1983, is CEO of The Mortgage Firm. He also chairs the College of Business Board of Governors and has emphasized fundraising and the building of Legacy Hall.

He and his wife, Cindy, established seven gifts in the college, including endowed funds and scholarship funds. They also made a gift to create the Brett C. and Cynthia R. Lindquist Classroom in Legacy Hall.

Murphy, who graduated in 2000, built ReliaQuest into a global firm valued at more than $1 billion and serves on the College of Business Board of Governors and on the Seminole Boosters Board of Directors. Legacy Hall will boast the ReliaQuest Analytics Teaching Lab.

Price, who graduated in 1997, is the founder and CEO of A-LIGN, a technology enabled security company.

He made a $2.7 million gift to support Legacy Hall, which included $2 million to create the Scott G. Price and Family Endowed Scholarship in Accounting. The remaining $700,000 upgrades from naming a classroom to naming the Scott G. Price and Family Forum Stairs, a showcase seating area, in Legacy Hall.

“Like the 58 Alumni Hall of Fame inductees before them, these individuals also demonstrate exceptional energy, integrity, leadership and achievement – College of Business hallmarks that we strive to instill in our students and each other,” said Michael Hartline, dean of the College of Business.

Meanwhile, Tallahassee-based business leader Christina Lynch was named the 2022 recipient of the FSU College of Business Recent Alumni Achievement Award. Lynch is founder and CEO of Trydent Consulting. She graduated in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance and a bachelor’s degree in human resource management.

Welcome aboard

Tiffani Dawn Sykes is the new Athletic Director for Florida A&M University. Her formal title: Vice President and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics.

“With this being the 50th anniversary of Title IX, I recognize the significance of my joining the FAMU family in this role,” Sykes said. “I look forward to working with all of the Rattlers in continuing the outstanding legacy that resides on the ‘Highest of Seven Hills.’”

Sykes brings a lengthy resume.

Prior to joining FAMU on Wednesday, Sykes was the Executive Senior Associate Athletic Director for Varsity Sports and Senior Woman Administrator (SWA) at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. She began her career in 2002 at Saint Paul’s College in Lawrenceville, Virginia, where she worked in sports information and also the SWA for four years.

From there she went to Virginia Union University, where she worked as the sports information director as well as the SWA. She left that post and headed to Grambling State University, where she served as the assistant athletic director for compliance and also worked as interim sports information director. While at Grambling she also earned her master’s degree in sport administration.

“We are happy to welcome Ms. Tiffani Dawn Sykes into the ‘FAMUly,’ FAMU President Larry Robinson said in a statement. “Her credentials are impeccable and her demonstrated commitment to excellence are what we need to move our program forward. I am excited about this hire and look forward to working with her to take FAMU to the next level.”

Kudos

Tallahassee Community College has been awarded $191,510 by the federal government for its Florida Mine Safety Program (FMSP).

The grant was awarded to support federally mandated training and re-training for miners working underground coal, metal and nonmetal mines. Miners working in shell dredging or surface stone, sand, and gravel mining operations also must be trained.

Miners still play a crucial role in the economy to this day.

The FMSP has, since 2011, been housed at TCC’s Florida Public Safety Institute (FPSI). The program works with mining companies and mining contractors on their health and safety training helping to educate miners.

The United States Department of Labor Mine Safety and Health Administration awarded TCC the grant money on Tuesday.

“We are extremely thankful to MSHA for the continued support of our program,” said Karen Miller, who heads the FMSP. “Proper training is critical to keeping miners and work sites safe. This funding allows us to continue to deliver these essential training programs.”

Come one, come all

The City of Tallahassee is preparing to host an all-day summit on race relations.

The summit, slated for Wednesday, will feature 15 speakers and interactive workshops.

“It is vital that we are always striving to educate ourselves and grow together as a community, and I am proud to live in a city where citizens appreciate what can be accomplished when we come together,” Mayor John Dailey said announcing the upcoming summit, dubbed the Power of Voice.

John Dailey hopes to spur a conversation on race. Image via FSU News.com.

“The City’s proactive and collaborative approach is what sets Tallahassee apart and makes it an exceptional place for all of us to call home.”

While the Oct. 19 summit is free, registration is required.

The community summit will feature workshops on successfully building inclusive workplaces, the key to creating an accepting work environment and understanding health Equity and how social determinants impact health status.

A luncheon session will feature a screening of “RACE to Be Human,” a documentary series that examines the effects of racism on society’s mental health and what can be done to make the world kinder and more empathetic.

The event will be held at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center. Breakfast and lunch will be served. For a schedule of workshops, list of presenters and registration details, visit Talgov.com/Diversity.

Golf for life

Golf courses are locales where deals can be and are brokered.

But golf courses also can be incubators where young people learn life skills that teach them how to be successful adults. With that in mind, the PGA Tour and the World Golf Foundation in 1997 created First Tee, which uses the game to teach children life skills.

First Tee – Tallahassee, recently launched by Chuck Urban, chose Sabal Palm Elementary and Southwood Golf Club as its initial community school and golf course, respectively.

Kids can tighten up their swing … and their life skills. Image via Facebook.

“First Tee – Tallahassee will be about helping kids navigate challenges, and to grow stronger as they move through them,” Urban said. “We believe the game of golf is the perfect platform for personal growth. We are excited to bring forward a powerful mission and to make a difference in the lives of our youth through everything we do under this program.”

To help ensure the First Tee – Tallahassee chapter is available throughout Leon County, and into Jefferson County in 2023, a two-day fundraiser was held. About 150 people attended the Thursday night silent auction fundraiser.

Friday morning, roughly 36 teams of three golfers competed in an 18 hole tournament at Southwood Golf Club.

The results? The group raised about $100,000.

Sabal Palm Elementary School Principal Shannon Davis said she is excited about the opportunities the students will have. And Shannon knows — her son attended Florida A&M University on a golf scholarship.

“I am extremely excited about being able to offer our elementary students an opportunity to learn more about the game of golf which will instill life-enhancing skills in our students,” she said. “Through the game of golf our students will build confidence, strength of character and determination both on and off the golf course.”

Campaign Directions

Ron DeSantis – down arrow – Money, what money?

Ron DeSantis pt. 2 – Up arrow – Despite at least three major instances of not following the law, little criticism seems to stick to Teflon Ron.

Casey DeSantis – Up arrow – She knows how to survive with grace, and her story is a tear jerker for anyone with half a heart.

The Death Penalty – Down arrow – If a mass murderer who kills kids isn’t a candidate for the death penalty, who is?

Joseph Ladapo – Crossways arrow – If his goal was to spur discussion about the efficacy of vaccines, he got it and then some. But we’re not sure that WAS the goal.

DeSantis’ legal team – Crossways arrow – They scored another win for the Guv, but we wish they hadn’t.

Martha’s Vineyard immigrants – Up arrow – They might be pawns in a political chess match, but it looks like they’ll get the last laugh.

FDOT – Up arrow – Can you repeat that Sanibel quick build on other infrastructure, too?

Your electric bills – Crossways arrow – They’ll probably go up, but not until after Election Day. Thank politics, er, Hurricane Ian, for the reprieve.

Jeff Brandes – Down arrow – What’s that they say about the road to hell?

FHSAA – Crossways arrow – Why were you asking about menstrual cycles in the first place?

Shannon Shepp – Down arrow – She can’t help the weather, but our OJ isn’t going to be OK.

Florida Standard – Up arrow – They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so thank you.

Staff Reports


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  • Jerry Mercola

    October 18, 2022 at 4:28 pm

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Comments are closed.


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