Takeaways from Tallahassee — Grads on the rise

Blue Tally Takeaways (3)
Graduation rates are returning to pre-pandemic levels

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Florida’s graduation rate is a slight notch higher than it was prior to the pandemic, according to data from the Florida Department of Education.

DOE reported this week that the overall graduation rate for the 2021-22 school year was 87.3%, or 0.4% higher than the 2018-19 school year.

That’s a lower rate than it was the past two years, but testing rules were waived during the COVID-19 pandemic. State officials said that comparing this year’s rate to the last year prior to the pandemic is a more “apples to apples comparison.”

Florida is making back the education regression from the pandemic. Image via AP.

Florida took a different approach than many other states during the pandemic and opened all schools up for in-person instruction in the fall of 2021, although remote teaching was allowed to continue at first.

“While many around the nation were lowering expectations and keeping at-risk students at a distance from their teachers and needed educational supports, Florida was empowering parents to make this decision and moreover Florida’s teachers stepped up to the plate and delivered for students who had learning gaps to overcome,” Education Commissioner Manny Diaz said when announcing the results.

When broken down, the graduation rate shows that rates were either consistent or slightly higher than they were prior to the pandemic, although lower than they were when certain requirements were waived.

The graduation rate for Black students last year was 82%, compared to 81.5% in 2018-19. Hispanic graduation rates were the same — 85.9% — in 2021-22 as they were in 2018-19.

Students with disabilities saw their graduation rate climb to 83.5% last year, compared to 81.5% in 2018-19.


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, Gray Rohrer, 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:

Gov. DeSantis orders $3.5B for environment projects — Gov. Ron DeSantis signed an executive order calling for $3.5 billion in environmental projects, including in the Everglades and the Indian River Lagoon. The announcement came four years after he made a similar pledge for environmental funding shortly after taking office, when he called for $2.5 billion over four years. Lawmakers eventually appropriated $3.3 billion. The funding called on in the order must gain approval from the Legislature, but with a two-thirds majority in both chambers held by DeSantis’ fellow Republicans and leaders who haven’t rebuffed his agenda as they often did with Gov. Rick Scott, the money is likely to flow to the projects.

DeSantis enters PBM fray — DeSantis, who lashed out at federal regulators and said they continue to stonewall his plan to import drugs from Canada into Florida, is pushing the Legislature to impose new regulations on prescription drugs in an effort to bring down prices. Announced on National Pharmacists’ Day, the move will give DeSantis another chance to say he’s tackling the thorny issue of prescription drug pricing ahead of a potential campaign for President later this year. It’s the first time the DeSantis administration will delve directly into a legislative battle over pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) — organizations that represent health insurers and negotiate with drug manufacturers.

Paul Renner requests higher ed woke messages — After DeSantis called for a survey of DEI and CRT activities on college campuses, House Speaker Renner requested a more extensive report. His memo asks for 16 different items, due by Feb. 13. The request includes emails, text messages and social media posts the institution’s DEI offices have sent between Jan. 1, 2021 to Thursday regarding curriculum development, faculty hiring, tenure, and proposed discipline, censure, or termination of any faculty member. A legal challenge against DeSantis’ order was also dismissed.

Wilton Simpson targets corporate gun data tracking — Agriculture Commissioner Simpson unveiled his first legislative proposal since taking office, a first-in-the-nation measure to prevent businesses from tracking Floridians’ firearm and ammo purchases. Simpson announced his proposal for the “Florida Arms and Ammo Act” Tuesday. The measure comes in response to new international standards for recording payment transactions last year that established a separate identification code for firearm and ammunition sales. With the new merchant category code, it is potentially easier to track people who have purchased guns or ammo.

Democratic lawmakers refile ‘Jaime’s Law’ — Rep. Dan Daley filed his fourth consecutive attempt at advancing legislation to require background checks for ammunition purchases. On Tuesday, Daley again filed “Jaime’s Law,” named after 14-year-old Jamie Guttenberg, one of 17 people killed in the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland. If enacted, the measure would apply to ammunition purchases the same strictures placed on those buying a gun. Florida law already prohibits people banned from purchasing or possessing a firearm from buying ammunition. However, there is no law on the books requiring vendors to run background checks on ammo purchases, rendering the law toothless.


Florida’s top prosecutor has a warning for Florida parents and guardians: sextortion of minors is on the rise.

Sextortion is a combination of the words sex and extortion and is used to describe a form of exploitation where predators coerce people into sharing explicit photos or videos of themselves and then use the images to blackmail the targets.

“Sextortion cases are on the rise nationwide and thousands of minors are being targeted and victimized. Parents and guardians, please talk to your children about this disturbing crime and make sure they know not to take or send explicit images to anyone. Keep an open dialog with your children and urge them to tell you if they are ever asked to exchange inappropriate content,” Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said in a prepared statement.

Ashley Moody is warning families during Human Trafficking Month. Image via Colin Hackley.

Moody’s office noted that the U.S. Department of Justice issued a warning about the increase in sextortion cases, noting that there were 3,000 minor victims in 2022.

January is Human Trafficking Prevention month. To that end, the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) this week also provided e-tips for parents and guardians to protect their children from sextortion.

DCF recommends parents and guardians: be aware of a child’s online activity; require children to make social media accounts private; prevent children from altering or using a fake date of birth to access sites that allow for communication with older individuals; explain that profiles may be altered online to appear as someone else; clarify that once something is sent on the internet, it never goes away; and ensure that children know how to ask for help, even if the situation is uncomfortable.

DCF also is hosting training and awareness events across the state to teach people about the crime

Any parent suspicious that their child may be targeted by a potential predator can call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s CyberTipline at 1(800) 843-5678. Additionally, parents should report the case to a local FBI field office by calling 1(800) CALL-FBI, or online at tips.FBI.gov. If a child is in immediate danger, contact local law enforcement by calling 911.

Keep heroes safe

Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, who doubles as the State Fire Marshal, issued a proclamation this week recognizing January as Firefighter Cancer Awareness Month.

The annual awareness month serves to highlight the health issues firefighters face due to their work, as well as the need for decontamination gear and firefighter cancer coverage. According to the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF), cancer continues to be the top cause of line-of-duty deaths among firefighters.

Jimmy Patronis wants the best resources for Florida’s firefighters. Image via CFO’s Office.

“Firefighter Cancer Awareness Month serves as a reminder of the very real dangers cancer presents to Florida’s firefighters and fire service personnel. Every day, our firefighters are exposed to harmful carcinogens, and in Florida, it is a top priority that we protect these men and women who risk their own lives to protect others,” Patronis said.

“I am proud that we have had the support of Gov. DeSantis and the Florida Legislature in obtaining the best resources to help in the fight against cancer in the firefighter community. Firefighting isn’t just a job, it’s a calling and we must do everything possible to keep these heroes safe as they work to protect us.”

During his time as CFO, Patronis has advocated for expanded benefits for firefighters and other members of the fire service who encounter dangerous chemicals on the job. Last Session, he successfully pushed for benefits to be extended to fire investigators.

Florida Professional Firefighters President Bernie Bernoska added, “Florida’s firefighters understand the dangers on the job, whether that is responding to a call or the increased risk of developing cancer, and still place themselves in harm’s way to keep Floridians safe. I am grateful to stand beside a partner like CFO Patronis to continue raising awareness in this fight and make sure our firefighters know they will always have our support.”

Farmers know a thing or two

Farmers are Florida’s first environmentalists, and the egg farmer knows first-hand.

After DeSantis announced plans to distribute $3.5 billion for environmental and Everglades projects, Agriculture Commissioner Wilton Simpson thanked him for continuing to push environmental issues as the Governor leans into his second term.

“As Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture, former Senate President, lifelong farmer, and businessman, I understand firsthand how inextricably linked our environment is to the health and safety of our people, food supply, and our economy,” Simpson said.

Now at the top of Florida’s agriculture food chain, Wilton Simpson says thank you on behalf of farmers. Image via Colin Hackley.

DeSantis’ executive order calls on lawmakers to spend $3.5 billion on projects to clean water in important areas over the next four years. Aside from projects in the Everglades, that includes $100 million to restore the Indian River Lagoon on the east coast, which experienced damaging blue-green algae in the years before DeSantis took office, leading to massive loss of marine life.

Simpson, an egg farmer and a businessman, served eight years in the Florida Senate, including his final two years as Senate President. During his two years as Senate President, Simpson helped pass the Everglades Restoration Act, secured $300 million for the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program and secured millions more in other environmental projects.

The Legislature also helped fund “Best Management Practices” research, with the aim of driving down water usage and nutrient load. Farmers have used BMPs for years, but Florida’s funding will help drive that research forward faster.

“Farmers are Florida’s first environmentalists,” Simpson said. “When you pull your living out of the ground every day, you know just how sacred that is and how much the conservation of our natural resources matters.”

Instagram of the Week

The Week in Appointments

Adjutant General of Florida — The Governor has appointed Major Gen. John Haas as Adjutant General of Florida. Haas is currently the Assistant Adjutant General – Army and the Commander of the Florida Army National Guard. He was previously the Director of Strategic Plans, Policies, and Programs for the Florida National Guard. Haas has completed three combat tours and has held multiple company-level commands. Awards he has received include the Combat Infantry Badge, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart and the Meritorious Service Medal. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Florida State University and his master’s degree in strategic studies from the U.S. Army War College. He will become Adjutant General of Florida upon the retirement of Major Gen. James Eifert.

20th Judicial Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission — DeSantis has appointed Katherine “Kati” Cook to the 20th Circuit JNC. Cook, of Cape Coral, is an associate attorney at Boy Agnew Potanovic Miller, PLLC. She received her bachelor’s degree from Florida Gulf Coast University and her law degree from Ave Maria School of Law. Cook is appointed for a term ending July 1, 2026.

Second in command

As DeSantis’ second in command, Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez implements more of the Governor’s policies than one may think.

This week, Nuñez reviewed the administration’s successes across public health, space, cyber, human trafficking and more over the course of 2022.

Lieutenant Gov.-elect Jeanette Nunez is heading the health care committee(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Jeanette Nuñez is celebrating another year carrying out Ron DeSantis’ policies. Image via AP.

“In our first term in office, we not only fulfilled our promises but we have solidified Florida’s preeminence as the freest state in the union,” Nuñez said in a statement. “Whether in areas of public health or workforce training, our administration has put Floridians first and has secured Florida’s future for generations to come.”

Nuñez acts as an adviser to the Department of Health, where she helps the agency and Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo tackle infectious diseases, maternal and child health, and heart disease. That meant bringing together public and private sector partners on diseases like HIV, syphilis and hepatitis C.

Nuñez also joined Moody on the 100 Percent Club, an initiative encouraging businesses to get human trafficking training for all their employees. The Lieutenant Governor also serves on the Statewide Council on Human Trafficking.

In addition, she doubles as the Chair of Space Florida’s Board of Directors and Chair of the Florida Cybersecurity Advisory Council. Nuñez also led Florida businesses on a return trip to Israel, joining representatives from five other states.

“As Lieutenant Governor, I am proud to serve alongside America’s Governor, Governor Ron DeSantis, and I look forward to keeping Florida free in our next term,” Nuñez said.

Put it on the list

The Livingston Place in Jefferson County has been added to the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places.

“I am pleased to announce that Livingston Place has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places,” Secretary of State Cord Byrd said. “Livingston Place is historically significant as a rural landscape that helps to convey the diverse experiences of agricultural life in North Florida.”

Livingston Place is a 9,000-acre property assembled by Gerald Livingston, a New York-based businessman, in the 1920s to serve as one of his family’s winter residences and as a quail hunting plantation.

Livingston Mansion at Livingston Place. Image via State Department.

The property was home to his prized hunting dogs, and in 1937 the plantation became home to the Continental Field Trials, a competition still alive today, where bird dogs are scored on their ability to successfully find and point to coveys of quail. In addition to hunting and breeding quail, the Livingstons also bred horses and operated a dairy farm on the property.

The property is significant as a historic rural landscape that tells multiple stories. The area was continuously farmed since the 1840s. Before the Livingstons acquired the land, the property was known as “The Cedars,” an antebellum plantation owned by Gen. William Bailey and his descendants.

Following the Civil War, the land was worked by tenant farmers and sharecroppers who created the landscape that supported the activities of the Livingston family. Historically, Livingston Place contained a continuous tract of land with 18,000 acres equally divided in Georgia and Florida. The current boundary dates to 1978, when Geraldine Livingston — the daughter of Gerald Livingston — inherited the Florida portion of the property.

Although no buildings survive from the 19th century, there are three historic cemeteries located in the central and northeastern portions of the property which date to the 1840s. These cemeteries contain a variety of identified burials associated with local farming families and may also contain the burials of enslaved and formerly enslaved persons.

High-stakes testing

Sen. Tina Polsky and Rep. Christine Hunschofsky filed bills (SB 164/HB 165) this week that would decriminalize the use of fentanyl test strips.

Fentanyl test strips can determine whether the synthetic opioid is present in a drug. They are currently considered illegal drug paraphernalia. The Democratic lawmakers argue that legalizing test strips would be a low-cost way to prevent drug overdoses and reduce harm.

“The law should have been changed last Session, but now we have a chance to do the right thing this year and save lives. It’s past time that our state join more than 30 states that have adopted similar laws,” Polsky said.

Some like Christine Hunschofsky and Tina Polsky want the potentially lifesaving tool decriminalized.

Hunschofsky added, “At a time when we are experiencing a record number of deaths due to fentanyl-laced drugs, it is imperative that we do all we can to prevent future deaths. By legalizing fentanyl test strips in the state of Florida, we are taking a common-sense approach and adding another tool in the harm reduction toolbox that we know will save lives.”

Fentanyl is the leading cause of overdose deaths in Florida. According to the annual medical examiners report published by FDLE, nearly 3,000 Floridians died from fentanyl overdoses in 2021. The next most common cause of overdose deaths was cocaine at 1,305.

Additionally, recently released CDC data shows that opioids cause nine out of 10 teen deaths, and fentanyl is the most common opioid involved. In many cases, teens are dying from counterfeit prescription pills that contain fentanyl, an opioid 50 times more potent than heroin.

A news release announcing the bill filings included endorsements from Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg, Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw and the Florida Medical Association, which represents many Florida physicians.

New caucus abuzz

Say hello to the newest legislative caucus.

The “Energy and Climate Caucus” was launched this week by Rep. Anna V. Eskamani, who also will serve as Chair.

The caucus will focus its efforts on: promoting the knowledge and understanding of climate change and energy policy within the Florida Legislature; advocating for action on climate change and increased clean-energy production; organizing and hosting meetings that bring together elected officials with policy and industry experts; informing and influencing the state’s elected and appointed officials on climate change and clean-energy technologies; and pursuing specific state legislation to combat climate change and curb Florida’s heavy reliance on fossil fuels.

Anna V. Eskamani will lead a new caucus against climate change. Image via Colin Hackley.

Reps. Lindsay Cross and Rita Harris will serve as Vice Chair and Secretary of the Energy and Climate Caucus, respectively.

Global warming is causing glaciers and ice sheets to melt causing oceans to rise. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says sea levels along the U.S. coastline have risen about 12 inches in the last decade. They are expected by as many as 12 inches over the next 30 years.

The tandem of hotter weather and rising oceans can lead to longer heat waves and stronger, more rapidly intensifying hurricanes, which can be catastrophic to the peninsula of Florida.

Already, global warming has led to “sunny day flooding” in Miami. The flooding is the combination of King Tides — higher than normal tides caused in the fall by a new or full moon — and rising sea levels.

The impact of climate change on Florida is also fueling the rise in property insurance rates, some insurance executives claim.

According to NASA, Planet Earth has already warmed by about 2 degrees Fahrenheit since the late 1800s,” Eskamani said in a prepared release. “And global temperatures are expected to climb another 5 degrees by 2100 unless policies change to combat manmade causes of climate change — particularly burning of fossil-fuel energy sources like coal, oil and natural gas — are championed. As the Sunshine State, I know Florida can be that leader.”

Cross said it’s “past time” for the Legislature to address climate change like the urgent crisis it is.

“To protect the state we love, we must aggressively address the causes of climate change and promote greener and more resilient measures. Future generations are looking to us to provide a livable and vibrant Florida,” Cross said.

Harris, whose district includes Shingle Creek, the headwaters of the Everglades, said she is looking forward to the caucus and the work it can do.

“Florida is uniquely positioned to be impacted by climate change. It’s incumbent upon each of us to do what we can to preserve Florida’s natural resources and environment,” she said.

Day of service

Rep. Angie Nixon will celebrate MLK Day by hosting a “Day of Service” in her Jacksonville-based district.

The Democratic lawmaker has partnered with Wealth Watchers, AFSCME Florida and New Town Success Zone for the event, which will be held at New Town Urban Farmacy, 1232 Pearce Street, starting at 9 a.m. today.

Angie Nixon is bringing volunteers together this MLK Day. Image via Colin Hackley.

In a news release, Nixon said volunteers are needed to harvest produce and clean up the garden. The event will also feature cooking demos.

New Town Urban Farmacy is part of Wealth Watchers’ Comprehensive Rural Opportunities Program (CROP), which coordinates outreach, technical assistance and education efforts to reach socially disadvantaged Floridians, with a special emphasis on Central and Northeast Florida.

The New Town Urban Farmacy also serves to educate area residents on fresh food production and create healthier neighborhoods. Radishes, arugula, string beans and other vegetables are grown at the Urban Farmacy. The harvest is distributed within the community monthly.

Wealth Watchers also assists farmers and ranchers with successfully acquiring, owning, operating and retaining farms and ranches and increasing participation in the full range of USDA programs.

Volunteers can sign up to attend Nixon’s event online. A flier is below.


Following reports a top official for the North Springs Improvement District owned a company that received multi-million dollar contracts from the small taxing district and paid himself $240,000 in real estate commission on land sold by the agency, Rep. Dan Daley is calling for an audit.

NSID is a small taxing district in Broward County that provides wastewater collection and storm water treatment to 40,000 residents in Parkland and Coral Springs.

Dan Daley isn’t giving up the NSID issue. Image via Colin Hackley.

In a letter to the Joint Legislative Auditing Committee this week, Daley, a Coral Springs Democrat, pointed to news reports showing NSID director Rod Colon used an ethics loophole to pay himself $240,000 in commission for the sale of NSID property.

“At a minimum, the audit scope should include NSID’s compliance with laws, rules, regulations, contracts, and other requirements in the areas of: Purchasing and procurement processes, including contracting, use of competitive bidding, sole source procurements, and other purchasing methods; Land purchases (in particular the purchase of the Heron Bay Golf Course with the intent to resell a portion of the land for commercial development and whether the District has the authority to do such); Related-party transactions; Sale of District land and the process used, including Board approval and direction; and Hiring and employment practices,” Daley’s letter states.

Daley sponsored a local bill last year to put a ballot measure before voters to require NSID board members to be elected. But that measure, if it gets approved, won’t become effective until after the 2024 Election, so he’s seeking more immediate accountability from the district.

“Several years ago, when I initially filed the NSID local bill, I described NSID as a ‘fiefdom’ and Mr. Colon as King,” Daley wrote. “Based on recent revelations, I clearly was not far off, and I am deeply concerned with what else may be happening at NSID – that is why I am asking the Committee and the State Auditor General to pull back the curtain and audit NSID.”

EASE-y money

A Florida scholarship program for undergraduate students attending private, non-profit colleges and universities in the state is a good return on investment for taxpayers, and lawmakers should not curtail the program, a Florida TaxWatch report released this week states.

Lawmakers put $75.4 million into the Effective Access to Student Education grants in the current budget, which allows for a maximum award of $2,000 per student, serving a maximum 37,705 students. That’s a 42% cut from the prior year’s $2,841 maximum grant and the lowest in decades.

Dominic Calabro and Florida TaxWatch want the Legislature to increase EASE funding. Image via Florida TaxWatch.

“Florida TaxWatch believes that withholding or reducing EASE Grant funding based on private college or university performance significantly limits access to higher education, hurting the pocketbooks of everyday, hard-working taxpayers and ultimately compromising Florida’s economic success,” TaxWatch president and CEO Dominic Calabro said in a released statement. “Regular monitoring and performance-based incentives are appropriate, but we encourage the Florida Legislature not to take any action that will limit access to higher education during the upcoming legislative session, and instead, make wise and strategic investments in the EASE Grant Program.”

EASE grants serve students at Florida’s 29 private colleges and universities, which include Rollins College in Winter Park, Barry University in Miami and Florida Tech in Melbourne.

Lawmakers considered imposing a system for distributing the grants based on performance by the schools, but ultimately opted against it while cutting funding for the program. The TaxWatch report warns against such a move, at least if it would result in some schools getting no funding at all and cutting off some students from access to the schools.

“Florida TaxWatch supports increasing the state’s investment in the EASE Grant Program to help increase access to higher education,” the report states. “The state should take no action that limits access to higher education. Florida TaxWatch is a firm believer in government transparency and accountability and supports the establishment of a performance-based incentive funding program for private colleges and universities that receive EASE Grant tuition assistance, similar to the current performance-based incentive funding program used by the (State University System).”

R&D powerhouse

Florida A&M University is nearing another record year for research and development funding.

With more than $56 million in awards so far from the National Science Foundation (NSF), FAMU is on pace to break its record $59.3 million in research and development funding and $75 million in total awards from the 2021-22 fiscal year. That exceeded the $47 million in NSF R&D funds and $66.4 million in overall awards from the year prior.

Charles Weatherford is overseeing FAMU’s surging research prowess.

“Research is foundational to a great university,” FAMU President Larry Robinson said. “At Florida A&M University, our impressive faculty members have been tireless in their search for solutions to some of the globe’s most intractable problems. Our growing R&D expenditures reflect their efforts and allow us to prepare more students as problem solvers.”

FAMU’s funding has trended upward since at least the 2016-17 fiscal year, when the school was at $37.6 million NSF R&D funds and $44.5 million in total awards. Even between the 2020-21 fiscal year and the 2021-22 fiscal year, funding jumped around $10 million.

Among Historically Black Colleges and Universities, FAMU now rakes in the most R&D funding for nonmedical schools, according to FAMU Vice President for Research Charles Weatherford.

“In federal spending, we are No. 1 among HBCUs,” Weatherford said. “It’s clear our competitors are N.C. A&T State University and Howard University.”

MLK Week

Florida State University will hold a series of events next week honoring Martin Luther King Jr.

FSU has held events marking MLK Day for more than three decades. This year’s celebration is centered around the theme “It Starts with Us: Advocating for Access in Higher Education and Society.”

“Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. dedicated his life to improving the lives of others, and we celebrate his legacy each year with a week of activities designed to encourage future generations to not only learn more about Dr. King, but also about his ideals and goals,” said Sierra Turner, program director in the Center for Leadership & Social Change and one of the event’s organizers.

FSU is taking a cue from King’s Six Principles of Nonviolence.

The week of events across campus aligns with King’s birthday on Jan. 15 and the federal holiday observed on the third Monday of the month. Following King’s Six Principles of Nonviolence, the celebration brings together speakers, performances, dialogues and other events to unite the FSU and Tallahassee communities.

The theme for this year’s MLK Week, which comes on the heels of the fall celebration of the 60th anniversary of the university’s integration, was chosen “because of Dr. King’s commitment to improving the educational access and opportunity of all,” Turner said.

The celebration will begin with a Friday screening of Civil: Ben Crump, the Netflix documentary featuring the FSU alumnus and renowned civil rights attorney. It will be held at the Askew Student Life Cinema. On Monday, the Center for Leadership & Social Change will lead a Day of Service

The university’s primary celebration will feature performances, award presentations and the Golden Torch Lecture with Crump, moderated by FSU Assistant Professor of Sociology Shantel Buggs. The event will take place at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Ruby Diamond Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required.

A full list of events is available at mlk.fsu.edu.

Life in the fast lane

If nothing else, it’s a genius advertisement for finding Florida’s top speeding ticket attorneys.

Last weekend, professional stock car driver Logan Misuraca drove the Red Eye 50/50 race in a car decked out as the FSU Law car.

Logan Misuraca drove under the Seminole banner. Image via FSU Law.

The car was the product of a collaboration between FSU Law’s Stoops Colab, Ben Kennedy Racing, and the New Smyrna Speedway. The car was featured in the race to celebrate the January 2023 launch of the Stoops Colab’s executive education courses, which offer students the opportunity to learn online about legal compliance directly from practicing lawyers who are experts in their fields.

The course offerings are components of certifications available in Employment & Human Resources Law and Privacy Law & Policy. The Colab will also launch certifications in Private Markets Products, Sports & Entertainment Law, and Health Care Law in the near future. More information about courses and the center is available at StoopsColab.com.

New name

The amphitheater in Cascades Park will soon get a “fittingly musical” name: Adderley Amphitheater.

The new name honors Julian “Cannonball” Adderley and Nathaniel “Nat” Adderley, two of the most important jazz musicians in history who also boasted local ties.

The Adderley brothers’ parents, Jessie and Julian Adderley Sr., took jobs at Florida A&M University and brought them to Tallahassee in the 1940s. Musical themselves, the parents instilled a love of music in their sons.

The Adderley Amphitheater would like to reintroduce itself to Tallahassee. Image via Visit Tallahassee.

Both brothers began playing brass instruments early in life and performed throughout their teenage years in local and high school bands. Both brothers then graduated from FAMU and eventually became jazz giants widely known for pioneering the sub-genre “soul jazz.”

While Cannonball initially taught high school band and Nat served in the U.S. Army, the brothers reunited in 1959 to form the Cannonball Adderley Quintet. Together, they churned out a string of hits, including “This Here,” “Work Song,” “Jive Samba” and “Walk Tall.” In 1966, the brothers sold over a million records for their song “Mercy Mercy Mercy.”

Over the course of their careers, Cannonball and Nat both had significant success playing in their own bands as well as with major jazz musicians, including Ray Charles, Lionel Hampton, J.J. Johnson, Miles Davis and John Coltrane. Though they traveled widely, Tallahassee was home. The Adderley brothers often returned for family visits and were both laid to rest in Tallahassee’s Southside Cemetery.

The renaming ceremony will be held Monday at 3:30 pm. as part of the city’s annual MLK Jr. Day festivities in Cascades Park. It will include a musical tribute featuring works by the Adderley Brothers. Following the ceremony, Tallahassee Nights Live will take the stage.

Capitol Directions

Ron DeSantis — Up arrow — Now he’s cooking with gas.

Chris Sununu — Crossways arrow — Interesting take on America’s Governor. The scoreboard disagrees.

Gas stoves — Crossways arrow — Miele’s marketing team really knocked it out of the park.

‘Hillsdale of the South’ — Crossways arrow — More like Hillsdale Lite.

Joe Gruters — Down arrow — He’s a little too excited to be burning “a beacon of shining success” to the ground.

DEI — Crossways arrow — So Florida’s trying to make universities inclusive by routing out inclusion. That tracks.

Disney — Crossways arrow — It’d be nice to know Reedy Creek’s fate before peak tourism season.

Chip LaMarca — Up arrow — An even playing field for NIL is the only thing that keeps Kirby and Dabo up at night.

PBMs — Down arrow — They’re about to feel the same pain every other three-letter initialism has under the DeSantis administration.

Siesta Key — Up arrow — It’s not official yet, but it looks like 2024 is its year.

Smokes — Down arrow — Keep your butts off the beach.

State retirees — Down arrow — Have you ever thought about unretiring?

Walton family — Up arrow — They could have at least added another zero to the contribution checks.

Manny Diaz — Down arrow — Now that you’ve identified the problems, are you going to fix them? No? OK, bye.

Daphne Campbell — Down arrow — She exhausted our schadenfreude. Now it’s just sad.

Ron Book — Up arrow — He’s right. No skips.

Chris Dorworth — Down arrow — Time to break out the checkbook. Or appeal and make the bill even bigger.

Dionte Gavin — Up arrow — He’s bringing decades of experience to City Hall.

Staff Reports


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