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USF student sentenced for terrorism listen

12/19/08 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday
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In federal court in Tampa yesterday, former USF Student Ahmed Mohamed was sentenced to a maximum sentence of 15 years in federal prison for providing material support to terrorists.

Mohammed and fellow USF student Youssef Megahed were arrested in August 2007 in Goose Creek, South Carolina, after deputies stopped them for traveling 60 mph in a 45 mph zone.

A sheriff’s deputy said he became suspicious when one of the men closed a laptop computer and placed it in the back seat. A s...

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Friends of Friendship Trail Bridge have uphill climb listen

12/19/08 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday
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Earlier this week, Hillsborough County Commissioners received an update on what it might cost to repair the Friendship Trail bridge. It was shut down after engineers discovered structural problems.

Depending on how much of the bridge is repaired, officials issued repair costs at anywhere between $11 and $82 million, prompting Commissioner Jim Norman to say it may no longer be feasible for local government to do anything about it.

But there are those who fought to create the Friendship T...

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Franklin Sands on Florida's budget woes listen

12/19/08 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday
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According to a draft document approved by Gov. Charlie Crist, Florida legislators can cope with a $2.3 billion budget deficit by slight cuts in virtually all government spending, nearly emptying savings accounts and approving a gambling agreement with the Seminole Tribe of Florida.

But as the Miami Herald reports, that document omits anything about raising taxes. Other Republicans aren’t sounding so rigid about touching a third rail of Florida politics.

Senate President Jeff Atwate...

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EPC considers nitrogen fertilizer ban listen

12/18/08 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday
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To cut down on nitrogen pollution entering the region’s water, the Tampa Bay Estuary Program has suggested that local governments forbid their residents from using nitrogen fertilizers on lawns during the summer rainy season. In their meeting this morning, the Hillsborough County Environmental Protection Commission (EPC) heard about why such an ordinance is needed.

To make it easier for local governments to enact these nitrogen fertilizer restrictions, last month the Tampa Bay Estuary Pr...

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Lowry Park Zoo president resigns listen

12/18/08 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday
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Embattled Lowry Park Zoo president Lex Salisbury has resigned. He made the decision this afternoon at a five-hour zoo board meeting at the Mainsail Suites Hotel in West Tampa.

Salisbury has been criticized because of questions regarding his for-profit business called Safari Wild. He came under even more scrutiny following a scathing 60-page audit report released last week by the city of Tampa.

According to the city audit, Salisbury owes the zoo more than $200,000 for such things as $700...

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Progress Energy to close coal plants after nukes come online listen

12/18/08 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday
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Today Progress Energy CEO Jeff Lyash announced that his company has agreed to retire its oldest two coal-fire units at its Crystal River Energy Complex in Citrus County. The shutdown will occur after the new nuclear plant in nearby Levy County is completed.

Progress Energy says by removing the 2 units, it will be be the equivalent of removing more than 830,000 vehicles from Florida’s roads

Roy Brinkman is the Energy Issue Chair with the Sierra Club of Florida. He has mixed feelings...

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Coalition lobbies for children's programs listen

12/18/08 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday
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South Florida Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz was part of a collective call to President-Elect Obama and Congress today to renew investment in children’s programs.

The Children’s Leadership Council launched its “Invest in Children, Strengthen America” campaign today.

Bill Bentley is a member of the Children’s Leadership Council (CLC).

The campaign focuses on five investment areas for children including an investment in prevention, early diagnosis and tre...

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Parallels between FDR and Barack Obama

12/18/08 Robert Lorei
Radioactivity: Live Call-In (Thursday)
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Welcome to WMNF ’s Radioactivity program. I’m Rob Lorei. Coming up: what lessons can Barack Obama learn from the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt? We’ll talk about that in a moment. But first some listener comments about yesterday’s program on health care reform.

The first comment is from one of our guests, Jocelyn Elliott, who along with her husband Jim is facing a financial crisis because of medical bills incurred when Jim was in an auto accident. Jocelyn and Jim were crit...

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Ybor resident complains of racial profiling by Tampa Police listen

12/18/08 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday
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A black resident living in Ybor City complained to the Tampa City Council today of profiling by Tampa Police Department officers.

Joseph Butler lives in the Tampa Park Apartments, a public housing complex to the immediate west of where the entertainment district begins in Ybor.

Butler emphasized he was accusing just some, not all, of the Tampa Police officers from District 3 that walk the streets in Ybor.

Councilwoman Linda Saul-Sena said the city should condemn the act of profiling....

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Employee Free Choice Act a possibility in Obama administration listen

12/17/08 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday
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With a Democratic president and large Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress, labor organizers are optimistic that pro-union legislation can win passage in 2009. At the top of the wish list is the Employee Free Choice Act. Over the last 20 years, an imbalance has been created between employers and employees, according to Rich Templin, communications director with the Florida AFL-CIO, a labor union that supports the Employee Free Choice Act.

“What th...

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Hillsborough Commissioners lambast outgoing elections supervisor listen

12/17/08 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday
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After Democrat Phyllis Busansky defeated Republican Buddy Johnson for Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections office last month, it was thought that the many controversies that occurred under Johnson were now a thing of the past.

Not exactly.

A representative from Johnson’s office came before the County Commission today to request $2.3 million to cover "unanticipated expenses" for last month’s election.

The fact that Johnson did not attend did not endear him to the board.

...

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Hillsborough Commission reviews its budget listen

12/17/08 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday
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As Florida’s House members were learning the ramifications of the worst economic environment since the Great Depression, Hillsborough County Commissioners were getting a local take on the dire picture.

The Board did get some relatively good news from Chris Lancamera is ddirector of finance with the Clerk of the Board. She told the Board that they don’t have to worry about the safety of the portfolio, but she said she wasn’t as optimistic about interest earnings, especially after the ...

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Does the nation need health care reform?

12/17/08 Robert Lorei
Radioactivity: Live Call-In (Wednesday)
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Welcome to WMNF ’s Radioactivity program. I’m Rob Lorei. Coming up: President-elect Barack Obama says health care reform will be one of the big issues his administration tackles. We’ll hear from a local couple who, because they didn’t have health insurance, are facing financial disaster. And later, a South Florida activists who is backing a single-payer health system.

But first some listener comments about yesterday’s program, an interview with medical researcher Tom Tiedt who h...

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Office Depot contracts with Hillsborough County under scrutiny listen

12/17/08 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday
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Earlier this month, Hillsborough County auditors began an investigation into Office Depot’s contracts with various county departments amid reports from other counties that the office supply giant may be overcharging for its products.

The investigation began after the county learned that Attorney General Bill McCollum’s office is investigating Office Depot’s contracts with several local governments in the state. Auditors in Lee County say Office Depot overcharged the county $60,000. ...

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State economist: Recession to last another year listen

12/17/08 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday
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This morning the Florida House was given sobering news about the state of Florida’s economy.

The upshot, delivered from Legislative Economist Amy Baker was that things won’t be getting better anytime soon. Baker said the key ingredient in Florida’s economy is new construction. But she says that won’t come back until the state deals with its considerable current inventory of available housing.

Baker said she expected the state to actually experience growth in the next year, b...

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