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Hillsborough School District makes plans for stimulus funds listen

02/17/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday
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Some of the education money from the stimulus plan will be distributed through competitive funding.

Jeff Eakins is the Hillsborough County School District’s Director of Federal Programs. WMNF spoke with him after Kathy Castor's news conference today, and asked him about that and other aspects of how the district will spend its new funding.

That’s Jeff Eakins, he’s the Hillsborough County School District’s Director of Federal Programs, speaking about how the district will deal w...

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Castor, Hillsborough Schools officials celebrate windfall listen

02/17/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday
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As part of the federal stimulus plan signed into law by President Barack Obama, more than $5 billion in education funding is expected to come to Florida.

In Democratic Congresswoman Kathy Castor’s 11th Congressional District which encompasses Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Manatees Counties, $145 million is coming soon.

Castor spoke this morning from Chamberlain High School, her alma matter, where she was joined by dozens of people, including local school board officials, and dozens of...

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Stimulus funding wish list: More buses and an I-4 connector listen

02/16/09 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday
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President Barack Obama is expected to sign the $789 billion economic stimulus bill tomorrow. This morning two Hillsborough agencies, the county’s MPO and HART, deliberated how they plan to use the federal funds for badly needed transportation projects.

The Hillsborough County Metropolitan Planning Organization MPO, voted unanimously to place the Interstate 4 connector at the top of their priority list. The freeway between the Selmon Expressway and I-4 ...

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Here comes new attempt to scale back Class Size Amendment listen

02/16/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday
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Two weeks before the Florida Legislature convenes for its formal regular session, there is again talk of class-size rules being scaled back because of budget issues.

As mandated by the passage of the 2002 Constitutional amendment, class-size rules are scheduled to be fully implemented by next year.

But according to the state board of education, approximately a quarter to a third of all of the state’s classrooms will be above the cap next year- and it’s expected to cost over $800 mil...

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Meek gets key union endorsement in Senate bid listen

02/16/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday
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This morning one of the biggest public employee unions in Florida endorsed Miami area Congressman Kendrick Meek in the Senate race in 2010.

The endorsement by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is an early and strong boost for the Democrat. Currently, only Miami Beach Sen. Dan Gelber and North Miami Mayor Kevin Burns have announced their candidacies, though there could be several more announcing in the coming months.

Monica Russo is president of the Florida SEIU. She says...

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Some local channels make leap to digital listen

02/16/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday
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In the Tampa bay area, three local television stations, including PBS affiliate WEDU, will be turning off their analog signals at midnight despite the fact that Congress has extended the deadline for cutting analog broadcasts to June 12.

The Associated Press reports that nearly a third of all full power stations around the country have either already turned off their analog signal or will after tomorrow.

But there are still millions of citizens who watch television with the old-fashio...

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Former City Councilwoman enters St. Pete mayoral race listen

02/13/09 Arielle Stevenson
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday
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Former City Council member and lawyer Kathleen Ford today officially entered her name into the race for St. Petersburg’s mayoral race. She is among a growing list of candidates.

She spoke from city hall in downtown St. Petersburg. Her top concern if elected is growing the weakened infrastructure downtown. The continuing problem of growing numbers of homeless in St. Petersburg is something Ford says she is adapt to handle effectively.

Ford says this issue will require increased atte...

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Crist discusses his support of stimulus package listen

02/13/09 Arielle Stevenson
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday
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While the stimulus package has passed in the house, and poised to pass in the senate tonight, Republican Gov. Charlie Crist spoke today in St. Petersburg about how the stimulus will help Floridians.

Crist met with Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Kopelouso,Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker to discuss the $1.3 billion that is being allotted to Florida’s transportation department.

While the governor supports the stimulus package, virtually all Republicans ...

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Iorio weighs in on Buddy Johnson's problems listen

02/13/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday
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Gov. Charlie Crist said today that he does not believe the state needs to investigate former Hillsborough County Commissioner Buddy Johnson for his alleged misuse of funds.

Hillsborough County officials have sent several state and federal government agencies, including law enforcement agencies, the results of a recent audit that suggests Johnson misspent money and broke state law. Current Supervisor Phyllis Busansky said this week the FBI has seized some of the audit records.

Meanwhile,...

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Florida could get $5B in education funding from stimulus bill listen

02/13/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday
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Public housing provisions total nearly $10 billion. Nearly $15 billion would go to clean-water and environmental protection projects.

And minus the construction money, education programs would receive nearly $100 billion in new funding, including $12 billion for special education, boosting the federal share for education services to the highest level ever, according to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Arne Duncan is the Secretary of Education. On a conference call with reporters t...

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Hillsborough Black Heritage Celebration lauds Obama listen

02/13/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday
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Although Barack Obama has had a rough first month in office, there was nothing but unadulterated support in Tampa today, as his historic election was celebrated in the 17th annual Hillsborough County Black Heritage Celebration ceremony at Joe Chillura Courthouse Square.

The event was emceed by St. Petersburg Times columnist Ernest Hooper. His 107 year old grandmother – Ann Louise Nixon Cooper –was mentioned by President Obama in his election night victory speech in Grant Park in Chi...

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Nobel economist speaks at USF listen

02/13/09 Sean Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday
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Vernon Smith is a professor of economics and law at Chapman University School of Law in Orange, Calif. This morning at the University of South Florida, Smith outlined the economic and sociological reasons for the collapse of the housing bubble, which led to the current global financial meltdown.

Smith showed data from the Dow Jones index and house prices since the 1970s to establish that there has been a pattern of bubbles and collapses in th...

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Shelby Knox in Tampa - Part II listen

02/13/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday
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After declining for the last 15 years, the national teen birth rate is now on the increase.

The arguments over how to reduce such births have raged for decades.

Back in 2001, in Lubbock Texas, 15-year-old Shelby Knox attempted to change that community’s sex education policy. She became a member of a teen commission examining the issue and her fight against abstinence only education became the focus of a 2005 documentary called, The Education of Shelby Knox.

Now 22, Knox was in T...

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Progress Energy asks for rate decrease listen

02/12/09 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday
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Progress Energy announced today they are making another request for rate changes to the state’s Public Service Commission. But this time, they’re asking for a decrease, not an increase. Tim Leljedal, a spokesperson for Progress Energy spoke with WMNF today.

State Senator Mike Fasano wrote a letter to Florida Public Service Commission Chair Matthew Carter requesting that the PSC “take up the issue as soon as possible [so] that the cost savings will be realized in March of this year....

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Republican wants Crist censured listen

02/12/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday
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When President Obama visited Fort Myers earlier this week at a Town Hall Meeting to pump up support for his economic stimulus plan, he was introduced by Governor Charlie Crist.

Crist has stood out this week as one of the highest ranking GOP officials nationally to come out in strong support of the stimulus plan. Although the Governor continues to be extremely popular in the state, there are some Republicans who are angry with him.

Steven Ledewitz, Republican from Boynton Beach, reported...

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