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SWFWMD enacts slightly stricter water restrictions but still allows lawn watering listen

03/31/09 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday
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In Brooksville this morning, the governing board of the Southwest Florida Water Management District, or SWFWMD, enacted slightly tougher water restrictions. But during this severe drought, these “modified Phase IV” restrictions don’t go as far as the recently agreed upon City of Tampa restrictions because they still allowing drinking water to be used to water lawns.

In February, Tampa Bay Water – the wholesale w...

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Green Expo held in St. Pete Beach listen

03/31/09 Andrea Lypka
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday
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The city of St. Pete Beach hosted the first Suncoast Green Wave Expo on March 29 at the St. Pete Beach Community Center.

The goal of the event was to support public and private efforts to build a more sustainable coastal community, says Jared Cobb, the management intern at St. Pete Beach. The expo featured eco-friendly products, services, and practices for residents and businesses.

A business that got creative and profitable during economic hardships was Neptune Society with a new ser...

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Hillsborough budget process analyzed listen

03/31/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday
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Officials with Hillsborough County announced earlier this month that decreasing property taxes would leave a huge deficit for next fiscal year, possibly more than $100 million. County Administrator Pat Bean said the reduced revenue could lead to 1,000 layoffs in the county, an admission which stunned some Commissioners and led to a heated discussion about how the County Commission ultimately works.

Leading off the discussion was county Budget Director Eric Johnson, who had little positive ...

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Senate Panel debates new clean energy regulations listen

03/31/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday
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In Tallahassee, a Senate panel today passed a bill sponsored by Republican Jim King that would require 20 percent of energy in Florida to come from renewable and "clean sources" by 2020; but its future looks extremely dubious.

Before the hearing, most of the controversy involved unhappiness among environmentalists who were upset because the bill had included nuclear as a clean energy source. But it later was almost derailed due to a penny gas tax.

Eric Draper with the Audubon of Florida...

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Martinez opposes Obama budget and Employee Free Choice Act listen

03/30/09 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday
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Florida’s Republican U.S. Senator Mel Martinez spoke this morning to the Tampa Bay Partnership, an economic development organization. As the Senate tries to pass a budget, Martinez pledged to battle funding for health care and for controlling climate change saying those initiatives “really can wait” and “ought to be deferred.”

Like some other Senate Republicans Martinez does not like the budget suggested by President Barack Obama. Martinez sa...

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34th International Folk Fair held in St. Pete listen

03/30/09 Andrea Lypka
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday
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The 34th International Folk Fair was held at Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg March 27-29, 2009. The theme of this year was the “Wonders of the World.”

Visitors could learn about different cultures through handcrafts, ethnic foods, folk dances and music presented at ethnic villages. The German Schuhplattler Dancers, the Italian Tarantella Dancers, the Polish Gorale Ensemble, and other ethnic groups performed folk music and dances on Saturday.

According to the organizer, the St. Peter...

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Liberia's president to give commencement speech at UT listen

03/30/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday
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The University of Tampa announced today that the president of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, will give the commencement address at the school’s graduation ceremonies in May. She will also receive an honorary doctorate in humane letters.

In November of 2005, Sirleaf became Africa’s first female elected head of state.

It was a huge comeback for Sirleaf, who was imprisoned in the 1980s for criticizing the military regime of then-President Samuel Doe. She later backed Charles Taylorâ€...

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Martinez, Castor weigh in on president's plans for GM & Chrysler listen

03/30/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday
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WMNF spoke with U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez and Tampa area Congresswoman Kathy Castor about their reactions to the president’s ouster of General Motors CEO Rick Waggoner, as well as more financial contributions to GM and Chrysler to keep them afloat.

Whether General Motors will be able to re-tool and reinvent itself remains to be seen. If the company does survive, the longtime auto giant will no doubt be pared down significantly.

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Castor hails stimulus funding for Tampa health clinic listen

03/30/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Monday
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Congresswoman Kathy Castor spoke in front of a community health clinic in North Tampa today, where she announced that new federal stimulus money will allow the center and its Hillsborough affiliates to hire 9 new employees, including two family practice doctors.

Two billion in grants from the stimulus bill was set aside for community health centers nationally. Approximately three-quarters of that is for construction, renovation and equipment, with the other $500 million to go directly to c...

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Hillsborough Economic Stimulus Task Force Meets listen

03/27/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday
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Today the Hillsborough County Economic Stimulus Task Force held its third meeting in Tampa.

The group, created by the County Commission as a way to generate job growth during this brutal recession, has already alienated some people in the community.

Critics have said that the Task Force is weighed too much with establishment faces. Its Chair is Bob Abberger, the Managing Director for the Development & Investment Group with Trammel Crow, a real estate development and investment firm. ...

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High rates of HIV and AIDS among African Americans in Tampa Bay listen

03/27/09 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday
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HIV and AIDS rates are so high among African-Americans in the Tampa Bay region, that a New York-based group is opening its first southern office here. The Tampa Bay affiliate of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS was officially installed today.

Lepena Reid, from Tampa, does not know how long she has been living with HIV, but she says her life “took a down slope” after she was attacked and raped when very young.

“It’s been a journey. There are ups and downs. There a...

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FL unemployment highest in 33 years listen

03/27/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday
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Florida’s unemployment rate soared to 9.4% last month, the highest rate in nearly 33 years. In the Tampa Bay area, it’s now at 10.2%.

The state unemployment is dramatically higher than a year ago, when it was at 5.2%.

Rebecca Rust is the Chief Economist for the Agency for Workforce Innovation For Florida. She says there are almost 400,000 fewer jobs in Florida than a year ago.

Rust says the unemployment numbers don't include what the Government classifies as 'Discouraged Worker...

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Peace march after Obama announces boost in Afghanistan listen

03/27/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday
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President Obama announced today that he intends to send 4,000 more U.S. troops and additional civilian aid workers to stem the worsening insurgency in Afghanistan.

The 4,000 new troops would train Afghan soldiers. The plan could increase the $2 billion monthly cost for Afghanistan by 60%.

Obama also called on Congress to approve legislation authorizing $1.5 billion in aid to Pakistan every year over the next five years, to be used for strengthening its democratic institutions and for b...

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18 year olds could gamble under compact in Florida Senate listen

03/26/09 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday
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Two wide-ranging gambling bills cleared a hurdle in the Florida Senate yesterday. They would transform Seminole Tribe casinos, including the Hard Rock in Tampa, into casinos with full gambling opportunities and would legalize blackjack gambling at racetracks. They would also open all gaming to everyone aged 18 and above.

Last year the Florida Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the governor did not have the authority to enter into a gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe. O...

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Tampa water situation gets more dire listen

03/26/09 Mitch E. Perry
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday
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A week after the Tampa City Council announced strict water rationing rules, and a week before they go into effect, the city’s Water Director said the flow of the Hillsborough River has never been this low at this time of year.

Brad Baird said Tampa is unique in being the only local government that draws from the river.

Meanwhile, the city has been contacting landscapers and utility contractors to discover whether it makes business sense to fill watering trucks with reclaimed water th...

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