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Rick Scott touts Florida tourism record as job booster listen

05/15/14 Janelle Irwin
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday
Listen to this entire show: listen to this show

Tags: Rick Scott, Bob Buckhorn, Tampa, St. Petersburg, tourism, Visit Florida, Visit Tampa Bay, jobs, economy, sea level rise

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Tourism marketers in Florida are hoping to see at least 100 million trips to the state this year. The latest numbers are out for first quarter and they broke records.

The announcement Thursday at Busch Gardens by Visit Florida was heralded by Governor Rick Scott as a huge win for Floridians.

“Think about it. We want more jobs in our state. Tourism is a big driver. When people come here as tourists they buy homes, they buy cars, they think, ‘man, this is a nice place to live.’”

And a...

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St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman wants more community engagement in choosing new pier listen

05/01/14 Janelle Irwin
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday
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Tags: Rick Kriseman, St. Petersburg, the pier, The Lens

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St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman announced a plan Thursday that would give residents a chance to weigh in on what to do with the city’s downtown waterfront pier.

“We are still finalizing the process, but what we’re envisioning is something where, over a week to two weeks period of time, the public will have an opportunity to actually go and cast a vote for the three designs they like the best.”

But residents won’t necessarily go to the ballot box. It’ll likely be more like a survey,...

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St. Pete officials start budget planning with community forum listen

04/24/14 Janelle Irwin
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday
Listen to this entire show: listen to this show

Tags: Rick Kriseman, St. Petersburg, The People's Budget Review, David McKalip

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St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman is getting ready to write his first city budget since being sworn in this year.

More than 50 residents flooded the Walter Fuller Community Center Wednesday night for the first in a series of budget review meetings where city officials will hear what taxpayers want their money spent on.

Kriseman said the budget will be a reflection of the city's priorities.

“St. Petersburg will be a city of opportunity where the sun shines on all who come to live,...

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Peace advocates continue to raise awareness on Pinellas street corners listen

04/17/14 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday
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Tags: peace, Pax Christi, Kathleen Rumpf, Quakers, St. Petersburg

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Religious-based peace activists continue their weekly sign-waving on busy Pinellas County street corners.

During rush hour Wednesday afternoon, Kathleen Rumpf joined half-dozen others from Pax Christi and Quaker groups on the corner of U.S. 19 and 22nd Avenue South in South St. Petersburg.

They plan to peace corner again next Wednesday.



*Check out [...

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Tampa extends red-light camera contract with 25% of net revenues earmarked for intersection safety listen

04/03/14 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday
Listen to this entire show: listen to this show

Tags: red light cameras, Tampa, City of Tampa, St. Petersburg, Tampa City Council, Bob Buckhorn, Hillsborough County

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The City of Tampa is renewing its contract with the vendor of its red-light cameras. City council voted 6-1 today to extend the contract by two years despite a vote last month against renewing the contract. What changed? Mayor Bob Buckhorn proposed using a quarter of the net revenue from red-light camera citations to improve the safety of intersections with the cameras.

But that didn’t sit well with the only person who spoke on the issue during public comment, St. Petersburg red-light cri...

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Hillsborough commissioners support continuing red-light cameras listen

04/02/14 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday
Listen to this entire show: listen to this show

Tags: red-light cameras, Hillsborough County, Hillsborough County Sheriff, Hillsborough County Commission, Tampa, St. Petersburg

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Red-light cameras are receiving scrutiny in the Florida legislature and cities like Tampa and St. Petersburg could soon wind down their programs. But in unincorporated Hillsborough County commissioners reiterated their support for the cameras today.

Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Colonel Greg Brown told the county commission the ten cameras installed at six locations in unincorporated Hillsborough County have resulted in fewer crashes.

Brown estimated it would cost “hundreds of t...

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Passenger ferry proposal moves forward in Hillsborough listen

02/05/14 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday
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Tags: Ed Turanchik, Ferry, passenger ferry, MacDill Air Force Base, Hillsborough County, Hillsborough County Commission, transit, Tampa, St. Petersburg

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Hillsborough County moved ahead today with a high-speed passenger ferry partnership. The County commission approved an interim public-private partnership agreement with HMS Ferries and South Swell Development Group to study a ferry linking the south part of the county, perhaps near Apollo Beach, with MacDill Air Force Base. Former County Commissioner Ed Turanchik is the public face of the project.

"We've already said this, no other transportation option can do so much for so little so fas...

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Friends mourn longtime St. Pete social activist slain in her home

01/29/14 Janelle Irwin
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday

Tags: Paula Witthaus, St. Petersburg, activism

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A well-liked social activist in St. Petersburg has been found murdered inside her home on 17th Ave. North.

According to the St. Petersburg Police Department, 54-year old Paula Whitthaus was found dead along with her 67-year old male roommate after what a department press release described as a brutal attack.

The exact cause of death hasn’t been determined yet, but police say there was upper body trauma. A suspect has not been identified, but investigators say the attack does not appear ...

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Midtown St. Pete sheds its "food desert" label with Wal-Mart grand opening listen

01/29/14 Janelle Irwin
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday
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Tags: Wal-Mart, Midtown St. Pete, St. Petersburg, poverty, food desert

Up until today, Midtown St. Petersburg, one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods, was what people call a food desert.

But at about 7:30 this morning a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market opened its doors for shoppers – many of whom lack transportation to travel outside of the area for fresh food and were forced to make many food purchases from over-priced convenience stores.

St. Pete City Council member Wengay Newton whose district covers part of Midtown celebrated the Grand Opening early this ...

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New St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman wants to crack down on illegal guns listen

01/16/14 Janelle Irwin
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday
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Tags: guns, Rick Kriseman, St. Petersburg, St. Petersburg Police

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St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman is saying no to illegal guns in his city.

During a press conference Thursday at City Hall, Kriseman signed a pledge to crack down on people who own or sell weapons under the legal radar.

“We need to change the culture that exists in this community. We need to change the culture regarding illegal guns and regarding gun violence. We want people to come to this city. We encourage people to come to this city, but if you’re coming to this city with an ill...

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