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Tampa state Rep criticizes Scott administration over All Aboard Florida listen

07/31/14 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday
Listen to this entire show: listen to this show

Tags: All Aboard Florida, rail, passenger rail, high-speed rail, Tampa, Orlando, miami, Rick Scott, Mark Danish

A passenger rail project that would link some of Florida’s biggest cities is coming under fire from an unexpected source – transit advocates.

All Aboard Florida is a private rail line proposed to link towns from Orlando to Miami. But there are connections between the company and Governor Rick Scott’s Chief of Staff. Before word of this private venture, Governor Scott rejected federal funding for high-speed rail from Tampa to Miami, through Orlando, killing the project.

Tampa state [Rep...

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Voters could see new Hillsborough transit tax proposal in 2016 listen

07/29/14 Lisa Kauffman
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday
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Tags: Policy Leadership Group, transit, Mike Merrill, Hillsborough County, Tampa, Transportation, rail

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A transit policy group wants Hillsborough County residents to be able to vote again on a tax for transportation improvements as soon as 2016.

Tuesday the Policy Leadership Group announced its proposal to connect USF, downtown Tampa, Westshore and Brandon. It wants to aid commuters with bus rapid transit and circulator systems, widening and repaving roads, improving intersections and eventually implementing a rail system. County Administrator Mike Merrill is part of the team that spent ove...

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Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn proposes $876 million 2015 budget listen

07/24/14 Janelle Irwin
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday
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Tags: Bob Buckhorn, 2015 budget, Tampa, Tampa City Council

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Tampa’s mayor is proposing a budget that is $45 million more than this year. Bob Buckhorn delivered his plan for 2015 Thursday during a city council meeting.

“About 11 million of that is just the growth of government. That is a 1.2% increase in the cost of government. I think that’s pretty darn good.”

During the Great Recession, Tampa saw one of its primary sources of revenue – property taxes – dwindle from $166 million to $119 million. Revenue is increasing as home values rise, but s...

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Tariq Khdeir enthusiastically welcomed home to Tampa; he says remember Palestinians who died listen

07/17/14 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday
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Tags: Tariq Khdeir, Palestine, Tampa, tampa international airport, Israel, CAIR, Hassan Shibly

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Tariq Khdeir has returned home to Tampa; the teenager who was beaten unconscious by Israeli police was welcomed by dozens of exuberant friends, family and supporters late Wednesday night at Tampa International Airport. photos here

In videos and photos taken shortly after his beating two weeks ago, Khdeir’s face appeared bruised and swollen. But as he and his immediate family walked off the airport tram into the welcoming arms o...

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Activists to protest outside Sen. Nelson's Tampa office for end to Israeli attacks listen

07/11/14 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday
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Tags: Palestine, Bill Nelson, Israel, Gaza, Tariq Abu Khdeir, Tampa, Jared Hamil, Committee to Stop FBI Repression

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Supporters of justice in Palestine will demonstrate Friday beginning at 4:30 p.m. at the downtown Tampa federal courthouse on Florida Avenue.

For a preview, WMNF spoke with Jared Hamil, an organizer with the Committee to Stop FBI Repression in Tampa.

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Fate of Tampa's last cigar factory hinges on FDA proposal listen

07/09/14 Janelle Irwin
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday
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Tags: Cigars, Cigar City, J.C. Newman Cigar Co., Tampa, Carlos Lopez-Cantera, Bobby Newman, Eric Newman

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The cigar industry in Tampa could be facing extinction. If a proposed federal Food and Drug Administration regulation is approved, Tampa’s last remaining cigar factory could wind up shutting down after 119 years of business. During a tour of the historic factory in V.M. Ybor Wednesday, Lieutenant Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera said he’s backing the J.C. Newman Company’s efforts to squash the regulation before it squashes them.

“This is a classic example of too much government and governmen...

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Charges dropped against Al-Arian; interview with his former lawyer listen

07/03/14 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday
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Tags: Sami Al-Arian, Linda Moreno, Tampa

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Last Friday a federal judge in Virginia dropped all charges against former University of South Florida Professor Sami Al-Arian; could it signal the end of a marathon legal battle that began in Tampa more than a decade ago?

To find out, WMNF spoke Wednesday with Al-Arian’s former attorney, Linda Moreno, who is based in Tampa.

Linda Moreno is also affiliated with Doughty Street Chambers in London, a firm specializing in human rights and international law.

"Well, I’m very happy that a...

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Defense for Sami Osmakac claims client has mental illness, entrapped by FBI listen

06/10/14 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday
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Tags: Sami Osmakac, terrorism, Tampa, Pinellas County, entrapment, FBI

update: after this story aired, the jury returned its verdict: guilty

Jurors began deliberating the fate Tuesday of a Pinellas County man accused of plotting terrorist attacks in Tampa.

Sami Osmakac was arrested in January 2012 but his lawyers say he has mental illness and was entrapped by the FBI into planning violence.

WMNF interviewed Mel Underbakke, director of the education committee of the advocacy group National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms. She has attended much ...

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Rick Scott touts Florida tourism record as job booster listen

05/15/14 Janelle Irwin
WMNF Drive-Time News Thursday
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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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Tampa seeking input on Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park overhaul listen

05/06/14 Janelle Irwin
WMNF Drive-Time News Tuesday
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Tags: Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park, Bob Buckhorn, parks and recreation, Tampa, North Boulevard Homes

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One of Tampa’s biggest parks may soon get a makeover. Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park has more than 20 acres of recreational space along the Hillsborough River with the downtown skyline as a backdrop. Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn will be among others at a community meeting Tuesday night where officials hope to get some ideas from those most likely to use the rehabbed space.

“The first step in a process like this is always to start with the community.”

The forum at Blake High School Tuesday ...

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