Mask mandates OK in Florida schools with opt-out system, despite threats from governor

Here is a link to many coronavirus resources The Florida Department of Health released new rules for COVID-19 mitigation in schools Friday. The rules say school districts can mandate mask-wearing if they offer an opt-out program. The rules were announced exactly one week after Gov. Ron DeSantis threatened to withhold money from districts mandating masks…. Read more »

Proud Spirit Horse Sanctuary Founder Reflects On 30 Years Of Horse Rescue

Melanie Sue Bowles—founder and director of Proud Spirit Horse Sanctuary, who alongside her husband, Jim, has shepherded the sanctuary through nearly 30 years of challenges, changes, and relocations, in service of rescuing horses and providing them refuge—recalled, in a return appearance on Talking Animals, helping her very first horse, when they were decidedly not horse… Read more »

CDC’s new eviction moratorium only covers US counties with high COVID transmission – that’s all of Florida

President Joe Biden said he’s buying struggling renters time with a new eviction moratorium that might not pass Constitutional muster. The new, more focused order only extends to areas of high COVID transmission. That includes all of Florida. LISTEN: For a little over 24 hours, the future of renters facing financial hardship because of the… Read more »

Tampa Congress member backs bill to close Medicaid gap, bypassing Florida Republicans

Democratic congress member Kathy Castor is backing federal legislation to close the Medicaid gap in Florida. Her Medicaid Saves Lives Act might be Democrats’ key to bypassing Republican efforts to block Medicaid expansion in the state. LISTEN: Castor’s signature was the first on a letter written to congressional leadership last week urging action on states… Read more »

Kristen Hassen, Expert On Animal Shelters, Leads National Effort To Reinvent Them

Kristen Hassen—a highly-respected figure in the animal shelter world, owing to her accomplishments and innovations during major stints leading or helping lead animal facilities in Virginia, Austin, and Tucson–experiences that helped shape her vision, Hassen recalled this week on “Talking Animals,”  of what she calls “the current crisis in sheltering.” Hassen is now Director of… Read more »

Manatee commissioner celebrates ‘huge win’ in pushing to be first county to ban abortion

A commissioner in Manatee County Tuesday called voting to fund two pro-life pregnancy centers a “huge win” in his push to make Manatee the first county in Florida to ban abortions. The vote came as dozens of pro-choice activists rallied outside the meeting to oppose the measure. LISTEN: The vote authorized $100,000 of county money… Read more »

No labor shortage for Florida woman who pays employees $15 an hour

One Florida business owner is saying labor shortage? What labor shortage? Valhalla Resale in Tampa’s Seminole Heights neighborhood said its number of applicants doubled while the federal unemployment assistance blamed for creating a hiring crisis was in place. LISTEN: Valhalla has been opened for about four years with a unique take on retail clothing. “If… Read more »

Water issues plague the Tampa Bay region

From low water pressure in south Hillsborough County caused by rapid development to a massive fish kill in Pinellas County waters caused by Red Tide, and the Piney Point disaster in April where a long dormant phosphate plant dumped nearly 200 millions of gallons of nitrogen-rich wastewater into Tampa Bay, it has been a rough year for water in the region.

The ADA just turned 31 and Floridians with disabilities are still fighting for voting access

The Americans with Disabilities Act turned 31-years-old Monday. The landmark law was supposed to ensure equal access to employment, public entities and public accommodations. Floridians with disabilities are still fighting for that access. The most cogent battle now the one for voting rights. LISTEN: The Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA, was meant to provide… Read more »