Rick Stone

Reporter

Rick Stone has been a journalist in Florida for most of his career. He's worked in newspapers and television but believes that nothing works as well as public radio. He and his wife, Mary Jane Stone, live in Broward County.

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Florida Politics
11:00 am
Thu February 14, 2013

As National Proxy, Florida's A State To Watch

WATCHING FLORIDA: Why? Because our personalities, trends and demographics so closely follow the country's.

Florida has always been a state to watch, if only as a guilty pleasure or perhaps in self-defense. But some major political stars are aligning and the pundits are beginning to agree, Florida will really be a State To Watch from now at least through the 2016 election.

The personalities-of-the moment are here. The game-changing demographics are here. And the Florida stage is set for epic -- and deeply symbolic -- political confrontations.

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Governor's Race
10:00 am
Thu February 14, 2013

Candidacies On Hold As Democrats Wonder: What Will Alex Sink Do? Or Charlie Crist?

AWAITING ALEX SINK'S DECISION: Nan Rich, Dan Gelber, Jack Seiler, Manny Diaz and Buddy Dyer.

Former state Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink now has what she desperately needed in 2012 when she ran for governor against Rick Scott and lost: name recognition.

And that may be why a handful of the state's top Democrats are waiting to see what Sink will do in 2014 before they decide to become candidates for governor. Sink didn't run an impressive campaign but she didn't lose by much and the thinking is that a little more name recognition might have made the difference.

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Zero Tolerance
6:00 am
Wed February 13, 2013

School Policies Send Students To Jail

Florida school systems have eased up on the "zero tolerance" behavior policies that sent so many students to jail for minor misconduct.

But vestiges of the old policies are still sending thousand of students to jail for conduct that once would have meant nothing more than a trip to the principal's office.

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Marco Rubio
10:00 am
Fri February 8, 2013

On Immigration, Rubio Surrendered To Win

Credit Time

How did Florida U. S. Sen. Marco Rubio seize the leadership of the Republican Party from Paul Ryan, the Minnesota congressman who ran for vice-president with Mitt Romney?

By leading the trend to the party's nose-holding surrender on the immigration issue, argues New York Magazine. Writer Jonathan Chait says Rubio has tapped into a new GOP school of thought, which is that Republicans have no other problems except for immigration.

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Session 2013
10:00 am
Wed February 6, 2013

Dolphins Stadium Plan's First Approval May Encourage Public Funding For Other Teams

RENOVATIONS: This is what the Dolphins might do with Sun Life Stadium if its funding bill gets passed. Other sports teams would also like tax funding for their own renovation plans.

A Florida Senate committee's smiling approval of the Miami Dolphin's request for stadium renovation money may have set off a flurry of similar campaigns by sports teams and enterprises around the state.

The Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee on Tuesday unanimously approved sales tax breaks that would help the Dolphins finance a $400-million renovation of Sun Life Stadium. The team is still hoping for a penny increase in the hotel bed tax for the rest of the public share of the bill, which it says will be less than half of the total cost.

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Energy
8:21 am
Wed February 6, 2013

Plug To Be Pulled On Stricken Florida Nuke

DOOMED PLANT: Crippled by poorly done repairs, Duke Energy's Crystal RIver nuclear plant will become the first in the southeastern U. S. to close.
Credit southernstudies.org

Disabled by bungled repair work more tan three years ago, Duke Energy's Crystal River nuclear power plant will not be reactivated, company officials have concluded.

The plant in Citrus County on Florida's west coast will become he first in the Southeastern U. S. to close.

Four coal-fired generators will remain in place at the Crystal River site and the company is considering whether to build a new natural gas generator to replace the energy that the 900-megawatt CR3 nuke has produced since it opened in 1977.

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Session 2013
9:00 am
Tue February 5, 2013

Two Years Later, State Voting Law Fixes Take Root Where The Problem Was Caused

In Tallahassee, a series of proposals to repair the state election system is finding broad support in the Legislature that many say broke the voting process two years ago.

A Senate bill instituting one of the reforms proposed by Secretary of State  Ken Detzner has already been filed and there are clear signals from a House elections subcommittee that it will prepare a bill to launch the rest of them.

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South Florida Traffic
8:00 am
Tue February 5, 2013

Study Makes It Clear: SoFla Traffic Is Terrible

TIME SUCK: South Floridians spent an average of 47 hours waiting in traffic in 2011, an hour more than the year before.

Researchers at the Texas Transportation Institute have quantified what most South Florida drivers already know deep in their guts: they are wasting more time, money and gasoline than ever sitting in worsening traffic.

The bottom line for the average commuter in 2011: 47 hours standing still behind the wheel, an increase of an hour over the previous year.

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Air Travel
10:00 am
Mon February 4, 2013

Down To One Runway, Ft. Lauderdale Airport Will Be Vulnerable To Mishaps And Delays

ONE: That's how many runways the airport will have while a runway expansion project is underway. Analysts say any runway mishap could close the airport down.
Credit Broward County Aviation

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International will increase its capacity for yearly takeoffs and landings by more than 50 percent once its new runway goes live 20 months from now.

But it's going to be tricky in the meantime. Building the new runway will require closing one of the airport's two existing runways and that will expose flights and travelers to the risk of unforeseen -- and possibly lengthy -- delays.

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Food Prices
8:30 am
Mon February 4, 2013

$5 A Pound? Tomato Price Threat Seen As Tactic In Trade Dispute With Mexico

EXTREME TOMATO: The price in Japan is nearly five dollars for a single tomato. In the U. S., a prediction of five-dollars-a-pound is being debunked as a scare tactic to preserve Mexican market share.
Credit www.omroundtheworld.com

Will stopping Mexican tomatoes at the border raise tomato prices prohibitively for American consumers?

An importers group predicted recently that if the 1996 tomato agreement with Mexico is terminated, tomatoes could rise to $5 a pound in American supermarkets. Florida growers now say that's a scare tactic by interest groups who favor Mexican imports. "Under no circumstances will this be true," said Edward Beckman, president of Certified Greenhouse Farmers.

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Florida Legislature
8:00 am
Mon February 4, 2013

Youth Is No Barrier To Power In Tallahassee

MR. CHAIRMAN: Very young guys run very powerful committees in the Florida House. How did that happen?

Number crunching by a Florida university professor has led to an odd conspiracy theory about the Florida House of Representatives.

Not that Prof. Mark Soskin actually subscribes to the theory himself. As you hear on TV a lot, he's just sayin'.

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Public Health
10:00 am
Fri February 1, 2013

Poverty, Access Issues Blamed For Poor Health In Broward's Black Communities

BABIES AT RISK: Black residents of Broward County experience higher rates of infant mortality than whites or Hispanics, according to a new Urban League health report.
Credit Kolonoj on thepeoplespoetrycorner.blogspot.com

Black residents of Broward County are much more likely than whites or Hispanics to experience infant mortality, obesity or HIV/AIDS, according to an alarming new report from the Urban League, and nobody should try to blame the results on poor lifestyle choices .

According to the Urban League's Danielle Doss-Brown, it's unarguably the result of poverty and lack of access to insurance and health care. Complicating it is a shortage of sources of healthy food in many black communities.

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Immigration Reform
7:16 am
Fri February 1, 2013

Rubio's Tea Party Ties Starting To Fray

AMONG FRIENDS: Tea Party support catapulted candidate Marco Rubio to the U. S. Senate in 2010.
Credit Daron Dean/Tampa Bay Times

U. S. Sen. Marco Rubio's leadership in the movement to reform American immigration policy has complicated his once-cozy relationship with the conservative organization formerly known as the Tea Party.

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Session 2013
9:00 am
Wed January 30, 2013

Legislators Want To Deny Licenses To U. S. Graduates Of Free Cuban Medical School

HEADED FOR THE BLACK LIST: The Latin American School of Medicine is the world's largest medical school. Republicans in the Florida Legislature want to make sure that American graduates of the Cuban school cannot get Florida medical licenses.
Credit Toronto Star

American medical students who get their diplomas in Cuba could forget about practicing in Florida if legislative bills filed by two Hialeah Republicans are passed this session.

State Rep. Manny Diaz Jr. said Americans who overlook human and civil rights abuses just to get a cheap medical degree lack the "moral clarity to serve patients in Florida."

The Senate bill, SB 456, was filed by State Sen. Rene Garcia.

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Session 2013
12:01 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Hager's Bill Could Ban Smoking At The Beach

NOT AT THE BEACH: State. Rep. Bill Hager of Boca Raton wants to let cities and counties ban smoking at beaches and parks.
Credit billhager.com

A determined Palm Beach County teenager is gaining ground on a big goal -- stopping people from smoking at Florida's beaches and public parks.

Caitlyn Johnston's campaign caught the eye of State. Rep. Bill Hager, R-Boca Raton, who filed a bill (HB 439) giving cities and counties the power to ban smoking on their own public lands.

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