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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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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Teacher Salaries
10:00 am
Tue January 29, 2013

Democrats Seek $10,000 Raise For Teachers

HOW MUCH OF A RAISE? Gov. Scott wants an immediate $2,500 for every Florida teacher. Democrats want state teacher pay linked to national averages for even bigger raises.
Credit lakelandlocal on flickr

Florida voters may be asked to raise the salary of a rookie teacher by $10,000 starting two years from now. If they approve, the pay increase would be part of a constitutional amendment that ties Florida teacher pay scales at all career levels to national averages.

The average Florida teacher salary now is $46,000, about $10,000 less than the national average.

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Technology
2:00 pm
Sat January 26, 2013

Tech Tycoon Loves Miami So Much He Wants To Include It In His Global Wi-Fi Empire

HE LOVES MIAMI: Tech entrepreneur Martín Varsavsky wants to establish the U. S. headquarters of his global 'public wi-fi' company in Miami.

OK, show of hands: How many of you Miamians have ever heard of Argentine tech guru and entrepreneur Martín Varsavsky and his based-in-Spain "public wi-fi" company, Fon?

Well, he has certainly heard of you. So impressed is he with Miami -- and so dismayed by the South Florida brain drain he attributes to the lack of a significant tech sector in our economy -- that he's planning to launch his North American operations here.

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Session 2013
9:30 am
Fri January 25, 2013

Florida Mental Illness Programs Leave Most Patients Untreated, House Panel Hears

DEEPENING CRISIS: Florida lawmakers are hearing that too little money is appropriated for mental illness programs and too much of that is misspent.
Credit healthyplace.com

Florida's system for the mentally ill is an underfunded shambles that leaves most people untreated and settles for locking up many of the rest.

Officials and experts told a House committee in Tallahassee on Thursday that system funding levels, in real terms, are below what they were in the 1980s and that the crisis is "deepening."

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Sun Life Stadium
9:00 am
Fri January 25, 2013

Stadium Funding Loyalty May Force Dolphins To Favor Miami-Dade Over Broward

TEAM LOYALTY: Miami-Dade is OK with helping the Dolphins renovate Sun Life Stadium. What does that mean for the team's relationship with Broward County?
Credit hergamelife.com

Miami-Dade commissioners on Thursday voted to get behind state legislation that would provide nearly $200 million in public funding to Sun Life Stadium renovations sought by the Miami Dolphins.

If all goes as planned, the Florida Legislature will approve a package of sales tax and hotel bed tax revenue that the team will match to proceed with their $400 million stadium-improvement project.

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Tourism
1:01 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

Silver Springs, Oldest Florida Tourist Attraction, Will Become A State Park

OLD DAYS: This postcard was a boast about the clarity of Silver Springs.
Silver Springs

With fewer and fewer tourists ringing its cash registers and encroaching pollution clouding its trademark crystalline waters, Florida's oldest tourist draw, Silver Springs, is going out of business.

But it will not disappear. On Wednesday, Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet agreed to release the Marion County attraction's operators from its lease so that Silver Springs can become a state park.

Instead of having to stick it out for 16 more years, Festival Fun Parks will be released from its obligations in September.

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Session 2013
8:30 am
Wed January 23, 2013

Senate Gambling Committee Sets Glacier Pace For New Casino Legislation

PATIENCE: The Florida Senate serves notice it may be a year and a half before it even starts thinking about gambling legislation.
Credit Panama City News-Herald on Facebook

Florida's gambling future won’t be settled  in the 2013 session of the Florida Legislature -- and maybe not even in the one after that.

The divide between competing stakeholder visions remains very wide. And, at a hearing before the Florida Senate Gaming Committee on Tuesday, chairman Garrett Richter, R-Naples, said it could be 18 months before the work on developing legislation even begins.

"I want to do something deliberative and thoughtful," Richter told reporters after the meeting.

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Public Radio
11:05 am
Tue January 22, 2013

'Marketplace' Searches For A New American Dream During A Week At Miami's WLRN

MARKETPLACE FROM MIAMI -- Through the glass at WLRN, Marketplace Morning Report host Jeremy Hobson is seen kicking off a week of broadcasts about Miami as a product of immigration and diversity.
Credit Dan Grech

  

 

Marketplace Morning Report will spend the first week of President Obama's second term broadcasting from Miami and demonstrating what some of the president's inaugural themes mean in real life.

The raw materials for show host Jeremy Hobson and his production team of three are Miami's huge immigrant population, its great wealth and crushing poverty, and the enormous empty space between those economic extremes.

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The Rev. Luis León
8:00 am
Mon January 21, 2013

Priest Came Through Miami From Cuba To Earn A Place At Obama's Second Inaugural

SUNDAY AT ST. JOHNS: The Rev. Luis León greets the President and Mrs. Obama at the door of his church near the White House. Leon will give the inaugural benediction when the president is sworn in for his second term.
Credit Facebook

President Obama and his inaugural guests will receive their blessing from a Cuba-born minister who came to Miami as a child and now pastors a church just blocks from the White House.

The Rev. Luis León, an Episcopal priest, is the rector at St. John's Church where every president since James Madison has attended services at one time or another. His relationship with the White House is well-established: In 2005, he became the first Hispanic clergyman to deliver an inaugural benediction when President George W. Bush was sworn in for his second term.

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Public Employee Pensions
8:30 am
Fri January 18, 2013

Florida Public Empoyees Lose Pension Fight

BECOMING LAW: Gov. Rick Scott signed the bill requiring employee contributions to the pension plan on June 23, 2011. The Florida Supreme Court upheld it Thursday.
Credit Corinne Hanna/WDBO

Florida teachers and other public employees are shocked and angry today, now that the state Supreme Court has upheld a two-year-old state law that requires them for the first time to contribute to their own retirement plans.

Under the law, passed by the 2011 Legislature, three percent of most pension-eligible paychecks are deducted for the state pension system, which the state alone has funded since 1974. Most state employees have received no pay raises since 2006.

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Voting Problems
7:30 am
Fri January 18, 2013

Completing His 180, Gov. Scott Calls For Restoring Original 14 Days Of Early Voting

RETHINKING: Gov. Scott signed the bill that reduced the early voting period and caused problems for voters such as these in Pembroke Pines. Now he says he favors returning to the original 14 days.
Credit Joe Rimkus

The state's election bureaucracy and local elections officials have already agreed that more early voting days would shorten the lines that kept voters waiting for hours on Nov. 6.

Now, Gov. Rick Scott -- who promoted and then signed the 2011 bill that reduced the early voting period -- has joined the chorus. He said Thursday county elections supervisors should have the option to conduct early voting on as many as 14 days, the number there was before the Legislature reduced it to eight.

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Social Media
6:26 am
Fri January 18, 2013

Is Facebook Friending Between Judges And Trial Lawyers Improper? Even In 2013?

FB VS. FAIRNESS:The State Supreme Court may decide whether judges can face Facebook friends in court and still be impartial.

If you’re a judge and you’re Facebook friends with a lawyer and that lawyer winds up in your courtroom to try a case, does that mean you have a conflict of interests?

That's what the state appeals court based in West Palm Beach wants the Florida Supreme Court to decide. It's the same court that took Broward County Circuit Judge Andrew Siegel off of a case because, it decided, his Facebook friendship with the prosecutor made it impossible for him to be impartial.

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Post-Newtown
9:35 am
Thu January 17, 2013

Palm Beach Sheriff Wants To Respond To Anonymous 'Suspicious Behavior' Reports

WATCHFUL EYES: The Palm Beach Sheriff's Office says citizen suspicions quickly reported may reduce acts of violence such as the school attack in Newtown.
Credit David Sillitoe/Guardian

The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office is seeking funding for teams of social workers and deputies who can respond 24/7 to anonymous citizen complaints of suspicious behavior by others.

Sheriff Ric Bradshaw's second-in-command, Chief Deputy Michael Gauger, announced the program at a community forum on Wednesday. He said early vigilance and quick response might have prevented the school shootings in Newtown. The Palm Beach Post was there:

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Gun Control
8:42 am
Thu January 17, 2013

Hialeah Gun Maker Says Economics Will Thwart Any Ban On Assault Weapons

ECONOMICS: Manufacturer says the value of assault weapons such as these will rise if they're banned and a black market wsill thrive.
Credit ThinkProgress

South Florida gun dealers are warning that a ban on assault weapons, as President Obama is asking from Congress, will result only in a new flood of higher-priced weapons on American streets.

Hialeah gun factory owner Antonio "Tony" Vega says fundamental economic principles kick in every time gun owners feel their rights are under threat.

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Rick Scott's Dog
7:48 am
Thu January 17, 2013

Scott's Missing Campaign Dog Is Safe And Living On A Ranch With A New Name

HAPPIER DAYS: Gov. Rick Scott and Reagan during their brief partnership.
Credit Scott campaign

Gov. Rick Scott's 2010 campaign dog, Reagan, has been located -- safe, but probably a little bitter -- on a horse ranch somewhere in southwest Florida. Tampa's WTSP Ch. 10 reports he's now known as Pluto.

This should close out a week of speculation about whatever happened to the rescued Labrador that Scott acquired, named through a Facebook contest and campaigned with...

...before the dog mysteriously disappeared!

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