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
10:01 am
Wed January 16, 2013

Gov. Rick Scott, Black Caucus Find Little Common Ground As 2013 Session Nears

PERRY THURSTON: House minority leader says Gov. Scott 'doesn't relate well to others.'
Credit myfloridahouse.gov

Gov. Rick Scott's hour-long sit-down with the Legislative Black Caucus on Tuesday was frostily correct and almost completely nonproductive for the black lawmakers, according to two accounts of Tuesday's session in Tallahassee.

The Tampa Bay Times and the Palm Beach Post described the governor as almost completely unyielding on voting rules, ex-felon rights and appointments to the judiciary and other state positions.

As to the 2011 voting law that many say turned the 2012 election into a Florida disaster, the governor said he should not be blamed for that.

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Your Smart Phone
9:30 am
Wed January 16, 2013

Midnight Alert Tone Meant Your Smart Phone Had Just Become A Public Facility

SPEADING THE WORD: Amber Alerts the old way, left, and the new smart phone way which relies on software that government ordered installed on all post-2011 phones.
Credit amberalert.gov, Florida Today

Right now, it’s Amber Alerts for missing children and possible emergency messages from the president.

But the fact is -- as many South Floridians found out this weekend -- the government has found a way to co-opt your smart phone for its own purposes.

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Session 2013
7:34 am
Wed January 16, 2013

In Tallahassee, A Dim View Of NRA Gun Bills

Gun policy is back in the Florida Legislature this year.
Naypong freedigitalphotos.net

Indications are growing that the gun lobby might face unusual difficulties in the Florida Legislature this year.  

In Tallahassee on Monday, the Republican chairman of the Senate Education Committee announced his opposition to arming Florida school teachers as a defense against school shooters and a Democratic senator filed a bill to repeal one of the National Rifle Association's trophy bills from 2011, the law forbidding doctors to ask patients whether they have guns at home.

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Session 2013
12:30 pm
Tue January 15, 2013

Senate President Don Gaetz Has Ethics, Voting Proposals To Take To Legislature

DON GAETZ: He says ethical behavior is so rare the public is losing respect for elected officials.
Credit Orlando Sentinel

Florida Senate President Don Gaetz (R-Niceville) is ready to toughen ethics laws, reform campaign finance, streamline the Florida ballot...just about every issue of timely significance, he told the Orlando Sentinel editorial board, except for gun control.

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Sun Life Stadium
3:05 pm
Mon January 14, 2013

Dolphins Unveil Stadium Renovation Plan; Taxpayers' Half Would Come To $200 Million

$400 MILLION STADIUM PLAN: Modular seating is one of the features of the Sun Life Stadium renovation plan. The team wants public funding for half of that.
Miami Dolphins

New seating, new scoreboards and shelter for the fans from the sun and rain.

That's how Miami Dolphins majority owner Stephen Ross envisions Sun Life Stadium after a $400 million renovation for which he hopes the taxpayers will pay half.

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Immigration
9:10 am
Mon January 14, 2013

Rubio, Diaz-Balart On Board As Obama Shoots For The One Big Immigration Bill

END OF THE PATH: Illegal residents could look forward to citizenship under the comprehensive immigration bill President Obama favors.
Credit 8asians.com

Holdouts against amnesty for millions of undocumented immigrants in the U. S. are bracing for the lobbying pressure they are certain to experience as President Obama, grassroots groups and converts in Congress prepare for the Big Immigration Bill.

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Sun Life Stadium
7:41 am
Mon January 14, 2013

We're Not The Marlins, Dolphins Say, But We Do Need Tax Money For Our Stadium

NEEDS WORK: Dolphins owner Stephen Ross wants a partial roof and reconfigured seating at Sun Life Stadium and he wants taxpayers to fund some of the renovations.
Credit Wikimedia

Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross has an appointment with reporters today to discuss his plans to go after public funding to renovate Sun Life Stadium.

The cost estimate is $400 million, says the Miami Herald, some of which Ross apparently hopes to raise from state and local government sources.

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Voting Problems
12:59 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

County Election Officials Want More Early Voting Days And Fewer Words On The Ballot

THE WAIT: Progress seemed illusory as Florida voters waited in line on Nov. 6. Country elections supervisors say a longer early voting period and a shorter ballot could help.
Credit File, MC Escher

Florida's county elections supervisors are preparing to approach the Legislature with their own fixes for the voting problems that worsened the state's already-sketchy reputation for competence last year.

Their plan: Require at least eight day of early voting with an option for 14 in counties that need it, and hold lawmakers to the same 75-word limit on ballot questions for constitutional amendments that citizens must observe with their own ballot initiatives

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Florida Everglades
7:43 am
Fri January 11, 2013

Now, It's Personal: Sen. Bill Nelson Headed To The 'Glades To Hunt Enemy Pythons

WATCH OUT, SNAKE: Sen. Bill Nelson will be packing a pistol and a machete when he joins the Everglades python hunt.

The big Everglades python hunt starts Saturday and, so far, 670 people have signed up for the fun and a chance at cash prizes.

Among them is our intrepid U. S. Senator, Bill Nelson. He and a companion -- described in the Tampa Bay Times as a "rancher from Davie" -- will strap on pistols and machetes on Thursday  to go after the huge Burmese pythons that Nelson has  worried so much about, occasionally to the amusement of his Senate colleagues.

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Prof. James Tracy
6:00 am
Fri January 11, 2013

FAU Prof With Controversial Newtown Theories Says He Was Misunderstood

JAMES TRACY: 'There are certainly people that lost their loved ones, there is no doubt of that.'
Credit Ryan Murphy / University Press

Most of the victims of the Newtown school massacre were just like Florida Atlantic University professor James Tracy's daughter: seven-year-old first graders at a public school.

"If a similar tragedy were visited upon me and my family, I would be beside myself," he says. "But I think one of my ways of healing would be attempting to find out what went wrong, where was the failure."

But trying to start a public discussion of the public's small hope of ever finding out what went wrong has been costly. 

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Media
5:00 pm
Wed January 9, 2013

Questioning Newtown: FAU Professor Takes Scorn To Suggest Government Faked The Story

SOLE SOURCE: For a brief time after the Newtown school shootings, the only information was given out in official news conferences.
Credit AP

In the national media today, James Tracy is the nutty professor. The whacko professor. The one-man argument for abolishing tenure.

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Senate Agenda
7:30 am
Wed January 2, 2013

Rubio Makes Middle Class His 2013 Project

GOT THE MESSAGE: Sen. Marco Rubio wants to strengthen the middle class with education opportunities, good jobs and a healthy Social Security/Medicare system.

Florida U. S. Sen. Marco Rubio plans to begin the new year with proposals to strengthen the middle class with education opportunities, jobs that will be worth their new degrees and solvent Social Security and Medicare systems to await their retirement.

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New Florida Laws
6:30 am
Wed January 2, 2013

Headlight Speed Trap Warnings Now Legal

FREEDOM TO FLASH: It is now your right as a Floridian to flash your high beams as a speed trap warning to oncoming cars.

Motorists who notice radar-equipped police cars hiding behind bushes and under overpasses, and then flash their high-beams to warn other drivers, haven’t always been rewarded for their concern.

On the contrary. A lot of them have gotten tickets for those little acts of kindness and roadway solidarity. But, just maybe, no more.

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Labor Dispute
12:57 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

Port Strike Averted As Dock Workers, Terminal Operators Agree To Extension

STILL WORKING: PortMiami is the nation's 11th largest shipper of containers. It's estimated a longshoremen's strike would cost the Miami-Dade County economy tens of millions of dollars a day.
Credit PortMiami

Longshoremen and East Coast and Gulf Coast port operators have agreed to a 30-day extension on labor negotiations, averting a potentially crippling strike that would have halted container traffic at many of the nation's largest seaports, according to a federal mediator.

The strike would also have idled cargo but not cruise ship operations at PortMiami and Port Everglades. PortMiami is the nation's 11th largest container port and a lengthy strike would be costly to the regional economy.

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Unemployment
6:53 am
Fri December 28, 2012

Florida's Jobless Teeter On Fiscal Cliff

LIFELINE: 119,000 jobless Flordians would lose unemployment checks immediately in a fall from the fiscal cliff.

 

Tumbling off the fiscal cliff will immediately cut the economic lifeline for 119,000 Floridians who depend on extended unemployment compensation now funded by the federal government.

It would also mean an immediate increase in the payroll taxes paid by every American wage-earner. But the long-term unemployed will be especially vulnerable if Congress and White House negotiators are unable to reach an agreement to head off automatic tax increases and deep spending cuts by Monday.

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