Blaise Gainey

Multimedia Reporter

Blaise Gainey is a Multimedia Reporter for WFSU News. Blaise hails from Windermere, Fla. He graduated from The School of Journalism at the Florida A&M University. He formely worked for The Florida Channel, WTXL-TV, and before graduating interned with WFSU News. He is excited to return to the newsroom. In his spare time he enjoys watching sports, netflix, outdoor activities and anything involving his daughter. Follow Blaise Gainey on Twitter: @BlaiseGainey

Rasmus Bøgeskov Larsen via Flickr

Governor-elect Ron Desantis’s environmental transition team is focusing on water quality and supply. But when climate change didn’t come up in the team’s discussions, advocates for environmental protection took action.

Facebook: Railroad Square Art District

Owners of Railroad Square announced this week that a plan is in the works to build a hotel in the art district and local businesses in the aea are cautiously looking forward to the partnership.

WFSU

The Florida House Democratic Caucus wants to meet with the Republican Caucus to make plans for fixing what some say is an antiquated election system.  

House Minority Leader Rep. Kionne McGhee says until the state makes changes Florida will be the laughing stock of America.

“If our elections system is questionable, then one has to admit that our democracy becomes questionable,” said McGhee.

Florida Supreme Court
Nick Evans / WFSU News

For the first time in nearly four decades no African American will be seated on the Florida Supreme Court unless changes are made. Now the Senate Democratic caucus is calling for a more diverse nomination list.

Facebook: Railroad Square Art District

Owners of Railroad Square are nearing a deal for a Hyatt House hotel to be built on the corner of Railroad Avenue and FAMU Way.

They believe the hotel will help make the art district a top destination for tourist and locals. Mountain Shore Properties, a family-owned company, will develop the 120 room hotel. This will be their second hotel in Tallahassee they also operate the Hampton Inn on Railroad Avenue.

The land owners say it will not displace the current tenants, but rather bring more business to them.

Lauren Baker, Director of 621 Gallery in railroad agrees.

keepitgreenblog.wordpress.com

The group advising Governor-elect Ron Desantis on environmental issues met Monday for the first time. Members focused on water quality and supply.


Voter Ballot
MGN Online

  

Select felons who’ve completed their sentence will be eligible to vote come January 8th, following the passage of amendment 4. As Blaise Gainey reports Elections officials met this week to discuss how to add the roughly 1.5 million extra voters to the list.

rescue drive street sign in front of hurricane debris
FWC Photo by Tim Donovan (Flickr) / Florida Fish and Wildlife

Hurricane Michael left more than 400,000 Floridians without power. The state-backed, Citizens Property insurance company sent more than 50 staff members into the hardest hit areas. Thursday officials with the company met by phone to review their post-hurricane efforts.

Florida Association of Counties

Two north Florida commissioners sit among top leadership positions for the Florida Association of Counties.

From the left Appropriations Chairs Rep. Richard Corcoran, R-Lutz, and Sen. Tom Lee, R-Brandon, begin the compromise process as full conference committee met June 11, 2015, while finalizing key portions of the state's budget within Criminal and Civil Just
Mark Foley / Florida House of Representatives

Governor-elect Ron DeSantis has reached across the aisle, picking Democratic State Representative Jared Moskowitz to lead the Division of Emergency Management. DeSantis has also tapped former Republican Speaker of the House Richard Corcoran to head the Department of Education. 

Florida Cabinet

A scheduled Wednesday meeting of Florida’s clemency board has been called off because of the death of former President George H.W. Bush and a memorial service in Washington, D.C.

Governor Rick Scott and state Cabinet members sit on the board. It’s the last clemency meeting before Amendment 4 goes into effect. When asked what the scheduling change means for Floridians hoping to have their rights restored Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam says, “I don’t know the answer to it I assume that it’s postponed.”

talgov.com

Governor Rick Scott and the cabinet honored the 2018 Florida Veterans’ Hall of Fame Class Tuesday. Among the new members is former Tallahassee Mayor John Marks who served overseas at war and later here in Tallahassee.

“If you want to know the truth I’ve got 26 years of government service, I was 4 years in united states air force, I served 10 years at the state level at the Public Service Commission, then I served 12 years as the mayor of the city of Tallahassee. Public service is in my blood I really really truly like it, or love it matter of fact,” Marks says.

Blaise Gainey

With Thanksgiving in the past people are now focusing on Christmas season and what better way than to pick out your Christmas tree from one of more than 100 Christmas tree farms in Florida. Sticking with tradition this morning Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam presented a Christmas tree to the Governor and cabinet members.

Blaise Gainey

 

   It’s still several months from the primary elections but Governor Rick Scott and former governor Charlie Crist have already begun to take shots at one another. They’ve been going back and forth lately about in-state tuition for children of undocumented immigrants.  Crist stands behind the idea, and during a luncheon at Tiger Bay Tuesday he urged the governor and Republican leaders in the legislature to do the same.

City of St. Marks

  Cleanup of the former St. Marks Refinery is now underway.

Thursday marked the start of the former St. Marks Refinery clean-up project. The site was abandoned in 2003 when the cancerous chemical dioxin was found. Now, a little over a decade later, St. Marks is entering its final step of the clean-up process. The City of Tallahassee and its Community Redevelopment Agency are giving St. Marks $200,000 to fund the project.

Cynthia Barber directs Tallahassee’s Environmental Policy and Energy Resources Department, and believes Tallahassee will benefit from the project.

Mavericks High Charter School Company

  Ronnie Crum had a tough decision to make earlier this year: where to send his son to school.

“My son was flunking out at Leon [High School].  Really all F’s,” says Crum.

Thomas Hawk via Flickr

Thursday the Senate Regulated Industries Committee heard a bill that would allow supermarkets and big box stores to sell liquor. 

“Part of the bill are two components the first eliminates a state mandate on the separate location and entry for the sale of one class of alcoholic beverage,” says Sen. Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton). 

He says supermarkets shouldn’t need a separate establishment to shelve liquor.

Florida would be the 18th state to allow distilled spirits to be sold in grocery stores. At least one industry group views the proposal as a step forward.

JRHarding.com

JR Harding is a quadriplegic who regularly gets gas from a station in Tallahassee where they know him. For years, he’s been using the stations call button to get help when filling up. But that button could soon go away, and Harding says he is concerned.

“It preempts Leon County’s rule and Brevard County’s rule and prevents any other county from implementing a better accommodation at the gas pump,” he says about a proposal in the state legislature that would replace gas station call buttons in favor of a phone number customers can dial if they need assistance.

Bob Howard

Leon County business leaders and politicians met early Tuesday to discuss how they’ve fared thus far in the legislative session.

“It’s a push-pull relationship," County Commission Chairman Bryan Desloge says, "there’s a fight between local and state government. You know, what happens is they’ve got the same restraints we do where there is a limited amount of resources and an unlimited amount of need."

bike rack
Terence Faircloth via Flickr

Motorists often find it hard to find a parking spot in downtown Tallahassee-- and cyclists can find it next to impossible. But that situation may soon change.

Tallahassee city commissioners have approved a plan to bring 100 bike racks and six bike corrals to downtown and nearby university areas.

Tallahassee-Leon County Planning Department Transportation Planner Meaghan Doherty says the bike racks are badly needed.

Every session, state legislatures pass memorial legislation: resolutions on issues over which the state has little actual control but lawmakers still want to make their position known.

Amir Syed/ Flickr

Discussion of a controversial bill disallowing red light cameras in Florida was postponed in its first Senate committee stop Thursday. Supporters and detractors sparred over the usefulness of the devices.

“Red light cameras save lives,” Ponce Inlet Chief of Police Frank Fabrizio says.

Florida has joined a lawsuit seeking reparations from oil giant BP after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico oil spill,. On Thursday, Gov. Rick Scott spoke briefly to reporters about his decision to join Alabama and Louisiana in suing BP.

“It’s the right time to hold BP accountable for environmental harm to our states, so that’s why we join in the lawsuit,” Scott said.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection has said litigation appears necessary to resolve the matter after the state was unable to reach a deal with BP over damage to its natural resources.

Blaise Gainey

Homelessness eradication efforts would get more money under terms of a bill spearheaded by a pair of legislative Republicans. Sen. Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater) and Rep. Kathleen Peters’ (R-South Pasadena) bills would offer annual challenge grants to agencies. Latvala says the measure reestablishes funding the agencies once had access to.

“We start set about developing a bill to try to put more resources in the homeless arena, and were doing that by attempting to increase the challenge grants which used to be funded in the budget.” Latvala says.

Bob Henry via Flickr

 The House Business and Professional Regulation Subcommittee passed two bills Tuesday that would allow applications for concealed weapons to be accepted by county tax collectors. Rep. James Grant (R-Tampa) sponsors one of the bills.

“All were doing is increasing the access to locations to have these applications processed,” Grant said.

Even though Grant’s bill was passed, Rep. Darryl Rouson (D-St. Petersburg) wondered why money wasn't also being spent on gun education.

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