Nick Evans

Reporter/Producer

Nick Evans came to Tallahassee to pursue a masters in communications at Florida State University.  He graduated in 2014, but not before picking up an internship at WFSU.  While he worked on his degree Nick moved from intern, to part-timer, to full-time reporter.  Before moving to Tallahassee, Nick lived in and around the San Francisco Bay Area for 15 years.  He listens to far too many podcasts and is a die-hard 49ers football fan.  When Nick’s not at work he likes to cook, play music and read.

The drumline warms up Thursday evening as band director Sylvester Young looks on.
Nick Evans

Football in Tallahassee isn’t just a popular sport, it’s woven into the city’s culture.  Along with the teams there’s the bands. For Florida A&M University’s Marching One Hundred the first performance comes this weekend in Miami.  In the second part of an on-going series, Nick Evans reports on the band as they prepare for gameday.

At FAMU, the relationship between the football team and the marching band is a little bit different.  Even though the team has a lot of talented players, the school has for years been better known for The Marching 100. 

Marching Chiefs stretching at practice.
Nick Evans

Football in Tallahassee isn’t just a popular sport, it’s woven into the city’s culture.  The season begins Saturday, Aug. 30, but it’s not just football players scrambling to prepare.  Florida State University’s marching band, The Marching Chiefs, are working hard to get ready for the game day as well.

Gillum, flanked by his wife R. Jai, speaking to supporters Tuesday evening.
Nick Evans

UPDATE: Aug. 28, 2014, 1 p.m.:

Andrew Gillum will be Tallahassee's next mayor.  According to Leon County elections officials, qualified write-in candidate Evin Matthews dropped out of the race Wednesday afternoon.  Gillum is now Tallahassee mayor-elect and will not appear on the ballot in November.

Original post, Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014:

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City Commissioner Andrew Gillum is one step closer in his bid to be Tallahassee’s next mayor.  Tallahassee’s mayoral primary has been called, and Gillum has won.

Florida's primary is August 26th.
Nick Evans

Tuesday is Florida’s primary election and as citizens head to the polls, candidates are making their last push to convince voters they’re the one for the job.  Here, candidates on the Leon County ballot make their final pitch to voters.

League of Women Voters attorney David King arguing at Wednesday's hearing.  The League vows to continue its fight.
Nick Evans

Lawmakers, lawyers and the League of Women voters converged on a Leon County Courtroom this week to argue the merits of Florida’s newly revised congressional districts.  The judge has upheld the new map, but the fight seems likely to continue.

League of Women Voters attorney David King arguing at Wednesday's hearing.  The League vows to continue its fight.
Nick Evans

The League of Women Voters is not impressed with the revised congressional map passed by the Florida Legislature just over a week ago.  The voting rights group argued against the changes Wednesday in court. 

League attorney David King says the Legislature’s redistricting effort did as little as possible to address the court’s order to fix the so-called “appendages” and the compactness of Districts 5 and 10 – something the judge says indicated an intent to favor the incumbent.  King says the Legislature didn’t do enough, especially in District 5.

Congressman Sutherland (R-FL) claims the EPA's proposed rule is federal overreach.
Nick Evans

U.S. Rep. Steve Southerland (R-FL 2) is using the congressional recess to promote a bill he’s sponsored to block an EPA proposal.  Southerland spoke Monday at the Capitol with Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.

The proposal in question defines the features of water that could be subject to federal regulation.  Southerland says the change, if adopted, will put almost everything under the purview of the EPA.

Crist's "Restore the Cuts" kickoff event brought supporters and opponents
Nick Evans

Charlie Crist is touring the state in a school bus touting his stance on education. His kickoff event got hijacked by opponents on the right and the left.

Charlie Crist is attacking Gov. Rick Scott’s record on education, notably targeting budget cuts of more than $1 billion under Scott’s watch.  Crist says this policy has crippled Florida’s schools.

The League says congressional districts passed Monday don't do enough.
Florida Senate

Florida’s Legislature may have approved new congressional districts Monday, but critics say the question is far from settled.  The League of Women Voters claims the revision does not address the issues that sent the old map to court in the first place.

After Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis ordered Florida lawmakers to redraw the congressional district map, the Florida League of Women Voters was ecstatic.  But League President Deirdre McNabb says the Legislature’s special session was a farce.

Lawmakers passed new congressional borders Monday along mostly party lines.
Jenn Greiving via Wikimedia Commons

Florida’s Republican-controlled Legislature has passed new congressional maps largely along party lines.    If Gov. Rick Scott approves them, the new districts will then return to the court where the originals were found unconstitutional.

In just three days, Florida’s special legislative session has come to an end. The Legislature voted Monday to revise the state’s congressional map; the new borders will change seven of the state’s districts.  Leon County circuit judge Terry Lewis ruled two of the previous districts unconstitutional. 

Lawmakers passed new congressional borders Monday along mostly party lines.
Jenn Greiving via Wikimedia Commons

Florida’s Legislature has returned to the capitol to revise the state’s congressional districts.  During the regular session, government workers make up a big part of Tallahassee’s local economy, but the special session’s impact is less clear.

Last week, when Senate President Don Gaetz and House Speaker Will Weatherford called the Legislature back to work, it threw lawmakers’ summer plans into disarray.  For some, like Naples Republican Rep. Kathleen Passidomo it wasn’t a big deal.

Before and After: The image on the left depicts congressional district 5 before the proposed changes.  The small yellow circles indicate the changes in Marion county.
Select Committee on Redistricting

Less than 24 hours into Florida’s special legislative session, revised congressional district maps are heading to the floor.   But the proposed changes don’t look very different from the recently invalidated map.

The committees charged with proposing new congressional districts to the Florida Legislature passed their first drafts today.  But the revisions focus on tweaking at the edges rather than creating broad changes.  Legislative analyst Jason Poreda describes one of the changes that will have little effect on voting.

Speaker Will Weatherford (R-Wesley Chapel) says there's not much time for drawing new districts but it can be done in time.
The Florida Channel

Florida’s special legislative session to redraw the state’s congressional districts got underway Thursday.  The proposed schedule for the session doesn’t leave much room for error.

Leon County Circuit Judge Terry Lewis invalidated two of Florida’s congressional districts early last month and has called on the Legislature to present a new map by Aug. 15.  But that doesn’t leave much time for the process.  

Just after the House’s first hearing, Speaker Will Weatherford (R-Wesley Chapel) described the compressed timeline.

Here's Smokey Bear at Lake Talquin State Forest
Nick Evans

One of America’s most recognizable icons is turning 70, and he’ll be having a party Sat., Aug. 9, at Wakulla Springs State Park.  Smokey Bear and the Florida Forest Service are inviting families to the park to have a good time learning about wildfire prevention.

On Wednedsay, it was hot out at the at the Lake Talquin State Forest station.  But wildfire mitigation specialist Todd Schroeder and wildland firefighter Ricky Redding have agreed to arrange a meeting with Smokey Bear anyway.

National Atlas of the United States via Wikimedia Commons

Florida’s legislature has been ordered to redraw two recently invalidated congressional districts in just two weeks.  A Leon County Circuit Court Judge has sent lawmakers back to the drawing board.

In an order released Friday, Judge Terry Lewis called on the Legislature to present a new congressional district map by August 15.  Lewis also ordered the Secretary of State to create a special election timeline.  Attorney for the plaintiffs Frederick Wermuth says Floridians could have a new map in time for Election Day.

Blind trusts were upheld in court this week, but challengers intend to appeal.
401kcalculator.org via Flickr

If no one knows about a politician’s investments is it the same as everyone knowing?  That’s the question Leon County Circuit Judge John Cooper ruled on this week.

Cooper says blind trusts meet Florida’s disclosure requirements because they put politicians on equal footing with the public.  But critics argue the ruling leaves the blind leading the blind. 

Jim Apthorp, the plaintiff challenging Florida’s blind trust statute says there’s a difference between disclosing information and having none at all.

Big Brothers Big Sisters and ReThink Energy Florida staff, 2014
Nick Evans

A Tallahassee youth mentoring organization needed a little help to get its solar project off the ground and onto the roof - they got plenty.

Last year a local company offered to donate solar panels for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Big Bend building, but a long list of renovations – including a new roof – were necessary first.  A number of local businesses pitched in time and materials to complete the project.  The youth organization’s CEO Louis Garcia says they can use the money they save on power to better serve kids.

Brett Levin via Flickr

Experts say Floridians fed up with the war on drugs are driving broad support for medical marijuana in the state.  A third consecutive Quinnipiac University poll finds more than 80 percent of Floridians support physician-directed use of the drug.

Here's John Devaney arguing before Judge Terry Lewis
Nick Evans

This week voting rights groups presented their case for redrawing Florida’s unconstitutional electoral map immediately rather than waiting until after this year’s election.  But officials charged with conducting elections are doubtful the plan could work.  

Districts 5 and 10 on this map were declared unconstitutional earlier this month.
National Atlas of the United States via Wikimedia Commons

Government officials say it’s too close to Election Day to make alterations to Florida’s recently-invalidated congressional districts, but the coalition of voting rights groups fired back Thursday.

The League of Women Voters say change is not impossible, and the 2014 election should not proceed without first redrawing Florida’s voting map – even if that means delaying the election. 

Here's Judge Terry Lewis holding court Thursday morning.
Nick Evans

A judge threw out Florida’s congressional districts last week, and the legislature has declined to appeal the decision.  But parties to the case are wrangling over when changes will be made. 

Here's Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera speaking just before the event got under way.
Nick Evans

The transition from solider to civilian isn’t always easy, especially when jobs are hard to come by.  But Florida’s job-placement agencies are trying to help.

A group of veterans is making its way down the hall at Career Source Capital Region.  It’s the Tallahassee office of the state-backed workforce agency. 

This is the Florida congressional district map.
National Atlas of the United States via Wikimedia Commons

The Florida legislature announced Tuesday it will not appeal a court decision finding the state’s congressional districts unconstitutional.  Legislative leaders are now asking for permission to conduct this year’s election according to existing boundaries.

Brett Levin

Despite passing the Florida legislature, there’s still a long way to go before a non-euphoric strain of marijuana can be cultivated in Florida.  This week’s public workshop on crafting rules for Charlotte’s Web dispensaries is further proof the devil is in the details.

Gwen Graham signed a pledge to reject government perks at Lake Ella Thursday.
Nick Evans

Democratic congressional hopeful Gwen Graham is working to distinguish herself from her Republican opponent and an unpopular congress.  At Tallahassee’s Lake Ella Thursday, she spoke about the importance of compromise. 

“How you break the gridlock is by electing people who are willing to work together,” Graham says, focusing on the issue of immigration reform.  She says the issue hasn’t been addressed yet because house members are unwilling to find solutions through compromise, but says she’ll work across the aisle.

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