Nick Evans


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.

Richard Marchase speaking Friday at the last of four public forums.
Nick Evans

Over the past week, the four candidates shortlisted to be Florida State University’s next president have met with staff, students and faculty in public forums.  Now it’s up to the presidential search committee and university trustees to pick a winner.  The trustees have set Tuesday as the tentative deadline.

Colorado State University system Chancellor Michael V. Martin.
Colorado State University

Florida State University presidential candidate Michael Martin joined a public forum via Skype Thursday with faculty, students and staff.  Martin couldn’t attend in person because of a medical emergency

Florida State’s four presidential finalists have been attending sessions this week answering questions from the university community. In the third such meeting, Martin called FSU’s Title IX investigation an invitation to be more inclusive.

Dominic Calabaro speaking at the press conference.
Nick Evans

The nonprofit government watchdog group Florida TaxWatch released its voter’s guide Wednesday detailing proposed state constitutional amendments. 

Unlike some other issuers of voting guides, fiscally conservative TaxWatch doesn’t take a yes-or-no stance on the initiatives.  Instead, it offers a take on the pros and cons of enacting the amendments.    

Dominic Calabro, head of the organization, says it’s important to exercise caution when changing the state constitution.

Wheatly is one of four candidates to be FSU's next president.
West Virginia University

Former West Virginia University provost Michele Wheatly participated in a question and answer session Tuesday as part of Florida State University’s presidential search.  Wheatly is one of four remaining candidates for the position.

FSU’s presidential search has been the subject of criticism for months because of a perceived bias in favor of state Sen. John Thrasher (R-St. Augustine).  Wheatly’s reception in Tuesday’s hearings contrasted sharply with the tension in Thrasher’s meetings Monday.  Here’s part of what Wheatly had to say when asked about supporting graduate programs.

Flooding in Florida after a heavy storm.
Roger Wollstadt via Flickr

Insurance policies are notorious for dense, opaque language.  But lawmakers throughout the state are holding so-called office hours to help Citizens Property Insurance policy holders break down the fine print.

Pictured from left to right: award winners, Bob & Mary Rumbley, Leon Co. Commission Chair, Kristen Dozier, and award finalist, Kylie Foley.
Nick Evans

The Leon County government commemorated the anniversary of 9/11 Thursday with an event honoring community service.

Glenn Winuk worked as a lawyer with the firm Holland Knight and volunteered as a firefighter.  He lost his life responding to the attack at the World Trade Center on 9/11.  Leon County and Holland and Knight officials presented an award named in his honor Thursday to recognize local heroes.  Bob and Mary Rumbley, won this year’s award; they founded a Christian home for men known as CARE.

The Golden Girls practicing before the game against The Citadel.
Nick Evans

A lot of people besides football players go into making a football game.  In the third part of an on-going series, Nick Evans talks with Florida State’s Golden Girls.

Florida State is warming up to play The Citadel and the announcer is introducing the home team’s roster.  It’s the first home game of the season, and even with the rain, Doak Campbell Stadium is nearly full.  Down at the other end of the field, Florida State’s Golden Girls are dancing and shaking garnet and gold pom-poms. 

Commissioner Ziffer
City of Tallahassee

The Tallahassee City Commission will decide whether to introduce an ethics ordinance Wednesday, but a similar ballot initiative may negate its efforts if it passes in November.

Two years ago, the Commission appointed an ethics advisory panel to assist them in crafting the new ethics ordinance.  The Commission’s choice to reject some of that panel’s suggestions prompted a citizen-led ballot initiative beefing up oversight. Last week, the Commission voted to place the amendment on the ballot. But on Wednesday, they’ll vote on their original ordinance.

It's standing room only at the hearing.
Nick Evans

Florida’s Office of Compassionate Use held its final hearing Friday in Tallahassee to discuss rules for low-THC marijuana.  Nick Evans reports implementing the law passed in the last legislative session has not gotten easier.

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:


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. 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.