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.

Wilfredo Lee / AP

Gov. Rick Scott announced his decision Tuesday, more than 10 months after former Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll resigned.

Lopez-Cantera is a former state House Majority Leader and is also expected to be Scott's running mate during his 2014 re-election campaign.

Nick Evans

The US Forest Service is holding prescribed burns in the Apalachicola National Forest. 

Just south of Tallahassee, a team of Wakulla District rangers are using driptorches – those handheld metal canisters with a long, lit wick – to light sections of underbrush that haven’t burned since June of 2010.  Wakulla assistant fire management officer Bob Airhart said this kind of regular burning has two vital roles in forest management. 

Marriage equality got a major boost when the U.S. Supreme Court struck down major provisions in the Federal Defense of Marriage Act last month.  But it’s still unclear how married same-sex couples will access benefits if they live in states that don’t recognize their union.

Florida happens to be just such a state, and Governor Rick Scott said the DOMA decision applies to federal law and will not impact state laws. 

Since NASA retired its fleet of space shuttles in 2011, Florida’s space coast has been searching for a way to prop up its slumping economy.  Private space companies may offer a solution, but some proposals to attract them are raising questions.

The most recent reading from the Tallahassee Economic Index shows a downward trend for the month of May.  Although the index fell slightly, officials say there are bright spots.

The Tallahassee Economic Index combines data from businesses throughout the city to create a picture of the local economy.  According to Index founder Brett Ewing, the city’s economy is still growing, but isn’t accelerating quite as fast as it did in April.  

Ewing is hanging his hopes on the housing market, which he thinks may bring faster growth in the coming months. 

The Florida oyster industry has suffered in recent years from fights over fresh water, the BP oil spill, and the impact of predatory species.  But a cultivation method new in Florida could help turn the industry around.

There’s a gentle breeze coming in from Oyster Bay.  There are some plastic chairs out at the end of the wharf looking out on the swaying reeds.  The marshlands stretch a mile out from this sleepy marina.

A group pushing for medical marijuana legalization filed a petition with the state of Florida this week. 

On Wednesday, Florida Governor Rick Scott addressed the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the Federal Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA. 

Scott said the rulings won’t affect who can get married in Florida.

“In 2008, Florida voters amended our constitution, so that we are a traditional marriage state – marriage is between a man and a woman.  As Governor of the state I’ll uphold the existing law of the land, and that’s the law of our state,” Scott said.

Jessica Palombo

The U.S. Supreme Court handed down two landmark decisions Wednesday – both by 5-4 votes. 

The Court first struck down the Federal Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA.  Next, it vacated a lower court’s decision on California’s Proposition 8.  While this latter decision didn’t set up marriage as a civil right, it does clear the way for gay marriages to resume in California. 

Florida Representative Linda Stewart said the decisions are good news for the movement as a whole, but supporters of gay marriage in Florida have plenty of work ahead.

Florida Governor Rick Scott expressed support for adding restrictions to the food assistance program known as SNAP.  SNAP stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program; it’s the modern version of the federal food stamps program.

The proposal crafted by Congressman Steve Southerland of Florida’s 2nd District requires individuals to show they’re looking for work – kind of like the requirements for unemployment support. 

Florida State University

Florida State University football player Gregory Dent is facing up to 15 years in prison after being charged with rape over the weekend.  Dent was released Monday on $15 thousand dollars bail.

According to court documents, the victim and Dent have been friends since high school. Saturday, she, Dent, and others went to a nightclub.  When they returned to Dent’s apartment, the victim says she fell asleep on Dent’s bed.

She then alleges she awoke to Dent kissing her, and tried to push him away.  But the victim alleges he continued trying to force himself upon her.

Residents throughout Florida are receiving notices that a private insurer is taking over their state run home insurance policies.  Homeowners are not required to make the switch, though.

While state-backed Citizens Insurance shifts policies into the private sector, critics are expressing concern about the quality of new coverage.  Florida Insurance Consumer Advocate Robin Westcott said consumers still have options.

Florida’s state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Company is continuing its effort to move its policies to the private sector.

But over the past week, critics have blasted Citizens over a deal with Heritage Insurance.

The deal – worth $52 million dollars – moves as many as 60,000 policies to the private insurer.  As part of the agreement, Heritage has promised not to raise rates more than 10 percent a year for the next three years.  Also, Heritage will not award dividends for the same term.

Florida Governor Rick Scott signed the Everglades Improvement and Management bill into law Tuesday. The measure appropriates $32 million a year for the next decade to help clean up the Everglades.

It’s hard to argue against funding restoration efforts in the Everglades, but the new law is more complicated than it may first appear.

According to David Guest, managing attorney for the Tallahassee office of Earth Justice, the law allows polluters to shirk constitutional obligations.

A deal to shift up to 60,000 insurance policies from the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corporation to privately held Heritage Property Insurance is raising concerns.  

On the left, former Florida State Senator Dan Gelber is criticizing a $110,000 contribution made by Heritage for Governor Rick Scott’s upcoming reelection bid.

The Tallahassee Fire Department is kicking off its “Fill the Boot” drive to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association this Wednesday.  Firefighters will be collecting donations at various intersections throughout Tallahassee.  MDA Spokeswoman Crystal Ralys said firefighters will be out mainly around breakfast, lunch and just after work. 

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