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.

Lee Jackson

Floridians may be paying a bit less for admission to certain sporting events if Representative Jason Brodeur (R-Sanford) has his way.  His sales tax exemption for special events tickets met with no opposition in its first committee hearing Thursday.

Kim Seng

Representative Jimmy Patronis (R-Panama City) says his bill will cut red tape for Florida’s farmers by removing excess regulations.  Currently, county governments in Florida can set standards for wetlands and springs protection and drilling wells. Patronis’s bill would take some of that ability away from local governments and leave it to the state. But Lee County lobbyist Sarah Bleakly says her county’s diverse environment requires local regulation.

U.S. Department of Defense

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced a plan this week to reduce the military’s size and budget. Closing or restructuring domestic bases is part of that plan.  The next round of Base Realignment and Closure, or BRAC, is slated for 2017 if Congress approves it. 

The Florida Defense Alliance - part of Enterprise Florida - works to ensure the state is an attractive site for bases, and they don't think closures are an immediate threat.  Vice President Rocky McPherson says Hagel's budget is only an initial proposal, and it will face an uphill climb in Washington.

LHatter / WFSU News

The Florida Board of Governors Thursday confirmed the appointment of Dr. Elmira Mangum to the presidency of Florida A&M University.  At the hearing, board member Matthew Carter asked Mangum how she plans to improve graduation rates among ‘profile admits’ – an alternative admission program for students who wouldn’t normally qualify.

“If we’re going to take a profile admit,” Carter said, “I think we have a moral imperative to graduate these students.”

Mangum says supporting these students requires the university to be more proactive in its advising.

Susan Sermoneta

A bill that passed its first Senate hearing today aims to limit which parties can be brought to court in nursing home disputes.  Nursing home residents would only able to file initial complaints against the nursing home itself, the subcontractors they employ, and direct caregivers.  Under the bill, introduced by State Senator John Thrasher (R-St.Augustine), passive investors are less likely to face litigation, and Thrasher says this will encourage investment.

Blaise Gainey

The Florida Golf Coalition and the PGA gave golf lessons to members of the House and Senate Thursday as part of Florida Golf Day at the Capitol. But before the lessons began, the FGC spoke with State Senator Nancy Detert (R-Venice) about 5 key points they had.

The Blueprint 2000 tax adds one extra cent to every dollar of taxable sales in Leon County to fund infrastructure projects.  The current tax will expire in 2019, but the County Commission hopes to extend it, and is developing a slate of projects to pursue if that happens.   County Commissioner Bill Proctor says many of the projects benefit FSU and FAMU, so the schools should participate in community outreach.

“In terms of promoting the campaign, the universities have radio stations, television stations – they have media that can be helpful in promoting this,” Proctor said.

USACE

A long-simmering dispute over water continued this week as Georgia filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court opposing Florida’s request for a hearing.  But the feud is more complex than it may at first seem.

A pair of South Florida lawmakers – State Senator Miguel Diaz de la Portilla (R-Miami) and Representative Bryan Nelson (R-Miami) – are co-sponsoring a bill to further discourage hit-and-run drivers.  Diaz de la Portilla said current law levies lighter penalties if drunk drivers flee the scene of an accident. 

Bad Weather Hampers Tallahassee Homeless Census

Jan 31, 2014
Jessica Palombo / WFSU News

Across the country this week, volunteers conducted what’s known as the point-in-time homelessness count. WFSU joined one Tallahassee group as they tried to find people living without shelter in Florida’s capital city.

At 5:15 p.m. on Tuesday, about 30 volunteers huddled in a side office at the Big Bend Homeless Coalition cafeteria.

Outside it had just started pouring rain. One of the team leaders, Vicki Butler, had just come in from an all-day shift and she was about to go back out for the night shift.

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