Leon County

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."

R.Benk / WFSU-News

In order to prevent overharvesting, Florida voters in 1994 ratified a constitutional ban on what’s called a gill net, which catches fish by entangling their gills in the net’s mesh. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which was put in charge of creating the rules to implement the amendment, also stipulated that mullet fishermen could only use nets whose holes were no larger than 2-inches in size, prompting two decades of court battles. After a year of deliberating, Leon County Circuit Judge Jackie Fulford ruled in favor of commercial fishermen last week.

A Tallahassee-Leon County workgroup plans to inquire about the sexually transmitted infection rates at area universities and colleges. The committee is trying to find out what makes the county’s infection rate among the worst in the state, even compared with other college towns.

Tuesday’s meeting of the HIV/AIDS and STDs Working Group focused on a disturbing statistic, shared by Annelise Mennicke (formerly Martin), an FSU doctoral student assisting the workgroup with research:

“Leon County is No. 1 in the state for gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis.”

JR Harding

At a meeting Tuesday, Leon County Commissioners will consider a watered-down version of an ordinance aimed at making it easier for people with disabilities to get help pumping gas. Advocates for tougher rules still want the law to do more.

The proposed ordinance would require gas stations to display phone numbers on pumps that a driver could call for help.

Disability advocate JR Harding lives with quadriplegia and says he’s left stations without pumping gas because it’s so hard to get assistance. “Is my time any less valuable than your time? The answer’s no," he says.

Jessica Palombo / WFSU-FM

Leon County officials say the 2013 legislative session turned out well for the region. Schools, universities and state employees are all celebrating.

Local leaders met with state legislative delegates today on Tuesday to discuss how the laws and budgets passed this session will affect the local community.

Rep. Alan Williams (D-Tallahassee) said, this year’s budget includes pay raises for the thousands of state workers in the area, the first they’ve seen in seven years. And that should help boost the local economy.  

Gaines Street Reopens, Paving The Way For More Development

Apr 25, 2013
Thomas Andrew Gustafson

Tallahassee’s Gaines Street is now open to all traffic. But future development in the area excites local government officials and business owners more than newly paved roads.

DesignWorks Studio Wants To Help Grow Tallahassee's Urban Side

Mar 8, 2013
Thomas Andrew Gustafson

The Leon County and City of Tallahassee Planning Department wants to work closer with the developers, contractors, and architects of Leon County. The Department’s new DesignWorks Studio is a way to build up urban centers with less hassle.

Legislative Session Begins and Local Businesses Take Note

Mar 5, 2013
The Florida Channel

The Legislators are coming! The Legislators are coming! It’s simple math: more people mean more business. And for the city of Tallahassee, the Florida Legislature starting this week means a quick injection to the local economy. Owner of Nic’s Toggery, Victor Gavalas, says it’s a welcome sight.

“Spring Time Tallahassee needs the legislature to… honestly do a lot of business.” Says Gavalas.

Blankets, Space Heaters Needed For Elderly In Leon Co.

Jan 2, 2013

In Leon County, many senior citizens are going without heat this winter. County Elder Care Services is asking for donations to help them stay comfortable and safe in their homes.

Elder Care Services has been getting about seven phone calls every day from seniors who don’t have heat. Elder Care spokeswoman Amber Tynan says, they ask for space heaters and blankets.

“And we try to keep those items in stock,” she said. “However, with that amount of calls per day, you can imagine, we do go through those pretty quickly.”

Sascha Cordner / WFSU-FM

Early Voting in Florida may have officially ended Saturday, but several Supervisors of Elections opened polling locations on Monday to allow for in-person absentee voting. People who showed up at the Leon County Courthouse said they’re grateful they avoided voting on Election Day.

The line at the Leon County Courthouse Saturday was so long, it circulated around the building and down the street, with people waiting for hours. But, Monday was a stark contrast for voters, like Stephen McDaniel, who stood in line for only a couple of minutes.

Leon County Crime Rate Down In First Half Of 2012

Nov 2, 2012
Florida Department of Law Enforcement

The State of Florida is looking a little safer – that’s according to Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s biannual crime report.  Overall crime in Florida has dropped, and crime in Leon County has sunk 7% in the past six months.

The report shows a nearly 4 point decrease in crime statewide for January to June of this year.  Dave Northway of the Tallahassee Police Department said the decrease is thanks to community involvement.

Early Voting starts in Florida Saturday, and in Leon County alone, they’re anticipating a huge turnout. The county led the state in its overall voter turnout last election, and Leon County Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho says he’s expecting about that much this year, especially with early voting set to begin this weekend.

An extension of Leon County’s half penny sales tax for public schools could be in trouble.  The proposal sits at the bottom of this year’s ballot, and supporters of the tax say that could pose a serious problem come Election Day.

Leon County is looking for the public’s help as it plans to update its joint cultural plan with the city of Tallahassee. It’s seeking four private citizens to serve on the committee that will make recommendations to both governments about how the arts should intersect with tourism, the local economy and education.

The county will be accepting applications for its four citizen spots on the cultural-plan committee until Sunday, Oct. 28.

Kim Dressel, Senior Assistant to the Leon County Administrator, says the four county appointees will serve alongside 14 other members.

Leon County's Little-Known Campaigns

Oct 12, 2012

The general election is less than one month away, and campaigns big and small are heading in to the home stretch.  Officials said the big races are just as important as the little ones, but some voters are left wondering what exactly the candidates at the bottom of the ballot do.

Mosquitos A Health Risk In Fla. Panhandle

Sep 13, 2012

Mosquitos are making people and animals in the Florida Panhandle sick. A new case of West Nile Virus in Gadsden Co. and three Leon Co. horses with a deadly mosquito-borne illness have health officials reminding everyone to protect themselves against getting bitten.The horses have contracted the usually fatal Eastern Equine Encephalitis, which can also infect people.Even though the weather’s been a tiny bit cooler and drier lately, Leon Co.

Starting on Tuesday, The Leon Co. Clerk of Courts office will open to the public an hour earlier and close an hour later. After facing a budget shortfall this year, court clerks’ offices across Florida now have the money they need to restore lost services.

County clerks faced a budget cut of about $30 million at the end of the legislative session. But Leon Co. Clerk Bob Inzer says, a legislative budget panel is letting them use money in a trust fund to cover the funding gap now.

J.Palombo / WFSU

Leon Primary Voting Enters Home Stretch

Aug 14, 2012
R.Benk / WFSU

The WFSU news team will be bringing you live coverage of local and state primary election results starting at 7 pm. Tune in or listen live online, as our reporters bring you the most up to date results and one -on-one interviews with the candidates at their election watch-parties.

Leon Co. Early Primary Voting Outpaces 2008 Election

Aug 10, 2012

Early voting before the Tuesday primary election runs through Saturday. And the turnout in Leon Co., so far, has already surpassed early voting totals for the 2008 presidential primary.

Leon Co. Assistant Elections Supervisor Janet Olin says, with a day left in early voting, voters have already cast about 1,600 more ballots than they did in the entire 2008 early voting period.  She says, primaries usually bring out a core group of dedicated voters.

“You get voters that are tried and true, so to speak, in the primary, that vote no matter what," she says.

Voter Registration, Election Ballot Security and other 2012 local Election issues were discussed on this episode of Perspectives. The television cameras were back today in the radio studio so you can see and hear what Leon County Supervisor of Elections Ion Sancho and Attorney J.D. DuRant have to say about these topics.

Soldier cutout
Jessica Palombo / WFSU-FM

Military veterans, especially those making the transition from active duty to civilian life, now have a new place to go for help in Leon Co. After a grand opening on Wednesday, the Veterans Resource Center brings services that used to be spread out over several offices together under one roof, in a more intimate and approachable setting.

Leon Co. Opens Storm Shelter As Debby Drenches Panhandle

Jun 25, 2012
Sign that reads "Shelter"
Jessica Palombo / WFSU-FM

Leon Co. residents who need to evacuate from their homes can take shelter at the Florida State University High School, located at 3000 School House Road off of Capital Circle Southeast.

Flash flood warnings and mandatory evacuations continue as Tropical Storm Debby churns just off the coast of Florida’s Big Bend. Fla. Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency, and the National Weather Service predicts the Panhandle won’t see any relief from wet weather for at least two more days.

Clerk of Court Cutting Hours to Reflect Budget Cut

Jun 21, 2012

Leon County residents will soon face longer turnaround times at the courthouse.  A smaller budget means fewer hours every day to pay traffic tickets and file papers.

Starting July 1, the state’s court clerks are facing a 7 percent budget cut. In Leon County, that means cutting back hours clerks are open to the public. Leon County Clerk Bob Inzer says he’s cutting two hours per day: The new hours will be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. He says people will probably notice that several services are slower or reduced as well, including phone help for civil cases, and general case processing.

Leon Co. Gives Four Families New Homes

Jun 19, 2012
Virginia Lamb
Jessica Palombo / WFSU-FM

Four Leon County families now have new homes after their old ones were damaged by Tropical Storm Fay in 2008. County officials handed over keys to the homeowners at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday.

Emily Gerrell was living here, at the Greenwood Park Mobile Home Estates in Southeast Tallahassee, in 2008 when Tropical Storm Fay hit.

“The water was gushing in the back door," she says.

The flood left black mold in the walls and carpet of her home. But today, she’s seeing her brand new home for the first time.