Blaise Gainey

Multimedia Reporter

Blaise Gainey is a Multimedia Reporter for WFSU News. Blaise hails from Windermere, Fla. He graduated from The School of Journalism at the Florida A&M University. He formely worked for The Florida Channel, WTXL-TV, and before graduating interned with WFSU News. He is excited to return to the newsroom. In his spare time he enjoys watching sports, netflix, outdoor activities and anything involving his daughter. Follow Blaise Gainey on Twitter: @BlaiseGainey

Blaise Gainey / WFSU-FM

Community members made arguments Monday for and against a new police headquarters on Tallahassee’s Southside. The plan to build a new public safety campus has garnered discussions about food deserts, community police relations, and the best use of public funds. But, the core of the argument for those on both sides of the issue seems to focus on one thing—safety.

P. Solomon Banda / AP Photo

As Florida lawmakers grapple with changes to the state’s medical marijuana rules, others are questioning how hemp fits into the picture. Hemp is a marijuana plant, but is low in THC—meaning it doesn’t get people high. Instead, people say the CBD from the plant can have significant health benefits. But the two products come plants that look and smell the same—making regulation and enforcement difficult and leaving hemp use and sales in something of a legal grey area.

Listen below as cannabis legal expert Michael Minardi and Alex Petrick who manages Natural Life, a shop in Tallahassee that sells CBD products speak on the subject.

Blaise Gainey

A non-euphoric strain of cannabis is being sold in stores across Florida. It’s available as oils, edibles, and even flower. But as questions about the legality of it linger, CBD remains in limbo.

Florida Department of Agriculture

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried is tapping Nashville hemp consultant Holly Bell for the department’s cannabis director. Bell was instrumental in getting Tennessee’s hemp industry off the ground, and Fried hopes Bell can do the same in Florida.

“The economic impact for our state is enormous. [The] medical marijuana industry alone is projected to have a $1.6 billion economics, creating more jobs in manufacturing by 2020. Hemp can be a multi-billion-dollar industry here in the state,” said Fried.

Frank Augstein / AP Photo

A bill implementing a constitutional amendment that bans vaping in businesses passed its first committee Tuesday. But as Blaise Gainey reports, legislators, advocates and critics must now answer the question – What is vaping?

Hurricane Michael caused lots of destruction to Florida's gulf coast. Till this day trees are left uprooted and snapped in half, buildings totaled or covered in tarp, and some houses flattened.

Business owner David Smith who owns Smith Motorworks whose building survived in Panama City told his story.

Twitter/@FLSERT

Mexico Beach will be receiving hurricane recovery money soon. Blaise Gainey reports that announcement came Monday at the summit for a Resilient North Florida.

Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis speaks to reporters following "Industry Day" at Tyndall Air Force Base (1/31/19).
Blaise Gainey / WFSU News

Officials in charge of getting Tyndall Air Force Base back up and running gave an overview Thursday of where they are now and where they hope to be in the future. The base hosted it's first "Industry Day" since Hurricane Michael severely damaged it in October. 

Ryan Dailey / WFSU-FM

Leaders in state government gathered Wednesday as they do every year for the Associated Press’ Legislative Planning Session. Each came to voice priorities for the coming session and field questions from the Capital press corps. From education to medical marijuana to infrastructure, WFSU was on hand to catch it all. The following is an overview of what speakers, including the entire Florida Cabinet, brought to the table:

Blaise Gainey

The Assignment of Benefits issue that has been plaguing the property insurance industry for a few years may finally be changed. During Wednesdays Associated Press Legislative Planning Session Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis blamed bad actors who he says are twisting the law.

LinkedIn

The Florida Department of Revenue is getting a new Executive Director. The cabinet named Jim Zingale the new Executive Director of the Department of Revenue Tuesday.

Zingale served in the position for 7 years during former governor Jeb Bush’s tenure. He’s also served as a Research Director for the Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida.

The cabinet unanimously chose Zingale to lead the state’s Department of Revenue, taking over the job of now former director Leon Biegalski who was handpicked by former Governor Rick Scott in 2016.

Blaise Gainey / WFSU-FM

Hurricane Michael was more than 100 days ago, but it’s still fresh on the mind of North Florida residents. House District 8’s Democratic Representative Ramon Alexander says that’s most of what he’s been hearing when he speaks to his constituents. Blaise Gainey sat down with the representative following a Gadsden County meeting.

allison tant headshot in front of royal blue background
FLORIDA DEMOCRATIC PARTY

Former Florida Democratic Party chairwoman Allison Tant is kicking off her political campaign for 2020 February 5th at Food Glorious Food.

"I am running for House District 9. That is the seat that Representative Lorraine Ausley currently holds. She’s running for senator montfords seat in 2020 he’s termed out," Tant said.

She announced the event Monday at the Democratic Club of North Florida in Tallahassee.

Tant is known for her nonprofit that focuses on housing for people with developmental disabilities.

Blaise Gainey

Where to place a memorial recognizing the four Jim Crow era Leon County lynching victims? That’s under consideration by a group calling itself the Community Remembrance Project Task Force.

Byron Greene addressed the Democratic Club of North Florida Monday.

Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center / Facebook

After removing debris from Hurricane Michael, Tyndall Air Force base is now inviting the construction industry, architectural firms and others to share what they see as a great opportunity to rebuild the base.

Robbie Gaffney

Although not very large in mass Hurricane Michael brought a powerful blow to the panhandle. Since, communities in the target area have been struggling to find funds to pay for the debris cleanup, even with help from the federal government.

The announcement that the feds will be providing more funding has removed some of the burden on local governments.

The Florida Channel

Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Cabinet approved Danny Burgess Jr. Thursday as the Department of Veterans' Affairs Director. Burgess is a former Pasco County Republican Representative who in November defeated his opponent by a nearly 2-1 margin. 

The Florida Channel

A bill to limit constitutional amendments to one subject passed its first committee unanimously Tuesday. The bill sponsor says bundling issues into one ballot initiative is unfair.

FDOT's website

A new Secretary for the Florida Department of Transportation was selected today. A week after being recommended to Governor Ron DeSantis, Kevin Thibault has been chosen to lead the Florida Department of Transportation. The Governor made the decision today in a press release calling Thibault, "a proven leader in state government and the private sector.”

Thibault has extensive experience in both sectors, and worked for FDOT more than 16 years and has held senior leadership positions. He most recently served as Southeast Regional Senior Vice President of TranSystems Corporation.

Hurricane Michael tore apart Northwest Florida in October leaving more than 20 million cubic square yards of debris. Moves were made at both the state and federal levels to try and help recovery efforts.

Blaise Gainey

Lieutenant Colonel George Hardy, is the youngest member of the Tuskegee Airmen. Thursday, he spoke at Florida A&M University. The discussion focused on racial segregation and what took place shortly after it was outlawed.

The Florida Channel

Gov. Ron DeSantis is expediting money for debris removal in communities impacted by Hurricane Michael. DeSantis also wants the U.S. government to take on a bigger share of the recovery costs.

Senator Jeff Brandes believes the Florida Legislature is now organized in a way that will lead to more insurance issues being heard and ultimately solved. The Office of Insurance Regulation held it’s 2019 summit this week.

The Florida Channel

Technology moves fast and some of the latest technology includes artificial intelligence such as autonomous vehicles. During Tuesday’s 2019 Summit hosted by the Office of Insurance Regulation officials talked about what the industry can do to keep up.

Florida Chamber of Commerce

It’s been one month since Governor Ron DeSantis chose Ken Lawson to lead the Department of Economic Opportunity. Lawson gave the Florida Chamber of Commerce an update Monday on his new job.

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