Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

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Keith Morelli

Keith Morelli has 16 articles published.

With a 38-year career in journalism behind him, Keith Morelli now writes about medical marijuana and the politics of pot in Florida. He began his career as a news editor with a weekly paper in Zephyrhills and his last gig was with The Tampa Tribune, which folded unceremoniously in May. While there, Morelli was general assignment reporter for the Metro section, writing a wide variety of pieces ranging from obituaries, to crime, to red tide, panthers and city government. In between those jobs, he spent nine years as a bureau chief for the Ocala Star-Banner. morellikj@gmail.com

After a record set Wednesday, Zika takes a holiday

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After a record-setting Wednesday, in which 11 people came down with the Zika virus in Florida, the past two days have been quiet, according to the Florida Department of Health, which issues daily updates on the virus which can cause devastating birth defects. Wednesday, the department reported 11 cases of Zika in the state, the most ever reported in a single day. The cases brought to 220 the number of people who have been infected with Zika since it first appeared here…

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Florida Polytechnic University gears up for accreditation push

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Two years after first opening its doors and with a current student enrollment blossoming to over 1,200, Florida Polytechnic University is about to embark on its most ambitious year since it began under political turmoil nearly a half-decade ago. The Lakeland facility that focuses on engineering and technology with a goal of having 20 percent of its graduates going into entrepreneurship, could be a fully accredited university as early as June of next year. The school, whose iconic design can…

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With tens of millions of dollars in upgrades, Amalie Arena judged top in state

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

With more than $80 million of upgrades over the past six years — none of which was paid for by ad valorem taxpayers — Amalie Arena was chosen as the top venue for sporting and entertainment events in the state this week by an industry publication. Venue Today posted the list earlier this week and the downtown Tampa arena finished first in Florida, according to Amalie officials. “The rankings are just a barometer of how we’re doing,” said Kevin Preast,…

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Ending homelessness among veterans by the end of the year: Difficult but not impossible

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

The Obama administration’s goal to eliminate homelessness among military veterans by the end of the year could be a difficult mission as tens of thousands of vets remain on the streets, including perhaps 3,000 in Florida. A point-in-time count in February around the Tampa Bay area counted nearly 400 veterans living on the streets of Pinellas County. In Hillsborough County, 181 vets were without homes. That number represents a 42 percent drop from the previous year, but was more than…

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University Area gets $3.8 million federal grant to foster tech training

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

A multi-agency partnership, along with the help of U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, secured a $3.8 million grant from the federal government to develop training in the University Area of North Tampa, providing education specifically for technology-related jobs. This week Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Tom Perez announced the awards of 39 TechHire Partnership Grants across the nation, including the one in Tampa. The grant was the result of a partnership between CareerSource Tampa Bay, University Area Community Development Corp., Hillsborough…

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Latest poll of Florida voters: Two-thirds favor legalizing medical pot

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

The latest poll of Florida voters, undertaken by Florida Decides News 13/BayNews 9, echoes what eight previous polls dating back to last year have said: Voters by a wide margin were ready to legalize medical marijuana. Sixty-eight percent of likely voters said they favor the availability of medicinal pot, with 69 percent of male voters saying they were confident they would vote yes, said the poll released Wednesday afternoon on the websites of News 13, out of Orlando, and BayNews…

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Unopposed local constitutional officers to return nearly $900,000 in contributions

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

The collecting began last year, and the contributions flowed into Tampa Bay incumbent constitutional officers focused winning this fall’s elections and keeping their jobs for four more years. By last week, when qualifying ended, nearly a dozen had raked in close to $900,000, ready to wage war with challengers to their positions as sheriffs, tax collectors, clerks of the circuit court, supervisors of elections and school superintendents. Turns out they don’t need that cash at all. Nine constitutional officers in…

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