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Les Neuhaus - page 2

Les Neuhaus has 78 articles published.

Les Neuhaus is an all-platform journalist, with specialties in print reporting and writing. In addition to Florida Politics, he freelances as a general-assignment and breaking-news reporter for most of the major national daily newspapers, along with a host of digital media, and a human rights group. A former foreign correspondent across Africa and Asia, including the Middle East, Les covered a multitude of high-profile events in chronically-unstable nations. He’s a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, in which he served as a Security Policeman, and graduated from the University of Tennessee with a B.A. in political science. He is a proud father to his daughter and enjoys spending time with his family.

House advances pilot program to treat mental health versus jail

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

A House committee voted unanimously Tuesday in favor of a bill to begin the Forensic Hospital Diversion Pilot Program in the Panhandle’s Okaloosa County. Rep. Mel Ponder, who sponsored HB 1051, introduced the measure to the House Children, Families and Seniors Subcommittee. The bill intends to alleviate overcrowding in the state’s prison corrections system with a significant percentage of individuals with mental health needs Often, those individuals go ignored while incarcerated. “We believe those inmates would be better served with…

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Police and firefighter organizations give nod to Darden Rice

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Two key first responders’ groups are giving support to St. Petersburg City Council Chair Darden Rice in her bid for re-election to the city body, according to a press release Tuesday. The Sun Coast Police Benevolent Association and the St. Petersburg Association of Firefighters issued a joint statement praising Rice’s commitment to the city. “I’m deeply honored to have the support of our police officers and firefighters,” Rice, who represents St. Petersburg’s 4th District, said in the statement. “The work…

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Did DCF create media frenzy after foster child’s suicide to distract from agency errors?

in 2017/Top Headlines by

Naika Venant’s mother vehemently refutes narratives by the state agency in a March 13 report, including suggestion she ‘allegedly’ commented on Facebook Live thread taunting daughter while watching and did nothing; lawyer says agencies ‘abysmally failed’ Naika. *** Naika Venant was a girl whose personality had turned from that of a bright and gifted child – despite her naïveté toward adult subject matter – to one of rebelliousness and anger, according to records and her mother. The dark transition leading…

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February trial date set for John Jonchuck, accused of throwing daughter off St. Pete bridge

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

A Pinellas County court set a trial date for John Jonchuck, arrested in 2015 for throwing his 5-year-old daughter off a St. Petersburg bridge. The Tampa Bay Times reported Monday that the trial will begin early February. In a pretrial hearing Monday, Jonchuck’s three public defenders listened as Pinellas County Circuit Judge Chris Helinger announced the proceedings would begin Feb. 5, 2018, roughly three years after Jonchuck inexplicably threw Phoebe Jonchuck off the Dick Misener Bridge, according to the Times.…

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Lawmakers merge two bills to expand medical services for abused children

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

In an unexpected move, legislators merged two bills into one rather than unnecessarily compete against one another in a common goal to create a coordinated effort to enlist better medical services for abused children Monday. Both bills related to child protection issues. SB 1454, sponsored by Sen. Doug Broxson, and SB 1318, sponsored by Sen. Rene Garcia, were so similar in nature they decided to join them together in the Senate Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee. “It’s an excellent…

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Psychotropic cocktail may have contributed to Facebook Live suicide

in Apolitical/Top Headlines by

Part of a psychological evaluation administered to Naika Venant in June 2015 included a sentence completion test. For the beginning stem sentence “The thing I want to do most of all is …” the then-12-year-old girl responded: “Die happy.” Sentence tests can provide indications of attitudes, beliefs, motivations or other mental states. Other sentences she finished: “My best friend is … I don’t have a best friend.” “The person I’m most afraid of is … nobody.” “I would do anything…

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Five children used candle for ‘light and heat’ after child welfare worker ignored calls for help

in Apolitical by

A sub-contracted case manager with the Florida Department of Children and Families was arrested for falsifying information regarding the well-being of children living alone, officials confirmed Thursday. Spokespeople for both DCF and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement confirmed Vanessa Arias, 33, was arrested Friday for lying on safety reports. “The department has no tolerance for any individual compromising their integrity and, thereby, potentially jeopardizing the safety of a child,” Jessica Sims, a spokeswoman for DCF, told FloridaPolitics.com by email. “We immediately…

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