Staff Reports - 7/63 - SaintPetersBlog

Staff Reports

After early lead, Tampa Bay Rowdies suffer first defeat on late Charleston goal

Suffering the first home defeat of the season Saturday night, the Tampa Bay Rowdies lost 3-2 to the visiting Charleston Battery on an 89th-minute goal.

Tampa Bay led in the first half and then conceded twice in the last five minutes to trail 2-1 at halftime. The Rowdies pulled even in the second half but conceded in the 89th minute to lose.

“I’m disappointed in the goals that we conceded,” Rowdies Head Coach Stuart Campbell said. “We’ve been so good defensively home and away this year and the three goals we gave away tonight, that’s not us.”

Playing their third match in eight days, the Rowdies looked fatigued as the minutes ticked along in each half.

Tampa Bay played on the road at Louisville City FC last weekend and on the road against Wednesday night against FC Cincinnati before returning home to cap a taxing week of travel and games.

“It was a very tough week for us, playing three games with all the travel,” Rowdies forward Georgi Hristov said. “I think we felt a little tired tonight. Some guys played all 270 minutes in the games. That’s a lot to play with the travel. It’s not an excuse, though. We should have done better.”

After a scoreless opening half-hour, the Rowdies dominated — apart from scoring — Joe Cole put Tampa Bay ahead in the 34th minute, smashing home a rebound after his initial shot was saved.

In the 39th minute, Rowdies right back Kyle Porter was whistled for a foul just outside the Rowdies’ box. On the ensuing Justin Portillo free kick, the Battery’s Forrest Lasso glanced a header to the back post beyond Rowdies goalkeeper Matt Pickens to level the match.

Charleston took a lead in stoppage time when Maikel Chang fired a left-footed shot from outside the box that curled past Pickens and into the far netting.

Trailing at halftime, the Rowdies went all-out to reverse the match, inserting Leo Fernandes and Deshorn Brown early in the second half. Brown replaced Porter, with Tampa Bay switching to a back three.

The all-out attack worked, with Hristov leveling the match in the 62nd minute with his fourth goal of the season. Battery goalkeeper Odisnel Cooper whiffed on clearing a Leo Fernandes free kick, with Hristov the beneficiary in the 6-yard box.

“I took a gamble,” Campbell said. “I chucked every attacking option I had. We ended up with three strikers on, plus two wide men. We went for it because I would’ve been disappointed if we only got a point at home, so I went for it in the hope of getting three. It didn’t happen.”

As the match wound toward its conclusion, the Rowdies looked likelier to score the game-winning goal only for the Battery to swipe all three points with a late goal.

Pickens saved an 89th-minute shot and Rowdies left back Luke Boden stretched to clear the rebound, but could only poke it to the penalty spot, where Tah Brian Anunga was waiting. Anunga placed his shot into the side netting to put Charleston ahead 3-2.

Tampa Bay hosts Richmond Kickers Saturday night at Al Lang.

Scoring Summary 
Tampa Bay: Joe Cole — 34th minute
Charleston: Forrest Lasso — 40th minute (assisted by Justin Portillo)
Charleston: Maikel Chang — 45+ minute
Tampa Bay: Georgi Hristov — 62nd minute
Charleston: Tah Brian Anunga — 89th minute

Caution Summary
Charleston: Romario Williams — 37th minute
Charleston: Forrest Lasso — 61st minute
Charleston: O’Brian Woodbrine — 62nd minute

Starting Lineups
Rowdies XI (4-2-3-1) — GK Matt Pickens; D Kyle Porter (Deshorn Brown 66′), Damion Lowe, Neill Collins, Luke Boden; M Marcel Schäfer, Martin Vingaard; M Alex Morrell (Leo Fernandes 56′), Joe Cole (Martin Paterson 80′), Darwin Jones; F Georgi Hristov.

Charleston XI (4-5-1): GK Odisnel Cooper; D Quinton Griffith, Taylor Mueller (c), Forrest Lasso, O’Brian Woodbine; M Maikel Chang, Justin Portillo, Tah Brian Anunga, Kotaro Higashi (Dante Marini 73′), Ataulla Guerra (Neveal Hackshaw 88′); F Romario Williams (Heviel Cordoves 70′).

 

Donald Trump names Floridian Heather MacDougall to OSHA Review Commission

Heather MacDougall

President Donald Trump has named employer relations expert Heather MacDougall of Melbourne to the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Since January, MacDougall has been acting chair of the Occupational Safety & Health Review Commission. In 2014, then-President Barack Obama nominated her to the Commission in 2014, unanimously confirmed by the Senate.

MacDougall brings 20 years of experience in labor, employment, occupational safety and health law, most recently with Akerman LLP law firm based in West Palm Beach.  In addition, she served as Chief Counsel to OSHRC Chair W. Scott Railton in 2002-2003 under the George W. Bush administration. OSHRC is the independent federal agency as an administrative court deciding contested OSHA citations. MacDougall also served as associate general counsel of a Washington, D.C. trade association standing for human resources executives of Fortune 500 corporations.

Earlier in her career, MacDougall was Associate General Counsel to the HR Policy Association, a public policy organization that advocates for human resource officers of major employers, where she stood for the association as amicus curiae in U.S. Courts of Appeals and Supreme Court cases. As a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), MacDougall also gave expert guidance to employers on all aspects of the employer-employee relationship.

She received her B.A. from the University of Wisconsin and a J.D. from Marquette University Law School.

St. Pete fire crews called to Collier in wildfire fight

Nearly 7,000 homes are covered under mandatory evacuation orders in Southwest Florida as wildfires continue to rage just outside Fort Myers.

On Sunday, a St. Petersburg Fire Rescue crew was dispatched to Collier County to help battle the spread of fires in the area.

The Tampa Bay Reporter writes the St. Pete crew is part of a Bay Area Strike Team – composed of a district commander and five fire engines from the Tampa Bay area. Either three or four firefighters will staff each engine, and they are expected to work in Collier for 72 hours.

Accuweather reports the 30th Avenue fire is only 10 percent contained and has burned 5,500 acres so far. Fires destroyed nine homes.

As Frank Artiles departs, Dwight Bullard contemplates return to Senate

Dwight Bullard, the Senate Democrat unseated by Frank Artiles last year, may be looking to return.

Jessica Bakeman of POLITICO Florida reports that former Sen. Bullard is “seriously considering” a run after Artiles resigned Friday morning after the fallout from a racist and sexist tirade he made Monday at Tallahassee’s Governors Club.

“I’d be lying if I said interest wasn’t there,” Bullard said, “but I still need time to process it all and make a final decision.”

In 2016, Bullard had lost re-election in Senate District 40, a district that went 57-40 percent for Democrat Hillary Clinton. Although Bullard had support from the Florida Education Association, which gave $825,000 to his campaign, Artiles won 50-41 percent.

Bullard said his loss to Artiles came after the Cuban-American Republican catered to the Latino majority in the newly redrawn (and Democratic-leaning) district, while “patently ignoring” black voters.

It was “ironic” that pressure from black Senate colleagues caused Artiles to step down for using a slang form of the “N-word” about white GOP senators, he added.

“That same community that he chose to ignore are the ones who led to his demise,” Bullard told POLITICO. “That should resonate with anyone thinking about running for the seat, whether they’re a Democrat or a Republican.”

If Bullard, a Miami public school teacher, should run again, he hopes the Republican Party doesn’t spend “almost a million dollars … to tell everyone that I was a terrorist sympathizer, since that was the approach they took in that campaign.”

“They painted me out to be the boogeyman to a group of people who didn’t know who I was, to begin with,” he explained. “And so that was the narrative that won.”

Jim Kennedy endorses Barclay Harless to replace him on St. Pete Council

Jim Kennedy, the current St. Petersburg District 2 City Council member, is endorsing Barclay Harless to be his replacement.

An advocate for maintaining strong reserves and keeping spending in check, Kennedy was appointed to the seat in October 2007 and twice elected by strong margins.

In a statement Friday, Kennedy said the district he will have represented for nearly 10 years has many opportunities ahead, needing strong leadership and a fresh perspective. Over his tenure, Kennedy worked to revitalize the area, and now he is ready to pass the torch.

“We need to keep trust in local government and Barclay will be a budget watchdog, an independent thinker and bring a fresh perspective to city council,” Kennedy said. “Barclay has a clear vision that spending must be in-check and priority projects come first, not frivolous projects.

“We must continue to make transportation improvements in the district, including the Gandy Boulevard work and the San Martin Bridge,” he added. “I stand with Barclay in his campaign and I support him as my successor.”

Harless responds: “I have watched Jim lead with a grounded conviction to fiscal responsibly and I am thankful for his support and advice. Jim knows district 2 and cares about the many neighborhoods here and around the entire city. I’m ready to roll-up my sleeves and continue Jim’s legacy in addition to being a voice for the northern area of our city.”

Harless plans to focus on finding “common-sense solutions” to issues important to the St. Petersburg area: The Pier, Tropicana Field, and the city’s wastewater systems. He said he is committed to growing small, local businesses and engaging his district to better understand their concerns and priorities.

“Barclay continues to lead in fundraising month after month and he is garnering support in his race from local businesses, community leaders and now a key endorsement from the twice-elected Jim Kennedy to replace him – thus sending a strong message to District 2 voters,” said Harless campaign manager Nick Janovsky.

A fifth-generation Floridian, Harless has been involved in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. After graduating from the University of South Florida in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in history, he went to work in the Midtown area of St. Petersburg for State Rep. Darryl Rouson during the height of the economic recession.

Harless has served on the board of R’Club Childcare, Inc., is a member of Equality Florida’s advisory board for the Competitive Workforce Act and has been on the Louise Graham Center for Regeneration board for three and half years. He also served as the state policy chair in the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce and on grant boards for the Suncoast United Way.

Lizbeth Benacquisto: Frank Artiles made the ‘best decision for himself and his family, his constitutes, and the Florida Senate’

Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto said she believes Frank Artiles’ decision to resign was the “best decision for himself and his family.”

Benacquisto, the Fort Myers Republican who chairs the Senate Rules Committee, said Sen. Perry Thurston has withdrawn his complaint against Artiles, and as such “no further action on the part of the part of the Rules Committee is warranted in connection with this matter.”

Artiles resigned his seat Friday rather than face a hearing that could have resulted in his explusion from the Senate. He made national news after he accosted Sen. Perry Thurston, a Fort Lauderdale Democrat, and Sen. Audrey Gibson, a Jacksonville Democrat, calling her a “b—h” and a “girl” in a dispute over legislation at a private club in Tallahassee Monday night. Thurston and Gibson are black.

Artiles also used a slang variation of the ‘N-word,’ referring to white Republicans who supported Joe Negron as Senate President. While Artiles apologized on the Senate floor Wednesday, many said it wasn’t enough and called for his resignation.

“I believe Senator Artiles made the right decision for himself and his family, his constituents, and the Florida Senate,” said Benacquisto about Artiles decision. “I join my Senate colleagues in wishing Frank and his family all the best.”

Thurston, the chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus, subsequently filed a Senate rules complaint against Artiles seeking his explusion.

Florida Dems welcome Frank Artiles resignation, begin fundraising for a special election

The Florida Democratic Party is claiming victory amid the announcement that Frank Artiles has resigned his post.

“The Florida Democratic Party began calling for Artiles’ resignation as soon as news hit of his racists and sexist remarks toward his Senate colleagues,” said Stephen Bittel, the chairman of the Florida Democratic Party, in a statement. “Meanwhile, Republicans in the Senate and the Republican Party of Florida have been content with letting Artiles off with just a slap on the wrist — his roommate, Republican Representative Jose Oliva even saying that Artiles has ‘acted honorably.’”

Artiles resigned his seat Friday rather than face a hearing that could have resulted in his explusion from the Senate. He made national news after he accosted Sen. Perry Thurston, a Fort Lauderdale Democrat, and Sen. Audrey Gibson, a Jacksonville Democrat, calling her a “b—h” and a “girl” in a dispute over legislation at a private club in Tallahassee Monday night. Thurston and Gibson are black.

Artiles also used a slang variation of the ‘N-word,’ referring to white Republicans who supported Joe Negron as Senate President. While Artiles apologized on the Senate floor Wednesday, many said it wasn’t enough and called for his resignation. Thurston, the chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus, subsequently filed a Senate rules complaint against Artiles seeking his explusion.

“We are pleased that the residents of District 40 will no longer bear the burden of being represented by someone with a history of violence and bigotry and that they will have the opportunity to vote for a Senator that represents their values,” continued Bittel.

A special election be held to fill that seat. Democrats are already begun fundraising off Artiles resignation, sending an email to supporters Friday afternoon telling them they need to raise “another $10,000 in our Special Election Rapid Response fund before midnight tonight.”

“Here’s the thing: Nationwide, we’ve seen Democrats make BIG gains in ruby-red districts during special elections. If we want to flip this seat, we have to bring that same enthusiasm to this special election,” the fundraising email read. This race will be the first major election that Floridians face since November’s disastrous results.If we’re able to deliver a big win and take this seat back, it will send a crystal clear message that Floridians aren’t going to stand for Donald Trump and Frank Artiles’s extreme, racist right-wing agenda.”

Frank Artiles resigns from Senate

Frank Artiles has resigned his Senate seat rather than face a hearing that could result in his expulsion, according to a letter he sent to Senate President Joe Negron Friday.

Artiles, a Cuban-American Republican from Miami-Dade County, made national news after he accosted Sen. Perry Thurston, a Fort Lauderdale Democrat, and Sen. Audrey Gibson, a Jacksonville Democrat, calling her a “b****h” and a “girl” in a dispute over legislation at a private club in Tallahassee Monday night. Thurston and Gibson are black.

Artiles also used a slang variation of the ‘N-word,’ referring to white Republicans who supported Joe Negron as Senate President. Thurston and Gibson are black. Artiles apologized on the Senate floor Wednesday.

Thurston subsequently filed a Senate rules complaint against Artiles seeking his expulsion. Artiles, elected to the Senate last year after six years in the House, had initially called efforts to remove him politically motivated.

Gibson, in a brief statement released by the Senate Democratic Office, “thank(ed) everyone for their outpouring of support.”

“This has been an ordeal that no one should have to endure,” said Gibson, who kept her back turned to Artiles when he delivered his apology. “I wish him well in all of his endeavors.”

In the resignation letter mentioning his Marine service and crediting his family’s support, he said it was “clear to me my recent actions and words that I spoke fell far short of what I expect for myself, and for this, I am very sorry.

“I apologize to my family and friends, and I apologize to all of my fellow Senators and lawmakers. To the people of my district and all of Miami-Dade, I am sorry I have let you down and ask for your forgiveness.

“My actions and my presence in government is now a distraction to my colleagues, the legislative process, and the citizens of our great State. I am responsible, and I am accountable, and effective immediately, I am resigning from the Florida State Senate.

“It’s clear there are consequences to every action, and in this area, I will need time for personal reflection and growth. I leave this office knowing that despite my shortcomings, I have fought hard to change the status quo while remaining true to myself. I’m grateful for those that have stood by my side, including my family, friends, and supporters.

“Serving my community in the Florida Legislature has been the honor of a lifetime, and I do not leave this process lightly. I will discover ways to continue to serve my community in the future.

“God bless the great state of Florida and our great country,” he concluded, signing off, “Sincerely, Senator Frank Artiles.”

In a separate statement, Negron said Artiles “made the right decision.”

“As Senator Artiles has noted, he holds himself responsible and accountable for his actions and comments,” Negron, a Stuart Republican. “Despite the events of the last week, Senator Artiles has a long and proud record of public service. We all owe him a debt of gratitude for serving our country in the United States Marine Corps, where he fought for our freedom in the Global War on Terror.

“Additionally, his years of service in the Florida House and Senate demonstrate a commitment to helping others that will not end with his departure from the Senate. My Senate colleagues and I wish Senator Artiles and his family well.”

Negron added that Thurston will withdraw his complaint and he “directed the (Senate General Counsel Dawn Roberts) to close her investigation. No further action by the Senate will be taken in regard to this matter.”

On Thursday, Gibson had told reporters Artiles’ tirade was “horrific.”

“No one has ever addressed me in such a manner in my entire life,” she said, according to the Tallahassee Democrat. “I’ve never heard such nasty comments about leadership in my entire life and really denigrating the entire Senate as far as I’m concerned and the constituencies around the state.”

In an interview with The Florida Channel, she added, “I need to feel, and I have the right to feel, as comfortable as he does in that body, to which I was elected. And I don’t know that I could do that with him there.”

Artiles could not be reached. A message was left with his attorney, Steve Andrews of Tallahassee, on Friday morning. Artiles reportedly told colleagues he feared he wouldn’t have the support he needed to avoid a vote of expulsion from the Senate, to which he was elected last year after serving six years in the House.

In a statement, Senate Democratic Leader Oscar Braynon II “welcomed” Artiles’ decision to leave the Senate.

“It was not only the right decision, but the honorable one, for himself and the people of Florida,” said Braynon, of Miami Gardens. 

“I take no pleasure in these unfortunate events. But I urge that we learn from them. In our communities, our state, and our country, there should be a message of hope, of tolerance, of unity. We cannot afford the high cost (that) words of divisiveness and cruelty leave in their wake. 

“I wish Senator Artiles the best, and I hope that, upon reflection, he finds consolation in knowing that his actions, today, show the contrition demanded, and the Senate was owed.”

The full resignation is below:

Joe Negron: Frank Artiles ‘made the right decision’

Senate President Joe Negron said former Sen. Frank Artiles made the “right decision” to resign.

The Miami-area Republican resigned his seat Friday rather than face a hearing that could have resulted in his explusion from the Senate.

“Senator Artiles made the right decision,” ,” said Negron in a statement. “As Senator Artiles has noted, he holds himself responsible and accountable for his actions and comments.”

Artiles made national news after he accosted Sen. Perry Thurston, a Fort Lauderdale Democrat, and Sen. Audrey Gibson, a Jacksonville Democrat, calling her a “b—h” and a “girl” in a dispute over legislation at a private club in Tallahassee Monday night. Thurston and Gibson are black.

Artiles also used a slang variation of the ‘N-word,’ referring to white Republicans who supported Joe Negron as Senate President. Thurston and Gibson are black.

“Despite the events of the last week, Senator Artiles has a long and proud record of public service. We all owe him a debt of gratitude for serving our country in the United State Marine Corps, where he fought for our freedom in the Global War on Terror,” continued Negron. “Additionally, his years of service in the Florida House and Senate demonstrate a commitment to helping others that will not end with his departure from the Senate. My Senate colleagues and I wish Senator Artiles and his family well.”

While Artiles apologized on the Senate floor Wednesday, critics said it wasn’t enough. Thurston, the chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus, subsequently filed a Senate rules complaint against Artiles seeking his explusion.

Negron said Thurston informed him he would be withdrawing his complaint; and Negron has “directed the special master to close her investigation.”

“No further action will be taken by the Senate in regard to this matter,” said Negron.

Eric Draper: Florida making smart progress on solar

Eric Draper

On a sunny day in Florida, I watched the American flag rise and fly over hundreds of acres of solar cells. It was an amazing experience to think the million panels I was looking at in Manatee County were replacing energy from conventional fuel combustion plants. Yet this solar field feeding directly into the power grid was not using any water nor emitting pollution. I could not have been more excited.

In recent years, Florida has increasingly lived up to its name as the Sunshine State, with more and more solar panels dotting our landscape. Solar energy makes so much sense for Florida’s natural environment because every watt of solar electricity reduces energy produced by traditional generation.

Growth in Florida’s solar capacity is accelerating largely as a result of large solar power plants Florida Power & Light is building, just like the one I visited in February. On that day alone, six FPL solar plants generated 335 megawatts of electricity — the same capacity as a coal-fired power plant.

Along with saving water and reducing air pollution, solar plants have an additional benefit. The land used to build fields of solar panels can be used to enhance habitats for birds and other wildlife. Fallow land repurposed for solar can recharge groundwater by allowing rainfall to soak into the earth. With so much of natural Florida being gobbled up by development and agricultural uses, I’m for using every acre we can to restore some lost wildlife habitat.

Audubon Florida has long been a proponent of solar power. We were there nearly a decade ago promoting the policy that led FPL to build the state’s first solar plant in DeSoto County, the largest in the country at that time.

On the day I watched our flag fly over the new solar plant, FPL announced one of the largest expansions of solar power ever in the southeastern United States — eight new solar power plants with 2.5 million solar panels that will generate enough electricity to power 120,000 homes by early 2018. Shortly thereafter, FPL furthered its commitment with plans for an additional 1,500 megawatts of new solar under development across its Florida service area.

Each will feed electricity directly into the grid to serve all FPL customers at no net cost.

In support of our clean energy and water conservation goals, and in keeping with Audubon Florida’s commitment to community-based conservation, we are partnering with FPL to advance solar energy while improving the environmental values of the land where the solar plants are sited.

By recommending bird and pollinator-friendly vegetation for the solar plants, Audubon and its local chapters will make these facilities home to wildlife and nature. Audubon already has provided recommendations of native trees, shrubs, grasses and vines.

FPL’s solar energy advancement already aligns with Audubon’s goals. But it is the potential of partnership with local communities to protect and enhance wildlife that says more about FPL’s motivation. They are investing in making these sites friendly for butterflies, bees and birds.

Working together, we can harness solar energy and the power of Audubon’s grassroots community. We can ensure solar power plants not only advance zero-emissions and zero-water-use energy but also benefit the local communities where they are built.

That’s a partnership worth celebrating for Earth Day in the Sunshine State.

___

Eric Draper is executive director of Audubon Florida.

FPL Babcock Ranch Solar Energy Center, a 74.5-megawatt solar power plant in Charlotte County, Fla., is one of three massive new solar farms built by Florida Power & Light in 2016. FPL is currently building eight more new solar power plants and plans to add a total of 2,100 new megawatts of new solar over the next few years.
The American flag flies over the FPL Manatee Solar Energy Center in Parrish, Fla. The 74.5-megawatt solar power plant is one of three massive new solar farms built by Florida Power & Light in 2016. FPL is currently building eight more new solar power plants and plans to add a total of 2,100 new megawatts of new solar over the next few years..

 

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