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Tropical Storm Colin claims hundreds of sea turtle nests on Gulf Coast

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Besides the toll taken on the humans of Florida, Tropical Storm Colin claimed what may be hundreds of sea turtle nests buried beneath the sands along the state’s Gulf Coast, wildlife advocates say. “There was damage,” said Joe Widlansky, sea turtle biologist with Sea Turtle Trackers, a group in Pinellas County that monitors the marine reptiles and their nesting habits in the region. The nesting season just started last month, he said, and about 14 nests have been identified and…

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Sleuth finds a lost Spanish settlement in Florida Panhandle

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Amateur archaeologist Tom Garner had time to kill and took a drive along Pensacola Bay in the Florida Panhandle. Spying a newly cleared lot, he poked about, hoping to find artifacts from the city’s rich history dating back centuries to the Spanish explorers. Garner stumbled upon some shards of 16th Spanish pottery. “There it was, artifacts from the 16th century lying on the ground,” said Garner, a history buff whose discovery has made him a celebrity in archaeological circles. Experts…

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‘Climate change’ kerfuffle results in secret settlement with DEP

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The state’s Department of Environmental Protection and its employee who said he was punished for using the term “climate change” earlier this year quietly worked out a “separation settlement agreement” in May. The agreement was provided to FloridaPolitics.com on Monday after a public-record request to the department. Mainly, both sides agreed not to sue each other or file grievances over any issue related to Bart Bibler‘s leaving state employment. Bibler could not be reached for comment Monday afternoon. The settlement also bars Bibler, a DEP land…

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Bill Day’s latest: A thunderstorm turns Rick Scott into Chicken Little

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Tropical Storm Erika may have been full of sound and fury, at least for a while. In the end, though, it signified nothing. After causing floods and mudslides throughout the Caribbean, Erika rapidly lost much of its steam on its way to Florida, but not before leaving Southwest Florida with little more than the threat of a handful of thunderstorms. That did not prevent Rick Scott from going into disaster mode. In Bill Day’s latest, the governor – in a passable imitation…

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$18.7B deal clears path for BP to close books on Gulf spill

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Trying to close the books on the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history, BP agreed Thursday to provide billions of dollars in new money to five Gulf Coast states in a deal the company said would bring its full obligations to an estimated $53.8 billion. Federal and state government officials touted the record-breaking $18.7 billion agreement as a historic milestone in the Gulf Coast’s recovery. The Deepwater Horizon disaster killed 11 rig workers and spewed millions of gallons of…

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Kathy Castor: BP settlement ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity for economic recovery

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Florida, the federal government and other Gulf Coast states announced an agreement on Thursday with oil producer BP to resolve years of legal claims over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The historic resolution, tentatively set at $18.7 billion, will be the largest environmental settlement ever. Payments, to be split among Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Texas, is in addition to $28 billion BP already spent on clean-up response, remediation and compensation. Florida’s share of the deal could be over…

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School for strippers might have kept going, if not for noise

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If not for the loud parties, the owner of a $2 million mansion on Florida’s Gulf Coast might have continued operating a training school for strippers next door to an exclusive gated community. The Tampa Tribune reports the all-night, liquor-fueled celebrations, complete with booming stereos and screaming women, drew complaints from neighbors. The mansion’s owner and manager were hit with code violations. Sean Grey, a manager at the mansion-for-rent, was also accused by the sheriff’s office of violating the county’s noise…

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