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Jeff Brandes to file flood mitigation bill

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

State Sen. Jeff Brandes says he will file legislation for the 2017 Legislative Session to fund flood mitigation in affected communities. The idea is to lower the cost of flood insurance by decreasing flood severity in areas covered by the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP) Community Rating System. The legislation will create a matching grant program, in part through the state’s Land Acquisition Trust Fund, for “local projects (that) reduce flood risks and acquire conservation land for the purpose of mitigating flood risk,” Brandes’ office said…

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Accused pot smoker looks to get gun returned from St. Pete Police

in Local Courts by

After an arrest for possession of marijuana, a Pinellas County resident had a firearm confiscated by the officer who caught her smoking in downtown St. Petersburg. Now, 57-year-old Rebecca Marsh of Tierra Verde is filing a petition to have police return her .380 Ruger LCP. The police report said the gun and concealed carry weapons permit (CCW) would not be permitted to be brought into the jail, so a St. Petersburg Police officer put into an SPPD locker. On Sept. 13,…

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Darden Rice named outstanding ‘green’ elected official

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

St. Petersburg Council member Darden Rice has been named the outstanding green elected official by the U.S. Green Building Council Florida Gulf Coast Region. The nonprofit organization’s seventh annual LEEDership Awards celebration earlier this month recognized and honored outstanding projects, businesses, volunteers and individuals, and instrumental Chapter members who are LEEDing the way to a more sustainable built environment in the Florida Gulf Coast community. LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) is a green building certification program that recognizes…

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Will ‘fair districts’ in Florida lead to a fairer outcome?

in Statewide by

Six years ago, Florida voters approved constitutional amendments with the catchy title of “Fair Districts” that promised to end the political games that surrounded drawing legislative and congressional districts. Due to expensive court battles and standoffs in the Florida Legislature, this year’s election will mark the first time the full effort to end gerrymandering will be in place. As Election Day nears, however, it’s becoming apparent that the changes have not caused any major disruptions politically. Republicans are expected to…

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Former championship boater accused of scamming $50K in boat molds

in Local Courts by

A Panama City Beach resident claims he was conned out of $50,000 in boat molds. On Jan. 29, Michael Robinson sold the molds — which are used to construct fiberglass boats — to a man going by the legal name Andrew Biddle II, also known as Chris Riddle. Riddle, 47, is former professional powerboat racer from New Jersey. In 2013, he and his boating partner won championships in both the U.S. and UK. Riddle made a $8,400 down payment on…

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Direct mail round-up: Jack Latvala reminds Pinellas voters what’s at stake this election

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

A new mailer from Clearwater Republican state Sen. Jack Latvala offers a simple message: “This election is not just about Washington D.C.” Latvala’s mailer lets Pinellas County voters know what he believes is at stake this November — at both the state and local levels — with a handy voters’ guide for down-ballot races. “It’s also about Florida and Pinellas County!” he says. On the congressional level, the mailer suggests support for Republicans Marco Rubio for U.S. Senate and David Jolly for…

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Duke, FPL fuel pro-David Jolly super PAC

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

U.S. Rep. David Jolly’s re-election campaign in Florida’s 13th Congressional District took in $625,000 over the first 19 days of October, with half coming from utility companies. People for Pinellas, the committee backing the incumbent Republican, received a $250,000 check from Florida Power & Light and another $100,000 from Duke Energy, with the American Society of Anesthesiologists PAC donating $100,000, and St. Pete businessmen James MacDougald and Bill Edwards giving $50,000 apiece. Jolly has been on the receiving end of attack…

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