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Tom Jackson: Banker’s pay-it-forward tale is essence of America

in Apolitical/Top Headlines by

Hjalma Johnson, small-town banker, international mensch and most devoted of Bull Gators, is never without a story pertinent to the moment. But he knows his listener’s time is precious, and so, even as he dives in, as if there were a pull-string in the middle of his back, he inevitably tenders this offer: “Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.” Because, at 82, he is a notorious recycler, seven times out of 10 the listener has, in fact, heard…

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Sparks fly as Rod Smith, Keith Perry offer contrasting views at Senate debate

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Candidates for Florida’s newly drawn Senate District 8 outlined their disparate visions for the future to more than 300 students at a debate held at the University of Florida Tuesday evening. But one thing both men had in common was their choice to lead lives that differ dramatically from the lives their fathers led. “Happiness means doing what you want to do,” said state Rep. Keith Perry, a 57-year-old Republican from Gainesville. “A top-down, centralized form of government that grows…

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Consumer sentiment ticked up in September

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Consumer sentiment took an upward turn in September. The latest University of Florida consumer survey found consumer sentiment among Floridians was up 2.8 points in September. The report found four of the five components increased in September, while one remained unchanged. The report found perceptions about a person’s financial situation climbed 3.2 points from a year ago, up from 77.3 to 80.5; while opinions about whether to buy a big-ticket item are up 4.2 points. Those two components, researchers said,…

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Florida hires Scott Stricklin as athletic director, Jeremy Foley to retire

in Sports/Top Headlines by

Scott Stricklin is leaving his alma mater, Mississippi State, for one of the top jobs in college sports. Florida hired Stricklin as its new athletic director Monday, according to a person familiar with the search. Stricklin replaces Jeremy Foley, one of the most tenured sports executives in the country. Foley is retiring Saturday after 40 years with the Gators, including the last 25 in charge of Florida’s athletic program. The person spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of…

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Study: Florida could have 33 million residents by 2070

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Florida could grow to more than 33 million residents by 2070, and the percentage of the state that is developed could jump from less than 20 percent to 33 percent, according to a new study presented Wednesday. Florida’s population would expand by 15 million people from 2010 to 2070 if growth trends continue, according to the study conducted by the University of Florida’s GeoPlan Center for the smart-growth advocacy group, 1000 Friends of Florida, and the Florida Department of Agriculture…

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Florida’s Luke Del Rio wins Sunshine State award after beating Kentucky

in Sports/Top Headlines by

It didn’t  take long for Luke Del Rio to show the University of Florida faithful that he’s someone to believe in. Del Rio, a transfer from Alabama through Oregon State, has lit it up through two games for the Gators. He’s thrown for 576 yards and six touchdowns, and led Florida to a 2-0 start. If nothing else, Del Rio has proven he won’t be the weak link to Florida’s offense. For that start, Del Rio has been named the…

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Tim Tebow signs minor league contract with New York Mets

in Sports/Top Headlines by

Tim Tebow has signed a minor league contract with the New York Mets. The Mets announced Thursday that the former quarterback will take part in the Instructional League in Port St. Lucie, Florida. Tebow won the 2007 Heisman Trophy at Florida and played on the 2006 and 2008 national championship teams with the Gators. Tebow played for the Denver Broncos and New York Jets in the NFL from 2010-2012. He was with the New England Patriots in 2013 preseason and…

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