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Southwest Florida

Hurricane no boon to state budget

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Hurricane Irma could extend her destructive reach to the next state budget. A long-range financial report, which will be reviewed Friday by the Joint Legislative Budget Commission, shows lawmakers working with only a projected $52 million surplus as they craft the 2018-19 budget early next year. It’s a fiscal pittance in an overall $82 billion budget.

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Florida panther deaths still at record-high for 2016

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A record number of endangered Florida panthers died again last year — 42 of the remaining big cats were killed, matching the 2015 record. Thirty-four were hit by vehicles in southwest Florida, where development is shrinking what’s left of their habitat. The tally kept by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission includes six new litters, with a total of 14 cubs born in 2016. But the state estimates that only 100 to 180 of the big cats remain in…

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Don’t change the channel: Trey Radel to return to radio full-time

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Trey Radel is back. Radel, a Fort Myers Republican, announced Friday he is returning to radio full-time. Beginning Tuesday, Radel will be hosting “Daybreak,” a morning talk radio show on 92.5 Fox News in Southwest Florida. “Your support and kind words have meant more to me than you’ll ever know,” wrote Radel on his Facebook page Friday morning. The new gig marks a return to the radio for Radel. Once a popular television and radio personality, Radel hosted the morning show before his…

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Call it a comeback? Trey Radel reportedly interested in returning to former radio job

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Trey Radel could be trying to stage a comeback — at least on the radio. Radel, who resigned from Congress in 2014 following a cocaine scandal, has been an occasional fill-in host on Daybreak with Drew Steele, a conservative talk radio show on 92.5 Fox News in Southwest Florida, for the past few weeks. On Tuesday, the Naples Daily News reported he would be interested in getting back on the airwaves. Radel told the Naples Daily News he would be…

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Lizbeth Benacquisto highlights ‘Good Samaritan’ bill in SD 27 ad

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Incumbent Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto is focusing on newly enacted legislation in a new advertisement. The 30-second spot — dubbed “Good Samaritan” — concentrates on a bill signed into law earlier this year. The measure, sponsored by Benacquisto in the Senate, allows people to break into a vehicle to rescue a distressed person or an animal left unattended. The bill was signed into law on March 8. It went into effect immediately. “Florida sunshine, it can be beautiful, but it can…

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Rick Scott announces December job numbers at Hertz HQ grand opening

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Three years after announcing Hertz was moving its global headquarters to Southwest Florida, Gov. Rick Scott was back to celebrate the grand opening of the company’s new headquarters. “I ran for governor … five years ago on a jobs platform,” said Scott, a Naples Republican, during an event Friday. “I like anybody that adds jobs, and the jobs that Hertz brought here is outstanding.” In 2013, Hertz announced it planned to relocate its worldwide headquarters to Estero from New Jersey.…

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Rick Scott tours Southwest Florida community hit by tornado

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Gov. Rick Scott spent a portion of Sunday afternoon in Cape Coral, one day after a tornado swept through the community. “Thank God we live in a place where we have great first responders and great law enforcement,” Scott said during a news conference at the Cape Coral Fire Department. “They all take care of us.” Robert Garcia, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Tampa, said an EF2 tornado swept through Cape Coral on Saturday. Garcia said winds…

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