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St. Johns County

Hurricane floods homeless housing in historic St. Augustine

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Days after Hurricane Matthew sent floodwaters surging through historic St. Augustine, the county’s director of homeless services was panicked. County officials had ordered people to stay indoors because of evening pesticide spraying to control a post-hurricane mosquito scourge. Yet the town’s only homeless shelter was inundated with water. With the autumn air turning chilly, there was no place for homeless people to go. “I know we’re close to Disney, but we only have so much magic,” said Kassy Guy-Johanessen, who…

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Rick Scott wants feds to declare ‘major disaster’ in Florida after Matthew

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In St. Augustine Monday for an event promoting tourism in America’s oldest city, Gov. Rick Scott reiterated his call for the federal government to approve Florida’s entire request for a “major disaster declaration.” The federal government has not approved funding, asserts the governor’s office, “for individual assistance or for permanent work to roads, parks, and government buildings in local communities.” Scott, who has been pushing for such since Hurricane Matthew, is understandably nettled. “Since Hurricane Matthew impacted our state, I have continued…

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Report: St. Johns County is Florida’s healthiest county

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A new report says St. Johns County near Jacksonville is the healthiest county in Florida, while Gadsden County in the Panhandle is ranked at the bottom. The report released Wednesday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin compares health differences among counties. The variables used for the rankings include access to health care, health behaviors, such as diet and exercise, and social factors like a county’s unemployment rate. The Florida counties with the worst health prospects…

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Florida’s unemployment rate drops slightly in June

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Florida’s unemployment is dropping slightly. The June unemployment rate was 5.5 percent, compared to 5.7 percent the month before. The state added 7,000 jobs last month, according to figures released Friday by the Department of Economic Opportunity. The state’s jobless rate remains higher than the national rate of 5.3 percent. There are approximately 529,000 unemployed Floridians, out of a labor force of nearly 9.6 million people. June’s rate was a 0.6 percentage point drop from a year ago. Hendry County…

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Cyndi Stevenson widens cash lead in HD 17 contest

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As early voting ends in the Northeast Florida special legislative election for House District 17, candidate Cyndi Stevenson added to her fundraising advantage, according to the state Division of Elections website. Stevenson, a St. Johns County Republican, is seeking to replace Republican state Rep. Ronald “Doc” Renuart from Ponte Vedra Beach. The special election is Tuesday. From March 1 through this week, Stevenson added $58,673 for an overall total of $169,596, spending $149,495. She faces Judy Stevens, a no-party candidate, and…

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John Thrasher not everyone’s choice for GOP job

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A philosophical dustup at a Republican meeting Thursday night designed to elect state Sen. John Thrasher as the GOP state committeeman from St. Johns County ended with police called and a dissenter escorted out. John Stevens, the Northeast Florida chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus, has been a vocal opponent of Thrasher’s run to become chairman of the Republican Party of Florida. Selection as a committeeman is a requirement to run for the party leadership post. Stevens arrived at the…

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John Thrasher not everyone’s choice for GOP job

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A philosophical dustup at a Republican meeting Thursday night designed to elect state Sen. John Thrasher as the GOP state committeeman from St. Johns County ended with police called and a dissenter escorted out. John Stevens, the Northeast Florida chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus, has been a vocal opponent of Thrasher’s run to become chairman of the Republican Party of Florida. Selection as a committeeman is a requirement to run for the party leadership post. Stevens arrived at the…

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