Today on Context Florida: Grass-fed beef, Jay Carney, VA hospitals and the Merrimac

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Today on Context Florida:

Grass-fed beef is a health-food trend that has been spreading since at least 2010; advocates say it also benefits the environment. Bruce Ritchie notes the trend also is creating huge changes in the cattle industry in Florida, but not necessarily in ways that some environmentalists would like.

Jay Carney got out just in time because the IRS scandal is about to detonate, writes Bob Sparks. Expect to hear “operative statement” and “not a smidgeon” of corruption in the same paragraph of future news stories. Being a spokesperson for a recognizable public figure is one thing, but the President of the United States is another matter — especially this president.

Skilled, caring professionals and dedicated staff of VA hospitals such as the C.W. Bill Young Medical Center and the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital each day help those who have served our nation in uniform, writes U.S. Rep. David Jolly. But today, there’s a historic crisis within parts of the Veterans Health Administration.  Patients must endure long waits for appointments; some have died during the waiting period.

John L. Porter, a relative of Bob Porter, was the engineer who designed and constructed the Confederacy’s first ironclad ship, the Merrimac, which destroyed a fleet of wooden ships in the James River — until the union responded with its own ironclad, the Monitor. Porter watched from shore as two ironclads met for the first time in combat as history was being made, changing the competitive nature of naval battle.

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Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.