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Today on Context Florida: RNC money pitch, grown-up conversations, the next big thing, better readers & leaders and the Florida GOP primary

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Today on Context Florida:

Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, just asked Tony Parker, the RNC treasurer, to get in touch with Linda Cunningham. Yeah, he did. She got the letter in the mail this week. Had a handwritten note from Tony himself, promising that if Cunningham would send him a pledge for $35-$50, he’d personally tell good old Reince that she anteed up the dough. Tony made it really easy; included a charge card form and all. He even shared with me Reince’s email.

Catherine Durkin Robinson says grown-up conversations aren’t easy to master. As she gets older, Cunningham is amazed at how many of us still need help simply being appropriate. She wanted her sons, Jacob and Zachary, to be reasonably comfortable making eye contact, discussing common topics with ease, and relating to people they are both similar to and different from in social situations. Without using their phones or rated R quotes from 1980s comedies.

Blake Dowling tells us of the next big things – flexible phones, driverless cars, solar-power drone aircraft that beam Internet service via laser and more. Disruption is here, he says. And it’s here now.

Bill Day’s latest:


Shannon Nickinson introduces us to a program in Martin and St. Lucie counties that help new parents build better readers. Building Readiness Among Infants Now (BRAIN) stresses the power of words in the brain development of babies and gives parents the tools and understanding to harness that power.

When it’s time to select our country’s next leader, Julio Fuentes says our nation looks to Florida. Candidates will reveal their plans for job growth and take positions on foreign policy. However, a substantive policy discussion must not be missed. For our country to confront the challenges of tomorrow, Fuentes says we must demand solutions to the systemic problems today’s student faces in higher education. Specifically, we must address the overwhelming number of minority students who, while in school, raise families and work an average of 20 hours per week.

Steve Schale gives us an old saying – the definition of competent is understanding where your own personal competence ends. One thing is for certain, he adds: the 2016 GOP primary has made many a smart person looking foolish. Like him or not, Donald Trump has blown up the rule book and disrupted the political process like no one in recent history. Schale points out how it all might play out.

Visit Context Florida to dig in.

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.

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