Today on Context Florida: Foundation Academy, pension reform, domestic violence and Volunteer Florida

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Today on Context Florida: The students who enroll at The Foundation Academy founded by Nadia Hionides in southeast Jacksonville come for many different reasons, but a good number come after struggling elsewhere. The more choices Florida offers, she writes, the more opportunities there are for children to succeed.

The Florida Legislature is poised to make another important decision regarding Florida’s public retirement system, and Michael Richardson, former assistant secretary of the Florida Department of Community Affairs, implores Sen. Jack Latvala to weigh in on this issue as a voice of common sense and prudence.

Domestic violence is about power and control, writes Shannon Nickinson, and is especially bad in places like Escambia County, where poverty and limited access to services can feed the cycle of silence that surrounds the crime. It is clear that something dark is at work in our collective soul, she adds.

As lawmakers continue budget negotiations in Tallahassee over the coming days, Chester Spellman points out a group of Volunteer Florida volunteers will be participating in a beach restoration project in Northwest Florida’s Cessna Park.  These volunteers are not just cleaning up a beach, he writes. They are saving taxpayer dollars and exploring careers in Florida’s public service sector.

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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.