Sunday, December 31, 2006

FLORIDA DIGEST December 31, 2006

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The Sun-Sentinel,0,5486958.story?coll=sfla-news-broward

Hospitalized Kennedy is improving

Staff report

December 31, 2006

The Rev. D. James Kennedy, who was hospitalized last week after a heartattack, showed improvement Saturday, his spokesman said.

By mid-afternoon, the longtime pastor of Fort Lauderdale's Coral RidgePresbyterian Church was taken off a ventilator, talked to people andresponded to neurologists' commands to move his limbs, said Kennedyspokesman John Aman. "We're quite encouraged," Aman said.

Kennedy, 76, a driving force in the national religious conservativemovement, suffered a heart attack Thursday night and was rushed from hisCoral Ridge home to a local hospital.

Church officials declined to say which hospital Kennedy was at.


The Sun-Sentinel,0,4521188.story?coll=sfla-home-headlines

Transportation officials say expanding roads not the answer in Palm BeachCounty

By Angel Streeter
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

December 31, 2006

Building miles of roads and wider lanes to ease congestion is atransportation strategy that's reached the end of the road in Palm BeachCounty.

That seems to be the consensus among local and state transportationofficials who say it's time to come up with new ways to help people commute.

The reason: The county is quickly running out of space to build and widenroads except in the far western reaches of the county. Plus, the money isn'tthere to build the roads needed to keep up with growth and development.

"It's a very grim picture," said James Wolfe, Florida Department ofTransportation District 4 secretary. "The state can't build enough roads tostay ahead of the [development] curve."

For the past 25 years, laying down asphalt was the cheapest and easiest wayto help commuters in suburban enclaves reach their destinations.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Sun, Dec. 31, 2006


Crist setting early bipartisan tone

As Florida prepares to swear in its 44th governor this week, Charlie Cristwants his first days in office to be remembered for a populist tone andbipartisan harmony.


TALLAHASSEE - When he takes the oath of office on Tuesday, Charlie Cristwill become the first Republican governor of Florida since 1874 to succeed aRepublican, but he wants his first days on the job to be remembered for theway he treats Democrats -- and the public.

''Reaching across the aisle to work with people regardless of party --that's the example I want to set and the tone -- because it's clear that'swhat the people want,'' said Crist, who has had 56 days since Election Dayto prepare for his inauguration.

With the retirement of Gov. Jeb Bush and the dominance the GOP commandedunder Bush's eight years in office, Crist's promise of inclusiveness is botha recognition of Florida's changing political climate and his centristapproach to government.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Sat, Dec. 30, 2006


Slow winter season starts to get busy for hotel industry

Hotel rooms were emptier in November as the lodging industry still tries torecover from punishing hurricane seasons in 2004 and 2005.

The winter tourism season got off to a slow start last month, with occupancydown across the region, according to a report released Friday.

Tourism officials and hotel executives blamed the downturn on unfavorablecomparisons to November 2005, when utility crews and other clean-up workerspacked hotels in the aftermath of Hurricane Wilma.

''Absolutely, it's a hurricane effect,'' Broward County tourism directorNicki Grossman said of that market's nine-point occupancy drop to 68percent. ``I think Florida Power & Light was our market in November 2005.''

Still, the slump follows a shaky year for Florida tourism amid decliningdemand for South Florida hotel rooms. November continued a string of downmonths for room bookings across South Florida, according to the new SmithTravel Research report, at a time when hotels are charging record rates.


The Sun-Sentinel,0,1506532.story?coll=sfla-news-florida

Florida before and after Bush
Posted December 31 2006

Indicator 1998 - 2006

Population 15 million - 17.8 million

Unemployment 4.3% - 3.1%

Children living in
poverty 22.3% - 17.2%*

Floridians without
health insurance 17.5% - 20.7%**

Average teacher pay $34,475 - $43,302**

Prison inmates 66,280 - 86,496


The Sun-Sentinel,0,2151571.story?coll=sfla-home-headlines

Teen charged with attacking homeless man twice in one day
By Tonya Alanez
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

December 31, 2006

A Fort Lauderdale teenager was arrested Saturday and charged with attackinga homeless man Saturday with metal shears and a metal pipe in two incidentsseven hours apart, authorities said.

John Palmer, 52, is recovering at Broward General Medical Center in stablecondition, Keyla ConcepciĆ³n, spokeswoman for the Broward Sheriff's Office,said late Saturday.

The first attack happened shortly before 2 a.m., when Palmer was sleepingbehind a Dumpster at the Madison Apartments, 2531 NW Eighth Place inunincorporated central Broward County.

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