Wednesday, June 25, 2008

FLORIDA DIGEST - June 25, 2008

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New York Times
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-Florida Buying Big Sugar Tract for Everglades By DAMIEN CAVE
The dream of a restored Everglades moved a step closer to reality when the nation's largest sugarcane producer agreed to sell all of its assets to the state.

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-Home prices take a big hit in South Florida
Home prices in 20 U.S. metropolitan areas fell in April by the most on record, signaling the housing recession is far from over, a private survey showed Tuesday.,0,7825593.story

-Water officials: No tax hike needed to buy out U.S. Sugar
The largest land conservation deal in state history would breathe new life into Everglades restoration, with South Florida taxpayers picking up the tab.,0,6995393.story

-Federal judge to hear challenge to Florida's guns-at-work law
A federal judge in Tallahassee will hear arguments in a case challenging a new Florida law that allows guns to be kept locked in cars parked in lots owned by businesses. The hearing is set to begin Wednesday afternoon, just six days before the new law's July 1 effective date. The law prohibits businesses from banning employees and customers from having guns in their cars.,0,1530473.story

-Broward School Board to cut, delay building projects to balance budget
With millions of dollars to cut from next year's school construction budget, Broward County School Board members spent part of Tuesday debating which schools most need work and which projects can wait. It was a task of reshuffling construction priorities - some schools will get more money to complete needed work, while others will have to wait a few years. District officials will study others to see if expansion is justified.,0,2372307.story

-Paper ballots pass first election test in Palm Beach County
Some voters unconvinced new system is superior to old electronic machinesWest Palm Beach - Vic and Sandy Rocco left the voting booth in Tuesday's city election with this thought: We paid $8 million for a paper and pencil voting system? For the first time since the era of the infamous butterfly ballot, voters in part of Palm Beach County returned to paper ballots at the polls following a state law outlawing the use of the electronic, ATM-style machines that had been in use since 2002.,0,2470031.story

-Voters split over McCain, Obama views on Iraq
John McCain's stance on the war is unambiguous: He voted for it, supports the current enhanced U.S. troop presence in Iraq and vigorously opposes any timetable to withdraw. The public's stance on the war is as equivocal as McCain's is not: A strong majority of Americans oppose it and believe it was wrong in the first place, but more find McCain better suited to handle Iraq than his Democratic presidential rival, Barack Obama.,0,1651356.story

-Florida's Amendment 2 proposal is not about gay marriage
The writers of Amendment 2 - the marriage amendment - are constantly misleading the public by calling it the "gay marriage" or "same-sex" marriage amendment. The fact is that same-sex marriage is already illegal in Florida under existing law. Because of the wording of the proposed amendment, heterosexual couples receiving partnership benefits - including many senior couples living together as a means not to lose benefits - may lose just those benefits they were hoping to protect.,0,6586030.story

-Help may be on the way for Broward homeowners facing foreclosure
More help may be on the way for Broward County homeowners teetering on the verge of foreclosure. More financial counseling. Public awareness campaigns about ways to prevent foreclosure. More financial assistance to stave off default. Better communication between residents and their lenders before courts take away the homes.,0,4736129.story

Miami Herald
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-U.S. Sugar deal is sweet, with an aftertaste
It is rare for so many people with disparate interests to agree on the significance of a project. Yet that is what happened Tuesday when Gov. Charlie Crist said the state will buy virtually all of U.S. Sugar Corp.'s land in South Florida and use it to help clean up and restore flow to the Everglades. Gov. Crist called the deal ''monumental.'' U.S. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne called it ''historic.'' Everglades Foundation CEO Kirk Fordham said it was of ''breathtaking significance and priceless...

-Talk of Our Town: Bryan Norcross leaving CBS4 for a new gig
Bryan Norcross, a South Florida TV meteorologist for 25 years, has signed off. His contract at WFOR-CBS4 expires on Monday, and he told station president and GM Shaun McDonald he will not renew. That's because Norcross and Max Mayfield, WPLG-ABC10's hurricane specialist and former director of the National Hurricane Center, are trying to build up their business, America's Emergency Network.

-Crist's climate change summit kicks off in Miami
Florida Gov. Charlie Crist plans to speak about green technology at a summit on climate change. Florida power companies also plan to introduce a solar initiative at the two-day conference. It kicks off in Miami on Wednesday. At last year's summit, Crist signed orders requiring the state be more energy efficient and power companies reduce emissions.

Dean Trantalis for Ft. Lauderdale Mayor
Please log onto the following landing page to access a full copy of Ft Lauderdale Mayoral Candidate Dean Trantalis announcement speech. The complete version of Mr. Trantalis speech along with photographs from his press conference and rally on Monday 24th may be found at

Palm Beach Post
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-Purchase would deeply tap water district's finances
Water managers will have to max out their financing power to buy 187,000 acres of sugar land south of the Everglades' historic headwaters. Carol Wehle, executive director of the South Florida Water Management District, said the taxing authority will not raise its property tax rate next year to complete the $1.75 billion purchase of U.S. Sugar Corp.'s land and assets. Instead, the district plans to issue certificates similar to bonds to help finance the deal. The annual debt payment on the certificates would be about $117million for 30 years.

Fort Report
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-In the 'sweetest' town, gloom hangs like glaze
For more than 75 years, the company and the town were essentially the same. U.S. Sugar was Clewiston; Clewiston was U.S. Sugar. The Clewiston High football team plays at Cane Field. The community bills itself as America's Sweetest Town. This place on the southwest shore of Lake Okeechobee was built on and around and by the sugar industry.


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