Sunday, June 01, 2008

FLORIDA NEWS Sunday June 1, 2008

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-FAU report: South Florida must improve in health care, education, environment
South Florida has made too little progress in tackling such tough issues as AIDS, transportation and poverty, according to a new Florida Atlantic University study. "Preserving Paradise: SoFlo's Call to Action," is a 63-page glimpse into the seven-county coastal region from Sebastian in Indian River County to Key West. It was drafted by FAU's Center for Urban and Environmental Solutions. The report measured nine key areas, most of which showed little progress or decline. One bright spot was the region's "innovative economy," praising South Florida for attracting biotech companies such as The Scripps Research Institute as well as new, higher-wage sectors in information technology, aviation and entertainment.,0,8614

-Low-pay one reason new doctors pass up on family practices in Florida
Family practices don't attract new doctors
Forget house calls. It's going to be tough just finding a family doctor.
Can't blame new medical school graduates from passing up family practice positions. They are the lowest paid, and in a time of high costs and health insurance headaches, many new doctors are choosing higher-paying specialties. Plus, a new federal rule does not allow doctors to defer paying their loans until after they're done with residency. That rule needs reconsideration — STAT.,0,1437625.story

-Hurricane season starts today. How many of us are prepared?
Save for a few minor storms, Florida has enjoyed two years of tropical tranquillity, without a single hurricane. Don't count on such good fortune to continue. With the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season starting today, tropical meteorologists say the odds are consistently high that a hurricane will charge ashore somewhere in Florida between June 1 and Nov. 30. Florida has more than 1,300 miles of coastline, more than any other state in the continental United States. Moreover, it juts into a patch of warm salt water, sometimes referred to as "Hurricane Alley," where tropical systems frequently rampage.,0,66

-If you go: Schedule for Gay Days at Disney,0,3171082.story

Miami Herald
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-Fort Lauderdale's first black police chief raises community's hopes
Of the many challenges facing any police chief, Fort Lauderdale's new top cop, Frank Adderley, has one close to home: mending a chasm between his department and the neighborhood where he was raised, Sistrunk Boulevard. The complaints against the police department are rife: Its officers shoot too soon, they are disconnected and insensitive to the concerns of a largely black neighborhood. Adderley, the first black police chief in the city's 97-year history, replaced Bruce G. Roberts, who had served as police chief since 2001 before bitterly resigning last week in protest over budget cuts to the department.

-Future uncertain for Florida's 2000 presidential ballots
All six million-plus ballots cast in the historic 2000 presidential election remain in storage, and the secretary of state is debating whether to move them out.

-Insurers see greater risk of hurricanes and charge more
Scientists disagree about whether global warming is promoting more hurricanes -- but here's an inconvenient truth: As the 2008 storm season begins, the insurance industry isn't waiting for consensus. It's betting on more hurricanes and cutting back coverage and hiking premiums in Florida, where home insurance rates have jumped at least 100 percent -- as much as 300 percent in some cases -- over the past four years. Spurred by a pronounced jump in the number of powerful storms in recent years, including the very active seasons of 2004 and 2005, insurers have changed the ''risk models'' they use, and the new versions expect more hurricanes.
''We can't wait. We just know it's going to be bad, and we price off that view,'' said Steve E. Smith, president of property solutions for ReAdvisory/Carvill America, a Chicago-based reinsurance broker that works with insurance companies. Specifically, the new models -- sophisticated equations into which experts feed various data such as storm frequencies, wind speeds, overall weather patterns, terrain and population densities -- focus on data from just the past several years. They exclude data from prior years, in which storms were less frequent. One such short-term model, introduced in 2006, focused on storm activity since 1995, and yielded loss estimates 40 percent higher than those from a model that went back to 1900.

-Crist should drop out of Veep race
Despite his coy avoidance of the topic, Gov. Charlie Crist is acting like he'd love to be vice president of the United States. Last weekend he attended a select but highly publicized gathering in Arizona hosted by Sen. John McCain, who will be heading the Republican ticket. Appearing at the barbecue with Crist were former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, both of whom are also salivating at the prospect of eupholstering Dick Cheney's Barcalounger. It's no sin to be ambitious, and it's flattering to be courted by your party's presidential nominee. But if Crist cares as much about Florida as he says, he should graciously excuse himself from the vice-presidential sweepstakes. He's been governor for only 17 months, and it's fair to say that the lives of most Floridians -- workers, retirees, students -- have not improved even slightly. If Crist were to become vice president, he'd leave Tallahassee with virtually no footprints. He would be remembered more for his tan than for his leadership.

A note from Ray
If you have not done so, ask your insurer about an inspection of your home construction to see if you qualify for reduced insurance premiums. Friends have saved thousands on their yearly premiums following a $200 dollar inspection. Sadly, many insurance agents don't let their clients know of this program. Two small homeowners associations we manage have saved over $5,000 each [per year] in windstorm premiums.

Correction: Yesterday's notice that the BTU endorsed Mayor Scott Newton (Wilton Manors) was an error.
The BTU (Broward Teachers Union) has NOT as yet made an official endrsement in the Florida State Rep. 92 race. The union endorsement interviews were held on Saturday.

Fort Report
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-Hastings, Mahoney react to Democrats decision
U.S. Reps. Alcee Hastings of Miramar and Tim Mahoney of Palm Beach Gardens issued the following statements reacting to the Democratic National Committee’s rules decision: Mahoney said: “I am disappointed by the DNC’s decision not to ratify the results of Florida’s primary election and seat the delegates as elected with full rights. The DNC’s decision ignores the will of Florida Democrats who went to the polls in record numbers. As we move forward, I call on my fellow Florida Democrats to work together to ensure that the general election goes smoothly in the fall and to prevent this unfortunate situation from occurring again in the future.” Hastings, who brought suit last year with Sen. Bill Nelson in federal court challenging the party’s decision to strip Florida of all its delegates said:
“It is with reluctance and disappointment that I accept the DNC’s decision today. I do so not because I agree with the decision but because it is time for us to move on and focus on winning in November. “I applaud Karen Thurman and the Florida Democratic Party, Robert Wexler, Bill Nelson and others who represented our state and the candidates for doing the best they could with a bad situation.

-Hastings boycotting Democratic convention
At least one high-profile Florida Democrat is not ready to set aside the dispute with the national party: U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings of Miramar said he would skip the nominating convention in Denver.

-Loan program helps Dade teachers buy homes
A loan program hopes to help inner-city teachers buy homes, with one small catch: a five-year commitment.

-A new spin on hurricane forecasting
This year, drones will be used extensively to aid storm assessment. But the human factor remains unpredictable.
MIAMI -- As coastal residents from the Caribbean to Canada brace for as many as 16 named storms, including two to five major hurricanes, predicted for the 2008 Atlantic season, the science of hurricane tracking is expected to improve this year. The human factor, however, has some ground to make up.
Unmanned aircraft will provide new insight into how storms form and gain force by flying into the eye of a storm and gathering data on winds, temperatures, humidity and pressure. A global network of trackers and analysts will receive data from the drones on the energy exchange that occurs on the sea surface and determines a storm's intensity.,0,227

-Can global warming stop this?
Are you still debating whether global warming is real? That squabble is so 2007. Of course global warming is real - bipartisan real. Republican governors, such as Charlie Crist and Arnold Schwarzenegger, agree with Democratic governors on the need to reduce greenhouse gases. And global warming means higher ocean temperatures, which means that more hurricanes will hit Florida, right? Not so fast. Maybe global warming actually will mean that fewer hurricanes will hit Florida and the rest of the United States. Welcome to the debate of 2008. Of course global warming is real - bipartisan real. Republican governors, such as Charlie Crist and Arnold Schwarzenegger, agree with Democratic governors on the need to reduce greenhouse gases. And global warming means higher ocean temperatures, which means that more hurricanes will hit Florida, right? Not so fast. Maybe global warming actually will mean that fewer hurricanes will hit Florida and the rest of the United States. Welcome to the debate of 2008.


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