Monday, July 07, 2008

FLORIDA DIGEST - July 07, 2008

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Daytona Beach News

-Making sense of the amendments
The November general election is still four months away. If most voters arepaying attention at all, they are probably watching the presidentialcampaign between John McCain and Barack Obama. But when Floridians go tothe polls, they also likely will face a series of proposed constitutionalamendments that deal with hot-button issues such as same-sex marriage,school vouchers and property taxes. Here is a rundown of the amendments,identified by their ballot numbers:
AMENDMENT 2: Gay marriage
Background: Would create a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. A group
known as collected more than 611,000 petitionsignatures to put the issue on the ballot. What supporters say: It's in thebest interest of children to protect marriage as being between a man and awoman. A constitutional amendment prevents judges from following the lead ofMassachusetts and California courts and allowing same-sex marriages. Whatopponents say: Florida already has laws -- which are not part of theconstitution -- that prevent same-sex marriages. The amendment's wordingposes risks to domestic-partnership benefits, which could affect manyunmarried heterosexual couples. Full summary of all amendments is atwebsite.


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-Bertha becomes first hurricane of Atlantic season
Tropical storm Bertha has strengthened to become the first hurricane of theAtlantic season. As of 5 a.m. Monday, Hurricane Bertha was about 845 mileseast of the northern Leeward Islands. Forecasters at the National HurricaneCenter say it is too early to say if or where the storm will hit land.,0,4257966.story

-Fort Lauderdale to vote on stricter law to cut bar, construction noise
Roaring. Thumping. Blaring. Barking. Revving. Noise. The city's bars andnightclubs and construction crews and lawn workers are getting on people'snerves, and city officials are doing something about it. Commissioners soonare likely to pass a new ordinance to bring peace - and a better night'ssleep - to some whose ears are ringing from nearby noises.,0,3197807.story

-Safe Haven Law would have been a godsend in this case
One can only imagine the agonizing thoughts that torment a mother as sheponders whether to give up a newborn baby. It doesn't take away from theagony, but thankfully, there is a good option - Florida's Safe Haven Law,allowing for babies less than 7 days old to be taken anonymously to anyhospital emergency room, staffed fire-rescue station or staffed emergencymedical service station. No questions asked, no fear of prosecution if thebaby is unharmed. Meshia Morant of Lauderdale Lakes could have saved herselfa lot of grief by taking advantage of the law.,0,4467337.story

-Florida's community colleges shift toward 4-year degrees
While Florida's public universities boost admission standards and turn awaythousands of students, a new "state college" system is emerging to help morestudents earn bachelor's degrees. This year, the Legislature created ninepilot state colleges, community colleges that will transform into schoolsthat offer more four-year degrees. These include Miami Dade College, EdisonCollege in Fort Myers and Indian River State College in Fort Pierce,formerly known as Indian River Community College.,0,85465.story?track=rss

-Community Colleges selected to be 'state colleges'
These community colleges have been selected to become state colleges:,0,322350.story?track=rss

Miami Herald
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-Hurricane Bertha : Tracking Map

Fort Report
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-Florida No Haven For Teen Exploitation
It's no mystery why the purveyors of Web sites that feature underage,scantily-clad girls in sexually provocative poses have been flocking toFlorida. The state had no law protecting these children from exploitation.That changed last week when a law pushed by state Sen. Mike Fasano andsigned by Gov. Charlie Crist makes it a felony for Web site operators topose as legitimate modeling agencies and then sell the nearly nude picturesof children to online subscribers.

-Shannon Estenoz, South Florida Water Management District
Everglades, sugar buyout deal has its hurdles
When Gov. Charlie Crist announced the proposed $1.75-billion buyout of U.S.Sugar, Shannon Estenoz stood on the stage with him representing the stateagency that will handle the purchase, the South Florida Water ManagementDistrict.


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