Rural leaders worry about ‘devastating' prison closures
A plan to shutter up to four state prisons is alarming officials in Florida’s rural regions where correctional institutions have played an outsized role in providing jobs and supporting businesses for decades. Senate President Wilton Simpson’s proposal to consolidate prisons and demolish four facilities drew bipartisan pushback when it was released recently as lawmakers began to piece together next year’s state budget. Simpson, R-Trilby, has defended consolidation and closures, saying the plan is designed to resuscitate a prison system in crisis. More from the News Service of Florida.
U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, longest-serving member of Congress from Florida, dies at 84
Congressman Alcee Hastings, whose life was marked by perseverance, calamity and a comeback, has died. He was 84. Hastings crusaded against racial injustice as a civil rights lawyer, became a federal judge who was impeached and removed from office, and went on to win 15 congressional elections, becoming Florida’s senior member of Congress. He died Tuesday morning, a longtime friend said. More from the Orlando Sentinel.
Company that owns leaking Florida wastewater reservoir filed bankruptcy, sued by bank
Late last week, officials in Florida discovered a small leak at a Florida wastewater reservoir that quickly prompted a state of emergency and mass evacuations in the area. While touring the former Piney Point phosphate mine on Sunday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis pledged he would hold the property owner financially responsible for the mess. But according to newly uncovered records, that might be a difficult task. More from WFTS.
Supreme Court to hear challenge to insurance law
The Florida Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a constitutional challenge to a 2016 state law that put new requirements on life-insurance companies to determine whether policyholders have died and to contact beneficiaries. Four insurers went to the Supreme Court last year after a divided 1st District Court of Appeal upheld the law. The Supreme Court issued an order Monday saying it would take up the dispute, though it did not set a date for oral arguments. The case centers on a law that requires insurers to search what is known as the “Death Master File” or another comparable database annually to determine whether policyholders have died. More from the News Service of Florida.
Downtown Tampa’s biggest retail wish: Target, survey says
The store Tampa residents most want to see downtown: Target. So say the results of a new survey compiled by the Tampa Downtown Partnership as part of its biennial look at the lives of downtown residents and workers. Conducted every other year since 2008, the survey seeks to determine how downtown residents feel about their neighborhood and what they’d like to see come of it. More than 1,400 people responded in 2020. More from the Tampa Bay Times.
Southwest Florida to host U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships
U.S. Youth Soccer has announced plans to hold the 2021 U.S. Youth Soccer National Championships in July at the Premier Sports Campus in Lakewood Ranch. The tournament, to be held from July 20 through July 25, will take place at the 140-acre sports complex, which features nearly two dozen FIFA-regulation Celebration Bermuda grass fields, according to a statement. “This unique Florida location, amid sand and surf, will make our National Championships even more memorable for our teams and guests,” says U.S. Youth Soccer CEO Skip Gilbert in the statement.
» More from the Business Observer.
Out of the Box
Meet Maggie, the dog greeting people at the Tampa Greyhound Track vaccine site
Maggie is the unofficial mascot of the vaccine site at the Tampa Greyhound Track. Well, maybe it’s official. She’s got a badge and everything. The five-month-old black Labrador belongs to Carole Covey, the site’s incident commander. Every morning, Maggie — who also has her own Instagram account Ã¢?• runs through the tents at the vaccine site before people show up to get their shots.
» Read more from the Tampa Bay Times.