Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

Real news for working families.  An online news service

Florida News
Index of Stories 2016-2015

2016-1520142013 2012 2011-2009

Florida News 2016 (scroll down)

Advocates Fuming Over Oil Testing Plans in Big Cypress Preserve

FL Falls Behind National H S Graduation Rate: Alternative Schools Not Helping

Parents In Prison: Children Share the Pain

Financial Advisors Will Have to Put You First

Higher Sea-Level Projections: An "Opportunity" for Florida?

Groups Want Protections For FL Black Bears

FDOT's "Roo" Petithomme, Spending Federal Dollars to Improve North FL's Quality of Life

CareerSource Florida Crown, Budget Reduced 2/3 Over 15 yrs: "We're Doing More With Less"

Affirmer or Denier? Activist Issues Climate-Change "Litmus Test"

Leading the Nation In New HIV Cases, FL Leg Considering Pilot Needle Exchange Program

Thousands of FL Seniors Die While Waiting for State Services

FL's Battle Over Public-Records Access Heats Up

Doctors to Lawmakers: Slow the Rush to Frack

Florida Budget: Surplus or Deep Holes to Fill?

Activists Ready to "Awake the State"

Florida News 2015 (scroll down)

Barbara Jeffords Lemley & Stew Lilker Winners of the 2015 Pete Weitzel/Friend of the First Amendment Award

Florida Helping to Change Foster-Care Experience

Is the Death Sentence Dying Out in Florida?

New Report: Knight Foundation Needs Greater Focus on Equity

Florida Leads the Nation in Obamacare Signups

Anti-Immigrant Bills Pile Up at Florida Capitol

SVTA:  County Commissioners Nash and Bashaw Vote to Cover-Up Hijacked Minutes

SVTA:  County Commissioners Nash and Bashaw Vote to Cover-Up Hijacked Minutes

SVTA: Live Oak Bus Route Failing -- Needs of Columbia County/Lake City Ignored

Florida Ethics Enforcement on the Move: Up to a D-minus from an F

Bear Hunt Opponents Vow to Fight On

Push To Raise Florida's Minimum Wage Gaines Steam

Animal Advocates Go to Court to Stop Bear Hunt

FL Legislators to Try & Live on $17 a Day

FL Workers Left Out of Economic Boom

Motorists to Save $1.4 Billion at the Pump Labor Day Weekend

Miami-Dade Approves ID Cards

New Report: Religious Exemption Laws Lead to Discrimination

Defund Planned Parenthood Vote Today
Pro-Choice Community Fights Back

GasBuddy Predicts $1.98 Florida Gas for Christmas

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Turned 25 "Act Helped Tear Down Barriers"

Benefits of Childhood Medicaid: Medicaid Turns 50

UF/IFAS Hydroponic Veggie Workshop
"Made in the Shade" Wednesday, 5:00 pm

Activists Blasting Oil Drilling in Everglades

Florida Solar Initiative Moving Forward
AG Bondi Looking to KO the Initiative

Florida Fights EPA on Clean Water Rules

Sturgeon Are Leaping in the Rivers of North FL Running Into Them Can Cause Injury or Death

Controlled Burns Threaten Rare FL Butterflies

Last hours of the Deepwater HorizonFlorida to Get $3.25 Billion in BP Settlement

Coal Fired Power: National Mercury Limits Remain. Supremes Remand Case Back to Court of Appeals

Florida Health Activists Cheer ACA Decision

Defenders of Wildlife Call on FL to Recommit to Panther Recovery

June Is LGBTQ Pride Month: Our Tomorrow Campaign Identifying Issues

Florida Summer Meal Program: Reaching Out

Florida Budget Deal Angers Environmentalists

Activists Protest Private Prisons

Medical Marijuana Petition Drive Launches in FL

Online Romance Scammers Steal Millions
Seniors at Particular Risk

Sustainable Farming Works at Rooney's Suwannee County Blueberry Farm

Hurricane Season: Insuring Against Worst-Case Scenarios

Safe Phone Zones At FL Rest Areas: FDOT & GEICO Encourage Safe Driving

Florida High School Graduation Rates: Up

Every Kid Needs a Family: Annie E. Casey Foundation

Contract Expires This Week for Postal Workers

Experts: Team Up to Support Kids with ADHD

5 yr Anniversary of BP Oil Disaster Highlights Risks of Offshore Drilling in New Areas

Report: Working FL Families Would Benefit From Medicaid Expansion

CDC Warns Against Use of E-Cigarettes

Indiana-Style Discrimination in Florida?

"Big Sugar" Getting a Sweet Deal from FL Lawmakers?

FL Bills Propose Making University Job Searches Private

FL Legislature Considers Controversial "Campus Carry Bill"

Associated Press Features Trouble With Public Records at the Lake Shore Hospital Authority

Miami  Considers Law Aimed at Expelling Homeless

"Bathroom Bill" Alive in FL Legislature

"Secretive" Monkey Breeding Facility Lawsuit Moves Forward

FL DOH's Wendy Bragdon on Healthiest Weight: "This is not just a job for me, this is a passion."

Posted March 6, 2015  05:45 am

COLUMBIA COUNTY, FL – Last night's meeting of the County 5 saw the introduction Wendy Bragdon, the Florida Department of Health's (DOH), Columbia County Division, new Health Education Consultant and Healthiest Weight Coordinator. Ms. Bragdon told The County 5, "This is not just a job for me, this is a passion. I've lost over a hundred pounds. I want to encourage the members of our community to live healthier lives."

Bitter Times for Florida Citrus

Florida Children Benefit From Anti-Poverty Programs

Floridians Battle for National Paid Sick Leave Law

Wind Power Coming to the Sunshine State?

Florida Could Lose $2.2B in Hospital Funding

South Florida's Holocaust Education Center Expanding

Everglades Restoration: A $5 Billion Reality?

DEO Funds Hole-In-the-Map Tourism: 192,500 Maps Leave Out N. Central FL's Iconic Counties

Posted January 28, 2015  10:05 am

Gov. Scott's First Big Challenge of New Term: FDLE Legal Scandal

South FL Action Plan Takes Aim on Climate Change

SVTA Attorney: "A confusing time. I don't think anybody really knew what was being approved."

Posted January 21, 2015  09:35 am | Part II

COLUMBIA - HAMILTON - SUWANNEE COUNTY, FL – The saga of the Suwannee Valley TA continued this past Friday. Since 1999, Columbia, Hamilton, and Suwannee Counties have been designated as Rural Areas of Critical Economic Concern (RACEC). RACEC's were created by Governor Jeb Bush and the Florida Legislature. The conditions in these areas are: areas of persistent poverty; lowest educational achievement, low household income; depressed economic activity, etc. Two commissioners from each of these three counties met to plead nolo contendere and accept the OIG report and its findings unopposed, with an answer which represented a mini Corrective Action Plan.

Suwannee Valley TA – $13.9 Million in Funding Since 2009: Who Was Watching the Store?

Posted January 20, 2015  10:50 am | Part I | Part II

BP Faces $Billions in Fines: Deepwater Horizon Penalty Phase Begins

Push for New Law: Cheaper Solar Power for Sunshine State

Suwannee Valley TA: Fandango Continues, Tri County Board  Has Collective Amnesia