Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Flag Wednesday

There are almost as many cover stories today about Flag Day as there are about Tropical Story Alberto sputtering away. Robert Napper at Highland Today gets a bright out front about a flag that Army HHC1-10 AVN Battalion sent from Iraq to a group that helps developmentally challenged adults.

Meanwhile, Joan D. Laguardia at the News-Press has a piece about the American Legion burning flags that were retired by car dealerships or ruined by the weather.

The Wednesday Reader comes from Marilyn Brown at the Tampa Tribune, who reports that students suffer when 20 percent of Hillsborough County school bus routes show up late on any given day. She doesn’t quote Otto or any other palindrome, but she does get this doozy from Digna Bayron, an 11-year route veteran:

I'm a bus driver, a mother, a psychologist, a referee, a secretary - because we have to do our paperwork - a bus washer; there's a lot of things we do for $11. We need better conditions and better treatment."

Nationally, Bush’s surprise visit to Iraq gets the most play on Florida front pages. Most go with the straight news story, but The Ledger uses an Associated Press analysis with the headline Bush’s visit could damage Iraqi leader.

A few papers also front the story about the congressional investigation of the top U.S. disaster relief agency, and the Miami Herald wins the headline battle with Sex change, booze billed to FEMA.

Sports gets front page space after the thrilling Miami Heat win over Dallas last night. The Palm Beach Post fronts the Dave George column and the Miami Herald proclaims They’re Alive!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Alberto Tuesday

It’s another day of Alberto, which could actually become the first hurricane of the season. Hey, maybe this is the only one we will see this year... Here are some of todays front-page headlines.

Tampa Tribune: Alberto gains muscle in its trek northeast
Sun-Sentinel: It’s starting early
The Stuart News: 20,000 ordered to flee Alberto
Pensacola News Journal: Dangerous surf likely in Bay Area

The story-of-the-day comes from Matthew I. Pinzur at the Miami Herald who writes about a pair of infrared goggles that helps students read better and faster. The $2,400 goggles and the almost $20,000 accompanying software helped one 17-year-old imprve from reading 103 words per minute to 345.

The major national news on Florida front pages today is the U.S. Supreme Court decision to let a Florida death row inmate challenge lethal injection as cruel. Nearly every paper outside South Florida has this one on the cover.

We will highlight the article from Kristen Rasmussen at the Pensacola News Journal, since the Florida inmate in question here – Clarence Hill – killed a Pensacola police officer, Stephen Taylor.

As you might imagine, Taylor’s family is not too excited about this call from the court.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Stormy Monday

Tropical Storm Alberto strings the Florida papers together today. Here is a sampling of the headlines:

St. Pete Times: A sloppy first storm
Tallahassee Democrat: Weak storm to serve as test for state
Florida Today: Storm to skirt Space Coast
El Nuevo Herald: Alberto puede traer tornados y tormentas electricas
Pensacola News Journal: Area to stay dry

The reader today is the next installment in the Florida Afield series from The Lakeland Ledger. The occasional series takes us over a moat in Dry Tortugas National Park where a a 19th century brick fortress was built for the War of 1812 and used later as a military prison. This is where Dr. Sam Mudd, who fixed the broken leg of John Wilkes Booth and was later convicted for conspiring with the Lincoln killer.

Nationally, Dong-Phuong Nguyen at SPT brings home the English-only debate. He shows how difficult it is for immigrants to learn Enlish by telling us about Leonarda Aguilera, a silver-haired woman, her arms a deep bronze from years of picking oranges and tomatoes in open fields who just didn’t have the time or education to pick up a second language.

The national story that gets the most attention on Florida front pages is the Guantanamo Bay prison suicides, which gets cover-play from the Democrat (AP), Bradenton Herald (AP), and Daytona Beach News Journal (NYT). The story on Iran’s nuclear concessions is out front on the Palm Beach Post and Fort Myers News-Press.

In Sports, the Orlando Sentinel fronts the game story from the Predators 69-61 loss to the Chicago Rush in ArenaBowl XX.

The Miami Herald puts a Dan le Batard column on the cover, which pleads with Heat fans to Forget rout; Miami can regroup.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

SUNDAY READER

The first tropical storm of 2006 dominates Florida front pages today. Most run something similar to the Daytona News-Journal headline, which warns us to Expect wet, but not so wild. Florida Today says the Storm should soak fire risk.

Sticking with Florida Today, reporter Britt Kennerly has a report from Old Florida that shows those kitchy 1950s motels that advertise COLOR TV and rent for $65-a-night, account for about 20 percent of the Space Coast hotel rooms. But most of the owners Kennerly talks to say they are just waiting for the right offer to cash out.

At least two papers did their local commerce chambers no favors with SPECIAL REPORTS for us this morning about somewhat disturbing local shooting trends.

Henry Pierson Curtis at the Orlando Sentinel writes that at least 13 people have pulled the trigger under a new law that loosens restrictions on the use of deadly force in self-defense .

Andrew Marra at the Palm Beach Post writes that while the number of shooting deaths has dropped in Florida Palm Beach County grew even more deadly.

Bringing the National news home to the locals, Carol Rosenberg from the Miami Herald has a report from Guantanamo Bay Navy base that Gitmo Suicides another blow to camps image. Meanwhile, the Orlando Sentinel, Charlotte Sun, and Pensacola News-Journal fronts the Associated Press story, and Daytona Beach News Journal puts the L.A. Times version on its cover.

The AP story about another beheading video is out front on the Panama City News Herald.

The Lakeland Ledger leads with a Washington Post story about the 26-year-old marine sergeant who defended the November attack in Iraq that killed 24 civilians.

In Sports, Brian McLaughlin files a report on a local man Fast Eddie Johnson who is expected to start on the U.S. national team when it takes on the Czech Republic in the first round of the 2006 World Cup. Johnson is No. 9.

FSU won its first national track title, reports Jack Corcoran at the Tallahassee Democrat.
But at the meet it was (Melbourne) Palm Bay High grad Xavier Carter who drew comparisons to Jesse Owens by capturing four victories.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Tuesday Fronts

Real estate trends make it to the front pages of the Miami Herald & The Palm Beach Post this morning.

The Herald leads with a Nikki Waller feature about Ocala and Marion County, which is apparently the hot spot for Floridians to relocate. They also front news from Matthew Haggman and Anijali Athavaley that more homes on the South Florida market may have contributed to the first drop in month-to-month median home sales, although the price still marked a gain of 26 percent..

Huricane Rita stays on the front as Katherine Corcoran, Tony Spangles and Martin Merzer combine on a piece about surveying the post-storm damage.

The Post uses a left rail graphic & photos to tease to this story from Linda Rawls about homes prices in PB County & the Treasure Coast doubling in the past three years.

The lead comes from Stephanie Slater, who reporters a Boca police union is asking city leaders to look into accusations that Chief Andrew Scott ordered the release of Gregory Talbott, his friend who is also in the midst of developing several multi-million projects in downtown Boca. Talbott was reportedly arrested for beating on his wife, a manager of the restaurant they were at and a police officer.
The first thing he said to the officer was, 'I know Andy. He'll have your badge if you bother me,' " Luna Paza manger Michael Hollander said.


Downpage, Kimberly Miller reports that five years after Gov. Bush halted affirmative action at Florida universities, the number of incoming black freshman has fallen.

In the Web editions, St. Pete Times leads with a piece about cutting the family budget, as does the Sun-Sentinel, which looks at what Floridians are doing to save gas. The Orlando Sentinel reports UCF may ban alcohol after an officer was killed at a pre-game party this weekend.

Undetermined Tuesdays

Arnold Markowitch, a writer for Waterfront News, brings us a little Fishing & Loathing in Suburban Miami.

“What are you doing here?”
“Umm…fishing. Just started. Do you ever fish here? I saw a couple of nice ones in front of that culvert.”
“You can’t park there. It’s private property.”
My pickup’s at the shady end of a small street that stops at the Cutler Drain Canal. The woman challenging me lives in the first house to the right, surrounded by a chain link fence. She has just arrived. Her voice is firm, as if she’s sure of herself. She sounds like she’s had this conversation before, or has rehearsed for it.
I play along: “Whose private property is it?
“It’s mine.”
“I didn’t know. Shouldn’t there be a sign?”
“There was a sign. They took it down.”
“By they, you mean the county, right? They do that when people put private property signs on public property. It’s against the law.”
The woman darts to the house and opens the door. Her dog, a little khaki-colored Labrador, comes out barking. I know the language. “Pat me on the head,” she says. “Play with me. Can I have a cookie?” I pat her.
The woman, whose name is Barbara (I find out later) is escalating: The canal bank, outside the fence, is her private property too. It’s private all the way this way, all the way that way. I’m trespassing.
I say sweet things to the dog. She licks my hand.
“Take your hand off my dog! Go away!” Barbara shrieks. “This isn’t a park!”
She whips out a cell phone, aims it at me, presses buttons. I have one of those. I remove it from the belt clip slowly, pointing it toward the ground, hoping not to alarm her.
“Are you calling me?” I ask, smiling engagingly, “or should I call you?”
Soon I go away anyhow. The fish aren’t biting. I don’t know about you, but that gets rid of me every time.

Polk County commissioners are urged to leave town after they vote, 4-1, to raise property taxes 22.6 percent.

S. L. Frisbie IV, publisher of the Polk County Democrat, reports that commissioners held their ground despite 10-to-1 opposition from the audience, including one man dressed as a colonial who threatened to deliver 400 pounds of tea and 1,600 tea bags to the county building.
Good to see political theater is still alive and well and completely useless.

Mike DeRosa at the High Springs Herald shares that’s he been beat with a hose, suffered abdominal hernia, and once splashed after-shave on a rash in his crotch. This is some genuine journalism, folk. As it should be in any column with a headline: ---So strong was this stuff that I needed karate chops to keep the girls away---

Monday, September 26, 2005

MONDAY POLITICS

South Florida lawmakers pledge to revamp the way property tax breaks for farmers are handed out after a Miami Herald investigation shows the richest exemptions go to corporate landowners farming cows on commercial lots. Reporters Samuel P. Nitze and Beth Reinhard file the follow-up today.

Linda Kleindienst at the Sun-Sentinel reports gun-control advocates are running a national campaign to warn tourists about getting shot during their Florida vacation. This is a response to state legislators approving a law that lets people use deadly force in self defense.

A former Palm Beach County sheriffs sergeant said his boss demoted him after learning about his plans to run for sheriff. The Sheriff says his subordinate was campaigning on the tax payers dime. Bill Douthat of the Palm Beach Post says the three-year-old pissing match is headed to federal court .

While many public school officials believe lawmakers will repeal parts of the Lunsford Act, which is forcing them to background check every contracted worker, Lloyd Dunkelberger at The Gainesville Sun speculates that legislators may actually expand the act to include private schools.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

SUNDAY READER

Nearly every major FL newspaper printed its own special hurricane section on the first Sunday of the season, which means everyone has a stake in Rita. Of course, the biblical Hurricane Katrina didn’t hurt when editors from at least three major dailies were deciding whether to send reporters into the latest storm.

Anyway, the Miami Herald has Bill Hanna, David Kepper and Martin Merzerin in Port Austin, TX and they file an emotional rollercoaster of a story: the storm is not as bad as Katrina. Yet. But there are still new towns completely submerged. And several deaths.

The St. Pete Times sends Anita Kumar, Tamara Lush and Craig Pittman into the disaster and they file from Beaumont, TX. They glean info from the AP and several nearby papers and lead with the relief of –only- and Category 3 storm. You know, its just that thousands are stranded, not dead. They lace in some nice color, including thoughts from a woman who stayed in a hotel stairwell during the storm.

The Palm Beach Post has John Lantigua filing several vignettes. In one he retells the story of a Vinton, La volunteer fire department and their adventures at 4:30 a.m. He is in Lake Charles, La. reporting that Rita ripped through a 22-story building. And it looks like he ended the day in Port Arthur, TX, checking a levee with a foreman from the county drainage district. Sheesh. Since when does the PBP have a news helicopter?

OTHER HURRICANE STUFF

--->TAMPA TRIB: As we head into the heart of the second catastrophic hurricane season in a row, even the natives are getting restless and wondering if they should heed Gods warning and get out of town.

--->PBP: Remember Hurricanes Jeanne and Francis? Yeah, it was last year, but there are still thousands living in FEMA trailers, this woman has a roof held together by duct tape. And, oh yeah, counties are still looking for millions in FEMA reimbursement.

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