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Poll Question: Do you think that Florida craft brewers should be able to sell the industry standard 64 oz. draft, "to-go" bottles of beer called "growlers" like 47 other state currently allow, especially considering they're already allowed to sell larger or smaller bottles, such at quarts and gallons.

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Thursday, April 3, 2014


Published Thursday, April 3, 2014
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Last week, the Supreme Court heard arguments in two cases related to the provision of the Affordable Care Act that requires health insurance policies to include contraceptive care. In both cases, the companies claimed that contributing to employer-sponsored plans that would provide those services to their employees violated their religious beliefs. Given the arguments that were presented, legal experts are beginning to note the profound impact and various ripple effects the decision might have, but the overtly political nature of the complaints should not be ignored.

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014


Published Wednesday, April 2, 2014
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In honor of Deaf History Month, Florida Attorney Reggie Garcia makes the argument for a chapter yet to be written. The failure to accommodate deaf residents’ communication needs often results in severe and tragic consequences, including the failure to receive a proper education, higher rates of unemployment, medical misdiagnosis and the greater likelihood of wrongful conviction.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014


Published Tuesday, April 1, 2014
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Recently, the Manatee County Commission has made several troubling decisions regarding the prioritization of roadway projects, even going so far as eliminating the use of local funds, mostly generated from development impact fees. This change will now use state and federal funds, robbing scarce dollars needed to eliminate traffic congestion in our downtown areas. State law, along with Manatee County's own comp plan, requires “new development pay for its fair share of the cost of County Capital Facilities required to accommodate new development through the imposition of Impact Fees.” Using state and federal dollars to subsidize private developers does not meet that criteria, nor is it a square deal for citizens.

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Sunday, March 30, 2014


Published Sunday, March 30, 2014
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A recent investigative report by the St. Pete Times exposed the nonsensical structuring of “fees” at “state-designated trauma centers.” One after another, the article detailed utterly larcenous incidents of hospitals gouging patients to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars, sometimes without even providing more than a cursory look. What does it say about our country when this sort of unconscionable fleecing of the sick and injured has become commonplace in America's health care system?

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Friday, March 28, 2014


Published Friday, March 28, 2014
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The United States Marine Corps has a saying: We're looking for a few good men and women. Well Manatee County needs a few of their own. All of the civics classes in the world could never teach a person what they would learn once every facet of their life was in the hands of government decision makers, as it is when you join the military. Yet more of our life than we often realize is in the hands of our local government, and I think it's high time more folks consider taking a shot at public service.

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Thursday, March 27, 2014


Published Thursday, March 27, 2014
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Last week, I wrote a column about the shameful failures of the Florida DCF and questioned whether our state's mandate of “family preservation” – which was arguably reinforced by a flawed notion that it would reduce costs – should be reassessed. Around the same time, we ran a story on the state's effort to reduce the amount drivers paid to renew their automobile registration. Am I the only one who sees an amazing opportunity?

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Friday, March 21, 2014


Published Friday, March 21, 2014
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Many schools across the state have transitioned the focus of their mathematics instruction to preparation for the Florida Comprehensive Achievement Test (FCAT). I do not fault schools for focusing on FCAT given the ramifications of test scores on public perception and teachers’ evaluations (see Senate Bill 736). I do, however, question the quality of the assessments that are being used to evaluate understanding of mathematics at the elementary school level.

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Thursday, March 20, 2014


Published Thursday, March 20, 2014
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There is certainly plenty to be outraged by in reading the Miami Herald's recent investigation into the death of 477 children who had already been on the state's radar when they died of abuse or neglect. In too many cases, the Department of Children and Families sided with parents, despite every indication of impending tragedy. While reading story after story in which the system clearly failed the children they exist to protect, it's easy to assume that it can only be blamed on negligence and/or incompetence, but there's also an established culture built around the philosophy of “family preservation” that must be examined.

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Sunday, March 16, 2014


Published Sunday, March 16, 2014
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This week's District 13 Congressional race was just the latest example of how badly our democratic process has been corrupted by special interests. With nowhere else to spend, big money donors from both sides of the aisle rained down cash on the horse their party was riding. Regardless of what impact it may or may not have had on the outcome, the undeniable reality is that the process itself was stolen from the candidates and waged as a sort of proxy war between competing forces based thousands of miles away.

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Thursday, March 13, 2014


Published Thursday, March 13, 2014
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Like many Manatee County citizens, I don't tend to get excited when I hear about new development, especially when it's anywhere near the eco-sensitive coastline. Nonetheless, I'm not so naive as to think that it will cease to continue. That being said, I have to admit that the latest efforts have at least begun with one foot set in the right direction in terms of how such delicate matters might best be handled.

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Manatee Rural Health Certificate
 


Obituaries

Name Date
Thomas Shimrock April 18, 2014
Mildred Pace April 19, 2014
Leland Russell April 20, 2014
Jean Ferrante April 21, 2014
James Sexton April 17, 2014
Francis O'Connor April 4, 2014
Duane Silver April, 2014
Norma Semrinec April 15, 2014
Lee Jackson April, 2014
All Obituaries



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