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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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Sunday, January 26, 2014


Published Sunday, January 26, 2014
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It's easy to get discouraged when it comes to political activism, where it seems that all too often the good guys lose. And while working for a publication that focuses on local government can be a good way to grow cynical, it also gives you a front row seat to the occasional victory pulled off by the little guy. This week, a beloved local beach was spared because a handful of people stood up to some ham-fisted plans that would have needlessly sacrificed it. I sat down and tallied up the list of such victories just in the last year and when looked at in total, it's nothing short of impressive.

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Published Sunday, January 26, 2014
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Florida has long been the promised land for speculators, as developers and real estate magnates have helped to shape the state in both good and bad ways over the years. The urge by state leaders to populate Florida goes back even further: the Armed Occupation Act of of 1842 was responsible for populating southwest Florida, promising 160 acres for any man willing to bear arms for the state and defend their new homestead with their lives against attack from Native Americans.

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Saturday, January 25, 2014


Published Saturday, January 25, 2014
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As Florida voters get set to weigh the merits of medical marijuana on a 2014 ballot amendment, one reader points to California's water struggles and how they have been exacerbated by the large swaths of land which have been cleared for growing the high-demand crop.

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Thursday, January 23, 2014


Published Thursday, January 23, 2014
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Once you get beyond local politics, any talk of authenticity usually makes me laugh. I caught one of Alex Sink's TV commercials this weekend and though it was brand new, I got an odd sense of déjà vu – like I'd seen it before somewhere. Then it hit me that I had, in fact seen the commercial before, only it was for someone else's campaign. Today's messages seem so contrived, manufactured and focus group tested that one has to wonder, what if anything the outrageously expensive political pageantry has to do with the candidates themselves or what (if anything) they actually stand for.

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Sunday, January 19, 2014


Published Sunday, January 19, 2014
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While six years of intense saber rattling on the subject of Iran has understandably left most Americans a little bit numb in terms of hearing policy specifics, the time has come to listen and listen closely. World powers seem to have arrived at a historic window of opportunity that could pave the way for normalizing relations and drastically increasing stability in an important region. Americans should insist that Washington not allow politics to muck it up.

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Thursday, January 16, 2014


Published Thursday, January 16, 2014
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At the start of the year, many pundits were asked what they saw in store for Congress in 2014. The possibility of an immigration reform deal was universally hailed as the most likely “big thing” Washington might accomplish, unless you considered not shutting down the government again to be a victory. But our immigration woes are still much more complicated than either party's approach to reform would seem to suggest, and their concurrent approach to trade policy might best demonstrate the contradictions that begin to emerge when you get any lower than 30,000 feet.

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Sunday, January 12, 2014


Published Sunday, January 12, 2014
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On Friday, I went to the opening of Lone Survivor, the new Mark Wahlberg film about Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, the only member of a four-man team to survive a mission in Afghanistan that involved the attempted kill or capture of a high-ranking Taliban leader. The movie has attracted both negative and positive responses and reignited the debate over whether Hollywood glamorizes combat, or is biased toward movies that put American foreign policy in a negative light.

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Thursday, January 9, 2014


Published Thursday, January 9, 2014
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When Robin DiSabatino decided to leave the world of real estate and run for the Manatee County Commission I was among the skeptics – as she reminded me when she filed for reelection this week. Having amassed one of the largest campaign war chests in Manatee County political history – the vast majority from development-related interests – it was easy to assume that if elected, she would be just another puppet for the big-dollar builders who own most of the votes. Three years into her first term, I'll happily admit that I was wrong.

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Published Thursday, January 9, 2014
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Developers may have withdrawn their current application for a future use map amendment at Long Bar Pointe, but that doesn't mean the battle to preserve this ecologically-sensitive portion of Sarasota Bay is over. One reader suggests that the county take steps to ensure the future viability of this important, resource-rich swath of Manatee County bay front. 

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Friday, January 3, 2014


Published Friday, January 3, 2014
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It's a good bet that soon after the new Florida legislature convenes on March 4, 2014, lawmakers will be pushing a very hot-button issue -- gambling. Proponents like State Senate President Don Gaetz and House Speaker Will Weatherford want constitutional amendments that would expand Florida's restricted gambling laws. Their opposition, which includes Disney and the Florida Chamber of Commerce, say more than just gambling is at stake.

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Obituaries

Name Date
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
Virginia Goodhew April 11, 2014
Dorothy Hackett April 9, 2014
Margaret Nelson April 9, 2014
All Obituaries






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