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3 posts from December 30, 2013

December 30, 2013

Golden Bear to raise campaign gold for Gov. Scott

Golf legend Jack Nicklaus, the "Golden Bear," will soon open his substantial checkbook to support Gov. Rick Scott's re-election campaign, and he's asking others to do the same. The invitations to a Jan. 15 evening event at Jack and Barbara Nicklaus' home in North Palm Beach ask for $10,000 donations to Scott's campaign organization, www.letsgettowork.net.

Nicklaus is a long-time Floridian and a dedicated Republican, and he and Scott have an interesting history.

They hit it off soon after Scott's election in 2010, and after conversations on how to promote tourism in Florida, Scott threw his support behind a legislation in the 2011 session that would have allowed Nicklaus-designed golf courses in state parks, as Nicklaus' lobbyist, Jim Smith, recalled. But the sponsor of the proposal in the House, Rep. Patrick Rooney, R-Palm Beach Gardens, dropped the idea following an avalanche of opposition as the Tampa Bay Times' Craig Pittman reported at the time. Environmental groups were wary of the proposal, and GolfWeek magazine did not think much of the Nicklaus golf trail proposal at the time, either.

-- Steve Bousquet

Movers & Shakers

Some Floridians will be celebrating new positions or continued appointments in 2014. If you know of any movers and shakers in the world of politics or state government, please send them to Rochelle Koff at rkoff@tampabay.com

Three picked for Florida Women's Hall of Fame

Dottie Berger MacKinnon, Sheriff Susan Benton and Louise Jones Gopher have all been selected for the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame. Gov. Rick Scott chose the three women from a list of 10 nominees chosen by the Florida Commission on the Status of Women.

MacKinnon, a former Tampa resident who died April 12, 2012, was a founder of Joshua House, a haven for children removed from their families, and she chaired the Friends of Joshua House Foundation board from 2003 to 2006. Most recently, MacKinnon founded A Kid’s Place, a group home in Brandon where siblings can live together after being taken from their homes over abuse or neglect.

Benton, 64, of Sebring, is the sheriff of Highlands County. In 2004, she became the first woman elected sheriff in Florida’s history. In 2012, Benton was named the first female president of the Florida Sheriffs Association in the organization’s 118-year history.

Gopher, 68, of Okeechobee, is a longtime educator. From 2003 to 2007, she served as the director of education for the Seminole Tribe of Florida. Gopher was the first female Seminole Indian to earn a bachelor’s degree.

Executive director of Guardian ad Litem Program reappointed

Alan Abramowitz has been reappointed by Scott as the executive director of the statewide Guardian ad Litem Program.

Abramowitz, 51, of Tallahassee, has been the program’s executive director since 2010 -- his new term ends Dec. 29, 2016.

Abramowitz previously served as DCF’s state director for family safety, and as the chief legal counsel for DCF’s Central Florida region. He also served as the assistant general counsel for the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice.

Other appointments

David Di PietroRocky Rodriguez and Darryl L. Wright have been appointed to the North Broward Hospital District’s Board of Commissioners.

Continue reading "Movers & Shakers" »

Despite population growth, Florida doesn't eclipse New York

New York will hang onto its claim of being the third most-populous state in the nation — for now, at least.

Some demographers had predicted that rapidly growing Florida would sail into the third-place spot in 2013. But the figures released Monday by the U.S. Census Bureau put the Empire State ahead of Florida by 98,267 people.

That isn’t to say that Florida won’t eclipse New York soon.

The Sunshine State has been growing at a rate of 3.75 percent since 2010, according to the latest Census data.

New York’s rate of growth over the same time period: 1.3 percent.

Read more here.