Florida gives $3.8 million to Lauren’s Kids charity after questionable poll on sex abuse

Gov. Rick Scott and Lauren Book at an April rally in Tallahassee  for Lauren's Kids charity

By Francisco Alvarado
FloridaBulldog.org
Before Florida gave it another $3.8 million this month, the politically-connected charity Lauren’s Kids published the results of an alarming online survey about child abuse whose trustworthiness can’t be verified.

South Florida winning war against saltwater intrusion, but it’s not cheap

An illustration of saltwater intrusion. Courtesy: floridaswater.com

By Ann Henson Feltgen
FloridaBulldog.org
Saltwater intrusion leading to contaminated drinking water wells has long been feared in South Florida. But, billions spent on measures to protect our water supply — mostly paid for by utilities and their customers — have paid off so far.

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9/11, Saudi Arabia and the search for answers amid government secrecy

President Obama with Saudi King Abdullah at the White House in 2010; President George W. Bush with Crown Prince Abdullah shortly before he became king in 2005

By Dan Christensen
BrowardBulldog.org
t’s been 13 years since al Qaeda hijackers commandeered four U.S. passenger jets and slammed them into America’s heart, yet a basic question persists: Did they act alone or with the help of a support network?

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Broward to seek return of CRA tax dollars mishandled by cities; Millions at stake

Broward Administrator Bertha Henry and attorney and FAU professor Frank Schnidman

By William Gjebre
BrowardBulldog.org
Broward will seek the return of county property tax dollars from city community redevelopment agencies that hoarded that money instead of spending it on projects to fight slum and blight that are ready to get underway, according to County Administrator Bertha Henry.

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U.S. Sugar seeks OK for huge development after news it paid for GOP leaders’ trips

sugarcane

By Dan Christensen
BrowardBulldog.org
Weeks after news that Gov. Rick Scott and Florida GOP leaders took secret hunting trips to Texas financed by Florida’s sugar industry, U.S. Sugar and Hilliard Brothers are pushing plans for a massive new development in rural Hendry County near the northwest edge of the Everglades. The Sugar Hill Sector Plan envisions turning more than 67 square miles of sugar cane fields, citrus groves and pasture lands into a planned community.

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Miami developer hires governor’s pal; Scott, Cabinet green light Watson Island project

Lobbyist William "Billy" Rubin, left, and Gov. Rick Scott

By Francisco Alvarado
BrowardBulldog.org
In late March, state emails show, Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection was poised to pull the plug on a long-delayed, contentious plan to build a resort and mega-yacht marina on Miami’s Watson Island. But developer Flagstone Island Gardens had an ace in the hole. A month earlier, the company hired Fort Lauderdale lobbyist William “Billy” Rubin, a longtime personal friend, business associate and political supporter of Gov. Rick Scott.

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Scott campaign ad touting jobs record stars convicted smuggler

A Rick Scott television ad features the governor shoulder to shoulder with flag-waving smuggler Maikel Duarte-Torres

By Francisco Alvarado
BrowardBulldog.org
A Cuban-born grocery store owner starring in a Rick Scott Spanish language television campaign ad touting the governor’s job creation record was convicted on human smuggling charges in St. Maarten four years ago. THIS STORY HAS BEEN UPDATED

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How Medicare Advantage plans code for cash; HHS report exposes overbilling

By Fred Schulte
Center for Public Integrity
A new federal study shows that many Medicare Advantage health plans routinely overbill the government for treating elderly patients — and have gotten away with doing it for years.

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Holness: Margate isn’t the only city that’s mishandled CRA funds

Broward Commissioner Dale V.C. Holness

By William Gjebre
BrowardBulldog.org
In the wake of a critical inspector general’s report that accused Margate of mishandling millions of dollars in community redevelopment funds, Broward Commissioner Dale Holness says he expects similar findings of wrongdoing about other cities as the county’s investigation continues.

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New law drives lobbyists out of the shadows at state water management districts

The Everglades
Photo: South Florida Water Management District

By Dan Christensen
BrowardBulldog.org
Florida’s five water management districts, special-purpose governments that collectively will spend $1.1 billion next year, have publicly registered 250 special-interest lobbyists since new registration requirements took effect July 1.

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Broward judge to hear Hollywood tenants’ claims for relocation assistance

Hollywood's Townhouse Apartments was demolished over the weekend. Photo: NBC6

By William Gjebre
BrowardBulldog.org
Over the weekend, a decade after Hollywood City Hall approved plans to develop a luxury high-rise apartment-hotel complex off Young Circle, the 12-story Townhouse Apartments was demolished. A Broward judge will hear next week from former residents seeking relocation assistance they claim they are due.

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