In The News Today – December 19, 2015

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FLORIDA PUBLIC EMPLOYEES

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Tampa Bay Times:  “Definition of Insanity’

As part of a yearlong investigation into Florida’s mental hospitals, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and Tampa Bay Times reviewed court case files and criminal records for thousands of defendants deemed incompetent to stand trial over the past decade.

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Wall Street Journal: Health-Care and Education Jobs Bolster States’ Employment

Twenty-one states added at least 10,000 in that sector over the past year, the Labor Department reported Friday. Three large or densely populated states, California, Texas and New York, added 71,000, 63,800 and 72,100 education and health services job respectively over the previous 12 months. Florida, home to many retirees, added 46,900 jobs in the sector.

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Florida Today: New ideas roll out as Superintendent Blackburn settles in

Big changes are brewing in Brevard Public Schools as Superintendent Desmond Blackburn begins forming his strategic plan for the district. Blackburn has identified six key initiatives he will address based on information obtained through his “listening and learning” ……

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Florida Today: Debra Pace a finalist in Osceola superintendent search

Brevard Public School’s Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Debra Pace is one of three finalists in the running for the superintendent position in Osceola County.

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Sun Sentinel: Proposed gun bills drawing plenty of fire

After the latest wave of gun rampages and terrorism, our trigger-happy Legislature is moving forward with its usual solution: more guns in more places with fewer restrictions.

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Pacific Standard: Celebrities’ Medical Records Tempt Hospital Workers to Snoop

The proliferation of electronic medical records systems has made it easier to track and punish those who peek in records they have no legitimate reason to access. Below is a partial list of high-profile breaches and the consequences that accompanied them, compiled from news reports.

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The Ledger: Court rejects lawyers’ fees in public records case

An appeals court Friday overturned a decision awarding attorney’s fees to a group that filed a public-records lawsuit against the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

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The Ledger: Flagler sheriff’s sergeant named ‘Deputy of the Year’

Sgt. Michael Van Buren has been a member of the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office since 1987, where “he has displayed professional judgment and years of experience.” Sheriff Jim Manfre called Van Buren “an asset … to the community he serves” and “the epitome of commitment, not only to the agency but to the public he serves.”

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WPEC: California state employee on leave after anti-Muslim slurs 

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — A woman charged with a hate crime after being recorded making anti-Islamic slurs and throwing coffee at a Muslim man has been placed on administrative leave from her job with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

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NBC News: ‘Devil’s Drug’: Flakka Is Driving Florida Insane

On the street, it’s known as flakka — a synthetic crystal imported from China that is wreaking havoc in South Florida and threatening to spread its misery and profits across the country.

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Miami Herald: Florida travel notes

Florida will get 10 visits from the top two jet demonstration teams in 2016 — the Air Force Thunderbirds and the Navy Blue Angels. Each team plans five stops in the Sunshine State with shows in spring, summer and fall from Key West to the Panhandle.

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Palm Beach Post: Several options for a festive Florida holiday getaway

Florida residents are eligible for a 15 percent discount at Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa, encouraging them to stay and play this holiday season. Available through Jan. 31, the Florida Resident Holiday Escape is available only when booking by phone, and guests must provide valid Florida identification upon check-in. Complimentary valet parking is included.

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NBC News: Florida Judge John C. Murphy Fired For ‘Appalling Behavior’

The Florida Supreme Court has fired a Brevard Court judge for “appalling behavior” after he infamously threatened and then got into a physical altercation with a public defender outside the courtroom, all of which was caught on video.

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WJXT: Florida unemployment drops to 5%

Gov. Rick Scott announced Friday that Florida has added more than 1 million private sector jobs since he took office in 2011.

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Florida Today: Dockery: Reform Florida criminal justice

In a perfect criminal justice system, those who break the law would be punished, rehabilitated and released to live productive crime-free lives. The punishment would fit the crime and the crime rate would go down.

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Palm Beach Post: Bill would end controversial no-fault car insurance system in Florida

After almost half a century, Florida’s no-fault car insurance systemwould end by 2019 under a bill filed by state Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg.

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