In Recovery? Health of economy a key decision-maker in 2012 political season
Published 04/28/2012 at 7 p.m.
Special report: Scenes of the recession have dominated the narrative of the 2012 election cycle since the candidates lined up. Now, indications of a recovering economy are emerging in Florida, changing the narrative and potentially dulling the edge of challengers ...
As gaming businesses spread, Lee leaders to again weigh slots at Bonita dog track
Published 04/01/2012 at 7 p.m.
Opponents of Internet cafés say the establishments expose a loophole in state gaming laws. Patrons pay to use a computer game that resembles a slot machine, which reveals whether they have won a sweepstakes. To critics, that sounds too much ...
Unemployment continues positive trend, down to 8.3 percent in Collier
Updated 03/30/2012 at 4:20 p.m.
The Department of Economic Opportunity said Friday that unemployment in Florida dipped to 9.4 percent in February — its lowest number in three years. The report also noted that 10,100 new jobs were created.
Quinnipiac poll: Obama ahead of Romney, Santorum in Fla.
Updated 03/28/2012 at 5:23 p.m. 84 Comments
President Obama leads both former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum in polling of voters in Florida, according to a Quinnipiac University Polling Institute survey released Wednesday.
From education to environment, Southwest Florida sees share of state budget cut
Published 03/10/2012 at 9:15 p.m.
Clerk of Court offices throughout Florida along with hospitals, universities and school districts have learned of cuts, both shallow and deep, in a $70 billion state budget. Florida's public sector must be more frugal next fiscal year, local officials said ...
Legislature adjourns: Some bills survive, hundreds die on last night of session
Updated 03/10/2012 at 5:06 p.m.
A streamlined-foreclosure bill and a bid to give parents more power over schools appeared dead among hundreds of other casualties as the regular legislative session wore on Friday night. However, a Health De
Fla. justices cite Richter's "upside-down alligator" district in rejection of Senate map
Updated 03/09/2012 at 11:35 p.m.
The Florida Supreme Court has rejected the state Senate's plan to redistrict itself but has upheld the House's map.
The City of Ave Maria? Bill would allow community to incorporate
Published 03/07/2012 at 10:09 p.m.
Just seven areas in the state meet new specific criteria, and two of them are in Collier County: the Ave Maria Stewardship District, which provides infrastructure to the development, and the Big Cypress Stew
Passidomo's foreclosure bill gains fans, foes as it moves to Senate for vote - POLL
Published 03/03/2012 at 5:15 p.m.
Lawmakers in Tallahassee this year are steps away from enacting the first major streamline to the state's foreclosure process in nearly 20 years. Rep. Kathleen Passidomo, a Naples real estate attorney, said her bill, HB 213, will prod lenders to ...
Bill to streamline foreclosure process passes House with bipartisan vote
Published 02/29/2012 at 9:26 p.m.
Several Democrats said Rep. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, convinced them her bill actually protects consumers. The passage was a major success for the first-term Republican.
Protesters picket Passidomo's foreclosure bill
Updated 02/16/2012 at 8:49 p.m.
TALLAHASSEE — A few dozen Floridians converged in Tallahassee on Thursday for one reason: homeowner rights.
‘His Baby’: Rep. Matt Hudson seeks backers for Health Dept. reform
Updated 02/16/2012 at 6:22 p.m.
TALLAHASSEE — A sweeping Florida Department of Health overhaul pioneered by Naples Rep. Matt Hudson may be in peril after a Senate panel Thursday passed a scaled back measure that left out Hudson’s most dramatic provisions.
Drill baby drill: Bill would ease tax burden for oil drilling in SWFL
Updated 02/15/2012 at 7:54 p.m. 1 Comment
TALLAHASSEE — A bill passed the Florida House on Wednesday that would would ease the tax burden for oil companies that attempt to drill in old wells in eastern Collier County.
Bill to speed up foreclosure process gains momentum
Updated 02/08/2012 at 9:12 p.m.
The bill sponsored by Reps. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, and Greg Steube, R-Sarasota aims to put houses back on the market faster by expediting Floridas foreclosure process, which is among the slowest in the nation.
Romney easily carries Republican presidential primary vote in Collier, Lee
Updated 01/31/2012 at 10:24 p.m.
Mitt Romney performed even better in Southwest Florida this year than he did in the 2008 GOP primary, sweeping up solid majorities of the hotly contested Collier and Lee county vote.
Gingrich, Romney crisscross Florida trading jabs and looking for votes
Published 01/30/2012 at 8:48 p.m.
Florida voters saw a flurry of campaign activity in the past week, building toward todays GOP primary vote. The vote, Gingrich said, was a choice between people power and money power, a reference to the
Gingrich: Tuesday's vote between 'people power' and 'money power'
Published 01/30/2012 at 5:48 p.m.
Newt Gingrich landed at Page Field this afternoon greeted by 400 supporters and joined by Herman Cain and Michael Reagan, son of President Ronald Reagan. The former House Speaker came to Southwest Florida as part of a daylong tour across ...
Romney blasts Gingrich, Obama at Naples campaign stop - PHOTOS
Published 01/29/2012 at 5 p.m.
Rubbing shoulders with prominent Southwest Floridians, Mitt Romney blasted rival Newt Gingrich and proclaimed himself a champion for American exceptionalism in a final appeal to Naples supporters Sunday.
Romney to campaign in Naples on Sunday
Updated 01/27/2012 at 7:19 p.m.
Presidential candidate Mitt Romney will stump Sunday afternoon at the Sugden Plaza on Fifth Avenue South in downtown Naples. The stop comes along a weekend campaign sweep through the Panhandle and parts of s
Gingrich blasts Obama at record-setting Naples rally
Updated 01/24/2012 at 9:41 p.m.
About 6,000 people turned out, some children hanging from trees, for the Gingrich rally, delayed an hour by a late Fort Myers stop. Organizers said it was the largest crowd ever gathered at the park.
Gov. Scott: 'I've gotta be more persuasive' on proposed Medicaid cuts
Updated 01/26/2012 at 2:05 p.m.
The chair of the House subcommittee on health-care spending says the budget he will unveil Tuesday will not include Gov. Rick Scotts proposed Medicaid reforms. Rep. Matt Hudson of Naples did not say Friday
Kennel industry fights back as legislators push to reduce dog racing
Published 01/17/2012 at 8:04 p.m.
I spent $20,000 on dog racing because the law says they have to race, said Weber, whose investment return is now tied to a bill moving through the Legislature that would end a state mandate coupling greyho
Hendry facility one of 7 prisons, 4 work camps to close
Published 01/12/2012 at 1:26 p.m.
TALLAHASSEE — To save about $900 million, the Department of Corrections will close seven prisons and four work camps by June, including Hendry Work Camp in Immokalee.
Mack has $1 million campaign chest for Senate race, lagging Nelson’s $8.5 million
Updated 01/12/2012 at 8:02 p.m. 1 Comment
Connie Mack's Senate campaign announced this morning it had raised $758,395 in his first quarter of fundraising and has nearly $1 million on hand.
Hudson: Governor’s proposed cuts to Medicaid reimbursement ‘challenging’
Updated 01/11/2012 at 9:08 p.m.
Hudson, who chairs a key appropriations committee, had been reticent on Gov. Rick Scott's proposed $1.85 billion reduction in Medicaid reimbursements. But during and after a meeting of the Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee, he skewered the idea of forfeiting more ...
State of the state: Scott 'can't budge' on call for increased education funding
Published 01/10/2012 at 3:49 p.m.
Minutes after the commencement of the 2012 legislative session, Gov. Rick Scott redelivered an ultimatum on education funding, asking for a big increase without raising taxes.
Foreign nationals arrive in Southwest Florida for a price, creating jobs
Published 12/17/2011 at 5:45 p.m.
The EB-5 investment visa program was created as an economy booster by Congress in 1990. Some who run regional centers that funnel investments into projects, say the risk is too high for investors, who are left utterly without protection. Others ...
State, Southwest Florida see employment gains in November
Updated 12/16/2011 at 7:45 p.m.
Florida's unemployment fell to its lowest mark in 31 months in November but 10 percent of the workforce remained jobless.
Collier slashes voter precincts, consolidates polling places
Published 12/12/2011 at 9 p.m.
The consolidation, approved last week, shrinks the number of precincts in Collier County from 94 to 62, and reduces the number of polling sites from 82 to 60. It will affect the Jan. 31 presidential preferen
Scott recommends $1 billion more for schools; change in priorities could be tied to recent Immokalee visit
Published 12/07/2011 at 9:06 p.m.
Recent visits to several Collier schools appear to have doused the Republican governor with cold realities of education and its importance for the states workforce, Southwest Florida educators said.
Group makes new pitch to end greyhound racing
Updated 12/06/2011 at 8:39 p.m.
TALLAHASSEE — As legislators renew a push to slash dog racing requirements from state law, animal rights activists released a report today highlighting extreme cases of greyhound abuse.
Father fighting for custody in Collier in case of child reported abducted in California
Published 12/04/2011 at 7 p.m. 1 Comment
The father of a child reported abducted from his mother's California home is pursuing paternity rights in Collier County, adding a third party to those who have sought guardianship of the 12-year-old boy.
In lesson on redistricting, Dudley Goodlette says public input was huge
Published 12/01/2011 at 8:04 p.m.
Speaking Thursday to the Tiger Bay Club of Southwest Florida, Goodlette doubted a questioner’s speculation that the White House would try to influence congressional redistricting. But, he said, “there’s always going to be politics in the process. I don’t think ...
In lesson on redistricting, Dudley Goodlette says public input was huge
Published 12/01/2011 at 5:30 p.m.
Three days after a state Senate committee released two proposed redistricting maps, former state Rep. Dudley Goodlette praised the maps and said the public participation in the process has been "unprecedented."
Romney makes brief, private visit to Naples
Published 11/29/2011 at 7:21 p.m.
He posed for photos and met personally with a few VIP guests before speaking generally to as many as 200 supporters about jobs and the economy, according to attendees spilling from the clubs parking lot i
Connie Mack defends decision to announce candidacy on national TV
Updated 11/29/2011 at 5:48 p.m. 3 Comments
U.S. Rep. Connie Mack on Tuesday defended his decision to announce his U.S. Senate candidacy on national television, rather than in a local news conference.
Election 2012: Mitt Romney to raise money in Naples on Tuesday
Updated 11/28/2011 at 7:51 p.m.
Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney will solicit more support in Naples on Tuesday as part of a multi-stop fundraising swing through Florida.
VIDEO/PHOTOS: Gingrich clarifies position on immigration, border control during packed Naples stop
Updated 11/25/2011 at 9:55 p.m. 3 Comments
Rebutting accusations that he supports amnesty for some illegal immigrants, Gingrich told a packed room at Hilton Naples that "some of my friends thought they would articulate alternative versions of what I said that weren't exactly what I said." "I ...
Area lawmaker's bill could bolster public-private partnerships, job creation
Published 11/24/2011 at 6 p.m.
Public-private partnerships have become an attractive solution for hard-up government agencies because they invite creative financing methods that ease the taxpayer burden, experts said. And with budget cuts affecting all levels of government, it could be a way to stimulate ...
Election 2012: Rick Perry's son says dad still viable GOP presidential candidate POLL
Published 11/20/2011 at 3:45 p.m.
Griffin Perry, the baby-faced son of square-jawed Texas Gov. Rick Perry, pocketed his hands as he entered the Calistoga Bakery Cafe in North Naples on Sunday and settled in to chat with a handful of supporters who knew he was ...
Bonita greyhound track betting on slot machine vote
Published 11/18/2011 at 7:23 p.m.
By announcing its intentions, the Lee County dog track wades deeper into a statewide battle over gaming, and it joins three other Florida pari-mutuels taking advantage of a court ruling that upheld any count
Florida employment numbers improve in October — 13th straight month of job gains
Updated 11/18/2011 at 5:17 p.m.
Collier County's unemployment rate dropped, as well, to 10.7 percent — down from 11.4 percent in September and 12.3 a year ago. Lee County's jobless rate fell 0.6 percent from September.
No solutions: Imagine idea conference called off for 2012
Published 11/14/2011 at 6:49 p.m.
There was a lot of interest, but there were very few early commitments from sponsors, said Dolly Roberts, executive director of Searching for Solutions Institute, Inc., the events nonprofit.
Poll: Rep. Connie Mack instant frontrunner in GOP Senate race
Updated 11/11/2011 at 5:39 p.m.
Congressman Connie Mack IV hasn't entered the Senate race and he's already jumped ahead of the field in a new poll.
Getting to work: Gov. Scott tries out teaching gig at Immokalee schools - PHOTOS
Updated 11/10/2011 at 8:11 p.m.
This morning was the start of a long school day for Gov. Rick Scott. He is playing teacher on his sixth stop working regular jobs across the state.
Donald Rumsfeld discusses defense, other topics in Naples
Published 11/09/2011 at 6:09 p.m.
NAPLES — Donald Rumsfeld came to town, and Republicans flocked.
POLL: Connie Mack jolts two races with Senate bid
Published 10/27/2011 at 7:42 p.m.
News that Rep. Connie Mack is running for the U.S. Senate rocked the Republican field Thursday and ignited local speculation over his abandoned congressional re-election bid.
New gambling bill allowing East Coast mega-casinos could hurt local gaming facilities
Updated 10/26/2011 at 10:01 p.m.
It would directly affect Seminole Casinos, including the one in Immokalee, by stripping the tribes monopoly on games like roulette and blackjack. And it clouds the future of the Naples-Fort Myers Greyhound Track. Its not going to be long for ...
Gov. Scott promotes jobs during Collier tech center visit - PHOTOS
Published 10/14/2011 at 12:50 p.m. 1 Comment
Pushing his new jobs agenda, Gov. Rick Scott toured the heavy equipment mechanics wing of the Immokalee Technical Center this morning while his staff passed out placards listing his "seven initiatives."
$500,000 bail set for man accused of killing sign-holder in hit-and-run
Published 10/12/2011 at 5:05 p.m.
The North Naples man accused of fleeing the scene after fatally hitting a sign holder was ordered held on $500,000 bail Wednesday in Collier County Court.