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Image: U.S. Senator Rick Scott, rickscott.senate.gov
From the Pages of Orlando Weekly

From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: Investigation shows Florida rejected federal funds available to help tackle HIV crisis


An extensive investigation by the Guardian has uncovered damning information about Florida Senator Rick Scott. While governor, Scott blocked $70 million in federal funds available to fight Florida’s HIV crisis. By doing so, it’s likely he accelerated the state’s record rate of infections. Between 2015 and 2017, Scott’s administration directly blocked two grant applications worth approximately $16 million, and was forced to return $54 million in unspent grants. Health administrators were forbidden to discuss the funds with legislators, so they couldn’t get legislative permission to spend the money. In 2017, Florida saw the highest number of new HIV diagnoses in the country. Our new cases amount to 13 percent of the national total. Blocking federal funds has long been a …
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Image: Freedom March- facebook page, Orlandoweekly.com
From the Pages of Orlando Weekly

From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: Two Pulse Survivors link up with the Freedom March Organization


Three years ago, Luis Javier Ruiz was trampled as he fled the Pulse nightclub, only to learn that 49 people had died in the mass shooting. Two years ago, he stopped identifying as gay. Ruiz and fellow local Pulse survivor Angel Colon have linked up with the Freedom March organization, which celebrates “freedom from homosexual/transgender lifestyles by the grace and power of Jesus Christ.” They’re marching in a downtown Orlando park this Saturday, where Ruiz and Colon plan to give testimony. Coincidentally, the march comes four days after local LGBTQ advocates asked Orange County to put a conversion therapy ban ordinance on their agenda. Those involved with Freedom March say they don’t condone conversion therapy, and Ruiz rejects the notion …
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Image: Hepatitis A, CDC.gov
From the Pages of Orlando Weekly

From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: Hepatitis A cases in Florida continue to climb


The number of hepatitis A cases in Florida continues to climb. The latest Florida Department of Health report shows the state has had 2,266 reported cases of the viral disease so far this year. In all of 2018, Florida had 548 cases. This explosion of new cases is more than simply notable; it is, as state Surgeon General Scott Rivkees declared on August 1st, a public emergency.
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Image: Thermostat set to 78 F, consumerreports.org
From the Pages of Orlando Weekly

From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: EPA recommended household temps create heat on social media


A report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency set off a social media firestorm this week when a Tampa TV reporter tweeted its home thermostat guidelines. The Energy Star recommendations say households should set the temperature to 78 degrees Fahrenheit while you’re home, 85 degrees while you’re away, and 82 while you’re asleep. Truly, monsters walk among us. Globally, this July was the hottest month in recorded history, and Florida has not been spared. But this report suggests that we should just learn to accept the angry, sweaty embrace of Big Heat. The Centers for Disease Control actually recommends that an occupied dwelling be kept between 75 and 80 degrees in summer. Florida Power and Light says you need to …
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Image:  Photo via USDA, orlandoweekly.com
From the Pages of Orlando Weekly

From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: Florida to receive millions to battle feral hogs


Are you a Florida property owner dealing with, say, 30 to 50 feral hogs that run into your yard within three to five minutes while your small kids play? If so, the federal government wants to help. Last month, the USDA announced the Feral Swine Eradication and Control Pilot Program, which will devote almost $34 million to finding solutions for Lord of the Flies-style pig problems. Funded by the 2018 Farm Bill, the new program aims to eliminate feral hog populations with the help of the private sector and local governments. According to the USDA, the roughly 7 million invasive feral hogs in 35 states cause an estimated $2 billion in agricultural damage every year by rooting and wallowing in …
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Photo: Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, myfloridalegal.com
From the Pages of Orlando Weekly

From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: FL AG Ashley Moody tweets thoughts and prayers to mass shooting victims


Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody fired off two tweets this past weekend offering her thoughts and prayers to the victims of mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas. “Horrified and saddened by the tragic and senseless shooting in El Paso,” tweeted Moody last Saturday night, referring to the man who killed 22 and critically injured 24 using an AK-variant semi-automatic rifle with a 30-round magazine. Less than 24 hours later, Moody tweeted, “Tragic news out of Dayton, Ohio.” That news was that a man wearing body armor shot and killed 9 people and seriously wounded 26 with an AR-15 type semi-automatic rifle equipped with a 100-round “double drum” magazine. These tweets went out just after the newly elected …
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Image: Travelers United logo, www.travelersunited.org
From the Pages of Orlando Weekly

From the Pages of Orlando Weekly: Excessive Resort Fees can be Harmful to Orlando’s Economy


Anyone who has traveled in recent years knows how difficult it is to find the true cost of a hotel room when booking online, because “resort fees” are often revealed well into the booking process. These fees cover pool use, gym access, Wi-Fi, newspapers, and so on, whether the guest uses them or not. Resort fees are illegal in many countries, and since 2016, 47 state attorneys general have sued various hotel chains, on the basis that they’re engaging in deceptive bait-and-switch tactics. Lauren Wolfe of Travelers United, a consumer advocacy organization, says excessive resort fees can be especially harmful to an economy like Orlando’s, which is dependent on the hotel and lodging industry. Wolfe warns against dismissing resort fees …
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Image: The Supreme Court Building  ,supremecourt.gov
From the Pages of Orlando Weekly

From the pages of Orlando Weekly: Supreme Court decision may push America’s political dysfunction further


A Supreme Court decision issued this week may push America’s political dysfunction to the point of no return. Rucho v. Common Cause looked at extreme gerrymandering in two states, and in a 5–4 decision, the court’s conservative majority threw up its hands and decided, eh, there was nothing they could do about it. So come 2021, when the next round of reapportionment and redistricting takes place, state legislatures have the green light to do their worst. Justice Elena Kagan shredded the majority opinion in her dissent, writing: “The partisan gerrymanders here debased and dishonored our democracy, turning upside-down the core American idea that all governmental power derives from the people.” A reminder to electeds: you represent all of the citizens …
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