U.S. Congresswoman Kathy Castor (D—Tampa) and Petra Vybiralova, Safety Instructor for Florida Suncoast Safe Kids Coalition, check out toys deemed hazardous by a recent study.
Magnets. Balloons. A doll with an arm that's removable by design for some reason.
All were included in the collection of potentially hazardous toys consumer advocates rattled off during a press conference at All Children's Hospital Tuesday morning.
The aim was to highlight the 30th edition of Trouble in Toyland, an annual report featuring a long list of toys that could be harmful to children because of chemicals used in their making, the ability to cause choking or even noise features that could damage young children's hearing.
Florida governor Rick Scott unveiled his state budget proposal to cheers and criticism Monday, none of which we could hear over the sound of Jesus firing his guns into the sky while riding a bald eagle.
His $79.3 billion "Florida First" budget, if lawmakers give it a thumbs-up, would benefit many people in the state — and by "many people" we mean a few corporations.
While boosting the amount of money for K-12 education significantly, his plan actually places most of the education budget burden — 85 percent — onto local school districts, which obviously means taxpayers will be on the hook for it regardless.
As one might expect, his budget also contains large cuts to the state's health and environmental agencies, though many of the jobs cut would be vacant positions anyway, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Protesters demonstrate outside a Tampa Publix in Nov. 2014.
For years now, an organization consisting of low-wage farmworkers — many of them migrant — and activists has been waging war with fast food and grocery giants over the way those who supply produce to those establishments treat their farmworkers.
And they've had some success in getting companies like Yum Brands (the parent company of Taco Bell and other chains) to pay more for tomatoes so that workers could earn a decent wage.
Despite their many successes, though, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, which is based in southwest Florida, still has its battles, as working conditions for many migrant farmworkers, they say, are still deplorable, at times even involving forced labor and sexual abuse.
For about a year now, Carlton Alexander and his family have been staying in a Tampa home that belonged to his late uncle, a house Alexander had been rehabbing over the year between his shifts at a Taco Bell franchise.
Alexander, 29, moved to the area from Georgia, and was gradually getting the house into decent shape.
On Monday morning, a shoddy window air conditioning unit changed that.
“It blew up," he said. "It was about two feet away from me.”
The explosion set off a small fire that eventually engulfed his home in flames.
On the island of Maui — where this reporter cut her reportin' teeth — there is a stench along a stretch of road between the east and west end of the island. It is a stench so foul that one close relative of this reporter dubbed it "ass vomit" during a visit. Because if such a substance existed, that's what it would smell like, but with a little burnt rubber mixed in.
The stench, of course, came from a sugar plant whenever it burned cane, a plant that would also occasionally send black ashes into the air that would then rain down on residents and visitors (they call it Maui snow).