Wesley Chapel couple launches tourism-themed podcast

Wesley Chapel’s Andy and Shannon Herbon love exploring Florida — then sharing those experiences with anybody who’ll listen. As often as they can, the Herbons and their two young children venture across the state to visit theme parks and state parks, beaches, springs and waterfalls, hidden gems and other attractions. From the Florida Panhandle, to St. Augustine, to Miami — they’ll go just … [Read more...]

Lessons learned from Hurricane Maria

Hurricane Maria left a trail of death and destruction and continues to impose extreme hardships to those living in its path — and it also offered the Zloty family of Land O’ Lakes, dramatic reminders of the power of faith, the fragile nature of life, and the importance of gratitude. Hurricane Maria’s impact on Colleen and Martin Zloty’s family began on Sept. 18 when they heard a hurricane … [Read more...]

Heroes for Hire playing the right tunes

Being a boy band with a first release on iTunes is heady stuff. But, Heroes for Hire is getting used to the attention, playing their brand of edgy, alternative rock at venues such as Skipper’s Smokehouse, New World Brewery and Buckets. Louis Mittens, 15; Ben Hense, 13; Ryan Romero, 15; Corey Fox, 15; and, Josh Morin, 14, came together as a band at Jim Chambers Music Box. Chambers is … [Read more...]

Congresswoman plans forum to discuss new Cuba relations

Of all the states directly affected by the change in diplomatic policy with Cuba, none are likely affected more than Florida. U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, is planning a community forum in early 2015 that she hopes will help community leaders and residents learn more about what those changes mean as President Obama begins to "normalize" relations with Cuba. "We will engage the entire … [Read more...]

Companies could get tax credits for hiring felons

Getting out of prison can be tough for many convicted felons, not just adjusting to the outside world, but finding a way to fit in. Jobs remains one of the biggest obstacles to making that transition, but a Miami lawmaker is proposing an idea that might provide an incentive for companies to hire them. State Rep. Cynthia Stafford, D-Miami, has introduced H.B. 121, which would allow companies … [Read more...]

Home flipping down nationally, but not locally

Observers are happy with some of the positive indicators they are seeing in the housing market on a national scale, but the greater Tampa Bay area — including Pasco and Hillsborough counties — continues to struggle to keep up. House flipping — homes that are bought and resold within 12 months — dropped to 4 percent of all national single-family home sales in the third quarter, according to a … [Read more...]

Foreclosures falling in Florida

For far too long, Florida led the nation when it came to residential foreclosures. But no more. Maryland saw its foreclosure filings explode in October by 30 percent compared to the previous year, and its 5,943 properties in limbo made it the worst in the nation, pushing Florida to No. 2. Yet, one in every 444 properties are in foreclosure, according to Florida Realtors and RealtyTrac. That … [Read more...]

Home sales, prices up in Tampa Bay region

It's nothing but positives in September for the Tampa Bay housing and condominium market, as both sales and median prices have gone up. The latest report from Florida Realtors shows existing home sales are up 11 percent, and condo sales grew more than 4 percent compared to a year ago. Median sales for the area that also includes Pasco County also rose more than 3 percent for existing homes, and … [Read more...]

Medical marijuana, Common Core gaining statewide support

More often than not, elections become about people: Not the ones politicians are trying to represent, but the politicians themselves. The latest release from the University of South Florida’s Sunshine State Survey, however, is trying to shift that focus a bit back to issues, including those affecting the state as a whole. USF’s School of Public Affairs department, under the direction of Land … [Read more...]

Florida wants ‘abundance of caution’ against Ebola

Could Ebola come to Florida? If it does, state government officials say they want to be prepared. Over the weekend, a Miami hospital tested a patient to rule out Ebola, despite the fact the patient "did not meet the CDC case definition" for the virus, Gov. Rick Scott said, in a release. "The test is being conducted out of an abundance of caution," Scott said about the efforts of both the … [Read more...]