Brightline fatality: Woman killed on tracks in Boynton Beach a day before train’s public debut

From The New York Post: “Melissa Lavell, 32, was on the tracks of the Brightline train around 6:25 p.m. Friday, after the gates were already in the down position, The Sun-Sentinel reported. She had apparently tried to make it across — ducking under the guard rails — before the train approached. … Click here to read more

Reuters: Trump administration bars oil drilling off Florida after governor’s plea

“President Donald Trump’s administration will not allow drilling for oil and gas off the coast of Florida after urging from the state’s governor, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said on Tuesday. Zinke said in a statement, ‘As a result of discussion with Governor (Rick) Scott and his leadership, I am removing Florida from consideration for any new oil and gas platforms … Click here to read more

Avoid monkeys in Florida because they could give you killer herpes

From Gizmodo: “As many as 30 percent of feral rhesus macaque monkeys living in and outside of Florida state parks are infected with a strain of herpes that’s exceptionally dangerous to humans. Wildlife officials are now calling for the total removal … Click here to read more

‘A top lieutenant’ of Senate Prez Negron (R-Stuart) in extramarital affair with Senate Minority Leader

From The Sun-Sentinel: “Braynon is the Senate Minority Leader, and Flores is a top lieutenant of Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart. She is chairwoman of both the Banking and Insurance Committee and the Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services. Negron did not address the statement … Click here to read more

New year, same old BCC

From Ginny Sherlock, renowned local attorney, civic activist, and former Associated Press editor: “The first meeting of the Martin County Board of County Commissioners in 2018 offers no new hope for residents looking for fiscal responsibility and accountability from the same old Commission majority. It remains to be seen whether the Chair will carry out his threat to censor citizens who step up to the podium to offer public comment at Tuesday’s meeting … Click here to read more

MUST READ: Politics and Money in Martin County

From Maggy Hurchalla, a 20-year Martin County Commissioner, an active member of numerous Governor Commissions on the Everglades, water and planning, a lifelong advocate for wetlands preservation, a winner of national, state and local environmental and conservation awards regarding wetlands, land planning, water studies. She is a resident of Rocky Point … Click here to read more

Call for Action from Citizens Against Rail Expansion in Florida

From CARE FL  (Citizens Against Rail Expansion in Florida): “It has come to our attention that during their next meeting on Tuesday, January 9th at 9:00AM, the Martin County Board of County Commissioners plan to take up an update from staff related to All Aboard Florida/Brightline. It is important to encourage our commissioners to stay the course related to the ill-conceived All Aboard Florida/Brightline project. … Click here to read more

Brightline high-speed trains have a dark side

From Carl Hiaasen in The Miami Herald: “Every passenger rail in this country spews red ink, and Brightline has zero chance of being the lone exception. Its exorbitant Phase 2 is a nonstop run from West Palm to Orlando, via Cocoa. Eventually, we’ll all be paying for this doomed folly, falsely promoted as privately funded … Click here to read more

Goodbye 2017: New Florida laws immediately go into effect in the new year

From WFLA: “As we say goodbye to 2017, new laws will immediately go into effect at the stroke of midnight in 2018 … Click here to read more

Where are the fact-checkers in Martin County?

From Ginny Sherlock, renowned local attorney, civic activist, and former Associated Press editor: “The Martin County Taxpayers Association column (see below) about the Lake Point lawsuit contains numerous factual errors … Click here to read more

All the times this year Florida put the ‘F’ in WTF (Warning: may be disturbing to some readers)

From The NYPost: “Some pretty crazy things happen in 49 of America’s 50 states. Then there’s Florida. Florida is a category unto itself. Here are some of the best, most WTF stories to come out of Florida in 2017 … Click here to read more