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CBS reports:

The legally blind Florida man who shot and killed his friend after a drunken argument and was let free under the state’s “stand your ground” self-defense law has been given his guns back.

The Orlando Sentinel reports that on Feb. 20, Judge John Galluzzo reluctantly ruled that John Wayne Rogers, 40, had a right to have the .308 caliber rifle he killed James DeWitt with and a 10mm pistol returned to him.

"It’s my constitutional right to bear arms," Rogers told the newspaper. Rogers, who reportedly lost most of his sight in a 2001 industrial accident, cannot drive.

We need a new era of environmental patriotism here in Florida.
John Moran, in a guest column for the Florida Times-Union: Guest column: Save our Florida springs | members.jacksonville.com

Darrin P. Gayles, a Florida state circuit judge, appears to be on track to become the nation’s first openly gay black man to serve on the federal bench.

President Obama on Wednesday nominated Gayles, a former assistant U.S. attorney, to fill a vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

His nomination, among four made by Obama, comes months after GOP Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida used his home-state prerogative to block the president’s nomination of circuit Judge William Thomas of Miami, who is also gay and black, for the same position. Rubio initially backed Thomas’ nomination.

That reversal appears unlikely to be Gayles’ fate. In an emailed statement, Rubio said he welcomes the president’s nomination, adding that: “I do not anticipate having an objection to moving forward on any of these nominations pending the outcome of the customary background check conducted on every nominee.”

Democrats have high hopes for Alex Sink’s campaign in a Tampa-area district.

tartantambourine:

Based on his vote on “key moral issues,” the late Florida Republican Rep. Bill Young was awarded the Family and Freedom Award from the Christian Voice, which has been described as the nation’s largest conservative religious lobby. But the Tampa Bay Times just published this astonishing story on the congressman’s long secret “family values” — or lack of them. Another lesson for all of us in the hypocrisy of some of our politicians.

Much of the Florida shoreline was once too cold for the tropical trees called mangroves, but the plants are now spreading northward at a rapid clip, scientists reported Monday. That finding is the latest indication that global warming, though still in its early stages, is already leading to ecological changes so large they can be seen from space.

Along a 50-mile stretch of the central Florida coast south of St. Augustine, the amount of mangrove forest doubled between 1984 and 2011, the scientists found after analyzing satellite images. They said the hard winter freezes that once kept mangroves in check had essentially disappeared in that region, allowing the plants to displace marsh grasses that are more tolerant of cold weather.

Following a petition drive that garnered more than 160,000 signatures, a Florida school district will rename a high school whose current name commemorates a Confederate general and the first “grand wizard” of the Ku Klux Klan.

Nathan B. Forrest High School in Jacksonville will soon be known as something else after the community made clear to the Duval County Public School Board that they wanted the school changed. The board voted unanimously Monday night to remove the Forrest name.

Jacksonville and Duval County finally and at long last appear to be doing the right thing.

Jet-set art collectors may sneer at the sun-baked Florida city, but they could not be more wrong. Miami is full of cultural riches, argues Jason Farago.

The chairman of the Republican Party of Florida on Monday called for U.S. Rep. Trey Radel to step down following his recent cocaine conviction.

Chairman Lenny Curry joined a growing number of Republican leaders from Radel’s district demanding his resignation.

"The people of Florida’s 19th Congressional District need a Congressman who is 100 percent focused on the needs of Southwest Florida," Curry said in a news release. "Therefore, Congressman Radel should step down and focus his attention on rehabilitation and his family."