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Briefs | The Phoenix Flyer

FL’s rural school districts get money to expand student mental health services during COVID-19

The new academic school year continues to be a stressful time for students, with kids trying to adjust to a social distance learning environment at brick-and-mortar schools or deal with the challenges of online learning.At a roundtable discussion on mental health this week, First Lady Casey DeSantis said that "mental wellness was something we needed to prioritize before the pandemic -- this has just made it even more important."She announced $2 million to bolster mental health resources for 18 of Florida's rural counties.The counties are: Bradford, Calhoun, DeSoto, Dixie, Glades, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Hardee, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Lafayette, Levy, Liberty,...

Free speech rights: Lawyers ask U.S. Supreme Court to overturn judgment in environmentalist Hurchalla...

Lawyers for Martin County environmental activist Maggy Hurchalla have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a $4.4-million judgment in a South Florida lawsuit.Hurchalla, the sister of former Miami Dade State Attorney and U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno contends the judgement endangers the rights of the public to raise questions about environmental issues.Hurchalla raised questions about a rock mining company seeking permits from the Martin County Commission and suggested it would seriously damage the environment.She was sued by the owners of the mining company, Lake Point Development, after Martin County Commissioners made decisions adverse to the developer.  The award...

FL Bar members give high marks to Carlos Muñiz, other appeals judges up for...

Florida attorneys expressed confidence in appellate judges subject to merit-retention votes on Nov. 3, including Florida Supreme Court Justice Carlos Muñiz, appointed to the state’s highest court by Gov. Ron DeSantis last year, in a poll of its members by The Florida Bar.Seventy-one percent favored retaining Muñiz, while judges serving on Florida’s five district courts of appeal pulled support in the 71 percent to 90 percent range, the Bar said.“The Florida Bar offers the merit retention poll to voters to help them assess jurists on the ballot,” Florida Bar President Dori Foster-Morales said.“While voters may be familiar with the...

Appeals court sides with employee, upholds $4 million award in retaliatory firing dispute

A split federal appeals court has reinstated a $4 million arbitration award to a Miami investment adviser fired by Citigroup Global Markets Inc. for behaving abusively toward co-workers.It was a rare arbitration win by an employee against a major corporation.A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit ruled, 2-1, that the arbitrator could reasonably have concluded that Citi axed “star performer” Christian Gherardi for threatening to force arbitration after his supervisors sent him a “final warning” letter following “inappropriate and abusive behavior towards colleagues.”The majority ruling by Judge Britt Grant cited the enormous deference that...
Florida Supreme Court

Lawyer prepared to drop secondary challenge to Renatha Francis’ Supreme Court nomination

A lawyer pursuing a parallel challenge to Gov. Ron DeSantis’ abortive effort to place Renatha Francis on the Florida Supreme Court says he’ll withdraw his petition now that the governor has placed a qualified justice on the court.“I’m a little surprised the court hasn’t ruled on it already to say that it’s moot,” Jacksonville attorney Terry Bork said in a telephone interview Wednesday.Failing that, he said, “I’ll probably dismiss it.”As of Wednesday afternoon, the docket reflected that the case remained active.Bork filed his challenge on behalf of Robert Burch Jr., a former Ohio attorney and former state senator who...

Gov. DeSantis travels to White House for signing of ‘Abraham Accords’ between Israel, Gulf...

Gov. Ron DeSantis traveled to the White House on Tuesday to attend the signing ceremony commencing formal recognition between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.There was no advance word of the governor’s travel plans. Although his communications office had done a better job of late of giving timely notice of DeSantis’ daily schedule, notice that he would attend the noon ceremony arrived in reporters’ inboxes at 1:18 p.m.Press aides had no immediate reply to a request for comment.DeSantis also attended talks between Trump and Israeli leaders in January. The governor has often spoken of his ambition to...
University of Florida

Only two universities in Florida are listed in the cream-of-the-crop national universities rankings

The public University of Florida and private University of Miami are the only universities in the state that made it into a cream-of-the-crop list of 50 national universities —  those with expansive undergraduate and graduate programs and big research budgets.The 2021 rankings released Monday by U.S. News and World Report showed UF in Gainesville ranked 30, tied with New York University, Tufts University and University of California -- Santa Barbara.Miami, in Coral Gables, squeezed into the 50-list at a ranking of 49, tied with Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, Northeastern University in Boston and Pepperdine University in California.The national universities...

Miami-Dade and Broward schools prepare for brick-and-mortar instruction, despite COVID-19

Starting Monday, Florida's largest public school districts — Miami-Dade and Broward — will begin preparing the opening of brick-and-mortar schools, following virtual instruction at the start of the academic year.The decision came as Gov. Ron DeSantis officially moved Miami-Dade and Broward counties into "phase two" — effective Monday — of what's been called the "reopening" of Florida in the COVID-19 pandemic. That means boosting the economy and others measures, including getting kids back to school."Of course, the most significant aspect of that, is it really clears the pathway for in-person instruction to resume -- of course, at the parents...

Lagoa, Muñiz on president’s list of possible U.S. Supreme Court justices, should an opening...

Two Floridians are on the list of potential U.S. Supreme Court justices released this week by the White House: Barbara Lagoa of the U.S. Court of Appeal for the 11th Circuit and Carlos Muñiz of the Florida Supreme Court.Theirs are among 20 names President Trump released on Wednesday as campaigning begins in earnest for the Nov. 3 general election.“Should there be another vacancy on the Supreme Court during my presidency, my nominee will come from the names I have shared with the American public, including the original list and these 20 additions,” Trump said in written remarks.Lagoa was among...

Despite COVID-19, 2.2 million kids in the Class of 2020 took the SAT exam...

Average scores on the SAT college entrance exam dropped for the graduating Class of 2020, across the country and in Florida, the New York-based College Board announced Wednesday.The good news: "Members of the class of 2020 were able to take the SAT before COVID caused shutdowns across the world—on the weekend and increasingly in the school setting during the school day," Priscilla Rodriguez, VP, College Readiness Assessments, said in a statement.The not-so-good-news: The Class of 2021 has faced "unprecedented" disruptions because of COVID-19 and next year's results will "reflect the impact of COVID-19 on the class of 2021,” Rodriguez...

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