Volume 5 Number 17
April 25, 2008

This week we enjoyed the 38th Earth Day at the Capitol in celebration of the beautiful state in which we live. From the Panhandle to the Keys, Floridians love the beauty of our beaches, trails, rivers and hills. Earth Day raises awareness of the ongoing need to protect these natural places. The theme for this year’s day was Celebrating Environmental Citizenship in Our Community, At Home, At Work and At School.

The Departments of Environmental Protection and Education partnered with a number of federal, state, local and community organizations to host booths, exhibits and informational programs during Earth Day at the Capitol.

Visitors helped sew oyster mats for environmental oyster bed restoration, received recipes for green cleaning supplies, learned to compost from yard and kitchen scraps, and viewed exhibits from DOE's Learn and Serve student service learning projects from around the state.

The celebration of Earth Day recognizes the important role education and science can play in environmental protection. The first official Earth Day was held in 1970 with the mission of uniting the world toward a common cause of environmental protection and conservation.

Earth Day makes us aware that concern about our environment and conservation of our natural resources are the responsibility of every one of us. Florida citizens and visitors love what Florida offers, from the array of recreational possibilities to a soothing view of the sun setting through the trees. Let's work together to keep it ecologically sound and environmentally healthy by making every day earth day!
 


CFO Alex Sink and DEP Secretary Michael Sole learn about oyster bed restoration at the Nature Conservancy booth. The process is described in the poster below.


For a larger image, click here.

The Florida State Parks' exhibit offered brochures describing the variety of parks across the state used for recreational enjoyment and environmental preservation.
Governor Crist addresses the crowd along with DEP Secretary Sole, Lt. Governor Kottkamp, DOE Commissioner Smith, CFO Sink and lots of Girl and Boy Scouts.


FHP badges waiting to be awarded at the graduation ceremony


CFO Sink congratulates Trooper Elizabeth Shepperd, the winner of the Executive Director's Award. 

CFO SINK SPEAKS AT THE FLORIDA HIGHWAY PATROL'S 115th RECRUIT CLASS GRADUATION

On Thursday, CFO Sink was the keynote speaker at the Florida Highway Patrol’s 115th recruit class graduation. Thanking them for their sacrifices, she praised the FHP’s mission of protecting Floridians through service, education, and enforcement.

The 115th recruit class consisted of 37 men and five women. Recruits must endure a 30-week training session, an extensive application process, and relocate upon completion of the program.

CFO Alex Sink, left, observes as Executive Director Electra Bustle, second from left, presents Trooper Christopher Stephens, second from right, with the Class President's Award. Colonel John Czernis,  right, looks on.

 


 

CFO WELCOMES BROWARD DAYS DELEGATION

Florida CFO Alex Sink joined more than 200 Broward Days participants on the eve of their 20th Annual two-day event that brings county leaders, citizens and business leaders to Tallahassee to advocate for the regions’ concerns.

CFO Sink congratulated the group on the transformation of Broward County over the last several decades from what was primarily a resort and retirement-based economy to a diverse business community with home grown companies such as Blockbuster, AutoNation and JM Family Enterprises, just to name a few.

 


“Broward County was once known almost exclusively for Annette Funicello and its affordability for retirees from our northern states,” said Sink. “Thanks to the vision of leaders like many of you in this room, today it is a thriving multicultural business community and boasts a thriving urban downtown with housing, arts, entertainment and shopping venues, and a strong business community.”

The crowd responded enthusiastically to the CFO’s report on the importance of Florida’s marine industries to the region, which is forecast to become the n
umber one cruise ship port of call within the decade and is currently among the busiest ports in the U.S. for ethanol and other fuels.

The CFO was thanked for her service to Florida, particularly for her work on reducing the looming CAT Fund assessments that Floridians pay when the next big hurricane strikes.



C
rew approaching a propane fire

STATE FIRE MARSHAL'S TRAINING FOR FLORIDA’S VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTERS

The temperature hovered at near 39 degrees as 150 volunteer firefighters from all over the State of Florida gathered on April 16, 2008, in the auditorium of the Florida State Fire College in Ocala to kick off Volunteer Week. All the classes that day started in the warmth of the classroom; however, by the time Vehicle Extrication, Fire Safety and Survival Techniques, and Basic Fire Ground Skills moved outside, the weather was beautiful and continued that way through the entire event.

A group from Basic Fire Ground Skills, looking over pump operations on the engine

Instructors shared information about the tragic death of two volunteer firefighters in the Colorado wildfires last week which seemed to set the tone that safety and protection of our own were key for the week.

Dave Casey, Superintendent at the Fire College, said, “Our goal is to provide training in a safe environment and that this message is taken back to the local departments. Volunteers serve tirelessly in their communities and the 15th annual event gives us a chance to give back to them with the free training.”
CONTINUED


CFO Sink with Baker County Sheriff Joey Dobson, left, and Manatee County Sheriff Brad Steube, right. Sheriff Dobson is president of the Florida Sheriffs Association.

SECOND ANNUAL FLORIDA SHERIFFS' DAY AT THE CAPITOL

The Florida Sheriffs Association gathered at the Capitol on Thursday to display a selection of high-tech equipment used to protect the citizens of Florida. A mobile command center, a hazardous device robot, an all-terrain armored vehicle for SWAT deployment, an airboat, motorcycles and other assorted gear were available for inspection.

Sheriffs from all over the state were representing their counties and taking time to discuss legislative issues.

CFO Sink touring St. Johns County's state-of-the-art emergency mobile command center
Jacksonville Sheriff's SWAT all-terrain, armored vehicle for bulldozing, fork lifting, and bombarding as needed. The cab is air-conditioned and heated. This vehicle is deployed for all SWAT calls.
Leon County Hazardous Device Team with an all-terrain robot and an 80 lb. protective suit.

Money-Smart
Idea of the Week

Idea: Replace your old "heat bulbs" with CFLs

Replace incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent light (CFLs) bulbs, which use 75% less energy and last 10 times longer. You can save about $30 or more in electricity costs over each bulb's lifetime. CFLs produce about 75 percent less heat, so they're safer to operate and can cut energy costs associated with home cooling. CFLs are now available in a variety of styles, shapes and sizes, to fit in almost any fixture, indoors and outdoors, including floodlights and dimmable bulbs. And with increased production, prices have come down.

Make it a habit to replace an old "heat bulb" with a CFL - it makes sense to save energy and money.

For more financial savings tips click here: http://www.myfloridamoney.com/FLSaves.htm


FREE FORECLOSURE WORKSHOP ON SATURDAY

A free workshop will be held from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at Lemon Bay High School, 2201 Placida Road, Englewood, on the "ABCs of Avoiding Foreclosure."

Co-sponsored by State Rep. Michael Grant, R-Port Charlotte, and Florida's Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, the workshop's goal is to help homeowners learn more about the importance of a healthy mortgage.

The workshop will cover the following topics: evaluating your situation, defining delinquency, identifying the players, learning how to work with your lender, understanding the alternatives to foreclosure, and what a counseling session can offer.

The nonprofit Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Central Florida and the Florida Gulf Coast Inc. will present the program.

For more information visit www.cccsfl.org.


 

RETIREES, DISABLED VETS CAN STILL FILE FOR 2008 STIMULUS PAYMENTS

Even though April 15 has passed, the Internal Revenue Service is reminding retirees, disabled veterans and others who normally do not file a tax return that there is still time to submit a 2007 form to receive an economic stimulus payment.

People who have no tax filing requirement but have at least $3,000 in qualifying income should file a simple Form 1040A. Qualifying income includes any combination of earned income, nontaxable combat pay as well as certain payments from Social Security, Veterans Affairs and Railroad Retirement.

“Don’t worry if you did not file a return by April 15. If you meet the criteria, you are still eligible for a stimulus payment. The quicker you file, the quicker you’ll get your payment,” said Doug Shulman, IRS Commissioner. People must file a return by October 15 to receive an economic stimulus payment this year. CONTINUED
 

 

ECONOMIC STIMULUS CHECKS ON THE WAY

The U.S. Treasury will start sending economic stimulus checks to qualifying Americans next week, which will pump billions into the U.S. economy, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said on Thursday.

More than 800,000 electronic payments will be sent to tax filers per day on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of next week, with an additional 5 million sent on Friday, May 2. Close to 8 million people will get their stimulus payments next week.

Paulson said the distribution of rebate payments totaling more than $100 billion will be largely completed by the end of June, well before the previous goal of summer's end.

He said the economy had slowed down significantly, noting that "last quarter was a tough quarter," with continued downside risks from housing and from financial market turmoil.