2017 Watermark WAVE Awards – WAVES FINALIST ROUND

By : Watermark Staff
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Watermark spent the last week sorting through and counting every ballot, and here it is – the FINAL round for the 2017 Watermark WAVE Awards!

Below are links to the FINALISTS for Central Florida and Tampa Bay/Sarasota.

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From London to LA, women’s marches pack cities big and small

By : Wire Report
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CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago. Oklahoma City. London. Los Angeles.

Across the globe, cities big and small saw throngs of women, men and children take to the streets Jan. 21 in a show of unity and support for women’s rights. The swarms of marchers came together in the sunshine and rain to rally against sexism, racism and hatred and to protest President Donald Trump.

The crowds were so large that some U.S. cities ground to a halt as demonstrators overwhelmed streets, train stations and parks. The more than 600 “sister marches” were held in conjunction with the Women’s March on Washington a day after Trump’s inauguration.

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Florida dispensaries aim to ‘normalize’ medical marijuana

By : Wire Report
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TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Vials of cannabis-laced sprays, lotions and tinctures line display shelves a few steps from handbags specially designed to tote marijuana products.

A stylish kitchenette and table is on the opposite side of this Surterra Wellness Center medical marijuana showroom, space used to host educational sessions on the merits of the drug — something legal only under very strict circumstances in Florida until Amendment 2 took effect last week.

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2017 Watermark WAVE Awards – Tampa Bay/Sarasota

By : Watermark Staff
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This is the FINAL round for the 2017 Watermark WAVE Awards – Tampa Bay/Sarasota.

For your ballot to count, please take a moment to vote for your favorites in a minimum of 15 categories.

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Florida Gov. may serve as a model, and warning, for Trump

By : Wire Report
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – He was opposed by the Republican establishment. During a contentious campaign he spoke forcefully about the need to crack down on immigration. And he used millions of his own money to bolster his political career.

President-elect Donald Trump? No, Rick Scott, the current governor of Florida.

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Watermark endorses Jennifer Webb for District 69 in the Florida House of Representatives

By : Billy Manes
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As director of community partnerships at the University of South Florida, Jennifer Webb knows her way around the cacophony of dissent. She cuts a friendly character when we meet up in St. Petersburg, but she’s got the wonk-like traits that make a candidate a real politician, a life in academia notwithstanding.

“I went back to get an advanced degree, specifically because I wanted to have one foot in academia and one in the real world,” she says. “We need more really thoughtful people engaged in our process, whether that means coming up with common sense solutions through community work or through developing policies, that’s where I think certain people do the impact. That’s why I went back to an advanced degree for anthropology. And the anthropology that I do is anthropology in public policy, which is how certain policies can impact local communities and local businesses.”

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Judge extends Florida’s voter registration to Oct. 18

By : Wire Report
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A federal judge extended voter registration until Oct. 18 in the battleground state of Florida Oct. 12, due to the disruption and damage from Hurricane Matthew.

During a hearing, U.S. District Judge Mark Walker agreed to extend the deadline for six more days. He had already extended the Oct. 11 deadline one day, after the Florida Democratic Party filed a lawsuit last weekend, following the hurricane’s brush with Florida’s east coast.

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State must amend transgender teen’s birth certificate

By : Wire Report
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – Florida health officials say they will not fight a judge’s order that would change the gender on a transgender teen’s birth certificate from female to male.

The Department of Health told the Miami Herald that it will comply with Leon Circuit Judge Karen Gievers’ order to change the marker on the 15-year-old Fort Lauderdale resident’s birth certificate. The department routinely makes the change for adults who have transitioned from one sex to the other but says it asked for guidance from the judge because the applicant is a minor and has not undergone reassignment surgery.

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Arson suspected in fire at mosque attended by Pulse shooter

By : Wire Report
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FORT PIERCE, Fla. (AP) — Authorities in Florida are investigating an early morning fire Sept. 12 at the mosque that was attended by the Pulse nightclub shooter as a possible arson.

No injuries were reported in the fire, which happened on the first day of Eid al-Adha, the most important Muslim holiday. It is also the three-month anniversary of the deadly Orlando shooting.

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Rubio, Murphy win party Senate nominations; face-off in general election

By : Wire Report
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – Republican Sen. Marco Rubio’s presidential aspirations and insistence that he was done with the Senate didn’t hurt him with GOP voters, now it’s time to see if the rest of Florida will be as forgiving as he seeks a second term.

Rubio easily won the Republican nomination to retain his seat and will be challenged by Democratic U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, who defeated Congressman Alan Grayson in the Senate primary Aug. 30. It’s a race Democrats are targeting in an effort to regain a majority in the Senate, and their hope is that Rubio’s presidential ambitions have dulled the shine he had with Florida voters.

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Equal Time: Looking back, staring forward

By : Nadine Smith
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NadineCapWas the young man who fired a semi-automatic rifle into a crowd of more than 300 people at an Orlando gay bar an ISIS terrorist? Was he a closeted gay man lashing out explosively in the ultimate act of self-hatred? Was it both?

These were the questions I fielded from reporters in the days and weeks following the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.

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Attitudes toward LGBT community at odds across Florida

By : Wire Report
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Tallahassee, Fla. (AP) – Florida’s Key West is one of the most gay-friendly places in the country. The Florida Panhandle – many locals call it the Redneck Riviera – is a different story.

The massacre of 49 people in a gay nightclub happened between these extremes, forcing many Floridians to reconsider their assumptions about the state’s evolving culture.

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