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Takeaways from Tallahassee — Fly like a birdie

Top-flight tourney

It’s been 75 years since the one and only Chuck Yeager — the famous test pilot forever immortalized in “The Right Stuff” — became the first human to “punch a hole in the sky” by shattering the sound barrier while flying an experimental Bell X-1 plane that reached Mach 1.

The state authorized group that provides help to veterans is remembering this moment in history — which occurred on Oct. 14, 1947 — as a way to raise money for its efforts.

Chuck Yeager’s family is looking for “Sound Barrier Sponsors.” Image via AP.

This Nov. 14  — the Monday after Veterans Day — there will be a golf tournament held at Southwood Golf Club in Tallahassee to commemorate Yeager’s feat. Victoria Scott Yeager, the widow of Chuck Yeager, will be on hand to serve as honorary chair of the event. Brigadier General Yeager died in December 2020.

Money raised by the tournament will go to the Florida Veterans Foundation as well as the General Chuck Yeager Legacy Foundation and the Marine Corps League Tallahassee.

In a letter promoting the event, Victoria Scott Yeager wrote that “General Yeager never met a challenge that he could not overcome, and we are extending the same challenge to you to become a Sound Barrier Sponsor… Many veterans are in need of financial, mental and other assistance to give them hope for a better future. You can make a difference with your support.”

The event planned for Nov. 14 will kick off with a ceremony to “honor our heroes” while the golf tournament will also include hole-in-one contests as well as contests for the longest drive and closest to the pin. There will also be an online auction.

There are a whole range of sponsorships being offered for the event starting at $250 to honor a veteran and company all the way up to $7,500 for a Sound Barrier Sponsorship. Many of the sponsorships come with an opportunity to meet and greet and take a photo with Victoria Scott Yeager.

The Florida Veterans Foundation was created in 2008 and is supported by donations and grants and fundraisers. The foundation helps provide emergency aid, support for mental health services for veterans and the organization recruits volunteers to provide support for veterans.

The majority of the foundation’s directors are retired, military disabled veterans who donate more than 40 hours per week of their time to assist and help guide Florida’s veterans through myriad issues confronting them.


Coming up, the usual assortment of news, intel and observations from the week that was in Florida’s capital city by Peter Schorsch, Drew Wilson, Renzo Downey, Christine Jordan Sexton and the staff of Florida Politics.

But first …

Take 5

The “Takeaway 5” — the Top 5 stories from the week that was:

Gov. DeSantis delays taxes, wants Special SessionRon DeSantis signed an executive order postponing property tax payments for residents severely affected by Hurricane Ian. “The last thing we want is someone loses their home and then they get hit up for property taxes for a home that doesn’t exist anymore,” he said during an event in Fort Myers Beach. The order delays payments on property taxes for both residential homes and commercial properties in the 26 counties approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for individual assistance. He also announced plans for a Special Session to provide property tax rebates for homeowners and business owners. Plus, the Legislature could provide local governments in Southwest Florida with funding for essential services.

Election police arrest immigrant, judge rejects first case — The state Election Crime Unit has arrested a Jamaican man who investigators say voted in Broward County but is living in the country illegally. Alfred Samuels voted in two Broward Special Elections this year, according to the Department of Law Enforcement. He registered to vote there in March 2021 under an alias using a counterfeit birth certificate, according to FDLE. The arrest comes as fallout continues to spin around the law enforcement unit’s first arrests of felons who voted in 2020. This week, body camera footage from some of the prior arrests showed suspects who were confused and officers who were sympathetic to their confusion. And on Friday, a Miami judge rejected the first case, ruling that the Office of Statewide Prosecutor lacked jurisdiction.

Board of Education adopts controversial policies — The State Board of Education has approved an array of rule changes, including measures on bathrooms, reviewing instructional material and punishing teachers who violate state law on discussing gender identity and sexual orientation. Many of the rules were political flashpoints during this year’s Session, and several of those debates played out again in Orlando in a meeting that, at times, was heated, with Board Chair Tom Grady at one point telling the audience, “this is not a sports event.” Moms for Liberty Co-Founder Tiffany Justice advocated for pulling the licenses of “activist teachers,” and one teacher drove the audience to their feet with a speech accusing the Board of believing teachers are pushing a “socialist agenda.”

Sanibel reconnected, students return post-Ian — The Sanibel Causeway is opening to civilian traffic ahead of schedule. DeSantis made the announcement replete with a test run for the first civilian vehicles. Emergency workers and power restoration crews were able to access the island last week after temporary repairs were completed. “When you have real significant damage like that you can’t let it toil for months without attention. We needed to get people back as soon as possible,” DeSantis said. The reopening of the causeway on Wednesday came ahead of the original goal of Oct. 31 and the Oct. 24 time frame DeSantis set last week. Plus, all students are back in school this week, even if it means they’re attending a new school.

Meeting on gender-affirming care back on — A public meeting on the efficacy of transgender care that was canceled for Hurricane Ian has been rescheduled for Friday in Orlando. Members of the Florida Board of Medicine and Board of Osteopathic Medicine Joint Rules/Legislative Committee will hold a five-hour meeting at the Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport. Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo has asked the boards to prohibit patients under the age of 18 from receiving sex-reassignment surgery and puberty-blocking hormone treatments. Ladapo also asked the boards to change the standard-of-care rules to require older patients seeking gender-affirming care to sign a consent form and to wait 24 hours before starting such treatments.

Lifeboat for fishers

DeSantis is casting a line to the Florida fishing industry in places affected by Hurricane Ian.

The Governor waived an eligibility requirement sole proprietors with businesses located in Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Lee and Sarasota counties for them to receive assistance through the state Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program.

“Our marine fisheries have sustained huge impacts as a result of Hurricane Ian and those impacts are far reaching,” DeSantis said in a statement. “I am committed to ensuring that Florida’s fishing industry stays afloat, and that includes supporting the Floridians who make their living on the water.”

Ron DeSantis is captaining Florida fisherman through a difficult time. Image via Jacob Ogles.

Businesses in 23 counties can access $50 million from the fund after Hurricane Ian. Of that, $10 million is set aside for the six counties that received the exception on Thursday for agriculture producers.

Small businesses have until Dec. 2 to apply, or until funds run out.

“Thanks to Governor DeSantis’ strong leadership and compassionate approach to ensuring that Floridians and their businesses are able to recover quickly from the impact that Hurricane Ian has caused on their livelihoods, sole proprietors within the Marine Fisheries Industry with businesses located in Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Lee, and Sarasota counties can now apply to receive this critical assistance,” said Dane Eagle, Secretary of the Department of Economic Opportunity. “Florida’s small business owners in need of assistance are encouraged to apply for the Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program at www.FloridaJobs.org/EBL.”

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