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Buzz on highways? Florida may see new honeybees license tags



The traditional Florida license plate with the two oranges may soon be taking a seat beside five new specialty plates. (Courtesy: STATE OF FLORIDA)


Fresh Take Florida News Service

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. โ€” Tired of the typical Florida orange stamped on the back of your car?

The Legislature is considering five new specialty license plate options for motorists, including ones promoting honeybees and the gopher tortoise. Another would pay for mental health counseling for shooting survivors of the Pulse nightclub shooting in 2016 in Orlando, which killed 49 people.

Orlando is still recovering emotionally from the devastating shootings, said Sen. Linda Stewart, D-Orlando, who proposed the new “Orlando United” plate. At the time, it was the deadliest mass shooting by a single person in U.S. history.

“It doesn’t go away overnight,” Stewart said. “It will take more than two, more than three, probably more than five years of counseling for those who need it.”

With approval from lawmakers, organizations that expect to receive funding from sales of the plates must receive approval from the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and pre-sell at least 1,000 of them. Then they become available to drivers on Florida’s highways.

Drivers would pay $25 each year for the specialty tags. It costs the state about $10,000 to set up printing for each new design.

The proposed “Save the Bees” plate could save bees buzzing on farms. It would provide funding to the Florida State Beekeepers Association for honeybee research and education. The group would spend the research money at the University of Florida’s Honey Bee Lab and Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, said Jennifer Holmes, the association’s president.

She said the nonprofit will ask members to propose plate designs.

One of the sponsors of the bill for the bees plate is newly elected Rep. Melony Bell, R-Fort Meade, whose husband is a commercial beekeeper. A House transportation subcommittee has already approved the bill, sending it to other committees for further consideration.

“If our bee population goes away, our food supply goes away,” Bell said. “We are losing bees each day.”

The Orlando plate would raise money for Mental Health Association of Central Florida Inc. and Two Spirit Health Services Inc. to offer free counseling to anyone affected by the nightclub shooting. Money would also build and maintain a memorial to victims.

Other new plates would recognize the gopher tortoise, which can be found in every Florida county, and the Highwaymen, a group of 26 African-American artists from Fort Pierce who used vivid colors to paint Florida landscapes from the 1950s to 1980s. The Highwaymen plate would pay to build and operate the Highwaymen Museum and African-American Cultural Center and provide art education in St. Lucie County public schools.

The “Protect the Gopher Tortoise” plate would provide money the Tampa nonprofit Wildlands Conservation Inc. It said it would use the funds to offer grants for research and acquiring and managing land that gopher tortoises inhabit.

The nonprofit has already drafted designs, and one of a gopher tortoise emerging from its burrow is a favorite, said David Sumpter, the organization’s executive director.

“Their burrows provide refuge for other species, making them a keystone in Florida,” Sumpter said.

Stewart, the lawmaker, also sponsored the bill for the tortoise plate. She said environmentally focused friends told her the species was in danger due to construction.

“When development happens, they get bulldozed over and killed,” she said.

A fifth, proposed new plate would recognize ethical tourism in Florida. Money from the plate’s sales would be split between the Florida Society for Ethical Ecotourism in Fort Myers and Paddle Florida Inc. in Gainesville.

This story was produced by Fresh Take Florida, a news service of the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications.


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The Nation

WIT’s Ellen Voie wins inaugural Cinderella to CEO of the Year honor



Women In Trucking Association President Ellen Voie, left, accepts a copy of the book โ€œFrom Cinderella to CEO, How to Master the 10 Lessons of Fairy Tales to Transform Your Work Lifeโ€ from its author Cary Broussard. Voie was named the 2019 Cinderella to CEO of the Year. (Courtesy: WOMEN IN TRUCKING)

PLOVER, Wis. โ€” Women In Trucking Association President and CEO Ellen Voie has been named the 2019 Cinderella to CEO of the Year โ€” along with winning her award category โ€œClimbing the Beanstalkโ€ โ€” for cultivating an innovative improvement to the workplace to create inroads for women to achieve career goals and enhanced work-life balance opportunities for all genders.

The Cinderella to CEO Awards recognize women who have overcome obstacles to change businesses, communities and industries for the better.

The inaugural awards, inspired by the book โ€œFrom Cinderella to CEO, How to Master the 10 Lessons of Fairy Tales to Transform Your Work Lifeโ€ by Cary Broussard, honored 200 women across industries and communities who were nominated for the awards.

“Our goal is to accelerate the successes of women who have worked hard and helped others to also succeed by connecting them to opportunities and each other,” said Broussard, CEO of Broussard Global. “In 2030, women in the U.S. are expected to control 75 percent of the wealth in this country. We want the wealth to be in the good, caring hands of those who strive to make the world a better place.”

Nine category winners, including Voie, were recognized by a distinguished Cinderella to CEO panel of judges for their support of other women, their transformational ability to overcome obstacles and barriers, and their desire to motivate others to accomplish their dreams. Each award category is tied to a chapter in Broussard’s book.

โ€œI am so honored to receive the very first Cinderella to CEO award, as there were hundreds of nominations featuring some amazing women who have done truly notable and altruistic projects,โ€ Voie said. โ€œI am especially thrilled to be recognized by an organization outside the trucking industry, which makes the award even more special.โ€

Women In Trucking Association is a nonprofit association established to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, promote their accomplishments and minimize obstacles faced by women working in the trucking industry. Membership is not limited to women, as 17 percent of its members are men who support the mission.



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The Nation

FMCSA explains Hours of Service proposed rule



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The Nation

10 finalists named in search for top rookie military veteran driver



Last yearโ€™s top military rookie Quinton Ward sits in the cab of his new Kenworth with Kurt Swihart, Kenworth marketing director. (Courtesy: KENWORTH TRUCK CO.)

KIRKLAND, Wash. โ€” The top 10 finalists have been named in the search for the top rookie veteran driver.

Kenworth has teamed with the FASTPORT Trucking Track Mentoring Program and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundationโ€™s Hiring our Heroes Program to find the top rookie military veteran, who has made the successful transition from active duty to driving for a commercial fleet.

The top 10 finalists with their military branch and current truck fleet include:

  • Chris Bacon/U.S. Marines/TMC Transportation
  • Thomas Blitch/U.S. Navy and Naval Reserves/Werner Enterprises
  • Wade Bumgarner/U.S. Navy/Veriha Trucking
  • Joseph Campbell/U.S. Marines and U.S. Army/Roehl Transport
  • Keso Going/U.S. Army/Epes Transport
  • Steve Harris/U.S. Marines/Stevens Transport
  • Kevin Lassing/ U.S. Army/U.S. Xpress
  • Maliq Melton, U.S. Army, Melton Truck Lines.
  • Monte Morrone/U.S. Army and U.S. Marines/Prime Inc.
  • Tim Raub/ U.S. Navy/Averitt Express

Drivers were nominated by trucking companies that made a hiring commitment and pledge to hire veterans on www.truckingtrack.orgย  or, by members of the National Association of Publicly Funded Truck Driving Schools, or Commercial Vehicle Training Association-member school.

โ€œThis yearโ€™s competition in the โ€œTransition Trucking: Driving for Excellenceโ€ program features an outstanding group of 10 finalists, who are representing their fleet and branch of military service. On behalf of Kenworth, we appreciate their dedication to excel as truck drivers in their new profession, and we are grateful for their military service to the country,โ€ said Kurt Swihart, Kenworth marketing director.

โ€œIt is important for organizations across the United States to especially reach out to our veterans to help them make a smooth transition back into civilian life. This is one way that the trucking industry is doing its part,โ€ said Brad Bentley FASTPORT president.

During the Great American Trucking Show August 22-24 in Dallas, three finalists in the recognition program will be announced as Americaโ€™s top rookie military drivers. All 10 drivers will receive special recognition at the President George W. Bush Library during a tour and reception. The final winner will be announced in December.

For further information on the Transition Trucking: Driving for Excellence award program, please visit





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