Government Relations

The Legisgator

A newsletter for the Gator Caucus

Publication Date: February 13, 2012

Hello, and welcome to The LegisGator, the University of Florida’s newsletter designed for members of the Gator Caucus. The LegisGator is a quick read featuring UF news bites you may have missed but would like to share with your fellow lawmakers or others.

Gator Day in Tallahassee

Join the University of Florida, Florida Blue Key, Student Government and the UF Alumni Association Thursday, Feb. 16, for Gator Day. Participants will attend leadership speaker sessions with cabinet members, Gator Legislative Caucus members and Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Canady. The UF Alumni Association is hosting a welcome lunch reception in the Capitol Courtyard featuring remarks by President Bernie Machen, Alumni Association leadership and Capital Area Gator Club members. The day will end with an evening reception honoring Tallahassee Florida Blue Key Leadership Honorary. For lunch registration, please visit http://www.ufalumni.ufl.edu/advocacy/

Did you know?

Bioglass, the first man-made substance known to bond with living human bone and soft tissue, was invented by a University of Florida material sciences and engineering faculty member.

Economic impact in all 67 counties

UF infuses $8.76 billion into the Florida economy each year and provides more than 106,000 jobs directly and indirectly. For a county-by-county look at UF's impact, go to this website. The University of Florida – Working for Florida.

This week's spotlight:

Representative from District 9, Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda (D)

Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda (D)

Gator connection: Rep. Rehwinkel Vasilinda graduated from the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law

Background: Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2008. She represents the 9th district, which includes parts of Leon, Jefferson and Gadsden counties. She serves on the Agriculture & Natural Resources Appropriations Subcommittee, the Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee, the Energy & Utilities Subcommittee the Finance & Tax Committee and the Rulemaking & Regulation Subcommittee. By request of the Speaker of the House, she also served as a member of the Agriculture and Energy Committee at the National Council of State Legislatures in Philadelphia. She attended New College in Sarasota from 1977 to 1982, and she graduated from University of South Florida in 1982. She went to University of Florida Law School and graduated in 1985. She is married to Mike Vasilinda and has two daughters.

This week’s featured faculty:

Frank Mazzotti, professor of wildlife ecology

Lonnie Ingram

Frank Mazzotti

Frank Mazzotti is a professor in the department of wildlife ecology and conservation. His areas of expertise are conservation and landscape ecology, endangered and invasive species, and environmental education. His current efforts focus on ecosystem restoration and management in the Florida Everglades. His Everglades programs include monitoring ecological responses of alligators and crocodiles to ecosystem restoration and evaluating and assessing risks and impacts of invasive species and effects of climate change on invasive species. His significant research includes providing the scientific foundation for reclassifying the American crocodile from endangered to threatened and providing scientific support for the initiation and assessment of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Assessment plan. Recently, he has focused his program on invasive species and climate change, both high-priority issues. His invasive species program looks at Burmese pythons, Argentine tegus and Nile monitors among other invasive amphibians and reptiles and has influenced national policy. He received his bachelor of arts in social and behavioral sciences from Johns Hopkins University. In 1981, he received a master’s degree in biology from University of Miami, and in 1983 he received a doctorate in ecology from The Pennsylvania State University.

News Bites

UF report: 2011 shark attacks remain steady, deaths highest since 1993

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Shark attacks in the U.S. declined in 2011, but worldwide fatalities reached a two-decade high, according to the University of Florida’s International Shark Attack File report released today.
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Commonly used vitamin could help produce ‘good’ cholesterol, UF researchers find

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Maintaining healthy cholesterol levels can keep heart disease, heart attack and stroke away. And a commonly used vitamin could help by increasing production of “good” cholesterol in the body, researchers at the University of Florida College of Medicine-Jacksonville have found. The findings were published recently in the journal Metabolism, Clinical and Experimental.
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UF named Regional University Transportation Center, awarded funds

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The University of Florida will receive $3.5 million in federal funds for transportation research as a newly chosen Regional University Transportation Center.
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UF research: Blueberry wine has more antioxidants than many grape-based wines

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Blueberry wine can provide more potentially healthy compounds than white wines and many red wines, according to a new University of Florida study.
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UF survey: Florida consumer confidence surges upward in January

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Consumer confidence among Floridians surged in January, up seven points to 77 from a revised December reading of 70, marking a steady rise in optimism, according to a University of Florida survey.
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UF studies show promise for biological control methods against insects

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — For years, scientists have tried to use environmentally friendly fungi to control fire ant infestations.
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Citrus greening costs $3.63 billion in lost revenues and 6,611 jobs, new UF study shows

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Since 2006, the bacterial disease citrus greening has cost Florida’s economy an estimated $3.63 billion in lost revenues and 6,611 jobs by reducing orange juice production, according to a new study from the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.
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UF researchers develop gene therapy that could correct a common form of blindness

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — A new gene therapy method developed by University of Florida researchers has the potential to treat a common form of blindness that strikes both youngsters and adults. The technique works by replacing a malfunctioning gene in the eye with a normal working copy that supplies a protein necessary for light-sensitive cells in the eye to function. The findings are published today (Monday, Jan. 23) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences online.
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New drug could help reduce heart attack risk for cardiac patients awaiting surgery

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Heart patients who have stents that prop open blocked arteries often face a dilemma when they need open heart surgery: Continue taking life-saving blood thinners but risk severe bleeding during surgery, or stop taking the medicines and risk a heart attack.
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