Florida sues Cardona, claims college accreditation rules threaten state’s federal funding
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis held a news conference in Ybor City to announce a lawsuit filed in federal court pitting the state against U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona and others over Florida’s free choice, or lack thereof, regarding college accreditation agencies.
Prosecutor suspended by DeSantis loses bid to get job back
A federal judge has ruled that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis violated the First Amendment and the Florida Constitution by removing an elected state prosecutor, but that the federal courts lack the power to reinstate him because the case centered on state law.
Trial over Florida Gov. DeSantis’ removal of prosecutor on abortion ends
Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis wasn’t seeking political retaliation when he removed a prosecutor over abortion and transgender views, but simply wanted to ensure state law would be enforced, the governor’s attorney told a federal judge Thursday.
Arson suspect shot by deputies, captured after chase on I-4 in Polk and Hillsborough counties, sheriff says
A 30-year old Lakeland man faces multiple charges after he attempted to start a house fire in Lakeland and then led deputies on a chase that made its way onto Interstate 4, closing parts of the highway on Sunday, according to Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.
Florida lawmaker sues campaign manager, former DeSantis spokesman over explicit texts
State Rep. Jackie Toledo, a Tampa Republican who lost a primary bid for a congressional seat in August, has filed a lawsuit accusing campaign manager Fred Piccolo — a former spokesman for Gov. Ron DeSantis — of sending her “unwanted, unsolicited, inappropriate and grossly offensive harassing text messages and images.”
‘That’s not my dad:’ Video shows Florida deputy catch man accused of stealing truck with 2 children inside
A fast-acting Florida deputy pursued and arrested a man accused of driving away in a stolen truck with two children inside on Monday, body camera video posted by the Hillsborough County Sherriff’s Office shows.
DeSantis seeks dismissal of suit by suspended prosecutor
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis wants a federal judge to throw out a free speech lawsuit filed by a Democratic prosecutor he suspended from office over statements about not pursuing criminal charges in abortion, transgender rights and certain low-level cases.
Body cam video documents shooting of 88-year-old Florida man
A body camera video shows that a Florida deputy who fatally shot an 88-year-old man while checking on his welfare repeatedly identified herself, telling him to put his gun down and firing only after he advanced on her and threatened to shoot her.
Driving Change: Florida’s texting-while-driving law rarely enforced
That roadside encounter, in November, was the exception rather than the rule when it comes to enforcing a new Florida law against texting and driving. AdBut the new law against texting is rarely enforced, according to official state figures. The report also contained at least one major error – discovered after the fact by a news reporter – that overcounted texting tickets by hundreds. AdIn Miami-Dade County, with an estimated 2 million drivers, police wrote 295 texting tickets, or about six each week. Those provisions make the texting law difficult to enforce, said Kinsey, the Alachua County sheriff’s sergeant.
UPDATE: 1-year-old girl in stolen SUV found safe after Amber Alert
A 1-year-old girl who was inside an SUV when it was stolen from a residential Hillsborough County neighborhood has been found, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Hillsborough County deputies were searching for the stolen SUV they say was taken with a 1-year-old girl still inside the vehicle. An Amber Alert was issued for Tinnley Sage West shortly after. FDLE issued an Amber Alert for Tinnley shortly after the incident was report and then said the girl had been found less than an hour later. “The Florida AMBER Alert issued on 02/16/21 out of Hillsborough County for 1yo Tinnley West has been resolved.
COVID-19 vaccine doses stolen in Florida after car keys left in ignition
Plant City Police are looking for the man who stole a car containing vials of a COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday. The man was able to take the car because the keys were left in the ignition, records show. The vaccine was supposed to be distributed at the Plant City vaccination site, which is at the Strawberry Festival Grounds. Surveillance video shows person of interest in stolen vaccine case, police say (Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.) A nationwide alert has been put out to help find the stolen car, according to the release.
Tampa Bay makes best of Super Bowl week amid sour economy
This year, the Tampa Bay region probably won't generate even half that, said Sean Snaith, director of the University of Central Florida’s Institute for Economic Forecasting. “A lot of things you associate with a Super Bowl aren't going to happen,” Snaith said. AdRob Higgins, president and CEO of the Tampa Bay Super Bowl host committee, said the region is looking at the Super Bowl as an unparalleled marketing opportunity. Hotel occupancy in the Tampa area was about 53% during the first three weeks of January this year, said Visit Tampa Bay CEO Santiago Corrada. Same with baseball's Tampa Bay Rays, who lost the World Series to the Los Angeles Dodgers — in Arlington, Texas.
Central Florida seniors targeted for vaccination as state reports 8,281 new COVID-19 cases
Ron DeSantis plans to bring a “vaccine pod” to Central Florida, targeting a retirement community in Polk County. “We’re almost (at) 23%.”The vaccine pod announcement comes as Central Florida continues to see high demand for the vaccine. They tell me vaccine site at Amazon facility Groveland will be open M-F until further notice. [READ YESTERDAY’S REPORT: Florida sees another 9,480 COVID-19 cases as president ups vaccine goal ]Below is a breakdown of Florida COVID-19 data reported by the state on Jan. 27CasesThe Florida Department of Health reported 8,281 new cases on Wednesday bringing the state’s overall total to 1,676,171 cases since the coronavirus pandemic began in March. VaccinationsThe Florida Department of Health recently began releasing a daily report on COVID-19 vaccines administered throughout the state.
Osceola County schools consolidating meal distribution sites
A Hillsborough County lunch room worker holds up food while parents wait in a line Wednesday, April 15, 2020, at the Brandon High School in Brandon, Fla. Hillsborough County Schools have stopped daily breakfast and lunch pickups for students and are distributing a week's worth of food one day a week. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – Osceola County Public Schools announced Tuesday it’s consolidating its curbside meal program to fewer schools. The school district says it intends to provide free breakfast and lunch to virtual learning students through the rest of the semester but will be adjusting its curbside meal program next month. Elementary schools and Zenith Accelerated Learning Academy serving times are 9-9:30 a.m., middle school serving times are 10-10:30 a.m. and high school serving times are 3:30-4:30 p.m.District officials say Tuesday meals will be bundled with two breakfasts and two lunches per child. Current student ID card, birth certificate or any state-issued ID or passport are acceptable, OCPS officials said.
Man rams into patrol car, kills Florida deputy day before retirement
TAMPA, Fla. – A Florida sheriff’s deputy with one shift left before retirement was intentionally hit and killed by a man fleeing law enforcement, officials said. He was intentionally running that car into the corporal’s car.”Earlier Monday afternoon, deputies were called to Garrett’s apartment regarding erratic behavior. This time when deputies arrived, Garrett began attacking them, hitting Deputy Michael Durig, Jr. in the head multiple times, officials said. The sheriff said Garrett rammed through a back gate and crossed two lanes of traffic to intentionally hit LaVigne’s marked patrol car on the driver side with the front of his car, Chronister said. LaVigne is survived by his wife and two children, one of whom is also a deputy at the sheriff’s office.
Investigators reviewing video in case of Florida infant’s death
TAMPA, Fla. – Detectives are reviewing home video as part of their investigation into the death of a Florida infant who drowned in a bathtub as his mother slept, sheriff’s officials said. Eight-month-old Mateo Montoya died Sept. 5 at a Plant City hospital, according to a search warrant affidavit filed in November by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. Detectives said in the search warrant affidavit that they're considering a possible charge of aggravated manslaughter. Detectives obtained a search warrant Nov. 1 to inspect recordings stored in a digital video box beneath a television at the home. “A review of the digitally stored material/surveillance contained within the DVR box would assist with developing evidence for the investigation,” the affidavit said.
Sheriff: Florida rapper made music, then fatally shot 2 men
TAMPA, Fla. – A Florida rapper spent an evening recording music in a makeshift studio and then fatally shot two men who were with him, authorities say. Adams, who records under the name Ace NH, was jailed in Tampa without bail Sunday. They were shot Thursday night in a backyard shed Adams regularly used as a recording studio in the suburb of Lutz, investigators said. “It is clear that this suspect had no regard for human life, and now he will face the consequences for his actions," the sheriff added. The Tampa Bay Times reports that Adams has recorded three albums, two EPs and several singles, most recently an album called “Life Goes On.”
Presidential candidates visit Florida amid rising coronavirus numbers
Republicans in both counties have a slight edge in the state’s in-person early voting, which began last Saturday, including when Trump voted in Palm Beach County. CasesThe Florida Department of Health reported 4,198 new cases on Thursday, bringing the state’s overall total to 794,624 cases since March. As of Thursday’s coronavirus report, a total of 16,854 deaths across the state have been related to the coronavirus, a number that includes 206 non-resident deaths in Florida. HospitalizationsCurrently, there are 2,343 people with the virus hospitalized in Florida, according to the state Agency for Health Care Administration. [SEE YESTERDAY’S REPORT: Florida health experts report 4,115 new COVID-19 cases, 66 deaths]If you are having trouble viewing the dashboard on mobile, click here.
Trump, Biden appeal to Florida voters to turn out in person
“So glad this great GDP number came out before November 3rd,” Trump tweeted, predicting a dire reversal if Biden is elected. Biden was forced to wrap his speech up early at a drive-in rally at the Florida State Fairgrounds In Tampa after a brief shower turned into a torrential downpour. Biden's campaign also announced he will visit Minnesota Friday, hours before Trump holds a rally in one of the few Clinton-voting states Trump is hoping to pick up this year. Associated Press writers Tamara Lush in Tampa, Florida, Michelle Price in Bullhead City, Kathleen Ronayne in Phoenix, and Will Weissert and Brian Slodysko in Washington contributed to this report. ___AP’s Advance Voting guide brings you the facts about voting early, by mail or absentee from each state: https://interactives.ap.org/advance-voting-2020/.
Jailed for 37 years, Florida man cleared of murder, rape
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – After 37 years behind bars, a Florida man has been formally cleared of a 1983 rape and murder that new DNA evidence proved he did not commit despite testimony from a sketchy jailhouse informant and faulty bite mark analysis at the time. Robert DuBoise was released from prison last month after the new evidence surfaced. A hearing before Hillsborough County Circuit Judge Christopher Nash resulted in an order Monday wiping away the previous convictions and life sentence, and sex offender status. DuBoise, 55, was convicted in the murder of 19-year-old Barbara Grams who was attacked walking home from her Tampa mall job.