DeSantis: parts of Florida 'on the other side' of outbreak
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says that parts of the state are now “on the other side” of the coronavirus outbreak, and said he would soon announce whether he would lift edicts that shuttered much of the state’s economy in the wake of the pandemic. The governor said in a press briefing in Orlando that the “hysteria” in the early weeks of the outbreak has not materialized in Florida, despite dire predictions that speculated many more deaths than the 1,000 the state has thus far recorded. As of Sunday, the state had more than 31,500 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Louisville football signee shot and killed in Florida
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Police in Florida say a high school football star who had signed a letter of intent to play for the University of Louisville was fatally shot late Saturday night. Orlando police say Dexter Rentz Jr. was the only one killed when four people were shot in a crime called in to authorities shortly after 11 p.m. The senior wide receiver planned to play for Louisville next season. As a sophomore in 2017, he set a state record when he intercepted five passes in a single game. In a radio interview last year, he said his goal was to grow as a leader and help other "young guys see that there’s more to it than football.”
$7M to improve land and water in Florida, Georgia
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A land conservation group is getting $7 million in federal money to improve land and water in parts of the Florida Panhandle and south Georgia. Tallahassee-based Tall Timbers says it’s getting the money from the National Resources Conservation Service. It comes from the 2018 federal farm bill. Tall Timbers says it will use the money to improve water quality, wildlife habitat and economic opportunities in the watersheds of the Aucilla and St. Marks rivers. The project will buy conservation easements, help with habitat management on public and private lands, and share costs to improve farmland.
Tampa mayor lightheartedly apologizes to NFL's Tom Brady
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Tampa Mayor Jane Castor is poking fun at last week's attention-grabbing incident involving NFL superstar Tom Brady. Tampa didn’t exactly give Brady the best of welcomes when he was ejected from a downtown park while working out last Monday. In a letter posted on social media, the mayor apologized “for the miscommunication," saying her previous law enforcement background prompted her to "investigate the sighting of a G.O.A.T running wild in one of our beautiful city parks.” Brady is considered by some as the NFL's “greatest of all time.” Brady recently left the New England Patriots to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Florida authorities warn of road rage among mating gators
BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) — Aggressive driving is always a hazard, but officials say Florida drivers also have to be on the lookout for potentially aggressive alligators, especially around this time of year. The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office warned motorists that it’s that time of year when alligators, um, fall in love but might not always be so affectionate. A male gator measuring 9-feet-2-inches had to be removed from a roadway after it was spotted “being aggressive with traffic” on Friday. Sheriff’s deputies captured the reptile and relocated him to an alligator farm. Wildlife officials say mating season in Florida begins in early April and could continue into June.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-FLORIDA UNEMPLOYMENT
Florida unemployment website down through weekend
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Floridians trying to check the status of their unemployment claims will have to wait another three days. The state website to check on claims was showing a message Friday that said it would be down until Monday morning. It's another source of frustration in a state were 700,000 people have filed unemployment claims since March 15. Less than a third of those claims have been processed and only about one in five Floridians with valid claims have received a payment. Floridians took to social media again Friday to express anger, compare how many hours they’d spent trying to log on and to demand answers from lawmakers.
Republicans eager to reopen economy; Democrats more cautious
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Mostly Republican governors in a handful of states are racing ahead with reboots to their economy before they have met key health benchmarks recommended to control the coronavirus outbreak. Their approach stands in contrast to numerous Democratic governors who continue to maintain a cautious approach to reopening and have said they will base their decisions primarily on public health data. Governors pushing to fast-track their economic rebounds say they don’t want to endanger their residents, but numerous public health experts say that is what could happen if they don't slow down.
FORMER CONGRESSWOMAN-FRAUD TRIAL
Ex-US Rep Brown out of prison early amid virus concerns
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Former U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown has been released from federal prison. Once a powerful Florida Democrat, her release comes amid coronavirus concerns after she served just over two years of a five-year sentence for fraud and other crimes related to a purported charity for poor students that she used as a personal slush fund. The U.S. Bureau of Prisons website says Brown was released recently, but no other details were provided. Her attorney asked a judge earlier this month to release Brown to protect her from the coronavirus pandemic but withdrew the request the next day. Brown was convicted in 2017 on charges including fraud and lying on tax returns and congressional financial disclosures.
Supersonic jet company plans to relocate to Florida
MELBOURNE, Fla. (AP) — A company that hopes to make supersonic business jets is coming to Florida. Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Friday that Aerion Supersonic has agreed to relocate its headquarters in Melbourne, Florida. Company president Tom Vice said Aerion plans to break ground at Orlando Melbourne International Airport by the end of the year and employ 675 people at the plant by 2026. The company says the average salary will be $105,000. The company’s website says it is developing the AS2, which will be able to travel at 1,000 mph but no sonic boom will be heard on the ground.
Firm behind monster trucks, ice shows lays off workers