Governor Makes First Supreme Court Pick (Miami, FL) -- One day after being sworn in, Florida's new governor made his first of three Florida Supreme Court picks. Yesterday morning Ron DeSantis nominated Judge Barbara Lagoa. She was born and raised in South Florida, and currently serves on the Florida Third District Court of Appeal. She will be the first Hispanic woman to serve as a Florida Supreme Court justice.
UCF's Misuse Of Funds Was Strategic (Tallahassee, FL) -- UCF officials are facing what one lawmaker calls disturbing allegations. A state committee yesterday announced the school had, for five years, knowingly misused money to construct new buildings on campus. The issue came to light last summer when a state auditor found the school misused almost 40 million dollars for Trevor Colbourn Hall. The committee found the school had funded other projects in similar ways.
The committee found documents signed by then-President John Hitt and current President Dale Whittaker approving the illegal use. CFO Bill Merck resigned when the issue came to light last summer, but he recently told the Orlando Sentinel he was a scapegoat.State Representative Randy Fine is involved with the investigation, and he tells the Orlando Sentinel he's troubled by UCF's fundamental lack of governance.
Armed Standoff Ends Peacefully (DeLand, FL) -- A man is in custody after an armed standoff in Volusia County. It happened last night in DeLand on South High Street. Deputies say Freddie Lee Martin was holding his girlfriend and a four-year-old boy against their will inside the home and threatened to kill them. After about 90 minutes, Martin surrendered peacefully. No one was hurt.
Miami Beach Police Using Surveillance Blimp (Miami Beach, FL) -- Miami Beach Police are using a surveillance blimp. There are some concerns that the blimp could be in violation of Florida's ban on police drones. The tethered aerostat is unable to be flown by remote control and instead has a stationary location. Still, some feel it's just a workaround to the Freedom From Unwanted Surveillance Act passed in 2015.
Florida Shoppers May Soon Avoid Tax On Diapers (Tallahassee, FL) -- Florida shoppers may not have to pay sales tax anymore on diapers and other incontinence products. A bill to eliminate the tax was approved by a State Senate committee this week. The bill has advanced to the Finance and Tax Committee, for consideration in the March legislative session.
News Copter Catches Someone Playing Mario Kart On Royals' Giant Video Board (Kansas City, MO) -- The mascot for the Kansas City Royals baseball team is taking the fall after a news helicopter caught someone playing the video game Mario Kart on the stadium's giant video board. The KCTV-5 chopper was getting overhead shots of Arrowhead Stadium in advance of this weekend's NFL playoff game. The Royals' Kauffman Stadium is across the parking lot. The news crew filmed the game of Mario Kart being played on CrownVision and then broadcast it that day. The mascot "Sluggerrr" later tweeted, "Busted," with the video. In reality, the baseball team said it was an event to raise funds for Royals Charities. The team tweeted it may auction off a video game party on CrownVision in 2019.
TODAY IN HISTORY:
2017, the bumblebee is went onto the endangered species list for the first time.
2000, America Online announced that it had agreed to buy Time Warner, the largest traditional media company in the U.S., for $165 billion.
1999, the mob drama series "The Sopranos" made its debut on HBO.
1951, Donald Howard Rogers piloted the first passenger jet on a trip from Chicago to New York City.
1911, Major Jimmie Erickson shot the first photograph ever taken from an airplane.
1861, Florida became the third U.S. state to secede from the Union and join the Confederacy.