DeSantis Chooses Judge To Be New Secretary Of State (Tallahassee, FL) -- The governor's newest appointment has ties to Central Florida. Governor Ron DeSantis yesterday announced Judge Laurel Moore Lee is the new secretary of state. She's a former U.S. attorney and assistant public defender for Florida's Middle District, which includes Orlando, and her husband is state Senator Tom Lee, whose 20th District includes part of northwest Polk County. Judge Lee will replace Mike Ertel, who resigned after a photo of him wearing blackface was obtained by a Tallahassee newspaper last week.
Man Arrested For Two Murders (Tallahassee, FL) -- A recent arrest could bring closure to two unsolved murders, and maybe more. Tallahassee police last night arrested 54-year-old Philip Ford for killing two women in separate incidents over the last two months. One woman was killed this weekend, and the other was killed over a month ago. The police chief says he's looking through old case files to see if Ford may be connected to any other victims.
Corrections Officer Resigns Over Lewd Act (Mims, FL) -- An Orange County corrections officer is accused of a lewd act in a Brevard County store. Deputies say 55-year-old William Keister exposed himself while following a woman inside Dollar General on US One in Mims almost three weeks ago. He's charged with indecent exposure, but he has pleaded not guilty. Keister has since resigned after six years as a corrections officer.
KSC Employees Back To Work With Shutdown Over (Cape Canaveral, FL) -- A part of Kennedy Space Center closed during the government shutdown will reopen to visitors today. The special interest tours are back on for the first time in over a month. Those tours bring visitors to the Vehicle Assembly Building, Launch Complex 39 and the Air Force Space and Missile Museum. Employees affected by the shutdown returned to work yesterday, and one of them told Florida Today they've never been happier to start a work week.
Orlando City Council Rejects Hotel Near Universal Orlando (Orlando, FL) -- Universal Orlando can claim victory in a showdown with a hotel developer. The Orlando City Council, yesterday, rejected a company’s plans to build a 95-foot tall hotel on Vineland Road near the theme park. The theme park says it's OK with a 75-foot tall hotel, but nothing taller. The developer’s lawyer tells the Orlando Sentinel he'll ask the courts to reverse the city council's decision.
Orca Dies At SeaWorld (Orlando, FL) -- SeaWorld is mourning the loss of what it calls an inspiration to generations of guests and employees. A 30-year-old orca named Kayla died yesterday after a brief illness. Of all the orcas ever born in captivity, Animal Welfare Institute Doctor Naomi Rose says Kayla was the second-oldest. There's no word on what caused Kayla's death, but Doctor Rose, who has been a SeaWorld critic, tells the Orlando Sentinel dying at 30 is not normal for an orca.
Police Officer Saves Toddler Stuck Inside Toy (Fort Lee, NJ) -- A New Jersey police officer is being hailed a hero after saving a toddler who was stuck inside of a toy. The boy's panicked mother called 911 after her son Luca became lodged inside a square box-like toy. Sergeant Rick Hernandez responded to the scene and broke the toy in order to get Luca out. Hernandez said Luca was visibly unamused and very happy to be out of the toy. Luca was not injured and his mom says he is being more careful with how he plays with his toys.
Today in history:
2006, ABC News anchor Bob Woodruff and an ABC cameraman were seriously injured after a roadside bomb exploded near the Iraqi town of Taji. Both men suffered head injuries in the blast and were taken to a U.S. military hospital in Iraq.
2005, amid threats of violence voting polls opened in Iraq for the country's first multi-party election in 50 years.
2002, in his first State of the Union address, U.S. President George W. Bush said terrorists were still threatening America, and warned of "an axis of evil" consisting of North Korea, Iran and Iraq.
1998, a top tobacco company executive admitted under oath to Congress for the first time that cigarettes are dangerous. The testimony by RJR Nabisco chairman and CEO Steven Goldstone came at a hearing where industry leaders pushed Congress to enact an over 368-billion dollar deal giving them partial immunity from future lawsuits.
1936, the Baseball Hall-of-Fame was established in Cooperstown, New York.
1861, Kansas became the 34th state of the Union.