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LABELLE, Fla. (AP) - Health officials in Florida say a 12-year-old boy is fighting a rare and deadly infection that is attacking his brain.

Family members told media outlets that Zachary Reyna of Southwest Florida was infected with Naegleria fowleri, a microscopic single-celled living amoeba that is commonly found in freshwater lakes, ponds and rivers. State health officials say it can cause a rare brain infection called primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) that destroys brain tissue and is usually fatal.

Victims typically are exposed to the bug while swimming or doing water sports in warm ponds, lakes and rivers during the hot summer months, mostly in the South.

Family members said the boy was infected while knee boarding with friends in a ditch near his family's LaBelle house on Aug. 3. He is being treated in the intensive care unit at Miami Children's Hospital.

Published in National News
Monday, 12 August 2013 02:44

Sinking Florida resort villa evacuated

   CLERMONT, Fla. (AP) — A sinkhole cracked the foundation in a villa housing vacationers at a central Florida resort near Disney World on Sunday, causing the building to slowly sink and prompting the evacuation of the hotel, authorities said.

   Lake County Sheriff's Sgt. James Vachon told WESH in Orlando the incident at the Summer Bay Resort in Clermont caused structural damage and firefighters and sheriff's deputies were working the scene together. No injuries were reported.

   Witnesses told The Associated Press they could hear a cracking sound as the villa sank. A large crack was visible at the building's base.

   Luis Perez, who was staying at a villa near the sinking one, said he was in his room when the lights went off around 11:30 p.m. He said he was on his way to the front desk to report the outage when he saw firefighters and police outside.

   "I started walking toward where they were at and you could see the building leaning and you could see a big crack at the base of the building," said Perez, 54, of Berona, N.J.

   He called the other vacationers in his group and had them come outside. Eventually, he said, authorities evacuated his villa and a third one as well.

   Summer Bay Resort is about 10 miles west of Disney World.

Published in National News

HIALEAH, Fla. (AP) — Police say a gunman who barricaded himself with hostages inside a South Florida apartment complex has killed six people before being shot to death by a SWAT team.

Sgt. Eddie Rodriguez tells The Associated Press the hours-long standoff began around 6:30 p.m. EDT in a five-story building in Hialeah, just a few miles north of Miami.

He says the bodies of three women and two men were found throughout the apartment complex after police arrived. Another man was killed across the street when the gunman allegedly spotted him and took aim.

Rodriguez says the two hostages the man took were unharmed. Before the shootout, police had been able to communicate with the gunman.

Rodriguez says police were still investigating the motive and identifying the gunman and victims.

Published in National News
Monday, 08 July 2013 11:46

Missing Missouri teen found in Florida

A St. Louis teen who had been reported missing in Florida over the weekend, has been found.

Florida authorities say Nicole Crowder was found this morning in Seminole County, which is north of Orlando. Police did not release any information on Crowder's condition. The girl was last seen with an unknown couple on the beach Saturday afternoon.

Authorities did not say if the couple was with Crowder when she was found. 

Published in Local News

   SANFORD, Fla. (AP) - The lead police detective who investigated Trayvon Martin's fatal shooting last year is returning to the witness stand.

   Sanford Police detective Chris Serino testifies for a second day Tuesday about his investigation into the fatal shooting of the Miami teenager by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer.

   The 29 year old Zimmerman is pleading not guilty to second-degree murder. He claims he acted in self-defense.

   Jurors on Monday heard a series of recorded police interviews of detectives questioning Zimmerman about his confrontation with Martin in a gated community in central Florida.

 
Published in National News

STARKE, Fla. (AP) - The U.S. Supreme Court has denied a stay of execution for a Florida inmate who orchestrated the 1987 ambush murder of a prison guard, then published three books and maintained a blog while on death row.

 

   William Van Poyck (pronounced poyk) is set to die by lethal injection at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Florida State Prison for the murder of prison guard Fred Griffis. His case garnered international attention because Van Poyck went on to write books.

 

   The 58-year-old Van Poyck declined a final meal and visited Wednesday with his sister, four friends and a spiritual adviser.

 

   Van Poyck and Frank Valdes ambushed a prison van outside a West Palm Beach doctor's office in a failed attempt to free their friend, James O'Brien. Griffis was fatally shot.

 
Published in National News

   ILLINOIS (AP) - Another governor is trying to lure away Illinois companies.

   Florida Gov. Rick Scott sent a letter to Illinois' top 100 companies this week asking them to buy a "one way" ticket to Florida. The Republican says Florida is undergoing "an incredible economic turnaround" and touts the state's credit ratings.

   Scott also scrutinizes Illinois' high taxes, including a 2011 income tax increase.

   His letter comes the same week Texas Gov. Rick Perry was in Chicago trying to poach companies. Perry says he wants to spark a competition between the states and has criticized Illinois' nearly $100 billion in pension debt.

   Governors from Indiana, Wisconsin and New Jersey have made similar attempts.

   Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has dismissed them as publicity attempts and says Illinois is a great place to do business.

 
Published in Local News

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida's craft brewers are pushing to legalize 64-ounce beer growlers.

<br><br>

Growlers are the name given to beer containers filled right at the brewery. While the state's craft brewers can sell unlimited numbers of gallon and quart growlers, Florida is one of only three states where the half-gallon size is illegal.

<br><br>

Bills have been filed in the House and Senate to legalize the containers, but a lobbyist representing beer distributors for Anheuser-Busch has successfully stalled them.

<br><br>

The bills' sponsors argue that allowing the half-gallon growlers that are an industry standard will help small businesses grow, and they point out that it's silly that people can by two quarts, but not one half gallon.

Published in National News
ZEPHYRHILLS, Fla. (AP) — Authorities say an investigation is under way into the deaths of a skydiving instructor and a student, both from Iceland, who died during weekend jumps with a group in Florida.

Pascoe County sheriff's spokeswoman Melanie Snow said the two men took part with 20 other people Saturday in jumps in Zephyrhills, about 30 miles northeast of Tampa. Authorities say a search began when only 20 of the 22 skydivers returned.

Snow said the bodies were founded near each other Saturday evening in woods south of the Zephyrhills Municipal Airport. She would not comment whether their parachutes of the skydivers had opened, saying that was part of the investigation.

The spokeswoman later said the dead were identified as 41-year-old instructor Orvar Arnarson and 25-year-old student Andrimar Pordarson. No hometowns were given.
Published in National News
SEFFNER, Fla. (AP) -- Crews with heavy equipment on Sunday began the demolition of a Florida home over a huge sinkhole where a man is presumed dead after being swallowed by the earth three days ago.

The search for Jeff Bush, 37, was called off Saturday, and a heavy machine with a large bucket scoop was moved into position Sunday on what was believed to be solid ground. The 20-foot-wide opening of the sinkhole was almost covered by the house, and rescuers said there were no signs of life since the hole opened Thursday night.

Jeremy Bush, the man who tried to save his brother, was escorted with a woman by a deputy to the front of the house early Sunday before equipment moved into position. He repositioned some flowers from a makeshift memorial to a safer location, where Bush and the unidentified women knelt in prayer.

People gathered on lawn chairs, bundled up with blankets against unusually chilly weather. Several dozen milled about within view, including officials and reporters.

Hillsborough County Administrator Mike Merrill said officials had talked to Bush family Sunday. Crews would try their best to move the structure forward, toward the street, so the family can get some belongings, Merrill said.

"We don't know, in fact, whether it will collapse or whether it will hold up," he said.

He said crews' goal for Sunday is to knock down the house, and on Monday they will clear the debris as much as possible to allow officials and engineers to see the sinkhole in the open.

Bush was in his bedroom Thursday night in Seffner - a suburb of 8,000 people 15 miles east of downtown Tampa - when the ground opened and took him and everything else in his room. Five others in the house escape unharmed as the earth crumbled.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office is conducting the investigation. Detective Larry McKinnon said that sheriff's office and the county medical examiner cannot declare Bush dead if his body is still missing. Under Florida law, Bush's family must petition a court to declare him deceased.

"Based on the circumstances, he's presumed dead, however the official death certificate can only be issued by a judge and the family has to petition the court," McKinnon said.
Published in National News
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