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Tampa Karate Kid Prepares to Take on the World

It’s not every day you meet a 10-year-old who frequents words like “perseverance” and “self-control” in their vocabulary. But if you catch Sammy Gillespie talking about karate, the sport he is currently dominating, you just might find one. He is currently celebrating his new title as a karate national champion, and preparing to take on karate masters from 27 different countries at the World Karate Competition in Orlando this fall. I sat down with Sammy and his family at their New Tampa home,...
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For the past three years, public health activists have been trying to convince Florida lawmakers to support a needle-exchange program to fight the HIV epidemic in South Florida, and for the past three years they’ve been turned down.

One Miami activist refuses to wait for lawmakers. George Gibson is an ordained minister. Nearly everyone calls him Elder as in a church elder.

He says his needle-exchange program is related to his religious work.

“I see it as being an AIDS ministry,” he said.

It’s not every day you meet a 10-year-old who frequents words like “perseverance” and “self-control” in their vocabulary. But if you catch Sammy Gillespie talking about karate, the sport he is currently dominating, you just might find one.

He is currently celebrating his new title as a karate national champion, and preparing to take on karate masters from 27 different countries at the World Karate Competition in Orlando this fall.

President Barack Obama is unveiling an updated national strategy Thursday to combat the HIV and AIDS epidemic that could have a big impact in Florida, which leads the nation in new HIV infections.

The White House unveiled the first national HIV plan in 2010, with ambitious, measurable goals: reduce new HIV diagnoses, increase the number of youth with an undetectable HIV viral load, and reduce the death rate from AIDS.

There’s been positive progress on all those, and there’s been a drop in the number of women, heterosexuals and IV-drug users contracting the disease.

Families hoped for a miracle even as science nagged that one was improbable and rescue crews went into a seventh day of searches Thursday for two teens missing at sea.

Though it seemed unlikely a medley of agencies would continue their hunts much longer, the Coast Guard, which is leading the effort, insisted it remained an “active and open” case now focused off the South Carolina coastline.

“We’re still searching,” Chief Petty Officer Ryan Doss said Wednesday evening, with no immediate end in sight.

The Florida Department of Health confirmed a case of the West Nile Virus, a mosquito-borne disease, in Volusia County Wednesday.

  Health officials are expecting more cases, and warn residents to get rid of standing water and wear protective clothing.

Most West Nile Virus infections are mild, but about one percent of cases can cause permanent neurological damage, paralysis and even death. There is no treatment or vaccine for the virus.

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The diplomatic thaw with Cuba has led to a new collaboration with scientists in that country to study the ghost orchid, one of the world's rarest flowers, U.S. officials said Wednesday.

Ernesto Mujica of Cuba's Ministry of Science ECOVIDA Research Center has joined researchers from Illinois College and the University of Florida in the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge to study ghost orchids, the delicate blooms that star in the book "The Orchid Thief" and the movie "Adaptation."

TB Hospital Buyer Seeks Refund Over Land Estimate

16 hours ago

A development company that acquired the site of the former A.G. Holley state tuberculosis hospital last year in Palm Beach County wants a $1.29 million refund from the state because the property has less land than advertised.

However, state officials contend that while the advertised acreage was an estimate, the Lantana property was sold under "as is, where is" terms.

Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet will be asked next Wednesday to decide whether to approve the requested refund for Lantana Development LLC.

Evenflo photo

With the summer months heating up, many parents are taking their children on trips to the park, the beach and other attractions.

However, parents may need to be concerned about more than just sunburn and temper tantrums. Florida ranks number two in the nation for hot-car deaths among children.

Children’s bodies heat up faster than adults do, making them more susceptible to heat stroke in a hot car.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is ordering state health officials to inspect Planned Parenthood offices to ensure they are obeying the law when performing abortions.

In a statement Wednesday, Scott called recent videos troubling and said it's against the law for any organizations to sell body parts. The Republican governor said the state will take quick legal and regulatory action against any of the 16 facilities found in violation.

Coast Guard photo

Coast Guard and state officials visited the Florida home of one of two missing teenage boaters Wednesday, and a spokesman told news reporters the search for the boys is still “active and open.”

Capt. Mark Fedor of the Coast Guard said, “There’s been a lot of rumors that the search has been suspended. I just want to refute that. The search has not been suspended.”

The Coast Guard and Florida Fish and Wildlife officers were at the home of 14-year-old Perry Cohen for almost an hour Wednesday afternoon.

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