A former Florida A&M University band member was sentenced Friday to four years in prison for his role in a drum major's hazing death.

Judge Marc Lubet announced the sentence for 26-year-old Caleb Jackson, who pleaded no contest to manslaughter and hazing in April 2013 for his part in the death of Robert Champion, of Decatur, Georgia.

Florida doctors can soon order medical marijuana for their patients. The law goes into effect at the start of next year.

But so far, only a few dozen doctors have signed up.

A homeless charity that filed a federal lawsuit resulting in the partial overturning of Tampa's panhandling ban will be shut down.

Officials for the city and the charity say Homeless Helping Homeless will shut down today.

Daylina Miller/WUSF

The federal government has denied Gov. Rick Scott's request for “Individual Assistance” (IA) for Pasco County flood victims.

Scott requested the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds last month after hundreds of homes and dozens of businesses were damaged during nearly three weeks of rain.

Many of the residents affected are on fixed incomes.

Annette Doying, the Director of Emergency Management in Pasco County, explains what federal officials looked at to make their decision.

The lone survivor of a house fire in Tampa that killed his grandmother and two other young boys earlier this week has died.

Romello Jackson, 8, was taken off life support at Tampa General Hospital Wednesday.

Tampa Fire Rescue officials said the family could not escape the flames because of burglar bars on the windows of the house at 3720 E. Paris Street. The home did not have a working smoke detector. The fire was likely triggered by a faulty power cord. 

A funeral is planned for September 12th, but the place and time has not been named. 

A federal judge has thrown out Tom Brady's four-game suspension over his role in "deflategate."

The suspension was handed down by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after attorney Ted Wells found that employees of the New England Patriots deflated footballs to make them easier to grip. Goodell said Brady likely knew about the scheme.

Brady appealed Goodell's decision in federal court, and today, he prevailed.

Visit Florida

The Miami-based rapper will film his upcoming video for “Sexy Beaches” in Florida.

Tampa Bay Area Under Flood Watch

Aug 31, 2015
Daylina Miller / WUSF

Emergency operations centers across Tampa Bay are on guard for heavy rain and the very real possibility of flooding tonight and Tuesday.

When it came to the bottom line, there's no question that Florida Lottery Secretary Cynthia O'Connell was a success.

Under her four-and-a-half year tenure, O'Connell pushed up lottery sales to nearly $6 billion through an aggressive push of scratch-off tickets and an effort to expand sales to retailers who had previously resisted selling lottery tickets.

Authorities say a Florida mom home with her two children has been shot multiple times after answering her front door.

Hillsborough County Sheriff's officials say 37-year-old Angela Morales heard several knocks at the door shortly after midnight Saturday while home with her husband and 9-year-old twins. That's when authorities say a man opened fire, hitting Morales multiple times.

She was hospitalized in critical condition.

Florida Public Radio Emergency Network

Though a flood watch is underway for the Tampa Bay area, public school districts from Pinellas to Hillsborough to Polk have announced they will be open as normal on Monday.

Friday’s concerns that Tropical Storm Erika would strike the Tampa Bay area dissipated over the weekend, and families in the three districts were notified that students, teachers and other employees should report to class and work as normal.

Weakened Erika Still A Worry For Tampa Bay

Aug 29, 2015
Florida Public Radio Emergency Network

Tropical Storm Erika dissipated Saturday, but folks in the Tampa Bay area are watching it carefully.

The 9 a.m. forecast from the National Hurricane Center showed the storm had degenerated into a trough of low pressure by early Saturday after mountains and an unfavorable environment in Hispaniola knocked Erika below tropical storm force.

Erika Fizzles, But Be Ready For The Rain

Aug 29, 2015
Florida Public Radio Emergency Network

Good news this morning regarding tropical storm Erika. It is no longer a tropical storm.

But residents in the Tampa Bay area should be ready for several days of rain.

The National Hurricane Center at 9:30 a.m. Saturday said the storm has officially dissipated into a tropical wave. As a result, all coastal watches and warnings were discontinued.

Florida Public Radio Emergency Network

The National Hurricane Center said Friday that Tropical Storm Erika is forecast to weaken into a tropical depression.

During the 5 p.m. announcement, meteorologists said they expect Erika to be downgraded to a depression Saturday. There's even a possibility that the storm could dissipate to a trough of low pressure during or after its passage over Hispaniola.

Officials say there's "a significant chance" that no watches or warnings for Florida will be required over the weekend.

Erika Strikes Islands, Kills At Least A Dozen

Aug 28, 2015
Office of the Governor

Tropical Storm Erika began to lose steam Friday as it skirted along the southern coast of the Dominican Republic, but it left behind a trail of destruction that included at least a dozen people killed on the small eastern Caribbean island of Dominica, authorities said.

Daylina Miller / WUSF Public Media

Whether it’s a full-blown hurricane or just a tropical storm - Erika has the potential to bring heavy rains and with that comes the potential of flooding.

So, here is information on who to call and what to do should you experience flooding. If your county is offering free sandbags, be sure to bring your own shovel.

Hillsborough County

Today, Governor Rick Scott declared a State of Emergency for Florida in preparation for Tropical Storm Erika.

Tropical Storm Erika Remains Disorganized

Aug 28, 2015
Florida Public Radio Emergency Network

Tropical Storm Erika’s path on Friday morning is still puzzling forecasters, as it is headed south of Puerto Rico and moving west-northwest. 

One big question among forecasters is what happens when it crosses the Dominican Republic?  It's pretty disorganized now, so it could fizzle out over Hispanola. If it survives that trip, Erika will re-enter warm water and get stronger, according to Florida Public Radio meteorologist Jeff Huffman.

Erika's Potential Path Still Uncertain

Aug 27, 2015
Florida Public Radio Emergency Network

Florida Public Radio Emergency Network Meteorologist Jeff Huffman says it’s hard to forecast a tropical storm like Erika, as it hasn’t matured and a steering pattern is yet to be established.

Here’s his take, as of 5 p.m. Thursday advisory:

The storm is disorganized and about 100 miles off track from the exact spot it was forecast to be just 24 hours prior.  It’s interesting to note, however, that the storm is within the cone of uncertainty at that time.

Tropical Storm Erika Growing Stronger

Aug 27, 2015
Florida Public Radio Emergency Network

  The Florida Emergency Operations Center is under what it calls Level Two preparations as Tropical Storm Erika spins toward the Caribbean Islands.

The partial activation of the State Emergency Response Team means emergency officials are urging residents to get ready just in case.

Florida Public Radio meteorologist Jeff Huffman said there has been a shift as Erika is starting to shift as it moves toward the Leeward Islands.  Forecasters suggest it may still become a hurricane, but may take more of a northwestern turn and paralleling perhaps Florida’s eastern coast.

University of South Florida

UPDATED AT 4 P.M. with quotes from Judy Genshaft & David Jolly

John F. Germany, who was one of the most influential lawyers in Florida and one of the instrumental forces in the creation of the University of South Florida, died Wednesday morning.

Published reports say Germany, 92, died of cancer.

He was a founding partner of the Holland & Knight law firm, one of a handful of men who pushed aside obstacles to build USF and the downtown Tampa public library that bears his name.

(This post was last updated at 3:43 p.m. ET.)

Two journalists for Virginia TV news station WDBJ were killed by a gunman Wednesday morning while they were broadcasting live at a waterfront shopping center about an hour southeast of Roanoke, Va.

Reporter Alison Parker and photojournalist Adam Ward were doing a live report from Bridgewater Plaza in Moneta when a gunman opened fire, killing Parker and Ward and injuring Vicki Gardner, the head of a local Chamber of Commerce who was being interviewed. Gardner is now in stable condition, hospital officials say.

It looks like it's going to be up to the Florida Supreme Court to sort out what happens next in the tussle over the state's congressional districts.

The court in July ordered the Florida Legislature to adopt a new map for the state's 27 congressional districts. But the House and Senate deadlocked over the issue during a 12-day special session that ended Friday.

News Director Named At WUSF

Aug 24, 2015
Daylina Miller / WUSF

WUSF Public Media announced Monday that Mary Shedden will become its new News Director.

After almost a year of month-to-month declines, new foreclosure starts in Florida rose in July.

The research firm Realty Trac reported last week that foreclosure starts increased 16 percent in July from the previous July.

Florida had the nation's highest foreclosure rate in July, with 1 in 408 homes having a foreclosure filing.

Florida's foreclosure rate had declined for the 10 previous months.

Realty Trac spokeswoman Ginny Walker says the July jump is likely a one-month anomaly.

Hurricane Danny has gained a little strength as it moves across the Atlantic.

Hurricane Danny has gained a little strength as it moves across the Atlantic.

Regal Cinemas Institutes Bag Checks

Aug 21, 2015

Moviegoers might notice some extra security at theaters this summer, following two attacks on movie theaters in the past month. The largest theater chain in the country, Regal Cinemas, has started doing bag checks. Brent Lang of Variety joins Here & Now’s Lisa Mullins with details.

WUSF news

Recent developments in Treasure Island may indicate a shift in position in its legal battle with some Gulf front hotel owners.

At Tuesday's meeting of the City Commission, City Attorney Maura Kiefer resigned her position rather than submit to a performance review. In a move that may be related, the city has reversed its earlier position and resumed raking its beaches.

It's official. Tropical Storm Danny has made the leap, becoming the first hurricane of the Atlantic season as it makes its way toward the eastern Caribbean.

Currently, the storm is centered about 1,200 miles east of the Lesser Antilles and moving west at 10 mph. The National Hurricane Center's "forecast cone" has Hurricane Danny making landfall possibly as far north as Puerto Rico or as far south as St. Lucia.

The storm currently has sustained winds of nearly 75 mph, with higher gusts.