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Gov. Ron DeSantis formally asked Wednesday that the statue of civil-rights leader and educator Mary McLeod Bethune replace the likeness of a Confederate general as a representative of Florida in the U.S. Capitol.

Curtis Reeves was released from jail six months after 43-year-old Chad Oulson was killed as the men argued over cellphone usage in the Cobb Grove 16 movie theater in Wesley Chapel.
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Associated Press

A Pasco County man accused of fatally shooting a man inside a movie theater wants a judge to relax the conditions of his house arrest as the case against him remains in limbo.

Tropical Storm Barry is producing gusty winds and dangerous rip currents along Florida's West Coast.
FLORIDA PUBLIC RADIO EMERGENCY NETWORK

By Carl Lisciandrello

Tropical Storm Barry may be far from the Tampa Bay area, but its impact will still be felt locally well into the weekend.

Lights for Liberty poster shows a little boy reaching towards the Statue of Liberty while being pulled away by a hand.
Lights for Liberty

Around the nation on Friday evening, groups are gathering to hold vigils for the migrants being held in immigration detention centers.

The ceremony, called “Lights for Liberty," includes events in St Petersburg, Tampa, Lakeland, and Sarasota.

The Gulf of Mexico disturbance that dumped as much as 8 inches (20 centimeters) of rain in just three hours over parts of metro New Orleans was forecast to strengthen into a tropical depression Thursday, then a tropical storm called Barry Thursday night,
NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER

Associated Press

A potential tropical storm brewing in the Gulf of Mexico presents twin troubles for coastal Louisiana and Mississippi — the possibility that the flooded Mississippi River will be lapping at the tops of levees this weekend, and a danger of flash floods like the one that unexpectedly walloped New Orleans on Wednesday.

Florida will seek new bids in three years instead of renewing its contract with the company that oversaw last year’s botched SunPass conversion.
FourteenSixty / Flickr

News Service of Florida

Florida will seek new bids in three years instead of renewing its contract with the company that oversaw last year’s botched SunPass conversion.

The low-pressure system that dipped into the Gulf of Mexico from Georgia strengthened into Tropical Storm Barry on Thursday morning and continues to make its way west, on a projected path toward Louisiana as a potential Category 1 hurricane.
FLORIDA PUBLIC RADIO EMERGENCY NETWORK

By Carl Lisciandrello

The low-pressure system that dipped into the Gulf of Mexico from Georgia strengthened into Tropical Storm Barry on Thursday morning and continues to make its way west, on a projected path toward Louisiana as a potential Category 1 hurricane.

In Philadelphia, 30 parks and recreation centers are outfitted with a small speaker called the Mosquito. It blares a constant, high-pitched ringing noise all night long — but one that only teenagers and young adults can hear.

Anyone over age 25 is supposed to be immune because, basically, their ear cells have started to die off.

Bayshore Boulevard in South Tampa routinely floods during thunderstorms.
WUSF Public Media

By Rebecca Hersher / NPR

Sea levels are rising, and that is sending more ocean water into streets, sewers and homes. For people who live and work in coastal communities, that means more otherwise-sunny days disrupted by flooding.

Updated projections released on Tuesday predict 13 more named storms will form in 2019, with six being hurricanes and two classified as major hurricanes.
NOAA / NOAA

By Carl Lisciandrello

Researchers at Colorado State University are maintaining their prediction of a near-average 2019 hurricane season.

A tropical storm watch has been issued for parts of Mississippi and Louisiana as a system that has moved into the Gulf of Mexico is poised to form into a tropical depression by Thursday and could become a hurricane before the weekend.
FLORIDA PUBLIC RADIO EMERGENCY NETWORK

The National Hurricane Center has classified the tropical low over the northeastern Gulf of Mexico as a “potential tropical cyclone” (PTC), and it could become a hurricane before hitting Louisiana this weekend.

Nikitas Lulias, seen here at a Palm Sunday Mass in 2018, has been named Archbishop of the Greek Orthodox church in Great Britain and Thyatira.
Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Cross

By Ti'Anna Davis

Tarpon Springs - home of one of the largest Greek Orthodox religious communities in the U.S. - has seen one of its native sons rise to the post of Archbishop of Great Britain.

As a child who grew up in the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, Nikitas Lulias participated in the annual epiphany celebration in Tarpon Springs. In 1974, Lulias caught the gold cross - and the blessings that are believed to go with it - and ever since, he knew he wanted to be a priest.

Electric scooters stand in a row.
Wikimedia Commons

By Carrie Pinkard

Electric scooters have been getting a lot of attention in Florida lately at both the state and local levels.

St. Petersburg is the latest city to take a closer look at both the pros and cons of the transportation trend. 

A tropical depression is likely to form in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, but the latest forecast trends may keep the worst of the weather west of the state.

Regardless of its exact track, 1 to 3 inches of rain may fall by Thursday in places along the immediate Gulf coast from near Fort Myers to Pensacola. Nearby seas will also grow unsettled, with minor coastal flooding and a high risk of rip currents expected.

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Darby Dyar says that as a kid, whenever Apollo astronauts returned from the moon, she and her classmates would get ushered into the school library to watch it on TV.

The National Hurricane Center says a trough of  low pressure has an 80 percent chance of develloping into a tropical depression in the Gulf of Mexico in the next five days.
FLORIDA PUBLIC RADIO EMERGENCY NETWORK

Florida’s Division of Emergency Management is bracing for the potential growth of a storm system expected to move south into the Gulf of Mexico later this week, with particular attention given to Panhandle counties impacted by Hurricane Michael last year.

One man interviewed for the story says he spends more than $3,000 each year out of pocket on medications.
Daylina Miller / WUSF News

Nearly one-quarter of Americans say they never plan to retire, according to a poll that suggests a disconnection between individuals' retirement plans and the realities of aging in the workforce.

Experts say illness, injury, layoffs and caregiving responsibilities often force older workers to leave their jobs sooner than they'd like.

Heavy rain and potential flooding is in the forecast this week across parts of Florida, and a tropical storm might even form nearby.

Regardless of its tropical status, several inches of rain are likely to fall in Tampa Bay and near Florida’s Gulf Coast this week. Nearby seas will also grow unsettled, with minor coastal flooding and multiple beach hazards expected.

The first lawsuit concerning a bill signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis requiring convicted felons to pay court fees and fines before they can register to vote has ties to the Tampa Bay area. 

Disability attorney Michael Steinberg of Tampa filed a lawsuit on behalf of Kelvin Jones, a disabled veteran and former prisoner, almost immediately after DeSantis signed Senate Bill 7066 into law June 28. It has already been combined with a number of other similar cases. 

Updated at 6:28 p.m. Saturday. 

At least 23 people were injured after an explosion rocked a shopping center in Plantation just before 11:30 a.m. on Saturday. 

Police completed their search for victims, as well as a secondary sweep by late afternoon Saturday.  

There are no reported fatalities. One person suffered potentially life-threatening injuries. They were taken to the trauma center at Broward Health Medical Center.  While 18 others with injuries were taken to local hospitals, according to the Plantation Police Dept.

 


Updated at 4:10 p.m. ET Sunday

Southern California was hit by another big earthquake at 8:19 p.m. local time Friday, after a quake rattled the region a day before. The U.S. Geological Survey reported the magnitude as 7.1 with a shallow depth of about 10.5 miles.

It was centered near the same Mojave Desert site as the 6.4 quake on Thursday and near the small city of Ridgecrest.

When Florida Cabinet members jetted off to Israel in late May, some state employees who traveled at taxpayer expense stayed in a more than $400-a-night luxury hotel in Jerusalem, where a Cabinet meeting was held.

More than a month after the trade mission ended, the full cost of the trip, proposed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, is not clear.

Floridians could add more sparkle to the Fourth of July and two other holidays, under the latest attempt to water down the state’s prohibition against fireworks.
Wikimedia Commons

By Carl Lisciandrello

St. Petersburg Police reported two incidents involving celebratory July 4 gunfire, including a baby who was wounded by an errant bullet.

More than 50 union workers who prepare food for flights at Miami International Airport protested on Wednesday for higher wages and better working conditions.

Chanting and waving signs that read “One Job Should Be Enough,” the workers called on their employer, LSG Sky Chefs, to raise their wages from an average of $12.95 per hour to at least $15 per hour. The employees included cooks and porters who prepare food and supplies at nearby kitchens and drivers who load the food on to American Airlines, Delta and United flights.

National Low Income Housing Coalition description of Florida's wages and rent in 2019.
National Low Income Housing Coalition

By Ti'Anna Davis

Floridians must work the equivalent of three full-time minimum wage jobs just to afford a modestly priced two-bedroom apartment in the state. 

Protesters in Southwest Florida demonstrated Tuesday afternoon, at events in Bradenton, Cape Coral, Naples and Sarasota against the Trump administration’s treatment, detention and family separation of migrants at the U.S. southern border.  The protests were among nearly 200 similar events taking place across the country. 

The moon seemed to take over the sun, shrouding parts of South America and the southern Pacific in complete darkness — during the day.

The path of Tuesday's total solar eclipse included Chile and Argentina, where people brought out special glasses, and even suits (you'll see those below), to witness the celestial show.

The eclipse path also fell on scientific facilities such as La Silla Observatory in Chile and the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, also in Chile.

Several immigrant-rights groups gathered in front of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in Miramar Tuesday morning, chanting "Melt the ICE!" and "Shut it down!"

Small Districts Wary Of Parkland Legal Fight

Jul 3, 2019

By Jim Saunders / News Service of Florida

Rural Liberty County is about 500 miles away from Broward County. 

But school officials in Liberty County and other small Northwest Florida counties are watching as the state Supreme Court considers a case that will determine how much the Broward County School Board could be forced to pay to parents and victims in the February 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. 

Protesters lined up in front of U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor's office for a "Close the Camps" rally, aimed at shutting down immigration detention centers.
Ti'anna Davis / WUSF Public Media

By Carrie Pinkard and Ti'Anna Davis

“Babies don’t belong in cages.” “Close the camps.” “We are better than this.”

Those were the words written on the picket signs of a few dozen protestors standing in the summer heat outside U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor’s office as part of a national “Close the Camps” protest.

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