5 Things to Know in Florida for Feb. 23

Your daily look at news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today.

DISNEY HIKES TICKET PRICES AT US THEME PARKS

Visiting Mickey and Minnie just got more expensive. The Walt Disney Co. raised ticket prices to attend Disneyland, Walt Disney World and the rest of its U.S. theme parks, effective Sunday. Single-day tickets for the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, are now $105, up from $99. Disney has continued to see strong attendance growth at its theme parks and resorts. A measles outbreak linked to Disney’s Southern California theme parks hasn’t hurt attendance.

JOEY LOGANO GIVES ROGER PENSKE ANOTHER DAYTONA 500 WIN

Joey Logano, the driver who seemed washed up at 22 years old, has won his first career Daytona 500. Logano took the lead in the white-knuckle race following a restart with 19 laps remaining on Sunday. Once out front, his Ford was stout and he seemed to have the race in control until a caution with three to go at Daytona International Speedway stopped the race. NASCAR needed nearly seven minutes to clean the track, which gave Logano a two-lap sprint to the finish. He got a terrific jump on the field, and as Kevin Harvick and Dale Earnhardt Jr. mounted a push for the lead, a wreck further back brought out the yellow flag. It froze the field and Logano won under caution.

GAINESVILLE VOTES TO MOVE TOWARD SYNTHETIC DRUG BAN

Gainesville wants to rid the city of synthetic drugs like “spice” and bath salts after dozens of people were hospitalized last year after ingesting the substances. The Gainesville City Commission has approved an ordinance that would prohibit the possession of the drugs with intent to sell and bar the displays advertising their sale and manufacture. A second vote is required for its passage. More than 30 people were hospitalized in Gainesville with problems such as seizures and vomiting after they smoked spice, which is synthetic marijuana.

SOUTH FLORIDA FLIGHT SCHOOLS SEE SURGE IN INTEREST AMID PILOT SHORTAGE

Flight schools in South Florida are reporting a spike in interest and applications. The region is a top flight training hub because of its weather. A looming pilot shortage is being credited as a reason for increased flight training enrollment. Some 35,000 pilots are expected to retire in the next six years.

NEW YORK BUSINESSMAN GUILTY IN FLORIDA KICKBACK SCHEME

The co-founder of a New York computer services company has pleaded guilty to participating in an illegal kickback scheme in South Florida. Court records show Paul Raifaizen of Great Neck, New York, pleaded guilty last week in Miami federal court to filing a false tax return in connection with the scheme. Raifaizen faces up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine at sentencing May 1. Raifaizen’s company, Data Industries, provided information technology to Miami-Dade County between 1998 and 2012. Prosecutors say Raifaizen paid a county employee kickbacks in exchange for approval of consulting work that was never performed.

 

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