Your daily look at news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about in Florida today.
$5,000 reward offered in shooting of Florida panther
Federal wildlife officials are offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the shooting of a Florida panther. Motorists found the adult panther’s carcass alongside a Collier County road on March 22. An investigation by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission determined that the animal had died from a gunshot wound. The Florida panther is an endangered species, with fewer than 200 remaining in the wild. Intentionally trapping, hunting, injuring or killing a panther is illegal.
Orlando mayor wants to run for a 5th term
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer says he wants to run for a fifth term. Dyer talked about his desire to run for another term Wednesday during his State of the City address. He says there is still a lot he wants to do as mayor of Orlando, such as adding 25 more miles of sidewalk in the city. Dyer is in his 13th year as mayor. If he wins re-election this fall, he will have served in the mayor’s office for more than 16 years.
Thursday is deadline for health coverage under tax extension
Thursday is the last day to sign up for health insurance under the special tax-filing enrollment extension. Earlier this year, federal health officials announced a limited special enrollment period ending April 30 for uninsured consumers who did not realize they would be fined for not having health coverage. Individuals who do not have health insurance will have to pay roughly $325 or 2 percent of their income, whichever is higher. After Thursday, consumers will have to wait until the fall to buy insurance unless they have a life-changing event like getting married, moving or giving birth.
Florida woman stopped in Mississippi admits role in conspiracy to distribute cocaine, weed
One of four Florida residents accused in a conspiracy to move cocaine and marijuana from Florida to Texas has pleaded guilty in Mississippi to a charge of interstate travel in aid of racketeering. Jaylyn Holland, of Jacksonville, entered the plea Tuesday in Gulfport before District Judge Sul Ozerden. She’s facing up to five years in prison at her July 28 sentencing. As part of the plea, Holland admitted she served as a drug courier for $500 per trip.
Naked paranoids begging police to save them? That’s flakka!
An increasingly popular designer drug is behind a rash of bizarre crimes in Florida. Police say one man ran naked through his neighborhood, tried to have sex with a tree and called himself the Norse god Thor. Another ran nude down city streets in broad daylight, convinced a pack of German shepherds was after him. Two others separately tried to break INTO the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, desperate for help from imaginary mobs. Police say all of them had smoked, swallowed or injected “flakka.” Also known as gravel and readily available for $5 or less a vial, it’s a growing problem for police after bursting on the scene in 2013. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, reports of flakka also have surfaced in Ohio, Texas and Tennessee, but Florida appears to be the nation’s hot spot.