Your daily look at news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about in Florida today.
No bail for Canada diplomat’s teen son in killings
The teenage son of a senior Canadian diplomat is a risk of fleeing prosecution in South Florida for his role in an alleged drug-related shootout and will not be released on bail before trial, a judge ruled Wednesday. Circuit Judge Teresa Mary Pooler rejected the attempt by defense attorneys to gain release for 15-year-old Marc Wabafiyebazu, the son of Canadian consul general to Miami Roxanne Dube. The mother had assured Pooler her son would stay in the U.S. and show up for all hearings, but Pooler said it would be too easy for him to flee to Canada possibly by simply driving there. Pooler also said Canada would not extradite Wabafiyebazu because it does not recognize the crime of felony murder in circumstances such as his and because of his youth. In Florida, a person can be charged with murder, including a minor teenager, if someone is killed during the commission of another felony crime such as a robbery.
Senate approves health care expansion bill
The Florida Senate has passed a bill that would take billions of federal dollars to give health insurance to half a million Floridians and added new measures to address criticism from the House. A majority of Republicans supported the controversial health care bill Wednesday, which passed 33-3. Earlier this week, state officials gave conflicting testimony with a state economist saying the plan would save money and top health officials warning it was unclear whether more or less people would gain coverage under the bill. Instead of expanding Medicaid, recipients would get money to buy private insurance.
Postal Service takes steps to fire gyrocopter pilot
A man who flew a gyrocopter through some of America’s most restricted airspace before landing at the U.S. Capitol says his employer, the United States Postal Service, is taking steps to fire him. Doug Hughes said Wednesday the agency intends to fire him for “unacceptable conduct” in the wake of his April 15 flight to call attention to campaign finance reform. A grand jury indicted Hughes on six charges that carry up to 9½ years in prison.
Report: Attendance rises at 5 of Florida’s 7 theme parks
A new report says attendance rose at all but two of Florida’s theme parks last year. The Themed Entertainment Association released its report Wednesday. Florida’s seven parks were ranked in the Top 25 worldwide. Disney’s Magic Kingdom had the largest attendance at 19,332,000 in 2014, up 4 percent from 18,588,000 in 2013. Sister parks Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios all showed 2 percent increases. Universal Studios showed the largest percentage increase of all Florida parks, increasing 17 percent to 8,263,000 visitors last year. Universal’s Islands of Adventure showed no percentage change from its just over 8.1 million visitors in 2013.
Toddler dies in hot car as mom teaches inside school
An 18-month-old girl has died after her mother inadvertently left her in the back seat of the car while she went inside to teach at a Panama City elementary school. Authorities say Jamie Buckley didn’t discover her daughter, Reagan, until the end of the school day Tuesday. When Bay County Sheriff’s deputies arrived at the school they found Reagan unresponsive. The child was pronounced dead at the scene. Bay County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Ruth Corley said Wednesday that no charges have been filed but the investigation is continuing. Deputies say the child had been inside the car, which was parked outside Cedar Grove Elementary School since before 7:30 a.m. Tuesday.