Five Things to Know in Florida for Dec. 20

FLORIDA’S 29 ELECTORS CAST VOTES FOR DONALD TRUMP IN TALLAHASSEE

Florida’s 29 electors cast their votes for Donald Trump inside the state Senate chambers Monday as about 200 people protested outside the doors. Protesters shouted, “Love trumps hate” just before the vote took place, and “Vote your conscience” as the electors filled out their ballots. Secretary of State Ken Detzner oversaw the ceremony.Before the vote, state Rep. Joe Gruters said there was no chance he and the other 28 electors would vote at odds with the statewide vote in November.

PRESIDENT-ELECT TRUMP PICKS BILLIONAIRE FLORIDA HOCKEY TEAM OWNER FOR ARMY SECRETARY

Billionaire Florida hockey team owner Vincent Viola is known more for his business success and sports deals than his military acumen. But the 1977 West Point graduate, President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for Army secretary, has maintained his service ties since leaving active duty. While he has steadily built a financial empire — listed 374th on Forbes Magazine’s top 400 with a net worth of $1.8 billion — he also has poured money and time into the military academy. Viola was a key donor for the creation of West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center and has supported cadet programs. And as owner of the National Hockey League’s Florida Panthers, he has sent the team to West Point for training, and there are several West Point graduates and military veterans working in the front office.

WOMAN ACCUSED OF THREATENING PARENT OF BOY KILLED IN SCHOOL SHOOTING PLEADS GUILTY TO THREATS

A Florida woman accused of threatening the parent of a boy killed in the Sandy Hook school shooting because she thought it was a hoax pleaded not guilty Monday and was barred from visiting websites that promote such false conspiracy theories. Lucy Richards, 57, entered her plea in Fort Lauderdale federal court after a public defender was appointed to represent her. The lawyer, Michael Spivack, declined to comment after the hearing. Richards was arrested Dec. 7 in Tampa on four felony counts of transmitting threats to Lenny Pozner, father of 6-year-old Noah Pozner who died in the 2012 mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

MAN KILLED WHEN FRONT LOADER VEERS INTO CANAL

A man was killed after the construction machine he was operating accidentally plunged into a canal in Palm Beach County. The Palm Beach Sheriff’s office says 48-year-old Peter Kubeck died after he was taken to Palms West Hospital, but the cause of death wasn’t clear pending an autopsy report. Officials say the Palm Springs man was driving a front-end loader when it veered off the road and slid into a canal in Loxahatchee, Fla.

RED TIDE AFFECTS SEVERAL COUNTIES ON FLORIDA’S WEST COAST

Red tide is once again continuing its reign over some Gulf Coast beaches since September. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s red tide status report, eight water samples collected from Manatee showed very low to high concentrations of red tide. Similar readings were found in 20 samples from Sarasota County. Red tide has been detected from Pinellas County to Lee County. It happens when a certain kind of phytoplankton gathers in high concentrations, giving off toxins that are harmful to wildlife and humans.

 

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