COAST GUARD: 185 MIGRANTS REACH FLORIDA KEYS IN DECEMBER
Capt. Jeffrey Janszen of the Coast Guard’s Sector says it’s not clear why there were so many migrant landings in December. Good weather may have helped some migrants, though Janszen said winds were rough around Christmas. Coast Guard officials say the number of Cubans attempting to reach U.S. shores has surged for two years.
2 JEWISH CENTERS EVACUATED IN FLORIDA AFTER BOMB THREATS
Jewish Academy elementary school in Maitland and Chabad of South Orlando were both evacuated Wednesday morning. The first call came to the school, and then the second call came to the other location 10 minutes later. Orange County deputies and Maitland police officers are trying to determine if the calls were related.
FLORIDA PANTHER DEATHS STILL AT RECORD-HIGH FOR 2016
A record number of endangered Florida panthers died again last year — 42 of the remaining big cats were killed, matching the 2015 record. Thirty-four were hit by vehicles in southwest Florida, where development is shrinking what’s left of their habitat. The tally kept by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission includes six new litters, with a total of 14 cubs born in 2016.
3 FLORIDA SCHOOL BUSES INVOLVED IN CRASHES
The crashes occurred Tuesday afternoon. The Florida Highway Patrol says a bus driver was charged with driving under the influence of a controlled substance after a car rear-ended the bus in Lealman and fled the scene. A second driver was cited after a bus failed to stop at a stop sign in St. Petersburg and collided with an SUV. In Clearwater, authorities say a car ran a red light and collided with a bus, sending it crashing into a light pole.
WOMAN AWAITING MURDER-FOR-HIRE TRIAL WANTS MORE FREEDOM
Dalia Dippolito’s attorneys asked a judge this week that she be removed from house arrest. Arguing this week that the 34-year-old Dippolito is “neither a danger to the community nor a flight risk,” the defense is asking Circuit Judge Glenn Kelley to end Dippolito’s 24-hour curfew, confinement at her mother’s house and constant tracking by law enforcement.