Author: Wendy Victora Rudman

State Attorney’s Office: Father of drowning victim will not be charged

The decision has been made not to charge the father of 5-year-old Zaten Clark, who drowned June 5 after falling from a floating play structure in the Santa Rosa Sound.

The Kentucky child was playing with his 7-year-old brother when he slipped into the water. His father, Travis Clark, was on land about 70 yards away at the time. He did not see his son fall or realize immediately that anything had happened, according to the Santa Rosa Sheriff’s Office investigative report.

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Elsa downgraded to tropical storm, path targets Florida peninsula

The latest update on now-Tropical Storm Elsa shows its path focusing on the Florida peninsula, including the Gulf Coast, before moving up the state through Georgia. The update shows Elsa brushing the coastline before moving onshore sometime Tuesday. The western portion of the Panhandle, including Santa Rosa County, is not in or near the "cone of probability" as of late Sunday afternoon, according to the National Hurricane Center.

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Hurricane Elsa on the move, path uncertain

Elsa has been upgraded to a hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 75 miles per hour. The National Hurricane Center does not have high confidence in her forecast path, which currently takes her into the Gulf of Mexico early next week and then up the western coast of the Peninsula.

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Fireworks legal for first time this July 4

This July Fourth will be the first that Florida residents can legally set off fireworks, as long as they don't light the fuse in a municipality of homeowners association that bans it. Gov. Ron DeSantis passed a bill last year allowing to people to legally set off fireworks on July 4, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.

In the past, many Floridians traveled out of state to buy fireworks. Locally, only small items like sparklers and snakes could be sold without a permit prior to HB 140. Local firework sellers offered large selections this year.

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