Your daily look at news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about in Florida today.
Port Canaveral gets into the cargo business
Long known as a popular place for cruises, Port Canaveral is sailing into the cargo business. The port in the heart of Florida’s Space Coast is opening its first container terminal on Friday. It will welcome its first container shipment during a ceremony with local officials. GT USA has invested $100 million in the terminal, which is located on 20 acres. The company has signed a 35-year lease with the Canaveral Port Authority.
Tampa moves to repeal panhandling ban under court challenge
Tampa’s city council moved to repeal an ordinance banning solicitation on public roads, a local law whose constitutionality is being challenged in federal court. Thursday’s decision comes about three weeks after the nonprofit group Homeless Helping Homeless sued the city in U.S. District Court, contending that two different Tampa bans on panhandling are unconstitutional and jeopardize its ability to raise money and help its clients.
Teen charged in store clerk’s murder pleads not guilty
A 15-year-old being charged as an adult for the murder of a St. Augustine store clerk has pleaded not guilty. The teen charged with first-degree murder, robbery with a firearm and aggravated assault entered his plea on Thursday in St. Johns County. If convicted, he faces a possible life sentence without parole. The teen was arrested on May 19 and charged with killing 29-year-old Malav Desai, who worked at Tobacco and Beverage Express in St. Augustine.
Teen killed in airboat crash
Authorities say a South Florida teen is dead after he and his father were thrown from an airboat. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reports that 14-year-old Colby Smith and his father were near Torry Island Campground and Marina in Belle Glade Wednesday when their airboat flipped. The father told Palm Beach County deputies that he managed to swim to shore but then couldn’t see his son.
Nearly 30 percent of Manatee third-graders could be retained
More than 1,000 Manatee County third-graders could be held back after taking state exams this spring. An update by Manatee Superintendent Diana Greene shows about 29 percent of the students fell into the bottom fifth across the state. In 2014, the percentage of third-graders flagged for retention was at 26 percent. If students are flagged for retention by the state test, they still can be promoted. A portfolio review of the student’s work can establish “good cause” to move the student on to the fourth grade. Greene says nearly 70 percent of the flagged third-grade students are either not native English speakers or are identified as having learning disabilities.