Your daily look at news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about in Florida today.
Florida’s blueberry crop sees sweet harvest season
Ideal growing conditions this year likely resulted in record production for Florida’s young blueberry industry. The crop’s previous record was 21.4 million pounds of blueberries in 2011. The numbers on this season’s report won’t be available until early next year. The Florida blueberry industry, which began in the early 1990s, was built on hitting that sweet spot in a marketing window generally lasting from the last weeks of March to the first week of April.
More than 100,000 Tampa Bay homeowners under water
Despite rising values, nearly 100,000 Tampa Bay borrowers still owe more than their homes are worth. As of the end of March, almost one in five Bayarea homes with mortgages had negative equity and almost 60 percent of those were so under water that the owners owed more than 120 percent of the home’s value. That means values would have to rise more than 20 percent for the owners to have any chance of breaking even on a sale.
Man struck, killed by train in Winter Haven
Police say a train struck and killed a man who was walking along the tracks in central Florida. The crash happened Sunday night in Winter Haven. Witnesses told police they saw the man walking on the tracks and yelled for him to get out of the way of the approaching train. He didn’t and the train hit him. The man was declared dead at the scene.
K-9 is choked out by suspect, helps make arrest anyway
Authorities say a police dog was choked out by a robbery suspect, but still managed to help make the arrest. Deputies responded to an attempted robbery at a Wal-Mart Friday evening. The suspect, 25-year-old Liferein Lenord Bell, managed to flee the store. A police helicopter and K-9 deputies were able to locate Bell hiding in a bush. When a K-9 named Kilo attempted to catch him, Bell choked the dog until he passed out. As deputies struggled with Bell, Kilo woke up and bit the man’s arm. Deputies were able to restrain him and take him into custody.
Health officials warn of flesh-eating bacteria
Florida health officials are warning residents and tourists a rare form of flesh-eating, potentially deadly bacteria has made its way to Florida beaches. The Vibrio vulnificus bacterium grows fastest in warm saltwater and has already infected at least seven people, killing two this year in Florida. The state health department says there have been 32 cases in the past 12 months. Officials say a spike in cases occurs from May to October when water is the warmest. Florida Health Department spokeswoman Mara Burger says consuming or handling raw shellfish and swimming in warm saltwater can put people at risk. People with open wounds can also be exposed to Vibrio vulnificus through direct contact with seawater.