Your daily look at news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about in Florida today.
State’s largest insurer to ask for rate hikes in 2016
Florida’s largest property insurer is asking to raise rates for its customers that live along the coast and in South Florida. The board of Citizens Property Insurance voted unanimously Wednesday to raise rates an average of 3.2 percent. State regulators must review and approval the proposal before it takes effect. If approved the rate hikes would kick in next February. Nearly half of the state-created insurer’s 600,000 customers will actually see slight decreases in their rates. But those customers who live near the coast could pay an average of 8.6 percent more. Citizens officials say rate hikes are needed for homeowners in Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties.
Wildlife commissioners approve bear hunting
Florida wildlife officials have approved a new bear hunting season in the state. After hours of impassioned public comment Wednesday, mostly in opposition to new hunting regulations, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission on approved the first bear hunting in the state in 21 years. Hunters applauded the decision, but critics like The Humane Society of the United States this week delivered petitions to Gov. Rick Scott bearing signatures of more than 90,000 people trying to stop the hunt of Florida’s largest native land mammal.
Prosecutors, defense rest trial of ‘Big Tony’ over slaying
The prosecution and defense have rested in the retrial of a reputed mobster accused of orchestrating the 2001 slaying of a South Florida businessman who owned gambling ships and founded Miami Subs restaurants. Closing arguments are set Monday for Anthony “Big Tony” Moscatiello in the mob-style shooting death of Konstantinos “Gus” Boulis, former chief of SunCruz Casinos. A mistrial was declared in 2013 for Moscatiello when his attorney became ill. Anthony “Little Tony” Ferrari was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
Man accused of punching disabled adult at Port St. Lucie center
A 22-year-old former mental health technician at a Port St. Lucie treatment center is accused of punching a resident in the face. The fraud control unit of the Florida Attorney General’s Office announced Wednesday that Byron Pressley has been arrested. They worked with the Port St. Lucie police to investigate the case. Authorities say Pressley is charged with one count of abuse of a disabled person, which is a third-degree felony. He faces up to five years in prison. The incident took place at the Treasure Coast Forensic Treatment Center and was captured on video.
Florida home of former coach Lou Holtz destroyed by fire
Former college football coach Lou Holtz and his wife Beth made it safely out of their $1.6 million Orlando home which officials say was destroyed by a fire likely caused by a lightning strike. The fire broke out early Sunday morning in the 11,000-square-foot home in the gated Lake Nona Gold and Country Club community, which is known for its multimillion-dollar homes. Holtz told the Orlando Sentinel he was awakened by smoke alarms about 2:30 a.m. He says he tried to go upstairs to grab his wallet and cellphone but there was too much smoke. The couple called 911 and ran outside. More than 60 Orlando firefighters responded.