Man yells ‘there’s no Santa’ at holiday event
CAPE CORAL — It wasn’t the Grinch who stole Christmas. It was a man who screamed “there’s no Santa Claus” over and over during a recent holiday festival in Florida.
A southwest Florida woman shared cellphone footage with Fort Myers television station NBC-2 of the man yelling during the Cape Coral Festival of Lights on Saturday night.
Cape Coral police told the station that officers were at the event but couldn’t do anything because the man was exercising his freedom of speech. They added they could have intervened had he used a voice enhancer such as a megaphone, or started a riot.
Cindy Menkes of Cape Coral says it’s about decency and said she’s sad that “the magic of this time of year” was taken away from some children.
Audit details errors Florida made in issuing gun permits
TALLAHASSEE — An audit shows the Florida department that approves gun permits and licenses for security guards and private investigators had inadequate oversight that led to hundreds of permits issued in error.
The state auditor general report released this week details many of the problems that were previously disclosed by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, but said the department understated the number of concealed weapons permits that had to be revoked.
The department previously reported that it revoked concealed weapons permits from 291 people after discovering an employee had failed to complete all of the required background checks.
The state audit said it was actually 310 permits that were revoked and said the number was misstated because of a transposition error.
The report says that the department also issued permits to two people who didn’t apply for one.
Residents of Keys remember Bush’s fishing legacy
ISLAMORADA — Longtime residents of the Florida Keys remember the late George H.W. Bush and his sportfishing trips to the island chain before, during and after his presidency.
The 41st president’s affection for catch-and-release fishing of bonefish, tarpon and permit was so significant, he lent his name to an annual Keys tournament.
From 1994 to 2003, the George Bush/Cheeca Lodge Bonefish Tournament attracted participants including former treasury secretary Nicholas Brady and Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf Jr.
The tournament served as a fundraiser for causes including Florida Everglades conservation.
In 1995, the president and his grandson, Jeb Bush, Jr., each caught and released a permit. In late November 2000, the president fished the tournament, but his mind was focused on that year’s presidential election and the Florida recount.
Bush was buried Thursday at his presidential library at Texas A&M University.
Leaping lemur surprises trooper during DUI arrest
SANFORD — A lemur surprised a Florida Highway Patrol trooper when it crawled from a trailer being pulled by a pickup truck that had been stopped for driving erratically and hitting other cars.
Dashcam video shows the lemur peeking out of the trailer before hopping to the ground and leaping around the trooper who was talking to the driver along Interstate 4 in Sanford on Saturday night.
The video shows the trooper doing a double-take as the lemur runs around and stands on its hind legs.
Twenty-seven-year-old driver Shane Taylor warned troopers that the lemur named Miko “bites.” Taylor was arrested on several charges including DUI.
State wildlife officers took custody of the lemur and other exotic animals including a tortoise, a goat, a parrot and a wallaby.
Jail records don’t list a lawyer for Taylor.
Marine from Miramar killed in military crash
MIAMI — Military officials say a 28-year-old Florida man has died in a crash of two U.S. warplanes that collided off Japan’s coast.
The U.S. Marine Corps said in a statement released Friday that Capt. Jahmar F. Resilard of Miramar, Florida, died in the Thursday crash. Another crew member was found and is in fair condition. Five others remain missing.
Resilard was a F/A-18 pilot with the Marine All Weather Attack Squadron 242 and was stationed on Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Yamaguchi, Japan.
Lt. Col. James Compton called Resilard an “effective and dedicated leader who cared for his Marines and fellow pilots with passion.” His decorations include the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal and National Defense Service Medal.
The crash remains under investigation.
Sheriff: 6-year-old killed in house fire
MIMS — Authorities say a 6-year-old Florida child has died in a house fire.
Brevard County Sheriff’s spokesman Tod Goodyear tells news outlets that the fire was reported early Friday at a home in Mims, which is near Melbourne on Florida’s Atlantic Coast.
The American Red Cross told reporters they are assisting the family, which included guests who were visiting from out of town. The television station reports five people were taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
An investigation is underway. Officials haven’t released the child’s name.
Teen accused of killing mom enters not guilty plea
DAYTONA BEACH — An attorney entered a not guilty plea on behalf of a 15-year-old accused of killing his mother during an argument over bad grades.
The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports Gregory Ramos appeared surprised in court Thursday when Assistant Public Defender Matt Phillips enter the pleas during a hearing. Ramos is charged as an adult with first-degree premeditated murder, abuse of a dead body and tampering with a crime scene in the strangling of 46-year-old Gail Cleavenger on Nov. 2.
The newspaper reports Ramos looked down as the charges were read, then turned his head quickly toward Phillips when the lawyer entered the plea, mouthing something silently and raising his eyebrows.
Two friends are charged with accessory after the fact to first-degree murder.
Investigators said Ramos took about 30 minutes to strangle his mother.
Parents upset by unannounced ‘code red drill’ at high school
ORLANDO — Some parents are outraged that a Florida high school conducted an unannounced “code red drill,” sending students and teachers into a panic.
Orange County school district spokesman Michael Lawrence tells the Orlando Sentinel that Thursday’s panic was caused when a Lake Brantley High School student shared a screenshot of an alert that some teachers received during the drill, warning of an active shooter on campus.
Lawrence says schools sometimes conduct unannounced drills and immediately alert parents. He says Thursday’s message may have gone out a “bit later” than normal.
A parent responding to the school’s Facebook message said: “nothing is more terrifying than getting a text from your daughter who is hiding in her classroom having a complete anxiety attack.” She said it was the wrong way to practice safety.
Witness tells troopers woman was hit multiple times on I-95
POMPANO BEACH — The Florida Highway Patrol has shut down a portion of Interstate 95 in South Florida after a crash involving a woman who witnesses say was run over by multiple vehicles.
Troopers were called to the scene north of Fort Lauderdale early Friday morning.
A witness tells Miami television station WSVN that he was driving south on the interstate and saw what looked like a body “laying across the road.” He said he “couldn’t react in time” and ran over it.
The man says he stopped and spoke to a motorcyclist who told him a woman had been hit. The motorcyclist drove away before police arrived. The witness says other cars hit the woman but he knows of only three people who stopped.
Authorities are investigating the crash.
The Associated Press