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Imagineer shares more about change at Epcot’s Spaceship Earth

ORLANDO, Fla. — More details have emerged about changes to Epcot’s Spaceship Earth, thanks to a recent Instagram post by Imagineer Zach Riddley. They enhance the announcement regarding the celebrations tied to Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary this year. “Spaceship Earth is a unique structure recognized around the world,” Riddley writes. “To honor this idea, our Imagineers have created custom lighting features that literally emerge from her unique architecture. These features will shine across Spaceship Earth’s silver panels and ‘connect’ with one another, resembling shimmering stars in a n...

Trump fans eager to hear what the ex-president has to say Sunday at CPAC

ORLANDO, Fla. — Anticipation for Donald Trump’s Sunday speech was palpable at CPAC in Orlando on Saturday, as speakers invoked the ex-president’s name and policies in their remarks and attendees were hopeful he’d shed light on his political future. Charlene Daniel-Greene and her husband drove from Pennsylvania. Recently retired, the couple hopes to get involved in conservative activism in the coming years. But she said she was discouraged that Trump hasn’t spoken out since Jan. 6 and feels his silence and the death of conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh have left a hole in the discourse. “I’...

NFL fans flock to Tampa's Raymond James Stadium despite pandemic

TAMPA, Fla. — Samuel Medina, a Jaguars fan, drove down from Jacksonville for the Super Bowl party. He brought his fiancee Tamia Woods with him. “I’m not even a Bucs fan. My fiancee, she used to live down here,” Medina said before the Tampa Bay Bucs and Tom Brady faced off with the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. “She just wanted to see everything and get to feel the NFL experience, everybody around getting together for a great game. We’re gonna stay outside the stadium and listen for the crowd to go wild. “We came down to go to Ybor City last night, but there was just too much traffic.” Woods, w...

UCF fires professor accused of racist tweets for classroom ‘misconduct’

UCF has fired a professor who drew national attention over the summer for tweets described as racist by students and alumni after a university investigation revealed “misconduct" in his classroom, including that he failed to report that a student told him she had been sexually assaulted by a teaching assistant. The University of Central Florida said on Friday that Charles Negy, an associate professor of psychology, had been fired, the culmination of a probe spurred by hundreds of messages the school received, including some that said he subjected students to “discriminatory harassment" in the ...

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DeSantis spokesman resigns but insists it is unrelated to his widely-derided COVID-19 tweet

Fred Piccolo, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ communications director, has resigned from the governor’s office, a move he said was planned before he deleted his Twitter account shortly after his controversial Christmas Eve tweet about COVID-19 victims. Piccolo, who was named DeSantis’s chief spokesman in July, said he will move over to the state Department of Education next week, where he will rejoin Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran. Piccolo previously worked for Corcoran at the state House Speaker’s office. Piccolo made national headlines last week after stating that photos of each dead COVID-19 vi...

Excluding prisoners from vaccine priority would be criminal

Had he lived, Lawrence Carter should have been one of the first in line to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. He was 76 years old, diabetic, had one leg and was confined to a wheelchair. But Carter was an inmate at the Seminole County, Florida, jail. In the state’s view, he would have deserved the same vaccine priority as a healthy 21-year-old: None. When it comes to protecting prisoners from COVID-19, Florida’s attitude has been almost criminal from the start. That’s not changing now that vaccines are rolling out. The first batch is going to health care providers and people 65 and older. You cou...

Man with virus symptoms boarded flight from Florida and died -- EMT who helped him now sick

ORLANDO, Fla. — A man who boarded a flight from Orlando despite having coronavirus symptoms later died, and now an EMT who helped him on the plane is feeling sick, according to news reports. Tony Aldapa and others performed CPR on Monday night on the fellow passenger who had a case of the virus that ended up killing him, KCAL-Channel 2 in Los Angeles reported. The United Airlines flight to Los Angeles made an emergency landing so the sick passenger could be taken to a hospital, where he died. On Tuesday, Louisiana authorities confirmed the passenger died of acute respiratory failure after cont...

Florida is second-worst place for millennials to live, career website says

Orlando once trended as a hotspot for millennials but a new study ranked Florida as one of the worst places for them to live. The study used four categories to create the list: millennial unemployment rate, homeownership, average student loan debt, and percentage of millennials living in poverty, according to career website Zippia. In Florida, millennials’ unemployment rates and homeownership are at 7% with poverty rates at 22%. Millennial homeownership in the state also ranks as the third-worst in the country, according to Zippia. Florida is not the only Southern state to earn such a dubious ...

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SpaceX Starship prototype explodes on landing -- but Elon Musk happy with flight test

A SpaceX Starship prototype was destroyed in a fireball Wednesday when it attempted to land after the company successfully launched it for a high-altitude flight. The launch was an attempt to send SN8, as in serial number 8, to 12.5 km, about 41,000 feet, using three of the company’s Raptor engines for the first time, and return it safely to the company’s facility in Boca Chica, Texas. While the launch seemed to go as planned, the landing resulted in a massive explosion that left the stainless steel rocket obliterated. “This suborbital flight is designed to test a number of objectives, from ho...

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The COVID cure is coming -- but the vaccine needs your help

The COVID-19 cavalry is on the horizon. Scientists have produced vaccines in record time and there’s an end in sight to the pandemic catastrophe. Now all you have to do is take the shot. That should be obvious, but it seems researchers needed a second vaccine to attack the virus of suspicion, paranoia and misinformation that threatens to derail the project. “To beat this pandemic, we also have to defeat the parallel pandemic of distrust,” said Francesco Rocca, president of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Polls show about 60% of Americans are willing to tak...

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Feds still stonewalling on Jeffrey Epstein deal

Perhaps the Department of Justice will take the Jeffrey Epstein case more seriously when President Joe Biden takes office. Under President Donald Trump, the whitewash continues.The latest outrage came last month. The department’s Office of Professional Responsibility concluded that Alexander Acosta, the former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, showed only “poor judgment” and not misconduct in 2008 when he approved an absurdly light deal for sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein.That deal, known as a non-prosecution agreement, allowed Epstein to avoid federal charges that could have...

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Violence has plagued this Florida housing complex for nearly 50 years. Nobody knows how to fix it

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Nearly 50 years ago, the Lauderhill Point apartments were built to bring safe, affordable housing to a blighted stretch of what is now Lauderhill.Instead, the 22 buildings that make up the property have become infamous for problems that have remained consistent despite numerous name and ownership changes: Murders, shootings, gang control and rampant drug dealing.From 2014 to 2019, Lauderhill Police said they responded to more than 2,400 calls at the property — nearly two a day. Among the 215 criminal reports they gathered were 14 cases involving a gun and six with a kni...

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'Sheriff, hurry up please.' Disabled man battles intruder as cops wait down the street

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — He had just stepped from the shower and was settling in for the night when he caught a glimpse of a figure outside his window.Seventy-year-old Bill Norkunas, a childhood polio survivor, headed over to the light and flicked it on hoping to scare away whoever was there. Instead, the light was a beacon drawing a young man to his front door, a door made of glass.And then for the next 15 minutes, Norkunas stood there, barefoot and unclothed, with his crutches, on one side of the glass pane trying to steady a gun in his trembling hand while the stranger stood on the other sid...

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New details in notorious 1990 'killer clown' case show why prosecutors are so sure who was under the wig

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — After South Florida’s killer clown slipped away three decades ago, witnesses told investigators the culprit wearing white makeup and an orange wig looked like a man.But finally it’s been revealed that evidence found in the getaway car — a strand of burgundy head hair with the root attached — is why authorities in 2017 unmasked the clown as a woman: Sheila Keen Warren.In court documents filed this month, Palm Beach County prosecutors gave new insights into how they intend to use DNA evidence and other findings to win a conviction in the 1990 murder of Marlene Warren.It’s...

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Appeals court strikes down Boca Raton's ban on anti-gay conversion therapy

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A federal appeals court struck down Boca Raton’s ban on conversion therapy for gay adolescents struggling to come to terms with their sexuality, calling the ban an infringement on the First Amendment rights of the teens and the counselors who try to treat them.Licensed family therapists Robert Otto and Judy Hamilton sued the city for the right to talk to their juvenile clients about conversion if the clients had “unwanted” attraction to members of the same gender or “confusion” about their gender identity.The city’s ordinance prohibited conversion therapy as harmful to ...

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