Florida governor takes first 'baby step' to reopening state
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida is getting ready to begin the first phase of its reopening. Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Wednesday that restaurants and retail stores can reopen at limited capacity on Monday. Capacity will be limited to 25%. The governor is being more cautious than the recommendations given to him by a task force he established to make suggestions on reopening business. The governor specifically excluded hard-hit, heavily populated Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, saying their businesses will begin phase one when it is safer. Local governments will be allowed to have more restrictive policies than the state.
Court hands blow to Dems who sued over Florida ballot order
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A federal appellate court has tossed out an earlier ruling that ordered the state of Florida to come up with a new way to list candidates on the ballot. Democrats argued that Republicans have an unfair advantage because the current system automatically lists their candidates first. In its ruling Wednesday the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals said the lawsuit wrongly targeted Florida's Secretary of State. The court ruled that the state's chief elections officer is not responsible for printing ballots and setting the order in which candidates appear on the ballot. It says that responsibility lies with local elections officials.
Police: Man killed in shootout with officers in traffic stop
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Authorities say police officers in Florida fatally shot a man who fired at them during a late-night traffic stop. Police say they stopped a white car Tuesday night when the shooting occurred. They say the vehicle was involved in a shooting in another neighborhood on April 24. Police say the driver, 26-year-old Jonas Joseph, got out of the vehicle and fired at officers. Police say the officers returned fire, killing the man. Police say five officers were involved. No other injuries were reported. Joseph was black. Police didn’t immediately say what races the five officers involved in the shooting are.
TWO DUIS IN A WEEK
Reports: Florida man arrested twice in a week on DUI charges
CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) — A Florida man was pulled over for driving while intoxicated two times in one week. Police say 23-year-old Henry Francis Davis was arrested April 22 after a Florida Highway Patrol trooper saw him fighting with another motorist. The trooper broke up the fight and noticed Davis was impaired. His breath sample showed he was about twice the level the state considers the legal limit to drive. Davis was released from jail, but six days later arrested again on the same charge. Officers saw him driving recklessly. Reports say he also had a third DUI about five years ago in California.
Fire Officials: 1 dead in St. Augustine apartment fire
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. (AP) — Firefighters say one person has died in an apartment fire in St. Augustine. The fire broke out at an apartment complex early Wednesday morning. Officials say they got a call around 7 a.m. and when they arrived at the scene, smoke was coming from a lower unit of the building. The crews fought the fire and found the victim's body inside the unit. Officials haven't released the name of the victim. They say no firefighters were injured. The state fire marshal's office is investigating the cause of the fire.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-FLORIDA UNEMPLOYMENT
Outrage as Floridians navigate glitches on unemployment site
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Many unemployed Floridians seeking financial assistance are expressing shock at finding their claims deemed ineligible after waiting more than a month to have their application processed. The state’s CONNECT website to check status of claims was down for maintenance over the weekend, further frustrating thousands waiting for assistance after losing their jobs because of the coronavirus outbreak. The website functioned erratically Monday, with many users getting repeated error messages. Many who filed on the state’s outdated website have been waiting five or six weeks with their claim stuck in pending status. And many were deemed ineligible, despite believing they met the requirements.
DRIVE BY SHOOTING-MONEY ARGUMENT
Officials: Florida woman shot woman after dispute over $250
MELBOURNE, Fla. (AP) — Deputies in Florida say a dispute over $250 provoked a drive-by shooting that put one woman in a hospital and the other in jail. An arrest report says 20-year-old Aquayja Osbourne argued with the victim over the money and then left the scene, saying she would be “right back.” Florida Today reports that Osbourne returned in the passenger seat of a car and allegedly fired six shots at her. The Brevard Sheriff’s Office said the victim was hospitalized with gunshot woulds in her feet. Osbourne was charged with attempted murder and violating probation. She also faces a previous felony drug charge.
VICTIM FIGHTS BACK
Woman fights back when man tries to get inside her house
CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. (AP) — Police say a man who knocked at a door and tried to force his way inside got more than he bargained for when the woman who lives there fought back. The victim tells Coral Springs police the man knocked at the door about 9 p.m. on Tuesday. The senior citizen says she answered the door and he tried to come inside. But she says she struggled with the man until he took took off running down the street. Police are now searching for the man who is said to be in his mid-20s.
CONVICTED MAN DIES
Florida man convicted of killing 77-year-old dies in prison
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Authorities say a man convicted of killing a 77-year-old man in a Palm Beach County parking lot has died in prison. The Department of Corrections confirmed 51-year-old Danny Michael Harrigan died of natural causes on Feb. 2 at Lake Correctional Institute. He was one year into a life sentence for killing Bernard Fairman in Sept. 2018. Harrigan was convicted of first-degree murder in 2019. His mother told The Palm Beach Post in an email that her son was found in septic shock and taken to a hospital. She maintained his innocence as she did during the trial.
Woman dies after T-bone crash