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Victims of 1980 bridge disaster to be memorialized

<p> A St. Petersburg man is working to create a memorial for the 35 people who died in the 1980 Skyway Bridge disaster.</p><p> The Bradenton Herald reports that journalist Bill DeYoung is working to raise $8,000 to erect the granite-and-bronze memorial before a 35th anniversary event on May 9. </p><p> A  600-foot freighter struck the southbound span of Tampa's Sunshine Skyway Bridge during a violent storm on May 9, 1980.</p><p> De Young worked through the Florida Legislature to secure the monument, which was officially approved in a bill signed by Gov. Rick Scott in June.</p><p> De Young is the author of a recently published a book detailing the history of the bridge disaster.</p><p> "I was shocked and saddened that this dark day was fading into history, and very surprised there was nothing to memorialize these people," DeYoung told the newspaper. "This is the worst ship-and-bridge disaster in American history."</p><p> The memorial with the names of those killed will sit on a grassy stretch of land in the north side rest area between Blackthorn Memorial Park and the old Skyway fishing piers, DeYoung said.</p><p> Although the state did not pursue a marker for the 35 who died, Zachary Burch, a government affairs liaison with the Florida Department of Transportation, said the state supports DeYoung's effort.</p><p> "It will be up to him or an organization to come up with the funds for the marker itself," he said.</p><p> DeYoung hopes the public will donate the $8,000 needed for the memorial.</p><p> "We've raised about $2,000 already so we are a quarter of the way there," he said. "We are starting to contact family members and hope to get as many as we can locate to come to the dedication."</p><p> The monument will features a bronze plaque that will include a base relief of the twin Skyway spans before the 1980 accident, It will also have the names of the 35 victims engraved under the words IN MEMORIAM, along with a brief explanation of the events of May 9, 1980.</p>

Published: Sat, 31 Jan 2015 22:31:59 GMT

Citing Oklahoma ruling, condemned Florida man seeks stay

<p> A man scheduled to die for killing his daughter, ex-wife, former mother-in-law and former sister-in-law in Orlando in 1985 is seeking a stay of execution over the type of drugs used.</p><p> Lawyers for 59-year-old Jerry Correll on Friday cited the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision to halt Oklahoma execution during review of its lethal injection drug mixture. Since Florida uses the same sedative drug, Correll's lawyers told the Florida Supreme Court his Feb. 26 execution should be halted.</p><p> Attorneys for the state responded that unlike Oklahoma, no problems have been reported with Florida's procedure. They also say Correll has a slim chance of prevailing.</p><p> All four of Correll's victims were stabbed multiple times. Bloody fingerprints and palm prints, along with other physical evidence, linked him to the crime scene.</p>

Published: Sat, 31 Jan 2015 16:17:12 GMT

Man molested girl, told her to kill mother, Palm Bay police say

<p> A 27-year-old man has been arrested on lewd and lascivious battery and molestation charges, according to the Palm Bay Police Department.</p><p> Police said Vincent Clarke had been in a relationship for the past month with a 15-year-old girl, who told police the relationship included sexual intercourse.</p><p> Clarke was aware of the girl's age prior to the sexual intercourse and molestation of her breast, according to police. It was determined it was a 12-year-age difference.</p><p> Clarke had allegedly sent the victim suicidal text messages, which were later discovered and told to police. Police said officers arrived at his home and found him hiding in a closet. Clarke was then baker acted and taken to COC.</p><p> Clarke was then placed under arrest. While he changed shoes and prepared to leave for the county jail, an officer spoke with his parents, who became upset, police said.</p><p> Both parents walked to the front of his bedroom door and asked if he had sex with a young girl. By context, it appeared Clarke nodded his head "yes," according to the police report.</p><p> The parents then asked him why he lied. Clarke eventually said, "It was her idea, so yes."</p><p> According to the police report, Clarke tried to get the girl to kill her mother to keep everything a secret.</p><p> Clarke was taken to the Palm Bay Police Department and was later taken to the Brevard County Sheriff's Office jail.</p>

Published: Sat, 31 Jan 2015 14:25:20 GMT

Meet Rami: Part dachshund ... part pit bull?

<p> What if a dachshund and a pit bull got together? </p><p> That's the way the joke would open, pairing the most unlikely of canine partners -- the short legged, long bodied dachshund with the larger, stronger pit bull. </p><p> But Rami is proof that the match has happened. </p><p> "It is a true pit bull head on a dachshund body," said Dawn Blanton of the Moultrie-Colquitt County Humane Society in south Georgia.</p><p> A man found the dog, now named Rami, wandering in his backyard. He called the shelter and described him as a "pit bull with short legs," Blanton told CNN affiliate WALB. </p><p> Local animal control officials confirmed that Rami is a dachshund/pit bull mix.</p><p> "Hi! I'm Rami and I'm looking for my forever home. I'm full of energy. I don't like walking on a leash," reads a posting on the animal shelter's Facebook page.</p><p> " I'm a sweetie pie, and love to run. I don't listen very well, so you'll need to take some time to train me. Because I tend to be a bit hyper, I might not be the best addition to a household with little kids. But I'm sure that all I need is a little lovin."</p><p> And with that posting and others, Rami has become a social media sensation. </p><p> "We posted a photo of him when he became available. And within a day it went to 1 million hits. And by that night it was up to 2 million. And now it is over 2.4 million hits," Blanton said.</p><p> Humane society workers are taking their time to pick his new owner because they don't want him to become a freak show. </p><p> "It will be a pretty tough test for people that are wanting this dog. They're going to have to answer questions, we're going to do follow-up inspections on him," said Don Flowers, also of the Humane Society. </p><p> The Humane Society is hoping Rami's newfound star status will bring attention to other animals on the county's Facebook page -- there are dogs Brutus and Oreo, as well as Loki and Mari the cats, along with others.</p><p> Rami, who is fully grown at 25 pounds, is neutered. He is expected to be adopted by next week. </p>

Published: Sat, 31 Jan 2015 10:07:34 GMT

FDOH urges Florida residents to get vaccinated against measles

<p> The Florida Department of Health said it is working with other state and federal officials to monitor individuals who may have been exposed to measles cases across the state.</p><p> Four cases of measles have been identified and reported among travelers in the past two weeks with unknown or no measles vaccinations who visited Florida, health officials said. Two cases involved international travelers.</p><p> "It's important all Floridians make sure they have received the measles vaccination because those who are fully immunized have very little risk of developing the disease," said State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. John Armstrong. "The department is prepared to deal with any potential emerging infectious disease threat, and is committed to ensuring the safety of all residents and visitors in Florida.</p><p> "Out of an abundance of caution, it is important for those who think they may have been exposed to measles to contact their health care provider for guidance right away."</p><p> While there are no confirmed cases currently among Florida residents, people who may have come into contact with infected individuals are being notified and counseled, according to FDOH.</p><p> The department said it is working closely with the medical provider community in an effort to maintain its current level of readiness to identify cases and respond to any diagnosed cases of measles in Florida.</p><p> "The smartest step any resident can take to protect themselves against this growing health threat is to get vaccinated," said Dr. Alan Pillersdorf, president of the Florida Medical Association. "Vaccines are available at your local doctor's office and at all local county health departments at a minimal cost or free. These vaccines are safe and play a vital role in creating a barrier between the human population and this virus."</p><p> FDOH officials said the most effective form of protection from this virus is through vaccination. Children should be immunized against measles with the combination measles, mumps and rubella vaccine and should receive two doses, with the first at 12 to 15 months of age and the second at 4 to 6 years of age.</p><p> People with underlying health conditions should discuss with their health care provider to determine the need for additional booster doses. The department said it encourages all Floridians who have not been immunized to get vaccinated immediately.</p><p> "In Florida, more than 93 percent of kindergartners are vaccinated against this potentially life-threatening virus," said Dr. Tommy Schechtman, president of the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. "But in a time when vaccines are readily available and safe, every child who can be should be vaccinated. It's our best defense against this re-emerging health care threat and one any responsible parent or guardian should want for their child to keep them healthy."</p><p> Measles is very rare in countries and regions of the world where vaccination coverage is high. FDOH officials said there are still sporadic cases of measles in the U.S. because travelers who are not fully immunized can become infected before or during travel abroad and spread the infection to those who are not protected by the vaccine.</p><p> Measles is spread through the air by breathing, coughing or sneezing and is highly contagious. It can be transmitted from four days before the rash becomes visible to four days after the rash appears, FDOH officials said.</p><p> The symptoms of measles generally begin approximately seven to 14 days after a person is exposed to someone with measles and include:</p><p>Blotchy rashFeverCoughRunny noseRed, watery eyes (conjunctivitis)Feeling run down, achy (malaise)Tiny white spots with bluish-white centers found inside the mouth (Koplik's spots)</p><p> Anyone who has these symptoms is urged to call their health care provider. <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/measles/index.html" target="_blank">Click here</a> for more information.</p>

Published: Sat, 31 Jan 2015 22:01:09 GMT

On this day: January 31

<p> The first Social Security check is issued, America launches its first satellite into orbit, McDonald's comes to Moscow, and "Avatar" hits the $2 billion mark, all on this day.</p>

Published: Sat, 31 Jan 2015 07:00:00 GMT

10 Best jobs In America for 2015

<p> Burnt out in your career? Here are 10 jobs with big growth, great pay and satisfying work.</p>

Published: Thu, 29 Jan 2015 15:51:20 GMT

Man took photos of women at Orlando VA Medical Center, police say

<p> Police arrested a man after he was caught taking pictures of women at the Lake Baldwin campus of the Orlando VA Medical Center, authorities said.</p><p> According to the arrest affidavit, 53-year-old Leonard Cathcart was seen taking pictures of fully-clothed women, focusing on their buttocks and pelvic areas in one of the hallways of the facility.</p><p> Cathcart was arrested Thursday and charged with disorderly conduct.</p><p> Eddie Wilbanks said Cathcart used to rent a room in his home in Mount Dora for several months and was surprised to hear the news.</p><p> "He never acted like he would do anything like that, but you never know with people these days," said Wilbanks.</p><p> After being detained, Cathcart willingly showed VA police the pictures on his phone. It showed women not only at the hospital, but other locations.</p><p> Local 6 went by the address listed in his arrest affidavit in Lake County, but no one was home.</p><p> VA officials in Tallahassee tell Local 6 that people are not allowed to take pictures in the clinical areas of the facility, including some hallways due to patient privacy concerns.</p><p> VA officials also told Local 6 there are signs posted telling visitors where they're allowed to take photos, but Local 6 didn't see any at the Lake Baldwin campus.</p><p> Women who spoke to Local 6 said it's an invasion of privacy.</p><p> "That's completely inappropriate. There's no reason a stranger needs pics of someone's body parts," said Franceca Damiano.</p><p> "That's scary," said Angelina Fikes. "It's not OK for someone to do that."</p>

Published: Sat, 31 Jan 2015 04:57:04 GMT

Florida Democrats review dismal year, plan for future

<p> Florida Democrats know they had a bad election year and now they're trying to figure out what to do going forward.</p><p> Party leaders met Saturday to discuss the 2014 election and now are trying to find some positives out of a year that didn't have many.</p><p> Party Chairwoman Allison Tant noted that Democrats turned out more voters than they did four years earlier and set fundraising records.</p><p> But the party and gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist were outspent by an enormous amount. It also didn't help that President Barack Obama's approval ratings were dismal.</p><p> Tant said the party is still analyzing election data to help prepare for the 2016 presidential election and the 2018 election, when there will be open seats for governor and all three Cabinet positions.<br/></p>

Published: Sat, 31 Jan 2015 19:28:04 GMT

FCC considers options to block illegal Robocalls on wireless phones

<p> It took Aaron Foss 6 months to get his NOMOROBO call blocking system on line with VOIP or voice over IP cable phone systems.<br/></p><p> [WEB EXTRA: <a href="/news/web-extra-robocalls-made-to-cellphones/31016968" target="_blank">Robocalls hit cellphones</a> ]</p><p> The system is free but still not available on wireless phone systems including AT&T and Verizon.<br/></p><p> Foss was in Washington last week to meet with the Federal Communications Commission to review the applications of his invention.<br/></p><p> The FCC has been getting input from telecommunication companies and experts to determine if wireless carriers would be able to implement a call blocking system.<br/></p><p> Foss says he can get his system on line for every carrier.<br/></p><p> “For NOMOROBO we blocked over 15 million robocalls last year," Foss said. ”to illustrate this to the FCC I brought 25 cases of call logs.”<br/></p><p> It took a fork lift to handle the files which included more than 25,000 consumer complaints all describing calls ranging from bogus cash prizes to threats from an IRS impostor.<br/></p><p> “There was a ton from Florida, a lot of people that got taken advantage of by scams,” Foss said.<br/></p><p> Larry Guest, a longtime sports writer for the Orlando Sentinel, has been a customer of NOMOROBO for a year.<br/></p><p> Guest says the calls are blocked on his home phone but his cell phone is still a target for unwanted calls.<br/></p><p> According to Guest, even placing his cell phone number on the no call list has failed to stop the interruptions.<br/></p><p> “They all sell these lists and if you fit their financial profile then here they come.”<br/>There are several no call list APP’s available now including:<br/></p><p> NumberCop.com (Android robocall blocker) cost $2.99 and Kedlin Company which can be downloaded at the Google Play store at no charge.<br/></p><p> These systems require you to put in the specific unwanted numbers and since those robocalls keep changing the system is only as good as the list you have accumulated.<br/></p><p> You can place your number on the Florida Do Not Call list at no charge. That number will remain on the list for five years. <a href="https://www.fldnc.com/" target="_blank">Click to go to FLDNC.com</a>.</p>

Published: Sat, 31 Jan 2015 05:03:06 GMT

Homeowner's poodle, mother's ashes swiped in Sanford break-in

<p> Sanford police are investigating a burglary at a home in which thieves made off with the homeowner's dog and her mother's ashes.</p><p> When Carolyn Sessoms and her husband returned home from church Wednesday night, they found their home ransacked and back door kicked in. Sessoms said her first concern was for her 3-year-old Maltese poodle, Marlow.</p><p> "The first thing I hollered for is my dog," said Sessoms. "I said, 'Marlow, Marlow!'"</p><p> After noticing their dog was missing, the couple quickly discovered that the thieves stole a big-screen TV and a jewelry box in their bedroom. The jewelry box contained an urn with the ashes of Sessoms' mother inside.</p><p> "When they ran through the house, the guy grabbed this TV here. Then, he ran in the bedroom," said Sessoms."</p><p> On Friday, the couple made a plea to return the remains.</p><p> "What they stole, please bring it back," said Sessoms. "You can have the TV. Just bring the jewelry box back."</p><p> Police said Marlow was found in an animal shelter after a concerned neighbor saw him roaming in the street.</p><p> A Local 6 News crew was with Sessoms as she was reunited with her dog.</p><p> "It just done my heart so good to know that I found my baby," Sessoms said.</p><p> Detectives said whoever broke into the home most likely lives nearby, and they're speaking with neighbors as they investigate.</p><p> Meanwhile, Sessoms said she won't rest until they're caught.</p><p> "You violated me.  You broke in my house," said Sessoms. "Whoever you are, let me tell you this: You're going to jail."</p>

Published: Fri, 30 Jan 2015 23:02:37 GMT

Ocoee police arrest driver accused of hitting kids on bike

<p> Ocoee police arrested the driver accused of hitting two elementary students riding home from school on their bikes.</p><p> </p><p> Lastevie V. Howard, 40, has been charged with leaving the scene of an accident involving personal injury and reckless driving with great bodily harm, police said. He was arrested and booked Friday afternoon into the Orange County Jail.</p><p> The family of one of the victims, 10-year-old Jordan El Ouadi, told Local 6 despite the arrest, their focus is on Aubrey Clark's recovery. Clark has been in critical condition with severe brain damage since the crash last week.</p><p> Howard struck the boy and the girl, who were on the sidewalk heading home from Citrus Elementary School, with his SUV near the intersection of North Clarke Road and East Silver Star Road, investigators said.<br/></p><p> Fifth-grader Clark has 80 percent of her brain damaged. El Ouadi was riding with Aubrey and suffered minor injuries.</p><p> "He's doing good. I think they continue to monitor his progress to make sure that's there are no injuries or anything," said Cliff Cox, Jordan's uncle. "They're on the sidewalk, holding their bikes, wearing their helmets, following instructions, being careful and then this happens. And then on top of that, you've got the guy that's going to run."</p><p> Ocoee police said Friday that red-light cameras did not support Howard's story that he was not trying to leave the scene. They said it showed him driving almost half a mile from the crash site before witnesses caught up to him.</p><p> Police said Howard had no drugs or alcohol in his system at the time of the crash and that additional charges could be pending.</p><p> Howard's attorney said he would not comment until he was able to see the charging affidavit.</p><p> "Hopefully, justice will prevail and more importantly, I hope the kids can get back on their bikes," said Cox.​</p>

Published: Sat, 31 Jan 2015 05:01:23 GMT

Photos: Recent Fla. mugshots

<p> Here's a look at some of the individuals who have been arrested recently in the Sunshine State.</p>

Published: Fri, 30 Jan 2015 13:22:58 GMT

IRS daily tax tips

<p> As tax season begins, the IRS warns taxpayers to be on high alert for common scams. Here is a collection of tax tips released daily by the IRS: </p>

Published: Fri, 30 Jan 2015 21:36:26 GMT