Florida posts another daily record of COVID-19 infections
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The coronavirus outbreak continued its fevered escalation in Florida, as the state reported Saturday more than 4,000 new cases — the highest daily total yet in a state that has seen numerous record-breaking spikes since reopening restaurants, bars, gyms and other public places. The Florida Health Department also reported 40 more people have died from COVID-19, bringing the state’s tally to more than 3,140. Since the outbreak began earlier this year, nearly 94,000 Floridians have tested positive for the virus. The state said new test results were reported for 34,400 people Friday and showed an infection rate of more than 12% — a clear indication of the the widened public spread of the disease.
Florida governor stiffens penalties against bear poaching
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida bears are getting stiffened protections against poachers, some of whom see the animals resurgence as a growing nuisance. Gov. Ron DeSantis agreed to increase the penalties against illegal bear hunting to further deter hunters from killing the once-imperiled creatures. The bill was among a slate of 21 pieces of legislation the governor signed Saturday. The black bear population dwindled to the low hundreds back in the 1970s, but has since come roaring back with more than 4,000 of the creatures now roaming the state. New rules going into effect July 1 raises the minimum fine for bear poaching to $750 from $500.
FLORIDA STATE STADIUM
Former Florida State football player wants stadium renamed
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — A former Florida State football player is leading a drive to rename the university’s stadium, asserting in a petition that the man it is named for, Doak S. Campbell, was a segregationist. Kendrick Scott, who was a linebacker for the school from 1991 to 1994, wants Campbell’s name removed from the stadium. Campbell served as president of Florida State College for Women when he led its transition in 1947 to a coed campus renamed as Florida State University, now one of the state’s largest. With a capacity for more than 79,000 spectators, the stadium is said to be the largest structure constructed out of bricks in the United States.
Florida sheriff decries hanging mannequin in police uniform
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Authorities in Jacksonville, Florida, are investigating after motorists saw a startling scene Saturday morning as they drove along a Florida interstate: a mannequin dressed in a police uniform dangling from a rope at an overpass. Emergency crews in Jacksonville were called to investigate a possible suicide. But when they got there, they discovered a mannequin hanging from an Interstate 95 overpass wearing a pig mask and dressed in a New York City police uniform. Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said the incident was “extremely disturbing” and a deliberate attempt to stoke anti-police sentiment.
Florida governor says younger people drive COVID-19 surge
MIAMI (AP) — Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis is downplaying a continued rise in confirmed coronavirus cases after the state reopened by saying more younger people with no symptoms are being tested. He also hinted Friday that recent protests over the death of George Floyd in Minnesota might drive up positive tests, and said some people have started to disregard advice to wear masks, social distance and avoid large crowds. Florida has had nearly 90,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, resulting in more than 3,100 deaths. The state has allowed bars, restaurants and some theme parks to reopen, and since then cases have spiked.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-FLORIDA UNEMPLOYMENT
Florida unemployment hits record high, but peak may be near
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Florida’s unemployment rate jumped higher in May, hitting a record 14.5% as the state continued reeling from the economic shutdowns caused by the coronavirus outbreak. According to the U.S. Labor Department, Florida’s unemployment rate jumped slightly from 13.8% in April. Before the coronavirus hit and devastated the state’s tourism, retail and other industries, February’s unemployment rate had been 2.8%. Before April, the highest unemployment Florida had seen since World War II had been 11.3% in early 2010. Still there are glimmers of hope. Some people who quit seeking work have rejoined the labor market as some businesses begin rehiring.
Sheriff: Deputies shoot armed man outside rehab clinic
WILTON MANORS, Fla. (AP) — Authorities say an armed man was wounded Friday afternoon during a shootout with Florida deputies in a parking lot near a rehab center. The Broward Sheriff’s Office says the shooting occurred near the Wilton Manors Health and Rehabilitation Center. Detectives had attempted to apprehend the man as part of a narcotics investigation. Two deputies fired their weapons, though it wasn’t known whether both hit the man. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement will investigate the shooting.
‘Why not a Black woman?’ Consensus grows around Biden’s VP
WASHINGTON (AP) — Joe Biden is facing growing calls to select a Black woman as his running mate as an acknowledgement of their critical role in the Democratic Party and a response to the nationwide protests against racism and inequality. The shifting dynamics were clear late Thursday when Amy Klobuchar took herself out of contention. The white Minnesota senator told MSNBC that “this is a moment to put a woman of color on that ticket.” The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee has already pledged to select a woman as vice president. After the police killing of George Floyd, many Democratic strategists say there’s growing consensus that the pick should be a Black woman.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-MLB-CAMPS CLOSED
AP source: MLB spring training sites close amid virus worry
A person familiar with the decision says Major League Baseball is closing all of its spring training sites over concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. The person spoke Friday night on condition of anonymity because there was no official announcement. Earlier in the day, the Philadelphia Phillies said five players tested positive for COVID-19 this week at the team’s spring complex. At least four teams in Florida and Arizona had already closed their camps. The moves came while MLB owners and players try to negotiate a deal to start the season. They had hoped to begin a second round of spring training by next weekend.
New Florida law will ban pelvic exams without consent
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Doctors and medical students won’t be able to perform pelvic exams on unconscious patients without their informed consent under a bill signed by Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis. The governor signed the bill late Thursday and the new law goes into effect July 1. It also bans doctors and health care practitioners from inseminating a woman or implanting an embryo using their own reproductive material. The bill was a priority for Democratic Sen. Lauren Book, who has spent her adult life trying to protect people from sexual abuse. Book says she was horrified to learn the exams are performed as a teaching tool for medical students, unbeknownst to patients.