Glades joins Amazon site list
As Internet giant Amazon continues to mull its future in Florida, add the Glades to areas being pitched for the world’s largest online retailer to open a job-creating distribution center.
U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., asked Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos on Friday to consider the agricultural region near Lake Okeechobee, which is within Hastings’ congressional district, as a centralized location in South Florida for one of the company’s “fulfillment” centers.
Lawsuit: Florida ‘warehoused’ mentally ill
A disability-rights organization has filed a federal lawsuit alleging that Florida has improperly “warehoused” people with mental illnesses in psychiatric institutions.
The suit, filed last week in Tallahassee by the non-profit Disability Rights Florida, is a proposed class action on behalf of potentially hundreds of people and contends that the state is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act. It says that many people in institutions could live in their communities if adequate services were provided.
The suits names the Florida Department of Children and Families and the state Agency for Health Care Administration as defendants and lists two plaintiffs. One, identified by the initials T.W., is a 32-year-old man who was committed in December 2009 to Florida State Hospital in Chattahoochee. The other, identified as P.M., is a 60-year-old woman who was committed in October 2010 and lives at Northeast Florida State Hospital in Macclenny.
Spending up for officials’ security
A report released Monday showed that Florida spent $2.64 million on security for officials between July 2012 and June 2013. That was the highest amount spent by state authorities on security in the last eight years.
The higher total includes money spent to protect Gov. Rick Scott, President Barack Obama during his visits to the state and top Republican officials who attended the Republican National Convention held last summer in Tampa.
Scott has privacy concerns about Obamacare navigators
Gov. Rick Scott is joining other Republicans lawmakers around the country in questioning privacy issues surrounding the navigators hired to walk people through their health insurance options under the Affordable Care Act.
“What we do not know is how this information will be shared among federal agencies or if the federal government will also distribute it to outside groups,” Scott said in a statement.
Federal health officials said applicant information is not stored in a database, but is instead transferred instantaneously through a secure hub.
Plea deal dropped for gay teen
Prosecutors have withdrawn a plea deal to a Florida teen accused of having sex with her underage girlfriend.
The state attorney’s office reports that it pulled 19-year-old Kaitlyn Hunt’s deal Monday, following allegations last week that she had violated her pretrial conditions and contacted the girl identified as the victim in her case. The deal would have spared Hunt jail time and registration as a sex offender but added a felony count to her charges.
Authorities say Hunt was 18 when she had sex with her then-14-year-old girlfriend. Hunt has argued the sex was consensual, but Florida law considers it a felony offense to have sex with a person under the age of 16.
Shands to pay $26 million to settle false claims
The Justice Department says Florida’s Shands Healthcare has agreed to pay $26 million to settle claims that six of its facilities submitted false claims to Medicare, Medicaid and other health care programs.
The department announced Monday that the programs were billed for inpatient services that should have been billed as outpatient services from 2003 to 2008. The settlement arose in a lawsuit filed under the False Claims Act, which allows private citizens to sue on the government’s behalf and receive part of any settlement or judgment.
The lawsuit was filed by Terry Myers, president of a health consulting firm. His share has not yet been determined.
Sharpton defends his role in Martin protests
The Rev. Al Sharpton defended his involvement in the George Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin shooting case, saying he came to Florida only because Martin’s family asked.
The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports that Sharpton gave the Sunday sermon at the Greater Friendship Baptist Church, which was celebrating the 10th anniversary of its pastor taking the pulpit. Sharpton is friends with the Rev. L. Ronald Durham.
Vehicle hits, kills panther
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reports that the remains of a 3-year-old uncollared female Florida panther were found Monday along Interstate 75, near mile marker 93.
Officials say a collision with a vehicle was the cause of death.
It’s the 15th panther death recorded this year. That includes 12 deaths caused by collisions with vehicles.
Mistrial possible in baby slaying case
The first-degree murder trial of a Tampa man accused of throwing his ex-girlfriend’s 3-month-old son out of a moving car may have to start over after the child’s mother made statements in court she was ordered not to.
Hillsborough Assistant State Attorney Ron Gale asked Jasmine Bedwell about phone calls she had received from Richard McTear in May 2009, and she said, “He told me he was going to come over and shoot my baby in the face and piss on him and in his face and he was going to kill both of us.”
The prosecutor said he didn’t expect that answer because in previous statements Bedwell had said McTear made those statements in March 2009, not May.
The judge halted the trial and told attorneys to return Tuesday to discuss how to proceed, including the possibility of a mistrial.
McTear, 25, is accused of beating Bedwell, throwing a baby carrier against a wall with the infant in it and taking the child and throwing him from a moving car on Interstate 275.
Compiled from Post wire services.