A Florida State highway patrolman is trying to get his job back after being fired for giving a speeding lawmaker a break.
Trooper Charles Swindle says he was dismissed — despite a recommendation letter from his immediate supervisor — following what many troopers say has long been a practice of giving speeding legislators a break when possible.
Swindle gave state Rep. Charles McBurney, R-Jacksonville, a $10 ticket in November for not having his insurance card instead of a more costly speeding fine. Although McBurney was clocked at 87, he complained that his cruise control was set at 75 so Swindle checked with headquarters and was advised to cooperate with the lawmaker if possible.
McBurney then went home and wrote a letter to patrol officials that led to the trooper’s dismissal.
Obama at port on Friday
President Barack Obama will deliver an address on the economy at the Port of Miami Friday.
The event, which is not open to the public, is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. at the port, east of downtown Miami. Obama is expected to be in the area only about two hours Friday.
Possible sinkhole drives families from duplex
A sinkhole has forced two families from their duplex in the same area where another sinkhole opened under a man’s bedroom, killing him less than a month ago.
Hillsborough County Fire Rescue crews responded to a 911 call Tuesday from a duplex three miles from where 37-year-old Jeffery Bush died after a sinkhole swallowed a portion of his home.
The duplex had buckled floors and cracked walls and the soil was soft around the building, but no sinkhole was visible, spokesman Ronnie Rivera said.
Sanctions sought in Trayvon Martin case
Defense attorneys for the Florida man charged in the shooting of Trayvon Martin are asking the judge to sanction prosecutors for withholding information about a key witness.
In a motion filed this week, George Zimmerman’s lawyers asked that sanctions be imposed on the state for not disclosing that a teen who says she was on the phone with Martin minutes before he got into an altercation with Zimmerman lied about why she didn’t attend his funeral.
Defense attorney Mark O’Mara says she also was untruthful in an interview with prosecutors regarding her age. She was 18 at the time of Martin’s shooting.
Nelson seeks cash for reform school probe
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson said Wednesday that he’s pursuing funding from a $3 million federal grant program to help identify buried remains at a defunct boys’ reform school in the Florida Panhandle.
The grant money is meant for exhuming bodies and identifying them through DNA, the Democratic senator said.
Nelson said he was contacted by a brother of a boy who died at the former Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna.
Former students have alleged that physical and sexual abuse — and even wrongful deaths — occurred at the school, which opened in 1900 and closed in 2011.
FAMU seeks quick fix from probation
Florida A&M University officials are promising to stabilize and turn around the college in the next year and a half.
Top FAMU officials made the promise during a Wednesday meeting of the state university system’s Board of Governors. The board is requiring FAMU to file regular updates on how it is improving practices following an inspector general’s report that criticized officials for failing to follow regulations in the years leading to the 2011 hazing death of a drum major Robert Champion.
In December 2012, the university was placed on probation for a year by a regional accrediting organization. The university has one year to prove it is turning itself around or risk losing its accreditation.
Palm Beach Post staff and wire reports.