FLORIDA MAN FACES SENTENCING IN SMUGGLING OF DODGERS’ PUIG
A South Florida businessman is set to be sentenced for illegally helping finance the smuggling of Los Angeles Dodgers star Yasiel Puig out of Cuba. Gilberto Suarez is likely looking at a prison term of up to a year at Friday’s hearing before U.S. District Judge Robert Scola. Prosecutors say Suarez has cooperated extensively in the investigation. Investigators say Suarez was one of the Miami-based financiers of the 2012 smuggling venture in which Puig was taken by boat from Cuba to Mexico.
4-YEAR-OLD GIRL DIES FROM MENINGITIS
The family of a 4-year-old Tampa Bay area girl diagnosed with meningitis last month says the child has died. Belinda Dangerfield says the family decided to take her daughter, Essence Winkfield, off life support on Sunday after realizing she wasn’t going to make it. Essence was a voluntary prekindergarten student at Manatee Elementary School in Bradenton. Her parents said she started feeling sick the first weekend of February. At first, they gave her ibuprofen for a fever but then took her to a hospital after she developed a rash and became lethargic.
FLORIDA HIGHWAY PATROL ISSUES FOG ALERT ON ALLIGATOR ALLEY
The Florida Highway Patrol is urging motorists to use caution while driving across Alligator Alley due to foggy conditions. Troopers said early Friday that low visibility is possible in some areas of Interstate 75 which crosses the state between Naples and southwestern Broward County. All lanes remained open just after 5 a.m.
RINGLING BRO. SAYS CIRCUSES TO BE ELEPHANT FREE, ACTIVISTS CHEER
Animal rights activists were stunned when the parent company of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced it would eliminate elephants from its circus performances by 2018. “Monumental and long overdue,” was how the Animal Welfare Institute put it. “Startling and tremendously exciting,” The Humane Society of the United States said in a statement. And the International Fund for Animal Welfare called it “a giant step in the right direction.” But activists soon focused on the timing, questioning why it will take three years to phase out the elephants from the traveling circus shows.
GOALIE-CHALLENGED PANTHERS LOSE IN SHOOTOUT
The goalie-challenged Florida Panthers came out on the short end of the stick in another netminder matchup. This time, Dallas’ Jhonas Enroth got the best of them as he stayed perfect in shootouts this season. Enroth made three saves to record his sixth shootout win, and Colton Sceviour scored the winning goal in the tiebreaker to lift the Stars to a 4-3 victory over the depleted Panthers on Thursday night.