Florida’s Prisons Locked Down, Visits Canceled Amid Threat
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida’s 148 prison facilities remain on lockdown as guards search cells, seizing a number of weapons and other contraband.
The Miami Herald reports all able-bodied administrators and officers, including new cadets and probation and parole officers have been ordered to report to the state’s dangerously understaffed institutions.
This comes as officials canceled visitation at the state’s prisons this weekend, citing an unspecified threat of violence.
Police Benevolent Association president John Rivera tells the paper “it’s almost like we’re in hurricane mode,” adding that all days off have been canceled as officials go “corner to corner of every prison to do shakedowns.” Rivera’s organization represents corrections, probation and parole officers.
The Herald reports that Friday was the third day of a prison-wide lockdown.
Gainesville Preps For White Nationalist Rally
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Officials and police in one Florida city say they’re preparing for a white nationalist protest next month even though the University of Florida denied event space for a planned gathering there.
The Gainesville Sun reports that the city commission on Thursday voted to give Mayor Lauren Poe authority to sign an emergency declaration should the Sept. 12 event take place.
University of Florida President W. Kent Fuchs on Wednesday said the school had denied a request for event space from white nationalist Richard Spencer’s group, National Policy Institute. He cited concerns of violence days after the events in Charlottesville, Virginia that left 1 dead.
The group is planning to file a legal challenge.
Gainesville Police Chief Tony Jones says the department is also making plans should the event go on.
Officials: 3-Year-Old Girl Dies At Florida Day Care
PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) — Officials are investigating the death of a 3-year-old girl at a Florida day care.
Escambia County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Maj. Andrew Hobbs tells The Pensacola News Journal that the child may have been left in a vehicle owned by In His Arms Christian Academy in Ensley on Friday.
Hobbs says the girl was taken to an area hospital, where she died. The dead girl’s name wasn’t immediately released.
The Florida Department of Children and Families has temporarily closed the center while it investigates.
Earlier this month, 3-year-old Myles Hill was found dead after being left in a van outside an Orlando day care for nearly 12 hours. The van’s driver in that case has been charged with manslaughter, and the state has suspended the operating license for Little Miracles Academy II.
Nearly 5,000 Florida Students Could Get Help From Settlement
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Nearly 5,000 students from Florida are expected to share in a settlement that federal regulators and 13 states reached with a student loan company that authorities allege engaged in predatory lending practices.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau filed a lawsuit and settlement against Aequitas Capital Management, a private equity fund that purchased or funded $230 million in loans to students at Corinthian Colleges. Corinthian was a private college that went out of business in 2015 on allegations of fraud.
Under the proposed settlement, Aequitas would forgive $183.3 million in loans or reduce the size of the loans. Approximately 41,000 students nationwide could be eligible for the settlement.
Attorney General Pam Bondi said Friday that Florida’s share is expected to be more than $18 million.
Florida Panther Killed By Vehicle; 21st Death This Year
LABELLE, Fla. (AP) — An endangered Florida panther was struck and killed by a vehicle.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says the male panther’s remains were found Friday in LaBelle in Hendry County. Officials said the panther was about 1 ½ years old.
It’s the 16th fatal collision this year, out of 21 total panther deaths. Biologists will study the panther’s remains.
Florida panthers once roamed the entire southeastern United States, but now their habitat mostly is confined to southwest Florida. Only about 230 Florida panthers remain in the wild.