Small plane crashes into Florida house
This image from CNN affiliate Central Florida News 13 shows the house into which the plane crashed Friday.
January 4th, 2013
03:40 PM ET

Small plane crashes into Florida house

A small plane carrying at least three people crashed into a home in eastern Florida on Friday after reporting a mechanical problem, officials said.

The Beechcraft BE35 aircraft was en route to Knoxville Downtown Island Airport in Tennessee, said Kathleen Bergen, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration in Atlanta.

The plane was diverting to Flagler County Airport, near the coast about 30 miles north of Daytona Beach, when it crashed a mile east of the airport and into a house, Bergen said. There was no immediate information on injuries.

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Mystery follows McAfee to Miami
American technology pioneer John McAfee will return to the United States Wednesday.
December 13th, 2012
08:03 AM ET

Mystery follows McAfee to Miami

After weeks on the run and days in immigration detention, American technology pioneer John McAfee arrived in Miami on Wednesday.

He said he had no choice in the matter, that Guatemalan authorities expelled him to the United States and put him on a plane to a destination they determined.

"I was whisked out of prison," McAfee told CNN affiliate broadcaster WSVN in front of his South Beach hotel. "I was forcibly separated from Samantha, and now here I am."

Samantha Venegas is McAfee's girlfriend.and

When the plane landed, U.S. officials boarded the aircraft to greet him and escort him off.

FULL STORY
December 4th, 2012
11:01 AM ET

Faces of Florida terrorism suspects

Our colleague Kim Segal got these mugshots of two brothers earlier today accused of plotting to use an explosive device and conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists.

Raees Alam Qazi, on the left, is 20 years old and the younger brother. Sheheryar Alam Qazi is 30.

http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/dam/assets/121204023240-raees-qazi-and-sheheryar-qazi-c1-main.jpg


Filed under: Florida • Terrorism
November 23rd, 2012
04:08 PM ET

Report: 2 shot on sidewalk outside Florida Walmart

Two people were shot Friday while standing on a sidewalk outside a Florida Walmart, CNN affiliate WCTV reports, citing police.

Police in the state capital of Tallahassee said the two people shot, whom witnesses say were a man and a woman, suffered non-life threatening injuries, according to WCTV. It's not known what led to the gunshots, or if there are any suspects in the case.

According to the report, the shooting took place around noon and the Tallahassee Walmart was back open by 2:40 p.m. The incident took place on what's known as Black Friday, traditionally the biggest shopping day of the year.

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Hazing victim’s parents not interested in FAMU’s $300K offer, lawyer says
Florida A&M University student and band member Robert Champion Jr., 26, died in November 2011.
November 8th, 2012
05:35 PM ET

Hazing victim’s parents not interested in FAMU’s $300K offer, lawyer says

Florida A&M University has offered $300,000 - the maximum it says it can offer without state legislative action - as a settlement to the family of Robert Champion Jr., the drum major who died after a hazing ritual last year, a university attorney said Thursday.

But the family’s attorney, Chris Chestnut, said that the offer is an insult, and that the family will not consider it.

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Court grants emergency stay of execution for Florida man who killed 8
October 23rd, 2012
09:40 PM ET

Court grants emergency stay of execution for Florida man who killed 8

Editor's note: A diagnosed schizophrenic convicted of killing eight people in Florida in the late 1970s is awaiting word as to whether his execution will go forward. John Ferguson had been scheduled to be executed Tuesday at 6 p.m. ET at the Florida State Prison, but a district court has granted him a stay. Read below for updates.

[Updated at 11:30 p.m. ET]   There will be no execution of John Ferguson Tuesday night. The U.S. Supreme Court denied a last-second attempt by state authorities to allow the lethal injection of the Florida death row inmate to proceed as scheduled.

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Hurricane coming, island residents warned; U.S. could be next
Tropical Storm Sandy is expected to be a hurricane by Wednesday morning.
October 23rd, 2012
01:55 PM ET

Hurricane coming, island residents warned; U.S. could be next

Millions of people in the Caribbean are being warned to get ready for a hurricane that's expected to strike tomorrow, bringing destructive waves and life-threatening mudslides.

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Filed under: Bahamas • Cuba • Florida • Hurricanes • Jamaica • Tropical weather • U.S. • Weather
No jail for student in FAMU hazing death
Florida A&M University student and band member Robert Champion, 26, died in November.
October 22nd, 2012
03:38 PM ET

No jail for student in FAMU hazing death

One of the students who was involved in the death of Robert Champion during a hazing initiation was sentenced Monday to six months of community control, two years of supervised probation and 200 hours of community service.

Another student had said he saw Bryan Jones holding the Florida A&M University band member in a bear hug.

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October 21st, 2012
06:47 PM ET

55 hurt after floor of Florida building collapses

The crowded second floor of a Tallahassee, Florida, apartment building collapsed early Sunday - sending scores of people plummeting and, ultimately, 55 to area hospitals - city authorities said.

None of the injuries suffered in the collapse at the Seminole Grand Apartments are considered life-threatening, according to a release on the Tallahassee city government's website.

Witnesses reported an "unusually large crowd" in the two-story, wood frame building before the city fire department got a call at 1:27 a.m. about the collapse.

Using a ladder truck, firefighters rescued seven people after they became stuck in a second-story bedroom and could not access the stairwell, the city said. No one was trapped under the collapsed floor, and the first floor did not contain any apartments.

The building opened for occupancy in December 1995, according to the city. The cause of the collapse - which early estimates suggest caused $250,000 in damage - is under investigation.

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George Zimmerman trial set for June 10, defense attorney says
October 17th, 2012
09:45 AM ET

George Zimmerman trial set for June 10, defense attorney says

George Zimmerman will go on trial June 10 for the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, Zimmerman's lawyer said Wednesday.

The neighborhood watch volunteer is charged with second-degree murder.  Zimmerman has claimed self-defense in the February 26 shooting, saying Martin charged him after the two exchanged words, knocked him to the ground and banged his head repeatedly against a concrete sidewalk.

Prosecutors say Zimmerman profiled Martin as a criminal and killed him, even though the teenager was doing nothing wrong.

Zimmerman has pleaded not guilty.

Martin's death sparked nationwide protests and inflamed public passions over race relations and gun control, as well as Florida's controversial "Stand Your Ground" law.

More details emerge in Trayvon Martin investigation

What happened that night?

New documents shed light on Trayvon Martin killing'

FBI analysis - Zimmerman's 911 call (pdf - strong language)

- In Session's Jean Casarez contributed to this report.

October 15th, 2012
11:19 AM ET

Giant Florida eyeball belonged to a swordfish, state says

It looks like the big blue eyeball found on a Florida beach last week was cut out of a swordfish hauled in by a deep-sea angler, the state Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said Monday.

A beachcomber found the softball-sized eyeball on the sand in Pompano Beach, Florida, on Wednesday, speculating that perhaps it came from a squid.

But experts who examined the eyeball made their call of swordfish based on the its size (softball), color (blue) and structure (presumably swordfishy), according to a statement from Joan Herrera, curator of collections at the agency's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute in St. Petersburg.

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October 10th, 2012
01:40 PM ET

Three dead in Miami parking garage collapse

[Updated 3:10 a.m. ET] Another construction worker was rescued from the rubble early Thursday morning, Miami fire officials said. But in order to get the man out of the collapsed garage, medics had to perform a double amputation. Authorities believe there is one more victim trapped in the massive debris.

[Updated at 9:22 p.m. ET] Three workers have died and one remains trapped in rubble after a parking garage under construction collapsed in Doral, Florida, according to the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department.

Eight people are hospitalized in Miami-area hospitals, according to a statement from Miami-Dade Fire Rescue. It did not identify them or give their conditions.

[Updated at 4:08 p.m. ET] One person died and at least two other people were trapped when a parking garage that was under construction collapsed in Doral, Florida, Miami-Dade Fire and Rescue told CNN.

One of the trapped survivors was freed. He was critically injured, Miami-Dade Fire and Rescue spokeswoman Griselle Marino said.

"We have our surgeon working on [him] right now,"  Marino said.

Marino said dogs are looking for one or two more people who could be trapped.

Eight people have so far been transported to a hospital, she said.

Read more from CNN affiliate Local 10

Read more from CNN affiliate WFOR

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'One at-bat' player strikes out smiling
Adam Greenberg takes his cuts Tuesday night for the Miami Marlins.
October 2nd, 2012
04:01 PM ET

'One at-bat' player strikes out smiling

Update 8:32 p.m.: Adam Greenberg struck out on three pitches from Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey to lead off the bottom of the sixth inning. Greenberg was pinch-hitting for Marlins left fielder Bryan Petersen at the top of the order with the Marlins leading 2-0.

The Marlins Stadium public address system played Aerosmith's "Dream On" as Greenberg, wearing No. 10, walked up to the plate and took his place in the left-hand batter's box. He took a strike from Dickey, swung at and missed the second pitch and waved at a pitch around his chin for the third strike.

Manager Ozzie Guillen gives Adam Greenberg a hug after Greenberg's belated first major-league at-bat Tuesday night in Miami.

The crowd cheered loudly for him as he returned to the dugout, where his one-day-only teammates congratulated him and slapped the beaming ballplayer on the back.

MLB.com quickly posted video of the brief at-bat.

The world of baseball and its fans greeted the moment with a wave of warm-and-fuzzy tweets:

[tweet https://twitter.com/MLB_PR/status/253292629612171266%5D

[tweet https://twitter.com/JPosnanski/status/253292468202770432%5D

[tweet https://twitter.com/KaufmanDavid/status/253293345399508994%5D

[tweet https://twitter.com/lulyyM28/status/253293274658373632%5D

[tweet https://twitter.com/LoMoDimples/status/253291231776477185%5D

Original post: Adam Greenberg signed a one-day contract with the Miami Marlins on Tuesday afternoon in anticipation of taking a single at-bat in the night's game against the New York Mets.

Greenberg, now 31, was hit in the head by a pitch in his first and only Major League Baseball plate appearance, with the Chicago Cubs in

Adam Greenberg today

2005 and has not played in the majors since. A hit-by-pitch does not count as an official at-bat, so Greenberg technically has never batted in the major leagues.

He petitioned the Cubs to let him come back for one official at-bat with them, but team officials turned him down. The Marlins agreed last week to help Greenberg make his dream come true. Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said he plans to use him as a pinch-hitter in the middle of Tuesday night's game, perhaps in the pitcher's spot in the lineup, according to MLB.com.

"I'm ready to help the team," Greenberg said in a tweet on the Marlins' account. "The Marlins are an amazing organization. ... I couldn't be more thankful."

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Batter beaned in only MLB appearance getting 2nd shot
Adam Greenberg, then with the Cubs organization, is seen during spring training in 2005.
September 27th, 2012
05:55 PM ET

Batter beaned in only MLB appearance getting 2nd shot

Adam Greenberg wasn’t in a bright mood Saturday. The former Chicago Cub - famously hit in the head in his only Major League plate appearance - had just watched Spain knock out his team, Israel, in World Baseball Classic qualifying in Florida.

A friend approached him after the game, saying he had someone on the phone with good news. The Team Israel reserve outfielder said he didn’t particularly want to hear it, but his friend insisted.

The man on the phone was Miami Marlins General Manager David Sampson. The Marlins - the very team that knocked him out of his only MLB game seven years ago - wanted to give him a full Major League at-bat.

“He ended up smiling after all,” filmmaker Matt Liston - the friend and the man who’s pushed full-time for Greenberg’s return - told CNN by phone Thursday.

The Marlins on Thursday confirmed what they told Greenberg over the weekend: They’ve signed the 31-year-old former prospect to a one-day contract so he can finally have a proper MLB at-bat on Tuesday, when the Marlins host the Mets in their penultimate game of the season.

Opinion: Baseball, get tough on pitchers who hit batters

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Filed under: Baseball • Florida • Illinois • Sports
September 11th, 2012
11:46 AM ET

FAMU says it's not responsible for drum major's hazing death

Florida A&M University says it is not responsible for the death of a drum major last year, and that he broke the law and school policies when he willingly took part in the hazing that left him dead.

In court papers filed Monday night, the school asked a judge to drop a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of 26-year-old Robert Champion.

"Mr. Champion should have refused to participate in the planned hazing event and reported it to law enforcement or University administrators," the court documents say. "Under these circumstances, Florida's taxpayers should not be held financially liable to Mr. Champion's Estate for the ultimate result of his own imprudent, avoidable and tragic decision and death."

The student's family lambasted the school Tuesday for denying responsibility.

"The Champion family is shocked at the defense FAMU has chosen in the brutal hazing death of Robert Champion," family attorney Christopher Chestnut said. "We simply cannot ignore the audacity of an institution that blames students for their own deaths, yet for decades ignored the hazing epidemic occurring within its own walls."

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September 10th, 2012
11:56 AM ET

Florida police, community mourn officer killed in presidential motorcade

A police cruiser draped in black banners and topped with a rose sat in front of the Jupiter, Florida, police department Monday morning, paying testament to 20-year department veteran killed Sunday while helping escort President Barack Obama through Palm Beach County.

Officer Bruce St. Laurent, 55, was traveling with the presidential motorcade around 4:45 p.m. Sunday along Interstate 95 through West Palm Beach when a Ford 150 pickup hit his motorcycle, Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Therese Barbera said. Jupiter Police Chief Frank Kitzerow said St. Laurent was transported to nearby St. Mary's Medical Center, where he died Sunday

Kitzerow visited St. Laurent's family Monday morning to discuss funeral services, and memorial information will be made public when it is finalized, Jupiter police spokesman Sgt. Scott Pascarella said Monday. He added that in addition to the squad car memorial in front of the Jupiter police station, radio station 103.1 WIRK Country was there, raising money for St. Laurent's family. The Jupiter Police Department was working on setting up an account at a local bank to gather money for the slain officer's family as well, Pascarella said.

Palm Beach County sheriff's spokesman Eric Davis said Monday that his office and the Florida Highway Patrol still were investigating the incident. Barbera said Sunday that authorities were investigating the crash as a vehicular homicide, but she stressed it was still very early in the probe.

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Water trapped between levees
August 29th, 2012
10:28 PM ET

Water trapped between levees

  • New Orleans mayor imposes dusk-to-dawn curfew
  • More than 817,000 without power across 5 states
  • Isaac's maximum sustained winds slip to 60 mph
  • Emergency crews rescue people stranded by floods

Refresh this page for the latest updates or read the full CNN story here.

[Updated 10:28 p.m. ET]

[Updated 10:20 p.m. ET] Water that overtopped levees was trapped in Plaquemines Parish with nowhere to drain. Officials were considering intentionally breaching a levee downstream to allow some of the floodwater to flow back out of the inundated area, Gov. Bobby Jindal said.

Parish President Billy Nungesser said parish officials will go out at low tide to check the back levee - a second line of defense - at the town of Braithwaite and determine where to punch holes in it. It will be Saturday, at the earliest, before crews can cut the levee open, letting water flow out into the marsh.

[Updated 10 p.m. ET]

[Updated 9:52 a.m. ET]  New Orleans officials said there had been 12 incidents of looting. Police said arrests were made in each case, but didn't specify how many people were involved.

[Updated 9:48 p.m. ET] Lake Pontchartrain's water levels are "beginning to stabilize," St. Tammany Parish officials said, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Water had spilled out from the lake and flooded low-lying areas of the parish.

Rescues continue in areas around the vast Louisiana lake, including Lewisburg, Guste Island, Lacombe and Slidell, the newspaper's website reported.

[Updated 9:29 p.m. ET] Joey Amann gathered family and friends into his home in Hancock County, Mississippi, to ride out the storm, he told CNN affiliate WALA.

"You know, we just figured we'd be safer in numbers. Since our house is eight feet off the ground, we figured we'd be safer there but the water just kept coming," Amann said.

"It was scary. I mean, I've never seen the water raise this fast on this road and I've been here all my life. It just came out of nowhere."

The group ended up being rescued by emergency personnel in boats.

Amann told the station he lost his home to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

"Thirty-six years I've lived here, and it's just devastating," he said. "Seven years ago, we were going through the same thing. No one thought it would be this bad, but it's worse than we anticipated."

FULL POST

August 27th, 2012
11:13 PM ET

Preparing for a storm: Links, tips and resources

Informed and prepared. They're the two things you want to be if you’re in the path of a tropical storm or hurricane.

Some preparations for storms like Isaac, the tropical storm making its way toward the U.S. Gulf Coast, can begin (ideally) months ahead of time or within hours of its expected landfall.

But knowing how to react and whether to evacuate requires that you stay informed of the storm’s progress by tuning into local television and radio stations – preferably, with a battery-powered radio. You can buy a battery-powered NOAA radio that tunes in to special Weather Radio frequencies.

While the power is still on, people can find the most recent information on the storm's movement on the National Hurricane Center's Isaac advisory page. You can also get NHC updates on your mobile phone. Other useful apps can be found for iPhone at the App Store and for Android devices at the Google Play Store.

Some states keep general information about hurricane preparedness on their websites, including Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. Here's a state-by-state breakdown of Isaac's impacts. Many towns, counties and parishes keep information on their websites regarding the storm's progress, evacuation procedures, shelters and suspension of services. Some use Twitter and/or Facebook to post real-time updates. Below are just a few municipal websites that CNN.com has identified, though the list is not exhaustive:

Develop an evacuation plan tailored to your family’s vulnerability to storm surge, flooding and wind. Locate a safe room or the safest areas in your home for each hurricane hazard. If the safest areas are not in your home, locate safe areas or buildings in your community and listen to local news for announcements on schools, shelters or designated safe areas. Determine an escape route from your home and places to meet in case family members become separated.

If your family hurricane plan includes immediate evacuation because of the location or conditions of your home, the National Hurricane Center recommends that you do not delay your departure. You may want to evacuate ahead of official orders to avoid travel delays or traffic congestion. Pick a location as close to your home as possible. If it’s a motel or hotel, make a reservation before you leave to ensure space. If you have a pet, this may be your best bet, as many shelters do not accept pets.

Before you leave, make sure you have an out-of-state friend as a family contact, so all your family members have a single point of contact.

Safe and Well on Redcross.org: Let relatives know you're safe

Securing your home includes putting away anything surrounding the home that the wind can pick up: bicycles, lawn furniture and decorations and branches, to name a few. Seal all your windows and doors, and if you don’t have hurricane shutters, board up windows with plywood. Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure to reduce roof damage.

The National Hurricane Center has tips for preparing yourself and your home for a storm and coping with its aftermath, as well as assembling a plan and emergency kit.

Turn off utilities if instructed to do so. Otherwise, turn the refrigerator thermostat to its coldest setting and keep its doors closed. Close off propane tanks.

Whether you ride out the storm in your home or evacuate, you’ll want to have a disaster supply kit at the ready that includes these items, according to the National Hurricane Center:

– Water: At least one gallon daily per person for three to seven days

– Food: At least enough for three to seven days nonperishable packaged or canned food and juices, snack foods.

– Eating supplies: Nonelectric can opener, cooking tools, disposable plates and utensils.

– Flashlights and extra batteries, radio

– Baby supplies: Bottle, formula, baby food, diapers.

– Toiletries: Hygiene items, moisture wipes, etc.

– Bedding: Blankets and pillows, etc.

– Clothing: Seasonal clothes, rain gear, sturdy shoes.

– First aid/medical: Pain relievers, bandages, splints, insect repellant, sunscreen, seven-day supply of prescription drugs, hearing aids with extra batteries, eyeglasses.

– Modern necessities: Fully charged cell phone with extra battery and a telephone set with a cord, cash in small bills, extra sets of house and car keys,

– Important documents in a waterproof container: Passports, birth certificates, insurance policies, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security card, etc.

More tips can be found here.

Information obtained from the National Hurricane Center, FEMA and the Red Cross.

August 21st, 2012
07:59 AM ET

Nyad ends attempt to swim from Cuba to Florida

Endurance swimmer Diana Nyad's latest attempt to swim across the Straits of Florida ended Tuesday morning after severe jellyfish stings and a lightning storm put her off course, a spokesman said.

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August 16th, 2012
09:33 AM ET

The highs and lows of SCRABBLE: A cheater overshadows a record champion

R1E1C3O1R1D2S1.

C3H4E1A1T1E1R1.

Those two drastically different words couldn't describe more perfectly the highs and lows of this year's National SCRABBLE championship which saw one player break two winning records and another casting a shadow over the tournament by being the first person ejected from it.

Nigel Richards, 45, posted his third consecutive and fourth overall championship, setting two new records, according to the SCRABBLE tournament's website. The New Zealand-born security analyst, who now lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia , finished with a record of 22-9.

But his highly touted achievement in the SCRABBLE world was overshadowed by two of those precious blank tiles that are so valuable because they can be used as any letter you like.

That's because one of the top youth players in the country was kicked out of the Division 3 National SCRABBLE Championship Tournament on Tuesday for cheating, according to John D. Williams Jr., the executive director of the National SCRABBLE Association.

It's something organizers say has never happened in the tournament's 30 years of competition.

During the 24th round of the annual tournament in Orlando, Florida, on Tuesday, the director was called over to a Division 3 game, a lower level of competition than what Richards won. A young teen was under suspicion by other players, according to Williams, who noted the tournament has a self-policing policy.

It seems the player, who officials have not named, was hoping to get a little extra help but was foiled.  The player had won a game and took two blanks as the tiles were gathered and put in the grab bag. When his next competitor stepped in to play, the opponent asked that the tiles be counted. Two were missing.

"It was discovered that two blanks were not put into the tile bag as they should have been when the board was cleared off to start the game," according to the SCRABBLE tournament's website. "The player was questioned and admitted to taking them."

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