Obama to promote education agenda at Miami school
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama is going back to school.
Obama will visit a Miami high school on Friday to talk to students about how education can help the country succeed economically.
Michelle Obama is joining him on the trip to Coral Reef High School, where they will visit a classroom.
Both the president and first lady have been working to encourage young people, particularly minorities, to pursue a college education. They tell their personal stories of how education helped them get where they are today.
After the event, the White House says Obama will spend the weekend in Key Largo, in the Florida Keys.
MISSING SPRING BREAKER
Search continues for missing spring breaker
(Information in the following story is from: The (Panama City, Fla.) News Herald, http://www.newsherald.com)
PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (AP) - The family of a 21-year-old Rice University student who went missing while in Panama City Beach on spring break is asking the public to continue looking for him.
Reny Jose was reported missing Tuesday morning from the beach-front home he rented with friends.
Family friend Benny Thottam told the News Herald of Panama City that the search for Jose has extended to vacant buildings in the area.
The Bay County Sheriff's Office says a marine unit is searching the Gulf of Mexico near the home Jose was staying. They've also notified authorities in neighboring counties and the U.S. Coast Guard.
Jose's friends say they last saw him near the house on Monday evening. Deputies later found his clothes, cell phone and wallet in a trash can.
HIT BY TROOPER
Woman, 97, hit by trooper dies of injuries
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) - A 97-year-old woman who was hit by a Florida Highway Patrol trooper's patrol car in a Daytona Beach parking lot has died.
Sgt. Kim Montes says the Maria McEwen died Thursday at Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach.
Authorities say McEwen was walking toward a store when she was struck by a vehicle driven by Trooper Gabriel Keyes of Deland on Wednesday.
Highway patrol officials say Keyes apparently didn't see the woman.
Officials say McEwen suffered leg injuries in the crash.
Montes says the agency is conducting an investigations.
GAY-STRAIGHT CLUB LAWSUIT
Gay-straight club lawsuit to be move forward
TAVERES, Fla. (AP) - Students fighting to have a gay-straight alliance club at their middle school in central Florida have won a partial victory for the time being.
A federal judge on Thursday denied an attempt to throw out the students' lawsuit against the School Board of Lake County, just northwest of Orlando.
But the judge also refused to issue a preliminary injunction that would have allowed the club to meet immediately at Carver Middle School.
The students' lawsuit instead will be allowed to move forward to the next phase of evidence exchange.
The students sued the school board last December. It was the second lawsuit seeking to form the gay-straight alliance club at the school.
SHOT BY GRANDFATHER
Fla. teen shot by grandfather during argument
(Information in the following story is from: The Gainesville (Fla.) Sun, http://www.gainesvillesun.com)
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) - Authorities say a north Florida teenager is in critical condition after his grandfather shot him during an argument.
Alachua County Sheriff's deputies say 72-year-old Ulysses Hayes heard the 16-year-old arguing with his mother about getting out of bed and going to school. Hayes began arguing with the teen and pulled out a gun and shot him.
Sheriff's spokesman Art Forgey told the Gainesville Sun there may be a history of the teen abusing his grandfather.
Investigators questioned Hayes on Thursday and released him. Forgey says the decision not to arrest the grandfather was based on mitigating circumstances investigators learned during the interviews. The state attorney's office will decided whether to file charges.
The teen was in critical condition Thursday night following surgery. He was shot once in the back.
UNDERCOVER FEDERAL AGENT-TRAFFIC STOP
Suspected police impersonator was fed agent
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office circulated a surveillance photo, seeking the identity of a suspected police impersonator who stopped a woman and yelled at her.
But the suspect called the sheriff's office Thursday after seeing his photo on the television news. Turns out he's an undercover federal agent who says the woman was speeding through a school zone. He says he told the woman he was an undercover agent.
The woman says she was stopped after pulling into a bank parking lot near Tampa.
She says he yelled before asking for her driver's license and registration. She says he returned her ID and yelled some more. When she asked him to either let her go, or give her a ticket, he told her he was only trying to scare her.
GULF OIL SPILL-INDICTMENT
Travel restriction eased for ex-BP exec
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A travel restriction is being eased for a former BP executive facing trial for allegedly lying to Congress in 2010 about the amount of oil that was spewing from the company's blown-out well in the Gulf of Mexico.
David Rainey, who was recently granted a delay in a trial that had been set for March 10, will be allowed to leave the continental United States for a week in late March. He sought permission recently to travel to the United Kingdom.
Rainey, now an executive with BHP Billiton Petroleum, will travel to attend that corporation's London board meeting and to visit his mother in Northern Ireland. Prosecutors did not oppose the motion, which was approved Thursday by U.S. District Judge Kurt Engelhardt.
DOLPHIN RESEARCHER SUSPENDED
Researcher suspended after dolphin moved to pool
(Information in the following story is from: Florida Today (Melbourne, Fla.), http://www.floridatoday.com)
FORT PIERCE, Fla. (AP) - Federal officials have suspended a central Florida dolphin researcher for allegedly putting a sick dolphin in a resort community's swimming pool without permission.
The regional administrator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Fisheries Service says Steve McCulloch was being suspended for "egregious violations."
McCulloch is the founder and program manager of Florida Atlantic University's Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute. According to NOAA, McCulloch had been rescuing an ailing bottlenose dolphin Dec. 28 on Vero Beach when he moved the animal to the swimming pool. The dolphin was euthanized later at a veterinary clinic.
The pool had to be drained and decontaminated. NOAA officials say the dolphin should have been moved to an approved pool.
Harbor Branch officials tell Florida Today that McCulloch is no longer employed at the institute.
DRUG CONVICTION-TAINTED EVIDENCE
Judge: tainted evidence not enough to free inmate
MIAMI (AP) - A federal judge's decision won't change a 24-year prison sentence for a drug conviction being served by a South Florida man, despite use of tainted evidence from a former police officer.
U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard refused to throw out the main conspiracy conviction for 47-year-old Elroy Phillips even though prosecutors and his defense lawyer urged that his sentence be vacated.
The Miami Herald reports that both sides agreed a former West Palm Beach police officer falsely testified about buying crack cocaine from Phillips in 2001. But the judge ruled that wasn't enough to undermine the prosecution's case. Lenard cited testimony of other co-conspirators accused of dealing who testified against Phillips.
Phillips' attorney Marc Seitles says he will continue to pursue appeals. Phillips insists the drug deal never happened.
JACKSONVILLE ZOO'S NEW EXHIBIT
Jacksonville Zoo's tiger exhibit set to open
(Information in the following story is from: The (Jacksonville) Florida Times-Union, http://www.jacksonville.com)
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - A new, $9.5 million tiger exhibit is set to open at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens.
The Land of the Tiger exhibit opens Saturday and will feature five tigers.
Zoo officials say the exhibit is the most significant addition to the facility since the Range of the Jaguar opened in 2004.
The zoo's executive director Tony Vecchio told The Florida Times-Union that the zoo hasn't had its own tigers in more than 20 years. He says they've been the most requested animal in the 4 ½ years he's been with the zoo.
The 2.5-acre exhibit is the second phase of the zoo's Asia Precinct expansion. It will include a pair of rare and endangered Sumatran tigers and three endangered Malayan tigers, which were transferred from the Palm Beach Zoo.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.