Cruz To Plead Guilty To School Shootings On Wednesday – State Wants Death

The gunman who killed 14 students and three staff members at a Parkland, Florida, high school will plead guilty to their murders next wednesday according to his attorneys, bringing some closure to a South Florida community more than three years after an attack that sparked a nationwide movement for gun control.  The guilty plea would set up a penalty phase where Nikolas Cruz would be fighting against the death penalty and hoping for life without parole.  The penalty phase will be decided by a jury likely in January.

A 20-year-old Florida man is accused of grabbing the steering wheel and causing a woman to lose control of the car she was driving as they traveled on Interstate 75.  Nathaniel Klippel was arrested Thursday afternoon in Tampa. He is accused of attempted murder and witness tampering and bond was set at $150,000.  The incident happened Sept. 4 in Alachua County as Klippel was arguing with a 20-year-old driver. She lost control of the car and crashed.  Both were hospitalized.

A former Boeing pilot was indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury on charges of deceiving safety regulators about the 737 Max jetliner, which was later involved in two deadly crashes.  The indictment charges Mark Forkner with giving the Federal Aviation Administration false and incomplete information about an automated flight-control system that played a role in the crashes, which killed 346 people.  Prosecutors said that because of Forkner’s alleged deception, the system was not mentioned in pilot manuals or training materials.

U.S. health advisers on Friday tackled who should get boosters of Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot COVID-19 vaccine and when — and whether using a competing brand for the second dose might provide better protection.  The push for boosters kicked off last month after the Food and Drug Administration authorized third doses of the Pfizer vaccine for seniors and younger adults with health problems, jobs or living conditions that place them at higher risk from the coronavirus. On Thursday, an FDA advisory panel unanimously recommended a half-dose booster of the similar Moderna vaccine for the same groups

The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell to its lowest level since the pandemic began, a sign the job market is still improving even as hiring has slowed in the past two months. Unemployment claims dropped 36,000 to 293,000 last week, the second straight drop, the Labor Department said Thursday. That’s the smallest number of people to apply for benefits since the week of March 14, 2020, when the pandemic intensified, and the first time claims have dipped below 300,000.

The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday it will ask its outside experts to meet in late November to scrutinize Merck’s pill to treat COVID-19.  The Nov. 30 meeting means U.S. regulators almost certainly won’t issue a decision on the drug until December, signaling that the agency will conduct a detailed review of the experimental treatment’s safety and effectiveness.

A Miami company that offered services to fight traffic tickets was practicing law without authorization, The Florida Supreme Court ruled Thursday.  The founder of TIKD, Christopher Riley, is not a lawyer. Rather he created an app and a website in which people could upload photos of their tickets and the company would then hire a lawyer to fight them. TIKD is no longer a registered corporation in Florida. The state Division of Corporations revoked that status last month

Some good news for those of you who like that cool fall like weather.   The weather service says a cold front will sag into central Florida this weekend, bringing with it low temperatures Saturday night in the upper 50’s and a high Sunday only about 79.  Temperatures next week should also be a little more seasonal with highs in the low 80’s

A fire in a mobile home left two people dead in north Florida early Thursday.  The home was engulfed in smoke when Clay County Fire Rescue crews arrived shortly after 2:30 a.m. Thursday.  Once firefighters put out the fire, they found two people dead inside the home.  The state fire marshal’s office is investigating to determine the cause of the fire. The names of the victims have not been released.

Boeing Aerospace is the latest corporation to jump on the vaccination bandwagon.  The company has announced that it’s employees will have until December 8th to get vaccinated for covid or risk being fired.  There will be exemptions offered, but very few.  Corporate America is joining in the fight against the disease, some voluntarily, and some because of the federal mandate.

More than 10,000 Deere & Co. workers went on strike Thursday, the first major walkout at the agricultural machinery giant in more than three decades.  The union had said its members would walk off the job if no deal has been reached Wednesday. The vast majority of the union rejected a contract offer earlier this week that would have delivered 5% raises to some workers and 6% raises to others at the Illinois company known for its green tractors.  Deere offered far less in contract negotiations while making record profits of about 5.6 billion dollars this year.

A family has filed a lawsuit against Disney Cruise Lines, saying their 3-year-old daughter was sexually assaulted by an older child inside a ship’s day care center due to understaffing and poor training of employees.  The lawsuit filed in federal court in Orlando says employees working in the Disney Fantasy’s day care center did not inform them of the assault during a January 2020 trip and were not adequately trained or licensed to work with children. A Disney Cruise Line spokesperson says that the family’s allegations are “wholly without merit.”  The Brevard County Sheriff’s office investigated the case but did not file any charges.

So you’re due for a covid booster shot but your initial vaccine was with Moderna or Johnson and Johnson.  Health experts are now saying that’s ok.  Go ahead and mix the vaccines, it doesn’t really matter.  The end result will be the same if not better according to those health experts. 

Food companies are coming under renewed pressure to use less salt after U.S. regulators spelled out long-awaited guidelines aimed at reducing sodium levels in dozens of foods including condiments, cereals, french fries and potato chips.  The voluntary goals finalized Wednesday for 163 food categories are intended to help lower the amount of salt people eat. A majority of the sodium in U.S. diets comes from packaged or restaurant foods — not the salt added to meals at home — making it hard for people to make changes on their own.  The Food and Drug Administration said the reductions need to be gradual so people won’t just reach for higher sodium options

The driver of a motorcycle has been arrested and charged with leaving the scene of an accident involving a death after he lost control of his motorcycle and flipped it.  The crash occurred on May 16th when Steven Cano crashed the bike after failing to negotiate a curve.  Both Cano and his passenger were thrown from the bike.  The passenger was pronounced dead at the scene.  Cano left the scene without leaving any information and failed to report the crash.  Cano was arrested Wednesday and booked into the Marion County Jail with no bond

Marion County is reporting record tourism tax revenue for the fiscal year 2020-21 of 3.6 million dollars.  The money reflects tax collection from stays in short-term accommodations, less than six months in duration, within Marion County.  The tax collectors office says the amount collected is a $600,000 increase over last year’s figures.

The First Baptist Church, in cooperation with the Marion County Health Department and Dr. David Kuhn is opening a free Covid testing site at the church.  The testing center opened on Monday and is open 6 days a week….Monday thru Friday from 8 am to 6 pm and Saturday from 8 to 2.  The address of the site is 2801 SE Maricamp Road

This is one more reason why you should be happy you live here in Florida.  In summer, we pay high electric bills for air conditioning.  Up north, residents pay a lot more for heating in the winter.  With prices surging worldwide for heating oil, natural gas and other fuels, the U.S. government said Wednesday it expects households to see their heating bills jump as much as 54% compared to last winter. The second-most used heating source for homes is electricity, making up 41% of the country, and those households could see a more modest 6% increase.

If you’re on social security, you’re getting a raise in 2022.   Millions of retirees on Social Security will get a 5.9% boost in benefits for 2022. The biggest cost-of-living adjustment in 39 years follows a burst in inflation as the economy struggles to shake off the drag of the coronavirus pandemic. The COLA, as it’s commonly called, amounts to $92 a month for the average retired worker, according to estimates released Wednesday by the Social Security Administration. 

If you’re interested in old time gangsters, this will catch your attention.  Items belonging to Chicago mob boss Al Capone were auctioned off this past weekend for a reported $3 million dollars.  Some of his prized possessions, including what was billed as his favorite gun, were included in the private sale at a Sacramento club.  Nearly 1000 registered bidders were signed up for the event.

The man who shot a young woman Sunday morning killing her, said he fired in self-defense.  Timothy mack is not charged with homicide yet, but at the very least will be charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.  Investigators say the shooting culminated a domestic disturbance between Mack, the victim Sonja Stahl, and a former girlfriend of Mack.  Detectives are waiting on DNA and ballistics tests and say they will then review the case with the state attorney to see if more charges will be filed against Mack.

One man is dead, and four others were hurt, the result of a three vehicle crash on State Road 200.  Police say the crash occurred when a car was leaving the Red Lobster parking lot and crossing State Road 200 traffic to go east.  The name of the man killed as a result of the crash has not been released.  Investigators say based on the damage on two of the vehicles, speed was a factor.  The crash will certainly cause state and city officials to revisit the proposition of placing a center barrier in State Road 200, forcing drivers to go to a cotrolled intersection to make turns across the roadway.  That proposal was presented a few years ago but was met with heavy opposition from businesses who said such a safety barrier would cost them business.

President Biden announced Wednesday that the White House has helped broker a deal that will open the port of Los Angeles on a 24/7 operation,  part of an effort to relieve supply chain bottlenecks and move stranded container ships that are driving prices higher for U.S. consumers. Ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach, California, account for 40% of all shipping containers entering the U.S. As of Monday, there were 62 ships berthed at the two ports and 81 waiting to dock and unload,

William Shatner, aka Capt James T Kirk, blasted off into real space this morning aboard Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin spacecraft from the West Texas Desert.  Shatner was one of three people on board for the historic flight.  He became the oldest person ever to fly into space.  The 10 minute ride took the astronauts more than 60 miles into the outer atmosphere for the sub-orbital flight. 

Here’s the latest scam out there.   Many Floridians are reporting receiving text messages directing them to a fake, but look-alike Florida Department of Motor Vehicles website in order to receive a new drivers license that shows Covid vaccination status.  That according to the Florida Attorney Generals office.  Don’t do says AG Ashley Moody.  It’s a fishing scam.  If you go to the website, you’ll be prompted for personal information including your social security number.  It’s the latest attempt by criminals to steal your identity. 

Florida has issued its first fine to a county it accuses of violating a new state law banning coronavirus vaccine mandates and for firing 14 workers who failed to get the shots.  The Florida Department of Health on Tuesday issued the $3.5 million fine for Leon County, saying the home to the state capital of Tallahassee violated Florida’s “vaccine passport” law that bars requiring people to show proof of vaccination. The law is being challenged in court and conflicts with a Biden administration order that companies with more than 100 employees require their workers to be vaccinated or face weekly testing.

With many Americans who got Pfizer vaccinations already rolling up their sleeves for a booster shot, millions of others who received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine wait anxiously to learn when it’s their turn.  Federal regulators begin tackling that question this week.  On Thursday and Friday, the Food and Drug Administration convenes its independent advisers for the first stage in the process of deciding whether extra doses of the two vaccines should be dispensed and, if so, who should get them and when. The final go-ahead is not expected for at least another week.

Older adults without heart disease shouldn’t take daily low-dose aspirin to prevent a first heart attack or stroke, an influential health guidelines group said in preliminary updated advice released Tuesday.  Bleeding risks for adults in their 60s and up who haven’t had a heart attack or stroke outweigh any potential benefits from aspirin, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force said in its draft guidance.  For the first time, the panel said there may be a small benefit for adults in their 40s who have no bleeding risks. For those in their 50s, the panel softened advice and said evidence of benefit is less clear.  For people who have had a cardiac event, the rules have not changed.  But as always, check with your doctor.

Captain Kirk blasts off into space this morning, the guest of Jeff Bezos Blue Origin space company.  William Shatner, who is now 90 years old, will become the oldest person to be rocketed off the planet.  The 10 minute flight from a Texas launch pad will reach an altitude of more than 60 miles before the capsule parachutes back to earth not far from the blast off site. Blast off is set for 10 am eastern time and most tv networks will cover the launch, weather permitting of course.

Stone crab season begins Friday here in Florida.  To register go to gooutdoorsflorida.com.  There are specific limits and if you want to be a real conservationist, only take one of the crabs claws and toss him back in.  While it is legal to take both claws from a legal size catch, taking only one and tossing the crab back in the will allow the crab to live on and regenerate a new claw when it molts.

Authorities in Wyoming announced Tuesday that slain traveler Gabby Petito was strangled.  Teton County Coroner Brent Blue made the findings known Tuesday afternoon during a news conference. .  The body of Petito was found on Sept. 19 near an undeveloped camping area in remote northern Wyoming along the border of Grand Teton National Park.  Her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie came home to Florida alone after that and has since disappeared.

Expanded health care is coming to Dunnellon through the Heart of Florida Health Center.  The Dunnellon facility offers  family practice, internal and pediatric medicine, as well as gynecology services.  Heart of Florida is expanding through a grant of $730,000 from the American Rescue Plan funding.  Heart of Florida says it hopes to expand the Dunnellon facility even further in the future.

All employers want for Christmas is some holiday help. But they might not get their wish.  Companies that typically hire thousands of seasonal workers are heading into the holidays during one of the tightest job markets in decades, making it unlikely they’ll find all the workers they need. For shoppers, it might mean a less than jolly holiday shopping experience, with unstaffed store aisles and online orders that take longer than usual to fill. Even before the holiday hiring season, employers were so desperate to find workers that they raised pay above $15 an hour, started offering four-figure sign-on bonuses and promised to pay their schooling. But that yielded only limited success.

One reason America’s employers are having trouble filling jobs was starkly illustrated in a report Tuesday: Americans are quitting in droves.  The Labor Department said that quits jumped to 4.3 million in August, the highest on records dating back to December 2000, and up from 4 million in July. The jump in quits strongly suggests that fear of the delta variant is partly responsible for the shortfall in workers. In addition to driving quits, fear of the disease probably caused plenty of those out of work to not look for, or take, jobs.

Ocala is getting some statewide recognition.  Kevin Shelley, the CEO and President of the Ocala Chamber has been named the 2021 Executive of the year by the Florida Association of Chamber Professionals.

Drugmaker Merck asked U.S. regulators Monday to authorize its pill for treating COVID-19 in what would add an entirely new and easy-to-use weapon to the world’s arsenal against the pandemic.  If cleared by the Food and Drug Administration — a decision that could come in a matter of weeks — it would be the first pill shown to treat the illness. All other FDA-backed treatments against COVID-19 require an IV or injection.  An antiviral pill that people could take at home to reduce their symptoms and speed recovery could prove groundbreaking, easing the crushing caseload in US. hospitals

Something for Florida legislators to consider as they consider an abortion bill similar to the one in Texas. Opponents of the Texas measure are taking a new approach – they’re going after the corporations that supported the supporters of the legislation.  The idea is to hit the representatives where it hurts the most…their pocketbook.  Several of the abortion clinics in Texas have begun the procedure again after a federal judge last Wednesday blocked the legislation.  The groups opposed to the law began running digital and television ads going after the corporations who support the Republican legislators who voted for the measure.

A quick look at the tropics—after all it is still hurricane season.  The National Hurricane Center is watching two systems.  One is just south of Hispaniola and the other is just east of Aruba.  Good news for us.  Neither of those systems are expected to develop into anything nasty over the next five days.   But just in case, we’ll keep an eye on it and let you know if anything happens that would affect us.

Marion County Sheriff’s Detectives have identified the victim of an early Sunday morning shooting as 23 year old Sonja Stahl.  Police were called to the 2600 block of SE 56th Street where they found Stahl suffering from a gunshot wound.  She died a short time later.  Investigators have identified everyone who was at the scene but no arrests have been made as the investigation continues. 

A woman with a criminal history in Marion County has now been arrested in The Villages after becoming a squatter in an abandoned home.  34 year old Anisa Trychta is being held without bond after breaking into a home in The Villages and living there as a squatter.  Neighbors had complained that the woman had been stealing water from outdoor faucets since the utilities had been turned off at the home.  The owner had died some time ago and left no will.  The house is in foreclosure.  The 34 year old has a record of theft and driving on a suspended license in Marion. 

More than 30 Cuban migrants were found hiding in a go-fast boat during a traffic stop Monday morning in the Florida Keys.  A Monroe County deputy pulled over a rental truck towing a trailer with a large vessel traveling slower than the speed limit in Marathon, according to sheriff’s office news release. The deputy noted that none of the three children in the truck were restrained by any type of seat belt or child seat.  The illegals were hiding in various parts of the boat and were turned over to immigration authorities for the trip back to Cuba.

Cats out of control.  A South Florida town has begun a new program aimed at curbing the spread of a growing feral cat population.  The city of Delray Beach recently earmarked $25,000 to neuter and vaccinate cats that freely roam the area. Officials estimate there are between 7,000 and 10,000 feral cats in the city.  If left unchecked the cats can pose a rabies threat.

State prosecutors say no charges will not be filed against a Marion Oaks man who shot and killed another man.  The state says the shooting was in self-defense.  27 year old Kristoff Salmon died on April 4th, shot by Isaiah Hampton at a Marion Oaks residence.  Investigators say the shooting culminated an argument between the two men that had begun the day before.  The state cited the stand your ground law in their ruling.

The Florida Highway Patrol says a 68 year old woman was killed late Sunday afternoon when the vehicle she was driving swerved out of her lane of traffic and struck a boat attached to another vehicle, then overturning.  The woman was not identified.  The crash occurred on County Road 464.  The woman, who was not identified, was pronounced dead at the scene.

While you’re enjoying the 80 degree weather and fairly low humidity, keep this in mind.  Up in northern Wyoming, weather officials say residents are preparing for a winter storm that could dump up to 18 inches of snow on the area.  This is why you moved to Florida, right?

We’re just now coming out of the latest lovebug season.  They don’t sting, they don’t bite, but they’re a nuisance to folks driving the Florida roadways creating a mess on vehicles.  But this past lovebug season was very light.  The reason?   According to a University of Florida bug specialist, lovebugs need an environment that is not too wet, and not too dry.  Too wet, the larve in the ground drown.  Too dry and they just simply dry up.  Most of Florida has had less than average rainfall this summer, and therefore a lot of the critters dried up before they could hatch. 

Sheriff’s Detectives are investigating a shooting early Sunday morning that left one man dead.  Deputies were called to the 2600 block of SE 56th Street where they found the individual, who has not been identified.  Deputies performed life saving measures but the man died.  Investigators will only say that they have identified everyone involved in the shooting but no arrests have been made.

The mighty Crimson Tide have been bumped from the number one position in both the AP and Coaches poll this week by the Georgia Bulldogs.  Alabama has now dropped to number five after a loss Saturday to Texas A&M.  Meanwhile, the Florida Gators didn’t move much after defeating Vanderbelt staying at number 20 in the AP poll and only moving to 17 in the coaches poll.  The big surprise was Kentucky who jumped five spots in the AP poll to number 11.

$2-93 a gallon is the cheapest fuel we can find today in the Ocala area after gas prices took another big jump earlier this week.  But that’s only at one Marathon station on SW College road.  A more likely price you’ll pay around town is about $3-12 to $3-14 a gallon.  For the lowest prices around town and in your neighborhood, just log on to our website, classichitsocala.com.  The link is right there on the front page. 

Jury selection has begun for the trial of a Florida man accused of killing a police officer after he fatally shot his pregnant ex-girlfriend.  46 year old Markeith Loyd is charged with first-degree murder in the 2017 shooting death of Orlando police Lt. Debra Clayton. Loyd has already been convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the killing of his former girlfriend. Lloyd faces the death penalty if convicted.  Prosecutors say Loyd fatally shot Clayton at a Walmart while she tried to arrest him for killing his girlfriend a few weeks earlier. The trial is expected to last up to three weeks.

The primate residents of Monkey Island at the Florida Cracker Riverside Resort in Homosassa are getting an extreme makeover of their home that’s in need of repair. Thanks to the partnership between the nonprofit group Historic Monkey Island (HMI), Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative (WREC) and the community, the monkeys’ new home will include air conditioning and heat, a new playground to keep them entertained and in tip-top shape and barriers around the island to protect them from overzealous kayakers and boaters.  Cost of the project is expected to be about $150,000

A Florida man exonerated of a 1983 rape and murder after serving 37 years in prison is suing over his wrongful conviction in which a disproven bite mark was crucial evidence.  56 year old Robert DuBoise was freed from prison in August 2020 after long-shelved, untested DNA evidence from a rape kit proved he was innocent of the slaying of 19-year-old Barbara Grams in Tampa, Florida.  Grams was raped and beaten to death while walking home from her job at a restaurant in 1983. No one else has been arrested for her murder. In the federal lawsuit filed this week, DuBoise’s attorneys name as defendants the city of Tampa, four police investigators and a forensic dentist who testified a bite mark on Grams’ cheek was from DuBoise — based on a faulty beeswax mold made of his teeth.  He is seeking 1.85 million dollars.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection found nearly six pounds of gold that was painted black being smuggled into a Florida airport last Wednesday.  The undeclared gold was disguised as belt buckles, bracelets and keychains and is valued at about $170,000.   Gold is one of the top ten items smuggled globally, either to evade import duties or to launder the illicit profits of Transnational Criminal Organizations.