Alleged Killer Of Crime Boss Whitey Bolger Arrested In Ocala

Police arrested a man in Ocala Thursday charged with the beating death of organized crime boss James Whitey Bulger back in 2018 at a West Virginia federal prison.  36 year old Sean McKinnon, along with two other men were nabbed by FBI agents, all charged with conspiracy to commit first degree murder.   Bulger died at the United States Penitentiary Hazelton in Bruceton Mills, West Virginia, on Oct. 30, 2018, at the age of 89.  He had been severely beaten 

This guy is in so deep now he’ll never be able to swim to shore.  The Florida Highway Patrol is looking for an elderly man who struck and injured a pedestrian in the Walmart parking lot on State Road 200 late Thursday morning and then left the scene.  The victim was not seriously injured.  The FHP says the white male, about 68 years old was driving a silver colored Mazda when he struck the 39 year old victim. The car may have some damage to the front and rear from a previous collision.  The two men exchanged words and the driver sped off.  Now police would like to have a little chat with that man.  If you can identify this man, call the Florida Highway Patrol

A Florida judge on Thursday declared a Florida law championed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis that restricts race-based conversation and analysis in business and education unconstitutional.  Tallahassee U.S. District Judge Mark Walker said in a 44-page ruling that the “Stop WOKE” act violates the First Amendment and is impermissibly vague. Walker also refused to issue a stay that would keep the law in effect during any appeal by the state.  A defeat for the Governor but he has already garnered extensive publicity from the issue.

A federal judge in West Palm on Thursday ordered the Justice Department to put forward proposed redactions as he committed to making public at least part of the affidavit supporting the search warrant for former President Donald Trump’s estate in Florida.  U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Reinhart said that under the law, it is the government’s burden to show why a redacted version should not be released and prosecutors’ arguments Thursday failed to persuade him. He gave them a week to submit a copy of the affidavit proposing the information it wants to keep secret

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday announced criminal charges against 20 people for illegally voting in 2020, the first major public move from the Republican’s controversial new election police unit.  That’s 20 out of 11 million votes cast in Florida, the arrests costing taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars.  DeSantis goaded the legislature in passing the election police law even after admitting that there were few, if any problems with the 2020 election.  Typically illegal voting is detected on the local level.  Critics charge that DeSantis is using the police force as another political stunt at taxpayer expense.

Apple disclosed serious security vulnerabilities for iPhones, iPads and Macs that could potentially allow attackers to take complete control of these devices. Security experts have advised users to update affected devices.   Apple released two security reports about the issue on Wednesday, although they didn’t receive wide attention outside of tech publications.

If you were part of the class action lawsuit against the City of Ocala over those illegal fire fees, don’t worry, you’re not alone.  The Ocala City Council was told this week that less than ½ of the payouts have been sent for a total of 28 ½ million dollars, with another $30 million yet to be sent.  And if you’ve called the city and haven’t gotten a response, don’t worry about that either.  The city has a backlog of more than 2000 phone messages that haven’t yet been answered.

A trio of lawsuits target a Florida law championed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis that restricts race-based conversation and analysis in business and education, the latest filed Thursday by college professors and students claiming it is blatantly unconstitutional.  Known as the “Stop WOKE” act, the law targets what DeSantis has called a “pernicious” ideology exemplified by critical race theory — the idea that racism is systemic in U.S. institutions that serve to perpetuate white dominance in society.  The law prohibits teaching or business practices that contend members of one ethnic group are inherently racist.  But DeSantis may have gotten out of the law what he was looking for in the first place, lots of publicity.

A 29-year-old police officer who was shot in the head while trying to stop a robbery suspect in Miami has died.  Det. Cesar Echaverry was shot Monday night as he and other officers closed in a suspect wanted for an earlier robbery in nearby Broward County.  Police began chasing 32 year old Jeremy Horton of Georgia following an armed robbery. Later the 32 year old abandoned the vehicle and a foot chase and subsequent gunfight ensued, when Detective Echaverry was shot.

Sales of previously occupied U.S. homes slowed for the sixth consecutive month in July, deepening the housing market’s slide under the weight of sharply higher mortgage rates, surging inflation and slower, but still solidly rising home prices.  The National Association of Realtors said Thursday that existing home sales fell 5.9% last month from June.  The slowdown in sales was most pronounced in the Western part of the country, home to some of the nation’s most expensive housing markets.

A top executive at former President Donald Trump’s family business pleaded guilty Thursday to evading taxes in a deal with prosecutors that could potentially make him a star witness against the company at a trial this fall.  Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg pleaded guilty to all 15 of the charges he faced in the case.  The judge said Weisselberg will have to serve five months in jail,  pay nearly $2 million in taxes, penalties and interest and complete five years of probation, in addition to testifying against the Trump organization at trial this fall.

An elected Florida prosecutor who was removed from office by Gov. Ron DeSantis because of his positions on abortion and transgender rights filed suit Wednesday to get his job back, saying the Republican leader violated his First Amendment rights.  DeSantis said he suspended Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren this month for signing a national pledge to not prosecute women and doctors for violating state abortion laws or families seeking treatments for transgender minors.  DeSantis’s Order does not identify any actual conduct by Warren related to his official duties.  Warren called the move by the Governor another one of his political stunts to further his political ambitions.

A 29-year-old police officer who was shot in the head while trying to stop a robbery suspect in Miami remained in “extremely critical condition” early Wednesday.  The detective was shot as he and other officers closed in on the suspect following a car chase.  Det. Cesar Echaverry has been with the Miami police department for five years and was planning to get married soon.

Interested in the latest misinformation and conspiracy theories when it comes to the mid-term elections?  Look no further than social media.  Social media companies are offering few specifics as they share their plans for safeguarding the U.S. midterm elections.  Platforms like Facebook and Twitter are generally staying the course from the 2020 voting season, which was marred by conspiracies and culminated in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.  Video app TikTok, which has soared in popularity since the last election cycle while also cementing its place as a problem spot for misinformation, announced Wednesday it is launching an election center that will help people find voting locations and candidate information.  Your best bet for election information, take everything you see on social media with a grain of salt.

Big Lots is expanding in the Ocala area with a third store to be opened in Silver Spring Shores at 6851 Mericamp Road.  The company says the store will open sometime in 2023 depending on the pace of construction and staffing.  Big Lots already operates two stores in the Ocala area, one on East Silver Springs Blvd and another on State Road 200.  Big Lots operates more than 1400 stores in 48 states.

A restaurant customer in Fort Lauderdale has died of a bacterial infection after eating raw oysters in a South Florida restaurant.  A Pensacola man died the same way this month. Both cases involved oysters from Louisiana.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says deadly bacteria doesn’t make an oyster look, smell, or taste any different. The agency said about 80,000 people get sick in the U.S. each year, and about 100 people die from it.  Inspectors from the Florida Department of Health checked out the restaurant’s kitchen and examined its oyster inventory the day after the man became ill.

Rudy Giuliani faced questioning Wednesday before a special grand jury in Atlanta as a target of an investigation into attempts by former President Donald Trump and others to overturn his 2020 election defeat in Georgia.  The former New York mayor and Trump attorney remained inside the Fulton County courthouse after several hours of facing questions as part of a rapidly escalating investigation that has ensnared several Trump allies.  Giuliani’s questioning took place behind closed doors, as grand jury proceedings are secret.

Even though the state has put the hold button on proposals to extend the Florida turnpike through the northern part of the state, opponents of the project say they are still working to keep the pressure on the Florida Department of Transportation to scrap the project altogether.  To that end, those opponents held a news conference Tuesday morning outside the McPherson Government Complex to make their point.  About 50 people attended the event saying the state needs to concentrate on improving existing roadways instead of paving over the entire state.

Billy Napier’s methodical, multifaceted approach to returning Florida to national prominence might actually be on a fast track .  The latest bump coincided with Florida opening an $85 million facility that was years in the making and should help get the program back on level footing with the Southeastern Conference heavyweights. The key now is preventing it from becoming one step forward, two steps back once the season begins. The Gators open with seventh-ranked Utah in Gainesville on Sept. 3, followed by a visit from No. 20 Kentucky. It’s the first time since 1982 that Florida starts with back-to-back ranked opponents.

As part of the rollout of a huge new climate, tax and healthcare law, the U.S. government is moving forward with its plan to award new tax credits to electric vehicle purchasers.  Several new websites launched Tuesday to help people identify which vehicles qualify for the credits. Based on data submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, at least 31 new 2022 and 2023 models qualify for the tax credit. For starters, they must be made in North America to be eligible.  President Joe Biden signed Democrats’ landmark climate change and health care bill into law on Tuesday. It includes a tax credit of up to $7,500 that could be used to defray the cost of purchasing an electric vehicle.

Massive incentives for clean energy in the U.S. law signed Tuesday by President Joe Biden should reduce future global warming “not a lot, but not insignificantly either,” according to a climate scientist who led an independent analysis of the package.  Even with nearly $375 billion in tax credits and other financial enticements for renewable energy in the law, the United States still isn’t doing its share to help the world stay within another few tenths of a degree of warming, a new analysis by Climate Action Tracker says. The group of scientists examines and rates each country’s climate goals and actions. It still rates American action as “insufficient” but hailed some progress.

So who’s more popular in Florida among Republicans?  Donald Trump or Ron DeSantis?   A new poll out Tuesday morning shows that the two men are in a statistical dead heat if the presidential primary were held today.  The public opinion research lab at the University of North Florida conducted the poll which found that DeSantis was most popular with 47% of Republicans while Trump was at 45%.  But the poll has a 3% margin of error.  7% didn’t like either candidate.

The Justice Department on Monday rebuffed efforts to make public the affidavit supporting the search warrant for former President Donald Trump’s estate in Florida, saying the investigation “implicates highly classified material” and the document contains sensitive information about witnesses.  The government’s opposition came in response to court filings by several news organizations, including The Associated Press, seeking to unseal the underlying affidavit the Justice Department submitted when it asked for the warrant to search Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate earlier this month.

With inflation hovering near levels not seen in 40 years, higher income Americans turned to Walmart to cut costs on groceries while its lower income customers swapped out deli meats for less expensive hot dogs and canned tuna.  That boosted sales for Walmart in the second quarter, the company reported Tuesday, but the downward shift at almost all points along the social spectrum cut into profit margins.  And the same forces shaping choices that Americans make about where they shop for food and what they eat are forcing Walmart to cut prices and clear huge inventories of things that customers clamored for during the pandemic; TVs, casual clothing, sporting goods and a host of other items not considered essential.  That means you can start looking for bargains.

American Airlines has agreed to buy up to 20 supersonic jets and put down a non-refundable deposit on the planes that are still on the drawing board and years away from flying.  Neither American nor the manufacturer Boom Supersonic would provide financial details Tuesday, including the size of American’s deposit.  United Airlines has also ordered some of the jets which can fly from New York to London in 3 ½ hours.  Cost of a one way ticket?  $3000 to $5000 when the plane debuts in 2029.

Billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott donated $38.8 million to Junior Achievement USA and 26 local operations — the largest single gift in its 103-year history — the national education nonprofit announced Tuesday.  Like all of Scott’s nearly $12 billion in donations since 2019, her gift to Junior Achievement USA is unrestricted, meaning the Colorado-based nonprofit, which prepares students for adulthood by teaching them financial literacy, career skills and business ownership training, can use the funds for any project it wants.

An Ocala man was sentenced to life in prison Monday for the killing and decapitation of his grandmother back in March of 2021.  Deputies found Alice Trench’s body during a well being check.  Deputies later charged the grandson, Nicholas Trench with the gruesome killing.  Trench took the podium and apologized to family members saying he hoped they could forgive him some day for an inexcusable act.

Fire Monday caused severe damage to an apartment building at NE 14th Street and NE 17th Avenue.  Firemen were alerted to the blaze at about 9:30 Monday morning from a passerby who reported smoke in the area.  The blaze was contained to the kitchen area of the home but there was extensive smoke and water damage.  No people were in the structure but two pets in the apartment died.  The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

School children will be given a meal after school under a program if they are enrolled in the Marion Afterschool Programs.  There would be no cost to those kids according to district officials.  The Afterschool Meals initiative was previously available in five locations but has now been expanded to 36 schools in the district.   The program is funded by the US department of Agriculture and administered by the health department.

Florida reported more than 300 new monkeypox cases in one week and was still the third highest state for confirmed or probable cases even though the Governor denies there is a problem refusing additional federal funding for vaccinations.   As of Monday, the Florida Department of Health reported 1,266 confirmed or probable cases of monkeypox in 28 counties, according to its tracker on flhealthcharts.gov. A week ago, the state reported 938 cases — that’s a jump of 328 probable or confirmed monkeypox cases here since Aug. 8.

The Florida high speed train system called Brightline is the deadliest in the nation.  But now, the railroad has received a $25 million dollar federal grant to improve safety.  The grant will pay for 33 miles of tall fencing where trespassers frequently get on the tracks, and extensive crossing improvements at 333 crossings,  68 people have died since the service began five years ago.  Nearly all of the victims have been suicidal, drunk, or mentally ill.

With two of the best players in the country leading the way — and a championship game loss as motivation — Alabama is No. 1 in The Associated Press preseason college football poll for the second straight season and ninth time overall.  Ohio State is No. 2 and defending national champion Georgia is third.  Sorry Florida, neither the Gators or Seminoles made the top 25. 

The number of new cases of Covid-19 is beginning to drop like a rock in Marion County according to the health department.  For the two week period ending August 11trh, the county reported 1869 new cases.  That’s more than a 20% drop.  The Centers For Disease Control recently pulled back it’s recommendations for individuals including dropping the 6 foot distance recommendation.  The health agency says 95% of Americans are now either vaccinated or have some protection from having contracted the disease over the past couple of years.

Florida’s alligator hunting season started Monday with new rules expanding the time and weapons that can be used.  The new rules expanded alligator hunting to 24 hours a day, instead of the previous 17 hours a day, primarily at night and early morning, that had been allowed.  Additionally, hunters now will be allowed to use pneumatic air-bows attached to a restraining line to hunt the alligators. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says the pneumatic air-bows are easier to use for people with mobility challenges and young people.

A former state Department of Health employee who gained national attention for questioning the numbers in Florida’s COVID-19 dashboard can remain a candidate for now in the race to be the Democratic challenger to Republican U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz.  A state appellate court on Friday put on hold, pending further review, a lower court’s ruling against Rebekah Jones that would have prevented her from running for the Democratic nomination for the congressional seat in the Florida Panhandle.  However she could still be removed from the ballot.  The lower court had agreed with arguments from a rival for the nomination that Jones had not met a legal requirement of being a registered Democrat for 365 days before qualifying. Jones received national attention when she revealed that the numbers on the state’s COVID-19 dashboard was being skewed to make Governor DeSantis look good.

Florida authorities are investigating an officer-involved crash that killed a civilian driver early Sunday.  Coconut Creek police arrived at the 4 a.m. crash to find one of its officers was involved. The department then turned the investigation over to the Broward County Sheriff’s Office.  A woman in the other vehicle was brought to the hospital, where she died. The officer was taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries, according to the sheriff’s office.  The sheriff’s office didn’t provide any other information.

One more price increase is possible this year.   Apples, yes apples.  Washington’s apple crop is forecast to be a bit smaller this year because of the cool spring.  The Washington State Tree Fruit Association on Monday projected the 2022 Washington state fresh apple crop will be 11.1% lower from. Some 30% of the crop is exported and it’s not sure how the lower harvest will effect prices here in the US. 

Let’s face it.  It’s not just inflation that’s causing high gas prices.  Big oil is raking in obscene profits.  Saudi energy company Aramco said Sunday its profits jumped 90% in the second quarter compared to the same time last year, helping its half-year earnings reach nearly $88 billion. Major oil companies had a strong quarter with Exxon Mobil booking an unprecedented $17.85 billion profit while Chevron made a record $11.62 billion. The U.K.’s Shell shattered its own profit record.  While gouging the public, big oil has ignored requests from President Biden to reel in prices and give the public a break.

Gas prices continue to slide across the country and Ocala is no different.  The lowest price we can find today is $3-30 a gallon at a Circle K station on State Road 200.  A more likely price you’ll pay around town is closer to $3-40.  But some stations are still charging close to $3-70.  Just beware.  To find those lower prices and pricing in your neighborhood, just log on to our website, classichitsocala.com.  Just click on the link right there on the front page.

A defense mental health expert in the penalty trial of Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz can pinpoint when he realized the 23-year-old mass murderer still has “irrational thoughts” — the two were making small talk when Cruz began describing plans for an eventual life outside prison.  Wesley Center, a Texas counselor, said that happened last year at the Broward County jail.  The defense at hearings this week will try to convince Circuit Judge Elizabeth Scherer that Center and other experts should be allowed to testify at Cruz’s ongoing trial about what their tests showed, something the prosecution wants barred. Cruz, of course, will never be free.  He will either get the death penalty or life in prison.

It’s on the of the few pleasures that prison inmate has….care packages from home.  Now that is coming to an end in New York. The reason?  Too many inmates have convinced family members to use the mail to get drugs.  Under the new policy, which the state began phasing in last month, friends and family aren’t allowed to deliver packages in person during prison visits. They also won’t be allowed to mail boxes of goodies unless those come directly from third-party vendors.  The state prison system is also testing a program where inmates will be blocked from getting most letters sent on paper. Instead, incoming letters will be scanned by computer, and prisoners will get copies.  The change is being made to try and head off a trend of people soaking letters in drugs to smuggle them past authorities.  New York is not alone.  Many states have implemented similar programs because of the drug problem.

Book deals, selling their video footage, and even clothing items are among the items that people charged in the January insurrection at the US Capitol are hawking to make money from that day.  And the justice department isn’t hearing it.  In one case, federal authorities have seized tens of thousands of dollars from a defendant who sold his footage from Jan. 6. In another case, a Florida man’s plea deal allows the U.S. government to collect profits from any book he gets published over the next five years. And prosecutors want a Maine man who raised more than $20,000 from supporters to surrender some of the money because a taxpayer-funded public defender is representing him.  Many rioters have paid a steep personal price for their actions on Jan. 6 and likely will continue to do so as the trials continue.

County commissioners will consider another huge residential community at it’s meeting Tuesday, this one for over 500 single family homes off SW 80th Avenue.  The developer is seeking to rezone more than 130 acres of agriculture land for the project.  But the report by county staffers is conflicting when it comes to the traffic that the development would create.  One of the problems is that the development only has one access point to 80th avenue.  The final decision will be left with commissioners on Tuesday..

Attorneys General across the US have joined in a coalition opposing Florida’s don’t say gay bill.  An Americus Brief was filed on behalf of 16 states who are opposed to the law, which is, at best confusing.  The brief says the law may restrict how teachers do their jobs and could be a violation of first amendment rights.  The law is also facing multiple lawsuits right here in Florida.  But given those facts, the attention may be just what Governor Ron DeSantis is seeking, more national attention in an attempt to make his name a household word as he keeps being mentioned as a candidate for President.