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Florida briefly

Published August 19, 2006

Two Florida Coast Guard divers die in Arctic Ocean

SEATTLE - Two divers from Florida aboard the Coast Guard icebreaker Healy died during a routine dive operation in the Arctic Ocean about 500 miles north of Barrow, Alaska, the agency said Friday.

The causes of death were being investigated, the Coast Guard said.

Lt. Jessica Hill, 30, of St. Augustine, and Petty Officer 2nd Class Steven Duque, 26, of Miami, had entered the water Thursday afternoon to examine the ship's rudder, which is done often as it operates in Arctic ice.

During such dives, the ship sits idle and pumps and propellers are disengaged, the Coast Guard said.

The 420-foot, Seattle-based Healy is primarily used for scientific research in the Arctic under sponsorship of the National Science Foundation.

Five charged in smuggling of migrants from Cuba

MIAMI - Five men described as organizers of Cuban migrant smuggling trips have been charged in a 44-count federal indictment.

The five, all Cuban nationals, made their initial court appearances Friday in Key West. They are to return to court for a bail hearing Aug. 25.

Court documents indicate the five were part of a ring that attempted to illegally bring Cubans to the United States in November and December 2005 and in April 2006. The last trip involved 35 Cuban migrants aboard a 34-foot speedboat that was stopped by the Coast Guard after an eight-hour chase in the Florida Straits. No deaths resulted from those trips.

Department to examine military academy's permits

FORT LAUDERDALE - A military academy attended by a student who died during a weekend camping trip was told to hand over copies of permits required to run the school, the state Education Department said Friday.

Lauderhill city officials sent Back to Basics Military Academy a letter Tuesday saying it didn't have an occupational license or a special exception use permit to operate out of a strip mall. Now, the Department of Education is also raising questions.

"If the school ... is found to not be compliant with local laws, we will then decide an appropriate course of action," Education Department spokeswoman Cathy Schroeder said.

Alex Cullinane, 13, died Saturday while attending a school campout at Oleta River State Park in North Miami. He got out of bed in the middle of the night to tell a drill sergeant he did not feel well and collapsed on the way to the bathroom, police said.

An autopsy found no sign of injury. The medical examiner was waiting for toxicology results.

Coral Springs woman fatally mauled by dog

CORAL SPRINGS - A woman died after being mauled by a large dog Friday, police said.

The woman's neighbor called police after a young girl looking for help said her mother was being attacked by a dog, Coral Springs police spokesman Rich Nicorvo said.

Nicorvo said the dog may have belonged to the woman, whose identity was not immediately released.

When police arrived at the house, officers saw a large dog standing over the woman's body in the back yard near the swimming pool. Officers shot and killed the dog. The breed was not immediately known.

Deltona mayor fined for campaign violations

TALLAHASSEE - Deltona's mayor has been fined $1,530 for 89 campaign violations.

The Florida Elections Commission ruling stems from campaign spending by Dennis Mulder, 28, with most violations arising from Mulder's reporting a credit card expenditure as a loan to himself instead of as an in-kind donation. Other charges included accepting cash contributions of more than $100.

The commission investigated after receiving a complaint from Jeff Ensminger, who campaigned for Mulder's opponent, Doug Horn.

Woman ordered to part with hundreds of cats

DeLAND - A woman who took in nearly 200 abandoned cats and kittens will have to part with her pets, the Volusia County Council decided.

The council rejected Pierson second-grade teacher Kristy Grant's request to turn her home into an animal shelter and gave her 90 days to remove the animals she had taken over a period of years. Neighbors complained about the animals' roaming as well as the animal odor and an animal graveyard on her property.


[Last modified August 19, 2006, 01:22:08]

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