Wexler: Crist will push for paper trail

Published January 31, 2007

Gov. Charlie Crist will propose spending millions of dollars to ensure that Florida voting machines leave a paper trail, an aide to U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler said Tuesday. Wexler, D-Boca Raton, has been a leading critic of electronic voting machines. The touch screen machines have been the focus of a contested 2006 congressional race after they indicated about 18,000 Sarasota County voters failed to cast a ballot in the contest. Wexler will join the Republican governor when he announces the voting machine spending proposal Thursday in Palm Beach County, said Eric Johnson, Wexler's chief of staff. Crist spokeswoman Erin Isaac declined to either confirm or deny the comments.

Inmate's family settles lawsuit

The family of an inmate who died after a confrontation with corrections officers has finalized a $737,500 settlement over a lawsuit against the former state prisons chief and the guards. Relatives of Frank Valdes finished the settlement in Miami-Dade County Circuit Court, said their attorney, Guy Rubin. Valdes died in 1999 after he was attacked in the X-wing of the Florida State Prison, near Jacksonville. An autopsy showed many broken bones and internal injuries. Corrections officers were acquitted or charges were dropped.

Sheriff's wife, deputy slain

The Jackson County sheriff's wife, a deputy and two suspects were killed Tuesday in a targeted shooting at the sheriff's house, authorities said. Only Mellie McDaniel, wife of Sheriff John McDaniel, was immediately identified. McDaniel was driving home when she noticed a car following her. She pulled into her driveway, where two people shot her and the deputy who responded to the scene, local news reports said. The sheriff was involved in the crossfire but was not injured, State Attorney Steve Meadows said. "The community should not be concerned. We believe this was not a random case," he said.

FAU to get medical center

Boca Raton Community Hospital has received $75-million from the Schmidt Family Foundation to build an academic medical center at Florida Atlantic University. The hospital will allow students at the Boca Raton campus to earn a doctor of medicine degree from the University of Miami's medical school without leaving the area.