Cruise ship docks with 112 reported ill

Published February 2, 2007

More than 100 passengers and crew members on a cruise ship that docked at Port Everglades on Thursday were reported ill. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta will conduct an investigation on the Holland America cruise ship Volendam. The ship was carrying nearly 2,000 passengers on 10-day Caribbean cruise when 112 people reported becoming ill, a statement from Holland America said. The main symptoms reported were diarrhea and vomiting. A likely cause of the illness is an outbreak of norovirus, which causes vomiting and diarrhea.

Private prisons get tax exemption

Private prisons operating under lease-purchase agreements with the state will remain exempt from paying local property taxes after the Florida Supreme Court reversed course Thursday and decided not to review an appellate decision. The justices earlier had agreed to consider an appeal by Bay County, but wrote in a unanimous, three-sentence opinion that they had changed their minds "because the circumstances of this case are fact-specific." "What does that mean?" Bay County Property Appraiser Rick Barnett asked after consulting with his lawyer. "We can't figure that out." One thing it will mean is that Bay County cannot collect $2.27-million in taxes dating back to 1996. Officials had sought the money from Corrections Corporation of America, which also runs facilities in Citrus and Hernando counties.

Charges reduced in teen's death

A judge threw out a manslaughter charge and another felony count Thursday against a security guard who fatally shot a teenager. William Swofford, 27, of Deltona then pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of not carrying his security-guard license at the apartment complex where he worked the night he shot Travares McGill, 16, in July 2005. Swofford paid a fine of $378 and left a free man, the Orlando Sentinel reported. "I fired my weapon because I honestly thought that this individual was going to run me over," Swofford told police after the shooting. He and his partner, Bryan Ansley, 29, were working night security when they approached McGill's car. Police said McGill tried to pull away, pinning a pedestrian against a van and hitting the security guards' car.