A bill signed into law by Florida Gov. Rick Scott in March now means students will see “In God We Trust” displayed at all schools in the state.
WPTV reported that the law requires the state motto to be shown in a “conspicuous place.”
According to state statute 1003.44, “Each district school board shall adopt rules to require, in all of the schools of the district and in each building used by the district school board, the display of the state motto, ‘In God We Trust,’ designated under s. 15.0301, in a conspicuous place.”
According to the Florida Department of State, “In God We Trust” was adopted by the state legislature as part of the state seal in 1868. It was officially designated as Florida’s state motto in 2006.
Southern Living recently polled its readers to discover their picks for the top places to visit in the South. Blackberry Farm, in Walland, Tennessee, south of Knoxville, took home the top prize.
There is a spa, brewery and working farm on the property. The resort offers plenty of wine and dining options, musical entertainment, workshops and more.
Activities include horseback riding, archery, fly fishing, hiking and paintball.
One Facebook reviewer noted, "Have traveled quite well in my 50+ years, but Blackberry Farm stands out as the BEST of all. They anticipate your every wish and deliver it with cordial efficiency. Understated, approachable elegance. Go there, go there, go there! It is transforming."
Southern Living honored The Barn at Blackberry Farm by awarding it the best restaurant in Tennessee, too.
A Cirque du Soleil acrobat who fell during a Saturday performance in Tampa, Florida, died from his injuries, a hospital spokeswoman told WTSP on Sunday.
According to a video viewed by WTSP and The Tampa Bay Times, the aerial acrobat lost his grip on a ribbon strap during the company’s “Volta” show and fell 10 feet to the stage below.
A spokesman for Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group identified the performer as Yann Arnaud, a longtime aerialist, WFLA reported.
The show was stopped, and Arnaud was taken to Tampa General Hospital. He died from his injuries, spokeswoman Ellen Fiss told WTSP.
The two performances scheduled for Sunday were canceled, the company in charge of publicizing the show said in a statement.
"The entire Cirque du Soleil family is in shock and devastated by this tragedy. Yann had been with us for over 15 years and was loved by all who had the chance to know him," company CEO Daniel Lamarre said. "Over the coming days and weeks, our focus will be on supporting Yann’s family and our employees, especially the ‘Volta’ team, as we go through these difficult times together."
Arnuad’s death is the second performer fatality in Cirque du Soleil's history, WTSP reported. According to the BBC, Sarah Guillot-Guyard, 31, died during a 2013 show in Las Vegas when she fell 94 feet to the floor when a safety wire detached.
Olivier Rochette, a 43-year-old technician, died in 2016 while setting up for a performance.
A gunman opened fire at a church in Sutherland Springs on Sunday, according to officials. More than 20 have been reported dead in the small town east of San Antonio, with more than 20 wounded. The gunman is also dead, Wilson County Commissioner Paul Pheil said in a TV news interview.
The news brought an all-too-familiar mix of reactions on social media, including condolences and calls to action. Here’s what people are saying about the shooting at First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs:
A Kentucky dentist and chairman of his county’s Republican Party has lost his political post and is facing criminal charges following a weekend arrest in Tennessee on charges of indecent exposure and resisting arrest.
David Narramore, 54, of Whitesburg, was arrested Saturday night at a Belk department store in Kingsport, Tennessee. WJHL in Johnson City, Tennessee, reported that Kingsport police officers were called to the store by a loss prevention officer.
The man told the officers that he was in a stall in the store’s men’s room, when the person in the next stall, later identified as Narramore, began rubbing his foot with his own. Narramore is also accused of exposing his genitals to the man, WJHL said.
The employee detained Narramore and held him in the loss prevention office until Kingsport police arrived, the news station said.
When officers attempted to arrest Narramore, he refused to put his hands behind his back, WJHL reported. When he continued to pull away and fight the officers, they used a Taser on him.
The Taser had no effect, and the officers wrestled him to the ground to handcuff him, police said.
Narramore, who complained at the scene of chest pains, was evaluated by paramedics before being booked into the Kingsport City Jail. He was released the next day after posting $2,250 bail.
The Lexington Herald-Leader reported that Narramore resigned his post with the Republican Party’s Letcher County branch following the arrest.
“Dr. Narramore is clearly going through some personal issues,” Tres Watson, communications director for the state GOP, told the Herald-Leader. “We wish him well as he attempts to deal with (his) personal struggles.”
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie ordered a government shutdown at midnight Friday after funding for a new state budget failed, NJ.com reported.
The shutdown came after last-ditch attempts to reach a compromise between Christie and New Jersey Democrats who control the state legislature failed.
“This order is necessary to maintain the protection, safety and well-being of the people of New Jersey while I attempt to convince the Legislature to send me a fiscally responsible budget that I can sign and reopen New Jersey’s government,” Christie said.
The shutdown is the second in state history and will close government facilities like state parks and motor vehicle service offices, NJ.com reported. It will not affect organizations like the New Jersey State Police and psychiatric hospitals, and the state lottery will remain in operation.
Palm Beach County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Teri Barbera said the sheriff’s Marine One unit picked up Randall Jordan, the captain of Emerald Charters, after a distress call that he was bitten by a “sea creature.”
Jordan was in good condition, but still in the hospital Tuesday, according to a St. Mary’s Medical Center spokesman. His sister, Deborah Toohey, said he had to undergo “reattachment surgery.”
“He tries to teach people to not be afraid of sharks,” Toohey said. “He’s an avid environmentalist when it comes to sharks.”
Jordan did not return calls Tuesday.
In 2015, Jordan was sentenced to a year of probation, a $1,500 fine and 100 hours of community service after he was convicted of three misdemeanor charges stemming from illegally feeding sharks in Florida waters.
Florida banned feeding sharks in state waters in 2001, but it is still legal in federal waters, said Amanda Nalley, public information specialist for Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Division of Marine Fisheries Management.
George Burgess, who investigates bites for the International Shark Attack file at the Florida Museum of Natural History, said a bite that occurs when someone is feeding a shark is considered a “provoked” incident.
Burgess said he will investigate the bite.
“The impression that shark diving operations give is that it’s a perfectly safe operation,” Burgess said. “It’s generally safe, but not perfectly safe.”
Jordan isn’t the first charter operator bitten while on a shark excursion.
In 2011, Jim Abernethy was flown to St. Mary’s Medical Center after being bitten on the arm. The bite happened about 18 miles north of West End, the Bahamas.
Embattled Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley resigned today after pleading guilty to two misdemeanor charges, ending two years of scandal and intrigue that resulted from an affair with one of his top political advisors.
As part of the plea deal, Bentley will submit to 12 months of unsupervised probation, surrender more than $36,000 in campaign funds and will serve 100 hours of public service. He can never run for office.
Montgomery County Judge Troy Massey sentenced Bentley to 30-day suspended jail sentence – meaning he will spend no time in jail.
Jail records show that Bentley posted $600 bond.
He spent Sunday “negotiating terms of a resignation with state lawmakers and law enforcement,” according to the Alabama Political Reporter.
Bentley, 74, has battled to outlast a scandal involving recordings that surfaced in 2016 of him making sexually explicit comments to his former aide.
Bentley’s wife of 50 years, Dianne, divorced him in 2015.
Citing multiple unnamed sources, WHNT reported that Bentley will resign Monday.
Last week, the Alabama Ethics Commission said they had found reason to believe he committed four crimes, all of them felonies, in his attempt to cover up the relationship with aide Rebekah Mason.
“Gov. Bentley directed law enforcement to advance his personal interests and, in a process characterized by increasing obsession and paranoia, subjected career law enforcement officers to tasks intended to protect his reputation,” Sharman wrote in a report released Friday.
According to the Alabama Reporter article, talk of Bentley’s resignation began on Friday with legislators set to begin impeachment hearings Monday.
The Alabama Republican Party on Sunday called for Bentley to step down.
AL.com columnist John Archibald wrote on Monday that, “Sources in Montgomery say his lawyers have been involved in negotiations to step down from the governorship and plead to lesser charges, allowing Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey to step up as governor. Sources believe he will resign the governorship by Wednesday.”
Archibald added, “It is possible that Bentley, who has changed his mind often during his term, could change his mind.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Just days before Christmas, a family in Yulee, Florida has almost everything after a fire destroyed part of their home.
Fire investigators blamed an electrical cord for starting the fire that caused the family's Christmas tree to goup in flames.
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While the Sheffield's home is still standing with no exterior damage, the interior is coated in soot and filled with melted belongings.
"Pretty much within 10 minutes it was done. Yes, everything gone," homeowner Thomas Sheffield said. Sheffield said he was home with his son on Tuesday evening when he heard a loud noise in the living room. "I opened up the door to the house and just saw black smoke and heat. All I could think about was just trying to get the animals out of there."
What's left of a Yulee family's Christmas tree after it caught fire and destroyed their home days before Christmas @ActionNewsJax pic.twitter.com/yB1XpbEvL3— KatieMcKee (@KatieMcKeeANjax) December 21, 2016
Sheffield and his wife Carina have five children. What's left of their Christmas presents were scattered throughout the living room.
The state fire marshal determined the fire started in the living room where their Christmas tree stood.
"He concluded that it was the extension cord to plug to our Christmas tree that caused it. We have probably 10 of them in our house," Sheffield said.
He and his wife said they fear others do as well.
"I don't want to see other families suffer. It hurts to see your kids hurt. It's not just Christmas, but every memory they have is gone," Carina said.
Couple says state fire marshal determined the fire was caused by an extension cord plugged into their Christmas tree lights @ActionNewsJax pic.twitter.com/FW7Rzs9Lsm— KatieMcKee (@KatieMcKeeANjax) December 22, 2016
She said firefighters had finished putting out the fire when she came home from the pharmacy. She sobbed after walking inside the house to see what was left.
"Pictures of our family vacations, everything just gone, and all because I bought a cheap cord instead of spending a few extra dollars to get a three-pronged one," Carina said.
Investigators said the type of cheap two-pronged extension cord the family used was unsafe.
A spokesperson with the state fire marshall's office said he couldn't comment about what types of extension cords homeowners should buy, but he did say you get what you pay for.
According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, it's recommended people use extension cords with polarized and/or three-pronged plugs.
The National Fire Prevention Association reports there is an average of 210 fires annually involving a Christmas tree or decorations. Christmas trees and any decorations need to be 3 feet from any heat source, and people should water their tree daily.
Amber Mariano cut her four classes on Tuesday, but the third-year political science major at the University of Central Florida more than likely won’t be penalized by her professors. In fact, she might get extra credit.
Not only was she studying the political process, she was winning at it.
Mariano, a Republican candidate who turned 21 on Oct. 18, became the youngest person ever elected to the Florida House of Representatives, winning District 36 by 719 votes over incumbent Democratic Rep. Amanda Murphy. Before Mariano, the youngest person elected to the Florida House was Adam Putnam, who was 22 when he won in 1996 and is now Florida's Commissioner of Agriculture.
“It was honestly the best night of my life,” Mariano told WFTS.
The Tampa Bay Times reported that the margin was 50.5 percent to 49.5 percent out of 66,939 ballots cast in Pasco County, located north of the Tampa Bay area — according to final but unofficial results.
Mariano the youngest of any gender since 1996, when Adam Putnam, then 22, won his first statehouse race.
According to her website, Mariano gained experience on the issues of education and health care during her time working for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) in Washington, D.C. During the 2016 Florida legislative session, she worked for state representatives Rene “Coach P” Plasencia and Scott Plakon. She received endorsements from Rubio and Florida Gov. Rick Scott.
Mariano, who plans to attend law school after graduation, is no stranger to politics. Her father, Jack Mariano, won re-election to a fourth term as a Pasco County commissioner.
“We didn’t expect this opportunity to present itself so quickly in her life,” Jack Mariano told WFTS. “But I will tell you at 6 years old she said she wanted to be the first woman president.
“So it’s been in her blood from way back when.”
“He says I’m leapfrogging him. He just wanted me to follow my dream,” Amber Mariano told WFTS. “And this is my dream.”
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