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.
A heated political race in Florida is coming down to a question of degrees.
Melissa Howard, a candidate for the Florida Legislature, has been accused of lying about graduating from college and then producing a fake diploma, the Herald-Tribune of Sarasota reported.
Howard, a businesswoman running against Tommy Gregory in the Aug. 28 Republican primary for state House District 73, on Friday answered accusations from a conservative-based website about her college graduation by distributing photographs of what she claimed was her diploma from Miami University in Ohio. According to the Herald-Tribune, she also posted photographs of what she claimed was her transcript on Facebook, writing that “The truth shall set you free!”
“It only took a night of flying back to my old stomping grounds to catch my opponent in yet another lie!” Howard wrote in her post.
However, the Herald-Tribune cited an email from Miami University general counsel Robin Parker, who said Howard never graduated.
Howard, whose maiden name was Fox when she attended the Ohio university, did not receive a bachelor of science degree in marketing in December 1996 as she claimed, the Herald-Tribune reported, citing Parker’s email.
“We have no such record of a degree,” Parker wrote, noting that the university did not offer a degree in marketing..
“Miami University’s degree for Marketing majors then, as it is now, was a Bachelor of Science in Business,” Parker wrote, adding that Howard’s major, according to university records, was retail. “The picture of the diploma that was posted on the HowardforHouse73 Facebook page does not appear to be an accurate Miami University diploma.
The website Florida News Online, which calls itself “The conservative choice for Florida news & politics.” questioned Howard’s academic credentials in a story on Tuesday.
“I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t deal with this,” Howard told the Herald-Tribune on Friday.
Howard told the website that the story was “a lie,” and Florida News Online retracted the story and apologized after Howard distributed the photo of her holding a framed diploma, the Herald-Tribune reported. However, the site reposted its story after Parker told them Howard did not graduate, Florida News Online reported.
Howard could not be reached for comment Saturday, the Herald-Tribune reported.
Her campaign consultant, Anthony Pedicini, said in a text message to the newspaper that Howard’s husband, Ian Howard, had a “cardiac event” Friday and is in the hospital.
“Melissa is focused on her family — not fake news this morning,” Pedicini wrote Saturday.
Gregory said in a text to the Herald-Tribune that “voters deserve nothing less than truth and integrity from their elected officials.”
“Unfortunately, it seems that Melissa Howard has failed that test,” he said in his text.
A Florida state senator running for reelection called police Thursday afternoon on a reporter she claimed was making threats against her, The Miami Herald reported.
Sen. Daphne Campbell, a Democrat running in District 38 in South Florida, called police at 1:24 p.m. after an appearance at a North Miami Beach restaurant, the newspaper reported.
A North Miami Beach officer who responded to the call and declined to give his name said Campbell called about threats made by a woman in a floral dress -- the attire of Miami Herald reporter Sarah Blaskey, the Herald reported.
No arrests were made.
Dennis Stubbolo, president of the Social Citizens of South Florida that hosted the event, said the incident was surprising.
“I did not see anything go wrong. I was there,” he told the Herald. “I don’t know where that came from.”
Campbell made the call after a question-and-answer session. When Blaskey asked for an interview, Campbell refused and told the reporter to email her questions, the Herald reported.
When Blaskey continued to listen to Campbell’s conversations with voters, the senator walked to another table and called police, the newspaper reported.
Campbell’s attorney, James Jean-Francois, said he was unaware of the incident and could not comment. Campbell has accused the newspaper of racism and bias in favor of her Democratic primary opponent, Jason Pizzo, the Herald reported.
“You guys keep on harassing her all the time and she’s tired of you guys,” said a man who answered Campbell’s cellphone and declined to give his name, the newspaper reported.
Miami Herald Managing Editor Rick Hirsch said that “Asking a public official questions in a public place is perfectly appropriate.”
Earlier this year, Campbell called Miami Shores Police because Rise News reporter Rich Robinson was filming her in public, The Miami New Times reported. Miami Shores Police found that Robinson had done nothing wrong.
Cpl. Terrell J. Fuller went missing in Korea in 1951. Two years later, the U.S. Army presumed him dead.
On Thursday, his remains come home and on Saturday, what would have been his 88th birthday, he’ll be buried in his native Tocca.
“It’s closure to the family,” said his great-niece, Amy Hix. “It’s just a wonderful homecoming to have him come home and be buried on American soil.”
Fuller’s remains arrived at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport at 7:15 a.m. Thursday and there will be a private honor-guard ceremony in a hangar. After that, the procession will travel north via Interstates 85 and 985, then Hwy. 123 into town, taking Broad, Doyle and Pond streets on the way to Acree-Davis Funeral Home.
Hix’ son, Will Grafton, currently serving in the U.S. Army and stationed at Fort Stewart, will escort his great, great-uncle’s remains.
“Pretty much the entire town of Toccoa will line the streets and welcome him home,” Hix said.
The procession is expected to arrive in the north Georgia town between 9 and 9:30 a.m. Thursday. Area Scout troops, veterans groups and other organizations are expected to assemble in downtown Toccoa and along the 985 overpasses along the procession route.
The public visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. at the funeral home, and the Saturday burial service will be private.
Rev. Jerrell Beatty will officiate on Saturday.
“It’s just an honor,” he said. “I appreciate anyone who serves this great country we live in. Freedom is not free. Somebody had to pay the price, and one of those were Cpl. Fuller.”
We’re working to find out more about Fuller, who was about 20 when he entered the service. The Atlanta Constitution’s war coverage at the time noted him a few times.
“Pfc. Fuller is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Marshall Fuller,” an article from Sept. 30, 1953 reads. “His mother said last night he was captured in February 1951 and that she was notified in March of that year that he was officially missing in action. Pfc. Fuller attended school in Toccoa. His father is a farmer. Besides the parents, there are a brother, Cosby, and two sisters, Ruby and Myrtle Lou Fuller. The soldier entered the service in August 1951. He is 23 years old and unmarried.”
Hix said there are no living relatives in Toccoa, and isn’t sure who might have known him. Fuller was her mother’s uncle, but she never knew him and remembers his name being mentioned rarely, and in hushed tones, when she was growing up.
Fuller’s remains were recovered years ago, but only recently identified with DNA testing.
“It’s amazing. When I got the phone call from my mother stating all of this I was just like, what?” Hix said. “For 67 years of no answers and then all of a sudden his remains are in Hawaii.”
And soon, they’ll be home.
The state that produced the oldest man ever to run for president now has the youngest person ever to run for governor.
Bernie Sanders turned 75 two months before the 2016 presidential election. Ethan Sonneborn is 13 and an eighth-grader who is running for governor.
There is no minimum age to run for governor in Vermont, so Sonenborn is officially the youngest candidate for that office in state history, CNN reported.
Sonneborn is running as a Democrat and will face two other candidates in the party’s primary election in August. The winner will face incumbent Gov. Phil Scott, 59, a Republican.
The teen’s platform will focus on stricter gun control legislation an issue he has stressed since announcing his candidacy in 2017, CNN reported.
"I'll admit when I first heard about a 13-year-old running, I thought, 'Is this some kid from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, spoiled?' But that's not the case," Vermont Democratic Party Executive Director Conor Casey told CNN. "Ethan really did embrace the gun issue early on. He's representing younger people and he's been a good voice for them."
Sonneborn admitted that hunting is an important part of life in New England.
"It's a culture that I respect," he said. "But if it's making the decision between letting my friends have a good time at a firing range and them possibly being involved in a school shooting, I'm choosing legislation to protect them from that school shooting."
Sonneborn said he has met Scott, who told him his gubernatorial bid is "very cool," CNN reported.
A physical education teacher in Georgia resigned after he accidentally showed pornographic images in class, WSB reported.
The sixth-grade teacher meant to show Sandy Springs Charter Middle School students an instructional video Tuesday from his personal laptop, WSB reported.
Instead, officials said, “a few seconds” of porn were displayed on the screen.
Fulton County Schools officials investigated the teacher, who eventually submitted a letter of resignation, WSB reported.
“It is our expectation that teachers and staff maintain a safe and appropriate instructional environment for all students,” a Fulton County Schools official said in a statement to the news station. “Our focus will continue to be student achievement and the safety or our students and staff.”
The state of Georgia and city of Atlanta are ready for their moment in college football’s limelight.
On Monday morning, members of the Georgia state Senate “called the Dawgs” during the session ahead of tonight’s College Football Playoff Championship in Atlanta.
Watch the video below:
Georgia and Alabama kick off at 8 p.m. ET at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
A Florida dog groomer is in hot water after a video surfaced that appears to show the owner violently shaking a dog.
The video was posted on Nov. 10 by Facebook user Briana Brady who says that she used to work at the Happy Puppy Pet Spa near Sarasota, Florida. According to Brady, the woman in the video owns the spa and Brady said that the behavior captured in the clip is common. The clip has been shared over 1,800 times and racked up more than 384,000 views since it was posted.
Brady identified the woman as Phyllis Lucca and writes “this is what this horrible woman does every day to every dog. She even broke a dog’s jaw two weeks ago. She picked the dog up by the neck and shook it and slammed it on the table.”
Customers have complained about Lucca’s care for their dogs — former client Cynthia Crowe told the groomer, “I gave you a dog in good health and you give me a dog that has broken bones now.” She said that when she picked her toy poodle up from the Happy Puppy Pet Spa, the animal had blood on his mouth and bruises on his stomach. Crowe rushed her pet to veterinarian Gary Berkowitz, who told WFTX “The dog was doing fine, eating and drinking fine like normal, as soon as she gets home from the groomer, the dog shows all these signs and has a fractured jaw.”
Warning: The videos in this story contain footage some may find disturbing.
Crowe filed a police report against Lucca for animal cruelty, and the investigating detective wrote that the groomer admitted to the dog’s injuries. But when WFTX caught up with Lucca, she blamed her former employee Briana Brady, saying that she was the only one ever in the room alone with Crowe’s pet and, added, “If you see that video, I know it looks bad, but that’s not what I’m doing.”
“What the dog did was pass out and she faints, and what I did was hold her head and shake her. That’s all,” Lucca said.
Brady said she’s witnessed a disturbing pattern of abuse from Lucca, telling WFLA, “I’ve seen her choke out and slam a dog in the bathtub.”
Dog mauled, killed by pit bull at PetSmart during grooming appointment
“I’ve been crying nonstop. It just breaks my heart to see someone mistreat an animal like that,” she said.
Brady has hired an attorney and plans to file a civil suit against the groomer, but that suit has not yet been filed.
Since the video came out, the Google rating for Lucca’s spa has dropped to a dismal 1.8 stars. But even before Brady’s Facebook post, customers wrote reviews indicating abuse, one woman claimed that when she picked up her dog, she “noticed at least 3 very red areas where the clippers must have gotten too close.” Six years ago, one customer wrote that she was “horrified to walk in there and see a dog sitting in a pool of blood and whimpering from having its nails cut incorrectly.”
A Florida state senator, in line to become the Democratic leader in the Florida Senate next year, abruptly resigned Friday.
State Sen. Jeff Clemens of Atlantis, made the announcement after Politico reported he had an extramarital affair with a lobbyist.
“I have made mistakes I (am) ashamed of, and for the past six months I have been focused on becoming a better person. But it is clear to me that task is impossible to finish while in elected office. The process won’t allow it, and the people of Florida deserve better. All women deserve respect, and by my actions, I feel I have failed that standard. I have to do better,” Clemens said in a statement.
He emailed a shorter statement to Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, saying “Please consider this email as my resignation from the Florida Senate.”
Clemens said his resignation was effective immediately. Under state law, Gov. Rick Scott must set the date for a special election to fill Clemens’ seat.
“It is clear to me Senator Clemens made a decision he feels is best for both his family and his constituents,” Negron said.
In his public statement, Clemens said, “Though they have been aware for some time now, I apologize again to my wife, my family and anyone and everyone that I have treated poorly in the past for putting you through this in such a public way. I will continue the therapy I began months ago, will seek to personally apologize to anyone I have wronged while seeking forgiveness, and will spend my time being a better husband and father.”
The resignation came less than 24 hours after Clemens sent an email apologizing to Senate Democrats on Thursday night as Politico was preparing to report that Clemens had an affair with lobbyist Devon West. West worked for the Martin County government and now works for Broward County’s lobbying office. Efforts to reach her on Friday were unsuccessful.
“I take full responsibility for my behavior, and I apologize for bringing any embarrassment to the Caucus,” Clemens said in the Thursday night email to his colleagues. “I have spent much of the past six months going to therapy, strengthening my relationship with my wife and my kids, and trying to be a better human being. I still have quite a ways to go. But I am unwavering in my resolve to get there.”
A Georgia lawmaker now says she does not support quarantining HIV patients after she seemed to ask if it was legal to do so during a House study committee meeting last week.
“I do not support a quarantine in this public health challenge and dilemma of undertreated HIV patients,” Georgia state Rep. Betty Price (R-Roswell) wrote in a statement.
Price, the wife of former Health and Human Services Secretary and Georgia Congressman Tom Price, was at a meeting of a House study committee last week when she asked a state health official about HIV patients.“What are we legally able to do?” Price asked during the meeting. “I don’t want to say the quarantine word, but I guess I just said it. Is there an ability since, I would guess that public dollars are expended heavily in prophylaxes and treatment of this condition. So we have a public interest in curtailing the spread. What would you advise? Or are there any methods, you know, that we could do that would curtail the spread?”
Price said in the statement that her comments were “provocative and rhetorical” and “part of a free-flowing conversation which has been taken completely out of context.”
“I do not support a quarantine in this public health challenge,” she said.
Metro Atlanta’s LGBTQ community was quick to condemn the original statements.“The comments from Rep. Price were incredibly disturbing,” said Jeff Graham, executive director of LGBT organization Georgia Equality. “In this day and age, to be even mentioning quarantine around people living with HIV, there just really is no excuse for it. I was heartened to see that she made some recognition of this with the statement that she made over the weekend. I think that is a good start, but clearly, we need to go further than that.”
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