Fla. cities lead nation in high-end foreclosures
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - Two Florida cities lead the nation in foreclosures of high-end properties worth $5 million or more.
The research firm RealtyTrac said in a report Wednesday that Miami and Orlando were at the top of the list of foreclosure activity on homes in the $5 million-plus range.
Other cities with high numbers of foreclosure activity on high-priced homes included the Los Angeles area, metro Atlanta and metro New York City.
At the state level, Florida and California made up 60 percent of the high-end foreclosures this year.
The number of high-end foreclosures is relatively small - only about 200 compared to the 1.2 million properties that had foreclosure activity this year.
But while overall foreclosure activity is down this year, it is up for the high-priced homes.
Fla. man pleads not guilty in Facebook killing
MIAMI (AP) - A Florida man has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the killing of his wife, whose bloody corpse was depicted in photos he later posted on Facebook.
Prosecutors also said Wednesday no decision has been made on whether to seek the death penalty for 31-year-old Derek Medina in the Aug. 8 shooting death of 26-year-old Jennifer Alonso. Medina's attorneys have said he was acting in self-defense and that Alonso was the aggressor.
Medina did not speak during the brief hearing. His plea was entered by one of his attorneys.
Prosecutors say evidence shows Medina had vowed to kill his wife if she ever attempted to leave him and that she was cowering when shot. Medina told detectives he posted the Facebook photos so family could see what had happened.
Singer Phil Collins brings charity to Florida
MIAMI BEACH (AP) - Singer Phil Collins is expanding his philanthropic prowess to South Florida through his Little Dreams Foundation.
The British musician announced Wednesday in Miami Beach that his nonprofit will help South Florida children with artistic and athletic dreams to fulfill their potential.
Collins created the organization in 2000. Children are selected based on talent, motivation and enthusiasm. Once accepted, they get to work with mentors, who have included Tina Turner, Natalie Cole and others.
Past Little Dreams children include figure skater Timonthee Manard and Joe Frank, who currently performs with Earth, Wind and Fire.
Collins got his start as the drummer for "Genesis" in the 1970s before becoming a solo star in the 1980s with hits such as "In the Air Tonight."
Sheriff: Fla. man kills wife, son with crossbow
WESTON, Fla. (AP) - Authorities say a South Florida man killed his wife and son with a crossbow and was later found dead in a hotel room hundreds of miles away.
The Broward Sheriff's Office says that 53-year-old Pedro Jose Maldonado Sr. called a friend to say he had killed his wife and teenage son inside their Weston townhouse on Monday.
Investigators say Maldonado then drove to Tallahassee and attempted to use the crossbow to kill another son who is a student at Florida State University, but that son escaped.
After authorities found the wife and son's bodies, they learned that Maldonado was at a motel near Lake City. There they found him in a bathroom, dead from apparently slitting his own throat.
USS New York leaves Norfolk for new Fla. homeport
NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - The USS New York is on its way to a new homeport in Florida.
The amphibious transport dock ship left Norfolk Naval Station on Wednesday. It's scheduled to arrive at Mayport Naval Station in Jacksonville, Fla., on Friday.
The New York's commanding officer, Capt. Jon Kreitz, told The Virginian-Pilot that the move is bittersweet for many crew members.
Kreitz says many have spent large parts of their careers in Hampton Roads. But they're also excited to go to Mayport.
The New York's cargo includes more than 201 crewmembers' personal vehicles.
The ship is the first of three Hampton Roads-based ships that the Navy is moving to Mayport. The amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima and the dock landing ship USS Fort McHenry will move to Mayport in 2014.
NAVY YARD SHOOTING-LAWSUIT
Family of Navy Yard shooting victim files lawsuit
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - The family of a woman slain during the mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard is filing a lawsuit against the Navy, the Department of Veterans Affairs and two defense contractors in federal court in Florida.
The lawsuit on behalf of the family of Mary DeLorenzo Knight was filed Tuesday morning.
A lawyer for the family said during a news conference that the Navy and the contractors that employed Aaron Alexis ignored red flags about his deteriorating mental health.
Knight was one of 12 people gunned down by Alexis on Sept. 16 before he was killed in a shootout with police.
The lawyer also said that if the Navy had a metal detector in place, Alexis would have never been able to bring a gun onto the property.
ART BASEL-GUN ART
Boy's 'gun art' on display at art fair in Miami
MIAMI (AP) - An 11-year-old artist from California expresses his fear of gun violence with his work, which will be on display this week in Miami as part of one of the world's most prestigious contemporary art fairs.
Charles Gitnick places toy guns on a canvas, purposely camouflaging them with an abstract design. Sometimes he applies acrylic paint with a spring-loaded toy air rifle.
Gitnick will be exhibiting his "3D Gun Art" at the Red Dot Art Fair. The show coincides with Art Basel Miami Beach, which runs through Sunday. The event is the U.S. extension of the contemporary art fair held each June in Basel, Switzerland.
Pilot whales stranded in Everglades National Park
EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK, Fla. (AP) - Federal officials say six pilot whales have died after stranding in shallow water in a remote area of Everglades National Park.
Blair Mase of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says 46 whales are swimming in about 3 feet of water. Volunteers were keeping an eye on the whales Wednesday.
Mase says the whales are short fin pilot whales that are known to inhabit deep water, "so they are very out of their home range."
On Tuesday, officials found the whales beached or stranded in a remote area of the park near Highland Beach in northern Monroe County.
Mase says pilot whales usually swim in large groups and are one of the most common mass strandings "because they are a cohesive species."
BLACK BEAR KILLED
Vehicle strikes, kills black bear in Panhandle
MIRAMAR BEACH, Fla. (AP) - A 200-pound black bear is dead after being hit by a vehicle in the Florida Panhandle.
Florida wildlife officials say a passing motorist saw the bear and notified them on Tuesday.
Fish and wildlife agency's spokesman Stan Kirkland says they don't know when the bear was hit.
The agency will dispose of the bear's remains in an area closed to public access.
Kirkland told the Northwest Florida Daily News there have been recent reports of a black bear in the area. But there's no way to know if this was the same bear.
The dead bear is male and did not have an ID tag.
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