Top aide to Fla. Gov. admits to lying about degree
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - A top aide to Florida Gov. Rick Scott is admitting that he once misled people about having a college degree.
Adam Hollingsworth, Scott's chief of staff, issued a statement to the Miami Herald and Tampa Bay Times where he acknowledged that he did not receive a degree from the University of Alabama until 2009. He acknowledged that for years he had said he was a graduate.
Hollingsworth said he apologized for the "misrepresentation."
Scott in 2011 signed a measure that repealed the law that made it illegal for someone to falsely claim they had a degree. A federal court had previously declared the law unconstitutional.
Scott in a statement said that he had confidence in Hollingsworth as his chief of staff and called him a "man of tremendous integrity."
Cuba temporarily resumes consular services in US
HAVANA (AP) - Cuba says it is resuming consular services at its diplomatic missions in the United States after receiving an extension from a private bank that handles its financial transactions in the country.
A statement from the Cuban Interests Section in Washington says it was notified that M&T Bank will continue to process its banking through March 1, 2014, and accept deposits through Feb. 17.
So the Interests Section and Cuba's Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York will immediately resume services such as visa and passport processing.
It's a temporary stopgap, however. Cuba is only guaranteeing consular services through the Feb. 17 date given by the bank for accepting deposits.
Monday's statement said Cuba is continuing to look for a new bank to handle its accounts.
New Florida Keys hurricane shelter plan expected
MARATHON, Fla. (AP) - South Florida officials are expected to approve a plan for a new mainland hurricane shelter for Florida Keys residents and their pets.
The Miami Herald reports that Monroe County commissions are set to approve Wednesday a pact with Miami-Dade County and the company managing the Miami-Dade County fairgrounds.
The pact would guarantee space in a storm-hardened building at the fairgrounds as a shelter for 350 people and 150 pets evacuating the island chain.
The building's walls are designed to withstand 170-mph winds. The site also can accommodate hundreds of vehicles.
Monroe County has not ordered a mandatory evacuation of residents since 2005. Emergency managers are trying to secure space for up to 3,000 Keys residents if a major storm should threaten the islands.
3 headliners cancel music performances at SeaWorld
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - Three headliners who were planning to perform at a SeaWorld music series have canceled, citing a recent documentary that raises questions about the effects of captivity on whales.
The group Heart is the latest act to cancel an appearance at SeaWorld Orlando's Bands, Brew & Barbecue music series in February.
The series is held over several weekends and features top classic rock and country acts.
Heart joined country singer Willie Nelson and rock group Barenaked Ladies in canceling their performances.
A posting on Heart's official Twitter page over the weekend said the decision was influenced by the recently-released documentary "Blackfish."
The documentary raises questions about the effects of captivity on killer whales at marine parks such as SeaWorld.
A SeaWorld spokesman didn't immediately return phone calls or an email Monday.
NTSB releases preliminary report on Fla. jet crash
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) - Investigators say the bodies of a pilot and a doctor were lost after a Mexico-bound medical flight crashed into the Atlantic off Fort Lauderdale.
The jet was returning Nov. 19 to Mexico after dropping off a patient. In a preliminary report last week, National Transportation Safety Board investigators said there was no evidence of inflight or post-crash fire.
The bodies of the co-pilot and a flight nurse were recovered. Mexican officials identified pilot Jose Hiram Galvan de la O, co-pilot Josue Buendia Moreno, Dr. Fernando Senties Nieto and nurse Mariana Gonzalez Isunza.
According to the report, the pilot reported an engine failure and requested a 180-degree turn back to the airport. However, the plane continued flying parallel to shore. It descended to 100 feet above the ocean before losing contact.
Tampa police investigate cab driver fatal shooting
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Tampa police officers are interviewing witnesses after a cab driver was shot and killed.
A police statement says two suspects had called for a cab Sunday night and while en-route, shot 56-year-old John Dooley. Their final destination is not known.
Officers canvassed the neighborhood on Monday.
Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward of up to $3,000 for anonymous tips from the public that lead to an arrest.
3 people killed in Florida Panhandle boat crash
DESTIN, Fla. (AP) - Three people are dead after a boat crashed into a bridge piling in the Florida Panhandle.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission told the Northwest Florida Daily News that the bodies of 21-year-old Jamila Beltz, 18-year-old Taylor M. Evanoff, and 47-year-old Robert E. Williams have been pulled from the water.
Investigators say it appears that their boat hit a piling under the Mid-Bay Bridge in Destin sometime late Thursday.
Beltz's and Williams' bodies were recovered Saturday, and Evanoff's body was recovered Friday.
Investigators say they are looking at computer data from the boat's motor.
Florida skydiver falls with tangled parachute
LAKE WALES, Fla. (AP) - Authorities say a Florida skydiver suffered broken bones and a head injury after falling 9,000 feet with a tangled parachute.
The Polk County Sheriff's Office says Victor Bryie of Winter Haven and Shaun Phillips of the United Kingdom jumped Sunday near the Lake Wales Municipal Airport.
According to the The Ledger, Phillips told deputies that his ankle got caught in Bryie's parachute lines, and both skydivers' lines started to tangle.
Phillips told investigators that the line around his ankle broke, freeing him to fall with a fully open parachute. Bryie continued falling wrapped in lines and with a partially open parachute.
Bryie was airlifted to a hospital. The sheriff's office said Monday that Bryie remained hospitalized in serious but stable condition.
Phillips was not hospitalized.
Attendance up at 2013 Art Basel in Miami Beach
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Art Basel officials say 75,000 people attended the prestigious contemporary art fair in Miami Beach this year.
Officials say that's a 7 percent increase over last year's attendance at the Miami Beach Convention Center.
That number doesn't include the thousands of art enthusiasts and tourists who descended on South Florida last week for free public art displays, independent art fairs, museum and gallery exhibits and other satellite events.
Art Basel in Miami Beach closed Sunday. The fair at the convention center featured paintings, sculptures, photographs and films from 258 art galleries in 31 countries.
The fair is the U.S. extension of the contemporary art fair held each June in Basel, Switzerland. Art Basel also added a Hong Kong fair earlier this year.
Torre, La Russa, Cox elected to baseball Hall
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) - Retired managers Joe Torre, Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox have been unanimously elected to the baseball Hall of Fame by the expansion era committee.
Each of the inductees won more than 2,000 games in managerial careers that spanned more than four decades. Torre became the fifth manager to win at least four World Series titles. La Russa won championships with Oakland and St. Louis. Cox led Atlanta to one championship and 14 straight division titles.
The announcement was made Monday at the winter meetings. They will be inducted July 27 in Cooperstown, N.Y., along with any players chosen by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, 300-game winners, are among the newcomers to the writers' ballot, with results announced Jan. 8.
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