FOSTER KIDS ADOPTED
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- More than 3,000 children were adopted from Florida foster care last year. That's an eight percent increase from the previous year.
The Department of Children and Families announced Friday that there are currently about 750 foster kids available for adoption. That number is down from 850 about 18 months ago.
The state has significantly increased the number of children adopted from foster care in recent years by focusing on hard to place kids. Those groups include teens, sibling groups and children with special needs.
More than 17,000 kids have been adopted from Florida foster care in the past five years.
THE VILLAGES, Fla. (AP) -- Vice presidential hopeful Paul Ryan says his family relied on Medicare to take care of his grandmother, and his mother now counts on the program in retirement.
Ryan on Saturday told a mostly older audience in a large Florida retirement community that Republicans will protect those in or near retirement from Medicare cuts if Mitt Romney wins the White House.
Ryan pointed to his 78-year-old mother who joined him. He says he isn't going to hurt his mother's financial security and wouldn't hurt others, either. He says he saw first-hand Medicare's benefits as a child when his grandmother, with Alzheimer's, moved in with his family.
However, the 42-year-old congressman says the program needs to be overhauled during his generation so his children will be able to count on it, too.
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- A fast food craving may have been the undoing of an alleged southwest Florida bank robber.
Tampa Police said Donald Bryant robbed a bank Friday, passing a teller a note demanding money and implying that he had a handgun.
The Tampa Bay Times reports he ran out with the cash and authorities quickly searched the area.
Police found the suspect at a McDonald's less than a quarter mile away from the bank.
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- The woman who is suing Casey Anthony for defamation has been charged with giving liquor to a minor.
Zenaida Gonzalez was arrested in central Florida on Friday by the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco.
The Orlando Sentinel reports the 41-year-old was being held at the Orange County Jail. An email to her attorney was not immediately returned Saturday.
Anthony was acquitted last year of murdering her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee. After Caylee disappeared in the summer of 2008, Anthony told investigators that a babysitter named Zenaida Gonzalez had kidnapped the toddler. Gonzalez later sued Anthony, claiming her reputation had been ruined.
During her murder trial, Anthony's attorney told jurors that the babysitter story was fabricated.
BRANDON, Fla. (AP) -- A Michigan man has been arrested after authorities say he took pictures of a 12-year-old boy while he was using the bathroom at the mall.
Victor Lemm was charged with voyeurism Friday night after Hillsborough County Sheriff's deputies arrested him at his motel in southwest Florida.
Authorities said the boy was using the restroom at a department store in Brandon on Thursday when 57-year-old Lemm reached under the stall with his cell phone and aimed his phone at the victim three times.
The victim fled the restroom and told his aunt and uncle. Store employees followed Lemm as he left the store and were able to get his vehicle tag number.
Authorities tracked the vehicle to Lemm's motel.
Lemm later admitted to the crime.
HAVANA (AP) -- Third time's a charm?
Endurance athlete Diana Nyad has launched another bid to set an open-water record by swimming 103 miles (166 kilometers) between Havana and the Florida Keys without a protective shark cage.
The American is attempting a feat that would daunt even the fittest of human beings less than a week before she turns 63 years old.
It's also a feat that she failed to accomplish twice last summer, due to an asthma attack and dangerous jellyfish stings.
Nyad set out from the Hemingway Marina in the Cuban capital Saturday afternoon.
She pointed to the open water, blew a bugle and cried "Courage!" before leaping in feet-first and stroking out toward her support boat.
She expects to take at least 60 hours to complete the swim.
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