Florida News Roundup May 20

By: AP
By: AP

HUDSON BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- The search continues for two adults and three children last heard making a distress call as their boat took on water in the Gulf of Mexico north of Tampa Bay.
The Coast Guard and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission rescue teams began searching for the group after receiving a distress call early Saturday morning from a commercial shrimp facility. The facility had received several calls for help from a vessel in the Gulf of Mexico, two miles north and five miles west of Hudson Beach in Pasco County. The group claimed to be taking on water after striking a rock. They were believed to be wearing life jackets.
Coast Guard Petty Officer Michael De Nyse said Saturday evening that search crews had wrapped up for the night and would resume their search at daybreak Sunday.

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Critics of mandatory-minimum sentencing laws are upset over a 20-year prison term imposed on a Florida woman for firing a warning shot to try to scare off her threatening husband.
Civil rights groups and other advocates say the sentencing of 31-year-old Marissa Alexander last week shows how stripping judges of discretion can result in unfair sentences. About two-thirds of the states have mandatory-minimum sentencing laws, usually for drug crimes.
Alexander tried unsuccessfully to invoke Florida's "stand your ground" law and rejected a plea deal for a lesser sentence after she was charged in a dispute with her husband. No one was hurt. A jury convicted her of aggravated battery with a firearm.
Florida's "10-20-life" law that targets gun crimes required the judge sentence her to 20 years.

CLEWISTON, Fla. (AP) -- The Florida Highway Patrol is asking the public for information regarding a crash that killed a 2-year-old boy in Clewiston.
An FHP report says alcohol played a role in the early Saturday morning crash. Authorities say 22-year-old Hermelinda Ramirez drove onto the shoulder of the street, forcing the car to overturn into a canal. She and her passenger, 2-year-old Alex Perez-Ramirez, were submerged under water. The boy had been restrained inside the car and was pronounced dead at the hospital.
The driver was taken to the hospital with serious injuries. An update on her condition was not immediately released.
FHP says alcohol may have been a factor in the crash. The agency is asking anyone with information regarding the crash to contact them or crime stoppers.

SANFORD, Fla. (AP) -- A plane that made an emergency landing in Iceland after a wheel fell off during takeoff has arrived safely in central Florida.
WFTV TV is reporting the Icelandair flight arrived at Orlando-Sanford International Airport early Saturday morning.
The flight had to turn around and made an emergency landing late Friday after a wheel fell off during takeoff. The plane and its 200 passengers had to fly around for hours to burn off fuel before landing at the international airport in Reykjavik. The wheel that fell off was found on the runway.
One passenger told WFTV they were told there wasn't "a lot to be worried about" since the wheel was one of eight on the plane.
Passengers were placed on another flight to Sanford.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) -- Broward County authorities continue to investigate the unknown chemical that closed a terminal at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
Sheriff's Fire Rescue spokesman Mike Jachles told The Associated Press Saturday that the source has not yet been confirmed, calling it an ongoing investigation. Airport spokesman Greg Meyer said earlier that it appeared to have been an aerosol can that exploded in someone's luggage.
Terminal two, which includes the Delta Air Lines concourse, was evacuated for about two hours Friday as hazardous materials technicians investigated. Five people were sent to the hospital with respiratory complaints, including three Transportation Security Administration agents and two passengers.
Airport officials say more than 1,000 passengers and 14 departing flights were delayed.

KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) -- Former Florida Gov. and U.S. Sen. Bob Graham has opened a weekend Truman Legacy Symposium, praising the late President Harry Truman for supporting foreign aid and opposing American isolationism.
The conference has attracted political figures and scholars to discuss aspects of Truman's 1945-1953 presidency, focusing on his foreign aid legacy. Events are centered at the Harry S. Truman Little White House, where Truman spent 11 working vacations. Events end Saturday.
Panelists include U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan of Missouri; Martin Palous, former Czech Republic ambassador to the U.S. and United Nations, and Truman grandson Clifton Truman Daniel.
The house also has hosted former presidents Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton and current U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

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