Iguanas caused “a large-scale outage” in Lake Worth Beach, Florida earlier this month, according to city officials. It was Florida’s third iguana-caused outage this year. It is clear the iguanas will do what they want with Florida’s power grid, and unfortunately for Floridians, what is also clear is that they have an insatiable appetite for power loss.
MIAMI — Federal authorities in Florida have charged 25 people with participating in a wire fraud scheme that created an illegal shortcut for aspiring nurses to get licensed and find employment.
Recently unsealed federal grand jury indictments allege the defendants took part in a scam that sold more than 7,600 fraudulent nursing degree diplomas from three Florida-based nursing schools, federal officials said during a news conference in Miami on Wednesday afternoon. Prosecutors said the scheme also involved transcripts from the nursing schools for people seeking licenses and jobs as registered nurses and licensed practical/vocational nurses. The defendants each face up to 20 years in prison.
WEST PALM BEACH | Alligators have been used as shoes, briefcases, university mascots, lunch and now, authorities say, a deadly weapon.
Joshua James, 24, was arrested Monday and charged with assault with a deadly weapon without intent to kill after Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation officials say he threw a 3.5-foot alligator through a Palm Beach County Wendy's drive-thru window in October. He's also charged with illegally possessing an alligator and petty theft. Jail records show he was released on $6,000 bail Tuesday. He was ordered to have no contact with animals.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — It's an unseasonably cool January evening. Helicopters buzz overhead as a NFL playoff game gets underway. In a downtown alley not far from the stadium, masked men have their sights on the 37-story Wells Fargo Center.
Two of the men wear white gaiters with the acronym of their white nationalist group, National Socialist Florida, written in the typeface of German WW II propaganda posters. One of the men kneels down in the alley and takes off his backpack. He removes a commercial grade laser projector that retails for about $3,000. Smaller than a loaf of bread, compact, powerful and mobile.
Josh Nunes, the leader of the small band of white nationalist extremists, keeps a lookout for police while the other man aims the laser onto the skyscraper, careful to avoid helicopters flying overhead and possible detection. He projects a rolling ticker tape onto the building that reads, "Why are child friendly drag shows legal? @ Ron DeSantis." Nunes cranes his neck to see how it looks.
Damn. I don't care if the alligator is 2 feet. I would rather not experiment!
A former Florida lawmaker who sponsored a bill dubbed the "Don't Say Gay" law by critics has pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining COVID-19 relief funds.
Joseph Harding entered a guilty plea on Tuesday in federal court in the Northern District of Florida to one count of wire fraud, one count of money laundering and one count of making false statements, according to court records.
Harding faces up to 35 years in prison, including a maximum of 20 years on the wire fraud charge. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for July 25 at the federal courthouse in Gainesville.
Dr. Sara McLin thought she made the right choice by going to an in-network emergency room near her Florida home after her 4-year-old burned his hand on a stove last Memorial Day weekend.
Her family is insured through her husband's employer, HCA Healthcare, a Nashville-based health system that operates more hospitals than any other system in the nation. So McLin knew that a nearby stand-alone emergency room, HCA Florida Lutz Emergency, would be in their plan's provider network.
But McLin said a doctor there told her she couldn't treat her son, Keeling, because he had second- and third-degree burns that needed a higher level of care. The doctor referred them to the burn center at HCA Florida Blake Hospital, about a 90-minute drive away.
McLin, who is a dentist, said the doctor told her the stand-alone ER would not charge for the visit because they did not provide treatment.
"I don't remember exactly how she phrased it, but something along the lines of, 'well, we won't even call this a visit, because we can't do anything,'" McLin said.
At Blake Hospital, she said, a doctor diagnosed Keeling with a second-degree burn, drained the blisters, bandaged his hand, and sent them home with instructions on how to care for the wound.
"I didn't think anything more of it," McLin said.
Then the bills came.
A Florida man, who is an ultra-marathon runner, was arrested while allegedly attempting to run across the Atlantic Ocean to London in a makeshift human-sized hamster wheel.
The U.S. Coast Guard first spotted Reza Ray Baluchi's homemade "Hydro Pod vessel" 70 miles off the coast of Tybee Island, Georgia, on Aug. 26 in the midst of preparations for Hurricane Franklin, according to a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court of Southern Florida. The vessel was afloat by wiring and buoys and can best be described as a hamster wheel. He made a similar attempt in 2021, according to USA TODAY Network partner Daytona News-Journal.
This is not Baluchi's first attempting at crossing the Atlantic. He was rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard in a floating "hydro pod" bubble in 2014.
All told, it took the U.S. Coast Guard about five days to bring Baluchi ashore during his latest attempt, according to the complaint. He was apprehended approximately 70 nautical miles east of Tybee Island.
Baluchi initially said his vessel was registered, but later said he couldn't find his documentation. When officers approached the vessel to end a "manifestly unsafe" voyage, Baluchi said he was armed with a 12-inch knife and threatened to die by suicide, according to the criminal complaint.
Another attempt the next day by officers to force Baluchi to disembark also failed after he allegedly threatened to blow himself up. Officers observed him holding wires, prompting them to contact the U.S. Navy Explosive Ordinance Disposal Unit to help determine the blast radius of Baluchi's alleged bomb, according to the complaint. The complaint states that Baluchi admitted the next day that the bomb threat was not real.
Baluchi and his attorney Micki Bloom, an assistant federal public defender, did not respond to USA TODAY's request for comment on Wednesday.
It took the U.S. Coast Guard about five days to bring Baluchi ashore during his latest attempt, according to the federal complaint. (File photo.)
Baluchi was finally brought ashore on Sept. 1. He now faces federal charges of obstruction of a boarding and violation of a Captain of the Port Order.
Baluchi told FOX 35 that the voyage was intended to raise money for charitable causes that include helping the homeless, the Coast Guard and the fire department.
"I’ll never give up my dream. They stop me four or five times, but I never give up," he told the outlet. According to the criminal complaint, Baluchi also attempted the same voyage in 2014, 2016, and 2021.