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Miami quietly helping athletes who leave early

University of Miami President Donna Shalala would prefer Hurricane athletes get their degrees before leaving school, taking advantage of the scholarships they've been afforded. And she knows that won't always be the case, of course. So very quietly, and for several years now, Miami has offered the next best thing. ...

Comedian Joan Rivers hospitalized in New York City

Joan Rivers remained in a New York City hospital Friday, one day after going into cardiac arrest at a doctor's office. Melissa Rivers said in a statement Thursday that her mother was resting comfortably. She did not elaborate on the 81-year-old comedian's condition. She offered thanks for an outpouring of ...

SunRail service resumes after body found on tracks

SunRail service has resumed in central Florida following a brief suspension after a body was found on the tracks in Sanford. SunRail made the announcement on its official Twitter account Friday morning. Few details were immediately available. The commuter train service began earlier this year and service was affected in ...

FILE -In this July 3, 1968 file photo, Marines of the first battalion, ninth marines ride on a lightweight tank-like vehicle carrying four 106mm recoilless rifles near Khe Sanh in Vietnam. The Marine Corps is holding a deactivation ceremony on Friday, Aug. 29, 2014, for the 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, a battalion nicknamed the “Walking Dead.” (AP Photo/Stone)

'Walking Dead' Marine battalion to be deactivated

Decades before the television show, a Marine Corps battalion decorated for extensive combat in World War II and Vietnam earned the nickname the "Walking Dead." Now the 1st Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment, which also saw action in Iraq and Afghanistan, is being deactivated during a ceremony Friday at Marine Corps ...

U.S. Army Sgt. David Adams, left, and a group of firefighters raise a long-range antenna outside the Deerfield Valley Volunteer Fire Department to help communicate with aircraft in the area on Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014 in Deerfield, Va. The pilot of an F-15 jet that crashed this week in remote Virginia mountains was killed, military officials said Thursday, bringing to a sad end an exhaustive two-day search involving more than 100 local, state and federal officials as well as volunteers.  (AP Photo/The Staunton News Leader, Griffin Moores)

Military: Pilot was killed in Virginia F-15 crash

The pilot of an F-15 jet that crashed earlier this week in remote Virginia mountains was killed, military officials now say, bringing a sad end to an exhaustive two-day search involving more than 100 local, state and federal officials as well as volunteers. Col. James Keefe announced the news Thursday ...

No Fantasy 5 players match all 5 numbers

No "Fantasy 5" game players selected all five winning numbers to win the jackpot. Florida Lottery officials said Friday 367 tickets matched four numbers to win $555. Another 10,765 tickets matched three numbers to win $11 and 96,467 tickets matched two numbers to win a free ticket. The numbers drawn ...

Lakeland hosts debate over medical marijuana

Two of the loudest voices in the campaign over Amendment 2 when head-to-head during a debate in Lakeland on Thursday night. The debate, organized by the Ledger of Lakeland (http://bit.ly/1qaKdML) pitted Orlando attorney John Morgan, who bankrolled the effort to get the measure on the ballot, against Polk County Sheriff ...

5 Things to Know in Florida for Aug. 29

Your daily look at news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today. SENTENCING DAY FOR CHIEF OF $800M INSURANCE FRAUD The mastermind of an $800 million insurance scam that stands as one of the largest fraud schemes in Florida history is being sentenced by a federal ...

Shelly Sterling, wife of former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, pauses for photos after an interview with The Associated Press Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014, in Los Angeles. Shelly Sterling negotiated a landmark deal for $2 billion to sell the Clippers to Steve Ballmer, former CEO of Microsoft. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Shelly Sterling talks about husband, Clippers sale

When Shelly Sterling was approached by former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer about buying the Los Angeles Clippers, the wife of disgraced team owner Donald Sterling did not know who Ballmer was. But in short order she convinced him that the team was worth an unprecedented $2 billion. In an exclusive ...

Florida deputy fatally shoots suspect's dog

A Brevard County Sheriff's deputy fatally shot a dog after it bit his hand during a domestic violence call. Sheriff's spokesman Dave Jacobs told Florida Today (http://on.flatoday.com/1pPolqy ) that deputies responded to a Merritt Island home on Thursday and learned that the victim had been battered by a man and ...

In this photo taken Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014, manatee Phoenix, foreground, who's tail was disfigured and damaged by a boat propeller, swims at the Miami Seaquarium in Key Biscayne, Fla. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is reviewing whether the manatee should be reclassified as a “threatened” species, which would allow some flexibility for federal officials as the species recovers while maintaining most of the protections afforded to animals listed as endangered. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

Manatees may soon lose endangered species status

As they do whenever they visit Florida, Greg Groff and his young daughter stopped by the manatee pool at Miami Seaquarium, where the speed bump-shaped marine mammals placidly swim in circles. They noted the pink scars and disfigured tail on one manatee, damage from a boat propeller that left it ...

Amazon's new regional fulfillment center opens

More than 400 employees have reported to work at Amazon's new regional order fulfillment center in central Florida. The Internet giant's first order shipped from its new Lakeland center on Wednesday. The CreativeWare 2-Tier Buffet Server went to a customer in New York. The 1-million-square-foot warehouse is the company's first ...

Boy, 2, struck and killed by truck near Tampa

Authorities say a 2-year-old boy died after being struck by a Tampa water department truck at an apartment complex. Tampa police spokeswoman Janelle McGregor says Demetric Laynton darted between two vehicles Thursday night and the truck driver wasn't able to stop before hitting him. McGregor says the driver was "visibly ...

In this Aug. 21, 2014 photo Jim Corbin, a plant protection specialist with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, walks through the forest near Bryson City, N.C., looking for wild ginseng plants. The legal ginseng hunting season begins Sept. 16, and Corbin and his colleagues are spreading harmless yellow dye on the plant’s roots to discourage poachers. He says dealers are alerted not to buy plants with the dyed roots. But with wild ginseng root fetching upward of $900 a pound, untold numbers of poachers have taken to local forests. (AP Photo/Mitch Weiss)

Feds jail ginseng poacher as wild plants face risk

Broke and down on his luck, Billy Joe Hurley turned to the only way he knew how to make a living: poaching ginseng. But after his latest in a long string of arrests, federal prosecutors had enough. They told a U.S. magistrate Thursday that poaching by Hurley and others in ...

FILE -This Sept. 30, 2011 file photo shows a collection of giant African land snails in Miami. The Giant African Snail eats buildings, destroys crops and can cause meningitis in humans. But some people still want to collect, and even eat, the slimy invaders. The Department of Agriculture is trying to stop them. Since June, USDA has seized more than 1,200 of the large snails, also known as Giant African Land Snails, all of them traced back to one person in Georgia who was illegally selling them. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter, File)

USDA seizes more than 1,200 illegal giant snails

The giant African snail damages buildings, destroys crops and can cause meningitis in humans. But some people still want to collect, and even eat, the slimy invaders. The Agriculture Department is trying to stop them. Since June, department authorities have seized more than 1,200 live specimens of the large snails, ...

No. 22 Cornhuskers open against Florida Atlantic

Nebraska came out of preseason practice calling its offense the "Red Storm" and confident its defense will be better than the middling unit of a year ago. "Now the test will come," coach Bo Pelini said. "Once we get to the first game, the question will be can we apply ...

Man faces life sentence for fatal robbery

A central Florida man is facing a mandatory life sentence after being convicted in a fatal home invasion. A Polk County jury found 33-year-old Christopher Batchelor guilty Thursday of first-degree murder, armed burglary, attempted armed robbery and conspiracy to commit burglary of a structure. Sentencing was delayed to Friday so ...

2 shocked, 1 fatally, in St. Augustine

Authorities say two men were shocked — one fatally — after one used a chain saw in an attempt to clear fallen tree branches from a power line. The St. Johns County Sheriff's Office reports that someone on Thursday reported a fire after hearing three loud booms behind a house ...

Sentencing day for chief of $800M insurance fraud

The mastermind of an $800 million insurance scam that stands as one of the largest fraud schemes in Florida history is being sentenced by a federal judge. A hearing is set Friday for Joel Steinger, former chief of Fort Lauderdale-based Mutual Benefits Corp. Steinger faces up to 50 years behind ...

A team walks away from the helicopter they arrived in at the mobile command center in Deerfield, Va., on Wednesday, August 27, 2014. The helicopter is one of several being used in a search and rescue mission to locate the missing pilot of an F15c fighter jet which crashed into a mountain near Elliot Knob in Augusta County. (AP photo/The News Leader, Mike Tripp)

Military pilot was killed in Virginia F-15 crash

The pilot of an F-15 jet that crashed this week in remote Virginia mountains was killed, military officials said Thursday, bringing to a sad end an exhaustive two-day search involving more than 100 local, state and federal officials as well as volunteers. Col. James Keefe announced the news at the ...

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