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Sat-Mar-2019 Florida Highway trooper shoots a GPS tracker onto a fleeing car during chase

A Florida Highway Patrol trooper darted a small, soda can-sized tracking device on the back of a fleeing minivan during a chase late Wednesday night, and the cruiser's dashcam footage makes the slick deployment look like something out of a Batman film.

Kip Thomas, the minivan's 26-year-old driver and recipient of the sticky probe, allegedly initiated a high-speed chase with New Port Richie police officers in Pasco County, just north of Tampa.…

Fri-Mar-2019 Florida is currently clogged with these giant poisonous toads

Cane toads, a poisonous invasive species that was once the scourge of Australia, are now the scourge of Florida.

Sightings of the toads are statewide and have occurred in Tampa, Orlando and even as far as the Panhandle, but right now South Florida is straight-up plagued.…

Fri-Mar-2019 Legendary Orlando breaks DJ D-Xtreme has passed away

Sadly, the RIPs in music keep coming. And goddamn, this time it's a local legend: DJ D-Xtreme (a.k.a Derek Steplight).…

Fri-Mar-2019 Who says it doesn't snow in Florida?

The U.S. Coast Guard offloaded more than 27,000 pounds of cocaine worth about $360 million in Florida on Friday.

The drugs were delivered to the Miami Beach base by the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Tampa, based in Portsmouth, Virginia.…

Fri-Mar-2019 Lakeland's Confederate statue is finally coming down

It only took a years-long debate and a federal lawsuit, but the 108-year-old Confederate monument in Lakeland's downtown Munn Park is finally coming down.

The process of moving the Central Florida statue about a mile down the road to Veterans Memorial Park began Friday, with a handful of crews arriving early this morning to start what will be a two-day disassembling process, as the pieces are wrapped in blankets and mounted into angle iron frames, says Kevin Cook, a spokesperson for the City of Lakeland.…

Fri-Mar-2019 Orlando watering hole Whiskey Lou's will celebrate 50th birthday in April

Stalwart Milk District bar Whiskey Lou's Lounge is set to celebrate a half-century of "serving them strong" next month and, to mark their budding second life as a raucous live-music spot, will fittingly be hosting a bunch of local music.

The event will be hosted by Sabrina from Real Radio's The News Junkie and includes a packed lineup of musicians including the Tremolords, Giddy Up Go, Muddy Fire, Levon White and the Ukelaliens.

Whiskey Lou's 50th Birthday Bash is set for Sunday, April 14, kicking off at noon.…

Fri-Mar-2019 CFE Arena is getting a name change to Addition Financial Arena

The CFE Arena on the University of Central Florida campus is getting a name change on May 1 to Addition Financial Arena.

This renaming was decided by the CFE Federal Credit Union as a general name change to the whole company.…

Fri-Mar-2019 Pitbull will hold a free concert benefiting wounded Orlando Police Officer Kevin Valencia

Miami rapper Pitbull will be holding a free concert in June to benefit the severely injured Orlando Police Officer Kevin Valencia and his family, FOP Lodge 93 announced.

The concert will be held on Saturday, June 1 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Central Florida Fairgrounds, and is produced by Dan Newlin Injury Attorneys.

Valencia was shot in the head during a standoff while responding to a domestic dispute that resulted in the death of four children and the shooter, and has been in a coma since June 2018.

The GoFundMe page for Valencia has raised about $190,000 of its $200,000 goal.

Stay on top of Orlando news and views.…

Fri-Mar-2019 Orange County Sheriff Department K9 named 'Trump' is officially a mediocre meme

From Billy Corgi-an to Celine Pee-on, Digmund Freud to Fleas Witherspoon, dogs named after famous people are a thing because it's always been a thing.

But the Orange County Sheriff's Office naming one of their newest K9s "Trump" has since turned into a full-fledged Facebook meme and prompted a potential policy change in terms of who law enforcement officials can name their dogs after.

One of the memes shows an OSCO deputy's patrol car, with a decal of the pup and his name, with the words, "Atta boy, Trump!"…

Fri-Mar-2019 Bill preventing Florida cities from banning front-yard vegetable gardens gets green light

In an issue stemming from a legal dispute in South Florida, the Senate on Thursday overwhelmingly approved a bill that would prevent local governments from regulating homeowners’ vegetable gardens.

Senators voted 35-5 to support the measure (SB 82), sponsored by Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island.…

Fri-Mar-2019 Lawmakers don't want Visit Florida to promote cities that banned sunscreens harmful to coral

Florida Senate leaders are putting up money to keep the state’s tourism arm alive, despite an effort by the state House to scrap the agency.

But the Senate's $50 million for Visit Florida comes with a hitch: The agency would be barred from promoting communities that have banned certain sunscreens.

“I don’t want that brand to be changed from the Sunshine State to the melanoma capital of the world,” Senate Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Travis Hutson, R-St. Augustine, said after his panel signed off on the spending plan Wednesday.

The subcommittee’s fiscal proposal includes $50 million for Visit Florida —- less than the $76 million Gov. Ron DeSantis is asking for the agency —- and $18 million for Enterprise Florida, the state’s business-recruitment agency that the House no longer wants to underwrite.

Neither chamber's proposal includes funding for the Job Growth Grant Fund, which was a compromise created for former Gov. Rick Scott in 2017 as the House sought to shut down Enterprise Florida and other state-backed economic incentive programs.

DeSantis has requested maintaining the $85 million annual spending on the fund, which is located within the Department of Economic Opportunity and is directed at regional infrastructure and workforce-training programs. Scott, now a U.S. senator, distributed the current year’s funding shortly before DeSantis took office in January.

The full House and Senate in the coming weeks will approve overall budgets and then enter negotiations on a final spending plan for the 2019-2020 fiscal year, which starts July 1, with the goal of closing out on a deal before the legislative session ends May 3.

The state’s on-going response to Hurricane Michael’s devastation in the Panhandle has had a far-reaching effect on the Senate budget proposal, Hutson said Wednesday.

“Member projects, if you look at them line by line, are significantly lower than they’ve been,” he told reporters.…

Fri-Mar-2019 Thad Seymour will continue as UCF interim president until 2020

With the University of Central Florida planning to name a new president in 2020, trustees voted Thursday to keep Thad Seymour Jr. in the role of interim president.

Seymour, who most recently served as the university’s vice president for partnerships and chief innovation officer, was tapped last month to serve as a short-term interim president.…

Fri-Mar-2019 Pitbull performs for free at Universal's Mardi Gras this weekend

There was a time when a rapper named Pitbull seemed kinda scary, but then we all discovered that the much-maligned pit bull dog breed is actually loving, affectionate and cuddly.…

Fri-Mar-2019 South Florida punks Nunhex close out the weekend at Will's Pub

Miami filth-punk masterminds Nunhex have carved a musical and literal (Uncle Lou’s roof never stood a chance) path of destruction through the City Beautiful on their increasingly rare forays northward.…

Fri-Mar-2019 Smiths and Morrissey get the cover treatment from Ordinary Boys at Independent Bar this weekend

Live shows at Independent Bar are rare enough that any one is noteworthy, but this week’s booking of South Florida’s premier Smiths and Morrissey tribute act, Ordinary Boys, is worth a special mention. With Morrissey himself seemingly hell-bent on undoing all the goodwill he’s earned over the years with a sorrowfully predictable descent into right-wing xenophobia and racism in recent years, seeing a cover band – especially one as tightly honed as this one – might be the best option for fans of his music who are disgusted with his politics.…

Fri-Mar-2019 Torque brings cutting edge dance music across the pond for the World of Drum & Bass

Nomadic drum & bass night Torque finds yet another new home, Room 22, this one rising from the ashes of Orange Avenue’s Vintage Lounge. For this edition, they’ve brought in some luminaries of the English drum & bass scene, including Bristol’s TC, Derby’s Drumsound & Bassline Smith, Leicester’s DJ SS and London’s Mampi Swift.…

Fri-Mar-2019 Colorful Hindu festival Holi takes over Bill Frederick Park this weekend

The Hindu festival of colors, also known as Holi, is celebrated every spring in honor of the triumph of good over evil, which might feel a little counterintuitive right now because the evil of pollen is flourishing.…

Thu-Mar-2019 Florida man who mailed pipe bombs to Trump critics pleads guilty

The Florida man who mailed pipe bombs to prominent Democrats critical of President Donald Trump pleaded guilty Thursday in a New York federal court.

NBC News reports Cesar Sayoc, 57, admitted to 65 felony counts, including charges of using weapons of mass destruction.…

Thu-Mar-2019 Florida lawmaker demands answers on sexual abuse claims at Homestead child migrant camp

A Miami lawmaker on Thursday sent a letter to the head of the state’s child-welfare agency demanding to know the steps it is taking to ensure migrant children in a federal shelter in Homestead are housed “safe and free from sexual abuse.”

Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez delivered a letter to the Florida Department of Children and Families a day after The News Service of Florida reported the agency has investigated six cases of alleged child sexual abuse at the facility since June, including two cases that involved caregivers.

“It is troubling that these initial six cases were not disclosed earlier,” Rodriguez, a Democrat, said in the letter. “As elected officials, we should not have to rely upon the media to inform us of issues that leave our most vulnerable citizens at risk.”

The state agency closed two investigations involving caregivers after finding “no indicators” of sexual abuse, according to state records obtained by the News Service through a public records request.

Four of the cases, focusing on allegations of "child-on-child sexual abuse," were investigated by the state as late as January at the discretion of the federal government.…

Thu-Mar-2019 Failure and Swervedriver show that they're no mere nostalgia acts at the Plaza Live

THIS LITTLE UNDERGROUND
Failure and Swervedriver, Plaza Live, March 19

This one might as well have been called the Due Respect Tour since it's the convergence of a couple somewhat overlooked 1990s sonic titans from both sides of the pond for a big co-headlining North American run.

Los Angeles' Failure really impressed here on their notable official comeback tour in 2015 on a similarly angled bill alongside fellow 1990s rockers Hum. They were out to prove themselves anew, reloaded with their first album in almost two decades and a refreshed live show.

Now Failure return again with yet another new full-length (2018's In the Future Your Body Will Be the Furthest Thing From Your Mind).…

Thu-Mar-2019 Lake Nona's giant inflatable water obstacle course and adventure park opens this Saturday

Beat the heat at the new inflatable water obstacle course and wakeboarding area opening at Nona Adventure Park this Saturday.

To celebrate its opening day on March 23, the Lake Nona park will be offering free admission, giveaways and face painting from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.…

Thu-Mar-2019 Orlando will launch a new rideshare hub program in downtown this spring

With constant construction and road closures, everyone knows how much of a nightmare driving through downtown Orlando can be, especially after the clubs close. To combat the traffic and congestion, the city is launching a rideshare hub pilot program this spring.

The two rideshare hubs will be located at Magnolia Avenue near Heritage Square and Gertrude's Avenue near Jefferson and Washington Streets.…

Thu-Mar-2019 Local promoters BassNight celebrate their second birthday this Friday at the Henao Center

When BassNight CEO Loren Hardy first started throwing his BassNight events at a little burger joint in Longwood, he had one goal: to bring electrifying bass and "festival vibes" to Orlando nightlife on a weekly basis.

But that was two years ago, and BassNight has gotten a few facelifts since.…

Thu-Mar-2019 Will's Pub has a new look

The Will's Pub entertainment calendar has been blocked off for the past three days for a secret "sprucing up" project, so we swung by today to take a look at what Will Walker and crew have been up to and got hit in the face with a whole new bar.

The old bar in the back room has been resized down to an outpost, and the front "game room" has been repurposed as a new bar room.

Walker himself is pretty excited about these developments, pointing out that those there to hang out and socialize and those there to see live music will both be better serviced by the new layout.…

Thu-Mar-2019 Florida Rep. Francis Rooney files bill to end 'free speech zones' on university campuses

U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney wants to put an end to "free speech zones" on university campuses across the country, according to a piece of legislation the Naples Republican filed in the U.S. House Thursday.

HR 1672 would amend the Higher Education Act of 1965, which allows political expression in outdoor areas on high education campuses.…

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