FLORIDA TEACHER UP FOR NATIONAL AWARD
An Orlando educator is a finalist for the national Teacher of the Year award. State education officials said Wednesday that Dorina Sackman is one of four finalists. Other contenders come from Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia. The winner will be announced in April.
FLORIDA INSURANCE COMMISSIONER SAYS RATES ARE FALLING
Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty says homeowner rates in the state are coming down. McCarty on Wednesday gave a report to Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater that looked at annual rate filings made by 30 of the state's insurance companies. The report found several companies that represent 20 percent of the market have either decreased rates or asked regulators to allow them to be lowered.
MEDICAL MARIJUANA SUPPORTERS CLAIM VICTORY
Medical marijuana supporters say they have collected enough signatures to make the 2014 ballot. The group pushing the constitutional amendment announced Wednesday it has collected more than 1.1 million signatures. It takes nearly 700,000 signatures from registered voters in order to qualify for the ballot. So far election supervisors have certified nearly 458,000 signatures.
DISPUTED JOBLESS CLAIMS HAS RISEN WITH NEW SYSTEM
The number of Floridians whose unemployment claims are getting held up has dramatically increased since the state installed a new system. Department of Economic Opportunity executive director Jesse Panuccio told state legislators Wednesday that there has been a 25 percent jump in disputed claims.
POTENTIALLY DEADLY DOG VIRUS CLOSES SHELTER
An outbreak of parvovirus has closed one of Manatee County's animal shelters. Manatee County Commissioner Carol Whitmore said Wednesday that the shelter's closure is an infection control measure. Canine parvovirus is a highly contagious viral disease that can produce a life-threatening illness in dogs.
WOMAN FOUND BURNING IN FLORIDA HOME DIES
Investigators want to know how a woman caught on fire in her Clearwater home. Officials say 44-year-old Rhonda Wolfe died late Wednesday, hours after she was found engulfed in flames inside her Clearwater home's garage. Her husband called 911 and she was flown to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg in critical condition.