It’s Monday, November 15th- and NBC 6 has the top stories for the day.
No. 1 - Big name music artists from country music to rock have been hitting the stage with thousands of music lovers pouring onto Las Olas Beach for the Tortuga Music Festival in Fort Lauderdale.
That great atmosphere was mixed with caution as many are on high alert after the tragedy at the Astroworld Festival in Houston. Because of that, extra police officers, security, and medical help have been on hand at the festival in case anything goes wrong. With 30,000 people expected at Tortuga throughout the weekend, safety has been top of mind. Law enforcement officials say surveillance cameras were everywhere keeping an eye on the crowd. Police say they’ve been working on their security plan for months but took note of what went wrong in Houston and ramped things up, saying every inch of the festival has been inspected: every stage, structure, and vendor area.
No. 2 - Drivers in Broward County are not too happy with the changes happening in the express lanes on Interstate 95.
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Beginning on Saturday, drivers in the express lanes along the stretch of I-95 between Cypress Creek Road in Fort Lauderdale and Glades Road in Boca Raton began paying a minimum of 50 cents in that stretch, with prices fluctuating based on the numbers of cars, according to the Florida Department of Transportation. Although there will be no cash or billing by plate number options, tolls will be collected through SunPass or other Florida-accepted transponders attached to vehicles’ windshields. If drivers enter the express lanes without a SunPass, they will receive a charge for the amount of the toll plus an additional $25 fine per 24-hour period in which the driver violated, according to the transportation department.
No. 3 - State lawmakers will start debating Monday how to deal with COVID moving forward in a special legislative session called by Governor Ron DeSantis.
DeSantis plans to deal with what he calls overreach by the federal government and private businesses. The president of the Republican-led State Senate, Wilton Simpson, told us he’s vaccinated by his own choice. The governor's proposal would set guidelines for private employers which have vaccine mandates in place. For instance, exemptions for religious or health reasons would be permitted. Exemptions for pregnant women or women anticipating pregnancy could be permitted as well. There would be an exemption for employees who have recovered from COVID. Periodic testing or personal protective equipment must be offered to employees as an alternative to getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Employers who violate the guidelines would face hefty fines.
No. 4 - Health care company CEO Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick is the apparent winner of the Democratic primary for Florida's District 20.
Cherfilus-McCormick led former Broward County Commissioner Dale Holness by five votes, according to Broward Elections Supervisor Joe Scott. The Democratic primary earlier this month was a special election for the seat long held by the late U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, who died in April. On Friday, Broward and Palm Beach county elections officials announced the final, unchanged vote for the top two finishers after a machine and hand recount, including overseas ballots. Cherfilus-McCormick issued a statement on Twitter claiming victory after the recount. Cherfilus-McCormick loaned her campaign more than $3.7 million and far outspent the other Democrats in the race. She wound up with 11,662 votes to 11,657 for Holness.
No. 5 - More than a thousand demonstrators rallied in Miami Sunday to show support for activists in Cuba who are planning nationwide protests Monday in defiance of the Cuban government.
The protest follows protests in July where thousands of Cubans took to the streets calling for change and demanding an end to food and medicine shortages. On Sunday, the Assembly of Cuban Resistance, which brings together more than 35 associations that fight for democracy on the island, encouraged exiles in Miami, especially Nicaraguans and Venezuelans to join the protests. The Cuban government said it would not allow the Monday protests to take place. Paya also that members of a delegation of the European Parliament and exile Cubans asked for permission to fly to Havana on Monday, but that the Cuban government has not granted permission.
No. 6 - The Miramar City Commission resumed in person meetings last year. Now, one commissioner who’s been attending virtually due to COVID may be ousted by his fellow commissioners who say he must show up in person.
73-year-old Winston Barnes could lose his seat on Monday if his pers pass a resolution on the city agenda that says he broke the rules by not attending commission meetings in person. Mr. Barnes has been attending remotely since last year due to COVID concerns. He pointed out some colleagues have been exposed to the virus. But an attorney for the city told the Sun-Sentinel it would be ‘illogical’ to think someone could attend remotely indefinitely. Mr. Barnes says it’s all political because he didn't back a certain candidate in the hotly contested race for the 20th congressional district. NBC 6 has reached out to other officials with the city including the attorney and have not heard back.