Thursday, December 14, 2017

Astronauts help corals grow on the ocean floor off Florida

ORLANDO

Metal scrap falls on van; driver lives

An Orlando man survived a harrowing drive Saturday after a large piece of scrap metal fell from a semitrailer and crushed his van.

The Florida Highway Patrol says Jesus Armando Escobar, 36, suffered only minor injuries when the metal fell from an interstate overpass and landed on top of his Pontiac van, smashing the roof.

The metal became loose when a truck lost control and struck a guardrail. The truck flipped over and caused the metal object to fly off the overpass.

The truck was driven by 33-year-old Antonio Santiago Wharton of Kissimmee. He also had minor injuries and was ticketed for careless driving.

The exit ramp where the crash occurred was closed for several hours while debris was cleared.

KEY LARGO

Astronauts help coral grow on ocean floor

Astronauts are helping coral grow on the ocean floor off Florida.

Marine scientists at Florida International University are studying corals growing in deep waters. The Miami-area school reported recruiting NASA astronauts to plant a coral nursery 90 feet below the ocean's surface in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

NASA trains astronauts at FIU's Aquarius Reef Base, an underwater laboratory in the sanctuary.

FIU researcher Mauricio Rodriguez-Lanetty said dives from the surface would be too short and risky to accomplish much in the nursery. But divers living in the pressurized lab for days or weeks at a time can work longer in deeper waters.

Astronauts planted the endangered corals on treelike structures made from plastic pipes in 2015. They've continued working in the nursery during NASA training missions over the past two years.

gainesville

Ex-deputy says politics led to firing

A former Alachua County sheriff's deputy has filed a lawsuit over his firing.

Zac Zedalis says in a federal suit that Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell fired him for criticizing Darnell's operation of the office during last year's Democratic primary, not because he had a domestic dispute between and this then-wife, Kathleen, who was also a deputy.

The domestic dispute happened in July 2015 and both were fired in February 2016.

Zedalis ran against Darnell in the primary and lost when Darnell received 72 percent of the vote. Darnell won a third full term in November.

Alachua County sheriff's spokesman Art Forgey told the Gainesville Sun that the lawsuit is without merit. Darnell and Zedalis did not comment.

Associated Press

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