WEST PALM BEACH
Students' drug use is down, survey shows
A survey shows overall drug use is down among Florida's middle and high school students, although marijuana use is a growing concern. Use of alcohol and cigarettes and abuse of prescription stimulants and pain relievers saw reductions among the survey's measures of past 30-day drug use. But marijuana use has increased. Survey officials said youths' perception that marijuana is not harmful has increased. Also alarming is the rate of alcohol use among students in Florida, which exceeds national figures. The 2010 Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey results were released Thursday at the Hanley Center, a nonprofit addiction treatment center in West Palm Beach. The survey included 72,797 students in Grades 6 through 12 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 1 percentage point.
Mom: I killed baby for interrupting my game
A North Florida mother has pleaded guilty to shaking her baby to death after the boy's crying interrupted her game on Facebook.
Alexandra V. Tobias, 22, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on Wednesday.
The Florida Times-Union reports that she told investigators she was angered because the boy was crying while she was playing the game FarmVille.
The paper also reports that she told investigators she shook the 3-month-old boy, smoked a cigarette to compose herself and then shook him again.
She will be sentenced in December. State guidelines call for 25 to 50 years, but a prosecutor said her sentence could be shorter than that.
Officials go to court to close burning landfill
Florida Panhandle officials have gone to court to close a landfill that has been burning for more than a week.
Bay County officials are monitoring the blaze to make sure it does not threaten nearby homes or grow into a wildfire.
The county's chief of emergency services says firefighters are reluctant to dampen the fire with water because the runoff would pose an environmental hazard.
The county says it doesn't have the authority to bury the landfill to stamp out the flames. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is supposed to be closing the landfill and covering it with dirt, but the owner's death has complicated the process.
DEP officials have filed a motion in Panama City court to gain access to the landfill.
Former port official faces felony charges
A former Canaveral Port Authority commissioner has been charged with two felonies.
Ralph Kennedy was charged Wednesday with unlawful compensation for official behavior, a second-degree felony, and conspiracy to receive unlawful compensation for official behavior, a third-degree felony.
State authorities say Kennedy positioned himself for a kickback from a contractor during the negotiation of bids for a hotel project at the port.