County to stop hiring tobacco users in fall
Escambia County will have a tobacco-free hiring policy starting in October. All applicants for county jobs are currently required to take a drug test, which will be expanded to include testing for tobacco use. Any applicant testing positive for tobacco will not be eligible. Officials say the policy is aimed at improving the health of employees and to get the county's health insurance costs under control. The county also is enacting a 50-foot smoking ban from the entrance or exit of any county building on Oct. 1. In two years, no county employee will be allowed to smoke anywhere on county property.
Girl burned by cocoa to receive $40,000
The family of an Orlando girl who was burned by hot cocoa at school will receive $40,000 from the Orange County School Board. Court records say Alea Ware was sitting on the floor as her teacher handed her the chocolatey drink. It spilled, scalding the girl on her legs and lower body. The incident happened in December 2006. The 8-year-old has since had plastic surgery for the second-degree burns.
Medicaid providers get emergency pay
The state of Florida has sent out emergency payments to 5,600 Medicaid providers that haven't been reimbursed in a month because of a computer glitch. Holly Benson of the state Agency for Health Care Administration said Friday that about $48-million in emergency payments have been sent. The problem was a glitch in the agency's new $308-million computer system that would not allow care providers to properly file claims. Benson says the problem is expected to be fixed soon.
Prisoner who helped kill guard dies at 51
An inmate convicted of helping kill a female prison guard during an escape attempt has died behind bars. Department of Corrections spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger says 51-year-old Michael Jones died Friday of natural causes. Jones had been serving a life term for rape when he and two other inmates tried to escape in 2003, killing guard Darla Lathrem in the process. His cohorts were sentenced to death, a penalty Jones avoided by pleading guilty to murder. He was sentenced to life.
A 30-second security video capturing the fatal shooting of a Palm Beach County firefighter in a Wendy's restaurant can be viewed by the public but not copied or distributed, a judge has ruled.
The Associated Press and the Palm Beach Post sued the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office after it refused to release the evidence video which shows the death of fire Lt. Ray Vazquez and the gunman on March 3. Judith Mercier, an attorney for the media outlets, said the video is a public record that cannot be withheld.
Sheriff's Office attorneys and Vazquez's family argued the family has "endured enough suffering" and that releasing the video would violate privacy and subject the family to further pain.