An arrest has been made in the death of a man thrown from the 11th-floor balcony of a condominium at the Sandestin resort, Walton County sheriff's investigators said. Deputies found the body of Daniel McClendon, 24, of Destin about three feet from the side of the Beachside II building, officials said Friday. Witnesses said he had been involved in an argument early Friday in a condo owned by Jonathan Brush, 26, of Bartlett, Tenn. The fight started in the condo and shifted to the balcony, and then Brush allegedly tossed McClendon over the side, said sheriff's spokesman Rick Sutton. A woman in the condo with the two men saw the incident. Brush, who met the victim for the first time Thursday night and knew only his first name, was charged with second-degree murder, Sutton said. Walton County Judge Bob Lindsey ordered Brush held without bail at an initial court appearance.
A warm New Year's tradition
GAINESVILLE _ If history repeats itself, Floridians should expect a warm snap to usher in the New Year, a researcher said. "The key word is warmer _ we're not talking about a hot spell," said Timothy Scharff of the University of Florida. "If this year turns out to be anything like past years, Floridians will enjoy slightly warmer temperatures when they celebrate New Year's Eve," Scharff said. A 30-year study of average daily low temperatures shows a modest warming trend generally occurs around Dec. 31, said Scharff, who did the research for a master's thesis in geography at UF. This pattern occurs because a northwesterly flow of the jet stream that usually takes place around Dec. 26 changes to southwesterly, allowing warm, tropical air from the Gulf of Mexico to flow into the state and raise temperatures during the following few days, Scharff said.
Florida girl rated top cheerleader
DALLAS _ Tiffany Wilkes of Florida's Jupiter High School was judged the best cheerleader in the country Saturday at the National Cheerleaders Association national championship. Wilkes topped 140 competitors to take top honors at the two-day event, which included more than 5,700 cheerleaders from 40 states. The large varsity division winner was a squad from Bryan Station High School in Lexington, Ky. Squads from North Garland High School of Texas won both the coed division and the junior varsity division. Jason Roberts of Vines High School in Plano, Texas, was judged the best mascot. The Clayton Valley All-Stars of Concord, Calif., won the senior all-star division, while Cheers! of Lexington won the junior all-stars. The champions in each division received national championship trophies, banners for their schools, championship jackets and $1,000 gift certificates.
Grave robbers are sought
TAVARES _ Investigators are seeking vandals who smashed open two graves at a secluded cemetery and made off with the remains of a woman buried 15 years ago. Sheriff's officials said five headstones were destroyed and seven others knocked over at the Lane Park Cemetery south of this Lake County town last weekend. Investigators on Thursday found only the skeletal remains of a forearm and gloved hand not far from the gravesite of Lillie B. Rocker. The grave of a relative, Lonnie Rocker, also was broken into, but nothing was taken, authorities said. Albert Rocker, the dead woman's son, called the vandalism disheartening.