A prosecutor has called for a grand jury investigation into reports of sexual activity between workers and inmates at the state's only maximum-security prison for female juveniles.
Palm Beach County State Attorney Barry Krischer called for the investigation into the 3-year-old Florida Institute for Girls.
Workers at the facility, which houses the state's most troubled girl delinquents, have been accused of sexual misconduct more than two dozen times since it opened in April 2000. At least 15 workers have been disciplined in connection with such incidents; two have been criminally charged.
Administrators from the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice and Ramsay Youth Services, the company paid by the state to run the prison, declined to comment, saying they had not been formally notified of any investigation.
HUD Secretary Martinez rules out Senate race
MIAMI _ U.S. House and Urban Development Secretary Mel Martinez has ruled out running for the U.S. Senate seat in Florida next year.
Instead, the Cuban-born 56-year-old former chief executive of Orange County said he plans to remain in President Bush's Cabinet through the 2004 presidential election, then assess his chances to succeed the president's brother as Florida governor in 2006.
"I really view myself as more in the executive mold than I do in the legislative mold," Martinez told the Miami Herald Tuesday.
"I'm not running for the U.S. Senate," he added. "I can close that door and close it shut."
House votes to delay legislators' pay raises
TALLAHASSEE _ The House voted unanimously Wednesday to delay its annual pay raise until December, which would bring lawmakers in line with other state workers.
During the regular legislative session lawmakers voted to give themselves a pay raise starting July 1, five months before other state employees, who are set to get the same raise Dec. 1.
The measure (HB 3B) passed Wednesday would delay the raise for state legislators. The bill now goes to the Senate, where its future is uncertain.
Bodies of five victims
of planes' collision found
DEERFIELD BEACH _ The recovery of two bodies on Wednesday completed the search for five victims aboard two single-engine planes that collided just off the southeastern Florida coast late Tuesday, the Coast Guard said.
Killed on one plane were Johnny Mark Wiley, 39, his wife, Susan, of Margate, and Johnny Wiley's 12-year-old daughter, Shelby, of Texas. Killed on the second plane were Steve Ross, 46, and Douglas Bauer, 48, both of Boca Raton.
Wiley had rented a Cessna 172 from the Gulf Stream Flight Academy at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, where he was a student. He and his wife had recently moved to Margate from Texas.
Ross and Bauer left from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and were headed to Boca Raton in a Cessna 182.
The first three bodies were found soon after the crash about a half-mile off this beach town 15 miles north of Fort Lauderdale.
Attorney guilty of hiding
marijuana dealer's cash
FORT LAUDERDALE _ An attorney who held $640,000 for a marijuana-dealing friend pleaded guilty to a money laundering conspiracy charge.
Steven E. Cohen of Delray Beach faces a year in prison at sentencing Sept. 8 under the plea deal filed Tuesday. He also could lose his law license.
Roger J. Taylor Jr., convicted of marijuana dealing, told investigators he delivered the cash to Cohen, a longtime friend. The prosecutor and defense agreed that Cohen didn't know the source of the money was illegal. But he was accused of evading financial reporting laws when he stashed the case in a floor safe of a law partner.
The money was hidden from Taylor's estranged wife to hide his true worth, federal prosecutor Roger Powell said.
_ Wire reports