1. Archive

Trapped for science

John Willard holds a trapped Gambian rat as state and federal wildlife managers work to eradicate the African species before it reaches the U.S. mainland. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention scientists, who have tracked the rats for three years from Africa, through the exotic pet trade and into U.S. homes, believe they are carriers of monkeypox.


Wreath makers in jail over damaged trees

Making holiday wreaths has landed a couple in jail.

Kurt James Cox, 40, and Rebecca Sue Cox, 30, of De Leon Springs were arrested Tuesday after authorities said they caused $230,000 in damage to roadside trees in the Jacksonville area.

They were chopping off tree limbs to make the decorations, authorities said. The pair were carrying tree limbs to a vehicle already stuffed with branches when arrested.


Service honors slain Florida A&M student

Twenty white balloons were released into the night sky, one for each year of a slain Florida A&M University student's life, at a memorial service Tuesday.

Some 500 people gathered to remember Nefertiti Nicole Williams of Bradenton, a public relations major and news editor of the Famuan campus newspaper.

She was found dead at her home on Thanksgiving. Police say her roommate killed her and himself in a murder-suicide.


State: Most schools comply on class size

The vast majority of Florida public schools are meeting class size reduction limits this academic year, the state Department of Education said Wednesday.

Just 177 of 3,038 traditional public schools and 88 of 358 charter schools failed to comply with the constitutional amendment voters passed in 2002.

This is the first year the average class size in each school must be at or under 18 pupils in kindergarten through third grade, 22 in fourth through eighth grades and 25 in high school. Each individual classroom must be in compliance in 2010-11.


Trial court to rule on death row appeal

A trial court will decide if a death row inmate set for execution Dec. 13 should get a new trial because a key witness recanted testimony, the Florida Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.

The court voted 5-2 to grant the request by Angel Diaz and order a circuit judge in Miami to consider the issue. The ruling must come by 5 p.m. Sunday, and any final appeal must be made to the Supreme Court by Monday.

Diaz was convicted of murdering the manager of a Miami topless club he and another man robbed in 1979. At his 1984 trial, another inmate Diaz met in jail, Ralph Gajus, testified that Diaz implied he was the triggerman.

The state argues that Diaz's claim of recanted testimony has been rejected before.

Times wires