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DISORIENTATION BURSTS BUBBLE MAN'S QUEST

Clearwater

A man trying to reach Bermuda in an inflatable bubble has been rescued by the Coast Guard off Florida after he began suffering from fatigue and asked for help.

Air crew members picked up Reza Baluchi and his vessel Saturday morning, Coast Guard spokeswoman Marilyn Fajardo said in a statement. He was transported to a nearby Coast Guard station in Clearwater, where he was evaluated and found to be uninjured.

Officials originally received a report of Baluchi floating in the bubble Wednesday. The Coast Guard arrived on the scene about 70 nautical miles east of St. Augustine to find him disoriented and inquiring how to get to Bermuda.

Crew members of Coast Guard cutter Webber conveyed the dangers of the proposed trip and asked him to end it, noting his lack of sustainable supplies. Baluchi had only protein bars, bottled water, a GPS and satellite phone.

He initially refused assistance, but officials continued to monitor his movement until Baluchi activated his locator beacon Saturday because of fatigue.

Palm Coast

Pilot of experimental plane goes missing

Authorities are investigating a report of a missing man last seen taking off in a small private plane from Flagler County Airport.

The Flagler County Sheriff's Office said Saturday that it was investigating a missing-person report filed Friday morning by the family of 77-year-old Palm Coast resident Raymond A. Miller. Family members said Miller told them he was taking the plane out Friday to practice touch-and-go landings.

Officials say the unpainted, aluminum Sonex-Waiex experimental aircraft that Miller was piloting did not require him to file a flight plan between points. The plane has an estimated range of 200 miles when fully fueled.

The Coast Guard, Navy and Air Force Search and Rescue are aiding in the search.

DAYTONA BEACH

Program cultivates diversity in science

Bethune-Cookman University is joining forces with two other universities to help develop more minority researchers in the sciences.

The Daytona Beach school announced last week that it was partnering with the University of Florida and Florida A&M University to train five students each at UF's campus.

The students will get hands-on research experience, access to university mentors outside their home institution, and career development guidance.

The students also will get a $6,000 stipend for their summers of research.

Bethune-Cookman is a historically black college.

MIAMI

Group that shields youth gets grant

A Miami organization that helps victims of sex trafficking is one of four nationwide to receive a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Kristi House will receive $450,000 over three years to add a community mentoring program and expand services to boys, transgender and questioning youth.

Kristi House operates a drop-in center where girls receive services to help them escape sexual exploitation. Services include support groups, education, therapy and recreational programs.

Under the new DOJ grant, the organization will recruit and train community mentors and provide support services to empower girls, boys, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth to move past their experiences with victimization.

Times wires

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