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BC-FL--Florida News Digest, FL

May 17, 2019

Good afternoon! Here’s a look at how AP’s general news coverage is shaping up in Florida. Questions about coverage plans are welcome and should be directed to the AP-Miami bureau at 305-594-5825 or miami@ap.org. Ian Mader is the news editor and can be reached at imader@ap.org. David Fischer is on the desk and can be reached at ffrisaro@ap.org. A reminder this information is not for publication or broadcast, and these coverage plans are subject to change. Expected stories may not develop, or late-breaking and more newsworthy events may take precedence. Advisories and digests will keep you up to date. All times are Eastern. Some TV and radio stations will receive shorter APNewsNow versions of the stories below, along with all updates.

TOP STORIES:

MIGRANT INFLUX-FLORIDA

TALLAHASSEE _ Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis plans to fight a federal plan to fly hundreds of immigrants from the Mexican border to two South Florida counties, saying he plans to take his case to President Donald Trump. DeSantis made his remarks Friday, the day after being caught off guard when Broward and Palm Beach county officials said they were notified by U.S. Border Patrol that more than 100 immigrants would be sent weekly to each of the counties starting in about two weeks. By Brendan Farrington. UPCOMING: 450 words.

XGR-DRIVING-TEXTING BAN

TALLAHASSEE _ Texting while driving in Florida will become a primary traffic offense punishable by fines under a bill signed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis. DeSantis signed the bill Friday in Sarasota. Under current law, officers can only cite drivers for texting if they are pulled over for another violation. The new law allows officers to stop motorists simply for texting alone. By Brendan Farrington. UPCOMING: 400 words.

EXCHANGE-DREAM-NEW LIFE CHAPEL

ODESSA, Texas _ The Rev. Ralph Sheraton Emerson’s assumption of the pastorate at New Life Chapel in Odessa is literally a dream come true. The Odessa American reports based on a dream his wife Chanesia had in February 2018, Emerson said, “I know I’m in the right place. Emerson grew up in his dad’s church, Rising Star Baptist Church, and won a regional championship with the Fort Worth Country Day School basketball team. He took a bachelor’s of business administration degree at Florida A&M in Tallahassee and worked eight years as youth and administrative pastor and executive pastor at Rising Star. By Bob Campbell. Odessa American. SENT: 562 words.

IN BRIEF:

SANTAS-NORTH POLE _ Travelers have visited the Alaska city of North Pole to show their Christmas spirit at the Santa Claus House and some used the visit to renew their wedding vows, a report said. Princess Cruises has had an annual “Santa Cruise” trip to North Pole for the past three years, The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported Thursday.

LARGE LIZARD CAPTURED _ Wildlife officials have finally captured a large invasive Asian water monitor that had been running loose in the Florida Keys for more than a year. Florida Fish and Wildlife officials posted pictures on Facebook with this caption: “Elusive lizard captured!”

STOLEN SHOES-DEPUTY _ A detention deputy is accused of stealing an inmate’s $250 Nike sneakers. The Ocala Star-Banner reports Marion County Sheriff’s Deputy Nicholas Frank Rudders was booked into his own facility on Wednesday.

DEPUTY SHOOTING-FLORIDA _ Sheriff’s officials in Florida say an MS-13 gang member was killed after he shot a deputy in the face during a confrontation. Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw told a news conference late Thursday the deputy was in surgery. Thursday was the deputy’s 29th birthday.

FIREFIGHTER-HUMAN TRAFFICKING CHARGES _ Authorities say a lieutenant for a Florida fire department has been arrested on charges of human trafficking and child sex crimes. Florida Department of Law Enforcement officials arrested 39-year-old Matthew Doyle on Thursday.

COMEDIAN-911 CALL_ An audience member called 911 on an Egyptian-American comedian who made a joke about being of Middle Eastern descent. The caller called police Sunday, one day after Ahmed Ahmed performed at the Off The Hook Comedy Club in Naples, Florida.

BOMB EVACUATION-THERMOMETER _ A popular Florida restaurant was evacuated as a bomb squad searched for a suspicious item. Turns out it was just a thermometer with a low battery. Boynton Beach Police spokeswoman said the Texas Roadhouse was evacuated as a precaution Thursday night as officials searched the area. Several fire departments also responded to the call. But the culprit was merely a beeping thermometer suffering from a low battery.

STUDENTS-HOT COSTUMES HOSPITAL _ Six students at a Florida elementary school have been taken to the hospital after passing out during a presentation in the school cafeteria. Officials said the students were dressed up in costumes and were giving presentations about someone from history or someone famous at Pine Meadow Elementary School when they fainted Thursday.

MULTIPLE HIT AND RUNS _ A Florida man is behind bars after authorities say he hit multiple civilian cars and several sheriff’s patrol cars during a high-speed chase. Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office deputies say 54-year old Edward Thornburg left the scene of a hit and refused to stop for deputies Thursday.

IN SPORTS:

BBN--PAUL NEWBERRY-TAMPA BAY RAYS

They have a terrible stadium, hardly any fans and one of baseball’s smallest payrolls. Yet, somehow, the Tampa Bay Rays manage to stay competitive year after year. It is one of the most compelling stories in sports, even if few people take notice. By Sports Columnist Paul Newberry. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos by 5 p.m.

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