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BC-FL--Florida News Digest, FL

December 31, 2018

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. Mike Schneider is on the desk and can be reached at mschneider@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 A reminder this information is not for publication or broadcast, and these coverage plans are subject to change.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:

FLORIDA SEX OFFENDERS

TALLAHASSEE _ A new state report says that the number of sexual offenders and predators living in Florida has risen by more than 50 percent in the last 13 years. Legislative auditors reported late last week that nearly 29,000 registered sex offenders and predators now reside in the state. That’s an increase of 53 percent since 2005. Orange County, home to Orlando, had the highest total number of sex offenders and predators in the state with 2,299. By Gary Fineout. UPCOMING: 300 words.

BEYOND PLUTO

CAPE CANAVERAL _ A tiny, icy world a billion miles beyond Pluto is getting a New Year’s Day visitor. NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is set to fly past a mysterious object nicknamed Ultima Thule (TOO-lee) at 12:33 a.m. Tuesday. It will become the most distant world ever explored by humankind. By Marcia Dunn. UPCOMING: 600 words with AP Photos, AP Video.

IN BRIEF:

GUNFIRE-FREE NEW YEAR’S EVE _ Police are again urging residents not to shoot off guns to celebrate the New Year.

BABY HELD HOSTAGE _ Authorities in Florida are looking for a 21-year-old man who they say fired shots during an argument with this girlfriend and then held his 8-month-old baby hostage.

CRAB FISHING _ Federal fishing managers are holding the line on the quota for a commercial important species of crab that is fished off of the East Coast. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the quota for Atlantic deep-sea red crab will be about 3.9 million pounds, which is the same it has been since 2011.

THEME PARK-ATTEMPTED KIDNAPPING _ An Illinois man has been charged with attempting to kidnap a 9-year-old girl from a Harry Potter ride at Universal Orlando Resort.

HURRICANE IRMA-HOSPITAL_ Workers are preparing a Florida hospital for demolition more than a year after it was destroyed by Hurricane Irma. Florida Hospital Oceanside spokeswoman Lindsay Cashio tells The Daytona Beach News-Journal that preparations have begun but the demolition won’t be complete until summer.

RACCOON-POWER OUTAGE _ Officials say a hungry raccoon caused a brief power for more than 3,000 customers in central Florida. Kissimmee Utility Authority spokesman Chris Gent tells the Orlando Sentinel the raccoon climbed inside the utility’s airport substation on Sunday afternoon and downed three primary feeder lines.

CHILD SHOT _ A Florida mother is facing child neglect and resisting arrest charges after authorities say a 4-year-old shot and critically injured a 7-year-old at her home. The Palm Beach Post reports a judge ordered 27-year-old Frandreka Washington held on a $120,000 bond during a first appearance hearing on Saturday. Investigators say two children were playing with a loaded gun inside the home in Pahokee on Wednesday night when the gun went off.

COCAINE WASHES ASHORE _ A Florida Keys fisherman reeled in an unusual catch: 40 to 60 pounds (18 to 25 kilograms) of white powder that authorities suspect is cocaine. Monroe County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Adam Linhardt said a plastic-wrapped bale washed up Saturday morning under a dock in Islamorada.

IN SPORTS:

FBC-MIAMI-DIAZ

MIAMI _ Manny Diaz came to Miami three years ago with a vision for how the Hurricanes should play defense: Fast, physical and violent. He now has the same plan for Miami’s offense. By Tim Reynolds. SENT: 723 words with AP Photos.

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If you have stories of regional or statewide interest, please email them to miami@ap.org. If you have photos of regional or statewide interest, please send them to the AP state photo center in New York, 888-273-6867. For access to AP Newsroom and other technical issues, contact AP Customer Support atapcustomersupport@ap.org or 877-836-9477.

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The AP, Miami

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