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5 beached whales doing better at Florida center

Veterinarians fed fish drinks to five rescued pilot whales Sunday and kept a close eye on them, trying to nurse the mammals back to health so they can one day return to the ocean.

The five whales were among a group of 22 whales beached in South Florida on Saturday. The rest died of natural causes or had to be euthanized.

The two calves and three juveniles were brought to Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Institute for rehabilitation. Experts said the animals were worn out, but mostly doing well.

“They’ve all been through a pretty stressful ordeal. We’ve seen each of them, at one point or another, have a little bit of trouble and need a little bit of help,” said Dr. Michelle Davis, senior veterinarian for SeaWorld Orlando.

Some of the whales have been breathing faster than usual at times, causing them to float away from the group and become less active, she said.

Several organizations were working together to care for the whales. About 10 people monitored them around the clock and one person was assigned to each whale to watch it constantly. The whales are being fed fish smoothies through a feeding tube every four hours.

Wildlife experts believe the youngest whale _ a female under the age of 2 _ was still nursing. Her mother did not survive.

“The baby is swimming around the group, calling and whistling for the mother, so we’re working to become the mom,” said Stephen McCulloch, Harbor Branch program manager.

Experts are teaching her to drink formula from a bottle.

Davis said it was not clear why the whale pod stranded at Avalon Beach State Park in St. Lucie County.

Allison Garrett, a spokeswoman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s fisheries service, said it’s possible one of the animals became sick and the rest of the pod followed it onshore.

“They won’t leave (a sick whale). They’ll stay together,” she said.

The five survivors have only minor injuries and scrapes. The goal was to get the five whales strong enough to survive a roughly two-hour trip to their new home at SeaWorld, which could take about a week.

Davis said she did not know how long it would be before the whales could be released back to the ocean. Until they get better, the whales will rehabilitate together in a pool.

“Even now in the pool, most of them are staying together and swimming around together all the time. That’s definitely a way to decrease their stress level,” she said.

Hundreds of residents came to the beach to help Saturday, flipping the animals upright so they could breathe better. Volunteers covered the whales with moist towels and poured water over them.

By evening, it was clear that most of the whales would not make it. Necropsies will be performed on them.

5 beached whales doing better at Florida center

10 Cities Where Homes Cost Less Than A Car: 24/7 Wall St.


24/7 Wall St.: For many Americans, homeownership is the epitome of living the American dream. Yet, in towns with high tumbling home prices and double-digit vacancy rates, median-priced homes now cost the equivalent of new American cars — except, as investments go, they’re slightly more risky.

Call it the dark side of the American dream – but if you can only afford to buy just one, which would you choose? In hard-hit cities, why own a home when you can rent one without the risk of foreclosure if your job falls through? Or, for about the same money, you can sport new wheels, facing only the risk of repossession — a lesser credit report complication than a foreclosure. While a car is unlikely to increase in value, its depreciation is both more manageable and predictable than a home.

“Buying a home in most places is risky,” says Jed Kolko, chief economist and head of analytics at real estate site Trulia. These high risks in towns such as Detroit, Michigan or Youngstown, Ohio have helped depress housing prices. And until the labor market improves there’s no real chance of a strong recovery in housing. “Towns with a history of job losses probably won’t see big price gains, especially if they have high vacancy rates, because it means buyers have a lot of homes to choose from,” says Kolko.

This quandary is especially meaningful to residents of Motor City, who have experienced deepening levels of housing hell in recent years. Much has been written about Detroit’s high misery index, and the challenges of thriving in a city with high unemployment, high crime rates, and city services under severe budgetary constraints. And yet, for those willing to take a long view of the city, Detroit also offers amazing bargains to residents dedicated to living in that community.

Despite its problems, even in Detroit, it’s not unusual for multiple buyers to vie for an appealing home in a nice neighborhood. The city has one of the highest rental vacancy rates in America and boasts a four-month supply of homes on the market, according to a recent report in the Detroit Free Press. A buyer’s market is typically six or more months’ supply.

Many residents of depressed cities in Michigan, Florida, Indiana and Ohio have been slammed by job losses and tumbling housing prices, too, and recovery is coming slowly if at all. Yet, on the positive side, these towns also offer a low cost of living by American standards that make for attractive buy-side opportunities for those willing to take a long view of homeownership.

24/7 Wall St. asked Trulia, a leading provider of real estate listings and market data, to identify and rank cities by the median prices of homes sold last year. Trulia limited the list to markets with an adequate supply of non-foreclosure, single-family homes, which ruled out markets that may have unusual spikes in median sales prices. To provide further context of how economic data can impact local housing market conditions we also gathered median-income data as well as Q1 2012 vacancy rates from the U.S. Census Bureau, unemployment numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and June 2012 foreclosure figures from RealtyTrac.

With home prices at 30-year lows and mortgages available at record low rates, some residents in troubled cities will be tempted to take the plunge and buy a home. Yet, amid this fledgling recovery there’s still the allure of plunking down a small deposit and buying a car that can take you to a city that offers a healthier housing market and stronger long-term job prospects.

10 Cities Where Homes Cost Less Than A Car: 24/7 Wall St.

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Retired astronaut Alan G. Poindexter killed in Florida jet ski crash

Space Shuttle Atlantis crew member Pilot Alan G. Poindexter gives a thumbs up Feb. 7, 2008.

PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) – Officials in Flroida say a retired astronaut died in a jet ski crash off Pensacola Beach.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials say 51-year-old Capt. Alan G. Poindexter was riding on a jet ski with his 22-year-old son Sunday afternoon when his 26-year-old son crashed into them with another jet ski.

The Pensacola News Journal ( reports Zachary Poindexter hit the rear of the jet ski, knocking his father into the water.

Wildlife agency spokesman Stan Kirkland says Poindexter was pulled from the water and taken to the beach where friends performed CPR. He died a short time later at a hospital. Zachary Poindexter and his brother Samuel were not injured.

The fish and wildlife agency is investigating the crash.

Poindexter piloted the Atlantis space shuttle in 2008.

Retired astronaut Alan G. Poindexter killed in Florida jet ski crash

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Tropical storm Debby finishes its wet slog across Florida as system weakens

Storm forced evacuations of over 15,000 people along Florida’s Gulf coast as floods and rain expected to continue

Tropical Storm Debby Florida

Residents in Florida area prepare to leave under a mandatory evacuation over tropical storm Debby.

Tropical storm Debby weakened as it drifted eastward over Florida on Tuesday, dumping more rain on flooded areas and sending thousands of people fleeing from rising rivers.

After stalling in the Gulf of Mexico, the storm was finally moving but was expected to take two more days to finish its wet slog across Florida.

Emergency managers in Pasco County on Florida’s central Gulf coast ordered a mandatory evacuation for 14,000 to 20,000 people living between the Anclote and Pithlachascotee Rivers. The Anclote rose from nine feet before Debby’s approach to more than 27 feet on Tuesday, well above major flood level, Pasco County spokesman Eric Keaton said.

Water was ankle-deep to head-high in the evacuation area. Emergency crews had to use boats to reach stranded residents in some areas, and 106 Pasco County homes had been damaged.

“The city has always been prepared for a water event, but I think Mother Nature woke us up as to how fast she can operate,” Keaton said.

The storm was piling up coastal waters and pushing them inland, preventing the rainwater from draining out to sea.

Nearly 20 inches of rain has fallen in two days on Wakulla County, a Gulf coast county famed for its natural springs. Roads were under water in many parts of the surrounding Big Bend area where the Florida Panhandle meets the peninsula.

Parts of Interstate 10 were closed between the capital, Tallahassee, and the Atlantic coast city of Jacksonville. The storm left 29,000 people without power across the central and northern parts of the state, emergency managers said.

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center said Debby could bring another four to eight inches of rain and possibly tornadoes to north Florida and southeast Georgia in the next two days.

Debby’s top winds weakened to 40mph, just over the threshold to remain a tropical storm. It was expected to weaken further as the center moved ashore, but could strengthen back into a tropical storm as it crossed into the Atlantic Ocean, the forecasters said.

The center of circulation was still in the Gulf of Mexico, about 35 miles west-northwest of Cedar Key, Florida. But Debby was a large and ragged storm and most of the thunderstorms and rain were north-east of the center, already over Florida.

Tropical storm warnings were in effect for much of Florida’s Gulf coast and could be extended inland as the storm moves slowly east over the state in the next few days.

Debby spawned twisters that killed a woman, badly injured a child and wrecked homes in central Florida in rural Highlands County on Sunday.

Florida’s coastal Pinellas County was also hit hard, with flooding in some areas and at least 20 houses with roofs that were partially or fully blown off during a tornado-like storm.

President Barack Obama called Florida Governor Rick Scott from Air Force One on Tuesday “to ensure the state had no unmet needs” as it responds to the flooding, White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

Obama expressed condolences for the loss of life and damage to homes, and Carney said federal authorities “stood ready to provide additional assistance if necessary”.

Scott declared a state of emergency on Monday and ordered all state agencies, including the Florida National Guard, to provide any necessary assistance requested by local governments.

“Because of the broad impact of Tropical storm Debby, virtually every county in Florida could be affected,” Scott said.

Flash flood warnings were in effect for many areas and emergency managers cautioned that inland flooding was linked to more than half the deaths from tropical cyclones in the United States over the last 30 years.

Debby was the first tropical storm of 2012 to form in the Gulf of Mexico. The storm idled about a quarter of US offshore oil and natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico during the weekend, based on figures issued by US offshore regulators.

Big offshore drillers began returning staff to offshore platforms after the storm veered away from the Gulf oil patch on Monday, and production had restarted on Tuesday.

Tropical storm Debby finishes its wet slog across Florida as system weakens

Florida woman set on fire outside 7-Eleven: Police

Roosevelt Mondesir will head to jail for dousing his ex wife in gasoline and igniting her

 	Roosevelt Mondesir allegedly doused his ex-girlfriend on fire at a 7-Eleven in West Palm Beach, Fla.

A woman was severely burned Monday after being doused in gasoline and lit on fire outside a 7-Eleven store in South Florida in a dispute with the father of her child, police said.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A woman was severely burned Monday after being doused in gasoline and lit on fire outside a 7-Eleven store in South Florida in a dispute with the father of her child, police said.

The 34-year-old woman was waiting in her silver Mercedes at the store shortly before 3 a.m., Boynton Beach Police spokeswoman Stephanie Slater said. She was meeting her ex to pick up her 4-year-old son for whom they share custody.

Roosevelt Mondesir, 52, arrived in his white Jaguar without the boy and began throwing gasoline on the unidentified woman’s car and body, according to a police affidavit. She tried to run away, but police said the man chased her with a knife and then ignited her.

In graphic surveillance video, a man can be seen threatening a woman with a large knife, struggling in the doorway of the store. “Get away from me!” she can be heard shouting.

They disappear from view until she returns in a massive fireball, screaming and running around the parking lot.


Roosevelt Mondesir allegedly doused his ex-girlfriend on fire at a 7-Eleven in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Officers searched by foot, with a police dog, and by helicopter before finding Mondesir several hours later in bushes near the 7-Eleven. He was charged with attempted first-degree murder and was being treated for burns at Bethesda Memorial Hospital in Boynton Beach before being transferred to jail.

It was not known if he had yet obtained an attorney.


The woman, seen flailing on fire in the parking lot, suffered severe burns from the attack.

The victim was not identified, but she is expected to survive. She was being treated at Delray Medical Center.

Police haven’t said what led to the attack.
Florida woman set on fire outside 7-Eleven: Police  

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The Journal of Steffanie Rivers: Same Injustice, Different Victim

steffanie rivers

By Steffanie Rivers

*I called a friend the other day to wish him a Happy Birthday when we got on the subject of the same issue that has millions of people talking and protesting in the streets: Why has George Zimmerman not been locked up for killing Trayvon Martin? Zimmerman is the neighborhood watch wannabe cop who shot an unarmed Martin for no more than looking “suspicious” to Zimmerman as the teenager walked to the store on a rainy night.

The more we talked about it the angrier I got. My friend, we’ll call him Sam, tried to reassure me that justice would prevail in the end. But his words had the same effect of a man telling a woman to calm down in the heat of an argument, especially because Sam knows more than I that most times – especially in cases like these – justice never shows up. Not when men with debatable intentions are in charge of it. Sam, a retired Baltimore police officer who is at least 70, is no stranger to these scenarios. As much as I respect Sam’s point of view, let’s just say “A Time To Kill” is one of my favorite movies. Here’s why:

Before the killing of Trayvon Martin there was Oscar Grant. In 2009 Grant was shot in his back and killed by a BART police officer in San Francisco as he lay face down on a commuter train platform. The police officer only served 11 months of a two year involuntary manslaughter sentence before he was released in 2011.

Before the killing of Grant there was Robbie Tolan. In 2008 Tolan was shot by a police officer as he lay face down in his driveway in a suburb of Houston, Texas. Tolan survived the shooting but doctors couldn’t remove the bullet from his lung. The officer was acquitted of aggravated assault charges.

And earlier this month there was the killing of Wendell Allen. The 20-year old was unarmed when he was shot and killed by a New Orleans police officer. Allen’s family said the police department is stonewalling their inquiries.

Some people say the black community should be more concerned about the high number of black on black crimes. But every time I read about innocent unarmed people killed by a police officer (or a wannabe cop in Trayvon’s case) 100 percent of the time the victims are black. That’s not a coincidence.That’s indicative of a blatant disregard for the value of life of an entire race of people. And I, for one, refuse to ignore it.

The fact that Zimmerman has not been arrested and charged with (at the very least) manslaughter – in light of all the evidence – proves that local law enforcement didn’t value Trayvon’s life. In his case it’s Sanford, FL, in Grant’s case it was San Francisco, in Tolan’s case it was Bellaire, Texas and in Allen’s case it’s New Orleans. It happens in different cities across the country, but the constant is that local police are slow to seek justice for these obviously innocent victims.

And if state or federal law enforcement eventually arrests Zimmerman it probably will be just to pacify the masses. If they convict him it probably will be for something a step above a misdemeanor. Then he’ll spend a few months in jail and be released early for good behavior. Where’s the justice in that?

Steffanie is a freelance journalist living in the Dallas, Texas metroplex. Send comments, questions and speaking requests to

The Journal of Steffanie Rivers: Same Injustice, Different Victim  


Geraldo Rivera’s son: I’m ‘ashamed’ of my father’s remarks about Trayvon Martin and his hoodie

Rivera created a firestorm earlier this week when he argued the hoodie the unarmed teen chose to wear when he was killed in Florida was as much to blame for his death as the man that shot him


Even Geraldo Rivera’s son is disappointed in his father’s controversial remarks about Trayvon Martin.

“My own son just wrote to say he’s ashamed of my position,” the Fox News contributor tweeted on Friday.

Rivera created a firestorm earlier this week when he argued the hoodie the unarmed teen chose to wear when he was killed in Florida was as much to blame for his death as the man that shot him.

Despite his own family’s harsh criticism, Rivera refused to budge on his position, adding on Twitter “Still I feel parents must do whatever they can to keep their kids safe.”

Rivera elaborated on his 32-year-old son’s shame to Politico.

“Gabriel broke my heart…He just told me for the first time in his life he’s ashamed,” he told the political website, adding his son told him he had “gone viral for all the wrong reasons.”

Rivera said he wrote Gabriel back and tried to explain his position that “every hoodie should come with a warning like cigarettes, ‘caution wearing this could get you killed.'”

Martin, 17, was shot and killed Feb. 26 in Sanford, Fla. He was returning home from a trip to a convenience store when neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman started following the teen, telling police dispatchers that he looked suspicious.



Zimmerman claimed he fired in self-defense after Martin jumped him. He has not been charged and has kept out of the public eye since the incident.

Rivera declared on Fox & Friends that he’d bet money that “if didn’t have that hoodie on, that nutty neighborhood watch guy wouldn’t have responded in that violent and aggressive way.”

He added he has previously warned his own children against wandering around the streets wearing hoodies, “particularly a dark-skinned kid like my son Cruz.”

He later argued in a post on Fox News Latino, “If you dress like a hoodlum eventually some schmuck is going to take you at your word.”

The television personality even took a shot a President Obama, who said Friday the nation needs to do some “soul searching” over the tragic shooting, which has sparked nationwide furor over race and justice. The commander-in-chief said “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”

Rivera tweeted, that Obama could also add that he “would never let his son walk around DC in a hoodie.”

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