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This Hour: Latest Florida news, sports, business and entertainment

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Scott and Crist bash each other at campaign events

PLANT CITY, Fla. (AP) - Florida's increasingly bitter and expensive campaign for governor is kicking into gear with two months left before Election Day.

Gov. Rick Scott began a two-week bus tour along the crucial Interstate 4 corridor, where he railed against former Gov. Charlie Crist as someone who is just like President Barack Obama. Scott also called Crist a "slick politician" and "smooth talker" who didn't achieve much during his four years in office.

Crist attended Labor Day picnics in eastern Hillsborough County, where he called Scott a "corporate governor" who is "crushing the middle class" with higher utility rates and property insurance rates.

Scott is a Republican. Crist is a Democrat, but he was a Republican when he was elected as governor.


Autopsy set for body found in Florida Panhandle

NAVARRE BEACH, Fla. (AP) - An autopsy is pending for a Louisiana woman whose body was found in the waters off the Florida Panhandle.

The Santa Rosa County Sheriff's Office says the body of Joetta Goss was spotted Saturday morning by two women fishing near the Navarre Beach causeway.

Authorities tell the Northwest Florida Daily News that a kayak also was recovered in the area. Goss was last seen kayaking late Friday.

The sheriff's office says alcohol is believed to be a factor in Goss's death. She was not wearing a life preserver.

Goss' hometown in Louisiana was not released. Authorities say she was vacationing with family in the Navarre Beach area.


Key West installs plaque honoring Diana Nyad

KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) - A bronze plaque honoring endurance swimmer Diana Nyad has been installed on the Key West beach where she successfully ended a 53-hour swim from Havana without a shark cage.

Nyad staggered ashore at Smathers Beach on Sept. 2, 2013, after swimming 110 miles. It was her fifth attempt to complete the Cuba-to-Florida swim.

The plaque marking Nyad's achievement was unveiled Monday on a concrete wall bordering the beach. At the ceremony, Nyad said she plans to walk from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., in 2016 to raise awareness for obesity prevention.

The city also has commissioned a life-size metal sculpture of Nyad.

On Saturday, Nyad received Cuba's Order of Sporting Merit award. First Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel called Nyad's feat a symbol of friendship between Cuba and the U.S.


Ave Maria surpasses 1,000-student milestone

AVE MARIA, Fla. (AP) - The new school year at Ave Maria University is the first without funding from Domino's Pizza founder Tom Monahan.

Monahan bankrolled the Roman Catholic school during its construction and development phase. President Jim Towey tells the News-Press that Monahan has followed through with a seven-year plan to wean the school off his money.

The fall term began Monday. Ave Maria's enrollment has surpassed the 1,000-student milestone for the first time with 1,081 students on campus.

The school opened in 2003 in temporary quarters in Naples. Its permanent campus opened in 2007. Towey expects 1,500 undergraduates by 2017.

Ave Maria offers majors in theology, Catholic studies and early Christian literature, but students also can major in other subjects. Registrar Billee Silva said the school received 2,102 undergraduate applications this year.


6th shark bite of the season in Volusia County

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Authorities say a 13-year-old girl was treated and released after being bitten by a shark in the waters off central Florida.

Volusia County Beach Safety Ocean Rescue Capt. Tammy Marris says the Boca Raton girl was body-surfing Sunday afternoon in New Smyrna Beach when she was bitten on the calf.

Marris tells The Daytona Beach News-Journal that the girl was in waist-deep water. It's the sixth shark bite of the season in Volusia County.


Police: Boy with autism dies in sailboat fire

STUART, Fla. (AP) - Police say an 11-year-old boy died when a sailboat caught fire in the waters of Stuart.

Police spokesman Brian Bossio tells The Palm Beach Post that the boy had autism and his parents tried to rescue him as the boat was engulfed in flames Sunday morning on the St. Lucie River.

Bossio says the parents were not able to save the boy and made their way into a "small dinghy-type vessel" where they were rescued. Officers were unable to board the sailboat because of the fire's extreme heat.

Police say the parents were hospitalized in Miami.

Bossio says the state medical examiner's office was processing the charred remains of the boat on Monday. City police are investigating the fire with several other agencies.


'Dolphin Tale' aquarium plans to drop animal shows

CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) - No animal performances will be held at a redesigned aquatic center planned by the Florida aquarium featured in the "Dolphin Tale" movies.

The Clearwater Marine Aquarium was the location of the 2011 "Dolphin Tale" movie inspired by the real-life rescue and rehabilitation of Winter the dolphin, which was fitted with a prosthetic tail. A sequel scheduled to hit theaters this month focuses on another dolphin calf named Hope rescued in 2010.

Aquarium officials say rehabilitation and marine rescues, not entertainment, will be the focus of the new $68 million downtown aquatic center.

The aquarium cut the price tag for the new center by nearly $100 million by dropping typical entertainment facilities such as a dolphin stadium.

Guests will be able to view staff working with animals from platforms and walkways.


Authorities identify pilot killed in Florida crash

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - Authorities have identified the pilot of a small banner-towing plane that crashed into the waters off St. Petersburg.

Police spokesman Mike Puetz says 70-year-old Donald Thomasson died Sunday afternoon when the single-seat was Piper PA23 aircraft crashed near Albert Whitted Airport.

The plane belongs to Fort Lauderdale-based Aerial Banners Incorporated. It was completely submerged in about 25 feet of murky water.

Puetz says divers found Thomasson's body still strapped into the cockpit seat. An autopsy is pending.

Federal aviation authorities are investigating the crash.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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