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New unemployment numbers for Florida coming out

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - New numbers coming out will show whether the state's unemployment rate is still holding steady.

The state's jobless rate for March will be released on Friday.

The rate in February was 6.2 percent, which is the same rate it was the previous month. There are an estimated 588,000 people out of work in the Sunshine State.

Payroll provider ADP reported that the state added 14,580 private sector jobs during the month of March. ADP's survey is separate from the one that is conducted by government agencies.

Gov. Rick Scott has asserted his policies have helped the drop in the rate.

But state economists have said a reason for the decline is that people are leaving the labor force or had delayed their job search.


Boy electrocuted in backyard pool

NORTH MIAMI, Fla. (AP) - Authorities say a faulty pool light appears to be the cause of a 7-year-old boy being killed at his South Florida home.

North Miami police say a nanny was watching Calder Sloan swim in a backyard pool Sunday when he was electrocuted. The jolt reportedly catapulted him out of the water as he raced a friend.

The boy's father, Chris Sloan, told The Miami Herald they hired a contractor to fix the pool light last year, but he hadn't had time to retrieve records of the repair. The family has not stayed at the home since Calder Sloan's death.

North Miami building department records don't indicate any permits pulled or inspections done at the Sloan home in the past year.

Police say the investigation is far from over.


Army Corps gives OK to plan for Palm Beach port

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has given its approval to a plan to deepen and widen the entrance channel to the Port of Palm Beach.

The corps' approval comes despite opposition from civic and environmental groups that say the project threatens endangered species, fishing, recreation and homeowners.

The Palm Beach Post reports the plan comes with a price tag near $90 million.

The port's director says it will still be years before work begins. Army brass, the federal Office of Management and Budget and Congress also need to give their OK.


Missing Panhandle dog shows up after 9 years

(Information in the following story is from: Northwest Florida Daily News (Fort Walton Beach, Fla.),

CRESTVIEW, Fla. (AP) - A missing dog is back with its family nine years after breaking out of their back yard in Crestview.

April Hight tells the Northwest Florida Daily News the Panhandle Animal Welfare Society called to let her know that animal control workers had picked up their Lhasa Apso named Maggie on Tuesday. A microchip provided contact information for Maggie's owners.

Hight and her daughter Abigayle picked up the almost 11-year-old dog on Wednesday. Maggie's hair was matted but a checkup showed no other major issues. But Hight says Maggie is "skin and bones."

While Maggie was quiet at first, she recognized Hight's husband and immediately began wagging her tail.

She says it's hard to imagine what Maggie's life has been like since she went missing.


Storms threaten 2nd launch try to space station

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - SpaceX is back on the launch pad in hopes of making a critical delivery to the International Space Station.

Liftoff is scheduled for 3:25 p.m. Friday. But stormy weather may force another delay.

NASA's commercial supplier was foiled by a leaky rocket valve during Monday's launch attempt. The valve has been replaced.

The unmanned Dragon cargo ship contains 2 1/2 tons of station supplies, including material for urgent computer repairs. A backup computer failed outside the space station last Friday. Astronauts will conduct a spacewalk to replace the computer in the next few days.

NASA says the material on the Dragon is desirable for the repair job, but not essential. Much-needed food is also aboard, along with a new spacesuit and spacesuit replacement parts.


Scott's office: Ask employees for records, not us

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - The administration of Fla. Gov. Rick Scott is making a unique argument when it comes to handing over public records.

Scott's lawyers have recently declared that state employees and former employees are the "custodians" of any text messages or emails done on personal accounts even if they cover state business.

The Scott administration made this argument in response to a lawsuit from a Tallahassee attorney embroiled in an ongoing land dispute with the state. Steven Andrews has started filing records requests directly with employees.

The head of an open government advocacy group says this practice could set up huge barriers for the press and public in trying to obtain public records.

Barbara Petersen with the First Amendment Foundation also said this could create a new legal liability for state employees.


Deputies: Man smothered crying son over video game

HOMOSASSA, Fla. (AP) - Sheriff's deputies in north Florida say a man suffocated his young, crying son so he could play video games.

Authorities say 24-year-old Cody Wygant is charged with third-degree murder and child neglect. He was being held Friday without bail at the Citrus County Jail.

Sixteen-month-old Daymeon Wygant wasn't breathing when emergency crews arrived at the home Thursday morning. He was pronounced dead at a hospital.

According to investigators, Wygant said the boy was crying uncontrollably, preventing him from playing his Xbox games. He covered the boy's nose and mouth for three to four minutes until the boy became lethargic, then placed him in a playpen and covered him with bedding.

Deputies say Wygant didn't check on Daymeon for five hours.

His infant daughter is in the Department of Children and Families' custody.


Road rage leads to attempted murder charge for man

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) - A southwest Florida man faces two counts of attempted second-degree murder following a road rage incident.

Lee County Sheriff's deputies say 28-year-old Eric Montez will appear in court Friday morning.

Authorities say Montez was driving his 7-year-old daughter to school on Thursday when a jogger tapped on his car when it passed close to him. Montez got of his car, ran after the man and punched him multiple times.

Deputies say two women stopped and told Montez they were calling police. He returned to his car and hit a 33-year-old woman, vaulting her over the car's hood. He then backed up and drove over a 52-year-old woman who'd been knocked to the ground. Both are in the hospital, one with critical injuries. There was no word on the jogger's condition.

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