News Update for 06/28/24

Four people from Central Florida are facing charges for their alleged roles in health care fraud schemes. The US Justice Department announced yesterday that almost 200 people were arrested nationwide. They include Orlando’s 54-year-old, Erin Kim, who allegedly fabricated patient files and prescribed over a million Adderall pills to those who should not have gotten them. Windermere’s Marques Elijah Green and Kissimmee’s Ma Gracia Cadet were also arrested. The 29-year-old Green and 53-year-old Cadet are accused of trying to defraud Medicare out of more than 12 million dollars combined through equipment reimbursements. The fourth local suspect is Lakeland’s Eric Brewer. Federal prosecutors say the 28-year-old nurse stole fentanyl from several hospitals he worked at.

There’s a new place to enjoy the great outdoors in Polk County. The Bellini Preserve recently opened near Poinciana. It’s a 600-acre preserve off Lake Marion, and it includes seven miles of trails. Traci Deen is President and CEO of Conservation Florida, and she says it’s home to some of our most threatened and beautiful wildlife. She tells says visitors will see native plants and animals and all that wild Florida has to offer.

A tropical wave still in the eastern Atlantic is on the move, and is expected to be approaching the southeastern Caribbean Sea on Sunday. National Hurricane Center Senior Hurricane Specialist Dr. Richard Pasch expects them to send a hurricane hunter into it over the weekend, when it gets a little closer. He believes Saharan dust could help offset some development but says there’s an 80-percent chance a tropical wave will develop over the next week.

Jimmy Buffett is getting a new honor in Florida. Governor Ron DeSantis yesterday signed into law a bill establishing the Jimmy Buffett Memorial Highway. It’ll run on SR A-One-A from Nassau County in the north to Monroe County in the Keys. It’ll pass through 13 counties, including Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade. FDOT will put up markers by the end of August.

Governor Ron DeSantis says the jury recommendation of death for Zephen Xaver, who pled guilty to killing five women in a Sebring bank, is the right outcome calling it a “just punishment.” Speaking at a transportation event yesterday in Auburndale, DeSantis says the 9-3 vote for death is a sign the law he signed last year is working. He says jurors who oppose capital punishment pretend to be open-minded to get on death penalty cases.

Six Florida insurance companies will offer lower rates later this year. The state’s Office of Insurance Regulation says six of the at least eight insurers who filed for reductions have been approved. In the latest report, the agency states that ten other companies have filed to keep its prices the same in 2024. Insurance Commissioner Michael Yaworsky believes the rate decreases are a sign of the governor’s ongoing commitment to ensuring a reliable market for policyholders.

Rick Scott wants to limit investments in Chinese companies. Senator Scott announced Wednesday he introduced a bill that would ban index and mutual funds from investing in a Chinese company. The Safeguarding US Financial Leadership Against Communist China Act calls for a one-year divestment period and civil penalties after that. It was one of three bills Scott introduced Wednesday that he says will safeguard investors from unintentionally supporting China’s attempt to undermine American markets.

Governor Ron DeSantis is promoting road improvements along the Interstate 4 corridor in Orange, Osceola and Polk Counties as part of the 14-billion dollar “Moving Florida Forward” program. It includes a lot of widening on Interstate 4, especially around the attractions from Orange to Polk counties. The Governor also asserts the state hasn’t gotten its fair share of infrastructure funding under the Biden administration, because he refuses to accept the strings attached with funding. The Florida Department of Transportation has opened a website denouncing the Biden infrastructure plan at “roads-are-not-for-politics-dot-com.

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