News Update for 07/04/24

Florida has more boats than any other state and lots of Floridians will be spending as much time as possible on the water over the holiday weekend. Major Bill Holcomb with the FWC (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission) says make sure you have a life jacket for everyone on the boat. And just like on land, DON’T drink and drive. Operation Dry Water aimed at reducing alcohol and drug-related boating incidents and fatalities is taking place through the weekend with sobriety checkpoints and saturation patrols statewide.

A Manatee County corrections deputy is accused of pulling out an agency-issued gun during an argument at a park last month. Authorities say 21-year-old Benjamin Sampey pointed the firearm at another man’s head while at Ackerman Park in Sarasota. Sampey claims he took out the weapon in self-defense while breaking up a fight, but police say witness statements did not match his story. The deputy has resigned since his arrest Tuesday. Sheriff Rick Wells says this kind of behavior is not acceptable for any sheriff’s office employee and will not be tolerated.

A woman is hurt after she was shot by deputies in Brevard County. It happened yesterday in Palm Shores on US One. The sheriff’s office says deputies responded to a report of a car break-in and found a man and an armed woman. The suspects ran to the woods. Deputies and Melbourne Police searched the area and found the two hiding. At one point, a deputy felt threatened by the way the woman was handling her gun, and he shot her. She was taken to the hospital, and she’s in stable condition. The man she was with was arrested without incident. The deputy is now on paid leave pending an investigation.

Beachgoers will need to use caution today on Fourth of July, due to rough waters along most of Florida’s East Coast. The National Weather Service says a moderate risk for rip currents is in effect today and tomorrow from Flagler County down to Miami-Dade. In addition to the hazardous beach conditions, a Heat Advisory will impact South Florida today and tomorrow with feels-like temperatures expected to reach up to 110 degrees in the afternoon.

It’s a day of celebration across Highlands County for the 4th of July. The Historical Society of Avon Park invites the community to the Depot Museum today to honor the memory of WW2 Hero Pharis Weekly with a special display. The Sebring VFW Post #4300 has a celebration planned today starting at 11:00am with food, music and viewing of fireworks on Lake Jackson at dusk. The City of Sebring will have their annual fireworks show starting at 9:00pm on Lake Jackson. The City of Avon Park is hosting 4th of July on Main Street starting at 5:00pm with fireworks at 9:00pm, and the Lake Placid Jaycees will host the 2024 Town of Lake Placid fireworks display on Lake June starting at 9:00pm.

Conservationists have something to celebrate in Manatee County. Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring announced yesterday a new sea turtle nesting record has been set. On Tuesday, 546 nests were counted. That breaks by three the old record that was set five years ago. The organization has been counting sea turtle nests since 1983. There are still a few more months to break the record. Nesting season runs through September. Also, the group says the first hatch of the season took place Saturday.

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