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A Florida man got pulled over because of an air freshener. He fought the law — and won.

A Florida man got pulled over because of an air freshener. He fought the law — and won.

/A 2003 traffic stop on Alligator Alley sent Dwight Gordon to prison. He challenged the deputies who pulled him over, and won.Dwight Gordon headed west on Alligator Alley to make the weekly drive from his family home in Miami to his kids in Sarasota.It was mid-day, sunny, light traffic, Gordon recalled. His 1988 Cadillac de Ville smelled like cherries from the two red tree-shaped air fresheners hanging from his rearview mirror.Just before the turn north toward Naples, he passed two Collier County deputies. He made sure he wasn’t speeding. Minutes later, emergency lights flashed behind him.A...

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Kathryn Varn
Apr 24
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Florida officers issued false tickets to drivers they never pulled over, police say

Florida officers issued false tickets to drivers they never pulled over, police say

/One woman learned she was about to lose her license over six unpaid traffic tickets she received on the same day — but she says she was never pulled over.David OvalleHIALEAH — Two Hialeah police motorcycle officers surrendered on Wednesday to face allegations they issued dozens of bogus traffic tickets to motorists.Prosecutors charged Ernesto Arias-Martinez, 23, and Armando Perez, 40, with multiple felony counts of official misconduct and falsifying public records. They were being jailed early Wednesday and are expected to post bond later in the day.Perez had been with Hialeah for five...

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David Ovalle
Apr 21
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Pentagon mystery with a Florida connection is solved. Sort of.

Pentagon mystery with a Florida connection is solved. Sort of.

/What is a shadowy company located atop a bank in Plantation, Florida doing for the Department of Defense?BOSTON — A very strange thing happened on the internet the day President Joe Biden was sworn in. A shadowy company residing at a shared workspace above a Florida bank announced to the world’s computer networks that it was now managing a colossal, previously idle chunk of the internet owned by the U.S. Department of Defense.That real estate has since more than quadrupled to 175 million addresses — about 1/25th the size of the current internet.“It is massive. That is the biggest thing in...

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Tampa Publishing Company
Apr 24
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Puerto Ricans voted for statehood; now they are waiting on Congress | Column

Puerto Ricans voted for statehood; now they are waiting on Congress | Column

|Ruby WakePuerto Ricans voted for statehood; now they are waiting on Congress | ColumnIt’s a shame that politics keeps the will of Puerto Ricans from being realized.We can all agree that in a democratic society, elections should have consequences. Unfortunately, that general rule does not apply to Puerto Rico, whose citizens have voted in favor of statehood for the island three times over the past decade, to no avail. Thankfully, the congressional representative for Puerto Rico, Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon, took action to honor the voice and vote of the people of Puerto Rico by introducing...

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Tampa Publishing Company
Apr 20
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Florida marijuana legalization dealt blow by Florida Supreme Court

Florida marijuana legalization dealt blow by Florida Supreme Court

/Justices found a Constitutional ballot initiative to be “misleading.” TALLAHASSEE — A high-profile effort to legalize marijuana was all but killed by the Florida Supreme Court Thursday.In a , justices ruled a Constitutional ballot initiative by the group Make it Legal Florida to be “misleading.” The ruling came after Attorney General Ashley Moody asked the justices to advise whether the potential Constitutional initiative would be suitable for a future ballot.Make It Legal’s proposal would have left it up to Florida voters to decide whether to allow Floridians older than 21 to possess and...

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Wilson
Apr 22
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Florida ‘disability abortion’ bill has some critics in the disability community

Florida ‘disability abortion’ bill has some critics in the disability community

/Proponents of the bill say it’s a moral imperative to prohibit these abortions, which they liken to “eugenics.”TALLAHASSEE — Most abortion bills are controversial. A bill making its way through the Florida House that would ban “disability abortions” is no exception — particularly for the disability community.But it’s less the “abortion” part of the bill that’s an issue for some in that community. It’s more the “disability” part.The bill, , would ban a doctor from performing an abortion in an instance where they know, or “should know,” a woman is seeking the procedure ”solely on the basis...

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Wilson
Apr 22
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Florida turns the other way as demand rises for police transparency

Florida turns the other way as demand rises for police transparency

/A state court says officers who injure or kill can keep their names secret if they’re victims of a crime. Agencies are retooling protocols.TAMPA — A Florida court ruling allowing officers to keep their names secret from the public is reverberating across state law enforcement agencies and sparking calls for the Legislature to act.The recent appellate court decision comes as a succession of deadly police encounters nationwide fuels calls for greater transparency. Critics of the ruling include some local law enforcement leaders, who say it takes Florida in the wrong direction and shields...

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Tony Marrero
Apr 22
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DeSantis vs. DeSantis: 4 times the Florida governor changed his tune lately

DeSantis vs. DeSantis: 4 times the Florida governor changed his tune lately

/How it started and how it’s going, Florida edition. The following first appeared in the Buzz political newsletter, a weekly dive into the power, politics and influence shaping Florida from Political Editor Steve Contorno and the Tampa Bay Times politics team. To subscribe and receive it in your email inbox each week, .Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis certainly isn’t afraid to speak his mind. Most days, if he’s not on Fox News, he’s in front of local media cameras somewhere in the Sunshine State. He’s the most powerful figure in the third largest state and considered by some the future of his...

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Steve Contorno
Apr 22
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Tampa man was homeless. Then he made $10,000 from YouTube.

Tampa man was homeless. Then he made $10,000 from YouTube.

Lionel B explains how he became a full-time YouTuber with his face on a Times Square billboard.Things were looking down for Lionel Barnes in late 2018. He’d been let go from his information technology job in Plant City. A rocky relationship had ended. He was soon sleeping in his 20-year-old Mercedes with his teenage son, Lionel Jr.He’d park in front of fast food restaurants in Tampa and use the free internet to apply for jobs.Trying to figure out how to come up with some money, he remembered his old Google Adsense account. The platform allows YouTube video creators — something Barnes...

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Christopher Spata
Apr 20
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It fell from the sky: Floridians must call police for found rocket debris

It fell from the sky: Floridians must call police for found rocket debris

/Under a bill headed to Gov. Ron DeSantis, Florida would be the first state to require people to report missing spacecraft parts to police, a lawmaker said.TALLAHASSEE — A warning to Floridians: If a piece of the latest SpaceX rocket falls into your yard, call the police — or else.Under a bill passed by lawmakers Monday, Floridians would face charges for not turning over parts of rockets or other manmade space debris that fall onto their property or wash up on their beach.If you find an object that “reasonably” looks like a space part on your lawn and don’t report it to police, you could be...

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Tampa Publishing Company
February 4, 2020
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