Drone footage of Disneyland's Star Wars: Galaxy Edge in construction

A drone captured this aerial peek of Disneyland's Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge (aka "Star Wars land") as it stood at the beginning of last month. I was just at the park this past weekend with my daughter and we caught glimpses of its construction while riding Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. As you'll see, the future planet of Batuu is ginormous (14 acres in total).

The Disney Parks Blog reports:

At Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, guests will be transported to the planet of Batuu, a remote outpost on the galaxy’s edge that was once a busy crossroads along the old sub-lightspeed trade routes. Here, guests will find themselves in the middle of the action at two attractions that take detail and immersion to the next level: one that lets guests take the controls of Millennium Falcon on a customized secret mission, and an epic Star Wars adventure that puts guests in the middle of a climactic battle between the First Order and the Resistance.

As you can see in this video, which Bob Iger shared this morning during the 2018 Annual Meeting of Shareholders, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is shaping up to be one of the most detailed and immersive lands ever created in Disney Parks history.

Star Wars: Galaxy Edge is also being built at Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World. The lands are estimated to cost $1B each and both are set to open in 2019. Yahoo! Read the rest

Parkland teacher who was open to the idea of arming teachers forgets his loaded Glock in a public bathroom

Sean Simpson is a teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who had expressed an openness the idea of arming teachers to prevent school shootings. Read the rest

New Florida law lets beachfront property owners kick people off of public coasts

A new Florida law redefines the reach of beachfront property owners' claims to "the land above the mean high-tide level." This seemingly innocuous change means that private property owners -- and their patrolling rent-a-cops -- will have vastly expanded powers to kick members of the public off of public beaches. Read the rest

Watch this freediver find a crystal-clear spring under Florida swamp gunk

Freediver Jake Koehler, better known as DALLMYD, ignored posted alligator warnings to explore what looked like a garden variety Florida swamp. Below the duckweed covering the surface, he found a crystal-clear freshwater spring. Read the rest

Miami pedestrian bridge collapses, 'several dead,' multiple vehicles trapped beneath

Several people died when a 950-ton pedestrian bridge collapsed over a roadway near Florida International University (FIU). Live video footage of the incident shows 5 or 6 cars flattened beneath, pinned down by enormous concrete slabs. It is hard to imagine any of the people inside having survived, but some have.

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Florida students succeed where so many have failed, force state legislature to pass gun control rules despite ferocious NRA lobbying

On March 7, the Florida legislature passed a gun control bill in a bipartisan 67-50 vote, banning bump-stocks and imposing a 3-day waiting period on long-gun purchases and raising the minimum age for their purchase to 21; the legislation is a mixed bag as it also includes millions to arm and train school employees. Read the rest

Teacher who hosts white supremacist podcast suspended

According to The Hill, a Florida middle school teacher who moonlighted as a hate-spewing white nationalist podcast host has been removed from the classroom by the school board she worked for. Her suspension from shaping young minds was put in place by school board officials while they investigate exactly how shitty a person she might be:

On Friday, March 2, 2018 the Citrus County School District was made aware of a concerning podcast by a Huffington Post reporter. The reporter indicated they believed one of the persons participating in the podcast was a teacher at Crystal River Middle School. The Human Resources department was notified and an investigation was initiated immediately. The teacher has been removed from the classroom and the investigation is ongoing. Pursuant to Florida Statute an open investigation and materials related to it are exempt from public record and cannot be discussed until the investigation is complete.

Last week, the Huffington Post reported that Dayanna Volitich, a 25-year-old social studies teacher at Crystal River Middle School, located just north of Tampa, was hosting a white supremacist podcast, using the name "Tiana Dalichov.” to separate her racist bullshit from her life as a teacher. Given that Volitich bragged on a recent about podcast about bringing white nationalist ideals into her classroom, her being kicked to the curb, even on a temporary basis, is a win for anyone who doesn't want the next generation of Americans raised with a head full of hateful bullshit.

Image via Wikipedia Read the rest

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was surrounded by cowering "good guys with guns"

While a shooter rampaged through Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, the school's armed cop (who was a Broward County Sheriff's Deputy) and three of his deputy colleagues were hiding behind a police car outside the school. Read the rest

'Multiple Fatalities' in Florida Mass Shooting: Suspect in Custody, 20+ Injured at Parkland's Stoneman Douglas High School

Another mass shooting took place in America today at a high school in Parkland, Broward County, Florida. Several hours after 911 calls first came in, authorities are now reporting that at least 20 injured, 1 dead. A suspect has been taken into custody, alive, according to reports. This is a developing story.

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'Florida Man' pleads guilty to child porn charges, then goes full 'Florida Man'

Baffling. Boggling. Florida.

This story has everything from a hitman named 'the Rabbi' to a child pornographer asking his mom to arrange a murder.

Via People:

A Florida man who had pleaded guilty to child pornography now faces additional charges in a suspected murder-for-hire plot to kill the presiding judge in his case, PEOPLE confirms.

To arrange the hit, Robert Anthony O’Hare allegedly used codes while talking to his mother on recorded jailhouse phone calls in Lake County, Florida, according to court documents obtained by PEOPLE.

On Jan. 7, O’Hare allegedly gave his mom a message that said “Kill Briggs.” Investigators believe this was a reference to Judge Don F. Briggs.

Authorities claim that O’Hare asked his mother to write the message down and give it to a friend called “the rabbi.” In the call, O’Hare allegedly told his mother that the rabbi would know what to do.

“As far as the weird scale goes, it’s off the charts, totally,” Lt. John Herrell with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office told local TV station WKMG.

On a subsequent call, O’Hare’s mother allegedly said that she had spoken to the rabbi. “He knows what you want, but he can’t do it.” she said, the court records claim. “He’s just a ‘rabbi.’ ”

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"LOCK HIM UP!" A guy heckles the Trumpbot at Disney World's Hall of Presidents

Jay Malsky knew he'd never get close enough to Donald Trump to heckle him in person, so he did the next best thing, chanting "LOCK HIM UP, LOCK HIM UP" when the Trumpbot took the stage at Walt Disney World's Hall of Presidents. Read the rest

Florida's Weeki Wachee attraction seeks new mermaids

One of the most magical places on Earth* is hiring. Weeki Wachee in Spring Hill, Florida is auditioning for new full-time mermaids.

The Tampa Bay Times reports:

Weeki Wachee Springs State Park is an attraction in Hernando County located near the intersection of State Road 50 and U.S. Highway 19. The attraction that opened in 1947 features performers dressed as mermaids and an underwater theater.

Weeki Wachee Springs State Park will hold auditions Jan. 13 for what it hopes will be several new additions to its world-famous mermaid squad. Currently, the squad has 17 performing mermaids and three princes.

The Weeki Wachee mermaids perform underwater year-round in 72-degree spring water from the head of the Weeki Wachee river. The mermaid show debuted on Oct. 13, 1947, in the theater built of limestone and submerged six feet below the spring’s surface.

The park expects at least 50 women to come for the first, and most physically demanding, part of the audition...

On the first audition day, aspiring mermaids must complete a timed, 300-yard endurance swim, where they swim both with and against the water’s current. If they finish that successfully, candidates must tread water for 10 to 15 minutes...

Candidates will perform underwater ballet moves, like flips, a few feet below water in the park’s submerged mermaid tank that faces a 400-seat auditorium. The underwater audition shows how "comfortable" or "panicky" a candidate looks behind the glass...

Then, after the new mermaids are chosen, they must go under a year's worth of training. Read the rest

Florida man attacks ATM after it dispenses too much money

Michael Joseph Oleksik, of Cocoa, Fla., was charged Friday with criminal mischief after reportedly attacking an ATM machine that gave him too much money. USA Today reports that he caused at least $5000 worth of damage to the device.

Authorities said Oleksik can be seen on surveillance video standing at the ATM, pummeling the electronic teller’s touch screen on Nov. 29. A short time later, an apologetic Oleksik called the bank and told a manager that he punched the ATM because he was ‘angry the ATM was giving him too much money and he did not know what to do,’

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City of Miami demands media stop showing photos of 6 officers fired in racist incident

City of Miami firefighters William Bryson, Kevin Meizoso, David Rivera, Justin Rumbaugh, Harold Santana, and Alejandro Sese (pictured above) were fired over an incident in which a black lieutenant’s family photos were vandalized inside a fire station.

The City of Miami apparently mistakenly released the above photographs of the former firefighters, and would like media outlets to stop sharing them.

Via the Miami Herald:

After releasing the pictures of six firefighters fired over an incident in which someone hung a noose over a black lieutenant’s family photos inside a fire station, the city of Miami is now demanding that the media stop showing their pictures.

Just after midnight Friday morning, an assistant city attorney wrote an email to multiple news outlets demanding that the media “cease and desist from further showing the firefighters pictures in your coverage of this event.” Jones said the photos of the six men had been released accidentally.

“As former first responders, their photos are confidential and exempt under Florida’s public disclosure law and should not have been released,” wrote Kevin R. Jones.

The email was sent to the Miami Herald, WFOR, WPLG and the Associated Press, among other media outlets. The Miami Herald has decided to leave the photos on its website.

Jones’ email came about eight hours after a Miami Fire Rescue spokesman released images from the Sept. 9 incident at Miami Fire Station 12, in which several firefighters are accused of taking an African American lieutenant’s family photos from inside a fire station, removing them from their picture frames and drawing penises on them.

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Florida woman throws handfulls of nacho cheese at 7-11 clerk

Florida. Apparently, a shopper became irate when a dutiful 7-11 clerk asked she pump, rather than scoop her nacho cheese. It is unclear how quickly the disagreement turned violent, but the cheese was thrown.

Via Raw Story:

At nearly 2 a.m, the 7-Eleven clerk in Melbourne, Florida told Stephanie L. Hicks not to open the nacho cheese dispenser to scoop it out. Rather, she was told a customer must pump the cheese out. Hicks ignored her.

The clerk then refused service based on the actions of the customer, which could compromise health standards. Hicks wasn’t having it and chucked the hot nacho cheese as well as a sandwich at the employee.

The clerk then informed Hicks she was calling the police. However, Hicks’ legal justification was that the customer is always right.

When officers arrived they observed yellow nacho cheese on the clerk’s hands, feet and around the register. They watched the in-store video and Hicks was arrested and charged with battery.

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Florida Power and Light lobbyists made it illegal to use solar during outages

Florida Power and Light's grid did not fare well under Hurricane Irma, despite the company's assurances that it had spent billions hardening its systems after 90% of its customers lost power to 2005's Hurricane Wilma. Read the rest

Disney's exclusive Club 33 to open in four new locations

A few years ago, I was invited for a bartending demo at 1901 Lounge, California's Adventure Club 33 counterpart. It was cool but I still dream of knocking Club 33 off my bucket list.

Well, acccording to the Orlando Sentinel, my chances for getting in are increasing, though I will have to travel to Florida. The news outlet is reporting that four new "versions of the high-end establishment will open in each of the four WDW (Walt Disney World) theme parks by this fall." Those four parks being the Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney's Animal Kingdom, and Disney's Hollywood Studios.

The Sentinel article continues:

Disney has not revealed the price structure for Florida’s Club 33s, although a spokeswoman says one fee will cover all four clubs. The “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it” adage springs to mind.

Disney also has not shared where in the parks its new “limited membership clubs” will be or their themes. They might not mirror the California version; we’re not even sure that the ones in Florida will include restaurants.

photo by Sam Howzit Read the rest

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