5 stories to know in Florida

June 19, 2014 

A daily look at news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday.

SEX OFFENDER APPREHENDED WITH MISSING FLORIDA TEEN Authorities say a registered sex offender who was apprehended while driving through Louisiana with a missing Florida teen will face attempted murder and other charges. Forty-one-year-old Steven Myers of Plant City was arrested late Wednesday after a police chase. He and the 16-year-old girl were both in serious but stable condition, both suffering from stab wounds.

PART OF ZIMMERMAN DEFAMATION LAWSUIT DISMISSED A Florida judge has dismissed part of a lawsuit against NBC Universal that claims the television network defamed George Zimmerman’s reputation. Thursday’s decision puts the entire lawsuit in jeopardy. Seminole County Circuit Judge Debra Nelson ruled that Zimmerman’s attorney waited too long under Florida statute to ask NBC to retract the information from the March 19, 2012 broadcast.

FLORIDA TO HELP FOSTER CHILDREN DRIVE Florida is going to launch a pilot program to help foster children drive. Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday signed a bill that sets up a three year program that will help pay the costs of driver’s education, auto insurance and licensing for eligible foster children. The state has set aside $800,000 for the Department of Children and Families to set up the program.

FLORIDA PANTHER POPULATION IS RISING Officials believe there may be as many as 180 Florida panthers in the wild. Biologists updated the population estimates this week during a conference in Fort Myers. Wildlife officials are also exploring programs designed to encourage private landowners to welcome the panthers onto their property.

U.S. COAST GUARD SEARCHING FOR MISSING BOATERS The U.S. Coast Guard is searching for a man and woman who left Mexico in a catamaran June 9. They never arrived in the Dry Tortugas as anticipated on Friday. A relative called the Coast Guard Monday night when the pair didn’t make it to Key West as planned.

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