Floridian news somehow manage to always take a turn for the bizarre and unexpected. Things are never as they seem down here in the Sunshine State where we have a combination of allegedly murderous middle school girls, must-visit bathrooms and fluffy-yet-venomous caterpillars.
Nova Southeastern University and its Guy Harvey Research Institute are racing four Mako sharks to predict Florida’s election results. The shark that logs the most miles by the end of the race on Nov. 3 will be the winner. People can follow the sharks by visiting www.ghritracking.org/flrace/or by following #makoprediction on social media. “This is a fun way to focus attention on the research NSU scientists are doing and the plight of sharks in our oceans,’’ said Richards Dodge, dean of the NSU Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography. SunSentinel
A palm tree killed a woman this Saturday at Egmont Key Park. Isabel Melendez was lying in a hammock when the tree fell and hit her around 4 p.m. She was pronounced dead at Bayfront Hospital in St. Petersburg. USA Today
A bathroom at J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge in Sanibel, Florida, was pronounced the winner of the 2018 America’s Best Restroom contest. The restrooms were called “Learning Lavatories,” with features sculptures of sea creatures, wildlife and environmental information. The Insider
Ashton Churchwell was arrested on Monday after his ex-girlfriend accused him of breaking into her home, pistol whipping her boyfriend, firing a gun inside the house, slashing tires and filling the tank of a car outside with dirt. Churchwell was allegedly enraged about childcare arrangements. Miami Herald
Two girls, ages 11 and 12, were arrested Tuesday for allegedly planning a stabbing attack at Bartow Middle School. The girls in the town east of Tampa were found with four knives, scissors and a pizza cutter, with which they were aiming to kill at least 15 students, drink their blood and eat their flesh, according to the police. A search through the girls’ phones found Snapchat messages that read: “We shouldn’t have met each other lol. Now Death is near,” and, “I was thinking like stabbing ourselves in the necks.” CNN
Venomous fluffy caterpillars have returned to Florida, according to recent reports of the creature in Hillsborough County. The stinging spines in the puss caterpillars can cause severe pain. The Florida Poison control center said they get several calls about the issue every year. Tampa Bay Times