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Updated: 12 hours 18 min ago

Rick Scott’s TV ad an exercise in stupidity | Letters to the editor

12 hours 43 min ago

I’m one if those who takes great offense at Sen. Rick Scott’s latest TV commercial.

Does Scott really believe his own words, that here in Florida, “we send our kids to school where some radical socialist teacher doesn’t teach them math or English. No, they’re taught that men can have babies and become women.”

How dare he promote that kind of stupidity.

And (referring to the disclaimer at the end of the ad) how can he “approve” such a message? Are lies like this covered by the First Amendment?

It is bad enough that this Florida senator doesn’t seem to know the difference between socialism and communism.

I used to believe that Scott got away with going to prison by saying he didn’t know about the scandal in his company, Columbia/HCA Hospital Corp. However, in hindsight, he may have been telling the truth, as his capacity for understanding appears to be severely compromised.

That’s our junior senator from Florida. How proud we should be.

Steve Axelrad, Hollywood 

Scott and Socialism

Our junior U.S. senator, Rick Scott, has dropped “communism” as a grave threat to us in his latest TV commercial.

This threat, fortunately, has apparently disappeared after all. Instead, Scott’s focus is now on socialism, as he understands it.

Appearing in his U.S. Navy ball cap, which is intended somehow to give him an air of authority on this subject, Scott warns us of some odd aspects of his understanding of this political and economic theory.

Primarily, he tells us, it has teachers teaching students that “men can have babies and become women.”

Where this comes from is anyone’s guess, but it has nothing to do with socialism, which concerns itself with the means of production of goods, distribution of wealth and the welfare of society as a whole.

I am sure our senator can help us understand many things, but socialism is not one of them.

Jeff Light, Coconut Creek 

Only one critical question

Of the four separate indictments and 91 criminal charges Donald Trump faces, how many of them are valid? How many are Democratic “witch hunts?”

How can voters cut through the hype and hyperbole and make an informed and educated decision in November?

To my mind, while all are important, there is really only one absolutely critical question: Did Trump actively participate in the planning and execution of the attempt to overthrow the government of the United States on Jan. 6, 2021?

The U.S. Department of Justice must “fast track” this case. For the Supreme Court to allow — indeed, to facilitate — those questions going unanswered before the election, and to deny the American public of the facts they need before they vote, is ludicrous and beyond reproach.

There is no greater dereliction of duty. I am disgusted and outraged.

Joel Speiser, Delray Beach

A lack of tunnel vision Shay Nissim and Chase, top, and Frank Fratarcangeli and Luna enjoy Tunnel Top Park in downtown Fort Lauderdale, Thursday, Nov. 30, 2023.  (Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun Sentinel)

Along with all the other reasons people are frustrated by the Henry E. Kinney Tunnel debacle (for example, rarely seeing anyone doing construction work, a wasted “tunnel top park” on top, 10 times the money and 10 times as long to build), I now drive through the tunnel to see cheesy-looking yellow painted plywood covering the lighting infrastructure.

This looks so lame. It will obviously be a maintenance debacle, as it is so cheap and I question if it is even up to code.

It is yet another way to waste money on our infrastructure that really shouldn’t have shortcuts or Band-Aids to put lipstick on a pig. The old lighting hardware looked much better than the flimsy-looking plywood.

Diane Scully, Fort Lauderdale

Rangers know what they have and what they’re lacking against Panthers

17 hours 10 min ago

SUNRISE — It has reached a point in a series that will extend to at least six games after three games extended to overtime that the New York Rangers know what they have against the Florida Panthers.

And what they don’t have.

Igor Shesterkin? The reason after arguably being dominated in three of the series’ first four games that the Rangers find themselves tied 2-2 in this best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals Stanley Cup series that now is headed back to Madison Square Garden for Thursday night’s Game 5.

The New York goaltender has been sublime.

Alexis Lafreniere? At the moment the face of the Rangers offense, with his tying goal in Tuesday night’s third period forcing the overtime that ended in the Panthers’ 3-2 victory at Amerant Bank Arena.

Lafreniere in the loss became the fifth player in franchise history with at least seven goals in a postseason before age 23, joining Alex Kovalev, Filip Chytil, Don Maloney and Don Murdoch.

The problem for the Rangers is that previous leading men Chris Kreider and Mika Zibanejad remain missing in action in the series.

Save for tossing Matthew Tkachuk’s mouthpiece into the stands, Kreider again was a non-factor Tuesday night.

“We’ve got to do a better job of advancing pucks up the ice and establishing O-zone presence,” Kreider said. “A lot of that falls on me. I’ve got to be able to get in there and win pucks, get my body on pucks, move my feet and allow us to get up the ice and start rolling.”

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As for Zibanejad, his overtime turnover led to Blake Wheeler’s penalty that led to Sam Reinhart’s winning goal — hardly the type of tic-tac-toe typically expected from Zibanejad.

“I should have probably just made a different play, or decision, but I made the decision there then. I can’t change it now,” Zibanejad said. “That’s sports. Just come back and try to make another decision next time and hope it goes my way.”

With Kreider and Zibanejad, it continues to be trial and error. This time, with Chytil held out amid his injury return, the Rangers opened with Jack Roslovic on the top line, before eventually cycling to Kaapo Kakko.

For the first half of Tuesday night’s game, the debate was whether Shesterkin was impenetrable, swallowing a backhand breakaway from Evan Rodrigues, foiling a Carter Verhaeghe break in from the left circle, and recovering from a sliding save to deny Alexander Barkov to keep the Panthers scoreless for the first period-plus.

And then? Two the hard way, gritty, grimy goals by Sam Bennett on a failed clear by K’Andre Miller in the crease and Verhaeghe on a bouncing puck directly in front of the net.

From there, even at 2-1 Panthers, it could have been worse, if not for a one-on-one point-blank stop on former Rangers teammate Vladimir Tarasenko early in the third period.

Ultimately, though, the onslaught proved too much, even with Shesterkin coming up with four highlight stops against Barkov.

In the end, too much going in one direction, this time the Rangers without the salvation of the overtime victories in the previous two games.

“We can’t afford lapses like that,” Rangers coach Peter Laviolette said of his team’s decided dropoff after Tuesday night’s opening period. “I definitely think that we need to be better.”

Florida Panthers win in overtime against New York Rangers | PHOTOS

Dave Hyde: Sam Reinhart ends it and Panthers’ season can breathe again

17 hours 22 min ago

SUNRISE — And then they solved Igor Shesterkin. Or cracked him. Or maybe just beat him, for once.

You pick the verb for Sam Reinhart taking the pass in his office out front of the net, right where he makes his money. He put a shot over the shoulder of Shesterkin, the New York Rangers’ brick wall of a goalie, and the Florida Panthers could breathe again.

They won, 3-2 in overtime, Tuesday night in overtime of Game 4. They evened the series, two games apiece heading to Thursday’s Game 5 in New York.

Aleksander Barkov was pulled down by the Rangers’ Blake Wheeler in the opening stanza to start the winning power play. Barkov could’ve been awarded a penalty shot.

“I’m not sure I want to answer the question,” coach Paul Maurice said about if he wanted to it to be a penalty shot. “We hadn’t scored on a penalty shot all day.”

Shesterkin, he meant, had stopped breakaway after breakaway in the game from one on Carter Verhaeghe in the first period. All night long, the Panthers had chances just like in their Game 3 overtime loss.

Even their goals weren’t pretty. They were beyond trying for style points. There was an audible tension in the building measured in a developing silence the longer the Rangers led 1-0 in the second period.

It wasn’t so much the lead. It was Shesterkin. He kept that lead just by his five-star stops on Barkov. Out front. On rebounds. Barkov had the kind of chances that result in scores. His best chance, a breakaway late in the second period, came after the Panthers had cracked Shesterkin — if that’s how you want term it.

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The Panthers first goal came on a power play when Sam Bennett’s nice shot out front was stopped by Shesterkin but settled loose under him. Bennett did it the hard way then, pushing through the Rangers defensemen, getting his stick under Shesterkin and jamming the puck so it trickled across the goal line.

Whatever it takes, right?

The Panthers’ second goal, another power play, was pretty only for Verhaeghe’s hand-eye coordination. Matthew Tkachuk’s pass to Verhaeghe out front resulted in a shot that popped off Shesterkin into the air. Verhaeghe connected on his backswing to swat it in the net.

Still, the Rangers have some pixie dust on their side, this ability to smartly find whatever limited opportunities are available. The Rangers’ little-used fourth line with team mascot Matt Rempe had its big moment. The Panthers’ depth is obvious — but wasn’t as central to Tuesday night as the Rangers’ ability to meet opportunity.

Florida Panthers win in overtime against New York Rangers | PHOTOS

Rempe hadn’t even played four minutes early in the third period when coach Peter Laviolette seemed to have no choice but play them or wear out everyone else. Rested and hungry, that line created such pressure the Panthers’ Dmitry Kulikov iced the puck with his fourth-liners on the ice.

Any sport is about matchups. That icing allowed the Rangers to bring out their top line against the Panthers’ fourth line, and the result was Alexis Lafreniere tapping in his second goal of the night to tie it, 2-2.

See how the Rangers are winning?

They might not be better. They’re certainly not deeper. And, statistically, this series is a lopsided mess. A game after the Panthers had 108-44 shot advantage, they had an 86-44 shot advantage in regulation. That doesn’t even tell the story. Ten of the Rangers’ 23 shots on net came on their three power plays. So they had 13 shots the other 54 minutes

But New York has a goalie who’s capable of stealing a playoff series and a team taking advantage of any opportunity. Their best skater is Vincent Trocheck, the former Panther who hasn’t stopped people from wondering what former general manager Dale Tallon was thinking in one of his final acts by trading him to Carolina. The only remaining Panther from the trade is third-liner Eetu Luostarinen.

Still, something had to give in Tuesday’s overtime. The Panthers were 64-0-4 when leading after two periods. The Rangers didn’t just have two overtime wins this series. They had 34 comeback wins this season, including six in the playoffs.

Reinhart ended it Tuesday night. His goal breathed life back into not just this series but this Panthers season. To New York it goes.

Profar homers and Estrada sets expansion-era strikeout record as Padres beat Marlins

17 hours 43 min ago

By BERNIE WILSON

SAN DIEGO — Jurickson Profar homered and reliever Jeremiah Estrada extended his club-record strikeout streak to 13 straight batters, the most in the expansion era, for the San Diego Padres, who beat the Miami Marlins 4-0 on Tuesday night for their third straight win.

Estrada achieved his milestone by striking out the side in the ninth. He celebrated by pounding his chest and glove and blowing a kiss to the sky. A few minutes later, he got a Gatorade shower from his teammates.

All 13 strikeouts in the streak have been swinging.

“It’s kind of hard to believe,” said Estrada, 25, who was picked up off waivers from the Cubs in November. “I feel like I just got done playing a video game and I finally accomplished a mission that I’ve been trying to go after for so long.”

Estrada, who is from the Palm Springs area, said he knew Robert Suarez was unavailable after getting consecutive saves.

“It’s hard for it sink in right now. I just feel like I did my job and we got the win,” said Estrada, who was recalled from Triple-A on April 26.

Knuckleballer Matt Waldron pitched seven impressive innings — his longest stint in the majors — for the win.

Waldron said watching Estrada is “incredible. He looks like he’s having a lot of fun out there and his confidence … he was in Triple-A like a month ago, so it’s awesome to see him dominate at this level.”

Manager Mike Shildt said Estrada has “an elite fastball, and then tonight he was throwing some splitters that were filthy. … He has a special arm and special stuff.”

Estrada said his primary off-speed pitch is a split-circle-change that he calls a “chitter.”

The Padres’ win streak follows five straight home losses, including a three-game sweep at the hands of the Colorado Rockies, who have the NL’s second-worst record, and two games in which they were overpowered by the New York Yankees, who have the AL’s best record. The Marlins have the NL’s worst record. The Padres are just 13-18 at home.

Profar continues to have a great season after signing a $1 million, one-year deal to return to the Padres.

He went deep against Jesús Luzardo with one out in the first and Fernando Tatis Jr. aboard on a single, with the ball sailing over the outstretched glove of leaping center fielder Jazz Chisholm Jr. It was his eighth homer.

The Padres hit three straight singles with one out in the fifth, with Profar’s base hit bringing in Luis Arraez, who was traded from Miami to San Diego on May 4.

Donovan Solano had three hits, including an RBI double in the eighth.

Waldron (3-5) held the Marlins to six hits while striking out eight and walking none.

Luzardo (2-4) allowed seven hits in six innings. He struck out four and walked two.

The Padres held a moment of silence for Bill Walton, the basketball Hall of Famer and San Diego-area native who died of cancer Monday at 71. The big screen showed a picture of a smiling Walton in a Padres jersey with his arms upraised and a baseball in his right hand before he threw a ceremonial first pitch in 2012, with a background of a psychedelic image that was a nod to his love for the Grateful Dead.

UP NEXT

Marlins LHP Braxton Garrett (1-0, 5.30 ERA) and RHP Yu Darvish (4-2, 3.04 ERA) are scheduled to start the series finale on Wednesday.

Daily Horoscope for May 29, 2024

17 hours 43 min ago
General Daily Insight for May 29, 2024

Our present mental battles might have deep emotional roots. When the spontaneous Aquarius Moon squares logical Mercury, we may feel compelled to pursue ideas that don’t quite make rational sense. As aggressive Mars conjoins angsty Chiron at 1:08 pm EDT, maybe standing firm on our current brainstorms seems necessary to compensate for any past humiliations. Luna then migrates into imaginative Pisces and squares theatrical Jupiter, enticing us to amp up the drama. We should probably rein it in before we cause lasting harm.

Aries

March 21 – April 19

You’re potentially hungry to prove yourself at the moment. With proud Mars meeting touchy Chiron in your sign, you’re likely on high alert for any perceived provocation. Alas, an acquaintance could easily deliver an offhand comment that spikes your anxiety over whether your income or possessions measure up to those of your peers. Additionally, talking too big can get you in trouble — in your haste to impress others, you might reveal something that’s better kept private. Know which fights are worth your time.

Taurus

April 20 – May 20

A private shame could weigh on you throughout your day. You might be struggling with hidden feelings of inadequacy as potent Mars and painful Chiron duke it out in your 12th House of Secrets. The people around you may have no idea that you’re dealing with this — particularly if your problem is something that doesn’t typically come up in the way you present yourself. You’re not required to tell others what’s upsetting you, but be careful to avoid taking your stress out on them.

Gemini

May 21 – June 20

Bad feelings are threatening to spoil the atmosphere of your social network. Perhaps the people around you seem to be holding tightly to unresolved grievances. While the sentimental Moon in your philosophical 9th house stumbles into perceptive Mercury in your contemplation sector, you may be tempted to help them by sharing personal beliefs that have helped you through your struggles. That might not be what your current audience genuinely needs! What comforts you won’t necessarily comfort everyone, so just listen for the time being.

Cancer

June 21 – July 22

You may currently crave more power to direct the course of your life. As assertive Mars tangles with testy Chiron in your goal-oriented 10th house, however, you could become aware that what you want comes with costs. Are you willing to hurt someone else on a personal level, if that’s what it would take? Sharing private information to get ahead in the moment will have long-term consequences. Although you might not be able to eliminate pain entirely, using common sense can reduce it.

Leo

July 23 – August 22

Feeling judged by someone else for your lack of cultural refinement is a present risk. You may want to respond to your critic’s complaints by bringing yourself up to their standards as soon as possible. How serious is their grievance, though? As the sensitive Moon in your relationship zone conflicts with fault-finding Mercury in your authority sector, this person is potentially purposefully stomping on a weak spot of yours to wield power over you. Seek a friend’s opinion for a reality check.

Virgo

August 23 – September 22

The prospect of opening up emotionally to another person may seem scary now. As desirous Mars meets wounded Chiron in your 8th House of Intimacy, perhaps you only see everything that could go wrong. Hiding from this challenge by burying yourself in your responsibilities is one possible path forward. Still, that won’t provide the adventure that you also probably want on some level. You can’t entirely have it both ways, but you can manage your risk by being aware of plausible conflicts.

Libra

September 23 – October 22

Confrontation could seem inevitable today. You might feel like maintaining a crucial relationship requires you to sacrifice too much of yourself. Keep in mind that your companion can’t make room for your needs if you won’t tell them what they are. As the vulnerable Moon in your 5th House of Self-Expression agitates verbal Mercury in your sharing sector, you have a chance to do something about that. Negotiation isn’t always easy, but it’s a better way to improve a situation than stewing in silence.

Scorpio

October 23 – November 21

You’re currently capable of working hard, but that doesn’t mean you don’t resent circumstances that have loaded you with more than your share of responsibilities. Talking to another person involved in the situation might bring you relief — they may be surprisingly willing to share the weight. At that point, the hard part could be processing your overall emotions. You potentially got the idea early in life that being needed meant you were secure. You’ll have to satisfy that longing another way.

Sagittarius

November 22 – December 21

Expressing yourself without hurting others might be an ongoing challenge. While the impulsive Moon in your communication zone provokes detail-oriented Mercury in your practical 6th house, you may feel like airing a critical comment is only stating the truth — and even doing the recipient a favor by giving them an opportunity to improve! When you’re comfortable with yourself, though, lording it over everyone else typically isn’t so tempting. Look within to find out what’s blocking you from this sense of peace.

Capricorn

December 22 – January 19

Your efforts to improve your home could come up against a roadblock at any moment. As the anxious Moon in your 2nd House of Resources squares brilliant Mercury in your creative 5th house, worries about money may intrude upon your artistic vision. Talking things out with someone else involved in the situation has the potential to broaden your options. No matter what led up to the present challenge, you’ll go further if you can resist the temptation to feel sorry for yourself.

Aquarius

January 20 – February 18

Saying something harsh is possible today. As the volatile Moon in your sign lashes out at contemplative Mercury in your 4th House of Roots, you may be feeling sensitive, especially if you’ve been ruminating on difficult experiences from your upbringing. Perhaps you secretly think that everything you’ve suffered gives you the right to take out your pain on other people. There are less destructive ways to nurture your inner child in the here and now! Within reasonable limits, it’s okay to invest in pleasure.

Pisces

February 19 – March 20

You may currently be obsessed with the prospect of making more money. Is that what defines your self-worth? Maybe that sounds shallow, but you feel how you feel, regardless of what you think the right answer is supposed to be. As the impressionable Moon in your anxious 12th house goads articulate Mercury in your mental 3rd house, you’d be better off being totally honest — at least with yourself — regarding your concerns. That way, you can thoughtfully decide where to go from there.

Florida Panthers win in overtime against New York Rangers | PHOTOS

Tue, 05/28/2024 - 20:45
Florida Panthers win in overtime against New York Rangers in Game of the Eastern Conference Finals on Tuesday, May 28, 2024.

Panthers win in third-straight overtime game, evening Eastern Conference finals with Rangers

Tue, 05/28/2024 - 20:13

SUNRISE —The Florida Panthers will come back to Sunrise this season.

Sam Reinhart scored an overtime game-winner in a 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals at Amerant Bank Arena on Tuesday. The victory evened the series at two games apiece, setting up a best-of-three series to decide the conference’s representative in the Stanley Cup Final.

“You can’t lose focus for a moment,” Reinhart said. “You see that time and time again. No shock, it’s been a close series. A couple bounces here and there to give the team a couple of wins.”

Reinhart’s game-winner came on a power play 1:11 into the overtime period. Defenseman Brandon Montour passed to captain Aleksander Barkov down low, who immediately passed to Reinhart in the slot.

“It was about as well-executed as you can,” Panthers coach Paul Maurice said. “Their pressure was really effective. It wasn’t a mistake there. It was just two really good teams and one made the play.”

Vincent Trocheck put New York on the board to start, winning a power-play faceoff before Artemi Panarin fed him the puck in the high slot. Trocheck’s one-timer sailed above Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky’s right shoulder, giving the Rangers an early advantage.

The Rangers looked dangerous throughout the first period, nearly scoring again when a Mika Zibanejad shot rattled off the crossbar on another power play.

“I think we wanted it so bad, I think we were gripping our sticks a little tight in the first,” Panthers center Sam Bennett said. “Then we started to loosen up and just relax, started making more plays, got back to our game that we’ve had success with all year.”

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Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin was brilliant for the first period and a half and appeared unbeatable, but he finally let a puck past him. Bennett fired a shot at Shesterkin, and the goalie could not corral it. Bennett poked it past Shesterkin, getting Florida on the board with 11:15 left in the second period.

“We’ve been throwing a lot at them, trying to get a lot more shots on net,” Bennett said. They’ve been doing a good job of blocking shots, but I knew they’re not always pretty. Sometimes they’re really greasy, and that’s how playoff hockey goals are scored. I’ll take that one.”

The Panthers seized the momentum at that point and converted on a power play. After Barclay Goodrow, who scored two goals in New York’s Game 3 win, went to the penalty box for delay of game, Florida winger Carter Verhaeghe gave the Panthers the lead.

Matthew Tkachuk fed Verhaeghe the puck in front of the net, and it bounced off a Rangers player. Verhaeghe swatted it out of the air with his stick and got it into the net.

Florida had all the energy in the second period, getting 33 shot attempts off to New York’s 10. But the Rangers were not done for the night.

Defenseman Adam Fox spun and backhanded a pass to Alexis Lafreniere in front of the Panthers’ net, and the Canadian deflected the pass past Bobrovsky to tie the game early in the third period. That score held until extra time.

New York and Florida square off again on Thursday at 8 p.m. at Madison Square Garden as both teams look to edge ahead in this tight series where three of the four games so far have gone to overtime.

“I think we hoped (the series would be close),” Maurice said. “You don’t start at home for a reason. They finished ahead of you. They have an elite team. So you know if you play really well and really hard, you’ve got a chance. For the most part, it’s going to look even. I think it’s phenomenal hockey.”

Sean Kingston waives extradition in California and will return to South Florida to face fraud charges

Tue, 05/28/2024 - 18:47

Rapper and singer Sean Kingston waived his extradition hearing Tuesday, agreeing to return to South Florida since his arrest last week in California on a warrant for multiple fraud and theft charges.

Kingston, whose real name is Kisean Anderson, was arrested on a warrant in Fort Irwin, California, on Thursday evening  — the same day Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies raided his mansion in Southwest Ranches related to the alleged theft and fraud. His mother, Janice Turner, was also arrested Thursday on multiple fraud and theft charges, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Kingston, 34, did not make a public court appearance but signed papers agreeing to skip extradition hearings, representatives from San Bernardino courts and sheriff told The Associated Press.

“Anderson is still in custody here in San Bernardino County,” San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department spokesperson Mara Rodriguez said in an email to the South Florida Sun Sentinel Tuesday night. “Broward County has been made aware of the extradition status and will make arrangements to pick him up for transfer of custody.”

Rapper Sean Kingston, his mother arrested on fraud charges after SWAT raid at his Southwest Ranches home

Kingston remained in the West Valley Detention Center in San Bernardino County without bail as of Tuesday evening, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department inmate records show.

The family’s attorney Robert Rosenblatt did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment Tuesday night and could not be reached by phone. Rosenblatt told the Sun Sentinel last week that Kingston would waive his extradition hearing and return to Florida soon.

Kingston’s mother was released from jail this week after posting bail from a legitimate source, a court order signed by a judge on Sunday shows.

Kingston is facing 10 charges: organized scheme to defraud over $50,000; four counts of criminal use of personal identification information; three counts of grand theft, two of them worth over $100,000; one count of uttering an insufficient funds check for over $150; and one count of violating his probation, according to an arrest warrant signed three days before the Sheriff’s Office raid.

His mother is facing eight charges: organized scheme to defraud over $50,000; three counts of criminal use of personal identification information; grand theft greater than $20,000 and less than $100,000; making an insufficient funds check greater than $150; and two counts of grand theft greater than $100,000, according to an arrest warrant.

Singer-rapper Sean Kingston faces extradition to Florida; warrants detail fraud, theft charges against him and his mother

Kingston and his mother are accused of defrauding multiple business, including a jewelry business, a luxury bed company, a used luxury and exotic car dealership and a luxury microLED TV company, since October 2023, the warrants said.

A piece of furniture from the luxury bed company was worth over $86,000 while a Cadillac Escalade from the dealership worth nearly $160,000 and $480,000 worth of jewelry from another person, according to the warrants. At least $300,000 was allegedly fraudulently obtained by Turner and Kingston by using the personal identification information of Bank of America and First Republic Bank.

The hours-long raid at Kingston’s home was a spectacle in Southwest Ranches. Law enforcement and people who had sold items to Kingston were seen moving in and out of the property for hours, packing up two U-Haul trucks.

Attorney Dennis Card is representing a company actively suing Kingston over breach of contract and fraud. Workers for Ver Ver Entertainment installed a $150,000 home entertainment system at Kingston’s mansion that they said in their February lawsuit complaint Kingston only paid a down payment of $30,000.

Card told reporters outside of Kingston’s house Thursday that his clients were removing the entertainment system, and one of the other items removed from Kingston’s home was a bed worth about $80,000.

Kingston is actively on felony probation from a 2020 offense of trafficking in stolen property. The probation is set to end in October 2025, Florida Department of Corrections records say.

 Sun Sentinel staff writer Shira Moolten contributed to this report.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Transitional council in Haiti selects new prime minister for a country under siege by gangs

Tue, 05/28/2024 - 15:42

By DÁNICA COTO (Associated Press)

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — U.N. development specialist Garry Conille was named Haiti’s new prime minister Tuesday evening, nearly a month after a coalition within a fractured transitional council sought to choose someone else for the position.

The long-awaited move comes as gangs continue to terrorize the capital of Port-au-Prince, opening fire in once peaceful neighborhoods and using heavy machinery to demolish several police stations and prisons.

Council member Louis Gérald Gilles told The Associated Press that six out of seven council members with voting power chose Conille earlier Tuesday. He said one member, Laurent St. Cyr, was not in Haiti and therefore did not vote.

Conille has been UNICEF’s regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean since January 2023 and previously served as Haiti’s prime minister from October 2011 to May 2012 under then President Michel Martelly. He replaces Michel Patrick Boisvert, who was named interim prime minister after Ariel Henry resigned via letter in late April.

Henry was on an official trip to Kenya when a coalition of powerful gangs launched coordinated attacks Feb. 29, seizing control of police stations, shooting at Haiti’s main international airport and storming the country’s two biggest prisons, releasing more than 4,000 inmates.

Henry was locked out of the country by the attacks, with the airport in the Port-au-Prince capital remaining shuttered for nearly three months.

Gang violence is still surging in parts of Haiti’s capital and beyond as Conille takes over the helm of the troubled Caribbean country awaiting the U.N.-backed deployment of a police force from Kenya and other countries.

Conille studied medicine and public health and helped develop health care in impoverished communities in Haiti, where he helped coordinate reconstruction efforts after the devastating 2010 earthquake.

He worked for several years at the United Nations before Martelly designated him as prime minister in 2011. Conille resigned less than a year later following clashes with the president and his Cabinet over an investigation into government officials who have dual nationality, which is not allowed by Haiti’s constitution.

Conille has an arduous task ahead of him, having to quell rampant gang violence while helping lift Haiti out of deep poverty, with inflation reaching a record 29%, according to the latest data available. In recent years, gangs that control at least 80% of Port-au-Prince have forced more than 360,000 people from their homes, and they continue to control key routes from the capital to Haiti’s northern and southern regions, often paralyzing the transportation of critical goods.

The selection of Conille as prime minister comes just weeks after former Haitian sports minister Fritz Bélizaire was chosen for the post in late April by a four-member coalition within the nine-member transitional council in a surprise announcement that angered many. Critics said proper procedure was not followed as dictated by the framework that established the council, so a new process was started to choose a prime minister, with dozens of names submitted for the post.

The drawn-out process has been criticized by many, including the Montana Accord, a Haitian civil society group that has a representative on the council.

In a statement Tuesday, the group accused the council of not taking any “consequential measures” since being installed as “the suffering of the people is getting worse, while the gangs are taking control of more territory and committing more crimes.”

It also accused the council of not being transparent while choosing a new prime minister, saying it did not publicly share the criteria used or the names submitted, among other things.

Liné Balthazar, president of the Tet Kale party, called on the council to be transparent in an interview Monday with Magik9, a local radio station, and said the selection of a prime minister appeared improvised.

In addition to selecting a new prime minister, the nine-member council, of which seven have voting powers, also has to appoint a provisional electoral commission, a requirement before elections can take place. The council’s non-renewable mandate expires Feb. 7, 2026, at which date a new president is scheduled to be sworn in.

In addition to picking a new prime minister, the council also is responsible for selecting a new Cabinet and holding general elections by the end of next year.

The council members are Emmanuel Vertilaire for Petit Desalin, a party led by former senator and presidential candidate Jean-Charles Moïse; Smith Augustin for EDE/RED, a party led by former Prime Minister Claude Joseph; Fritz Alphonse Jean of the Montana Accord; Leslie Voltaire for Fanmi Lavalas, the party of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide; Louis Gérald Gilles for the Dec. 21 coalition that backs former Prime Minister Ariel Henry; Edgard Leblanc Fils for the Jan. 30 Collective, which represents parties including that of former President Michel Martelly; and Laurent Saint-Cyr for the private sector.

Groups challenge Florida death penalty ‘game of chance’

Tue, 05/28/2024 - 14:16

TALLAHASSEE — A 2023 law that lowered the number of jurors needed to recommend execution has resulted in a “quintessential game of chance” for inmates being resentenced because of changes in the state’s death-penalty process and unconstitutionally “silences Black voices,” groups are arguing in what could be a pivotal Florida Supreme Court case.

The law allowed death sentences to be imposed based on the recommendations of eight of 12 jurors, an easier threshold than a previous requirement of unanimous jury recommendations. The change — prompted by Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz receiving a life sentence after a jury did not unanimously recommend death — gave Florida the lowest death-penalty jury standard in the nation.

Allowing 8-4 recommendations was the latest in a series of changes in the capital-sentencing process after a 2016 U.S. Supreme Court decision in a case known as Hurst v. Florida found the state’s process unconstitutional.

That ruling led the Florida Supreme Court to decide unanimous recommendations were required for death sentences, which the Legislature later enshrined in state law. Justices ordered resentencing for about 150 Death Row inmates who had been sentenced based on non-unanimous jury recommendations.

Amid the resentencings, however, a revamped Florida Supreme Court backed away from the unanimous requirement and paved the way for the 8-4 law, which took effect April 20, 2023.

Michael James Jackson, who was convicted of two 2005 Jacksonville murders, is among about 40 Death Row inmates whose resentencings were pending when the 8-4 law went into effect. A jury voted 8-4 on May 25, 2023, to recommend execution for Jackson, and a judge issued a death sentence in August.

In a friend-of-the-court-brief filed last week in the Jackson case, a coalition of groups argued that the different death-penalty standards have injected an unconstitutional haphazardness in the resentencing process in cases that were pending when the law changed.

The groups, including the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Florida Public Defender Association, the Florida Justice Institute, Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty and Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty, argued that the 8-4 requirement has been applied “based on chance.”

The resentencing standards hinged on “an arbitrary line-drawing based on the date” the sentencing was finalized, Melanie Kalmanson, an attorney with the Quarles & Brady LLP firm who frequently writes about the death penalty, wrote on behalf of the groups.

“Data on the Hurst resentencing proceedings show that whether a capital defendant was resentenced under Florida’s post-Hurst unanimity statute or the 8-4 statute is the quintessential game of chance,” the brief filed Thursday said.

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Jackson’s case — the first direct Florida Supreme Court death-penalty appeal under the 2023 law — also drew a brief Tuesday from groups and Black state lawmakers alleging the 8-4 law unconstitutionally violates equal protection rights of jurors and “silences Black voices.”

Groups signing onto Tuesday’s brief included the NAACP Florida State Conference and Equal Ground Education Fund, Inc., along with five Black state representatives and a former state senator, who are Democrats.

The 2023 law “disproportionately excludes Black jurors’ votes in capital sentencing,” Christopher Belelieu, an attorney with the Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher firm, wrote in the 29-page brief.

“Like systemic state systems of exclusion and racially-tainted peremptory strikes, non-unanimous juries operate to exclude the voices of Black jurors, thereby depriving jurors of the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment,” the brief said.

The law, “by design,” operates to “prevent up to a third of jurors from having their voices heard,” Belelieu wrote.

“A law that denies jurors the equal right to have their voices heard is patently unconstitutional, and undermines confidence and legitimacy in the judicial process,” the brief said.

Tuesday’s brief also said that jury non-unanimity “has historically been, and continues to function as, a method to disenfranchise Black jurors and to erase their votes in derogation of their constitutional rights.”

Such “racial bias … imperils the legitimacy of the entire judicial process,” Belelieu wrote.

As of March 31, only a fraction — 17 percent — of resentencings decided under the unanimity requirement had resulted in death sentences, according to the brief filed last week. While Jackson was sentenced after an 8-4 recommendation, a jury in January voted 9-3 to recommend death for inmate Bessman Okafor in an Orange County murder, but he will not be sentenced by a judge until June.

The court needs to “rectify the unconstitutional arbitrariness created by this new subset of cases,” Kalmanson wrote. The brief does not seek a ruling on the underlying constitutionality of the 8-4 law but asks the court to “level the playing field for those prisoners who were granted a new penalty phase after Hurst.”

The brief also maintained that disparity in the application of the death-sentencing standards violates constitutional protections against cruel and unusual punishment.

“The U.S. Supreme Court has made clear that this right includes protection against the arbitrary infliction of the death penalty,” Kalmanson wrote. “The procedural roulette that Florida’s Death Row prisoners have been forced to play since Hurst is the epitome of the arbitrariness the Eighth Amendment bars in capital punishment.”

The date a death sentence becomes final is dependent on several factors outside of the defendant’s control, the brief filed last week argued. The COVID-19 pandemic, natural disasters such as hurricanes and attorneys’ schedules can also slow the process.

Jackson’s case “illustrates this uncertainty,” Kamalson wrote. Jackson was considered the “mastermind” behind the deaths of Reggie and Carol Sumner, a pair of 61-year-olds who were buried alive after being kidnapped from their Jacksonville home. One of Jackson’s codefendants, Alan Wade, was resentenced to life in prison without parole under the unanimity law. Another codefendant, Tiffany Cole, was resentenced to life under the 8-4 requirement.

“Had Mr. Jackson’s resentencing proceeded just months earlier under the unanimity statute, he would have received a different sentence (like Mr. Wade did). Imposing sentences of death based on chance is the antithesis of the protections afforded by the Eighth Amendment and, likewise, article I, section 17, of the Florida Constitution,” Kalmanson argued, referring to part of the Florida Constitution that addresses cruel and unusual punishment.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the Supreme Court had not accepted either of the briefs.

Jackson’s case “particularly highlights the sheer arbitrariness of Florida’s death penalty,” Maria DeLiberato, executive director of Floridians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, told The News Service of Florida on Tuesday.

“But for several random acts, including a hurricane, Mr. Jackson’s trial would have proceeded under unanimity,” DeLiberato, an attorney, said. “The Legislature’s 2023 law change, eliminating unanimity, has thrust Florida’s death penalty scheme into chaos. Mr. Jackson has a strong claim that his death sentence is not the product of a lawful, constitutional verdict, but instead is wholly arbitrary and unreliable.”

Daily Horoscope for May 28, 2024

Mon, 05/27/2024 - 21:00
General Daily Insight for May 28, 2024

Life may flow smoothly at present. If we want to turn the good vibes into a productive outcome, we might need to put in extra effort. The social Aquarius Moon trines popular Venus, empowering us to connect with one another. However, as Luna goes on to trine the egocentric Sun at 5:54 am EDT, maintaining our relationships shouldn’t stop us from advocating for our unique needs. It’s okay to just enjoy a moment of balance — perhaps we’ll see renewed possibilities once we’re calm.

Aries

March 21 – April 19

Building your social network is likely to be rewarding today. As the attentive Moon in your 11th House of Community smiles at both friendly Venus and the warm Sun in your communication zone, you’re in an ideal position to strike up a conversation with someone new. You’re equipped to identify the individuals within a large gathering who are just the people you need to meet right now. Even if you’re coming together for a practical purpose, you can have plenty of fun along the way!

Taurus

April 20 – May 20

A glimpse of your larger goals could become available. When the idealistic Moon in your ambitious 10th house stimulates abundant Venus in your 2nd House of Resources, you’re likely to feel pretty positive regarding your finances. This can give you more room to think about possibilities you wouldn’t otherwise have considered. Investing in yourself may be a big commitment, but it should give you valuable control over the outcome. Seriously ponder how much you’re willing to give — on all levels.

Gemini

May 21 – June 20

Venturing outside your comfort zone could be worth it today. While the candid Moon in your adventurous 9th house coordinates with both pleasant Venus and the optimistic Sun in your sign, you may feel basically secure no matter what you do. You might as well seize the opportunity to do something that would otherwise seem intimidating, like visiting a community of people who are very different from you in some way. You’re absolutely able to put your best foot forward under these circumstances.

Cancer

June 21 – July 22

Your dreams and fantasies may be especially interesting at this time. If you want to just sink into them and enjoy them, that’s totally understandable! That said, as the perceptive Moon in your intense 8th house engages with both pleasure planet Venus and the illuminating Sun in your 12th House of the Subconscious, you also have the option to do more. Putting in a smidgeon of effort to thoughtfully analyze the images that are coming up for you could yield transformative insights.

Leo

July 23 – August 22

Socializing with a large group of people could be a lot of fun for you today. You won’t necessarily get a chance to chat one-on-one with everyone there, but you’ll potentially find exactly the individual you need to meet. Managing expectations might require some thought — while you may be interested in looking good and improving your reputation, be aware that your companion could be coming from a more vulnerable place. Neither perspective is objectively wrong, but both sides must be dealt with honestly.

Virgo

August 23 – September 22

Your attention to detail can win you the approval of an authority figure today. Maybe you’ll receive the recognition from them that you’ve been craving for a while. Although you certainly have the right to enjoy it, you don’t have to stop there. As the devoted Moon in your responsible 6th house trines the individualistic Sun in your ambition zone, make an effort to assess how this progress serves your goals. Getting noticed by others is great, but you must look out for yourself sometimes.

Libra

September 23 – October 22

Learning for pleasure could be especially rewarding at this time. While the inquisitive Moon in your individualistic 5th house encourages the vibrant Sun in your research sector, you might choose to study a subject related to one of your hobbies — or a philosophy that helps you understand yourself better. When no one else is forcing you to hit the books, you have room to go about it in your ideal personal style. Take note of the strategies that seem to work well for you.

Scorpio

October 23 – November 21

A solid self-care regimen can support your current efforts to build emotional intimacy with another person. While the nurturing Moon in your cozy 4th house harmonizes with the energetic Sun in your sharing sector, you’re likely to accurately understand that some things aren’t a group project. Even an ideal companion can’t meet certain needs that are yours to attend to on your own. When you respect those limits, you’ll be ideally positioned to give and receive love in the healthiest possible way.

Sagittarius

November 22 – December 21

Pleasant conversation is possible today. However, as the sentimental Moon in your communication sector inflates bubbly Venus in your relationship zone, you’re potentially interested in maintaining a flow of warm feelings at any cost. For example, you might butter the other person up and then hear only what you want to hear in response. Even when your companion has genuinely admirable qualities, idealizing them in an over-the-top way can speedily cause disappointment down the road. Do your best to keep it real.

Capricorn

December 22 – January 19

Your work may feel easier than usual at the moment. Due to the observant Moon in your 2nd House of Resources aligning with fortunate Venus in your responsible 6th house, you probably have an especially clear view of the benefits you can receive in exchange for your effort. Yes, money is typically good to have, and you might get that now. Beyond that, though, pride in a job well done can increase your inner sense of self-worth. Appreciate the whole picture.

Aquarius

January 20 – February 18

You’re likely to be aware of your needs today. The nourishing Moon in your sign is engaging with the assertive Sun in your 5th House of Self-Expression, so you’re unlikely to be shy about admitting them, either. As long as you’re not pursuing your vision of pleasure at the expense of anyone else, that’s not automatically a selfish move. Your leadership could set a valuable example for others to stand up for themselves too. Remember to treat them how you want to be treated!

Pisces

February 19 – March 20

Your relationship with yourself could require attention at this moment. While the delicate Moon in your contemplative 12th house trines lavish Venus in your domestic sector, consider treating your own whole being the way you would treat a cherished guest. Both physical and emotional comfort are valid priorities. Once you feel nourished enough to relax, you might have a few interesting thoughts rise to the surface. Even if you don’t wind up with any specific takeaways, you probably needed this!

Jake Cronenworth’s bases-loaded walk lifts Padres over Marlins

Mon, 05/27/2024 - 18:39

By BERNIE WILSON

SAN DIEGO — Jake Cronenworth drew a bases-loaded walk with two outs in the seventh, one batter after shortstop Tim Anderson committed his second error of the inning, and the San Diego Padres beat the Miami Marlins 2-1 on Monday.

It was the Padres’ second consecutive home win after losing five straight games at Petco Park.

It was the second day in a row the Padres put together a small-ball rally. They beat the New York Yankees 5-2 on Sunday to avoid being swept in consecutive home series.

“When you get those chances, especially late in the game, those are opportunities that you take advantage of,” Cronenworth said. “The last two days we’ve done a great job with that.”

After failing to score with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth, the Padres came through in the seventh for the go-ahead run.

Ha-Seong Kim hit a leadoff single and Fernando Tatis Jr. reached on Anderson’s fielding error with one out. Jurickson Profar flied out and Anthony Bender replaced A.J. Puk (0-6) on the mound. Manny Machado grounded to Anderson, who went for an inning-ending force out at second base but bobbled the ball for another error. Cronenworth then worked a seven-pitch walk to bring in Kim.

“That guy has a ton of movement on his fastball and his sweeper, so just get something in the heart of the zone and try to go after it,” Cronenworth said.

Cronenworth clenched his right fist and hollered after drawing the walk.

“Well-earned, well-timed, big spot, knowing who’s coming in out of the bullpen,” he said. “We have an opportunity to win the game with those guys coming in.”

Robert Suarez pitched a perfect ninth for his 16th save. Adrian Morejon (1-0) got the win.

San Diego starter Michael King heard the fans’ discontent as the Padres were swept in a home series against last-place Colorado from May 13-15 and then when they lost to the Yankees in the first two games of a weekend series.

“We talked about it as a team, too. We heard it,” King said. “It’s definitely nice because obviously you want to win at home and I think that’s the main thing. You’ve got to have a winning record at home and try to be .500 on the road and I feel like we’re flipped right now.”

The Padres wasted a bases-loaded scoring chance in the sixth.

Profar drew a leadoff walk and Machado singled off Marlins starter Trevor Rogers, who struck out Cronenworth and then made way for Declan Cronin. He hit Donovan Solano with a pitch to load the bases but then struck out Luis Campusano and got rookie Jackson Merrill to fly out.

Solano, who joined the Padres on April 17, hit his first home run for them with two outs in the second.

The Marlins tied it with two outs in the third when King allowed his big league-leading 13th home run, this one an impressive shot into the seats in right-center by Jazz Chisholm Jr. It was his eighth.

King has served up a homer in each of his last three starts and at least one in eight of his 12 appearances.

The right-hander permitted one run and three hits in five innings, struck out seven and walked one.

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Marlins LHP Jesús Luzardo (2-3, 4.14 ERA) and Padres RHP Matt Waldron are scheduled to start Tuesday night in the middle game of the series.

Guard and leading scorer Walter Clayton plans to return to Gators for senior season

Mon, 05/27/2024 - 14:32

GAINESVILLE — Florida shooting guard Walter Clayton Jr. will return for his senior season after leading the Gators in scoring and helping them to their first NCAA tournament bid since 2021.

The 6-foot-3, 195-pound combo guard explored his professional options, including a trip to the G League Elite Camp, where he averaged 15.5 points in two games. But the native of Lake Wales decided another season at UF was in his best interest.

Clayton, a transfer from St. John’s University, led the Gators with an average of 17.6 points to earn All-SEC honors as Todd Golden’s squad averaged a program-record 85.6 points. Clayton finished with a team-leading 15 games of at least 20 points, culminating with a 33-point effort during a 102-100 loss to Colorado to open the NCAA tournament.

Florida veterans Will Richard #5 and Walter Clayton Jr. #1 decided to return for their senior seasons with the Gators after the players explored their professional options. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

His 42 consecutive free throws made are tied for first in school history.

Veteran wing Will Richard announced Friday he would return for his senior season in Gainesville. The 6-foot-5, 206-pound Richard averaged 11.4 points and 3.9 rebounds, had a career-high 70 3-point field goals and scored 20 points six times. But his shooting percentage dipped to 41.1%  from 49.3%, including 34.5% from 3-point range after shooting 39.8% in 2022-23.

Clayton and Richard give Golden two veterans to lean on. Post players Alex Condon Jr. and Thomas Haugh also were key contributors as freshmen.

Florida guard Walter Clayton Jr. lead the Gators with a scoring average of 17.6 points and 15 games with at least 20 points. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, the Gators lured three key transfers:  Florida Atlantic guard Alijah Martin, former Chattanooga forward Sam Alexis of Apopka and 6-foot-11 Washington State center Rueben Chinyelu. Shooting guard Isaiah Brown of Orlando Christian Prep will join the Gators as a first-year freshman.

Edgar Thompson can be reached at egthompson@orlandosentinel.com

Knights earn spot in NCAA baseball tourney field for first time since 2017

Mon, 05/27/2024 - 12:54

Kyle Kramer wasn’t sure if he wanted to return for his final season of eligibility at UCF.

The right-handed pitcher had spent the previous two campaigns with the Knights heading into the 2024 campaign, but his future seemed uncertain until he spoke with new coach Rich Wallace last summer.

“He was like, ‘I’ve been to Omaha. I’ve been to Regionals.  I’ve been to a Super Regional. I’ve been to everything and it’s an awesome feeling to get there,’” Kramer recalled. “Once he said that, it gave me an idea of the kind of future he wanted here, and I like, ‘OK, we’re going to win here.’ “

That future became a reality on Monday when UCF (35-19, 14-15 Big 12) earned a spot in the 64-team field of the NCAA Baseball Championship. It’s the first time the program has been invited to the postseason since 2017.

#UCF baseball coach Rich Wallace discusses what it means to get to the NCAA Tournament in Year 1. pic.twitter.com/trSLqBJ9uy

— Matt Murschel (@osmattmurschel) May 27, 2024

The third-seeded Knights will participate in the Tallahassee Regional, with the double-elimination tournament starting on Friday. Top-seeded Florida State (42-15, 17-12 ACC) faces No. 4 Stetson (40-20, 20-10 ASUN) at noon (ACC Network), with UCF scheduled to face No. 2 Alabama (33-22, 13-17 SEC) in the nightcap (6 p.m., ESPN+).

“I was a little bit on edge just because you never know when they go in that room,” Wallace said following the announcement. “I’ve been through this enough. You never know what’s coming out of that [selection] room, but I thought our resume — non-conference, conference [schedule] and conference tournament — was that of a worthy NCAA tournament team.”

It’s another incredible accomplishment for Wallace’s team, which wrapped up its first season in the Big 12 with a semifinal appearance in last week’s conference tournament. UCF defeated Cincinnati and Oklahoma State to advance before losing to the Cowboys on Friday night, 10-1.

We caught up with #UCF catcher Danny Neri after the Knights earned a bid to the NCAA Baseball Tournament. pic.twitter.com/E1BjZ5TcVV

— Matt Murschel (@osmattmurschel) May 27, 2024

Those victories would turn out to be crucial for the Knights, who were among the final four teams to earn spots in the tournament field despite having the nation’s No. 33 RPI.

For players such as senior infielder Andrew Brait who spent much of their careers at UCF and have never played in the postseason, to hear the Knights make it into the tournament meant so much more.

“It was a dream come true,” said Brait, who hit .286 this season with 2 home runs and 26 RBIs. “That was always a goal since I’ve been here. We always knew it could be done and to see that finally come true, it’s just amazing.”

“We talked about it as a group and laid it out there,” added Wallace. “Kramer, [Ben] Vespi and some of the other guys in the room that have given everything they could to this program for so long, I wanted and our team wanted them to have the opportunity to experience not only postseason baseball but NCAA tournament baseball at the highest level.”

#UCF infielder Andrew Brait has never played in the NCAA tournament, which makes Monday’s announcement that the Knights were one of the teams in this year more special. pic.twitter.com/VjpNLTAbil

— Matt Murschel (@osmattmurschel) May 27, 2024

Wallace, who played at UCF and was an assistant under Jay Bergman, returned to Orlando last summer after being an assistant coach at Jacksonville, Highpoint, Creighton and Notre Dame.

Veterans such as catcher Danny Neri and outfielder Jack Zyska understand the challenges that await the Knights this weekend. The duo played with Wallace at Notre Dame and were part of a Fighting Irish team that attended the College World Series in 2022.

“Everything steps up a level when you get to this type of competition,” said Neri. “Everyone got there because they’ve earned it, so you have to be really locked in from Pitch One to the last pitch of the game.”

Added Zyska. “All you have got to do is get to June, get to the Regional and all bets off and anything can happen.”

Matt Murschel can be reached at mmurschel@orlandosentinel.com

Panthers in ‘good spirits’ entering Game 4 following second straight overtime loss

Mon, 05/27/2024 - 11:09

FORT LAUDERDALE — After a dispiriting overtime loss to New York in Game 3 on Sunday, Florida coach Paul Maurice said he wanted his players to “keep the growl.” He wanted to let the disappointment power the team in Game 4 so they could even the series.

With puck drop for the crucial fourth game set for 8 p.m. at Amerant Bank Arena on Tuesday, the question is how the Panthers can turn the disappointment from back-to-back overtime losses into fuel.

“I think you sit on it a little bit last night; obviously, it stung,” Panthers center Sam Bennett said. “But you wake up today, it’s a new day, another opportunity tomorrow and that’s really the only way you can go about it. I think we did a good job. Everybody was in good spirits today. That’s where our focus is.”

Part of the reason the Panthers are in good spirits is because they did play well in the loss. They scored four times, coming back from a two-goal deficit in the third period, and appeared to outplay the Rangers for large portions of the loss. Most glaringly, the Panthers had 108 shot attempts to the Rangers’ 43.

“Why would we flush that one?” Maurice said. “We had 108 and gave up (43). Where can we get better? Where can we turn that into a win? Coming to the rink today determined to find answers to deal exactly with the whole thing, to take a look at it, make us better, make us a half-inch better, an inch better for tomorrow night’s game.”

The disparity in shot attempts was a rarity, but it led to questions about whether the Panthers should wait for better shot opportunities instead of peppering the Rangers defense and goalie Igor Shesterkin with pucks. But so far, Florida’s strategy has shown success: They scored three goals in Game 1 and four in Game 3.

“At no point will our game plan be, ‘Hey, let’s shoot fewer pucks for better opportunities,’ ” Maurice said. “We can be marginally better with the puck because we can make slight improvements with it, but we’re pretty good with the puck.”

Beating Shesterkin for four goals is a testament to Florida’s offensive performance. Shesterkin is a former Vezina Trophy winner and was 11th in the NHL in goals against average this year. He surrendered four goals one other time in the postseason and 15 times out of 55 games in the regular season.

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“We know what kind of goalie he is,” said Florida winger Vladimir Tarasenko, who played with Shesterkin in New York. “But as I mentioned before, for good goalies, you have to create traffic, make their life harder and just get the pucks to the net.”

Getting pucks to the net did prove difficult on Sunday. Of Florida’s 108 shot attempts, only 37 got to Shesterkin. The Rangers blocked 37 shots.

“I think we have all the chances we needed,” Panthers forward Eetu Luostarinen said. “But we actually talked this morning: We have to go to the net with a purpose, get the goalie’s eyes. I think we did that in the first two rounds. That’s a key point for our game.”

Florida will have to make sure it gets better for Game 4. The alternative is going back to New York to attempt a 3-1 comeback against the team that won the President’s Trophy. After appearing to be the better team in Game 3, the Panthers are confident they can take advantage of the good parts of their performance and minimize the difficulties they had Sunday.

“We’re very excited for the challenge,” defenseman Gustav Forsling said. “I think we did a lot of good things. I think they stretched out that game. I think we played just how we wanted and we created a lot, I feel like. We had a lot of chances. We’re not too happy about the five goals we let in, though.”

Five migrants in custody after landing on Broward beach, Border Patrol says

Mon, 05/27/2024 - 11:06

Five migrants were taken into custody Sunday night after landing in Hillsboro Beach in Broward County, federal authorities said.

The migrants were from Haiti and the Dominican Republic, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Miami Sector Acting Chief Patrol Agent Samuel Briggs II said Monday in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

They will be processed for removal, Adam Hoffner, a U.S. Border Patrol spokesman said in an email Monday afternoon. The department did not release additional information.

In the 2023 fiscal year, federal authorities interdicted nearly 12,000 migrants in the Florida Straits, Windward Passage, Mona Passage and Caribbean Sea, the majority who were Cuban and Haitian, the U.S. Coast Guard said in a news release last month.

On Sunday night, U.S. Border Patrol agents with support from LE partners responded to a migrant landing at Hillsboro Beach, Florida & encountered 5 noncitizens (Haiti & Dominican Republic). The investigation remains ongoing. #hillsboro #memorialday @browardsheriff pic.twitter.com/2zBVT3QpV8

— Samuel Briggs II (@USBPChiefMIP) May 27, 2024

Gators slip into NCAA baseball tournament, extend streak to 16 seasons

Mon, 05/27/2024 - 11:05

GAINESVILLE — The Florida baseball team slipped into the NCAA tournament on Monday to avoid missing it for the first time under longtime coach Kevin O’Sullivan.

The Gators (28-27) will face Nebraska (39-20) Friday in the Stillwater Regional hosted by 11th-seed Oklahoma State. The Cowboys (40-17) will face Niagara (38-15) during the double-elimination format to determine one of 16 teams for the Super Regionals that decide the eight-team CWS field.

A season after finishing runner-up in the College World Series to LSU, UF sits just a game above .500. It proved enough for the Gators to reach the NCAAs for the 16th consecutive year.

Florida players celebrate after winning the 2023 NCAA Super Regional against South Carolina by a score of 4-0 June 10, 2023, at Condron Family Ballpark in Gainesville. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel)

The Gators lost 6-3 to Vanderbilt during the single-elimination round to open the SEC tournament after going just 13-17 during league play. But O’Sullivan’s squad ranks No. 30 in the RPI and earned 13 Quad 1 wins, tied for sixth nationally, in 31 chances during Florida’s rigorous schedule.

“There’s been some inconsistencies, but at the same time, we’ve proven that we can play with anybody in the country,” O’Sullivan said after the SEC tournament loss, per 247Sports.

The 55-year-old has not missed the NCAA’s postseason since 1998, the year before he joined Clemson as an assistant coach. His Gators have advanced nine of the past 14 years to the CWS, but even making the tournament was dicey much the season.

Florida baseball coach Kevin O’Sullivan’s Gators have reached the NCAA Tournament every since his 2008 arrival. (AP Photo/Gary McCullough)

Florida effectively secured a spot by winning two of three games at No. 9 Georgia to close the regular season.

“Our schedule was really difficult down the stretch,” O’Sullivan said. “We did what we needed to do … at Georgia.”

The NCAA bid will extend the record-setting, singular career of junior Jac Caglianone.

The Gators’ two-year phenom, a projected top-five draft pick, is batting .413, which currently ranks third in school history, with a .525 on-base percentage (fourth) and .851 slugging percentage, well head of Matt LaPorta’s single-season record .817 in 2007.

Caglianone’s 29 home runs trail his school-record 33 set in 2023. He has 66 runs scored and 58 RBI.

Florida slugger Jac Caglianone has 69 career home runs, including 29 in 2024, just five shy of Matt Laporta’s school record for the Gators. (AP Photo/Gary McCullough, File)

Injured outfielder Ty Evans batted .316 with 13 home runs and 43 RBI prior to breaking his wrist May 11 against Kentucky. He was the only other UF player to bat better than .265. Alabama transfer third baseman Cody Shelton had 18 homers and 45 RBI but hit just .256.

Caglianone, a 6-foot-5, 250-pound left hander, also is 5-1 with a 4.35 ERA and 68 strikeouts in 62 innings as the team’s No. 3 starter.

UF’s pitching generally has been disappointing.

Sophomore left hander Cade Fisher (3-3, 7.51 ERA) did not develop into a No. 1 starter while towering 6-foot-5, 205-pound freshman Liam Patterson (2-4, 5.83) struggled in the No. 2 spot. Talented junior Brandon Neely (2-4, 6.55) failed to adjust to a starter role when given the change. He also managed just 2 saves after recording 13 as a sophomore.

Edgar Thompson can be reached at egthompson@orlandosentinel.com

Bill Walton, Hall of Fame player who became a star broadcaster, dies of cancer at 71

Mon, 05/27/2024 - 10:35

By TIM REYNOLDS (AP Basketball Writer)

Bill Walton was never afraid to be himself.

Larger than life, only in part because of his nearly 7-foot frame, Walton was a two-time NCAA champion at UCLA, a two-time champion in the NBA, a Basketball Hall of Fame inductee, an on-court icon in every sense of the word. And off the court, Walton was a chronic fun-seeker, a broadcaster who adhered to no conventional norms and took great joy in that, a man with a deeply serious side about the causes that mattered most to him.

“Bill Walton,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said, “was truly one of a kind.”

Walton died Monday at the age of 71 after a prolonged fight with cancer, the league announced on behalf of his family. He was the NBA’s MVP in the 1977-78 season, the league’s sixth man of the year in 1985-86 and a member of the league’s 50th anniversary and 75th anniversary teams. That followed a college career in which he blossomed while playing under coach John Wooden at UCLA, becoming a three-time national player of the year.

“I am sad today hearing that my comrade and one of the sports world’s most beloved champions and characters has passed,” Julius “Dr. J” Erving, a fellow Hall of Famer, wrote on social media. “Bill Walton enjoyed life in every way. To compete against him and to work with him was a blessing in my life.”

Tributes immediately began pouring in, and the NBA held a moment of silence to commemorate Walton’s life before Game 4 of the Boston Celtics-Indiana Pacers matchup in the Eastern Conference finals on Monday night.

Walton, who entered the Hall of Fame in 1993, was one of the game’s most celebrated figures. His NBA career — disrupted by chronic foot injuries — lasted only 468 games combined with the Portland Trail Blazers, the San Diego/Los Angeles Clippers and the Celtics. He averaged 13.3 points and 10.5 rebounds in those games, neither of those numbers exactly record-setting.

Still, his impact on the game was massive.

“I love him as a friend and as a teammate,” Celtics legend Larry Bird said. “It was a thrill for me to play with my childhood idol and together we earned an NBA championship in 1986. He is one of the greatest ever to play the game. I am sure that all of my teammates are as grateful as I am that we were able to know Bill. He was such a joy to know and he will be sorely missed.”

Walton’s most famous game was the 1973 NCAA title game, UCLA against Memphis, in which he shot 21 for 22 from the field and led the Bruins to another national championship.

“One of my guards said, ’Let’s try something else,’” Wooden told The Associated Press in 2008 for a 35th anniversary retrospective on that game.

Wooden’s response during that timeout: “Why? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

They kept giving the ball to Walton, and he kept delivering in a performance for the ages.

“It’s very hard to put into words what he has meant to UCLA’s program, as well as his tremendous impact on college basketball,” UCLA coach Mick Cronin said Monday. “Beyond his remarkable accomplishments as a player, it’s his relentless energy, enthusiasm for the game and unwavering candor that have been the hallmarks of his larger-than-life personality.

“It’s hard to imagine a season in Pauley Pavilion without him.”

When Walton retired from the NBA he turned to broadcasting, something he never thought he could be good at — and an avenue he sometimes wondered would be possible for him, because he had a pronounced stutter at times in his life.

Turns out, he was excellent at broadcasting: Walton was an Emmy winner, eventually was named one of the top 50 sports broadcasters of all time by the American Sportscasters Association and even appeared on The New York Times’ bestseller list for his memoir, “Back from the Dead.” It told the story of a debilitating back injury suffered in 2008, one that left him considering taking his own life because of the constant pain, and how he spent years recovering.

“I lived most of my life by myself. But as soon as I got on the court I was fine,” Walton told The Oregonian newspaper for a story published in 2017. “But in life, being so self conscious, red hair, big nose, freckles and goofy, nerdy looking face and can’t talk at all. I was incredibly shy and never said a word. Then, when I was 28 I learned how to speak. It’s become my greatest accomplishment of my life and everybody else’s biggest nightmare.”

The last part of that was just Walton hyperbole. He was known for his on-air tangents and sometimes appeared on-air in Grateful Dead T-shirts; Walton was a huge fan of the band and referenced it often, even sometimes recording satellite radio specials celebrating what it meant to be a “Deadhead.”

And the Pac-12 Conference, which has basically evaporated in many ways now because of college realignment, was another of his many loves. He always referred to it as the “Conference of Champions” and sang its praises all the way to the end.

“It doesn’t get any better than this,” he once said on a broadcast, tie-dyed T-shirt on, a Hawaiian lei around his neck.

Walton was involved in the broadcasts of college and NBA games for CBS, NBC and ABC/ESPN in his career, along with stints working for the Clippers and Sacramento Kings as an analyst. He returned to ESPN and the Pac-12 Network, further touting the roots of his league, in 2012.

“Bill Walton was a legendary player and a singular personality who genuinely cherished every experience throughout the journey of his extraordinary life,” ESPN Chairman Jimmy Pitaro said. “Bill often described himself as ‘the luckiest guy in the world,’ but anyone who had the opportunity to interact with Bill was the lucky one. He was a truly special, giving person who always made time for others. Bill’s one-of-a-kind spirit captivated and inspired audiences during his second career as a successful broadcaster.”

But Walton will always be synonymous with UCLA’s dominance.

He enrolled at the school in 1970, before freshmen could play on the varsity team. Once he could play for Wooden, the Bruins were unbeatable for more than two years — Walton’s UCLA teams won their first 73 games, the bulk of the Bruins’ extraordinary 88-game winning streak. It was snapped against Notre Dame in 1974, a 71-70 loss in which Walton shot 12 for 14 from the field.

“Bill Walton’s passing is a sad tragedy. One of the great ones in UCLA basketball history,” Digger Phelps, who coached that Notre Dame team, posted Monday on social media. “We were great friends over the years. It won’t be the same without him.”

UCLA went 30-0 in each of Walton’s first two seasons, and 86-4 in his career on the varsity team.

“My teammates … made me a much better basketball player than I could ever have become myself,” Walton said at his Hall of Fame speech in 1993. “The concept of team has always been the most intriguing aspect of basketball to me. If I had been interested in individual success or an individual sport, I would have taken up tennis or golf.”

Walton led Portland to the 1977 NBA title, then got his second championship with Boston in 1986.

“Bill Walton was an icon,” said Jody Allen, the chair of the Trail Blazers. “His leadership and tenacity on the court were key to bringing a championship to our fans and defined one of the most magical moments in franchise history. We will always treasure what he brought to our community and the sport of basketball.”

The Celtics released a statement saying: “Bill Walton was one of the most consequential players of his era. … Walton could do it all, possessing great timing, complete vision of the floor, excellent fundamentals and was of one of the greatest passing big men in league history.”

Walton considered himself fortunate to have been guided by two of the game’s greatest minds in Wooden and Celtics patriarch Red Auerbach.

“Thank you John, and thank you Red, for making my life what it has become,” Walton said in his Hall of Fame speech.

Walton was the No. 1 pick by Portland in the 1974 draft. He said Bill Russell was his favorite player and referred to Bird as the toughest and best he played with, so it was appropriate that his playing career ended as a member of the Celtics. “Playing basketball with Larry Bird,” Walton once said, “is like singing with Jerry Garcia,” referencing the co-founder of the Grateful Dead.

In his final years, Walton spoke out about issues that mattered most to him, such as the problem of homelessness in his native San Diego, urging city leaders to take action and create shelter space to help those in need.

“What I will remember most about him was his zest for life,” Silver said in a statement. “He was a regular presence at league events — always upbeat, smiling ear to ear and looking to share his wisdom and warmth. I treasured our close friendship, envied his boundless energy and admired the time he took with every person he encountered.”

Walton died surrounded by his loved ones, his family said. He is survived by wife Lori and sons Adam, Nate, Chris and Luke — a NBA championship-winning player and now a coach.

Said Pacers coach Rick Carlisle, who was teammates with Walton in Boston: “He defiantly competed for every moment in life to be the greatest it could possibly be.”

___

AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA

Biden says each generation has to ‘earn’ freedom, in solemn Memorial Day remarks

Mon, 05/27/2024 - 09:37

By ZEKE MILLER (AP White House Correspondent)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden marked Memorial Day with a pledge that the country would continue the work of the nation’s fallen toward a more perfect union, “for which they lived, and for which they died.”

Delivering remarks at a solemn remembrance ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, Biden said each generation must ensure the sacrifice of the country’s service members is not in vain.

“Freedom has never been guaranteed,” Biden said under gray skies in the memorial amphitheater. “Every generation has to earn it, fight for it, defend it in the battle between autocracy and democracy, between the greed of a few, and the rights of many.”

He added: “On this day, we came together again to reflect, to remember, and above all, to recommit to the future they fought for, a future grounded in freedom, democracy, opportunity and equality. Not just for some, but for all.”

Before the ceremony began, Biden, joined by Vice President Kamala Harris and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, placed a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

In his remarks, Biden invoked the anniversary this week of the death of his son Beau, who served in Iraq and later died from brain cancer that the president attributes to his time stationed near toxic burn pits, to highlight the importance of honoring the service of those who came home with injuries, in addition to the dead.

“Last year, the VA delivered more benefits and processed more claims than ever in our history,” Biden said, crediting the PACT Act which grants automatic coverage for certain health conditions suffered by veterans by presuming they result from their military service. “For too long after fighting for our nation, these veterans had to fight to get the right health care, to get the benefits they had earned, not anymore.”

Biden began the day hosting a breakfast at the White House for administration officials, military leaders, veterans, and Gold Star family members.

9 year old injured in shooting at Lauderhill shopping plaza, police say

Mon, 05/27/2024 - 08:53

A 9-year-old boy was injured in a shooting that began in the parking lot of a commercial shopping plaza in Lauderhill on Memorial Day, police said.

Lauderhill police were called to the shopping plaza at 1531 N State Road 7, where the Lauderhill Mall is located, shortly before 11 a.m. Monday.

An argument in the parking lot led to someone firing a gun, Lt. Antonio Gonzalez said in a news release. The child and the child’s family were not involved in the argument.

The boy was shot in his right ankle. He was taken to Broward Health Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale and is expected to recover, Gonzalez said.

As of Monday afternoon, Gonzalez said three cars were involved in the incident, and the driver of one of them, a black Chevrolet SUV, returned to the plaza and is cooperating with detectives. The other cars involved were a white Toyota and a white Chevrolet SUV.

Additional information was not released. The investigation remains ongoing.

Lauderhill is one of several cities in Broward County that has been grappling with a recent spate of shootings. Earlier this month, city officials launched a months-long campaign aimed at finding through research the “root cause” of gun violence in the city to implement solutions.

So far in 2024, there have been seven murders in Lauderhill, Chief Constance Stanley said in a video statement earlier this month. Mayor Ken Thurston previously told the South Florida Sun Sentinel that is two murders more than the same time period in 2023, and while crimes being committed involving guns, like robberies, have decreased, the number of people who have been killed by gun violence has increased.

This is a developing story, so check back for updates. Click here to have breaking news alerts sent directly to your inbox.

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