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  1. Philanthropist Helen DeVos, wife of Orlando Magic owner and mother of Betsy, dies at 90


    GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Helen J. DeVos, a philanthropist from western Michigan known for her support of children's health, Christian education and the arts, has died at age 90, her family said Thursday.

    Orlando Magic owner Rich DeVos, left, waves to fans while watching court side with his wife, Helen, during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Chicago Bulls in Orlando. The family of Helen DeVos said the philanthropist from western Michigan known for her support of children's health, Christian education and the arts has died. She was 90. Her family said she died Wednesday, Oct. 18, of complications from a stroke following a recent diagnosis of myeloid leukemia. [Associated Press]
  2. Girl, 8, got on 'tippy toes' to peer over cruise ship railing, then fell to her death


    MIAMI — A family cruise to paradise turned into a nightmare on Saturday, when an 8-year-old tumbled over the inner railings of a ship and fell to her death.

    Friends and family mourn Zion Smith, the 8-year-old girl who fell to her death aboard a Carnival cruise in Miami this weekend. [Image from Facebook]
  3. How small rebellions by Florida delinquents snowball into bigger beatings by staff

    State Roundup

    First he lost his freedom. Then his privileges. Then his kidney.

    Okaloosa Youth Academy Gulf Coast Youth Services
  4. A year after Hurricane Matthew, counties ask Rick Scott: Where's our money?


    TALLAHASSEE — After Hurricane Irma ravaged Florida, an impatient Gov. Rick Scott ordered counties to remove debris, reopen roads and restore normalcy as fast as possible.

    Flagler County in Northeast Florida experienced severe flooding after Hurricane Matthew struck in October 2016. [Flagler County]
  5. Criminal record? Horrible work history? Florida juvenile justice will still hire you


    On the surface, Sara Erin Martin would have seemed well qualified to oversee troubled teens at the Okeechobee Youth Development Center. For three years, she'd worked as a mental health technician at a state psychiatric hospital for adult inmates whose mental illnesses or intellectual disabilities rendered them unfit to …

    From left to right, Sara Erin Martin, Uriah T. Harris and Tommy Williams were hires the juvenile justice system would eventually regret. [Miami Herald]
  6. Slavery memorial wins support as Confederacy debate rages

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — State House members wasted no time this week in reviving a proposal for a Florida slavery memorial near the Capitol, an idea that stalled at the end of the 2017 session last spring.

    "This particular monument has garnered the support of everyone - the only people who I feel are going to be against this are individuals that haven't particularly sat down and come to grips with the reality that we have moved forward in a bipartisan way and the times that we've seen in the past where folk wanted to divide us based upon class and culture, those days are completely over," said Rep. Kionne McGhee, D-Miami, who's poised to be the House Democratic leader after the 2018 elections.
  7. Busch Gardens offers free admission to first responders, family discounts


    Busch Gardens is giving first responders free admission through Nov. 24, with discounted tickets for their friends and family.

    Busch Gardens new ride Cobra's Curse ride.
Times files
  8. Fight Club: Dark secrets of Florida juvenile justice

    State Roundup

    The boys had just returned to Module 9 of the Miami juvenile lockup from the dining hall when one of them hit Elord Revolte high and hard. More of the boys jumped in, punching and slamming him over and over, then pile-driving his 135-pound body.

    A Miami Herald investigation found that youths detained in state facilities have complained of staff turning them into hired mercenaries, offering honey buns and other rewards to rough up fellow detainees. It is a way for employees to exert control without risking their livelihoods by personally resorting to violence. Criminal charges are rare. [Miami Herald]
  9. Adventure Island is adding a slide with a floor that drops out from under you


    A pair of new drop slides in an attraction called Vanish Point is coming to Adventure Island in Tampa in March, bringing another gut-check for adrenaline junkies at the 30-acre water park adjacent to Busch Gardens.

     A pair of new drop slides in an attraction called Vanish Point is coming to Adventure Island water park in Tampa in March, bringing another gut-check thrill to the 30-acre park adjacent to Busch Gardens.   The heart-stopping attraction will put riders inside a capsule and then they wait for the floor to vanish and go into a free fall, or they can get horizontal on a 455-foot long slide ending with a high speed finale   The name Vanish Point was inspired by the point on a wave where water and gravity form a perfect partnership, a park news release said. Credit: Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
  10. Florida was 'ill-prepared for a major hurricane, audit warned


    TALLAHASSEE — Long before Florida entered the deadliest hurricane season in a decade, auditors at the state's Division of Emergency Management sent out a warning: the state was ill-prepared for a major disaster.

    Two National Guardsmen carry the belongings of WWII veteran Anthony Gentuso as he and his famly arrive at the Germain Arena that is serving as a shelter from the approaching Hurricane Irma on September 9. A December audit questions whether Florida is prepared for a major hurricane. [MARK WILSON | Getty Images]