3 migrants drown entering Panama near Darien Gap
PANAMA CITY — (AP) — Three migrants drowned while crossing into Panama from Colombia, authorities said Tuesday. In June, Juan Manuel Pino, Panama’s security minister said the number of migrants crossing the Darien Gap has grown substantially. In the first half of the year, 46,415 migrants were found crossing, compared to 26,216 detected in the same period of 2021. That year, a total of 133,000 migrants passed through Panama, suggesting that this year’s total will be even higher. The majority of the migrants in 2021 were from Haiti, while authorities estimate the largest group this year are Venezuelans.wftv.com
Panama teachers end long strike that set off wider protests
Panama’s teachers will return to the classroom Tuesday after a month-long strike supported by a number of other sectors that blocked commerce and snarled the capital with traffic over the high cost of living and government corruptionwashingtonpost.com
‘Enough to kill everyone’: 43K doses of fentanyl seized in Florida Panhandle city
(NCD)PANAMA CITY, Fla. — Police in a Florida Panhandle city said they seized enough fentanyl “to kill every single resident of the City of Panama City,” authorities said. >> Read more trending newsAccording to a news release, the Panama City Police Department concluded a two-week investigation that resulted in the arrest of three men, WJHG-TV reported. Enough Fentanyl to kill everyone who lives in Panama City was taken off the streets. That’s according to Panama City Police. Brandon Lamar Ware, 32, was charged with possession of fentanyl and possession and/or use of narcotic equipment.wftv.com
Judge acquits key figures in Panama Papers scandal
PANAMA CITY — (AP) — A Panamanian judge acquitted 39 people in a money laundering case Thursday, including lawyers Jurgen Mossack and Ramón Fonseca, who were key figures in the Panama Papers case. Judge Baloísa Marquínez Morán ruled that the prosecution did not prove that the law firm Mossack Fonseca handled illicit funds from Brazil, or try to hide them. Mossack and Fonseca had faced charges of creating accounts in multiple countries that were used by the Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht. The Panama Papers included a collection of 11 million secret financial documents that illustrated how some of the world’s richest people hide their money. U.S. federal prosecutors have alleged that the Mossack Fonseca firm conspired to circumvent American laws to maintain the wealth of its clients and conceal tax dollars owed to the IRS.wftv.com
Female Indigenous leader takes office in Panama
PANAMA CITY — (AP) — The first elected female leader of Panama’s Wounaan Indigenous group took office Monday. The inauguration of Aulina Ismare Opua marks a strengthening of women’s positions in the country’s Indigenous communities. Recently, Elena Cruz Guerra won the leadership of the Indigenous territory of Ngäbe-Buglé. Ausencio Palacio, the country’s assistant minister for Indigenous affairs, said women’s roles in leading Indigenous communities is growing stronger. “There is an increasing trend of alternating power between men and women in the Indigenous territories," said Palacio.wftv.com
Flagler County Fire Rescue deployment team returns from wildfire deployment
Flagler County Fire Rescue team returns from Panhandle Wildfires Lt. Jason Powell and firefighter-paramedic David Lawrence were part of a strike team from Central Florida deployed to Panama City last week.
(Flagler County Fire Rescue)FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. — Two Flagler County firefighters deployed to the Florida Panhandle to assist in the Chipola wildfires have returned home.
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1,100 homes evacuated as firefighters battle Florida fires
Officials say vetFirefighters continued to battle the 12,000-acre (about 4,860-hectare) Bertha Swamp Road fire and the 841-acre (340-hectare) Adkins Avenue fire, which have threatened homes and forced residents of at least 1,100 houses in Bay County, Florida. erans forced to evacuate a nursing home by a Florida Panhandle wildfire have been allowed to return home.
1,100 homes evacuated as firefighters battle Florida fires
The Adkins Avenue fire destroyed two structures and damaged another 12 homes late Friday. Buses also were on standby in case the 1,300 inmates at the nearby Bay County Jail needed to be evacuated to other facilities. Hurricane Michael in 2018 left behind 72 million tons of destroyed trees that have provided fuel for the Bay County wildfires, according to the Florida Forest Service. “I know there has been frustration with people not being able to get back into their homes,” said Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford. “It’s just hard to believe that something could be that big,” said Brad Monroe, chief of Bay County Emergency Services.wftv.com
Firefighters battle 2 massive wildfires in Florida Panhandle
The Adkins Avenue fire destroyed two structures and damaged another 12 homes late Friday. Big win for Bay County!" Please be patient as first responders battle these dangerous fires," Bay County officials posted online. The county opened a shelter at the Bay County Fairgrounds for displaced residents. “We understand and recognize that everyone is anxious to go back home, and that it has been a huge inconvenience," said Valerie Sale, a Bay County spokeswoman.wftv.com
Firefighters battle 2 massive wildfires in Florida Panhandle
The 8,000-acre (about 3,237 hectare) Bertha Swamp Road fire and the 1,400-acre (567-hectare) Adkins Avenue fire threatened homes and forced the evacuation of hundreds of residents in Bay County, Florida over the weekend. The Adkins Avenue fire destroyed two structures and damaged another 12 homes late Friday. Big win for Bay County!" Bay County emergency officials tweeted early Sunday. Please be patient as first responders battle these dangerous fires," Bay County officials posted online.wftv.com
600 homes evacuated as wildfire rages in Florida Panhandle
Panhandle fire: The Adkins Avenue fire has already burned more than 1,400 acres in Bay County, Florida. (Mike Fender/News Herald via AP)PANAMA CITY, Fla. — Residents of 600 homes were evacuated on Saturday as a wildfire raged in the Florida Panhandle, state forest officials said. >> Read more trending newsAccording to a news release from the Florida Forest Service, the Adkins Avenue fire in Bay County has burned more than 1,400 acres. https://t.co/xU261zQkGJ — Florida Forest Service (@FLForestService) March 4, 2022More than 200 firefighters from the Panhandle were working to contain the fire, WJHG-TV reported. A burn ban remains in effect for all of Bay County, WJHG reported.wftv.com
‘The perfect storm’: Massive wildfire forces evacuation of 600 homes in Florida Panhandle
PANAMA CITY, Fla. — State leaders are putting strike teams on standby, as firefighters battle a 1,400-acre wildfire in the Florida panhandle. Residents in 600 homes in the Florida Panhandle were evacuated as a wildfire destroyed two houses and damaged 12 others, in an area that has spent the past three years recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Michael, officials said Saturday. Photos: Massive wildfire forces evacuation of 600 homes in Florida PanhandleExpand Autoplay Image 1 of 14 Massive wildfire forces evacuation of 600 homes in Florida PanhandleHundreds of thousands of acres of downed trees from the 2018 hurricane, along with low humidity and strong winds, have created “the perfect storm” for the hazardous fire conditions in Bay County, Florida, Gov. WATCH: Officials: Smog posed no known danger to motorists before deadly crashes on I-95More than 200 firefighters and emergency workers from throughout the Florida Panhandle worked overnight to strengthen containment lines and protect homes. As of Saturday morning, the 1,400-acre Adkins Avenue Fire was 30% contained, according to the Florida Forest Service.wftv.com
Fire forces evacuation of 600 homes in Florida Panhandle
PANAMA CITY, Fla. — (AP) — Residents in 600 homes in the Florida Panhandle were evacuated as a wildfire destroyed two houses and damaged 12 others, in an area that has spent the past three years recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Michael, officials said Saturday. Ron DeSantis said at a news conference outside a church in Panama City. More than 200 firefighters and emergency workers from throughout the Florida Panhandle worked overnight to strengthen containment lines and protect homes. As of Saturday morning, the 1,400-acre (567-hectare) Adkins Avenue Fire was 30% contained, according to the Florida Forest Service. The agency has deployed more than a dozen tractor plow units as well as multiple helicopters, officials said in a news release.wftv.com
DeSantis issues state of emergency in Bay County; wildfires burn more than 1,400 acres, FEMA says
The governor issued Executive Order 22-54 to declare a state of emergency in Bay County after the wildfires engulfed eight homes and led to the evacuation of thousands more, with weather conditions expected to maintain a moderate drought in the area for at least the next three days, according to the order.
33 arrested on sex charges during Operation ‘Dirty Santa’ in Florida Panhandle
Arrested: Officials said 33 people were arrested during a four-day sting in northwest Florida on various sex-related charges. PANAMA CITY, Fla. — Thirty-three people were arrested on sex charges in the Florida Panhandle as the result of a four-day multi-agency operation dubbed Operation “Dirty Santa,” authorities said Monday. “This was targeting sex offenders, child pornographers, and travelers who are coming from out of the area to meet minors for the purpose of having sex,” Smith said. “We can see that these arrests are going to grow as the further investigation continues.”After a four-day sting operation, 33 people have been arrested on various sex-related crimes in our area. Smith said seven people arrested came from as far away as Biloxi, Mississippi to have sex with minors, according to WMBB.wftv.com
Cult killers sentenced to 50 years prison in Panama
A court imposed Panama's maximum sentence of 50 years in prison Friday on seven members of a cult who killed a woman and six children in a religious rite in a remote part of the Central American nation. The court in Bocas del Toro province sentenced two other members of the New Light of God cult to 47 years in prison each. The cult had operated for about three years in the Ngabe Bugle hamlet of El Terron on Panama's Caribbean coast, but villagers said it had changed after one member had a vision telling the lay preachers they had been “annointed” to exterminate unbelievers.news.yahoo.com
US changes 7 starters in World Cup qualifier at Panama
PANAMA CITY, Panama — (AP) — The United States changed seven starters for Sunday night’s World Cup qualifier against Panama, inserting forward Gyasi Zardes along with midfielders Kellyn Acosta, Sebastian Lletget and winger Tim Weah. Right back Shaq Moore, central defender Mark McKenzie and left back George Bello also were in the lineup. Returning from the lineup that started Thursday’s 2-0 win over Jamaica were goalkeeper Matt Turner, central defender Walker Zimmerman, midfielder Yunus Musah and winger Paul Arriola. Acosta played his 19th consecutive national team match, the longest streak since 35 by Landon Donovan from 2001-03. Turner’s 11 straight games in goal is the most since Brad Guzan in 2015 and four shy of the record set by Tony Meola from 1990-91.wftv.com
The party on South Beach has gone on too long. It’s time to shut it down | Opinion
There comes a time in life when everyone and everything must grow up. Whether it be teenagers assuming adulthood responsibilities or cities that realize their once “anything goes” party atmosphere has become major liability, instead of an asset.news.yahoo.com
Illicit vaccine sites irk Panamanians fed up with inequality
One Monday in June in an upscale neighborhood of Panama City, people noticed something odd: Strange cars were coming and going from the Coco del Mar Suites, a nondescript three-story residential building surrounded by luxury oceanside high-rises.
Panama closes border with Colombia over pandemic fears
Panama says it has closed its border with Colombia over concerns about the spread of COVID-19, but it wasn't clear how it would enforce such a measure in the dense jungle-shrouded Darien region where smugglers operate and thousands of migrants have crossed this year on their journey north. The move came after Panamanian officials said Colombia had decided to open its border. “For Panama, that measure puts at the risk the significant advances achieved for all Panamanians to control the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the border security and control of migrant flows,” Panama’s Foreign Relations Ministry said in a statement late Wednesday.news.yahoo.com
Panama cautious after day without COVID-19 deaths
Virus Outbreak Panama A man gets a first shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine for COVID-19 in a car at the Rommel Fernandez soccer stadium where the parking lot is being used as a vaccination center in Panama City, Thursday, April 22, 2021. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco) (Arnulfo Franco)PANAMA CITY — (AP) — Panama raised capacity on public transportation across the country Monday, a day after celebrating the first day in 14 months without a COVID-19 death. The pause in COVID-19 deaths came despite a slight rise in confirmed infections that led to quarantines being imposed in two western provinces. On Sunday, Health Minister Luis Francisco Sucre announced that there were no new deaths to announce for the previous 24-hour period. Panama has reported more than 370,000 confirmed infections and 6,296 COVID-19 deaths.wftv.com
Here’s why Central Florida officials say it’s time to expand COVID-19 vaccine eligibility in Florida
Ron DeSantis hinted at plans to lower the vaccine eligibility age soon but didn’t share specifics during a news conference in Panama City on Thursday. Some Central Florida counties said they are seeing indicators that it may be time to expand eligibility across the state. Ad“We still have a few appointments at the end of next week but those are going pretty quickly,” Harris said. He adds they are seeing cancellations, which causes them to have leftover doses at the end of the day. To keep up with the latest news on the pandemic, subscribe to News 6′s coronavirus newsletter and go to ClickOrlando.com/coronavirus.
It’s good to be in Florida! 80s return to forecast
ORLANDO, Fla. – If you have plans to take lunch outside Monday afternoon, you should be good to go. Other than a stray shower through the first half of the day, Monday afternoon should be dry and warm, with temperatures topping out in the lower 80s in Orlando. There will still be a breeze, this time out of the south, but it won’t be as windy as the weekend. The highest rain chances come later in the evening and overnight. Highs by Thursday and Friday return to the lower 80s.
Republican Party in this Florida county will not acknowledge Biden win
PANAMA CITY, Fla. – The Bay County Republican Party said it won’t recognize President-elect Joe Biden as legitimate unless President Donald Trump concedes and acknowledges that the 2020 election was fair. The Florida Panhandle organization's executive committee voted last month, deciding that its officials should not cooperate with Biden's administration. The organization said in a statement that the future of the Republican Party lies in Florida and that its members have an obligation to protect its conservative values, according to the Pensacola News Journal. Tonight’s (Dec. 7) vote makes clear that the Bay County Republican Party is prepared to continue to stand with President Trump and leaders that hold the conviction to fight for the American people and our Constitution," Bay County Republican Party Chairman Debbie Wood said in a written statement. The resolution, which was widely circulated on social media, notes the party would only refer to Biden’s administration as “President-imposed” without Trump’s concession and will encourage Bay County Republican officials to not cooperate with “an illegitimate Biden Administration on any matters that infringe upon the Constitutionally protected rights of our citizens.”
Newborn dies after being left in hot car in Florida
PANAMA CITY, Fla. – A newborn baby died after being left inside a hot car in Florida’s Panhandle, sheriff’s officials said. The Bay County Sheriff’s Office offered few details about the case on Thursday. Rescue crews were called to a home in Panama City late Wednesday after the baby was found inside the car. Sheriff’s officials said the baby had possibly been left inside the vehicle for several hours. The Sheriff’s Office is conducting an investigation, and will be speaking to witnesses to establish a timeline of events.
Governor announces loan program to help with housing after Hurricane Michael
Ron DeSantis was in Panama City Monday afternoon to announce a program that will provide $15,000 loans to help residents find housing after Hurricane Michael. DeSantis said that come Sept. 1, the state will relaunch the Hurricane Michael loan recovery program to provide residents with $15,000 loans to assist with housing costs. “Expected to launch September 1, the Hurricane Michael Recovery Loan Program will offer below market 30-year fixed rate first mortgages coupled with up to $15,000 in down payment (DPA) and closing cost assistance for qualified homebuyers. DPA loans will be zero percent interest, non-amortizing and forgivable at 20 percent per year over five years. The DPA loan is fully forgivable if an active duty serviceperson is officially reassigned and must sell the home,” it read.
Florida reaches deal for two cruise ships to dock, passengers to disembark
REUTERS/Erick Marciscan/File PhotoWASHINGTON - A deal has been reached to allow two Holland America Line ships to dock in Florida and most of the 2,500 passengers on board to disembark, including foreign nationals, NBC News reported on Thursday, citing unnamed sources. The agreement would allow the cruise lines Rotterdam and Zaandam ships to dock at the Port of Everglades in Fort Lauderdale after 27 days at sea, according to NBC. Not all passengers would be leaving the ships, NBC said, adding 45 severely sick passengers will remain on board. Carnival Corp (CCL.N) owns the Dutch cruise ship line. Representatives for the cruise line and the state could not be immediately reached to comment on the NBC report.feeds.reuters.com
Cruise ship passengers await Florida deal allowing them to disembark
MIAMI (Reuters) - The U.S. government and Florida were working on a plan on Wednesday to allow thousands of cruise ship passengers exposed to an onboard coronavirus outbreak to disembark, a day after President Donald Trump urged the governor to drop his opposition to their docking. FILE PHOTO: The cruise ship MS Zaandam, where passengers have died on board, navigates through the pacific side of the Panama Canal, in Panama City, Panama, as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak continues, March 29, 2020. But he said a clear protocol was needed to protect residents of his South Florida city from infection. Nearly two-thirds of its passengers, those who passed a medical screening, were moved to the lines sister ship, the Rotterdam. FILE PHOTO: The cruise ship MS Zaandam, where passengers have died on board, navigates through the pacific side of the Panama Canal, in Panama City, Panama, as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak continues, March 29, 2020.feeds.reuters.com
Study shows Orlando among the cheapest destinations for spring breakers
Atlantic City, NJ108 bars, 356per capita7. Orlando, FL727 bars, 418per capita9. The prices were averaged to determine the cheapest and most expensive spring break destinations along five cost categories.Orlando, it turns out, is theleast expensive city for spring breakers in the U.S. and Canada assuming they like drinking. Before combining the scores from each category into an overall score to rank the cheapest and most expensive cities, Wanderu had to do some extensive research (and math). Just don't drink like a spring breaker you probably can't afford it.orlandoweekly.com
Flagler Fishing: Wise angler pays heed to new or unusual techniques
Just because its different does not mean its wrong or does not work. While in the Navy, I served in many locations that offered different types and styles of fishing. This in itself is not unusual; the fact that they were using them to fish for and catch sheepshead, blew my mind. Just because its different does not mean its wrong or does not work. Mike Vickers Jr. is a licensed charter boat captain and co-owner of Hammock Bait & Tackle offering inshore fishing and boat rentals.news-journalonline.com
As more powerful hurricanes strike all over Florida, legislators consider building improvements
click to enlarge Photo of Hurricane Michael damage in Panama City, as seen Oct. 21, 2018, via Wikimedia CommonsRooftop wooden decks may offer the perfect getaway space for homeowners, but they need to be built to better withstand hurricanes, members of a Senate panel were told Monday.Thomas Campbell, executive director of the Florida Building Commission, gave members of the Senate Community Affairs Committee a quick summary of tentative changes approved by the 27-member commission, including additional mitigation requirements for rooftop decks. Those requirements, at least in part, would be aimed at ensuring decks are sealed to prevent water intrusion.Commission members also have given tentative approval to more-stringent wind resistance requirements for vinyl siding and potentially requiring in progress inspections when exterior wall coverings such as vinyl siding are being applied.The Florida Building Commission considers updates to the statewide building code every three years. Members are discussing the seventh iteration of the code.The public will have an opportunity to comment on the tentative changes during public meetings in February and April, Campbell told senators.A new statewide building code is expected to be finalized by December 2020, Campbell said.The Florida Legislature authorized the initial statewide building code in 2000. It went into effect two years later, replacing local ordinances and rules that once regulated building construction across the state.Though its a statewide code, it includes different requirements for wind resistance in certain areas of the state.South Florida has the toughest wind resistance requirements; the building code requires that buildings be able to withstand 175 mph winds.But the requirements in the Florida Panhandle, which in the past was considered less susceptible to hurricanes, are less stringent. Buildings in rural, non-coastal areas of the Panhandle are required to withstand 120 mph winds.orlandoweekly.com
Florida governor pushes money in direction of Hurricane Michael recovery
DeSantis said the money being awarded in Bay County will help the area rebuild needed housing for workers. Panama City and other communities have grappled with housing and worker shortages after many homes were destroyed or severely damaged in the storm. We need the folks to be working right here in Bay County.Michael damaged 60 percent of the homes around Panama City, eliminating 43 percent of the low-income housing. The Triumph Gulf Coast Trust Fund handles money Florida receives in annual settlement payments from BP over the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. On Thursday, the Florida Democratic Party called out DeSantis, state Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis and Trump and said more relief is needed for the region.news-journalonline.com
Gov. DeSantis to ask for $23 million for Hurricane Michael recovery
Ron DeSantis will ask the Legislature to dedicate $23 million in interest earned off the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill settlement fund for Hurricane Michael recovery. DeSantis made his announcement in Panama City on the anniversary of Michael devastating the area with Category 5 winds. He said he will also ask the Legislature to approve another $2 million for the recovery fund. DeSantis also said he is awarding the area the first grant from a new economic development fund. The $2.6 million will be used to build two new roads and underground utilities to help develop new housing.
Housing, workforce issues slow Hurricane Michael recovery
The Category 5 Hurricane Michael made landfall Oct. 10 in Mexico Beach and caused billions of dollars in damage as it hammered Panama City and continued north. Bense, who was able to return to his storm-damaged Panama City home just over a month ago, said businesses in the region, such as McDonalds restaurants, are struggling to find workers. The average working man and working woman are having a very difficult time.Rubio held the hearing in his role as chairman of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee. Part of that is due to housing, labor costs and availability. Bense said delayed insurance payments have slowed home rebuilding, but federal housing agencies need to be given more flexibility to make quicker and better decisions.dailycommercial.com
Housing, workforce issues slow Hurricane Michael recovery
The Category 5 Hurricane Michael made landfall Oct. 10 in Mexico Beach and caused billions of dollars in damage as it hammered Panama City and continued north. Bense, who was able to return to his storm-damaged Panama City home just over a month ago, said businesses in the region, such as McDonalds restaurants, are struggling to find workers. The average working man and working woman are having a very difficult time.Rubio held the hearing in his role as chairman of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee. Part of that is due to housing, labor costs and availability. Bense said delayed insurance payments have slowed home rebuilding, but federal housing agencies need to be given more flexibility to make quicker and better decisions.ocala.com