Goodbye, Gaming Centers
Some 1,000 Florida gaming centers closed after Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill outlawing the slot-like computer gaming centers, also known as Internet cafés. The Legislature and the governor acted swiftly after 49 Internet cafés operated by Allied Veterans of World were closed during an investigation into a charity authorities say was an illegal gambling operation. Investigators said Allied Veterans' cafés brought in about $300 million, but gave little to veterans' groups. Signing the bill on April 10, Scott said the ban was “the right thing to do for our state.”
Nassau Charging for Funeral Escorts
The Nassau County Sheriff’s Office will start charging a $120 fee to provide police escorts for funeral processions, the News Leader reported. Sheriff Bill Leeper said the change is needed after a review of the department’s operating costs showed it spent about $30,000 in overtime for escorts in 2012. Funeral homes must make arrangements with the Sheriff’s Office for paid escorts — at a minimum of $120 — or do without. Leeper said it was up to funeral homes to see if they'd absorb the cost or pass it on to customers. In Duval and Clay counties, mourners pay about twice as much for escort services.
No Blue Angels, No Air Show
Just days after learning the Blue Angels were cancelling the rest of their season, Jacksonville was dealt a double-whammy. The Oct. 26 and 27 air show at Naval Air Station Jacksonville has also been canceled. The Navy said you can blame it on sequestration and the rules that outreach programs can only be conducted at no expense to the government. Navy officials had said that grounding the Angels and canceling the remaining 33 shows will save about $28 million. Local businesses will also fill the pinch. The shows usually draw about 200,000 visitors.
At the size of 10 combined Walmart Supercenters, a proposed warehouse at Cecil Commerce Center is really huge, but the big question is, who wants or needs a 1-million-square-foot warehouse? Hillwood Investment Properties, center management, declined to comment on details or disclose whose warehouse it is. There are rumors that FedEx was interested in the property, but it's made no announcements, the Times-Union reported. The proposed warehouse is west of Cecil's existing buildings, where the NAS Cecil Field was before it closed in 1999.
Lt. Gov. John Thrasher?
A former aide to Gov. Rick Scott thinks Sen. John Thrasher would be a good choice for lieutenant governor. The governor is looking for a replacement for Jennifer Carroll, who resigned after being questioned about her work for Allied Veterans of the World during an investigation of its operation. Steve MacNamara, Thrasher's former chief of staff during his stint as House speaker, made the recommendation. Thrasher didn't say if he was interested. MacNamara told the St. Augustine Record that Thrasher, a St. Augustine resident, should at least make Scott’s short list.
Wax Museum Move
Sometime soon, Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie and about 160 of their wax buddies are moving across downtown in the nation’s oldest city, the St. Augustine Record reported. Potter’s Wax Museum, which bills itself as the nation’s oldest wax museum, is moving to the Authentic Old Drugstore on Orange Street, said museum owner Kimber Ponce. Figures will be grouped by era and classification, Ponce said. Among the waxpersons are U.S. Presidents John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt and Franklin Roosevelt, plus entertainment icons Michael Jackson, Johnny Depp and Elvis Presley and dozens of other notables.