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Attempt to feed manatees fails so far, but effort to hold off starvation will continue

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An attempt to feed starving manatees appears to have failed so far, as the big marine mammals refuse to recognize floating lettuce as food.

State and federal wildlife officials undertook the unusual step of offering food to manatees last month after an unprecedented number of deaths last year, most from starvation. The cause was the loss of seagrass in the Indian River Lagoon, largely due to polluted runoff from farms and cities.

But so far the manatees have been ignoring the lettuce offered them, said Ron Mezich, imperiled species management section leader for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, in a conference call Thursday with reporters.

He said it’s possible they ate the lettuce while no one was looking but that so far no consumption of lettuce has been observed.

“At this point in time, we have not documented animals foraging on the lettuce,” he said. “I will say we are not present at all locations at all times to verify that. We do come back at times, and not everything we provided is there, but we have not documented any animals [eating] it.”

A record 1,101 manatees died last year, most from starvation in the Indian River Lagoon area, according to the state wildlife commission. Last November state and federal officials set up a unified command to address the manatee deaths, increasing patrols beefing up rescue efforts for manatees in distress and setting up a system to offer them food.

One obstacle to feeding them has been the warm winter so far, which allowed the manatees to disperse, giving them more options for finding their own food. As the weather cools in the coming days, officials said, the manatees will concentrate near warm water, such as near the discharge zones of power plants, making it easier to try to offer them food.

“This is a time when manatees are challenged with the lowest temperatures and they’re also restricted in their movement because they have to stay close to their warm water sites and can’t venture out to seek forage,” said Dr. Martine deWit, the veterinarian who examines dead manatees for the state.

“As we enter winter, there is great concern for many of these animals entering the season in sub-optimal condition, and we’ve already found carcasses with advanced findings of tissue atrophy indicative of starvation.”

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Mezich said it was known from the start that it may be difficult to get them to take the lettuce and that different techniques were being tried.

“We started offering the lettuce in a floating form,” he said. “At this point, the animals aren’t recognizing it as a food source. That was not a complete shock to us. We were told by some of the experts speaking with us that it’s not uncommon in captivity, when an animal comes in for rehab, that they will offer lettuce for up to a week before it’s taken.”

He said different methods are being tried and that he expected them to eventually start eating the lettuce.

“As we adapt, we are offering the lettuce in different forms, not only floating but in the water column, submerged,” he said. “We’re offering it at different locations, and we continue to adapt. We are confident at some point we’ll find the trigger that works.”

David Fleshler can be reached at dfleshler@sunsentinel.com and 954-356-4535.

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‘You made a dumb decision’: Central Florida jogger’s 911 call details martial arts takedown of attempted murder suspect: report

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Orlando Sentinel

Jan 20, 2022 10:14 AM

Logan Smith, 18, was arrested Monday and faces a felony charge of attempted murder.

Logan Smith, 18, was arrested Monday and faces a felony charge of attempted murder. (Brevard County Sheriff’s Office)

A Central Florida jogger was attacked Monday by a man trying to choke him, kill him with plans to hide the body in a bedroom closet, according to the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office.

But using his martial arts skills, the jogger was able to fight back, and keep the suspect at bay until authorities arrived, according to a 911 call published by WKMG.

Logan Smith, 18 of Cocoa, was arrested Monday by Brevard County sheriff’s deputies and faces a felony charge of attempted murder, according to Brevard County Jail records.

The man was getting ready to start a run through a Port St. John neighborhood when Smith reportedly jumped the man and tried to choke him with a waist belt from a robe, according the an arrest report. The man was able to free himself using martial arts training, and detained Smith on the ground until deputies arrived.

“I’ve got him detained on the ground right now. I need the cops here immediately,” the man said to dispatch, which could be heard via the released 911 call and published by WKMG. The man told dispatch he had Smith subdued with a grip on his throat and his hands.

“You made a dumb decision today,” the man told Smith during the 911 call.

The man told dispatch that he had never seen Smith before. However, Smith told deputies he had first noticed the jogger passing by about six weeks ago, according to the arrest report, details of which were published by The Associated Press. On Monday, he hid behind a light pole and waited for the jogger to pass by, authorities said in the report. He was armed with a rubber mallet, an aerosol deodorant can and a bed sheet, which he had laid out in the driveway, the report said. When the jogger passed by, the man threw a belt from a robe around his neck.

Later, Smith admitted to deputies he attempted to choke the man, whom he had been watching for weeks to get a sense of his daily patterns, WKMG reported. Smith told deputies he wanted the man’s body “all to himself,” according to the report.

“He further planned to place the victim’s body into his closet where the defendant stated no one would know and the defendant could have the victim’s body all to himself,” according to AP.

Read the full report at WKMG.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Runaway Hit “Choir Of Man” Coming To Miami From London’s West End, Jan. 29

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There is something for everyone in The Choir of Man, a dynamic, uplifting, and jovial show for all ages at SMDCAC Jan 29 at 8 p.m. [PHOTO CREDIT: Chris David Cann]
The Choir of Man is critically acclaimed show that provides a riotously enjoyable homage to the “everypub” in every community – on stage at SMDCAC Jan 29. [PHOTO CREDIT: Prudence Upton]

Coming to Miami from London’s West End on Saturday, Jan. 29 at 8 p.m., “The Choir of Man” is the runaway hit of the international theater scene featuring a multi-talented cast serving up 90 minutes of unadulterated entertainment – with a real working bar on stage at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center (SMDCAC).

Considered across the globe as the ultimate-feel good show for all ages, The Choir of Man is critically acclaimed musical show combining hair-raising harmonies, foot-stomping sing-alongs, tap dance, and poetic meditations – all the while providing a riotously enjoyable homage to the “everypub” at the heart of so many communities.

“Imagine the greatest pub gig you’ve ever been to and multiply it by 10, and you’ll still be nowhere near the fun that this show exudes throughout,” touts the show’s producers.

With numerous duplicate casts, The Choir of Man has been continuously touring Australia, the U.S., and Europe since 2018, playing prestigious venues including the Sydney Opera House and Kennedy Center.

“Now it is our tremendous pleasure to host The Choir of Man here in Miami,” said Eric Fliss, SMDCAC’s Managing Director. “Ensuring that there is something for everyone, The Choir of Man is dynamic, jovial, and flowing with fun. It is an uplifting show for all ages.”

Tickets for The Choir of Man range from $37.50 to $60 and are available by calling 786-573-5300 or by visiting SMDCAC.org. VIP tickets are available for $75, which includes table seating and one complimentary beverage. 

Appropriate for ages 13 and up. All patrons entering the theater require a ticket regardless of age. This includes children and infants. Outside food & beverage are not allowed into the venue. Strollers are not permitted inside the auditorium.

PLEASE NOTE: Facemasks are required to be worn at all times.

About the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center

The South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center is managed by the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, with funding support from the Office of the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners. More information about the Center and its programs can be found at www.smdcac.org.

It is the policy of Miami-Dade County to comply with all of the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The facility is accessible and assistive listening devices are available in the Main Stage Auditorium and the Black Box Theater space.  To request materials in accessible format, sign language interpreters, CART, and/or any accommodation to attend an event at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, please contact Stephanie Aponte, 786-573-5314, stephanie.aponte@miamidade.gov, at least five days in advance to initiate your request, TTY users may also call 711 (Florida Relay Service).  


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Doing laundry is about to get more expensive

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(CNN) — It’s going to cost you more to wash your clothes.

Procter & Gamble said Wednesday that it was raising prices by an average of about 8% on retail customers next month for its Tide and Gain laundry detergents, Downy fabric softener and Bounce dryer sheets.

If retailers decide to pass off any of the increases, additional household staples will be pricier for shoppers. US consumer prices rose 7% annually in December, the steepest climb in prices in 39 years.

P&G said it’s raising prices to offset some cost pressures, including transportation, labor and commodities it uses to manufacture its products. The US producer price index, a gauge for prices manufacturers are paying, rose 9.7% annually.

“Transportation and labor markets remain tight. Availability of materials remain stretched,” P&G CEO Jon Moeller said on an analyst call Wednesday. “In some categories and in some markets, inflationary pressures are broad-based with little sign of near-term relief.”

P&G makes many of the most recognizable brands in US homes, such as Gillette, Charmin, Bounty, Pampers and Crest.

Moeller said P&G has raised prices on all 10 of its product categories in the United States and told retailers Tuesday it will be increasing prices on some personal health care brands in April, although he didn’t specify which ones. (P&G makes Metamucil, Neurobion, Pepto-Bismol and Vicks.)

P&G expects the higher prices will drive sales growth in the coming months as its increases take effect.

Although consumers are already paying more for many household products, demand remains strong, he said. “We haven’t seen noticeable changes in consumer behavior.”

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