Cailey Marsh produced this update.
Hourly News Update
Kathryn Williams produced this update.
Clouds of orange and blue cornstarch rained down on more than 1,000 University of Florida students and some members of the Gainesville community as they ran through Fraternity Row, leaving Flavet Field behind them.
The runners participated in the second annual Gator Run 5K on Saturday. Developed last year by Mercedes Castro, a Florida Cicerone senior, the 5K was designed as a way for the UF Alumni Association to receive funds to fuel back into UF.
“It all goes towards helping UF’s campaign as part of our preeminence campaign to be a top 10 public school in the nation,” said Ashley Nicole Dean, the Gator Run programming director. “In and of itself, it is a philanthropy for UF.”
By following the popularity of other color runs throughout the country, the Gator Run used orange and blue colors to make it an event tailored for the university.
“We wanted to really refresh the perspective that students had on the Alumni Association and create a really fun tradition that can be held here at the university as a membership drive for them,” said Dean. “We ran with it, and in the very first year we had 1,300 runners.”
The event directors partnered with Children’s Miracle Network as part of a larger philanthropy of in-kind donations of art and music supplies that go directly to the children’s section of UF Health.
Finishing in first place with a time of 18 minutes and seven seconds, Renee Marin-Gomez, a UF transfer student who participates in the Florida Running Club, said he would participate again.
“Overall, it was a fun race,” he said. “It’s a great event.”
Global trade impacts on local food and farming were the topic of debate by a panel including the former Assistant Deputy Administrator of International Trade Policy for the USDA at the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law Friday.
Panelist Carmen Gonzalez, Professor at Seattle University’s School of Law, said trade practices must protect local farmers, and that broad policies like the recently passed Farm Bill and global and international trade arrangements leave small and local family farms to fend for themselves, both internationally and domestically.
Gonzalez said that for a local farmer to compete in a globalized economy, the person shopping at the store plays a key role.
“From a consumer standpoint, you need to know what you are eating, where it is coming from and who is producing it. And to support the things that are in harmony with your own values,” Gonzalez said. “In terms of supporting small farmers, supporting organic and semi-organic agriculture, thinking about the carbon footprint of how it is being produced. So, education, labeling, all of that.”
About twenty people in the audience for one of the panel sessions focused questions on how trade policies and the Farm Bill impact the ability of small farmers to compete on a global scale.
“After the panel, there was a part I thought was really interesting — they were talking about how local and small farmers have the ability to add value to their products whether by certification or whatever. However, from what it sounds like, that’s not something that international trade allows for them to do,” said Lindsy Iglesias, attendee and Ph.D student of Entomology at UF. “They aren’t allowed to charge extra or higher prices for their products. If a local or small farmer wanted to sell internationally.”
“I like to know where I’m purchasing from, everything from food to artisan products,“ said Iglesias.
Panelists’ comments all pointed back to the consumer and food buyer as the main way to support local food and farming, in an environment where subsidies still dominate large agriculture, both domestically and internationally.
Supporting a small farmer means buying locally grown and produced food, said James Grueff, Former Assistant Deputy Administrator, International Trade Policy, USDA.
Local farms must seek support at the local level because broader government programs like international exports of food production, national subsidies and the Farm Bill do not address local farming, Grueff said.
Grueff described the Farm bill as a continuation of the traditional US approach to supporting U.S. farmers, saying it does not add any help for local farmer working to compete against larger farm operations receiving subsidies and exporting their goods.
The bill targets the farmers already in the program and changes the way the program makes payments to them, Grueff said.
“This idea of significant reform, moving away from subsidies, is not popular in Congress. Sure there are changes, but the changes are in the form of subsidies, not the subsidies themselves,” Grueff said. “It is very clear that more creative solutions are nowhere on the agenda of Congress. When this topic comes up, Congress backs away.
Gonzalez attributes much of the pressure on local farmers worldwide to U.S. trade policies with subsidies and legislation like the Farm Bill.
Apart from marketing products differently, the small farmer has little leverage in competing, she said, but there are ways.
“Through long-term contractual relationships, through farmers’ markets – that’s a way of establishing that kind of link, that kind of loyalty, and elevating the consciousness of consumers so they are very thoughtful about what they are purchasing,” she said.
“I think people are willing to pay a premium. We have the benefit of being a wealthier nation. We have the luxury of paying a little bit more to get highly nutritious food,” said attendee Deborah Andrews, PhD student of Anthropology, UF.
“I’m a big proponent of local. We are pretty lucky that we live in Gainesville so there are a lot of products available locally, whether its vegetables or fruit, milk, dairy or meat,” Andrews said.
“In the supermarket I shop in, I can buy organic produce if I want to pay more. That’s the way it works,” said Grueff.
The debate took place at the UF Levin College of Law’s 20th Anniversary Public Interest Environmental Conference. The conference runs through Sunday. About 250 attendees registered to see 30 speakers on nine panels during the three-day conference.
Update Feb. 23 12:48 a.m.: The other passenger arrested with Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Deonte A. Thompson has had run ins with the law, including prison time for two attempted murder charges.
In June 2007, Erskine J. McKinley, also known as “Dusty” and “Erk,” was sentenced to three years for crimes including two attempted murders, shooting, illegally owning a weapon or ammo and robbery, according to Florida Department of Corrections records.
He was released in October 2009, according to department records.
A year later, he was arrested in Houston after witnesses alleged he was part of a drive by from a minivan in Belle Glade, according to The Palm Beach Post.
In the October 2010 incident, James Sanford, 18, was shot to death in the 700 block of Southwest Avenue D. A 20-year-old man was hit in the leg, according to the Post.
Prosecutors did not pursue a series of charges against McKinley and the other man, according to Palm Beach County records. The charges included first-degree murder with a gun, two counts of attempted degree murder, grand theft and illegally owning a gun.
McKinley was back in prison in October 2011 for the crimes he committed in 2006. He was released July 1, according to Florida Department of Corrections records.
He was found guilty in March 2012 of battery on a law enforcement officer in a June 2011 incident, according to Palm Beach County records.
He pleaded guilty to carrying a concealed weapon in June 2010 and robbery and having a weapon or ammunition in June 2007, according to County records.
The driver arrested with wide receiver Deonte Thompson, Alvon J. Summerall, 23, pleaded guilty to burglary in 2008 and 2009, according to County records.
Original: A Baltimore Ravens and former University of Florida Gators football player is at the Alachua County Jail on suspicion of possessing marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
According to the Gainesville Police Department, Deonte Thompson was in a car with Alvon Summerall and Erskine McKinley when the driver, Sumerall, was pulled over for driving without headlights. Police then searched the car and found a duffle bag with several smaller bags of marijuana, weighing a total of 29 grams.
Police say Summerall had a revoked driver’s license. Summerall and the other passenger, McKinley, said the marijuana belonged to them. Thompson said the duffle bag was his, but the marijuana inside the bag was not.
Thompson is a wide receiver for the Baltimore Ravens, according to the team’s website. He played on the 2013 Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl championship team.
He previously played for the University of Florida at the same position, according to the Gators’ website. He also ran track for UF. He played on the 2008 University of Florida national championship team under Urban Meyer.
Thompson was in the Alachua County Jail on a $7,000 bond at the time of publication. He’s charge with having more than 20 grams of marijuana and drug equipment, according to Alachua County Jail records.
McKinley is held in lieu of the same bond with the same charges.
Summerall, the driver, was in jail on a $9,000 bond. He’s charged with having more than 20 grams of marijuana, drug equipment and driving with a suspended license.
Danielle Prinz produced this update.
When Jonah Pournazarian was 6 months old, he was diagnosed with Glycogen Storage Disease, a rare liver disease.
Jonah, now 8, continues to suffer from the effects of GSD. He drinks cornstarch every two hours to keep his blood sugar from dropping to life-threating levels.
“He can have a seizure, go into a coma and die,” said Lora Pournazarian, Jonah’s mother.
There is no cure for this disease.
But Jonah’s friend Dylan Siegel, 7, had an idea to help him — he’d write a book.
Dylan authored the book “Chocolate Bar,” which has raised over $400,000 in sales for the Glycogen Storage Disease research program at the University of Florida since November 2013. His goal is to reach a million dollars.
Jonah told Dylan about his condition when they first met in preschool.
“I heard that Jonah had a disease, and then I felt bad for him that he had to drink cornstarch every day and always check his blood,” Dylan said. “So, then I wrote a book to help him stop doing all this bad stuff [drinking cornstarch and checking blood] every day.”
Dylan’s mother Debra Siegel, said Dylan always makes up words and phrases, and his phrase “chocolate bar,” which the book is named after, means something is “awesome.” The book is about his favorite things.
Siegel said her son was serious about writing the book and wouldn’t give up until it was published.
Dylan was awarded the first-ever Young Philanthropy Award from UF Friday night.
“A lot of times, kids come up with ideas, and then the next minute they’re on to something else,” Siegel said. “So we kind of thought that’s what it was at first, and then he just stayed on top of that. We love it, and we’re proud, and we’re honored to be a part of it.”
Drug agents arrested nine people in Belleview on Thursday during the service of a search warrant.
The Ocala Police Department’s Unified Drug Enforcement Strike Team was investigating the residents of 12250 SE 86th Ave. in the Belleview Ridge Estates after receiving complaints from neighbors.
While executing the search warrant, drug agents arrested Sylvester Welcome, 32, Sharla Welcome, 27, and Daniel Harshman, 36, according to a press release from OPD. All three already had arrest warrants, and Sylvester was also charged with one count of possession of cocaine with intent to distribute.
The Welcome’s children, an infant and a child under the age of two, were found in the home and put in the custody of other family members.
The agents seized 13 grams of crack cocaine, six grams of powder cocaine, 26 prescription pills, 16 grams of marijuana, a handgun and $586 from the house. Two more handguns were found in a truck on the property along with an additional $2,750.
After the initial arrests and seizures, the agents set up an operation in that area. Six people who showed up to purchase drugs were also arrested.
David J. Cleary, 35, was charged with purchase of crack cocaine and possession of crack cocaine.
Matthew A. Glickman, 23, was charged with possession of marijuana under 20 grams, purchase of marijuana, possession of cocaine, purchase of cocaine and possession of a firearm during commission of a felony.
Izik Holly, 24, was charged with purchase of crack cocaine, possession of crack cocaine and tampering with evidence.
Jerry R. Latham, 39, was charged with purchase of crack cocaine and possession of crack cocaine.
Varian N. Hare, 36, was charged with purchase of crack cocaine, possession of crack cocaine and possession of paraphernalia.
Dustin J. Lynn, 29, was charged with purchase of crack cocaine, possession of crack cocaine and possession of paraphernalia.