In the News: Mindy McCready’s death, tax identity fraud, Everglades water project, Gainesville biomass
Embattled country star Mindy McCready dead at 37 of apparent suicide – On Sunday afternoon, the country singer Mindy McCready, 37, was found dead on her Arkansas home front porch. The authorities said she died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. McCready was the mother of a 6-year-old and a 10-month-old. A month earlier, police found the infant’s father dead on McCready’s front porch. He also took his own life and had used a gun. CNN
Florida hit by ‘tsunami’ of tax identity fraud – The IRS has detected an identity theft trend across the nation, centralized in Florida and mostly concentrated in Miami and Tampa. An accurate number of fake tax filings could be higher since fraud is difficult to track, according to a General Accountability Office report. in November. Unlike pervasive Medicare fraud in recent years, tax identity theft is often linked to violent crime and armed gangs. Orlando Sentinel
Everglades plan could siphon water from county wells – Everglades restoration engineers said a current project can be manipulated to protect water flow to Miami-Dade’s major well field. Increased suburban flooding from raising water levels in the Everglades has been a concern, and the current restoration project could pose the opposite problem. Re-plumbing certain levees, canals and pumps could potentially divert too much water from a well field that supplies most of Miami-Dade’s drinking water. The Miami Herald
Biomass plant nearly finished, but issues remain – The Gainesville biomass plant off U.S. 441 is 85 percent complete after two years of construction. Conveyors will begin burning wood debris to generate electrical power through the Gainesville Regional Utilities system. The plant should be ready for generating power by September, said Al Morales, chief financial officer with the Gainesville Renewable Energy Center. GRU continues to pursue methods that will prevent electric rate increases when the biomass plant is fully functioning on Oct. 1. The Gainesville Sun
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Freshman quarterback Treon Harris has been charged with second-degree misdemeanor for driving without a valid driver’s license.
The Pledge 5 Foundation is in debt with local businesses in Gainesville. The organization owes more than $100,000, but it created a program, so that they can pay back the money they owe.
Food4Kids Backpack Program of North Florida Inc., is furthering its year-round fight against food insecurity for youth by providing food during the winter holidays to students who mainly rely on meals during school hours.
In exchange for a reduced sentence, some Marion County inmates participate in a prison work program. The program has produced much of the jail’s infrastructure, saving taxpayers more than $9 million in 2013.
Gainesville Post Office participates in the Santa Operation program for the first time. The program started receiving letters from across the country starting Dec. 2, and it will match the benefactors until Monday.