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Florida’s weirdness from Q1 2019
This is a strange state.
It’s a fact we try to avoid reminding readers of in this space every day, but once in a while, it’s an experience to survey the vast landscape of humans and animals here who make some of the nation’s most ridiculous headlines.
Since it’s April Fools’ Day, this feels as valid a moment as any to look at the different types of jokers who help to give Florida its reputation for weird news. That reputation has grown so infamous that someone just last month invented a game that involves searching the internet for your birthday along with the words “Florida man” or “Florida woman” to see what absurdity returns in the search results.
These are the most bizarre Florida headlines our team has spotted during the first quarter of 2019.
And, yes, The Point will return tomorrow to its regular format.
• “Sheriff’s detectives seize hot air balloon reported stolen” (Ocala Star-Banner, March 24)
• “A Tampa man reported an income of $18,497. The IRS sent him a refund check for $980,000.” (Tampa Bay Times, Feb. 13)
• “Man drives through fence at Pensacola airport, does doughnuts near runway” (Pensacola News Journal, Jan. 30)
• “Pair find WWII grenade in river, bring it to Ocala Taco Bell” (Ocala Star-Banner, Jan. 27)
• “Boynton Beach woman breaks into police station, eats officer’s lunch” (WSVN – Miami, Jan. 10)
• “Suspect fleeing deputies dives headfirst into South Daytona dumpster” (Orlando Sentinel, Jan. 3)
The allegedly violent
• “Florida man arrested, accused of throwing pancake batter at woman” (AP, March 18)
• “Star fighter Conor McGregor arrested on Miami Beach, accused of smashing fan’s phone” (Miami Herald, March 13)
• “BSO arrest, fight ATV drivers during ‘Bikes Up, Guns Down'” (Miami Herald, Jan. 21)
• “PBSO deputy resigns following arrest after strip-club fight” (Palm Beach Post, Jan. 16)
• “A Keys tourist fired a gun in the air to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Then he was arrested.” (FLKeysNews, Jan. 2)
The downright weird
• “Bicycling backwards on I-95 while nearly naked? Yup.” (Sun Sentinel, March 4)
• “Mount Dora man charged with shoving buddy off boat and stranding him” (Daily Commercial, Jan. 30)
• “Domino’s is paying to fix South Florida roads so your pizza will be delivered unharmed” (Sun Sentinel, Jan. 29)
• “Man stops to help victims of fiery I-95 wreck near Ormond, gets truck stolen” (Daytona Beach News-Journal, Jan. 15)
• “Maryland man (in Florida) appears to attack federally protected pelican in viral video” (Baltimore Sun, March 9)
• “Bonita Springs golf course gator jumps up, catches ball, golfer says” (Naples Daily News, Feb. 21)
• “Massive gator chomps 10-foot python like chew toy” (Palm Beach Post, Feb. 20)
• “Florida man claiming to be ‘an agent of God’ caught carrying rattlesnake in Jacksonville Beach” (First Coast News, Feb. 18)
• “Year of the pig? Mob of wild hogs march across Florida road” (Northwest Florida Daily News, Feb. 5)
• “A manatee and a crocodile recently became best friends in Florida” (Orlando Weekly, Feb. 4)
• “A man actually punted a rabid coyote in Kissimmee” (Orlando Weekly, Feb. 1)
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About today’s curator
I’m Ethan Magoc, a news editor at WUFT. Originally from Pennsylvania, I’ve found a home telling Florida stories. I’m part of a team searching each morning for local and state stories that are important to you; please send feedback about today’s edition or ideas for stories we may have missed to firstname.lastname@example.org.