Orange County commissioner says Split Oak Forest toll road approval was filed under the wrong code: District 5 Orange County Commissioner Emily Bonilla at the Jan. 28 meeting said she wants to revoke the county's approval for the toll road, which would bisect one of Orlando's last remaining forests, Split Oak. She said the Florida Communities Trust, the state agency tasked with reviewing the plan, noted the proposal was filed under the wrong administrative code and said the county must resubmit the plan. Because of the error, Bonilla told Orange commissioners, the county could hear a motion on the reversal of its approval. A motion to rescind Orange County's approval of the highway will be presented at the Feb. 11 meeting.
With face masks and park closures, Disney takes unprecedented steps to address coronavirus: As the Wuhan coronavirus continues to spread, Disney joined other theme park operators in China in the unprecedented move of closing both Shanghai Disneyland and Hong Kong Disneyland until further notice, in an attempt to stop the virus from spreading. Saturday, Jan. 25, was the Lunar New Year, a holiday in China that sees hundreds of millions of travelers, but this year, plans were put on hold as the nation struggles to address the easily spread virus which has killed dozens.
The state of Florida is holding $2 billion and wants you to claim it: If a bank account records no activity for long enough (about five years), the state claims it. According to the Florida Department of Financial Services, Division of Unclaimed Property, Florida is sitting on about $2 billion from those accounts. Typically, the proceeds go to schools, but the state will pay back anyone who claims the money, and there's a website that'll help you do exactly that. Last year, $323 million was paid out to citizens. It's free, and all you have to do is type in your name. Visit fltreasurehunt.gov, or missingmoney.com/en for other states, and something unexpected might pop up.
Gov. Ron DeSantis removes State Attorney Aramis Ayala from murder case: DeSantis last week pulled Orlando-area State Attorney Aramis Ayala from a high-profile murder case, issuing an executive order that cited her objections to the death penalty. Ayala has been caught up in a dispute with Osceola County Sheriff Russ Gibson over having not yet filed criminal charges against two suspects in the October murder of Nicole Montalvo. In the executive order, DeSantis said that Gibson believed Ayala's "opposition to the death penalty has interfered with the appropriate pursuit of homicide charges." The governor reassigned the case to Ocala-area State Attorney Brad King.
A manatee with a bicycle tire wrapped around its belly was spotted again at Blue Spring State Park: The garbage-entangled sea cow people have dubbed "Wheelie" was originally spotted last December, and all attempts to capture it have so far failed. Officials believe the manatee got stuck in the tire as a calf, and it has since tightened around its body as it grew. Though the manatee does not appear to be ill, the tire could lead to infection and will most likely need to be surgically removed. Officials have been notified.
– This story appears in the Feb. 5, 2020, print issue of Orlando Weekly. Stay on top of Central Florida news and views with our weekly Headlines newsletter.