- Associated Press - Friday, January 20, 2017

Your daily look at news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today.

PASSENGERS SCREAM AS FLORIDA ALLIGATOR LEAPS INTO AIRBOAT

A Missouri couple vacationing in Florida had a close encounter with an alligator when it leapt into their airboat and became wedged in the boat’s railing. The guide killed the engine and floated close to the bank so people could photograph the gator. The gator eventually slid in to the water. No one was hurt.

SUSPECT IN OFFICER KILLING: SHE PULLED GUN FIRST

An arrest affidavit says a suspect in the killing of an Orlando police officer told homicide detectives that the fatal shooting might not have happened if the lieutenant “had waited for backup.” The affidavit filed Friday says that when detectives asked Markeith Loyd about Lt. Debra Clayton’s killing, he told them, “She pulled her gun out first.”

ST. PETE CITY COUNCIL BANS SMOKELESS TOBACCO AT RAYS GAMES

The measure approved Thursday not only applies to players, coaches and managers, but anyone attending events at the sports venues around the city and is aimed at discouraging kids from using products such as chewing tobacco, snuff and dip. Tropicana Field is among 13 major league stadiums that will be tobacco-free for the 2017 season.

FLORIDA’S UNEMPLOYMENT RATE REMAINS AT 4.9 PERCENT

State officials on Friday announced the December unemployment remained at 4.9 percent, the same as November and 0.2 percentage points above the nation’s jobless rate. Despite unemployment rising slightly in October and November, Florida’s rate is 0.2 percentage points lower than 12 months earlier.

STUDY: DCF UNDERPERFORMING FLORIDA’S FOSTER CHILDREN

The Department of Health and Human Services found DCF underperforming in critical areas during an analysis of 80 cases from April 1 to September 30. The study found in more than half of the cases, child welfare agencies removed children from homes without providing appropriate services and were lax in follow up safety plans. The study found DCF needs improvement in 11 of 14 categories.

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