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    Florida lawmakers are entering the final two weeks of their annual 60-day session — the period when bills either start flying, or start dying. It's when things get unpredictable and hectic as deals are being made on the largest issues facing lawmakers. And even though lawmakers have had seven weeks to iron out differences between House and Senate bills, the next two weeks is when bills can rapidly start changing. There was some evidence last week that deals are in the works as Senate health care bills started coming closer to the House bills. Republican Speaker Jose Oliva has made reducing health care costs a priority. Now we'll see if the House starts moving toward one of Republican Senate President Bill Galvano's priorities: creating three new toll highways to cut through rural areas of the state. One would connect Collier County in the southwest to Polk County, located between Tampa and Orlando. Another would extend the Suncoast Parkway from Citrus County to Jefferson County, which borders Georgia. The other would extend from the north end of the Florida Turnpike to the Suncoast Parkway. The idea is to provide better access to rural areas that haven't seen job growth like other parts of the state. They would also relieve congestion on other highways and provide more hurricane evacuation routes. And while top policy is being negotiated, so will the state's budget. The Senate has proposed a $90.3 billion spending plan and the House has an $89.9 billion proposal. 'I'm actually feeling pretty good about everything,' Galvano said about the budget. And while historically the trading on policy issues is often tied to the trading on budget issues, Galvano insisted that won't necessarily be the case. 'There are continuing discussions about policy, but in dealing with Speaker Oliva, we're not horse traders. We both approach the process genuinely and as gentlemen,' Galvano said. Lawmakers have slightly more than a week to work out the budget differences. While the session is scheduled to end May 3, once there's a budget agreement, lawmakers can't vote on it for 72 hours. It's a cooling off period required by law so the massive spending document can be reviewed before it's finally approved. So in order to get home on time or avoid coming back for a special session, lawmakers must complete the budget by April 30. Among other big issues coming up, the Senate is scheduled to vote Tuesday on a wide-ranging school safety bill that's divided Republicans and Democrats over one provision: expanding a program that now allows some, but not all, teachers to carry guns in schools. The issue has prompted hours of discussion leading up to the final vote. The bill is based on recommendations from a commission formed to examine the shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland last year that left 17 dead. Despite agreeing on the bulk of the bill, including provisions that focus on mental health screening and reporting potential threats, Democrats and Republicans are divided over changes to the 'guardian program.' The current program allows teachers to carry guns in school if they have a role outside the classroom, such as an athletic coach. School districts have to approve the program and teachers have to volunteer and undergo training and psychological evaluations. The bill being considered opens the program up to all teachers, regardless of other roles. Democrats fear more guns in schools could lead to accidents or possibly shootings if students physically confront teachers. Republicans say arming teachers could prevent deaths, and say it could have saved lives if the program was in place before the Parkland shooting. A bill to ban sanctuary policies and require local law enforcement agencies to cooperate with federal immigration authorities is coming up on the House floor Tuesday. It's been the subject of contentious debate, with Democrats arguing it's a politically motivated, unnecessary piece of legislation that targets minorities. Republicans say it's a matter of following the rule of law and it's needed to make the state safer. If an immigrant in the country illegally is arrested and is the subject of a federal immigration detainer, it would require state authorities to alert federal authorities and hold that person for 48 hours.
  • Boston Red Sox (7-13, fifth in the AL East) vs. Tampa Bay Rays (14-6, first in the AL East) St. Petersburg, Florida; Saturday, 6 p.m. EDT PITCHING PROBABLES: Red Sox: Rick Porcello (0-3, 11.12 ERA, 3.00 WHIP, 10 strikeouts) Rays: Charlie Morton (0-0, 2.18 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 25 strikeouts) LINE: Rays favored by 1 1/2 runs; over/under is 8 runs BOTTOM LINE: Division rivals Tampa Bay and Boston will play on Saturday at Tropicana Field. The Rays are 4-3 against teams from the AL East. Tampa Bay's team on-base percentage of .341 is fourth in the league. Austin Meadows leads the club with an OBP of .408. The Red Sox are 4-5 against teams from the AL East. The Boston pitching staff as a whole has an ERA of 5.91. Nathan Eovaldi leads the team with a 6.00 earned run average. The Red Sox won the last meeting 6-4. Brandon Workman earned his first victory and Christian Vazquez went 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs for Boston. Diego Castillo took his second loss for Tampa Bay. TOP PERFORMERS: Brandon Lowe leads the Rays with six home runs and is slugging .594. Meadows is 17-for-36 with three doubles, four home runs and 12 RBIs over the last 10 games for Tampa Bay. Mitch Moreland leads the Red Sox with 11 extra base hits and has 13 RBIs. Vazquez is 8-for-34 with two doubles, three home runs and eight RBIs over the last 10 games for Boston. LAST 10 GAMES: Rays: 7-3, .295 batting average, 3.46 ERA, outscored opponents by 29 runs Red Sox: 5-5, .219 batting average, 4.91 ERA, outscored by 13 runs Rays Injuries: Blake Snell: 10-day IL (toe), Jose De Leon: 60-day IL (elbow), Anthony Banda: 60-day IL (elbow), Joey Wendle: 10-day IL (hamstring), Matt Duffy: 10-day IL (back). Red Sox Injuries: Brian Johnson: 10-day IL (elbow), Dustin Pedroia: 10-day IL (knee), Eduardo Nunez: 10-day IL (back), Brock Holt: 10-day IL (eye), Marco Hernandez: 10-day IL (shoulder). ___ The Associated Press created this story using technology provided by HERO Sports, and data from Sportradar.
  • Washington Nationals (9-9, fourth in the NL East) vs. Miami Marlins (5-15, fifth in the NL East) Miami; Saturday, 6 p.m. EDT PITCHING PROBABLES: Nationals: Max Scherzer (1-2, 3.33 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 35 strikeouts) Marlins: Jose Urena (1-3, 6.53 ERA, 1.69 WHIP, 17 strikeouts) LINE: Marlins favored by 1 1/2 runs; over/under is 7 runs BOTTOM LINE: Division rivals Miami and Washington will play on Saturday at Marlins Park. The Marlins are 3-7 against the rest of their division. The Miami pitching staff as a whole has an ERA of 4.80. Caleb Smith leads the team with a 2.35 ERA. The Nationals are 6-6 against the rest of their division. Washington has slugged .459, good for fourth in in the MLB. Anthony Rendon leads the team with a .783 slugging percentage, including 16 extra-base hits and six home runs. The Marlins won the last meeting 3-2. Smith notched his second victory and Isaac Galloway went 1-for-4 with an RBI for Miami. Anibal Sanchez registered his second loss for Washington. TOP PERFORMERS: Neil Walker leads the Marlins with three home runs and is slugging .386. Austin Dean is 5-for-22 with a double, a triple, a home run and six RBIs over the last 10 games for Miami. Rendon leads the Nationals with 26 hits and is batting .377. Howie Kendrick is 10-for-21 with three doubles, three home runs and six RBIs over the last 10 games for Washington. LAST 10 GAMES: Marlins: 2-8, .195 batting average, 5.38 ERA, outscored by 37 runs Nationals: 5-5, .274 batting average, 4.00 ERA, outscored opponents by 14 runs Marlins Injuries: Riley Ferrell: 10-day IL (bicep), Julian Fernandez: 60-day IL (elbow), Austin Brice: 10-day IL (gastroenteritis), Garrett Cooper: 10-day IL (calf). Nationals Injuries: Austen Williams: 10-day IL (shoulder), Justin Miller: 10-day IL (back), Koda Glover: 10-day IL (forearm), Trea Turner: 10-day IL (finger). ___ The Associated Press created this story using technology provided by HERO Sports, and data from Sportradar.
  • As the 2019 Blue Angels delight fans at air shows nationwide this year, two former Blue Angels have been busy laying the groundwork for one of the biggest changes in the team's nearly 75-year history. Capt. Ryan Bernacchi, commander of the 2016-2017 Blue Angels, and Cmdr. Frank Weisser, who flew with the team from 2008-2010 and again in 2016 and 2017, recently oversaw a team of experts helping the Blue Angels change airplanes for the first time in more than 30 years. The Blue Angels are tentatively scheduled to start flying the F/A-18 Super Hornet in 2021, the team's 75th anniversary season. The move to the Super Hornet will mark the first time the elite Navy and Marine fighter jet demonstration team has changed aircraft since it moved from the A-4F Skyhawk II to the F/A-18 Hornet back in 1986. Both Bernacchi and Weisser said the new aircraft will mean exciting changes in the demonstration and a new era for the Blue Angels. 'The jet is more powerful, especially at lower altitudes, so we believe that our maneuvering will be more visible to the crowd and more impressive overall,' Weisser said in response to a series of emailed questions from the News Journal. 'That increased performance will also allow us to alter some maneuvers to better showcase the aircraft's very unique capabilities.' Bernacchi and Weisser did a lot of their work in flight simulators at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland. They first tried to recreate the existing F/A-18 Blue Angels' demonstration in the Super Hornet using the simulator. 'We were able to establish the diamond, solo and delta maneuvers in the Super Hornet and then from there start to really evaluate the difference between the Hornet and the Super Hornet,' Bernacchi said in an email to the News Journal. 'Along the way, we worked closely with the engineering experts at Pax, folks that have unmatched knowledge about the F-18 flight dynamics, engines, flight control systems, fuel systems and air frame fatigue factors.' The team configured an artificial feel system in the simulator to mimic the 40-pound spring, which Blue Angels attach to their jet's flight stick to provide the precision control needed to fly the tight formations that are a hallmark of their flying. They also introduced engine flame outs, control failures and other unexpected emergencies in the simulator to see how the Super Hornet performed under the demands of the demonstration. 'We wanted to understand what the effects would be and ensure there is a safe procedure to handle any situation that could possible arise, no matter how unlikely,' Bernacchi said. ___ Blues will still fly without G-suits Although some things will change with the newer aircraft, other things will stay the same. The Blue Angels will continue to fly without the traditional G-suits worn by other fighter jet pilots when they change to the Super Hornet. The Blue Angels have a special waiver from the Department of Defense to fly without the suits because the inflatable bladders in the legs of the suits can interfere with a pilot's ability to control the flight stick and move the jets into the team's famous tight formations. The six jets often fly within inches of each other. 'The Blues have always required a G-suit waiver in their jets going back to the early days because we brace our right forearm on our right thigh for precise formation flying and G-suit inflation interferes with precision control,' Bernacchi said. Blue Angel pilots use special breathing maneuvers and abdominal exercises to keep blood in their upper body and to keep from passing out in high-G maneuvers. ___ F/A-18 Super Hornet's new software Weisser said one of the biggest challenges in changing to the Super Hornet was the updated software in the newer aircraft. 'The Blue Angels demonstration asks a lot of the jets and we quickly found that some of the software changes would require our maneuvers to be altered in order to continue to fly them,' he said. For example, Weisser said the Super Hornet deliberately reduces the roll rate of the aircraft regardless of what the pilot commands. He said this happens when the aircraft has a large amount of 'negative angle of attack.' 'A number of our maneuvers put us in this flight regime so it's important that we understand how the maneuvers need to be adjusted in order to have the jet respond the way we intend,' he said. Overall, Weisser said, the new aircraft and advanced software will provide the pilots with more situational awareness and faster access to critical flight information. 'We very much believe this will not only make the show safer to fly but more enjoyable to the crowd,' he said. 'Because of the improved performance, the Super Hornet will allow us to fly at even slower air speeds, which both maximizes our time in front of the crowd and minimizes our time getting set up for follow-on maneuvers.' ___ Navy to unveil Super Hornet in 2021 Although the Navy's is targeting the 2021 show season for the debut of the Super Hornet, the plan could change, Bernacchi said. 'We built a slide option into the plan in case any of the aircraft or the necessary parts are delayed, so the plan can gracefully slide one year for a 2022 show season,' said Bernacchi, who added that he believes the Navy has a great shot of making a 2021 debut. Navy officials have said the plan is for both the 2020 and 2021 seasons to be somewhat shorter than normal to allow for extended training in the Super Hornets, if a 2021 debut happens. Bernacchi said one important aspect of the change to the Super Hornets is that it is what many are Navy and Marine aviators are currently flying off U.S. aircraft carriers worldwide. By upgrading to the Super Hornet, the Blue Angels are better reflecting what is happening in the fleet, he said. 'We think it will magnify the primary tenants to represent the Navy and Marine Corps and to inspire a culture of excellence and service to country,' he said. ___ Information from: Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, http://www.pensacolanewsjournal.com
  • Inside a secretive Patrick Air Force Base laboratory, Airman 1st Class Cynthia A. Schroll prepares batches of complex chemicals alongside futuristic-looking fume hoods and a white cabinet labeled 'Acid' in large red letters. Wearing blue rubber gloves and a white lab coat, Schroll is a rare breed in the U.S. military: She earned a doctorate in analytical chemistry from the University of Cincinnati. She has written two books. She has a patent in her name. And Schroll conducts classified lab work at the Air Force Technical Applications Center. The organization detects and analyzes nuclear explosions detonated by foreign countries, utilizing a sprawling network of more than 3,600 sensors deployed around the globe. 'We've got them in space. We've got them at sea. We've got them in the air. We've got them on land on all seven continents, to include Antarctica. And we even work in the cyber domain,' said Col. Chad Hartman, who commands AFTAC. AFTAC is tasked with monitoring nuclear treaty compliance and any 'nuclear surprises' from rogue nations or terrorists. Its scientists assessed Iran's nuclear program in 2015 and identified both of North Korea's underground nuclear tests in 2016 — producing reports that made their way to the Oval Office. The agency also monitored the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident in the former Soviet Union; verified North Korea's first nuclear test in 2006; and scrutinized Japan's 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster. 'We're the only government organization whose primary mission is to do that. To be able to go after that problem set requires an incredible amount of equipment, an incredible amount of capability — that's on a global scale,' Hartman said. 'And, some of the best and brightest this nation has to offer,' he said. The AFTAC logo is a lithium atom surrounded by the slogan, 'In God We Trust: All Others We Monitor.' ___ Classified laboratory activities March marked the five-year anniversary of AFTAC's $158 million campus at Patrick AFB — which was the largest construction project in the Air Force at the time. Officials gave FLORIDA TODAY a rare glimpse inside AFTAC's surreptitious surveillance laboratory. The tour was the most in-depth media peek since the facility's March 2014 ribbon-cutting ceremony, said Susan Romano, AFTAC's public affairs chief. Scenes inside AFTAC's state-of-the-art, 38,000-square-foot Ciambrone Radiochemistry Lab resemble settings from a Stanley Kubrick sci-fi movie. Rotating red lights in hallway ceilings warn that persons without security clearances are present. Technicians wearing white lab coats perform atom-by-atom analyses. Visitors use shoe-cleaning machines and step on white 'tacky mats' before entering rooms, ensuring their soles are free of debris. Charts of the nuclides — resembling periodic tables of elements seen in high school chemistry classrooms — are posted on various walls. 'We use them on a daily basis,' said Brett Mapston, flight chief of nuclear measurements. Aerial filter samples collected by WC-135 Constant Phoenix 'nuke sniffer' aircraft enter the lab through an exterior door marked 'Caution: Radioactive Materials.' Encased in white plastic sleeves marked with bar codes, these samples are routed to various rooms for an array of scientific procedures. In on room, a futuristic chrome-metal contraption (a thermal ionization mass spectrometer) converts samples into vapor and accelerates them, isolating isotopes of uranium and plutonium. Scientists use these nuclear forensics to collect post-explosion warhead information. 'We can tell you what type it was and what grade it was,' said Wesley Schuler, flight chief for mass spectrometry. Before leaving the Ciambrone Radiochemistry Lab, visitors step inside a Canberra radiation contamination detector for a full body scan. A robotic-sounding woman's voice counts down from 15, then announces, 'Clean,' when the scan is complete. ___ 'MacGyvers' repair aging sensors At the AFTAC component repair facility, or CRF, airmen tinker with seismometers inside a large shop equipped with work benches, toolboxes, computers, coils and a cornucopia of electronics and wiring. Romano nicknames these mechanically adept airmen 'MacGyvers' after television's secret agent Angus MacGyver. Oxford Dictionaries defines MacGyver as an informal verb: 'make or repair (an object) in an improvised or inventive way, making use of whatever items are at hand.' AFTAC's 709th Technical Maintenance Squadron refurbishes the network's seismometers, both in the workshop and in the field. If these devices detect an underground disturbance, they transmit data to the Space Coast for analysis. Many were designed during the 1950s and '60s, so replacement parts are scarce or must be custom-built, said Douglas Dale, CRF flight chief. On top of that, Dale cited Moore's Law, which states the number of transistors on a microchip roughly doubles every two years. Seismometers must fit within narrow bore holes, so airmen labor to keep computerized components up to date. Master Sgt. Joseph King estimated AFTAC airmen can fabricate about 200 different components. In 2011-12, he trekked to frozen Antarctica to maintain diesel generators, heaters and solar panels at two unmanned sensor sites. King has also helped install 10 seismometers at AFTAC's array in Morocco, at the edge of the Sahara Desert in North Africa. 'The young men and women who work in that shop have global responsibilities for maintaining that equipment, all over the world. They go to some of the most remote places on the planet,' said Jim Whidden, AFTAC director of staff. 'They are remote because it's important for the sites that we select to be seismically quiet, so that the data has as little background noise as humanly possible. So that what we see is literally just the earth shaking, and we don't have cultural noise. There are no highways or construction activities or railroads nearby,' Whidden said. 'And these sites are literally out in the middle of nowhere,' he said. ___ Recruiting and retaining scientists The original AFTAC building at Patrick AFB dated to the 1950s. This outdated, asbestos-ridden structure sat closer to State Road A1A and was deemed vulnerable to attack after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. Much of the iconic structure — which was fronted by a row of display rockets during the Space Race — fell to the wrecking ball by spring 2016. Today, Chief Master Sgt. Michael Joseph is AFTAC's command chief. He and Hartman agree on their mission's key challenge amid the digital job market: Recruiting and retaining talent. 'We're competing against the Googles and the Apples of the world. And while we can never come close to offering the financial incentives they will, what we do offer is an incredible purpose. A higher purpose, to be able to come in and attack problems that are incredibly meaningful,' Hartman said. 'We have this incredible array of hardware all over the world. But at the end of the day, we're kind of a software company,' he said. What's more, Romano said retired Air Force personnel who return to work at AFTAC as civilians, like Schuler and Dale, provide institutional mission knowledge that newcomers lack. North Korea's twin nuclear tests in 2016 made for the organization's 'busiest ops tempo' in the previous 20 years. 'The world is only getting more complex. It's going faster. It's getting more complex and more consequential. So the challenges they're going to face 10 to 20 years from now are probably going to dwarf some of the things we're dealing with today,' Hartman said. 'So we're trying to make sure we posture ahead, and stay ahead of the curve and equip them for success.' ___ Information from: Florida Today (Melbourne, Fla.), http://www.floridatoday.com
  • The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy last week released 'Solar in the Southeast 2018,' its second annual report on solar expansion. 'Solar growth continues in the Southeast (adding 65 percent in 2018),' the report states. 'The region will surpass 10,000 MW in 2019. SACE now anticipates 19,000 MW by 2022, up from our prior projection of 15,000 by 2021.' The nonprofit compared the amount of solar installed by each utility relative to the number of customers it serves, a measure described as watts per customer. 'This analysis in our second regional solar report shines a light on the utilities and states that excel in smart solar growth and demonstrates the enormous potential that remains in the Southeast for increased solar development,' said Stephen A. Smith, executive director of Southern Alliance for Clean Energy. 'Using the unbiased watts per customer metric, we are also able to see which states and utilities are continuing to fall behind and need a serious course correction to avoid denying customers the economic and environmental and benefits of clean solar power. We hope that the facts presented in this report will continue to serve as a helpful tool as utilities and regulators throughout the region advance in their renewable energy planning.' Georgia and the state's largest utility, Georgia Power, are still regional leaders in solar, but other states and are catching up and some are pulling ahead. For example, the state's watts per customer solar ratio last year of 280 is higher than the Southeast average of 269, but will require 'additional ambition to avoid falling below average by 2022,' they report. The alliance suggests the Georgia Public Service Commission could demand additional solar development in the Georgia Power 2019 Integrated Resource Plan, a required three-year plan that regulators began hearings about last week, and sustain Georgia's solar leadership. Georgia Power came up fourth among the large utilities in the region with 426 watts of solar installed per customer. That's down from third last year. In first place is Duke Energy Progress with 1,625 watts per customer. 'While reports show our dominance in solar slipping by 2021, I anticipate the Public Service Commission adding a gigawatt, possibly two gigawatts, keeping us near the top of the list,' Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols said. The leading utility, Duke Energy Progress, has been aided by North Carolina laws along with favorable regulatory terms required by the North Carolina Utilities Commission for independent power providers. In Georgia, the push has been a regulatory one from the PSC. The PSC directed Georgia Power to develop an Advanced Solar Initiative in 2012, which led to the development of more than 700 megawatts of solar. Georgia Power also collaborated with the Department of Defense to develop 166 megawatts of solar on military bases. An agreement with the PSC in 2016 led the current plan to add 1,600 megawatts of solar, wind, and/or biomass resources by 2020. The PSC's model favors utility-scale solar over residential rooftop. But the clean energy goals of Atlanta and Athens may be shifting that stance. 'I would like to see more rooftop solar in Georgia — particularly in Atlanta and Athens to help with their 100 percent clean energy goals,' said Echols. 'We could help these cities by raising the limit of both array size and buyback price for rooftop solar in their jurisdictions.' Georgia Power is proposing in its 2019 IRP to add 950 megawatts of utility scale and 50 megawatts of distributed (rooftop) solar, said PSC Chairman Lauren 'Bubba' McDonald. 'I predict there will be a bit more solar than what Georgia Power suggested,' said McDonald, an early solar champion who at 80 has said he will not seek reelection in 2020 but will serve out his term. 'There will be a greater effort to expand the distributed generation. To what level I don't know.' Echols said he plans to 'support any measure (McDonald) puts forward in both distributed generation and utility scale.' The newest commissioner, Jason Shaw, who was appointed after Doug Everett resigned before the end of his term in November, said he's keeping an open mind on solar. 'At this point, we have heard from Georgia Power Co. and look forward to hearing more from the various interveners,' he said. 'Georgia has been a leader in the solar market and I look for that to continue as long as it makes sense for ratepayers.' SACE supports utility scale, as well as mid-size community or industrial solar — like the ground-mounted array at the Sea Point industrial park on East President Street where 4,000 solar panels were installed earlier this year — and rooftop. But Georgia also doesn't have a policy champion for rooftop solar. Without proactive policies like net metering, it takes homeowners longer to get their return on rooftop solar. Other states support distributed generation solar more vigorously. Legislation pending in South Carolina will extend net metering, SACE reports. The Florida Public Service Commission approved solar lease designs to promote further growth and opportunity. Florida utilities are also advancing shared/community solar programs to expand access for customers interested in solar. ___ Information from: Savannah Morning News, http://www.savannahnow.com
  • A strong storm system barreling through the South on Friday killed an 8-year-old girl in Florida and threatened to bring tornadoes to large parts of the Carolinas and southern Virginia. A tree fell onto a house in Woodville, Florida, south of Tallahassee, killing the girl and injuring a 12-year-old boy, according to the Leon County Sheriff's Office. The office said in a statement that the girl died at a hospital while the boy suffered non-life-threatening injuries. Their names weren't immediately released. The same storm system was blamed for the deaths a day earlier of three people in Mississippi and a woman in Alabama. The threat on Friday shifted farther east, where tornado warnings covered parts of northeast Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia, where four suspected tornado touchdowns were reported Friday night. Twisters touched down in Reston, Fredericks Hall, Barham and Forksville. Homes and small structures were damaged, but no injuries were immediately reported. The national Storm Prediction Center said 9.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were at a moderate risk of severe weather. The region includes the Charlotte, North Carolina metro area. Torrential downpours, large hail and a few tornadoes were among the hazards, the National Weather Service in Raleigh, North Carolina, warned. Radar readings appeared to show a tornado formed in western Virginia's Franklin County, south of Roanoke, though damage on the ground still must be assessed, said National Weather Service Meteorologist Phil Hysell. In South Carolina, authorities urged motorists to avoid part of Interstate 26 — the main artery from Upstate through Columbia and all the way to Charleston — because downed trees had left the roadway scattered with debris. In Georgia, the storm system knocked down trees, caused flooding and cut off power to tens of thousands of people. A tree came down on an apartment complex in an Atlanta suburb, but only one person reported a minor injury and was treated at the scene, Gwinnett County fire spokesman Capt. Tommy Rutledge told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. In Forsyth County northeast of Atlanta, three firefighters suffered minor injuries when their firetruck overturned during heavy rain and wind, Fire Department Division Chief Jason Shivers told the newspaper. Meanwhile, hundreds of people cleaned up part of a central Mississippi town hit hard by a tornado on Thursday. Volunteers and family members were swarming the north side of Morton, where the National Weather Service says a twister with winds as high as 132 mph (212 kph) hit a neighborhood. More than 20 homes were heavily damaged or destroyed. The town of 3,500 is about 30 miles (48 kilometers) east of Jackson. 'When it stopped, there was nothing left,' Morton resident Sharon Currie told WAPT-TV. 'I was going, 'Oh my God. My house is gone.'' Forecasters confirmed that 14 tornadoes had touched down in Mississippi and damage from the storm system was reported in at least 24 of the state's 82 counties. Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant declared a state of emergency — the second one he has declared in less than a week due to tornadoes. Authorities on Friday reported a third storm-related death in the state. Freddie Mobley, 63, died while helping cut a tree that had fallen on a house, Lincoln County Coroner Clay McMorris told the Daily Leader of Brookhaven. Mobley had made a few cuts on the tree and backed away when the trunk shifted before he could move, Deputy Coroner Ricky Alford said. Two other people who were driving are being counted as storm-related deaths in Mississippi. A woman also died in Alabama when a tree fell on her mobile home Thursday.
  • The winning numbers in Friday evening's drawing of the Florida Lottery's 'Fantasy 5' game were: 09-16-22-24-33 (nine, sixteen, twenty-two, twenty-four, thirty-three)
  • The winning numbers in Friday evening's drawing of the Florida Lottery's 'Jackpot Triple Play' game were: 09-28-34-37-38-46 (nine, twenty-eight, thirty-four, thirty-seven, thirty-eight, forty-six) Estimated jackpot: $1 million
  • Mike Pagliarulo has been fired as hitting coach for the Miami Marlins, who rank last in the majors in runs. Pagliarulo had been with the team since 2017. Assistant hitting coach Jeff Livesey was promoted to interim head hitting coach, and Eric Duncan was made the assistant hitting coach. President of baseball operations Michael Hill said the changes were made because the Marlins are capable of more offensively. They were shut out in consecutive games this week against the Chicago Cubs, and Pagliarulo's firing was announced after they scratched out a 3-2 win against Washington on Friday night. Five starters finished the game batting .234 or less. Pagliarulo played 11 seasons in the majors, starting out with the New York Yankees in 1984 and helping Minnesota win the 1991 World Series. ___ More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports