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Latest Florida news and updates

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A watercraft catastrophe cruelly snatches ex- astronaut Poindexter from family

A holiday turned haywire for the Poindexter family when Alan Poindexter, a former space shuttle astronaut died playing around on Wave runners with his two sons. The water craft accident took place at Pensacola in Florida said the NASA reports.He had been enjoying a rollicking fun time with his two grown up sons 26 year old Zacchary and 22 year old son Samuel, in Little Sabine Bay on Sunday when the mishap took place.

Rep. Giffords flies to Florida to be present at Endeavor launch

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords has reportedly touched down in Florida on Wednesday for the space shuttle's penultimate launch with her husband at the helm.

Joanna Garcia, Nick Swisher marry in Fla.

Palm Beach, Fla. -- Celebrities from the sports and the entertainment worlds were in Florida for the wedding of actress Joanna Garcia and Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher.

The couple tied the knot in Palm Beach and then celebrated at the upscale Breakers Hotel with well-wishers that included Cameron Diaz, Reba McEntire, Johnny Damon and Alex Rodriguez.

People said Sunday that Garcia, star of ABC's "Better with You," wore an ivory strapless ball gown created by Monique Lhuillier. Swisher's Burberry tux did not appear to be pinstriped.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

Camel falls in Nativity re-enactment

Money woes force cancellation of parade

Orlando, Fla. -- The 2010 Orlando Christmas Parade has been canceled because of money problems, organizers in Florida said.

Organizers said it will be replaced by a smaller event called the Santa Farewell Festival, the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel reported.

"With better economic times ahead, the parade will hopefully return in 2011," parade producer Teri Boardman said. "Thank you to all past participants and parade supporters."

Boardman said dwindling sponsorship forced her to cancel the 2010 edition of the parade, which is not funded by the city.

"It all comes down to sponsors equal money to pay city [fees]," Boardman said.

Funk, Perry claim share of Shark lead

Naples, Fla. -- Fred Funk and Kenny Perry combined to fire a 10-under-par 62 Saturday, good enough to share the lead after two rounds of the Shark Shootout in Florida.

The pair pulled into a tie with defending champions Jerry Kelly and Steve Stricker at 18-under-par 126 at Tiburon Golf Club. Kelly and Stricker shot their second straight 9-under 63.

First-round co-leaders Dustin Johnson and Ian Poulter combined for an 8-under 64, which earned them sole possession of third place at minus-17.

Three teams ended the day knotted for fourth at minus-15 with 5-under 67s. They included Chris DiMarco and Anthony Kim, Darren Clarke and U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell, and K.J. Choi and Mike Weir.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

Deer escapes church nativity scene

Lakeland, Fla. -- Police in Florida said a deer named Rudolph escaped from a church nativity scene and was seen running around the area.

Lakeland police said they received a call from a resident at 5:50 a.m. about a deer running around his property and they quickly determined it was Rudolph, nicknamed Rudy, a muntjac deer portraying a reindeer in the Highland Park Church of the Nazarene nativity scene, the Orlando Sentinel reported Wednesday.

Sgt. Terri Smith said church personnel chased the deer around the property and it was eventually captured while hiding under the church's elf house in its Bethlehem Village area.

Ken Suarez, the deer's owner, said he brought the animal home after the incident.

Florida city's snails targeted by vandals

Miami Beach, Fla. -- Police in Florida said at least eight of the 45 giant pink snails in Miami Beach for an art event were targeted by vandals, including one thrown into the water.

Gloria Porcella, co-owner of Galleria Ca' d'Oro, which is backing Italy's Cracking Art Group in the project, which involved pink snails made from recycled plastic being placed around town, said nearly every day since the Art Basel festival began Dec. 2 has been marked with reports of more vandalized snails, The Miami Herald reported Tuesday.

Porcella said one snail was damaged by a "punch," two were tagged with graffiti, multiple snails were tipped over and one was "launched in the water" at Biscayne Bay.

Police said they are investigating the incidents.

Rockies' Tracy collapses at Florida hotel

Orlando, Fla. -- Denver Rockies manager Jim Tracy was hospitalized for tests Tuesday after he collapsed at a hotel at the Disney World resort in Florida, team officials said.

The Rockies Web site said Tracy collapsed near a set of elevators at the Disney World Swan & Dolphin Hotel in Orlando, KOA-AM, Denver, reported.

Rockies coaches Tom Runnells and Carney Lansford were with Tracy when he collapsed.

Tracy, 54, was alert and responsive when emergency personnel arrived, The Denver Post reported.

He had driven from his Florida home to meet Rockies officials at baseball's annual winter meetings this week, the newspaper said.

Tracy is resting in the hospital and no diagnosis has yet been made, team officials said.

Padres sign pitcher Harang to 1-year deal

Lake Buena Vista, Fla. -- The San Diego Padres have signed free-agent pitcher Aaron Harang to a one-year contract, the team said Monday at the baseball winter meetings in Florida.

The Padres didn't reveal the financial terms of the deal, but did say it included a mutual option for 2012.

The right-handed Harang, 32, has played parts of eight seasons for the Cincinnati Reds. Last year he compiled a 6-7 record with a 5.32 earned run average in 22 games, 20 of them starts.

He missed a portion of the 2010 season with lower back spasms.

Harang is a San Diego native who was drafted by the Texas Rangers in 1999 and sent to Oakland before joining the Reds in July 2003. He sports an 81-87 record with a 4.33 ERA in 240 career games.