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Local and State News Update

History of Memorial Day.

Memorial Day was not created so we can grill burgers or buy a new mattress. The holiday was originally called Decoration Day. a time when soldier’s graves were decorated with flowers. The holiday was started in 1868 to honor the 620,000 soldiers who died in the Civil War. It wasn’t until 1971 that Congress established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May, creating a three-day weekend for federal employees.

Boeing flight test scheduled for Saturday.

NASA and Boeing agreed that the helium leak in the Starliner spacecraft was not serious enough to fix. So launch is set for no earlier than this coming Saturday afternoon. Repairing the leak in the service module could have meant months of more delays for the mission. Although the investigation into the helium leak did reveal possible vulnerabilities in the propulsion system of Starliner. In a rare circumstance, that might happen less than 1% of the time, the spacecraft would not be able to de-orbit and return to Earth with the crew. Boeing is looking at hardware and software changes for later missions. The two astronauts who will fly on Starliner this weekend, Suni Williams and Butch Wilmore, are said to be taking the delays in stride.

In other space news, SpaceX announced the fourth test flight of its mega rocket, Starship, could come as soon as this Wednesday. The fully stacked Starship will launch from Boca Chica, Texas, pending regulatory approval.

Brightline continues growth.

The passenger railroad Brightline has issued its report of passenger trips for the month of April. Ridership is up 48% over last April. Revenue was up 209%. Revenue per passenger was $68, an increase of 109% over last April. The continued growth has prompted Brightline to purchase additional passenger coaches, due to arrive this summer.

Here’s an update on the collision between a golf cart and a train on Micco Road last week. Both a Brightline and Florida East Coast train were stopped at the scene after the crash. The Brevard County Sheriffs Office reports there were no injuries. The driver jumped off the golf cart just before the collision. The crossing gates were down at the time of the accident.

Brevard men charged with attempted murder.

Two Brevard County men have been arrested and charged with attempted murder in the road-rage shooting of an SUV carrying a couple and three young children. The incident occurred in Mims in northern Brevard. A black truck forced the family off the road and fired several shots into the victim’s vehicle. The family called 911 and Brevard County sheriff’s deputies located the shooters.

Lightning strikes sparks fire in wildlife refuge.

A lightning strike ignited a fire in the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge on Saturday. Up to 200 acres burned. US Fish and Wildlife said the area last burned three years ago, which is a natural cycle for the refuge.

UF bans Chinese student for three years.

The University of Florida over the weekend banned a student from its property for three years. The student has been accused of being involved in a multi-million dollar scheme to divert dangerous drugs and toxins from a campus laboratory and send them to China. Nongnong Zheng was president of UF’s Chinese Students Association. She has not been formally charged with any crime.

   For more information www.floridatoday.com

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Rick Glasby is a Broadcast Journalist at WFIT.