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Latest from Joe Ruble

    Orlando International Airport will not be hiring a private screening company to replace TSA employees, just yet. The board of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority chose instead to send a message to the Transportation Security Administration headquarters that local management needs to improve, or they will seek out the private option. “We have to collaborate more closely, is what I’m prepared to say,” explained a frustrated airport CEO Phil Brown. His staff recommended the board vote to find a suitable screening company and make an application to the Federal Security Director to replace TSA screeners. Instead, board chairman Frank Kruppenbacher insisted that they limit the vote to forming an ad hoc committee that will seek out and interview candidates, while at the same time he will reach out to TSA with his concerns in hopes they can be resolved beforehand. When the board meets in April, they will again tackle this issue and could move to make that application. If approved, federal employees at the airport would face the loss of their jobs and benefits. Some may apply to work with the private contractor, but the TSA would only require they be given the minimum pay and benefits they would earn as federal workers. For those who have been on the job for years and have built up a pension, it would be a real loss of income.  Many of them spoke to the board not to go down this path.
  • Update:  Transportation Security Officers are manning a picket line at Orlando International Airport ahead of a vote today that could imperil their jobs at Florida’s busiest airport. TSA union leaders planned to picket outside of Terminal A before the board meeting at 2 p.m. A vote Wednesday by the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority Board could put over one thousand TSA workers on notice their employment is coming to an end. The board is considering whether to move to a private security firm that, under guidance of the TSA, would man the security checkpoints and handle lines of travelers at Florida’s busiest airport. Because of training, the change would take two years, but almost immediately TSA workers will be told their jobs are ending. They would have options of applying to the private firm, retiring or transfering to another U.S. airport like Tampa or further away. “These are jobs that come with health insurance, life insurance, retirement and annual leave and sick leave, benefits that come with good working class jobs,” said J. David Cox, president of the American Federation of Government Employees. He spoke with reporters outside the Orange County Administration building in downtown Orlando as dozens of screeners picketed for their jobs.  “There are over 11 hundred transportation security officers that work over at the airport,” he explained. The TSA is staying neutral, since it will not be supplanted as the lead security agency, but may have to work with a private government contractor, if the GOAA board votes for the change. But the workers are not standing silent.  They say this will hurt the economy. “We’ve been there before with privatized screeners,” said Cox, who said that the attack on 9-11 “shut this country down and yes, even shut the gates to Walt Disney World.”  
  • We are seeing reaction after a school official said there are numerous fatalities from the high school shooting in Broward County today. The sheriff's office tweeted this afternoon that 'so far we have at least 14 victims.'  The Broward County Superintendent is calling the deadly shooting at a Florida high school 'a horrific situation.' Robert Runcie confirmed that there are a number of fatalities after a male former student opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, a little west of Boca Raton. Heavily armed police officers swarmed the school after the report of the shooting. Students were escorted away from the area with their hands up. Ambulances rushed some of the victims away from the scene. President Trump is being kept up to date as the details of a deadly shooting at a Broward County school unfold. Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters he was briefed on the incident soon after it happened, and offered his thoughts and prayers to the victims.
  • An acquaintance of the man suspected of killing 17 people at a high school in south Broward County this afternoon described the alleged shooter as a “psycho.” That description was shared by a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after Nikolas Cruz, 19, was arrested near the campus by local police. Sheriff Scott Israel said Cruz was a former Douglas student who was expelled for disciplinary reasons and reportedly warned to stay away from the school in the past, because he was considered a threat. Students shared videos of the chaos during the assault in the school. In one video, students can be seen hiding under desks, screaming out as numerous shots were being fired outside their classroom. “We believe he had one AR-15 rifle. He had countless magazines,” said Sheriff Israel. As students were being led out, a SWAT team focused on a three story building on the campus. The arrest was made later away from the school. Some students told WSVN TV that they heard shots, but were unsure until the fire alarm sounded and they evacuated the school to the arms of waiting and worried parents. ABC News has counted 29 mass shootings in the last year. This is a developing story. Return here for updates.    
  • A fistfight between two determined students broke out at 9:19 this morning at Glenridge Middle School.  The School Resource  Officer tried to break it up, but the students refused, according to the Orlando Police Department. He tried chemical spray, but that did not work, so he deployed a taser and ended the fight. Two students have been arrested. Five students were treated on the scene after making contact with the chemical spray. What sparked the dispute remains unclear.
  • Orlando is opening more neighborhoods to short term rentals, after city council members voted 6-1 this afternoon to allow residents to rent out rooms in their homes or the second half of a duplex, as long as they also live on the property. There have been limitations on where short term rentals have been allowed in the past, due to concerns over disrupting “the sanctity of residential areas where they don’t have to expect any kind of commerce,” said Commissioner Tony Ortiz, who cast the lone dissenting vote. A big concern for commissioners was having some sort of control over the activities of the guests, but they agreed that the owner of the property would ultimately be held responsible. The new rules go into effect on July 1. The change is expected to open more of Orlando to visitors who, in turn, could enjoy some of the local attractions away from the theme parks.  Click here to rent a couch in a living room!
  • The Republican Party of Florida, in reaction to his State of the Union Address, called President Donald Trump’s speech “optimistic, bold and unapologetic” and further stated that Trump is “pioneering a new way of governing in Washington.” “The President stood firm that the time is now for problem solving, not political posturing,” said RPOF Chairman Blaise Ingoglia. Florida Democratic Party spokesman Patrick Murphy, a former congressman, told News 96.5 WDBO in a telephone interview that Trump covered a lot of issues last night and that he “applauded his effort to try to reach across the aisle and talk about this middle ground.” Murphy, who ran against Senator Marco Rubio in 2016, said he needs to see Democrats invited to the White House to talk about important issues Trump brought up. “It’s got to be bi-partisan for it to be lasting.”  But Murphy said Trump has said one thing then done another. “Actions speak louder than words at the end of the day,” he cautioned.  
  • TMZ is reporting that Glee actor Mark Salling was found at his home from an apparent suicide, citing law enforcement. Salling, 35, was awaiting sentencing for child pornography. Prosecutors said he had some 50,000 images of children on his computer, including 600 videos. He was facing up to 7 years in prison. Salling was ordered to register as a sex offender and enter a treatment program; have no verbal or electronic contact with anyone under the age of 18; stay 100 feet away from schools, parks, public swimming pools, youth centers, playgrounds and arcades; and pay $50,000 in restitution to each victim, according to the documents, according to People magazine. Details of his death are still unclear, although TMZ reports that they learned he had hung himself.
  • The Orlando Rage may not come back, but the XFL certainly is! Vince McMahon announced today plans to begin play in 2020 with eight teams, a ten game schedule and playoffs, but it was too early to say which cities would have franchises. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer's office tells us, although they haven't been contacted, this would certainly be an opportunity they'd be interested in discussing and possibly bringing to the City's venues. Florida Citrus Sports was not prepared to comment. McMahon said he envisions a league that is fan-centric and family friendly. He said the goal is have a fast paced game with fewer infractions that could be completed in two hours. He also said there would be strict rules for players and coaches who want to send a message about a social issue and they need to follow them. “There’s plenty of ways in which players and coaches can express their views. There’s Twitter, Facebook. Again, we’re here to play football,” McMahon explained. It was in response to a reporter’s question about the kneeling by players that has occured before many NFL games this year.  McMahon also made it clear that he was looking for better quality players and those with a checkered past would not be welcome. He said that even having a DUI would disqualify someone from participating in the new XFL. Asked if the XFL might suffer from too much football in America, McMahon said there is no football for 7 months out of the year and the XFL brand “would be a better football game than what everyone else is accustomed to.”
  • Trash, meet trendy. It is basically the idea behind Orlando’s annual recycled fashion show, returning February 3 at SeaWorld’s Ports of Call.  35 fashion designers and artists are creating some high-end looking designs out of materials that otherwise would be headed to a landfil in the show called Trash 2 Trends. Orlando Public Works sees the show as a way to promote and inspire sustainability. Proceeds from ticket sales help the Keep Orlando Beautiful fund, which promotes recycling, litter prevention and beautification efforts in the city.  
  • Joe Ruble

    Joe Ruble is a veteran radio reporter, afternoon anchor and baseball fan.

    He claims to have been to every spring training site in Florida over the last ten years. "Steinbrenner Field in Tampa is one of my favorites," he said.

    Before landing in Orlando a year after the hurricanes did, Joe reported for Newsradio 740 KTRH in Houston for 15 years. He also covered news in Denver at KOA and was a news director for KYGO AM-FM. He is now a Broncos fan after watching John Elway from the press box at Mile High Stadium for two seasons. 

    Joe was raised in Hawaii and began his reporting career there while still a student at the University of Hawaii. He has earned awards for his reporting from natural disasters like volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. Not wanting to press his luck, he stayed away from high surf.  

    Joe has interviewed former presidents, professional athletes and music legends over the years. Most memorable chat? "Stevie Wonder, he joined me live on the radio in Hilo one night. He was touring and writing music for an album. I played his records while he sat on the other side of the turntable talking about his songs. Unforgettable."

    Ruble is married, raising two pups and living in Ocoee, Fla.

    Read More

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • New York University has issued a public apology and fired their director of food service after students complained that  watermelon water and cornbread the school was serving during Black History Month was racially insensitive. Student Nia Harris told CNN she noticed a sign for a Black History Month special menu in the university dining room and was stunned when saw what was actually on the menu. Ribs, collard greens, cornbread, mac and cheese, yams, and two beverages, watermelon-flavored water and red Kool-Aid.  Harris said 'I talked to the cook who told me 'black people put this menu together' and assured me that it was not racially insensitive,'  She emailed the dean of the school and NYU’s President Andrew Hamilton of the insensitive and “stereotypical” meal. She also posted the letter on her facebook page.  President Hamilton issued a statement saying in part, “We were shocked to learn of the drink and food choices that our food service provider - Aramark - offered at the Weinstein dining hall as part of Black History Month. It was inexcusably insensitive.”
  • Florida executed a man for the 1993 rape and murder of a Florida college student Thursday. Authorities say Eric Scott Branch, 47, screamed Murders, murders repeatedly as he was being put to death Thursday.  Branch was pronounced dead at 7:05 p.m. Thursday evening after a lethal injection at Florida State Prison in Starke. He was convicted in the 1993 rape and fatal beating of 21-year-old college student Susan Morris, whose body was found buried in a shallow grave. Morris was a University of  West Florida student at the time of her death.  Branch also was convicted of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in Indiana,  and another sexual assault in Panama City.
  • The school resource officer at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has resigned, according to Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel. [View the story 'Stoneman Douglas resource officer resigns after investigation' on Storify] >> Read more trending news  Follow along with our live updates as we learn more
  • Officials with the National Rifle Association on Wednesday voiced opposition to any legislation aimed at raising the minimum age needed to buy certain rifles amid a renewed gun debate following last week’s deadly school shooting in Florida. >> Read more trending news In a statement obtained by The Hill, NRA spokeswoman Jennifer Baker said the focus should be on keeping guns out of the hands of “violent criminals and the dangerously mentally ill.” “Passing a law that makes it illegal for a 20-year-old to purchase a shotgun for hunting or adult single mother from purchasing the most effective self-defense rifle on the market punishes law-abiding citizens for the evil acts of criminals,” she said. The group argued that raising the minimum age would deprive people between the ages of 18 and 20 of “their constitutional right to self-protection.” Authorities said Nikolas Cruz, the 19-year-old identified by police as the gunman in last week’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, legally bought the AR-15 rifle he used to gun down 14 students and three teachers. He has been charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder. >> Related: Florida school shooting: How difficult is it to purchase a gun in Florida? The current federal minimum age for buying or possessing handguns is 21, but the limit is 18 for rifles, including assault-type weapons such as the AR-15. Officials with the NRA did not address the possibility of raising the minimum age Thursday while speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference. However, President Donald Trump endorsed the idea during a school safety discussion Thursday with state and local leaders from across the nation, The Associated Press reported. >> Related: Who is NRA head Wayne LaPierre and what did he say at the CPAC meeting? 'We're going to work on getting the age up to 21 instead of 18,' Trump said. 'The NRA will back it and so will Congress.” Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, said in a tweet Wednesday that he was working with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, on a bipartisan bill to raise the minimum gun purchase age for most Americans to 21 years old. “A kid too young (to) buy a handgun should be too young to buy an #AR15,” he wrote. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • America’s net neutrality rules are set to end in April after the Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal them late last year, according to an order filed Thursday with the Federal Register. >> Read more trending news The repeal is set to take effect April 23, according to the order. The Republican-led FCC voted in December to repeal net neutrality rules, which aimed to stop broadband companies from exercising more control over what people watch and see on the internet. >> Related: Net neutrality vote: FCC OKs repeal of Obama-era rules The broadband industry promised that the internet experience wouldn’t change, but critics argued that the Obama-era rules were needed to prevent broadband providers like Comcast, Verizon and AT&T from having the power to censor content on the internet.  FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who put forth the planned repeal and voted in its favor, dismissed the concerns last year. “The sky is not falling,” he said. “Consumers will remain protected and the internet will continue to thrive. … Quite simply, we are restoring the light-touch framework that has governed the internet for most of its existence.” >> Related: 5 things to know about the FCC’s net neutrality repeal Still, Thursday’s filing was expected to open the door to challengers of the decision, The Hill reported. “Now that the new rules have officially been published, net neutrality supporters are able to mount a legal challenge against them,” according to the news site. “Democratic attorneys general, public interest groups and internet companies have all promised to file lawsuits to preserve the 2015 protections.” The attorneys general of 20 states and tech companies filed suits last month to halt the repeal, according to CNN. >> Related: State attorneys general ask FCC to delay net neutrality vote Denelle Dixon, chief business and legal officer at Mozilla, wrote in a post on the tech company's blog that Mozilla refiled a challenge to the repeal 'immediately after the order was published.' 'We won't waste a minute in our fight to protect net neutrality because it's our mission to ensure the internet is a global public resource, open and accessible to all,' she wrote. 'An internet that truly puts people first, where individuals can shape their own experience and are empowered, safe and independent.' Votes fell along party lines in December, with the FCC board’s Republicans favoring the repeal and the two Democrats on the board voting against it. >> Related: New York AG investigating fraudulent net neutrality comments to FCC FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, who voted against the repeal, said in a statement released Thursday that the FCC has “failed the American public.” “It turned a blind eye to all kinds of corruption in our public record – from Russian intervention to fake comments to stolen identities in our files,” she said. Before December’s vote, the attorneys general of nearly 20 states asked the FCC to delay its decision based on evidence that impersonators posted hundreds of thousands of fake comments on the commissions’ notice of the proposed rule change. Despite the appeal, the vote went on as scheduled. “As a result of the mess the agency created, broadband providers will now have the power to block websites, throttle services and censor online content,” Rosenworcel said. “This is not right. The FCC is on the wrong side of history and the wrong side of the law and it deserves to have its handiwork revisited, reexamined and ultimately reversed.”