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Latest from Laurel Lee

    Actor Johnny Depp recently surprised visitors to Disneyland by playing Jack Sparrow live on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.   Park-goer video shows Depp walking around part of the ride talking to passengers as the boats move along the ride.   'Johnny Depp!' one excited riders yells.   Later, the Pirates of the Caribbean star thrilled audiences again when he took to the balcony of some Disney buildings.   He waves at cheering crowds, still dressed as Captian Sparrow, and brandishes his sword.   Then, he signals for the crowd to hush as he uses his saber to 'pry' open another door and 'escape' into another home.   The latest in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, 'Dead Men Tell No Tales,' is slotted to hit theaters on May 26. Mobile users see video here.
  • As everyone is just getting over smacking their foreheads at Nordstorm's fake mud-stained blue jeans, here comes something arguably more outrageous for you to purchase: clear, see-though, pants.   The latest 'trend' began making news after Topshop released images of their newest, transparent product Wednesday.   The plastic, straight leg jeans can be purchased for just $100.   No word on what the fashionistas behind the translucent trend suggest you wear under their revealing trousers. Mobile users see tweet here.
  • With absolutely gorgeous weather and whole bunch of fun events happening around town, this is going to be an ideal weekend to get out and have a great time. icFlorida’s Estee Martin paid a visit to Orlando’s Morning News with Joe Kelley early Friday morning to go through the weekend’s best bets when it comes to leisure time fun.  The icFlorida Fun 3:  17th Annual Spring Fever in the Garden Kick-start your garden into high gear and celebrate the arrival of spring with a variety of outdoor activities and beautiful plants at the Bloom & Grow Garden Society’s 17th Annual Spring Fever in the Garden, this weekend in downtown Winter Garden. Festival highlights include the Natural Marketplace, seminars, live music, a kids’ zone, and the popular Chalkin’ It Up sidewalk chalk art showcase.  $10 Day at Orlando Science Center Join Orlando Science Center for a special opportunity to engage in science learning and fun for the discounted price of just $10 on Sunday. Take a trip out of this world and explore the cosmos with the Astronaut traveling exhibit, and enjoy all four floors of exhibits, giant-screen and 3-D educational films like Dream Big Film, and live programming.  ReptiCon Orlando Get up close with fascinating animals from all over the world at ReptiCon Orlando, Saturday and Sunday at the Central Florida Fairgrounds and Expo Park. The exciting and educational family-oriented event features a lineup of informative presentations and vendors and breeders with hundreds of reptiles, amphibians, spiders, and small exotic animals.  REPTICON IMAGE GALLERY HERE  Weekend events weather forecast by WFTV meteorologist Rusty McCrainie here. 3 More Fun Things:  Village People at SeaWorld Movie Night at Leu Gardens Deltona’s Music in the Amphitheater Keep up to date with the latest local events and entertainment news at icFlorida.com.
  • At some point or another, we have all dreamed of being a super hero.   One man made his dream a reality.   Using steel, body armor and fuel, Richard Browning created his own, hovering Iron Man suit.   See the incredible suit here:   Mobile users see video here.
  • Ginger - the perfect mix of energy and love! If she isn’t zooming around the play yard, she’s cuddled up against you giving kisses! As Candice Pretsch, Volunteer Coordinator for Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando, put it, “She’d make the perfect office dog. I had her with me yesterday and she just curled up against my desk chair and relaxed.” The gorgeous 7-year-old has a big bark, but don’t let that fool you when you come to visit her - she just wants your attention! Ginger is currently living at Pet Alliance Orlando, but could be immediately available to live in your home with your family.  To help find her a new, loving home, we’re featuring Ginger as our WDBO News Hound today.  Watch the video below to answer your questions and see more from cuddly Ginger! App users can see the video here.
  •  There are so many great events happening throughout Central Florida this weekend that it is going to be a challenge to decide on which one or ones to do. Fortunately, if you tuned into Orlando’s Morning News with Joe Kelley on Friday morning then you’re ahead of the game because you heard the top picks from icFlorida.com. The icFlorida Fun 3: Melbourne Air & Space Show There are so many great events happening throughout Central Florida this weekend that it is going to be a challenge to decide on which one or ones to do. Fortunately, if you tuned into Orlando’s Morning News with Joe Kelley on Friday morning then you’re ahead of the game because you heard the top picks from icFlorida.com. 28th Annual Spring Fiesta in the Park Immerse yourself in a festive atmosphere and enjoy an artsy stroll around beautiful Lake Eola Park at this weekend’s 28th Annual Spring Fiesta in the Park. Peruse the original works of more than 200 artisans displaying and selling their unique, handmade wares. There’s also a Kids’ Carnival area with the Lake Eola Express, a Pet Fiesta area, plenty of food and drinks. 5th Annual Downtown Brew Bring your pretzel necklaces and join the party as the Church Street District presents its 5th Annual Downtown Brew, Saturday in downtown Orlando. Guests can enjoy unlimited samples of more than 50 craft beers, and help decide who takes home coveted People’s Choice trophies. Come enjoy a day of craft beers, music, food, friends and fun. Before you head out, take a look at the weekend events forecast from WFTV meteorologist Rusty McCranie. 3 More Fun Things: WrestleMania Axxess Jack Hanna Weekend Boots & Blues Concert If you would like details on more popular happenings, be sure to check out icFlorida.com.
  • If you haven't had breakfast yet this morning and want to treat yourself to something delicious but definitely not healthy, Dunkin' Donuts is debuting two new doughnuts and a new coffee flavor today (March 27th). One of the new offerings is the Chocolate Pretzel Donut, a glazed chocolate cake doughnut topped with caramel icing drizzle and crushed pretzels, and the other is the Peanut Butter Delight Croissant Donut, a glazed croissant doughnut filled with peanut butter buttercream and topped with a chocolate icing drizzle. As for coffee, the new flavor is Coconut Creme Pie, with flavors of vanilla, coconut and sweet pie crust, and Dunkin' is also bringing back its Butter Pecan-flavored coffee. (app users can see tweet here)
  • Stubby - He’s so sweet! Stubby is currently living at Pet Alliance Orlando, but could be immediately available to live in your home with your family.  To help find him a new, loving home, we’re featuring Stubby as our WDBO News Hound today.  Watch the video below to answer your questions and see more from lovable Stubby! App users can see video here. 
  • Mount Dora Spring Fest, Runaway Country, and Orlando City – the icFlorida ‘Fun 3’  It’s been a chilly work week but the weather is going to warm up nicely, and there is a ton of fun happening all across Central Florida.  icFlorida’s Estee Martin stopped by Orlando’s Morning News with Joe Kelley early Friday morning to run through this weekend top pick for leisure time fun.  The icFlorida Fun 3:  Mount Dora Spring Fest Join the City of Mount Dora as its downtown streets come alive with crafters and artists displaying their works for show and sale during the Mount Dora Spring Fest. It's a fun, two-day, open-air event celebrating the arrival of springtime with historic, downtown Mount Dora as a backdrop. Bring the family, wear comfortable shoes, and get ready to shop 'til you drop! Runaway Country Music Fest The 7th Annual Runaway Country Music Festival takes place Friday through Sunday at Osceola Heritage Park. Country stars Jason Aldean, Brad Paisley and Billy Currington headline the epic, 3-day event along with Josh Turner, Cam, LOCASH and more. In all, it’s 30 artists over 3 days, indoor and outdoor stages, majestic oaks shading the food court, and after-hours fun for those who like to play late. Orlando City vs. Philadelphia Union With last weekend’s away match postponed due to weather, Orlando City SC looks to pick up where it left off and remain unbeaten when the Philadelphia Union visits Orlando City Stadium on Saturday night. Orlando City supporters are sure to be out in full force once again with their cheering, drumming and singing while the Lions work to take care of business on the pitch. Check icFlorida’s weekend events weather forecast from WFTV meteorologist Rusty McCrainie.  3 More Fun Things:  Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival  Latin Fiesta Nights  Seven Seas Food Festival with ZZ Top Stay ‘in the know’ about local events and entertainment at icFlorida.com
  • As part of our new weekly Facebook Live series, we got a visit from our friends at Orange County Animal Services today and they brought my new love - ARROW! Find out more information about adopting 'Arrow' or other dogs and cats today at Orange County Animal Services or Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando.  (app users can see video here)
  • Laurel Lee

    Laurel Lee is the producer of Orlando's Morning News, Orlando's News at Noon and produces various Ask the Expert shows on the weekend.

    Born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA, she bleeds black and gold and is a huge Steeler and Penguins fan (though, let's not talk about the Pirates.)

    Lured by the chance to escape ice and the dream of learning sound production, Laurel moved to Orlando to attend college. In 2012, she graduated from the University of Central Florida with a degree in Radio and Television Production and a job at News 96.5.

    Falling into radio was a bit of a happy accident, but she couldn't be more elated about it. A few days on the job and it was love. Laurel has been at News 96.5 since October of 2011.

    When she isn't working the air waves, Laurel loves rocking out at concerts, digging for new music to jam to, and riding her motorcycle.

    Read More

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • As if traffic on I-4 near the attractions isn't enough on it's own, a depression opened up in the median near World Drive Thursday, causing additional slow downs.   As emergency personnel arrived to investigated the incident, drivers slowed down to get a better look as well.   The depression, which is about 15 feet wide and 10 feet deep, was reported just before 5 p.m. rush.   The Florida Department of Transportation was evaluating the situation and had not released any information on what would be done to mitigate the depression.   No other details were immediately released.
  • Prosecutors are building a money trail of deposits, withdrawals, and lavish spending allegedly benefiting former Congresswoman Corrine Brown, through the testimony of an FBI Special Agent. But Brown’s defense says, at no time, did she have control of the account in question. Deputy Chief of the Department of Justice Public Integrity Section Criminal Division Eric Olshan’s questioning of FBI Special Agent Vanessa Stelly has spanned two days of Brown’s federal fraud trial. Stelly was assigned to this investigation as part of her work in the white collar crime division. She told the court she had worked through bank and business records for Brown, as well as the alleged sham charity One Door For Education, which Brown and a few others are accused of funneling money through. Stelly confirmed that at no time was One Door registered in either Virginia- where it was incorporated as a business- or Florida to solicit charitable donations as a 501(c)(3) organization. One Door’s President, Carla Wiley, opened a bank account for the organization in 2011, but it closed about a year later because of a negative balance. Wiley opened another account with a $250 initial deposit, and there was no activity until August 2012, when Stelly says there was a $25,000 check deposited by a Political Action Committee based in Virginia. That PAC is backed by a lobbying firm where Brown’s daughter, Shantrel Brown, works. Corrine and Shantrel Brown share a home in Virginia. One of the points that prosecutors are trying to hammer in is that there was a habit of using One Door donations for the personal expenses of Brown and a few others. To do that, Olshan first walked Stelly through repeated instances where bank records show hundreds of dollars at a time being taken from the One Door account at an ATM near the home of Brown’s Chief of Staff Ronnie Simmons, with a like sum soon after deposited in one of Brown’s accounts- also in Laurel, Maryland, where Simmons lived. Prosecutors further showed surveillance of Simmons making at least one withdrawal and deposit. Prosecutors alleged Simmons would sometimes withdraw the cash and give it directly to Brown, and there was a surveillance photo of Brown herself making one deposit. Another focus is a trip by Brown and her daughter to the Bahamas, and later Los Angeles. A July 2013 check for $3,000 from the One Door account made out to a specific Bank of America bank account said in the memo line that it was for children’s summer camps. Stelly says bank records show $3,000 being deposited around the same time in to Shantrel Brown’s bank account, and $1,000 being transferred from Shantrel Brown’s account to that of her mother. At the same time, Stelly says bank records show several cash withdrawals from One Door’s account in Simmons’ city of residence amounting to $3,000, the same sum which was then deposited in to Brown’s account as well. This all happened as Brown and her daughter first spent time at a resort in the Bahamas and then traveled to the Los Angeles-area, where they did a significant amount of shopping, according to Stelly’s analysis. When Stelly’s testimony resumed Thursday, the focus turned to more than $330,000 in One Door funds that the US Attorney’s Office says funded events hosted by Brown or in Brown’s honor which didn’t actually result in any kind of scholarship fundraising. There were several events Stelly says were represented as being paid for by another group, like Friends of Corrine Brown, but actually had at least some One Door dollars. Still other events were almost entirely funded by One Door, but raised no scholarship dollars. Brown’s attorney, James Smith III, led questioning where Stelly admitted that at no time did One Door apparently solicit donations claiming it would only be for scholarships. He added that some of those events, including an annual reception held in DC, could provide for good networking opportunities with lawmakers and other important parties. Additionally, Stelly confirmed that Brown herself did not have control over the One Door accounts and was not ever formally affiliated with the organization. This is a developing story that will be updated as testimony continued in to the afternoon. WOKV is inside of the federal courtroom and will bring you new information as it comes in.
  • A pair of protective hawks has residents in one central Florida neighborhood ducking and running for cover this week. The birds are attacking people who get too near their nests in Oviedo in suburban Orlando, local news outlets reported. >> Read more trending news It hits me on the side of the head, not just hit, but grabbed, knocked me to the ground. I had to kind of shake my head loose,' resident Beverly Bonadonna told WPLG-TV.  'At that point, I started screaming for my husband ... then it flew away, it finally let go. >> Related: Man allegedly stuffed puppies into pillow cases, left them in drain Bonadonna had to go to the hospital for treatment of puncture wounds and a tetanus shot, but she said more than anything she was terrified during the attack. 'I have never been attacked by one; never even considered that I could be. I have never, I mean, they swoop real low over our head but never considered it was really a possibility,' she told WPLG. Bonadonna isn’t the only victim. Another resident in the same neighborhood, Don Cochran, has a hawk nest in tree next to his house and has been attacked twice. 'He scratched me right in the back of the head, but if you weren't thinking about him, he could have knocked you down because he weighs about 5, 6 pounds,' Cochran said.' >> Related: Florida Fish and Wildlife searches for monkey on the loose Cochran says he now uses an umbrella to go to the mailbox and hasn’t been attacked since. Hawks and their nests are protected under Florida law and can’t be moved or harmed.  Sarah Elsesser contributed to this story.
  • A wildfire has grown to 250 acres this afternoon in Volusia County, crossing State Road 44 after the wind shifted. Called the Damascus Fire, it forced the Florida Highway Patrol to close a section of the road between DeLand and Samsula, so fire plows could safely work in the area. Julie Allen with the Florida Forest Service said 14 tractor plows are trying to keep the flames from spreading further, with assistance from local fire departments. Federal personnel are also on the scene. “We had a sudden wind shift in the midst of the battle, and it caused a little bit of an issue with spotting over,” she explained. Cause of the fire is not known, but gusty winds help it to spread in the mostly rural area.
  • Its not clear why he went up there, but a naked man spent hours on a 140-foot utility tower in New Orleans East. Firefighters were able to raise a ladder and rescue him about 3 p.m. He was seen being placed in ambulance. Power was cut off to prevent him being electrocuted during the rescue.  The tower is near a Luzianne plant, but on Entergy property.