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Latest from Laurel Lee

    Only on Orlando’s Morning News with Joe Kelley With the holiday season comes a slew of events geared toward family fun and timeless traditions, and when you live in Central Florida there is something happening at almost every turn. Fortunately, icFlorida reporter and Power 95.3 personality Estee Martin visited with Orlando’s Morning News with Joe Kelley on Friday morning with the lowdown on what’s happening this weekend. The icFlorida Fun 3: Canine Extravaganza and AKC National Championship Dog Show Canine Extravaganza, the nation’s largest celebration of dogs, returns to Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center with exciting elements for all dog lovers. Held in conjunction with the AKC National Championship Dog Show, highlights include the Diving Dogs competition, a Doggie Boutique mall, and opportunities to interact and play with nearly 150 different breeds in the Meet the Breeds area. Greg Warmoth Reindeer Run Lace up your shoes, polish your antlers and join WFTV 9 Family Connection for the annual Greg Warmoth Reindeer Run, Saturday at SeaWorld. Run or walk the spectacular 3-mile route through SeaWorld while Christmas bells chime and holiday music plays throughout the park. Bring the whole family out for the best Holiday fun run around! Christmas at Gaylord Palms Nobody celebrates the holidays quite like Gaylord Palms, and this year’s Christmas at Gaylord Palms has something for everyone. Highlights include the magical Cirque Dreams Unwrapped live show, Breakfast with Charlie Brown & Friends, Gingerbread Decorating Corner, Santa’s Snow Throw and Snow Tubing. The main attraction, of course, is ICE! featuring Christmas Around the World, showcasing different cultures and their wintertime festivities. It looks like it’s going to be a great weekend to be out and about. Find out when you might want to wear long sleeves or a jacket in the Weekend Events Weather Forecast by WFTV meteorologist Brian Shields. 3 More Fun Things: Broadway in Orlando presents “The Book of Mormon” A December to Remember in Daytona Beach Latin Fiesta Nights “X-Mas Edition” You can find all sorts of fun happenings throughout Central Florida at icFlorida.com.
  • Only on Orlando’s Morning News with Joe Kelley You had better break out your boots and winter jacket because there is no way that you are going to let a little chilly weather mess with your weekend plans.  With so many great options for good times, it’s always nice to have guide for advice. icFlorida reporter and Power 95.3 personality Estee Martin visited Orlando’s Morning News with Joe Kelley to go over this weekend’s top picks. The icFlorida Fun 3: Lakeridge Winery’s “Wine & Chocolate” Treat your taste buds to pure decadence as Lakeridge Winery presents its annual holiday festival, Wine and Chocolate, Friday through Sunday in Clermont. Guests will enjoy live music on the outdoor stage and inside the Wine & Cheese bar all weekend. There will also be arts and crafts vendors, 'The Chocolate Wonderland” featuring chocolatiers and their delicious creations and more. Santa Saturday Finale Join WFTV 9 Family Connection for its final Santa Saturday event of 2017, Saturday at WFTV in Orlando. Bring a new, unwrapped toy for the United States Marine Corps Reserve 2017 Toys for Tots Campaign and enjoy free photos with Santa, live entertainment, giveaways, prizes, and a whole bunch of holiday-themed family fun. Harlem Globetrotters “Amazing Feats of Basketball” World Tour Unrivaled family entertainment awaits as the Harlem Globetrotters bring their Amazing Feats of Basketball World Tour to Central Florida, Saturday at Amway Center at noon, and then Ocean Center at 4:00pm. You’ll laugh and cheer as the Globetrotters showcase ball handling wizardry, rim-rattling dunks, trick shots, hilarious comedy and unequaled fan interaction. Keep the shivering away from your leisure time fun. Get the details on the chilly temperatures in the Weekend Events Forecast from WFTV meteorologist Brian Shields. 3 More Fun Things: 6th Annual MetroWest WinterFest (free) 5th Annual Violectric Holiday Concert (free) Nehrling Gardens Holiday Amaryllis Festival You can find all sorts of holiday-related news and local events at icFlorida’s Holiday Guide.
  • Only on Orlando’s Morning News with Joe Kelley As we welcome the month of December the holiday season comes into focus and many of the events around Central Florida follow suit. icFlorida reporter and Power 95.3 personality Estee Martin stopped by Orlando’s Morning News with Joe Kelley to go through some of this weekend’s best bets for fun and good times. The icFlorida Fun 3: Magic of Lights at Daytona If there is one thing that people go wild for over the holidays, it’s lights. And the more sparkling, twinkling and brilliantly appealing the better. The team at Daytona International Speedway took that notion to heart and turned it up a notch as the World Center of Racing has transformed into a holiday spectacle with the Magic of Lights drive-through holiday lights experience. Winter on the Avenue and Winter Park Christmas Parade Kickoff the holiday season with a flurry of fun, family-friendly activities during Winter on the Avenue, Friday evening in downtown Winter Park. The evening begins with the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony, and other highlights include a merchant window-decorating contest, movie in the park, live entertainment, ice skating, a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus and lots more. Also, be sure to wake up early Saturday for the 65th annual Winter Park Christmas Parade. Santa Saturday at One Daytona  Join WFTV 9 Family Connection for its first Santa Saturday event of 2017 and its first-ever time in Volusia County, Saturday at One Daytona. Bring a new, unwrapped toy for the United States Marine Corps Reserve 2017 Toys for Tots campaign and enjoy free photos with Santa, live entertainment, giveaways, prizes, and a whole bunch of holiday-themed family fun. According to the forecast, we’re due for a beautiful weekend. When making your plans, check the Weekend Events Weather Forecast from WFTV meteorologist Rusty McCranie to find out when you might need a jacket. 3 More Fun Things: Move Night at Leu Gardens featuring National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation OUC Half Marathon and Track Shack Lake Eola 5K Cupcake Challenge: Holiday Edition If you’re looking for holiday fun in Central Florida, check out the Holiday Guide at icFlorida.com.
  • Superstar Izzy needs a new home and she came in to the studio to tell us all about it! This sweet girl is 4 and ½ years old and has plenty of energy to run around the yard to play some serious fetch! Her size makes her a fantastic travel companion too, which is perfect because you are going to want to take her to all of your friend’s homes to show off her multitude of tricks. Clever Izzy has mastered “sit” and “down” and has moved on to higher level tricks like “high five!” If you would like to meet sweet Izzy or any of her other adoptable friends, check out Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando’s website! Remember, she is free to adopt if you tell them you saw her here! Mobile users see video of Izzy here!
  • Only on Orlando’s Morning News with Joe Kelley There just isn’t a better time of year than now to get out and enjoy the bounty of events and entertainment that Central Florida has to offer. icFlorida reporter and Power 95.3 personality Estee Martin stopped by Orlando’s Morning News with Joe Kelley to talk about some of top picks for weekend fun. The icFlorida Fun 3: 10th Annual Light Up UCF Kick off the holidays at CFE Arena and the University of Central Florida with the annual holiday festival, Light Up UCF. Opening Friday, this year’s festival offers 45 nights of ice skating, a world-class choreographed lightshow with new music, free holiday movies, live entertainment, rides such as the Ferris Wheel, Light Up Express kids train, and much more. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Celebrate the most wonderful time of the year with Mickey, Santa and Disney friends at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. It’s a Christmas party like no other, with joyful music, a shimmering Cinderella Castle, live entertainment, dazzling fireworks, a cheery parade, characters in their festive finery and Magic Kingdom Park decked out and more magical for merry-making guests of all ages. 25th Anniversary DeLand Fall Festival of the Arts Enjoy the beautiful fall weather and surround yourself with art and music at the 25th Anniversary DeLand Fall Festival of the Arts, Saturday and Sunday in historic downtown DeLand. More than 150 outstanding artists will exhibit a wide variety of fine art while exciting musical performances entertain throughout both days. There is also a full slate of fun and artsy activities for the children. The weather looks incredibly nice for the weekend, but will you need a sweater or jacket? Before heading out, check the Weekend Events Forecast from WFTV meteorologist Brian Shields. 3 More Fun Things: DogFest Walk ‘n Roll at Lake Lily Park UCF 4 Rivers Smokehouse Parking Lot Party Retro Game Night - 80s Edition at Regional History Center  There are so many fun things happening throughout Central Florida. Find out about them at icFlorida.com.
  • Only on Orlando’s Morning News with Joe Kelley November is hands-down one of the premier months for enjoying outdoor activities in Central Florida, and this weekend is a perfect example of an “our cup runneth over” scenario with so many great events happening. icFlorida reporter and Power 95.3 personality Estee Martin dropped by Orlando’s Morning News with Joe Kelley on Friday morning to talk about the cream of this weekend’s crop of fun. The icFlorida Fun 3: 41st Annual Maitland Rotary Art Festival: Art Under the Stars Enjoy the outdoors and take in the sights and sounds of the 41st Maitland Rotary Art Festival, Friday through Sunday at Lake Lily Park. The unique, Art Under the Stars event is the only nighttime fine art show in Florida, treating festival-goers to subtle live entertainment while sparkling lights in the evening hours create magical experiences for artists and patrons alike. 3rd Annual Orlando Beer Festival Central Florida's thriving craft beer community gets the event it deserves when the third annual Orlando Beer Festival pours on the good times and great tastes, Saturday at Orlando Festival Park. Spend an afternoon sampling craft and premium beers from local breweries and around the world. There's also, wine tasting, games, tasty eats and live music. 41st Annual St. Demetrios Greek Festival Be “Greek for the Weekend” (or at least for a day) and join in the celebration at the 41st Annual St. Demetrios Greek Festival, Thursday through Sunday at St. Demetrios Church in Daytona Beach. This “must-do” family-friendly event includes live Greek music, dancing, Greek beer, wine, ouzo and incredible Greek cuisine, featuring favorites such as Pastitsio, Dolmades, Gyros, Baklava and more. WFTV meteorologist Brian Shields thinks it might be a good idea to take your umbrella with you this weekend. Find out more in the Weekend Events Weather Forecast. 3 More Fun Things: Orlando Veterans Day Parade  31st Annual Festival of Trees A Taste of Dr. Phillips  Keep up with the latest local events and entertainment news at icFlorida.com.
  • Just look at that face! Gorgeous little Kay came into our studio excited to tell the world she’s looking for a family to love her! This black beauty is 4-years-old, but has the energy of a 1-year-old. Ready for any adventure, Kay is the perfect fetch partner or jogging buddy. After the fun, though, all this pretty girl wants to do is love on anyone who will let her. If you are interested in meeting this pup and being smothered in her kisses, head on over to Orange County Animal Services’ website! Mobile users, see video of Kay here.
  • This spotted beauty came by the station today to let us know she is looking to be adopted! Dottie (get it, because the black dots?) is a happy, loving girl who is the perfect adventure buddy. She may be 8-years-old, but she rivals some puppies with the amount of energy she has! As Kathy of Pet Alliance puts it, “I think she could play fetch for hours!” That said, she is just as willing to curl up in your lap and give you kisses as she is to join you on a jog. If you are interested in meeting Dottie or any of her other adoptable friends, head over to Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando’s website! Mobile users see video of Dottie here!
  • Only on Orlando’s Morning News with Joe Kelley As the weather begins to cool down, events and good times in Central Florida begin to multiply with fun things to do at every turn. icFlorida reporter Estee Martin visited Orlando’s Morning News with Joe Kelley to go over some best bets for weekend fun. The icFlorida Fun 3: Maker Faire Orlando Part science fair, part steampunk convention, part craft fair, and part something entirely new, Maker Faire Orlando is an all-ages gleeful celebration of innovation. Happening Saturday and Sunday at Central Florida Fairgrounds, the two-day event is a gathering of fascinating, curious people who enjoy learning and who love sharing what they can do. 25th Anniversary Biketobefest Put your knees in the breeze and celebrate one of life's greatest freedoms during the 25th Anniversary Biketoberfest, Thursday through Sunday throughout Daytona Beach. Experience a culture like none other as well as sights, scenes and sounds you won't soon forget when bikers and spectators from all over show up to see and be seen at this one-of-a-kind party event. Celebration’s 11th Annual Oktoberfest Celebration Town Center transforms before your very eyes as the falling leaves of the season drop on Market Street during the Fall Festival known as Oktoberfest. The good times will be rolling, Friday and Saturday, with live music and fun-filled family activities such as hayrides and pumpkin painting. Come relax by the lakeside with family and friends at this one-of-a-kind themed extravaganza. With so much outdoor fun going on, be sure to check the Weekend Events Weather Forecast from WFTV meteorologist Brian Shields before heading out. 3 More Fun Things: ROOTSTOCK Plant & Garden Festival Winter Springs ARToberFEST Thin Man Watts Jazz Festival You can find many more fun things to do throughout Central Florida at icFlorida.com.
  • The popular pop singer Ed Sheeran is suffering from a broken arm after he was struck by a car in London, England. “Ive [sic] had a bit of a bicycle accident and I’m currently waiting on some medical advice,” Sheeran explains in an Instagram post. He continues, “(This) may affect some of my upcoming shows. Please stay tuned for further news.” Ed Sheeran is known for many radio hits including “Thinking Out Loud,” “Shape of You,” and “Castle on the Hill.” Mobile user see post 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

  • If Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge at Hollywood Studios is anything like its film counterpart, The Last Jedi, Disney is about to make a whole lot of money. The theme park unveiled new concept art that shows off what the Millenium Falcon will look like when it flies into Hollywood Studios in 2019.  (Photo) Over the weekend, Park Imagineer Scott Trowbridge and his team also offered a sneak peak at the planet of Batuu during the Star Wars: Galactic Nights event.  (Photo) Die hard Star Wars fans can also look forward to finally tasting the series' infamous blue milk. The strange beverage has made an appearance as an easter egg in most of the Star Wars movies and will be available to purchase at the shops on planet Batuu.
  • Even with tempers flaring during the massive Atlanta airport blackout, there was still a way to find humor in the madness. Take this airport employee for example. Instagram user @sarahmanleyy posted video of a Hartsfield-Jackson airport worker making the best of a crowded escalator by  sliding down the middle of it like a boss to go and help passengers.  “Dealing with the power outage at the Atlanta airport was actually insane and I'll post other scary videos later. But the staff was having to slide down the escalators to help people and it was amusing,” @sarahmanleyy writes. (Instagram) The worker got a high-five and some cheers at the bottom of the escalator. 
  • Orange County Sheriff’s Office deputies are responding to reports of multiple fights at the Orange Regional Juvenile Detention Center.   The reports came in about 4:30 a.m. Monday at the center on Bumby Avenue.    Multiple law enforcement agencies responded to the incident.    No other details were released. (tweet)
  • Former Ballon d'Or winner Kaka says he is retiring from soccer at age 35.   Kaka, who played for Brazil, AC Milan and Real Madrid, told Brazil's Globo TV on Sunday that 'my last word is that the cycle of my career as a player ends here.'    'I needed time to think and take a decision calmly,' Kaka said. 'I have arrived to the conclusion that now is the moment to finish my career as a professional player.'    A graceful midfielder, Kaka won 92 caps for Brazil, scoring 29 goals and featuring at three World Cups. He was part of the Brazil squad that lifted the trophy in 2002.    Kaka said that he would like to remain linked professionally to soccer, perhaps as a manager or sports director of a team.    The dangerous playmaker won the Ballon d'Or and FIFA's World Player award in 2007 while playing for Milan. Kaka was part of the Milan team that won the 2007 Champions League final against Liverpool.    Kaka joined Real Madrid in 2009 for 67 million euros ($78.7 million) but had an up-and-down stint due to injuries.    Kaka was a free agent after leaving MLS team Orlando City in October.
  • While power has been restored to the world's busiest airport, the travel woes will linger for days.Thousands of people were stranded Monday morning at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, where more than 1,000 flights were grounded just days before the start of the Christmas travel rush.A sudden power outage that Georgia Power said was caused by a fire in an underground electrical facility brought the airport to a standstill Sunday about 1 p.m.All outgoing flights were halted, and arriving planes were held on the ground at their point of departure. International flights were being diverted, officials said.Delta Air Lines, with its biggest hub in Atlanta, will be hardest hit. By Sunday evening, Delta had already canceled nearly 900 flights and another 300 Monday, nearly all of them in Atlanta, according to tracking service FlightAware.com.Robert Mann, an aviation consultant and former American Airlines executive, said it likely will be Tuesday before Delta's operations in Atlanta return to normal, and for passengers 'it could be most of the week' because there aren't many open seats on other flights in the last week before Christmas.One bit of good news, according to Mann: Delta has more spare planes and available crews in Atlanta than anywhere else, which should help it to recover.Delta customers flying to or from Atlanta can make a one-time change to travel plans without incurring a $200 change fee. The airline also encouraged travelers not to pick up their bags Monday because of anticipated congestion at the airport.Still, when flights at Atlanta were grounded for most of one day last spring, it took Delta five days — and about 4,000 canceled flights — before it fully recovered.Like Sunday's outage, that April storm hit Delta's largest hub at a busy travel time when there weren't many empty seats to accommodate customers from cancelled flights. At the time, CEO Ed Bastian vowed Delta would make 'significant improvements' to its system for scheduling and tracking aircraft crews to recover more quickly from disruptions.Other airlines also canceled flights for the rest of Sunday. American Airlines canceled 24 departures and an equal number of arrivals, said spokesman Ross Feinstein. The airline also diverted three planes that were headed to Atlanta when the outage struck, sending them instead to Dallas, Nashville and back to Philadelphia.The city of Atlanta provided shuttle service to the Georgia Convention Center on Sunday for travelers needing a place to stay.Delta passenger Emilia Duca, 32, was on her way to Wisconsin from Bogota, Colombia, when she got stuck in Atlanta. She said police made passengers who were in the baggage claim area move to a higher floor. She said restaurants and shops were closed. Vending machines weren't working.'A lot of people are arriving, and no one is going out. No one is saying anything official. We are stuck here,' she said. 'It's a nightmare.'Some passengers said there was a lack of information from airport officials and little help from first responders to get the disabled and the elderly through the airport without the use of escalators and elevators.'They had these elderly people, handicapped people lined up in wheelchairs,' said stranded passenger Rutia Curry. 'The people were helpless, they can't get down the stairs. It was just a nightmare.'Passenger James Beatty said there was no real method for evacuation.'I mean there was 40 or 50 people per the terminal area that were confined to wheelchairs and some that couldn't get through the airport very well, some of them actually couldn't walk and there was no plan at all to get them out of here without any power.'Beatty said passengers carried those who used wheelchairs down stairs.The FAA said it would staff the airport control tower throughout the night so it could handle flights once they resume. The FAA said the tower could operate normally but flights were affected because airport equipment in the terminals was not working.According to a Georgia Power statement, the utility believes a piece of equipment in an underground electrical facility may have failed, causing the fire. The fire was next to equipment for a backup system, causing that to also fail.'No personnel or passengers were in danger at any time,' the statement said.No areas outside of the airport were affected by the power loss. The utility said there are 'many redundant systems in place' to ensure the power supply to the airport and that such outages at the airport 'are very rare.'That wasn't enough to comfort Jeff Smith, 46, of Pittsburgh, who ended up stuck in a plane on the tarmac for three hours after it landed.'This is the worst experience I've ever had at an airport,' he said.Sara Melillo and her husband, Greg Presto, were traveling from Kenya, where they live, to Pittsburgh to spend Christmas with his family when they were stuck on the tarmac for six hours. The couple had made stops in Nairobi and Amsterdam and landed shortly after the lights went out in Atlanta.Melillo said the pilot didn't have a lot of information for the travelers but the plane had air conditioning and attendants offered water and juice a few times. She described the Delta terminal as 'big chaos' with not enough customer service for the hundreds of people trying to find a flight to their next destination and a place to sleep for the night.With her new boarding pass handwritten and her bags still stuck on a plane, Melillo was hopeful that she and her husband would be able to get a flight in the morning to Pittsburgh, she said as she waited for an Uber ride to a hotel. But in a Monday morning email, Melillo told The Associated Press the morning flight had been rescheduled to the evening and they were going to the airport to try to get a different flight.Airport workers were distributing bottled water, and Dunkin' Donuts was giving out doughnuts. Chick-fil-A, which is usually closed on Sundays, opened to provide meals for travelers, according to the airport's Twitter feed.Officer Lisa Bender of the Atlanta Police Department said officers were at the airport to help with crowd control and managing traffic around the airport.At Southwest Airlines, about 70 Atlanta departures out of 120 scheduled for Sunday were canceled, an airline spokesman said in an email. United Airlines and JetBlue Airways were among carriers reporting delays or cancellations.American Airlines reported only a handful of diversions and cancellations because the carrier does not use Atlanta as a hub, airline spokeswoman Alexis Aran Coello.Hartsfield-Jackson, which serves 104 million passengers a year, is the world's busiest airport, a distinction it has held since 1998.The airport serves an average of 275,000 passengers daily, according to its website. Nearly 2,500 planes arrive and depart each day.___AP Airlines Writer David Koenig in Dallas and Associated Press writer Robert Ray in Atlanta contributed to this report.