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The Latest Local News

    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.
  • Any bags larger than 12”x 12” x 6” are now prohibited from entering Cinemark movie theaters.  Starting Thursday, the movie chain is restricting the size of the bags and packages people bring inside their building in an effort to enhance security and ensure the safety of moviegoers.  The updated policy on the company’s website states that the only exceptions would be medical equipment and diaper bags.  The announcement reads: “Effective February 22, 2018: In an effort to enhance the safety and security of our guests and employees: Any bags or packages measuring larger than 12' x 12' x 6' will not be permitted into the theatre.” Under the new policy appears to be three examples of which types of bags would be permitted, including a handbag, a small clutch and a small backpack. Safety has been top of mind since the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida on February 14 and the memory of the Aurora, Colorado theater shooting in 2012 that killed 12 patrons.   Cinemark also “reserves the right to inspect all bags and packages entering the theatre.” There are six Cinemark theaters in Florida, including on International Drive in Orlando.
  • There’s a new, adorable addition to Disney’s Animal Kingdom: a baby Nile hippopotamus! Weighing in at 168 pounds, the calf, named Augustus, was born to Tuma and Henry on January 13 and is the first hippo born at the park in 13 years. According to a press release from Disney, Augustus is already winning over park goers with his playful nature and loves hanging out with his mom. Guests can get a look at Augustus on the Kilimanjaro Safaris and during the Wild Africa Trek experience.   Nile hippos are a vulnerable species and are declining in population. Disney says they’re committed to conservation and chose Tuma and Henry to breed through the Species Survival Plan. SSP ensures that breeding is done responsibly so the existence of animal populations are around for years to come. (VIDEO)
  • The trial of the Pulse shooter's wife is set to start next week.   The judge ruled on some crucial evidence the jury deciding Noor Salman's fate will see.    In the judge's order, which was released Wednesday, there are some rulings for the defense and others for the government.    The evidence includes video from the night of the Pulse terror attack, including police bodycam video, which the defense attorneys wanted to be kept out of the trial.    The judge ruled limited video will be allowed in court, but not images of police removing bodies of the victims from the club.    And the jury will not see certain video of police taking their positions outside as they secured the perimeter.    'The court's allowing just enough of that video in evidence to allow the government to prove their case, but to not deny her a fair trial,” said WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer.    Salman appeared in federal court for a hearing last month as both sides made arguments about what evidence the jury would see.    Judge issues ruling on whether certain pieces of key evidence will be allowed in Noor Salman trial.   She faces charges of aiding a former terrorist organization and obstruction of justice.    The judge ruled the jury will be allowed to hear about text messages sent between Salman and Mateen.    'Those statements are important for the government to show that she participated in a cover story to allow him to commit the shooting,” Sheaffer said.    And the judge will allow 911 calls made by Mateen, including the one where Mateen said, 'You're speaking with the person who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.'    'It's important that the government show this was a terrorist attack, because she's charged with having provided assistance in that attack,” Sheaffer said.    The bottom line, Sheaffer says, is that the evidence that won't be allowed in court does not appear to jeopardize the government's case.    The trial is set to begin March 1.
  • During CNN’s Wednesday night town hall with Florida lawmakers, survivors of last week’s high school shooting and members of the NRA, Sen. Marco Rubio attempted to explain why a ban on assault rifles wouldn’t have prevented the tragedy, and the audience’s reaction was not quite what he was hoping for.   While explaining what a ban on assault rifles would do, the Republican senator from Florida said to ensure no one would “get around it.”   “You would literally have to ban every semi-automatic rifle that’s sold in America.” A surprised Rubio, who appeared to have been hoping to convince the audience against such an idea, was met with a solid 10 seconds of applause that overwhelmed the room.   “Fair enough, fair enough,” the senator said as the cheers died down.   The moment came just after a grieving father called Rubio’s reaction to the mass shooting “pathetically weak” and asked whether the senator would support banning assault rifles like Nikolas Cruz’s AR-15 in order to save the lives of children.   “It’s too easy to get. It is a weapon of war,” the father emotionally said. “The fact that you can’t stand with everybody else in this building and say that, I’m sorry.”   A flustered Rubio assured him, “I do believe what you’re saying is true,” before launching into his argument against an assault rifles ban.   CNN’s town hall follows last week’s shooting at Marjory Stonemason Douglas High School where gunman Nikolas Cruz fatally shot 17 people and injured over a dozen more. In the time since, many of the school’s surviving students have been commanding public attention and demanding a conversation about gun reform in the United States.
  • A group founded by former Congresswoman and shooting survivor Gabby Giffords is targeting Governor Rick Scott over gun control and ties to the National Rifle Association.  Giffords gun control non profit has rolled out a new thirty second ad that begins with video from Florida shooting vigils and  singles out a law the Governor championed in 2011 that would prevent doctors and mental health professionals from asking patients if they owned a gun. The ad says the public needs 'more than thoughts and prayers' from Governor Scott.   See video here in APP     https://youtu.be/5nmDHbNeFt8   Giffords was shot in the head during an assassination attempt on Jan. 8, 2011 when a man opened fire at an outdoor event held by the Arizona congresswoman. Six people were killed and 19 others were injured in the shooting in Tucson, Arizona. Giffords made a miraculous recovery and later resigned from the house to focus on her health.
  • A man was arrested Wednesday in South Carolina on charges of attempted murder and armed carjacking in Deltona.     Peter Neville Bamfield, 19, is accused of shooting a man on Dumas Drive in Deltona on Feb. 10.   Investigators said they found Tarell Williams, 28, wounded and lying on a driveway as a resident was trying to help him.   Read: Man shot in chest in Deltona   Multiple witnesses reported hearing gunshots and seeing a dark Honda passenger car speed away from the scene, deputies said.   Detectives said they determined Williams was driving the car when Bamfield pointed a gun at him from the front passenger’s seat and began shooting as Williams tried to escape.   Deputies believe the shooting was over drugs.   Volusia County Sheriff’s Office detectives and members of U.S. Marshals Task Force in Central Florida and in South Carolina worked together to find Bamfield.   Bamfield was taken to the Darlington County Jail in Darlington, S.C, pending extradition to Volusia County to face the charges.   It's unclear why Bamfield was in South Carolina. Suspect in Deltona shooting arrested last night in South Carolina, thanks to cooperation between our detectives & US Marshals Task Force members in Central FL and SC: https://t.co/6WaE8m9wrT pic.twitter.com/Z7F7wBtgoE — Volusia Co. Sheriff (@VolusiaSheriff) February 22, 2018

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.”