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The Latest Local News

    The starting pay for FHP Troopers hasn't changed in more than a decade, but that is finally going to change.   Since 2010, the Florida Highway Patrol has lost nearly 1,000 troopers and some state lawmakers point to low pay as the reason.   Lawmakers have passed a 5 percent pay increase for all state-level law enforcement officers starting on July 1.   While the move will increase the pay for a starting trooper, Florida still pays less than many surrounding states.   Starting pay for an FHP trooper is currently about $34,000, in Louisiana it is $47,000 and in Mississippi it is $38,000.   The drop in troops has caused the number of citations issued in Florida to drop as well.   Officials hope the bump in pay bump will help fill hundreds of empty positions.
  • Chipotle Mexican Grill said Friday that malware was used to steal customer card information at various restaurant locations.   The restaurant chain says hackers got access to card data from payment systems at some of its restaurants between March 24th and April 18th, including nearly 30 restaurants in Central Florida.   In a statement Chipotle said the malware accessed point-of-sale devices during a three-week span starting in late March. The malware searched for data including cardholder names, numbers, expiration dates and internal verification codes.   Chipotle is warning customers to look for unauthorized purchases on their account and report anything suspicious to banks and credit card companies.
  • Workers at Port Canaveral found an eight-foot alligator hiding under a conveyor belt Friday. Employees at Ambassador Services were walking toward the conveyor when they heard a hissing and snarling sound. Trappers were unable to coax the alligator out of the cargo area, so a forklift operator had to lift the platform. The gator was euthanized, and removed from the site. Workers said they aren’t sure how the gator ended up in the cargo area.
  • Melbourne Police have surrounded a home and say a suspect is barricaded inside. The home is reportedly at the intersection of Holland St. and Sadler Ln.  Melbourne Police indicate activity at the nearby intersection of Eau Gallie Blvd and Holland. Police shut down all westbound traffic of Eau Gallie at Croton Rd. because of the suspect. News 96.5 WDBO put out a call to Melbourne Police for an update on what’s happening. 
  • American singer Ariana Grande says she will return to Manchester for a benefit concert to raise money for attack victims and their families.  A suicide bomber killed 22 people and wounded scores of others minutes after Grande's concert at the Manchester Arena ended on Monday night.   Grande tweeted a statement that says 'I'll be returning to the incredibly brave city of Manchester to spend time with my fans and to have a benefit concert in honor of and to raise money for the victims and their families.'   She said details are still being finalized and she will 'have details to share ... as soon as everything is confirmed.'   Grande also said 'my heart, prayers and deepest condolences are with the victims of the Manchester attack and their loved ones.' THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
  • It’s one of Central Florida’s most infamous missing person cases. Today marks eight years since 27-year-old Tracy Ocasio was last seen leaving a Metro West bar after an Orlando Magic game. Police found Ocasio’s car abandoned on Franklin Street in Ocoee but she was no where to be found. The last man she was  seen with on surveillance video, James Hataway, remains the only suspect in her disappearance.  He’s in prison for life after being convicted of attempted murder for attacking another woman in an unrelated case. Hataway has previously denied any involvement in Ocasio’s disappearance. Ocoee Police Deputy Chief Stephen McCosker wants to get the word out again this year that Tracy Ocasio’s case is still an open investigation  as detectives continue to look for evidence that might help bring closure to her family. If you have any information as to the whereabouts of Tracy Ocasio, Ocoee Police ask that you contact Detective David Gray at 407-905-3161, or Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS.
  • A survival swim school operator points to Florida’s tragically high number of child drownings in urging parents to educate their children on how to handle themselves in water, even before they are old enough for organized swimming. “Teach them to hold their breath when they feel water on their face, to look for a way out of the pool and, when they need to breathe, to roll over and float independently,”  explained Kelly Whittemore of Swim Life. Florida leads the nation in drowning deaths of children under the age of four.  “Now is the time to register your kids in swim lessons if they don’t know how to swim. With all of the water we have here in Florida, we must provide children with survival skills so they learn to respect water, stay safe and have fun,” she urged. A good rule during swimming pool parties is to have an adult identified as knowing CPR, making sure children who cannot swim are wearing life jackets and having someone poolside who is not distracted and can keep an eye on kids in and near the water. Whittemore warns parents that “a child can slip in the water completely unnoticed without a splash and they never surface because they don’t know how.” She called it “a silent way to die.” The swimming advocate credited Florida with “a great law” that requires fencing around unattended pools, but it’s hard to monitor its compliance.
  • The search is on for a hit-and-run driver after a woman was killed overnight while walking along an Orange County roadway.  Florida Highway Patrol tells us they found the body of a young woman around 3:45 a.m. on the shoulder of Hoffner Avenue near Reddit Road.  She didn’t have any identification on her so they still don’t know who she is.   They also don't know yet exactly when she was killed or who was behind the wheel of the vehicle that hit her. Crash investigators did find parts of a right side-view mirror they believe belong to a Chevy. Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Kim Montes says “If anyone has a neighbor or friend that has a vehicle - possibly a Chevy - with the right side mirror missing, we need to know about that and that’s how these cases get solved.” If you have any information about this crash, you can report it directly to Florida Highway Patrol at 407-737-2313, or call Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS.
  • Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd’s office has released a video on its Youtube channel of a May 10 murder. Two suspects have been arrested. The remains of Preston Burnett, 29, were found that afternoon at a former golf course in east Lakeland. The act was apparently caught on a cellphone video, to which Sheriff Grady Judd said sarcastically “we appreciate that.” Christopher Clardy, a 39-year-old convicted felon, was arrested on charges of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and possession of a firearm. Jamie Garst, 30, was also charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy, tampering with evidence and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
  • This beautiful, white-coated boy is named Baloo and he is currently residing at the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando while he waits for his forever-home! Though he may be big in size, this 5-year-old is equally big in heart and is ready to give all of it to a new family! Baloo loves belly rubs and will happily flop over to give you a chance to pet him. Yet, he’s just as happy to show off his “sit” or give you a big sloppy kiss! If you would like to meet Baloo, head to Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando. Better yet, if you mention you saw him here,  this spectacular pup can be your new best friend for free! Learn more about Baloo and the rest of his adoptable friends on Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando’s website! Mobile users see video of Baloo here!

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • The starting pay for FHP Troopers hasn't changed in more than a decade, but that is finally going to change.   Since 2010, the Florida Highway Patrol has lost nearly 1,000 troopers and some state lawmakers point to low pay as the reason.   Lawmakers have passed a 5 percent pay increase for all state-level law enforcement officers starting on July 1.   While the move will increase the pay for a starting trooper, Florida still pays less than many surrounding states.   Starting pay for an FHP trooper is currently about $34,000, in Louisiana it is $47,000 and in Mississippi it is $38,000.   The drop in troops has caused the number of citations issued in Florida to drop as well.   Officials hope the bump in pay bump will help fill hundreds of empty positions.
  • Chipotle Mexican Grill said Friday that malware was used to steal customer card information at various restaurant locations.   The restaurant chain says hackers got access to card data from payment systems at some of its restaurants between March 24th and April 18th, including nearly 30 restaurants in Central Florida.   In a statement Chipotle said the malware accessed point-of-sale devices during a three-week span starting in late March. The malware searched for data including cardholder names, numbers, expiration dates and internal verification codes.   Chipotle is warning customers to look for unauthorized purchases on their account and report anything suspicious to banks and credit card companies.
  • UPDATE May 26, 8:00 p.m. The Washington Post reported Friday that in December Russian ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak told his superiors that Kushner discussed setting a up a secret communications channel with the Kremlin. Kushner, according to the report, asked Kislyak about using Russia’s diplomatic facilities to prevent monitoring of the discussions. Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, also attended the meeting, which was not under U.S. surveillance, according to officials. The White House disclosed the meeting in March, but people familiar with the matter told The Post the meeting is of investigative interest. The White House has not returned requests for comment, nor has the Russian Embassy or a lawyer for Flynn. ORIGINAL STORY: Is Jared Kushner, the senior White House official, a person of interest in the investigation into ties between Russia and the Donald Trump campaign? Thursday, The Post reported that Jared Kushner is under investigation “because of the extent and nature of his interactions with the Russians,” citing unnamed people familiar with the investigation. >> Read more trending news  Investigators are looking specifically at meetings held by Kushner, who is also the president’s son-in-law as well as an adviser, as part of their investigation into Russia’s pull in the 2016 election, The Post reported. Kushner has said that he will cooperate with the federal investigators, The Associated Press reported. In a statement released by attorney Jamie Gorelick, “Mr. Kushner previously volunteered to share with Congress what he knows about these meetings. He will do the same if he is contacted in connection with any other inquiry.” >> RELATED: Who are the key players in the Russia/Trump saga? The FBI and the Congressional oversight committee, in addition to other Congressional panels, are looking into what role, if any, Russia had in the 2016 presidential election. The Post and the AP said that the investigation does not mean that Kushner himself is a suspect of a crime. Last week, The Washington Post has reported that Kushner, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson are current Trump administration officials who have acknowledged contact with Russian officials, according to the report. The source was not named, but was described as someone close to Trump in the story that was originally released minutes after Trump and his advisors departed for his first overseas trip as president.
  • Police say a metro Atlanta couple locked the woman’s 86-year-old mother in her room and used furniture to block the door. Katie Son and her husband are both charged with cruelty to an elderly person. Officers say 86-year-old Bong Le managed to escape out a front window. She was found a couple of blocks away, wrapped in a blanket and sitting under a tree. Investigators say she smelled like urine and feces. >> Read more trending news Her daughter and son-in-law, who are now out on bond, said they were just trying to protect her from herself. Son said “no” when asked if she locked her mother up. Gwinnett County Police Department said officers found tables, chairs and other items stacked high against the door of the downstairs bedroom in the home. “It looked quite unusual,” Cpl. Michele Pihera said. But Son said it was all to keep her mother safe and that when she and her husband went to work each day at a nail salon, her mother couldn’t be trusted alone in the house. “They told our officers that the reason they had stacked up the furniture was to prevent the mother from going into the kitchen to access the stove or access any kitchen utensils,” Pihera said. Deputies still have questions. “It’s very possible they were trying to prevent her from getting into the food or any kind of items to eat,” Pihera said, adding that the state of the room was disturbing. “They found human feces and what looked like human urine that looked like it had been smeared into the carpet or never even cleaned up,” she said. She said that, combined with the furniture, led to the arrests. “You combine the lack of access to food and water and the living conditions and that’s what led our detectives to take out warrants for their arrests,” Pihera said. Neighbors didn’t want to talk about what happened, but said they recognized Le as the woman who didn’t really have a memory and would get lost easily. She’s now in a hospital. Her daughter and son-in-law have been ordered not to go near her.
  • Workers at Port Canaveral found an eight-foot alligator hiding under a conveyor belt Friday. Employees at Ambassador Services were walking toward the conveyor when they heard a hissing and snarling sound. Trappers were unable to coax the alligator out of the cargo area, so a forklift operator had to lift the platform. The gator was euthanized, and removed from the site. Workers said they aren’t sure how the gator ended up in the cargo area.