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The Latest Local News

    An Orlando Police department officer is in the hospital after crashing their pickup truck into a toll booth on State Road 408 Saturday morning.   The truck crashed into a collapsible safety barrier at the toll plaza on the East/West Expressway eastbound near Andes Avenue.    The truck catapulted into the guardrail and caught fire, prompting the officer to flee from the scene. Police are investigating this as a hit and run.    The pay lanes were closed and traffic was diverted into the E-pass lanes. Tolls were waived by the Expressway Authority while the scene was being cleared. All lanes are now open.    Police have not released the name of the officer driving the vehicle, but were able to locate him and took him to the hospital for his injuries. No other vehicles were involved in the crash.    The officer involved in the crash has been relieved of duty and an internal investigation is underway.    The identity of the officer, as well as whether or not they will face charges has not yet been released.
  • Two men are recovering in the hospital after a shooting incident took place in Pine Hills.   Around 1 a.m., deputies responded to 4919 West Colonial Drive for a possible shooting.  When they arrived at the scene, they located a 40 year old man with a gunshot wound. The other victim, a 39 year old male was found nearby with an injury to his hand. His 29 year old girlfriend was found with him as well.    Both men were transported to the hospital with non life threatening injuries and remain in stable condition. The victim's girlfriend is considered a suspect by investigators and was taken into custody.    It is not yet known how the man's hand was injured or if the woman would face charges.
  • District 4 Orlando City Commissioner, Patty Sheehan, Veterinarian Geoffrey Gardner and specially trained volunteers showed up to participate in the City of Orlando's 10th Annual Lake Eola Swan Round-Up.   The round up began at 7:00 a.m. where trained volunteers arrived on foot and took to their kayaks in the water to safely corral the famous Lake Eola swans to the west end of the park. From there, the volunteers brought the swans to a temporary clinic where they would be weighed, inoculated, and checked by the Veterinarian. The swans would also be given a a name and fitted with a microchip, along with having their wings clipped. They would then be released back into the lake and free to go about their business. Each swan has its own health record that will continue to be updated.    Lake Eola is home to over 50 swans from over five different breeds including Trumpeter swans, Black Neck Swans, Whooper swans, Royal Mute swans and Australian black swans.    The quarters that are collected from swan food feeders around the lake also help to generate annual income each year to help insure that these swans receive proper medical care.
  • Light up UCF begins its 10th season of “music, lights and ice” starting today and lasting through December 31. Central Floridians and visitors are invited to come to the CFE Arena on the campus of UCF to enjoy a new light show promising “more lights, more snow and new music.” Fan favorites are returning including ice skating, the “Arctic Glide” ice slide, the ferris wheel, the Winter Whirl, Light Up Express, carriage rides, photos with Santa in light up lane and free movie nights on Fridays and Saturdays. Some of the free movies this year include Home Alone, Elf, Polar Express, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and Frozen.  CLICK HERE for the full movie schedule. The first year of Light Up UCF was 2008; since then it has evolved from only a skating rink and a light show into what it is today. Visit www.lightupUCF.com for mroe information and a calendar of events.  Prices range from $4.25 for a ride ticket to $19.95 for an ultimate pass.  On Tuesday they offer Two-for-Tuesday, which includes buy-one-get-one free skating and discounted ultimate passes. There’s also free gift wrapping from Monday through Thursday throughout December.  The last day is Dec. 21. Photos should be tagged to @CFEArena and using the hashtag #LightUpUCF.
  • Allegations of misconduct and bad behavior are swirling around Tallahassee and the head of Florida's Democratic Party is the latest casualty. Florida Democratic Party Chairman Stephen Bittel resigned Friday in response to the accusations leveled against him. Politico Florida reports as many as a half dozen former female party staffers have accused Bittel of creating an “unprofessional workplace environment” by making inappropriate comments and demeaning women. Bittel acknowledged the allegations and issued a public apology. “Every person, regardless of their gender, race, age or sexuality should be treated with respect and valued for their hard work and contributions to our community and if any of my comments or actions did not reflect that belief I am deeply sorry,” Bittel said. “I have much to learn, but my goal is and has always been to make sure every member of our party has a safe environment in which to succeed. It seems I’ve not been successful in that goal, and I will do better.' It’s the latest story in a series of accusations against state lawmakers. Last month, Democrat State Senator Jeff Clemens resigned after admitting to an extramarital affair with a lobbyist. Republican State Senator Jack Latvala was caught on camera kissing a female lobbyist.  Both denied having a relationship. Latvala has also been accused of groping women and making offensive statements to others about their physical appearance.
  • West Orange High School was on lock down this morning, after a threatening note was found in one of the school’s bathrooms. Orange County Public Schools said the lock down started at 10:35 a.m., and was lifted around 12:45 p.m. No students or faculty were injured, according to West Orange High School. An investigation into the note is ongoing.
  • 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!
  • Police were called to a Cape Coral home this week to remove what the department called a “suspicious package.” What they found was an alligator camped out on the front porch of the home.  Rather than calling in a trapper, the officers who responded to the call used a cell phone to record the beast before coaxing it back into a pond behind the home. After the call, Cape Coral P.D. shared the video on their YouTube channel.
  • Crime scene investigators testified Friday in the murder trial of a man accused of raping and killing a 27-year-old woman at her downtown Orlando apartment. Police said Stephen Duxbury strangled Sasha Samsudean in October 2015 at the Uptown Place apartments after she returned from a night out. Duxbury worked as a security guard at the apartment building at the time. Jurors were shown physical evidence in the case, including a pair of Sketchers sneakers prosecutors said Duxbury was wearing when he killed Samsudean. Read: Testimony continues in downtown Orlando security guard's murder trial Photos: Sasha Samsudean Police said Duxbury tried to pass off a different pair of shoes as the ones he had worn that night, but they said the sneakers match shoe prints found in her apartment. Prosecutors also had a cellphone expert testify that Duxbury googled how to open Samsudean's unique front door lock before she died. The expert said Duxbury tried erasing his phone after the killing. Duxbury told police he was never inside Samsudean's apartment. Investigators said DNA evidence was discovered on Samsudean's body and her bedsheets, and Duxury's fingerprints were found on her toilet and her nightstand. 'It matched the left thumb of Mr. Duxbury,' Latent Fingerprint Specialist Howard Kuehne testified. Jurors were shown photos of every inch of Samsudean's apartment as well as the comforter with which her body was wrapped. Jurors on Thursday heard testimony about cleaning products that were poured on and into Samsudean's body that broke down some of her skin, hiding evidence of other potential injuries. They were shown those chemicals on Friday as well as her bed sheets and an iPad. Read: Video shows murder suspect, victim at downtown Orlando apartment Dr. Gary Utz, the Orange-Osceola County medical examiner said in court Thursday that Samsudean appeared she was beaten and had a fractured larynx. He said she was strangled. 'She's nearly naked in her bed,' Utz said. 'She's wrapped in a comforter. I'd be an idiot not to entertain the idea of sexual assault.' Utz said a necklace was torn from Samsudean's neck and a shirt was ripped from her body. Investigators said surveillance footage shows Duxbury walking with an intoxicated Samsudean. Read: Security guard accused of killing woman in downtown Orlando apartment to stand trial Read: Jury selection underway in trial of security guard accused of killing Orlando woman Police officers who were called to the scene said Duxbury seemed nervous. 'I'm standing by myself, facing the door in the hallway,' Orlando police Officer Kyle Medvetz said. 'He walked by but he just stood and hovered like we were going to talk.' Duxbury's supervisor testified Thursday that Duxbury stayed almost 40 minutes past his shift the day of Samsudean's death, which he said was out of character. Prosecutors said that Duxbury tried to dispose of evidence during that time. Read: Opening statements begin in murder trial of downtown Orlando security guard His attorneys claim that investigators botched the case and that the true killer remains at large. Duxbury faces life in prison if convicted in Samsudean’s death. Read: New report outlines how suspect broke into woman's downtown apartment
  • How about instead of cooking a turkey you could just eat some chips that taste like it? Or if you’re a ‘just the sides’ kind of person, maybe some mac and cheese-flavored chips would be your jam.  Well, Pringles is making it possible for you to have an entire Thanksgiving meal without having to cook or heat up anything. The company has released a Thanksgiving Dinner-flavored kit that resembles a TV dinner, but instead of some nasty mashed potatoes that never seem cook in the middle or a hardly edible brownie, this ‘dinner’ contains eight new flavors based on holiday dinner classic staples:  Turkey, Stuffing, Cranberry Sauce, Mashed Potatoes, Creamed Corn, Green Bean Casserole, Mac & Cheese, and Pumpkin Pie. As appetizing as that sounds, you may want to have a back-up plan for Turkey Day since Kellogg’s says “the Pringles Thanksgiving Dinner is a pilot taste test and has only limited availability. While the dinner is not available for retail sale this season, who knows what the future of Pringles stacking and snacking will bring!” (VIDEO)

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • An Orlando Police department officer is in the hospital after crashing their pickup truck into a toll booth on State Road 408 Saturday morning.   The truck crashed into a collapsible safety barrier at the toll plaza on the East/West Expressway eastbound near Andes Avenue.    The truck catapulted into the guardrail and caught fire, prompting the officer to flee from the scene. Police are investigating this as a hit and run.    The pay lanes were closed and traffic was diverted into the E-pass lanes. Tolls were waived by the Expressway Authority while the scene was being cleared. All lanes are now open.    Police have not released the name of the officer driving the vehicle, but were able to locate him and took him to the hospital for his injuries. No other vehicles were involved in the crash.    The officer involved in the crash has been relieved of duty and an internal investigation is underway.    The identity of the officer, as well as whether or not they will face charges has not yet been released.
  • A Montana congressman misled investigators about his assault on a reporter the day before he was elected in May, claiming that “liberal media” were “trying to make a story,” the Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported Saturday, citing audio and documents. >> Read more trending news U.S. Rep. Greg Gianforte, a Republican, told an officer in an audio interview after the attack that reporter Ben Jacobs of The Guardian newspaper had grabbed him by the wrist and pulled both of them to the floor. Audio of Gianforte’s interview with Gallatin County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Scott Secor was released along with documents requested by the Chronicle and other news organizations after Gianforte was cited for assaulting Jacobs on May 24. Gianforte later pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault.  The Chronicle requested the documents in June. After Gianforte, Jacobs and Gallatin County Attorney Marty Lambert did not object to the release, Gallatin County District Court Judge Holly Brown ruled this week that the documents could be released. \The audio of the interview with Gianforte comes from a recording made by Sgt. Scott Secor outside of Gianforte’s headquarters shortly after the 5:07 p.m. call Jacobs made to 911, a minute after he posted on Twitter, “Greg Gianforte just body slammed me and broke my glasses.” Once at the scene, Secor spoke with Jacobs first. “This is the weirdest day,” Jacobs told Secor.  The documents include interviews with members of a Fox News crew who were in the room with Gianforte and Jacobs at the politician’s Bozeman campaign office.  Gianforte told Secor that he was preparing for an interview with Fox News when “this man broke into a private room in the back and stuck a microphone in my face and started asking me obnoxious questions.” Gianforte said he tried to explain to him that he was in the middle of an interview, but that Jacobs kept “waving” the microphone in his face, the Chronicle reported. “I probably shouldn’t do it but I reached out for his phone ... he grabbed my wrist, he spun and we ended up on the floor ... so he pulled me down on top of him,” Secor quoted Gianforte as saying. After the incident Gianforte’s campaign spokesman, Shane Scanlon, issued a statement that also blamed the attack on Jacobs, saying the reporter had grabbed the candidate’s wrist.  Gianforte publicly apologized to Jacobs and told supporters he wasn’t proud of his actions. His spokesman, Travis Hall, insisted on Friday that the documents contained “nothing new.” “No one was misled, and anyone who says otherwise is mistaken. Greg took responsibility for his actions and is focused on serving the people of Montana,” Hall said in an emailed statement to The Associated Press.
  • Two men are recovering in the hospital after a shooting incident took place in Pine Hills.   Around 1 a.m., deputies responded to 4919 West Colonial Drive for a possible shooting.  When they arrived at the scene, they located a 40 year old man with a gunshot wound. The other victim, a 39 year old male was found nearby with an injury to his hand. His 29 year old girlfriend was found with him as well.    Both men were transported to the hospital with non life threatening injuries and remain in stable condition. The victim's girlfriend is considered a suspect by investigators and was taken into custody.    It is not yet known how the man's hand was injured or if the woman would face charges.
  • District 4 Orlando City Commissioner, Patty Sheehan, Veterinarian Geoffrey Gardner and specially trained volunteers showed up to participate in the City of Orlando's 10th Annual Lake Eola Swan Round-Up.   The round up began at 7:00 a.m. where trained volunteers arrived on foot and took to their kayaks in the water to safely corral the famous Lake Eola swans to the west end of the park. From there, the volunteers brought the swans to a temporary clinic where they would be weighed, inoculated, and checked by the Veterinarian. The swans would also be given a a name and fitted with a microchip, along with having their wings clipped. They would then be released back into the lake and free to go about their business. Each swan has its own health record that will continue to be updated.    Lake Eola is home to over 50 swans from over five different breeds including Trumpeter swans, Black Neck Swans, Whooper swans, Royal Mute swans and Australian black swans.    The quarters that are collected from swan food feeders around the lake also help to generate annual income each year to help insure that these swans receive proper medical care.
  • As the House voted along party lines on Thursday to approve a sweeping package of GOP tax reforms, one peculiar part of the floor debate came when a number of Republicans – who voted for the bill – took to the floor to request changes in the their party’s plan, as some highlighted unintended consequences, while others objected to the basics of the measure. Known in parliamentary parlance as a “colloquy,” the scripted exchanges between lawmakers are often done to clarify the legislative intent of a bill, or in this case, to urge action in a specific way in House-Senate negotiations. And for some Republicans in this week’s tax reform debate, it was clear they wanted some provisions altered. Some requests were specific, like Rep. David McKinley (R-WV), who made the case for historic preservation tax credits, which were eradicated by the House GOP tax reform bill. “Without the credit, projects that transform communities in all 50 states, from West Virginia to Texas, to Wisconsin, simply will not happen,” McKinley said on the House floor, as he asked for Brady’s word that he would help reverse the decision. That didn’t happen. “I commit to working with him and continuing to work with him on this issue because I know the importance of it,” Brady responded, making sure not to guarantee anything in some of these floor exchanges. For Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), a staunch advocate of the GOP bill, he was assured by the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee that more would be done in terms of tax help for the people of Puerto Rico, whose island was devastated by Hurricane Maria. “I look forward to working with you on ideas to best serve the people of this island,” said Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), who thanked fellow GOP lawmakers for their concerns, but made no promises. For Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY), the issue was with a new excise tax from Republicans that would be levied on the endowments of private colleges and universities. Barr said that would harm Berea College in his district, a ‘work college’ that uses its endowment money to pay the tuition of all students. It was noted in press stories back home. Barr Fights for Berea College in Tax Reform Bill – https://t.co/YoBgs5CWvp – — BereaOnline.com (@bereaonline) November 16, 2017 “I was pleased to learn that the Senate version of the bill exempts schools with fewer than 500 tuition-paying students from the excise tax,” Barr said, urging Brady to accept that position in any House-Senate negotiation. Brady said he would try. “Mr. Speaker, we will work together for a mutually accepted solution to make sure we exempt work colleges to use their endowments to provide tuition-free education,” the panel chairman responded. For Rep. Don Young (R-AK), the problem he brought to the House floor was under the heading of unintended consequences, as the GOP tax bill would subject native settlement trusts in Alaska to a higher rate of taxation. “This would make it more difficult for Alaska Native Settlement Trusts to provide long-term benefits to Alaska Natives,” Young said on the House floor, asking Brady to include provisions of a bill to remedy that and more. Unlike some of the other requests, Brady acknowledged that the GOP tax bill would “unintentionally” change the tax rate for the Alaskan settlements, agreeing to focus on this in conference as we finalize individual rate structures between the House and the Senate.” Others weren’t so lucky to get a guarantee of action, as they pressed for changes in maybe the most controversial part of the GOP plan, which limits a deduction for state and local taxes. “I am concerned about its impact on some of my constituents in Maryland who pay high state and local income taxes,” said Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD), the only Republican member of the House from that state, which would be one of the biggest losers on the SALT issue. That subject also drew two California Republicans to make the same appeal to Brady later in the debate; Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA) and Rep. Steve Knight (R-CA) echoed the concerns of Harris – all of them got a murky assurance of help. “I am happy to commit to working with both of them to ensure we reach a positive outcome for their constituents and families as we reconcile our differences with the Senate,” Brady said, making no promises. Other Republicans brought up education, and a provision in the GOP tax reform bill that would hinder colleges and universities from providing tax free tuition waivers and reimbursements, a matter that has drawn more and more attention in recent days. Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) – whose district includes Dayton University – and Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL) – whose district includes the University of Illinois – both appealed to Brady to make a change. “I believe that an unintended consequence of this bill would hinder middle class Americans pursuing a higher education degree in an attempt to better their lives,” Turner said. “I am worried it is going to have an impact on the custodians and the assistants in the Registrar’s Office who are just working at these institutions to be able to send their son or daughter to college,” said Davis. There was no guarantee that the provision would be changed. “I have a keen interest in this issue,” Brady told Turner and Davis. “I will work with you toward a positive solution on tuition assistance in conference with the Senate.” Democrats noted the exchanges on both days of the House tax reform debate, arguing that it showed off the haphazard nature of how the bill was put together. “I also was intrigued by the colloquy where Members came to ask the leadership if they will work with them to take out egregious elements of this tax proposal,” said Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI). “We get this sort of, “Yes, I will work with the gentleman,” answer,” Kildee added, raising his voice on the floor. “Why did you put it in in the first place?” Kildee yelled. “Why are you cutting historic tax credits in the first place? Why did you put it in in the first place? You just wrote the bill. You just wrote it,” he said. GOP lawmakers said this past week that anyone can find a reason to vote against a big bill like this tax reform plan – we’ll see in coming weeks whether these publicly voiced concerns become an issue for the final version of tax reform in the Congress.