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Latest from Tony Marino

    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.
  • Volusia County fire crews and the Florida Forest Service are battling a brush fire that broke out Thursday afternoon off state road 44 between the coast and Deland.   The fire is burning near State Road 44 and Damascus Road and has forced the closure of State Road 44 between Pioneer Trail and Damascus Road.   Fire officials said smoke can be seen along Interstate 4 in Volusia and Seminole County.   The fire was reported as 35 acres but has quickly grown to more than 125 acres.
  • Eleven people were arrested in Orange County as part of a statewide Immigration and Customs Enforcement effort aimed at what ICE called 'criminal aliens'.   During an unnamed operation between April 18th-21,  agents rounded up and arrested 76 people state wide.   According to ICE, 57 of the suspects have felony convictions ranging from sexual battery to child sex crimes, other sex crimes, to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and drug violations.   Some were arrested on less serious charges, many of those arrested will be deported.   Immigration and Customs Enforcement said they will likely be making more arrests.
  • Police say Samuel Lee Hardy Jr was arrested Tuesday in connection with a February kidnapping and sexual battery in Sanford.   According to detectives, Hardy approached a 15 year old girl walking in the parking lot of a Sanford Walmart store and forced her into his vehicle at knife point. 'Hardy then drove the victim to an area near Washington Oaks, where he forced the victim to engage in sexual intercourse with him.'  Investigators said results from a sexual battery kit returned a positive identification for Hardy, who was previously sentenced to six years in prison for having sex with minors.   Records show Hardy had checked in with his probation officer just last week and is supposed to be on sex offender probation until 2025.   Hardy told detectives that he didn't remember having sex with the victim and later said it was consensual.   Wednesday, he was charged with forced sexual battery with a weapon on a victim 12 years or older, kidnapping and two counts of violation of probation.
  • If you have a few cans of Campbell's Chicken Soup in the pantry, and who doesn't, the company has issued a recall of more than 4,000 pounds of chicken soup products shipped to Florida.   A Campbell's new release says it's because  the cans were mislabeled and the products could contain milk, which is not indicated on the label.   Only the 18.6-oz. cans of “Campbell’s Homestyle Healthy Request Chicken with Whole Grain Pasta” with a 'best by' date of Feb. 13, 2019 are affected.   The products included in the recall have establishment number “EST. 4R” on the bottom of the cans.   The recalled items were shipped to multiple retail locations in Florida.   The cans were labeled as “Campbell’s Homestyle Healthy Request Chicken with Whole Grain Pasta” but actually contain “Campbell’s Homestyle Healthy Request Italian-Style Wedding Spinach & Meatballs in Chicken Broth” soup.   The products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.
  •   Polk County Fire Rescue issued a mandatory evacuation order to residents of the Indian Lake Estates subdivision Friday, as large scale brush fire moved closer to their homes.   The Florida Forest Service has responded to the fire and used tractors to create plow lines in an attempt to protect structures from the blaze.   PCFR's Facebook page said, “Fire crews need residents to leave the area so firefighters can protect structures”   The American Red Cross has opened a shelter at the First Presbyterian Church of Lake Whales for displaced residents.   This is the second time this year Indian Lake Estates residents have been evacuated due to a brush fire.
  • One day after ruling the shooting death of the 15 year old an accident, Ramsys Cruz Abreu, 22, has been charged with manslaughter, unlawful disposal of human remains and possession of cannabis.   He was originally charged with being an accessory after the fact in connection with Medina’s death. However, that charge was dropped Thursday.   The body of 15-year-old Melanie Medina was found April 11, dumped on the side of Ziegler Road in Orange County.   Cruz Abreu told investigators that on the night of Medina’s death, he was in the car with her and a 16-year-old girl and that three had stopped at Krispy Kreme across from the Mall of Millenia when he heard a loud bang and saw a bright flash.   He says Medina grabbed her neck as blood poured out and died within minutes. He said he and the 16-year-old discussed dumping her body because the teen was afraid for anyone finding out she had a gun.   Medina's family and the public want to know why, the 16-year-old girl who admitted to pulling the trigger will not be charged in connection with Medina's death.
  • The Orange County Teachers Union is urging the school district to declare all schools as sanctuary zones for immigrant students and their families. Union president Wendy Doromal told Eyewitness News Channel 9, “We've heard stories of children putting mementos in their backpack because they fear that they'll go home and their parents might not be there.” This as President Trump has called for tougher immigration enforcement. Orange County School Board Chairman Bill Sublette issued a statement in response, “We would want every parent out there to know, regardless of their immigrant status, that your child is safe while at Orange County Public Schools and they will continue to be safe there.”  OCPS said it has not received any reports of students being arrested, interrogated or searched by immigration officers on any school campus. Sublette also said, said the district doesn’t collect immigration information or work with enforcement agents. The district released this statement: 'The OCPS Office of Legal Services continues to monitor any policies and memorandums promulgated by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office. However, as of today, the last two memorandums regarding the enforcement of immigration laws at “sensitive locations” were issued on October 24, 2011 and on January 13, 2013. Both memorandums, which are still valid, reflect that there will not be enforcement activities by the agency “at or near schools, places of worship, and certain other community locations” absent “exigent circumstances.” To date, there have not been any reports of individuals being arrested, interrogated, or searched on OCPS campuses by immigration officers for possible offenses. OCPS does not collect information regarding immigration status. We make safety our top priority and schools remain a safe place for all our students to learn and develop.
  • An estimated 5-acre brush fire in east Orange County is expanding near a community of homes.   Orange County Fire Rescue and Florida Forestry crews are fighting the fire, which is in area of Chickasaw Trail, Goldenrod Road and Lake Underhill.   Orange Fire Rescue said there have been no evacuations at this time, and that the fire is partially under control.   This is a developing story, check back for updates.
  • As usual many restaurant and retail chains are celebrating tax day by are offering some deals and freebies.   The offers are noted in alphabetical order, with the exception of the first one, which that I thought was one of the best.   Sonny’s BBQ: has what it calls an IRS, Irresistible Ribs Special, half-price Sweet & Smokey or House Dry-Rubbed Rib dinners for dine-in or takeout. No coupon needed.   Bob Evans: Get 30% off your entire purchase for dine-in and carry-out orders with a coupon at website.  Boston Market: Has the usual $10.40 Tax Day Special including a half-chicken meal with two sides, cornbread, a regular fountain drink and a cookie. No coupon is needed at participating locations.   Firehouse Subs: Get a free medium sub with purchase of a medium or large sub, chips and a drink Tuesday through Thursday with a printable coupon available on the restaurant's Facebook page.   Hooters: Nothing says kids like Hooters, Kids 12 and younger eat free with an adult purchase of $10 or more for each free kids meal at partcipating locations.   Hungry Howie's: According to the Hungry Howie's Facebook page, Florida customers can get a large two topping pizza for $6.99 with the promo code TAXTIME.   Logan’s Roadhouse: Buy one, get one free entree.   McDonald's: Tax Day deal features an 18-cent Quarter Pounder with Cheese or Big Mac with the purchase of a Quarter Pounder with Cheese or Big Mac at full-price. Check participating locations for deals.   *National parks: Unrelated to Tax Day, but for National Park Week, get free admission to every national park during the weekends of April 15 and 16 and April 22 and 23.   Papa John’s: Get a large pizza with up to three toppings and a two-liter soft drink for $10.40.   Pizza Hut:Take 30% off online orders.   Pollo Tropical:You can get 15% off any order.   Sonic Drive-In: Get half-price cheeseburgers on Tax Day. Limit five per customer at participating locations.   Texas Steakhouse & Saloon: Offering multiple offers, ask your server for details   World of Beer: This deal is called a “beer refund.” Get a free select draft or $5 off your check on Tax Day at participating locations.
  • Tony Marino

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  • 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.