Hurricane Maria:

Islands brace for ‘most destructive” hurricane in Puerto Rico history

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  • In United Nations speech, President Trump threatens to “totally destroy” North Korea over nukes

    In his first address to the United Nations, President Donald Trump vowed that the United States would ‘totally destroy’ North Korea if that regime seeks to use its nuclear weapons against America or its allies, as Mr. Trump singled out North Korea, Iran, Syria, Cuba and Venezuela in a wide ranging address to the U.N. General Assembly.

    In blunt terms, the President zeroed in on North Korea, labeling it a “depraved” regime, referring to its leader as “Rocket Man,” as Mr. Trump said the United Nations must join together to stop the nuclear ambitions of Kim Jong Un.

    “Rocket Man is on [More]

  • FEMA faces third major disaster relief effort as Hurricane Maria takes aim at US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico

    Still working on recovery and relief efforts in Texas after Hurricane Harvey and Florida after Hurricane Irma, federal officials were looking at the chance of even more damage in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, as rapidly intensifying Hurricane Maria seemed to be taking dead aim at an area in the Caribbean which just experienced major troubles from Irma earlier this month.

    “Maria is likely to affect Puerto Rico as an extremely dangerous major hurricane,” the National Hurricane Center reported in its evening update about the progress of the storm, noting that “all indications are that rapid intensification is continuing.”

    As [More]

  • Legal defense fund set up for ex-Trump aide Michael Flynn

    A former top aide to President Donald Trump is appealing for contributions to a new legal defense fund, as ex-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn confronts possibly serious legal troubles involved in the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections, and ties to Mr. Trump’s campaign.

    “We deeply appreciate the support of family and friends across this nation,” Flynn tweeted on Monday morning, announcing that his brother and sister had created a legal defense fund “to help pay my legal defense costs.”

    Flynn, who was forced out of his post as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency under President Obama, was [More]

  • Republicans push one last-ditch effort to overhaul the Obama health law

    With the clock ticking down on a special expedited legislative procedure that avoids a Senate filibuster, Republicans are trying to rally support for a new plan that’s designed to make major changes in the Obama health law, in hopes of mustering 50 votes for the bill before the end of September.

    “Doing nothing is not an option,” says Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), one of prime movers – with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) – behind a bill that was unveiled just last week, but has picked up support from most Republicans in the Senate.

    “We are giving the power over health care to [More]

  • Little appetite for extra budget cuts as House passes 2018 spending bills

    As the House finished work this past week on next year’s funding for the federal government, approving a package of eight different different spending bills, one thing noticeably absent from the debate on the House floor was a successful push to make new cuts in next year’s budget, as efforts to make deeper spending reductions were routinely rejected by a coalition of both parties.

    It was the first time since 2009 that the House had approved all 12 funding bills before the start of new fiscal year – but none of those plans have yet to reach the Senate floor – [More]

  • A lot of talk, but still slow going for Trump agenda in Congress

    Despite promises of action from the White House and top GOP lawmakers on Capitol Hill, major elements of President Donald Trump’s legislative agenda remain where they have been much of the year in Congress – not moving very fast – as GOP leaders promise to kick things into gear over the next few months in the House and Senate.

    Here where things stand on major action items for both President Trump and Republican leaders in the Congress:

    1. Republicans gear up for one more run on health care. Under the rules of the expedited process known as ‘budget reconcilation,’ Republicans have until [More]

  • White House pledges to publicly set out details on possible DACA deal with Congress

    A day after President Donald Trump seemed to muddy the waters on a possible legislative deal with Democrats in Congress over the future of young illegal immigrant “Dreamers,” the White House on Friday promised that officials would clearly set out in the next seven to ten days what items Mr. Trump wants to see on immigration enforcement in any deal on the DACA program.

    “The President supports the DACA program and supports making a deal on that, but again, that has to include that massive border security,” said White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

    On Thursday, the President said he was [More]

  • Congress not sure where President Trump goes next on DACA, immigration

    President Donald Trump on Thursday left members of both political parties unsure of his next move on immigration policy, as he repeatedly defended his latest talks with senior Democrats, but left open the question of whether a deal could be reached about the fate of illegal immigrant “Dreamers” in the United States, leaving some Republicans in Congress wary and unsettled about Mr. Trump’s plans.

    “Typically, a President of our party would work with our party on a proposal that we would be supportive of,” said Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), the Chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee.

    Speaking to reporters off the [More]

  • Trump says he’s ‘fairly close’ to deal with Democrats on border security and immigrant ‘Dreamers’

    Amid concern in conservative ranks, President Donald Trump said Thursday that he is nearing a deal with leaders in Congress to enact protections for certain younger illegal immigrants in the United States, in exchange for tougher border security measures, though such an agreement won’t include money for Mr. Trump’s wall along the Mexican border.

    “The wall will come later,” the President said to reporters, as he left the White House to fly to Florida for a tour of damage from Hurricane Irma.

    After a meeting last night with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer, the President at [More]

  • Heading to Florida, Trump urges tax reform in wake of major hurricane strikes

    Before going to Florida to see some of the damage from Hurricane Irma, President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that the case for Congress approving tax reform was even stronger now, as a way to generate new economic growth after two major hurricanes struck the United States in recent weeks, causing billions of dollars in losses.

    “They were very big and very powerful,” Mr. Trump said of Hurricane Irma and Harvey, as he met with a bipartisan group of moderate House lawmakers, pressing the case for tax reform.

    “Because of that, more than ever, we now need great tax reform and great [More]

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  •  A teenager is dead and police are searching for a suspect.   Sanford police say a 16 year old boy was fatally stabbed at Stonebrook Apartments in Sanford,  Tuesday afternoon. The victim was found in a car outside a building at the complex and police say he was not a resident of the apartment complex.  Police are searching for someone named Joshua, possibly driving a orange 2 door car in connection with the fatal stabbing. This is a developing story, no other information was avaialble.
  • Two employees of the transit system at Auburn University have been accused of raping an 18-year-old student on one of the buses Friday night.  Tony Martin Patillo, 51, of Columbus, Georgia, and James Don Johnson Jr., 32, of Auburn, are each charged with first-degree rape and first-degree sodomy, according to Lee County Jail records. Patillo is also charged with four counts of public lewdness.  The Opelika-Auburn News reported that the lewdness charges stem from an incident just before midnight on Friday in which witnesses spotted a man exposing himself while standing over a woman on the ground. Patillo was arrested when responding officers found him nearby. Detectives conducting additional investigation into the incident learned that Patillo had allegedly sexually assaulted the woman, who appeared to be incapacitated, while on the bus, the News reported. The woman, who was no longer present when Patillo was arrested, was identified and tracked down by police officers, whom she told about the alleged rape. According to investigators, Johnson drove the bus and “engaged in actions to perpetuate the crime while Patillo was in the rear of the bus, assaulting the victim,” the News reported.  Patillo exited the bus with the woman in the area where the passersby spotted him exposing himself a few minutes later, police officials said.  The Auburn Plainsman, the university’s student newspaper, reported that the alleged assault took place on a Tiger Ten bus that runs from the downtown area to multiple apartment complexes and student housing areas off-campus. The late-night buses are specifically designed to give students a safe ride home.  “Our top concern is the well-being of the victim, and we cannot stress in strong enough terms our shock and distress over this despicable act,” officials with Auburn’s Department of Campus Safety and Security said in a statement. “We immediately provided support and all available resources to the victim and continue to do so.” >> Read more trending news The Plainsman reported that the university operates campus security shuttles to take students to on-campus locations late at night. Tiger Transit and Tiger Ten buses are operated by outside contractor First Transit. First Transit is required in its contract with Auburn University to perform background checks on all of its drivers, the campus newspaper said. Company officials told the Plainsman it is performing its own internal investigation of the alleged assault.  “At First Transit, we are greatly troubled by the events of Friday night,” officials said in a statement. “The safe and reliable transportation of our passengers is our highest priority. It is a responsibility we take very seriously.” Both Patillo and Johnson were immediately removed from service and First Transit has begun termination proceedings, the statement read. Company officials said they are working with campus and city police in the investigation.  Auburn University is re-evaluating its contract with First Transit, the Plainsman reported.  Patillo was being held in the Lee County Jail in lieu of $127,000 bail, the News reported. Johnson was being held in lieu of $125,000 bail. 
  • Duke Energy and FPL will have two ways to pass on the storm recovery costs to its customers.   9 Investigates reporter Daralene Jones has been digging into this issue for two days and learned not only can the utility companies tack on a storm recovery surcharge, they can also sell bonds that the customers would be forced to pay for.   Read: Help after Hurricane Irma   The Florida Legislature approved the measure in 2005.   Duke has not issued bonds and has no current surcharges for storm costs. However, FPL customers are paying for bonds and a surcharge, which equals an extra $5 a month on a customer’s utility bill.   Duke and FPL customers will likely be paying another surcharge for Irma. Both will be allowed to petition the Public Service Commission for a surcharge to pay for the repairs following the hurricane.   >>> Read more Hurricane Irma stories <<<   That money would typically come from the utilities storm recovery fund, but records 9 Investigates obtained show Duke had only $60 million on hand before Irma.   FPL was in the red with $203 million because it wiped out $93 million after Hurricane Matthew, last year.   FPL filed a petition for a surcharge that shows costs related to Hurricane Matthew reached $318 million. The latest earnings reports show Duke Energy earned $686 million in the second quarter of this year while FPL earned $526 million. Both are increases of about 100 million from the same time last year.   >>> Download the free WFTV weather app <<<   Both utilities are in the early stages of hardening its systems against hurricanes, even though the Public Service Commission demanded changes in 2006.   Some state lawmakers said they’re committed to push harder through legislative action.   “Look at the past history of the rate cases that have been granted and what they've been doing with that money. Each storm recovery surcharge typically lasts about a year, but can be renewed,” said Rep. Jason Brodeur, (R) from Seminole County.   The bonds issued are long term. FP&L customers have been paying off the 2006 bond for 11 years and it will stay on the customer’s bill until 2019.   Public utilities like OUC and KUA are eligible to apply for storm recovery costs from FEMA.   A Duke Energy representative apologized Tuesday morning to the 37,000 customers who are still without power.   Duke had originally said it would have power restored Sunday at midnight.
  • Orange County is setting a timeline for debris clean-up from Hurricane Irma. According to county government spokeswoman Doreen Overstreet, Public Works set an “eight week timeline for substantial cleanup.” “We have met with our contractors and are working to meet this deadline,” Overstreet said.  “Citizens should move vegetative debris to the curb now.  Please do not block, gutters, inlets, fire hydrants and sidewalks.” Overstreet says the county estaimtes about 1.3 million cubic yards of debris still needs to be picked up. That’s comparable with the City of Miami, which estimated one million cubic yards still remains.  Miami-Dade County reportedly has triple that amount and set a clean-up deadline for four to six months.
  • Anyone in Central Florida who needs information on obtaining Hurricane Irma recovery assistance from FEMA is invited to a free workshop on Thursday. Orlando Democratic Congressman Darren Soto says it’s a “bi-partisan” workshop where FEMA representatives will go over benefits and help people with applications directly. “If you want to sit down with a FEMA representative and have them walk you through the application process, this would be a good opportunity for you,” Soto says. You can also apply for FEMA assistance at FEMA.gov.  All Central Florida counties were given the FEMA designation of individual assistance, so all constituents are eligible for potential FEMA relief. The workshop is at Polk State College’s Advanced Technology Center at 310 Technology Drive in Bartow, Florida from 3 to 5 p.m. (Tweet)