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Latest from Deirnesa Jefferson

    Today, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and District 5 City Commissioner Regina I. Hill joined with the Parramore community for the groundbreaking of new homes in Parramore. The groundbreaking signified the start of construction of the first three of 10 single-family homes being built by the City’s Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA).   City Commissioner Regina Hill said the project is a great opportunity for the Parramore community.  'This project is especially meaningful to me, as a Parramore resident who grew up in this neighborhood, I want to make sure we're continuing to create opportunity for residents to own homes right here in our community,'  Hill said.  When complete, the homes will each feature a minimum of 1,300 square feet of living space with three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Additionally, as part of the project, a new CRA Down Payment Assistance Program will be created to provide additional financial assistance aimed at making these homes more affordable for qualified buyers. The new program will complement existing City and state down payment assistance programs.  This project further supports the City of Orlando’s efforts in revitalizing and investing in the Parramore neighborhood and also ensuring access to quality, safe and affordable housing options for residents.    “As Mayor, I am continually striving to make our City more livable for everyone,” Mayor Buddy Dyer said  “Part of that effort is ensuring that anyone who wants to live in Orlando, can live in Orlando -- regardless of their income. I am thankful for public-partnerships like this that help us continue to increase affordable housing options, meet the needs of our growing community and ensure we are taking care of our all our residents.”
  • Today,  Governor Rick Scott announced that he will propose more than $1.7 billion to protect Florida’s environment as part of his 2018-2019 recommended budget. This $1.7 billion funding for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is a more than $220 million increase over the current year. The proposed funding will include:   A historic investment of $55 million for Florida’s springs;   A historic investment of $100 million for Florida’s beaches;   A record $355 million for Everglades restoration;   A record $50 million for Florida’s state parks; and   $50 million for Florida Forever to help preserve and protect our natural lands
  • Today, Senator Bill Nelson joined  Reps. Darren Soto and Val Demings at a disaster assistance workshop to help residents affected by Hurricane Irma. The workshop gave  residents  more information and resources on the assistance offered to them through FEMA and other organizations.  State representatives  say now is the time for residents to utilize resources like FEMA and get funds for damages and repairs.   FEMA officials said even residents who experienced flooding and don’t have flood insurance may be eligible for repairs if they register with FEMA by the application deadline.  The deadline to apply for FEMA assistance is November 9, 2017. 
  • Today, Governor Rick Scott announced the state has been awarded federal Dislocated Worker Grants to provide temporary employment to Floridians affected by Hurricane Irma. The Dislocated Worker Grants, administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, provide disaster relief employment in the form of temporary jobs that support storm response and recovery efforts.  “As we all recover from Hurricane Irma, we are doing everything we can to help Floridians get back on their feet. This federal funding will provide important employment opportunities to Floridians who may have lost their jobs due to the impacts of this massive storm and will also support ongoing recovery efforts.” Governor Scott said. Now, Floridians can get back to work helping those in their communities. We will continue to work together to make sure everyone has the support they need to rebuild.” Disaster relief employment pertains to projects that provide food, clothing, shelter and other humanitarian assistance for disaster victims and projects that involve demolition, cleaning, repair, renovation and reconstruction of damaged structures and facilities. Individuals who qualify for disaster relief employment are people who are temporarily or permanently laid off as a consequence of the disaster, dislocated workers, and individuals who are long-term unemployed.   
  • Today, President Donald Trump’s Administration expanded his Major Disaster Declaration for Florida to include individual assistance for many Florida counties including  Brevard, Orange, Osceola, Pasco, , Seminole, St. Johns, Sumter and Volusia counties. This declaration authorizes federal funding to flow directly to Floridians impacted by Hurricane Irma and reimburses local communities and the state government to aid in response and recovery from Hurricane Irma. “I am thankful that President Trump, who I’ve spoken with multiple times this week, has been 100 percent supportive of our efforts and offered every resource of the federal government. Working with local emergency management professionals and FEMA, we will make sure that no expense is spared to help families respond and recover,” Governor Rick Scott said.  The Major Disaster Declaration approved by President Trump authorizes the following:  100 percent federal reimbursement for thirty days in all counties for emergency protective measures, such as Emergency Operation Center costs, evacuation costs, sheltering costs, and other costs associated with emergency response. After the thirty days, the federal government will reimburse 75 percent of these costs. This includes both local and state expenses; 75 percent federal reimbursement for all counties for debris removal  
  • The City of Orlando will be giving away sandbags to help residents prepare for the potential impact of Hurricane Irma. The sandbag distribution will be held on :  Thursday, September 7, 2017 from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. Friday, September 8, 2017 from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m The sandbag location will be the City of Orlando Streets and Stormwater division on 1010 Woods Avenue. Residents must show proof of residence and will be given 10 bags per address. The City of Orlando’s Emergency Operations Center remains at the monitoring level and City departments are continuing to take precautionary measures for any potential impacts from hurricane Irma.   Although its path is still uncertain, the City wants to encourage residents, visitors and businesses to prepare for the storm, including assembling disaster kits, stocking up on supplies and reviewing disaster plans.
  • The City of Orlando will be giving away sandbags to help residents prepare for the potential impact of Hurricane Irma.  The sandbag distribution will take place on: Thursday, September 7, 2017 from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. Friday, September 8, 2017 from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. The distribution location is the City of Orlando Streets and Stormwater Division  on 1010 Woods Avenue. Residents must show proof of residence and will be given 10 bags per address.  The City of Orlando’s Emergency Operations Center remains at the monitoring level   and City departments are continuing to take precautionary measures for any potential impacts from Hurricane Irma.   Although its path is still uncertain, the City wants to encourage residents, visitors and businesses to prepare for the storm, including assembling disaster kits, stocking up on supplies and reviewing disaster plans.
  • Today, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officers are actively assisting with disaster response efforts in the Houston area. Governor Scott directed the deployment of FWC officers and resources in response to Texas’ request for emergency assistance.   Currently, 37 FWC officers and 21 boats are in route to Houston to support ongoing response efforts. More than 60 officers and nearly 20 boats are being staged and will deploy today. This weekend, twenty-five FWC officers, 17 high water vehicles, two Mobile Command Centers, eight shallow draft vessels and four patrol boats arrived in Houston after being deployed Saturday night.   
  • Prescription drug overdose has become one of the biggest drug problems affecting our country today, but CVS Pharmacy hopes that TimerCaps will be part of the solution.  CVS Pharmacy designed special caps to help patients keep track of their medications. The TimerCap is on shelves in CVS stores across the country in hopes of curbing prescription abuse and misuse. “It works like a stopwatch showcasing how much time has elapsed since the last time the medication bottle was closed,” CVS pharmacist Jennifer Lalani said. “It helps patients answer simple questions like did I take my medicine today or is it time for my next dose.”  Answering those questions can help prevent accidental overdose which can happen when patients forget that they already took their medication.  CVS pharmacists hope that the TimerCaps will make a difference in the number of accidental drug overdose deaths that happen in the U.S. every year.  TimerCap also helps with medication non- adherence which Lalani says can be deadly for patients.  “ Medication non- adherence leads to about 125 deaths and 10 – 20% of hospital and nursing home admissions each year so that’s a big issue as well.”  Patients can purchase TimerCaps at CVS pharmacies and drug stores for about 10 dollars.  
  • The driver who is accused of leaving a three year old boy in a hot day care van for nearly 12 hours has been arrested.  51 year old Deborah Denise St. Charles is now facing charges of aggravated manslaughter in the death of three year old Myles Hill.   Orlando police say the boy was found dead in the Little Miracles day care van at around 8:30 pm Monday after temperatures in the vehicle reached as high as 144 degrees.  Florida law requires a log to be kept for all daycare vehicles used to transport children, but police say St. Charles did not properly fill out that log or do a headcount on the kids when they arrived at the daycare.   Police say her  failure to check the vehicle placed Hill  in grave danger and subjected him to extremely high temperatures, which ultimately led to his death. 
  • Deirnesa Jefferson

    Reporter

    Deirnesa Jefferson is a recent graduate from the University of Central Florida and a reporter at News 96.5 WDBO. During her time at News 96.5 WDBO she has covered the search for murder suspect Markeith Loyd, the Fort Lauderdale Airport shooting, criminal justice reform and legislation that affects Floridians.

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The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • City leaders in Lakewood, South Sound residents and members of the media had warned that the Point Defiance Bypass route, on which numerous people were killed or injured when an Amtrak Cascades passenger train derailed Monday near Lacey, could lead to fatal accidents and traffic disruptions. >> Read more trending news Amtrak Cascades Train 501 derailed Monday morning during its inaugural run on the Point Defiance Bypass route. The train left the tracks on an Interstate 5 overpass in Pierce County, slamming into cars and throwing passengers and crew members. Authorities confirmed that multiple people were killed, but they declined to say how many by early Monday afternoon. The editorial board of The News Tribune in Tacoma questioned in 2013 whether the new line, which shaved about 10 minutes off the Seattle-to-Portland route, was worth the threat to public safety. >> Related: Here’s what the Amtrak engineer said in his call for help after the Washington derailment “A train accident on tracks near I-5 easily could create backups stretching miles in both directions,” the editorial board wrote. “Is making the train ride to Portland 10 minutes quicker worth the threat to public safety and all the disruption it will create for thousands of drivers? Is the state really that desperate for federal rail funds?” >> Related: Fatalities reported after train derails onto Interstate 5 in Washington The new high-speed route takes trains inland and runs parallel to Interstate 5 through Tacoma, Lakewood, Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Dupont, separating passenger trains from freight trains that continue to use a waterfront route. It’s the same route that Sound Transit uses for its Sounder commuter train, but that is not a high-speed train. The News Tribune was not alone in its fear of what could happen. >> Photos: Amtrak train derails in Washington The city of Lakewood sued Amtrak to stop the rerouting, and Lakewood Mayor Don Anderson and some residents in the area have long voiced their concerns about the danger. At a city meeting on Dec. 5, Anderson said he believed the trains were too close to traffic and pedestrians. >> Related: A history of some of Amtrak's deadliest derailments “Come back when there is that accident, and try to justify not putting in those safety enhancements, or you can go back now and advocate for the money to do it, because this project was never needed and endangers our citizens,” Anderson said at the city meeting. Anderson also told local media that it would be only a matter of time before the high-speed trains kill someone.
  • An Amtrak train derailed in Washington state Monday, killing at least six people and injuring  dozens of others, according to authorities. >> Read more trending news  Amtrak Cascades Train 501, carrying 78 passengers and five crew members, jumped the track near Tacoma in Pierce County, Washington, plunging off an overpass onto the I-5 freeway below, according to Amtrak officials. Amtrak has provided a phone number for people to call with questions about family or friends who may have been on the train: 800-523-9101. At least 70 people were taken to St. Joseph’s Medical Center and at least 20 were transported to the Madigan Army Medical Emergency Center. The main phone number for St. Joseph’s is 253-426-4101. You can inquire about a loved one at this number by providing the name of the person. >> Related:  LIVE UPDATES: At least 70 sent to hospital, 6 dead after train derails on I-5 Madigan has two numbers listed for patient admissions: 253-968-3827 and 253-968-3829.
  • The U.S. Department of Justice released its review of how officers with the Orlando Police Department responded to the Pulse nightclub mass shooting. More than 100 people were injured and 49 people died at the nightclub June 12, 2016, when gunman Omar Mateen opened fire as the club was closing. Photos: Victims of Pulse nightclub Orlando Police Chief John Mina requested the independent review by the DOJ and Police Foundation to identify best practices and areas in which to improve regarding planning, training, polices, procedures and practices, the report said. The report found: The tactical response by the OPD was consistent with the department’s policies, procedures and training, as well as recognized practices.  The OPD successfully leveraged existing relationships with federal, state and local public safety agencies in their response to the Pulse nightclub terrorist attack.  OPD leadership prioritized the mental health of all OPD personnel following the response to the Pulse attack.  Pre-existing Orlando police-community relationships, fostered and sustained over time, enhanced the resilience of the community in the aftermath of the Pulse terrorist shooting.   Read: Pulse nightclub victims' detail terrifying moments of Orlando mass shooting Dispatchers had to mute their phones to compose themselves when victims, survivors and others called 911 for help, the report said. The report said the Police Department had a “laser-like” focus to stop the killings and save lives. The report said more training, including adjusting to a world with active shooters, was needed. Mina agreed but wouldn't say what changes in training were made. 'There is no policy or piece of papers that would have saved lives,' Mina said. 'We adjust training tactics, not only with first responders but for tactical teams, but we are not going to put that on a piece of paper.' Some of the SWAT team said in the report that the breach of the bathrooms when they tried to get access to Mateen was disorganized and that more training is needed for future joint response. Read: Orlando firefighter remembers treating Pulse attack's patient No. 1 Another issue found was that 300 law enforcement officers self-deployed without direction on where to go or what to do. The report found the staging areas were not secured and that victims went unchecked for explosives. Read the full report here.  The report does not discuss friendly fire; the FBI is investigating if friendly fire took place. Mina said at this time, there's no indication friendly fire took place. Report: teams like swat said response during incident was disorganized. Need to train more together in joint response— Shannon Butler (@SButlerWFTV) December 18, 2017   The @COPSOffice has released its review of the Pulse nightclub attack - calls it 'a valuable guide to #LawEnforcement or #FirstResponders seeking to prepare for similar mass casualty incidents.' OPD release: https://t.co/8vJPia1O7O Full report: https://t.co/V73UMs75HF pic.twitter.com/GMJIXMztPa — Orlando Police (@OrlandoPolice) December 18, 2017  
  • The United States Department of Justice today has released the results of a 'critical incident review' requested by Orlando Police Chief John Mina in response to the attack on the Pulse nightclub.    Chief Mina says the goal of the review is that it 'allows for open feedback in a constructive way and enables law enforcement officials to speak with total candor in an open forum.'    The independent federal review contains information on decision making from leadership and relationships, an in depth description of the timeline starting before the attack as well as the aftermath, and even includes observations and lessons learned from things like tactical response, emergency medical care, and post event victim welfare.    The review concludes by saying it 'honors the victims of the Pulse nightclub attack and the bravery of the Orlando law enforcement community and serves as a call to action for our nation's elected officials and law enforcement and public safety leaders. You can check out an interactive version of the critical incident review here.
  • A church in Ocoee is ensuring that children with autism will still be able to celebrate the holidays in way that will be safe and not overstimulating.   Ocoee Oaks United Methodist Church is partnering with Autism Law Enforcement Response Training(ALERT) to offer a traditional Christmas Eve candelight service, but with a slightly different approach to cater to the sensitivity of light and volume.    Rather than use candles, children will be offered glowsticks instead. In addition, 20 sensory kits donated by ALERT will be provided for use during the service.    The church says that space may be limited and they encourage anyone who wants to attend to register in advance for free tickets to the service.    You can register for the event here.