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Latest from Gene Wexler

    Three Burger King employees were robbed and two of them were hit in the head with handguns during a robbery in Leesburg, police said. 'It's evident the manager was also struck in the head with the pistol or something else,' said Joe Iozzi with the Leesburg Police Department. The robbery happened after 10 p.m. Wednesday at 10849 U.S. Highway 441 in Leesburg, police said. One of the workers was walking out of the restaurant at the end of his shift when one of the masked men forced him back into the store. Police said two masked men robbed the workers, got money from the safe, forced them into the freezer and took their cellphones. Police won't say how much money was taken. The employees were not seriously hurt. 'You never know nowadays. You don't feel safe at home. You can't feel safe at work. You can't feel safe anywhere and this is supposed to be a place to raise your children,' said Jacqueline Brands, a housemate of one of the victims. Police have vague descriptions of the robbers. Leesburg police said the robbery is similar to another robbery May 18 at McDonald’s in Mt. Dora.  Both agencies are working together to see if the robberies are connected, agencies said. The robbery is also similar to two incidents at a Denny's in Eustis. Three masked men robbed a customer and workers in February and earlier this month, police said. In one of the incidents, the victims were forced into a freezer. There was also a robbery at a Dollar General in Mount Dora earlier this week, when masked men with guns forced employees to open a cash drawer and safe. Police believe that is connected to the recent robberies.
  • Magic mushrooms are the safest of all recreational drugs, according to this year’s Global Drug Survey. More than 12,000 people reported taking hallucinogenic mushrooms in 2016; of those people, only 0.2% of them said they needed emergency medical treatment - a rate at least five times lower than that for MDMA, LSD and cocaine. Adam Winstock, a consultant addiction psychiatrist and founder of the Global Drug Survey, tells the Guardian that mushrooms aren't completely harmless.  They can be risky and cause panic attacks or confusion. But Winstock also calls mushrooms “one of the safest drugs in the world,” noting that the bigger risk was people picking and eating the wrong mushrooms. “Death from toxicity is almost unheard of with poisoning with more dangerous fungi being a much greater risk in terms of serious harms.” Winstock says some people can experience panic attacks and flashbacks, so his advice to people taking them is to plan “your trip carefully with trusted company in a safe place and always know what mushrooms you are using.” Global Drug Survey 2017, with almost 120,000 participants in 50 countries, is the world’s biggest annual drug survey, with questions that cover the types of substances people take, patterns of use and whether they experienced any negative effects.
  • Two very ancient fossils are leading some scientists to believe the birthplace of humankind may be Europe and not Africa. For decades, scientists have assumed humans and apes diverged between 5 to 7 million years ago from Africa.  The oldest known hominin was thought to be Sahelanthropus, which lived 6 to 7 million years ago in Chad, Africa. But now analyses of a fossilized tooth found in Bulgaria and a lower jawbone found in Greece have led to the discovery of a creature known as Graecopithecus freybergi, nicknamed “El Graeco.”   El Graeco is an ape-like creature that roamed Bulgaria 7.2 million years ago and could be the oldest known member of the human lineage that began after a split from the branch that led to chimpanzees, our closest cousins. The discovery challenges the assumption by many scientists that humans and apes split in the eastern Mediterranean and not Africa. More details can be learned from the findings published in the journal PLOS ONE.
  • A teenager claims her private high school in Tallahassee said her natural Afro is a “distraction” to fellow students and she risked expulsion. Jenesis Johnson, 17, was told by North Florida Christian assistant principle Lynn Burgess that her full, natural hair was “not neat” and “needs to be put in style,” according to WCTV. Johnson insisted her natural hair already meets the criteria, but she was told she risks losing her enrollment at the private high school if she doesn’t meet their demands.  She was told she could finish the last week of school this year but would be refunded for the next semester, if she doesn’t comply. In her criticism of Johnson’s hair, the assistant principle pointed to the school handbook, which states, “No faddish or extreme hairstyles, and hair should be neat and clean at all times.  The administration will make the decision on any questionable styles.” Johnson told WCTV she always sits in the back of the classroom to not obstruct anyone’s view.  The school has yet to respond to requests for comment.
  • A federal judge has dismissed a discrimination lawsuit brought by the family of a Muslim student who was arrested in Texas for bringing a homemade clock to school that teachers believed to be a bomb, saying attorneys failed to prove “clock boy” was treated different based on his race or religion. In September 2015, Ahmed Mohamed made a clock using a circuit board and a digital display.  He brought it to school to show to his teachers, one of whom heard the device beeping. Mohamed was brought to the principal’s office and was then arrested and suspended for three days. Mohamed’s arrest sparked social media backlash, with many people saying he faced discrimination because of his religion and ethnicity.  He earned the nickname “clock boy” and received support throughout the hashtag #IStandWithAhmed. Even President Obama sent him a tweet. Mohamed Mohamed, the boy’s father, filed a federal lawsuit in August 2016 against the Irving Independent School District alleging officials violated the boy’s civil rights. On Thursday, Judge Sam Lindsay of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss the lawsuit, saying the plaintiffs had failed to prove officials discriminated against Mohamed.
  • Time Magazine published the cover of their next issue, a striking image showing Russian-inspired architecture in the process of taking over the White House. One could even argue it looks like the White House is turning into a Russian-type building. The issue doesn’t hit newsstands until May 29th, but Time has already published the cover story online.  As expected, it focuses on the investigation into supposed Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Time posted an animated version of the cover online.
  • Detectives with the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office are appealing to the public for helping finding two suspects who stole an AR-15 in less than a minute. Around 10:06 p.m. on May 4, two suspects entered a home at 1432 Hollyhock Street while the male resident had gone to walk his dog. The man’s girlfriend was inside asleep, and his 4 year-old son was in the living room. Detectives say the burglars motioned at the child to be quiet, then stole an AR-15.  One of the suspects was carrying a handgun. Take a look at the pictures and see if you can help detectives:
  • Update 3:30 p.m.: The “all clear” was given and confirmed by the Orlando Police Department. Original story: The Orlando Police Department confirms Macy’s at the Mall at Millenia in Orlando was evacuated Thursday afternoon because of a bomb threat. Sgt. Wanda Miglio confirmed via email: “All we have is there was a bomb threat to Macy's. Macy's is being evacuated.” News 96.5 WDBO reporter Gene Wexler communicated with a woman on Twitter who claimed to be on the scene.  She said Macy’s was evacuated and at least one fire truck was on scene: This is a developing story and will be updated.
  • A company planning to send the ashes of dead loved one’s into space says it will recruit the help of SpaceX to get the job done. Elysium Space, based in San Francisco, describes itself as a “memorial spaceflight” company made up of former NASA personnel and funeral experts.  They aim to “change the vision of death from the underground to the celestial.” Each customer who signs up gets a kit with a custom ash capsule for cremated remains to be stored.  The capsule is sent back to Elysium Space and put on the company’s spacecraft, which will be launched into orbit on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. According to CNBC, the Elysium Space CEO says their memorial spacecraft will “respectfully and peacefully” orbit the Earth.  Then it will re-enter the atmosphere, “blazing as a shooting star.” Family and friends will be able to track the spacecraft on an app. The company has over 100 participants booked with each reservation starting at $2,490. CLICK HERE to see where to purchase a package.
  • Orlando’s Morning News host Joe Kelley joined ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Wednesday to talk about his listeners’ reaction to recent revelations regarding President Donald Trump. The discussion focused around a New York Times report claiming President Trump asked former FBI Director James Comey to drop the Michael Flynn investigation.   ABC host George Stephanopoulos reminded Joe Kelley that the last time they spoke,Kelley’s listeners were still supportive of the President. “George, that’s still the case today,” Kelley said.  “We’ve been talking to our listeners all morning long, and they’re not even remotely disturbed by these latest reports.” Kelley went on to say listeners want to know why Comey “sat” on the memo for three months if it was such a big deal. Watch the full exchange below (mobile users click here): Here is a behind-the-scenes video of Kelley’s appearance (mobile users click here): Twenty minutes after Kelley got off the air, he got a call from CNN asking if he could be on HLN later in the afternoon to again talk about President Trump, James Comey, Russia and the FBI. Here’s Kelley’s Facebook post about that appearance:
  • Gene Wexler

    Anchor

    Gene spent his youth in upstate New York before making the pilgrimage down to the sunshine state. After spending a few years reporting, anchoring, and hosting at our sister station WOKV in Jacksonville, Gene was asked to bring his talents to Orlando at News 96.5 WDBO

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The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • The parents of a 1-month-old Cocoa, Florida, boy were arrested Thursday after investigators claimed their child died because they allegedly failed to check on him for at least six hours. Superiah Campbell, 19, and Cameron Dowden, 21, were each charged with a count of manslaughter of a child for the May 10th death of their son. >> Read more trending news Cocoa police officers were called to the couple’s apartment unit at about 12:15 p.m. on May 10. The 911 caller told officials the child had stopped breathing and was cold to the touch, investigators said. Emergency personnel tried to resuscitate the child when they arrived at the apartment, but he was pronounced dead at the scene. After investigating the child’s death, police said they found that evidence showed the parents had not checked on the child for at least six hours, leading to the discovery of the boy in an unresponsive state. “By failing to check on the child for over six hours, the defendants consciously did an act, or followed a course of conduct that they must have known, or reasonably should have known, was likely to cause death or great bodily harm,” Cocoa Police Department Detective Debra Titkanich wrote in an affidavit. “Both parents showed a reckless disregard for human life.” Investigators had not determined an official cause of death but said it appeared the child suffocated. 
  • A senior White House official is a person of interest in the investigation into ties between Russia and the Donald Trump campaign, the Washington Post has reported. >> Read more trending news Jared 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. >> RELATED: Who are the key players in the Russia/Trump saga?
  • On a Saturday morning 27 years ago, death knocked on Marlene Warren’s front door in Wellington, Florida, wearing a clown suit.  The murder has remained unsolved for nearly 30 years. Here’s a look back at what happened that rainy morning on Memorial Day weekend, May 26, 1990. >> Read more trending news Marlene Warren lived in the prosperous Aero Club neighborhood in Wellington, where many of the large homes on one-acre lots have backyard hangars for their owners’ private planes. An airstrip runs through the center of the community. The steamy season was beginning to settle in across South Florida that Saturday when a clown came to Warren’s door just before 11 a.m. Answering the door, a smiling Warren accepted the bundle of flowers and balloons the clown held. >> Related: Killer of Jupiter girl still at large 27 years later “Oh, how pretty,” her son remembered her saying. They were the last words she would speak. Wearing an orange wig, red nose and gloves, camouflaged with white paint creating a grotesque happy face, the death-dealing clown raised a pistol and delivered a single shot at point-blank range to Warren’s face. Her 21-year-old son, Joey Ahrens, in the living room with a group of friends, reached his mother as she collapsed amid a spreading pool of blood. He recalled seeing the clown’s brown eyes before it climbed into a white Chrysler LeBaron convertible. Warren, 40, died two days later. >> Related: Police serve warrant in brutal murder of Indiana teens Homicide investigators focused on Warren’s husband, Michael, 38, and Sheila Sheltra Keen, 27, whom Warren had hired to repossess cars for his West Palm Beach used car lot. Acquaintances told police Michael Warren and Keen were having an affair, which they denied. Read more here.
  • Montana Republican Greg Gianforte’s congressional campaign has raised $100,000 and counting in the hours since he allegedly “body-slammed” Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs. >> Read more trending news  That’s according to NBC News’ Peter Alexander, who cites a source close to the campaign operation. The incident occurred Wednesday at a campaign event for Gianforte, who is running in a Montana special election to replace the House seat vacated by now-Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. Montana’s only House seat has been held by Republicans since 1996. >> RELATED: Montana congressional candidate Greg Gianforte allegedly body-slammed a reporter to the ground Guardian reporter, Ben Jacobs tried to get Gianforte to answer a question about the GOP health care bill when the candidate allegedly exploded on him. As Jacobs intended to record Gianforte’s answer to his health care questions, he recorded the entire incident. The alleged assault and battery was witnessed by reporters for Fox News and others. Jacobs called police and filed a report. While Gallatin County police allowed Gianforte to leave the scene (which he quickly did, not even telling the audience gathered what had happened), they later issued him a misdemeanor assault citation. Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin is a donor to Gianforte’s campaign. Publicly available Federal Election Commission records show he made a $250 donation in March.
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions says the Justice Department will ask the Supreme Court to review an appeals court ruling that blocked President Donald Trump's travel ban.  The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday ruled 10-3 against the travel ban. The decision bars the administration from suspending new visas for visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.   Sessions says the Justice Department 'strongly disagrees' and will continue to vigorously defend Trump's order. He says the court's ruling blocks Trump's 'efforts to strengthen this country's national security.'    Sessions says Trump is not required to admit people from 'countries that sponsor or shelter terrorism until he determines that they can be properly vetted' and don't pose a security threat. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS