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Latest from Gene Wexler

    One student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida was able to send off tweets from his phone while the shooting was still happening. According to numerous news outlets and posts on social media, many students were able to text family and loved ones while hiding inside closets or in locked-down classrooms. “I am in a school shooting right now,” posted user @TheCaptainAidan on twitter. (Tweet) According to the Miami Herald, the student was a freshman and said he ran to safety after hearing three to four gunshots. (Tweet) (Tweet) Later he seemed to speak directly to news organizations looking to contact him. (Tweet) The student eventually made it out of the school safely. (Tweet) Then came a peace asking for people to “love each other.” (Tweet) And as of the publishing of this article, the freshman’s latest Twitter post indicated he is safe. (Tweet)
  • Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy is gaining support for her bill that honors a fallen Oviedo war hero, gaining the support of Florida’s entire 27-member delegation in the U.S. House. Murphy’s bill would name a U.S. post office in Oviedo, Florida after Army Sergeant First Class Alwyn Cashe who she says was “a patriot who fought bravely on the battlefield for his fellow soldiers and for his country.”  In 2005, Cashe saved multiple soldiers after their vehicle hit an IED and caught fire.  He was on fire and burning himself while rescuing his fellow soldiers and later died from his wounds. The 27 members of the Florida delegation in the U.S. House is made up of 16 Republicans and 11 Democrats.  Murphy’s office says gaining their entire support for moving the bill forward is a “major milestone.” The next step in the process is for the bill to be considered by the House Oversight Committee, which could occur in March.
  • Orlando Police on Friday announced the arrest of three teenagers in the murder of a Lake Nona High School student. K’vonte Dowe, 18, was shot about 1 a.m. on Saturday, February 3.  Officers found Dowe lying on the road in the 9200 block of Kensington Rowe Court. Richard Washington, 19, faces charges of first-degree murder and robbery with a firearm in Dowe’s death.  Isaak Brown, 17, and Elijah Lewis, 18, were arrested in connection with the shooting and face the same charges, according to police. Police said someone called 911 around 12:50 a.m. last Saturday to report hearing gunshots and seeing someone lying on the ground along the 9200 block of Kensington Row Court. Police did not release how the three men were related to the crime, or what led up to their arrests. This is the second Orange County Public Schools student to be shot and killed in the past month.  Justin Machado, 17, was found shot to death in mid-January at his Lynchburg Court home near South John Young Parkway and Deerfield Boulevard, deputies said. Machado was a student at Freedom High School. 
  • A Seattle radio personality released a hilarious play-by-play narration to video of a thief trying to use a mop to break into a truck. John Curley, sports personality for KIRO Radio in Seattle, perfectly captures the key events shown in the video, which took place in the station’s own parking lot. Some of the best quotes include: He’s got a stance shoulder-width apart and he bangs the mop at the top of the window.”   -John Curley “Someone get salami and cream cheese and rub it all over his face.  He’s unconscious. On the ground. With the mop. That’s the story.”   -John Curley
  • A New York Times reporter who spent 36 hours in Orlando wrote a raving review. Aptly titled “36 Hours in Orlando,” reporter Elaine Glusac declares in the sub-headline: “Don’t equate Orlando with mouse ears and thrill rides: The city is a checkerboard of intriguing neighborhoods filled with galleries, shops and restaurants.” Glusac’s trip highlights include the Orlando Museum of Art, Black Rooster Taqueria, Lake Eola Heights, and Thorn Park.  She got a big kick of Winter Park, admiring its plethora of nice houses, shops and restaurants.  She declared it feels “more like a village than suburb.”The review also includes a map showing the various spots Glusac visited as well as details about the new Alterity Chamber Orchestra.
  • Fact-checking website PolitiFact on Thursday announced it had hired former Florida Reps. David Jolly (R) and Alan Grayson (D) as “reader advocates,” only to seemingly fire Grayson hours later following backlash on Twitter. The two former lawmakers were hired to critique the website’s fact-checking and publish additional insight on issues as part of a pilot program that will run through the end of April, according to PolitiFact when the hires were announced. “David and Alan are both particularly qualified, we think, to critique the work of PolitiFact, because they’ve been subject to our fact-checks as members of Congress,” PolitiFact executive director Aaaron Sharockman wrote an his initial statement. Shortly following the announcement, reporters and others pushed back on Grayson noting his past treatment of the press: (Tweet) (Tweet) (Tweet) (Tweet) Hours later, PolitiFact announced that Grayson “did not meet” its “threashold” for improving trust and credibility. Grayson threatend to have a Politico reporter arrested in 2016 after the journalist approached him asking about allegations he’d abused his ex-wife.  The allegations were published in Politico. Many pointed to the following video of the confrontation: (Tweet) The following a screenshot of PolitiFact’s original announcement of the Grayson hire, which was deleted:
  • A bill moving through the Florida legislature would require every school and administrative building in the state to display “In God We Trust,” the official state motto. Democratic Rep. Kimberly Daniels of Jacksonville said the initiative would help children learn the motto, which was designated by Florida back in 2006. The bill received unanimous approval so far from both Democrats and Republicans. “There’s a saying that if the foundation is destroyed, what can we do?” Daniels said before a House subcommittee approved the bill. Republican Sen. Keith Perry of Gainesville filed an identical bill that has not been heard yet in Senate committees.
  • The Cleveland Indians will remove the controversial “Chief Wahoo” logo from their uniforms and camps for the 2019 season. According to ESPN on Monday, the Indians will continue wearing the Wahoo logo on its uniform sleeves and caps in 2018, and the club will still sell merchandise featuring the mascot in Northeast Ohio. Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said the team made it clear to him there are “fans who have a longstanding attachment to the logo and its place in the history of the team.” Nonetheless, the club ultimately agreed with my position that the logo is no longer appropriate for on-field use in Major League Baseball, and I appreciate Mr. Dolan’s acknowledgement that remove it from the on-field uniform by the start of the 2019 season is the right course.” -Rob Manfred National criticism and scrutiny about the “Indians’ allegiance to Chief Wahoo” grew in 2016, according to ESPN. That’s when the Indians made the World Series and Manfred expressed his desire to have the team eradicate the symbol. According to Cleveland.com, Indians owner Paul Dolan said this is the hardest decision they’ve had to make during their entire ownership.  His family bought the franchise after the 1999 season.
  • Democratic Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy from Winter Park followed through on her commitment to give up her salary for each day of the federal government shutdown. Murphy said she wrote a check worth $1,430 to the U.S. Treasury, equivalent to three days of her salary. Murphy is also a part of House Speaker Paul Ryan’s week-long bipartisan trip to the Middle East.  The trip also includes Mac Thornberry, Devin Nunes, Vern Buchanan, Liz Cheney, and Scott Taylor. The CODEL (Congressional Delegation) trip first made a refueling stop at Moron Air Base in Moron, Spain where they met with members of the U.S. military and received a mission briefing from the Marine Corps’ Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force.
  • It’s the latest chapter on a firestorm year for the NFL and the National Anthem protest: the NFL has rejected a Super Bowl program advertisement from a pro-veterans advocacy organization urging all Americans to stand for the National Anthem. According to ABC News, the NFL said they did not accept the ad because it makes a “political statement.” The print advertisement was meant to be full-page, containing the hashtag “#PleaseStand.”  The ad, with the picture of a color guard holding the American flag, also included a call to donate $20 to AMVETs, which is a veterans service organization recognized by U.S. Congress. In a letter sent to NFL Commissioner Roger Goddell on Monday, AMVETS National Commander Marion Polk wrote that “freedom of speech works both ways.”  He goes on to say, “We respect the rights of those who choose to protest, but imposing corporate censorship to deny those same rights to those veterans who have secured it for all is reprehensible.” Here is the rejected ad: (Tweet) Meanwhile, if any kneeling during the National Anthem happens during the Super Bowl, the audience may see it.  NBC executive Fred Gaudelli has stated the network does not play to shy away from showing protests during the game.
  • 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

  • An Uber Eats driver who police said shot and killed a customer in Atlanta turned himself in Monday afternoon and claims he acted in self-defense, his attorney said. >> Watch the news report here Only WSB-TV's Tom Jones was there when Robert Bivines, 37, arrived at the jail with his attorney. The Atlanta Police Department's Homicide Unit secured an arrest warrant for felony murder on Monday. The shooting happened at a condominium on Pharr Road in Buckhead on Saturday night. Police said Ryan Thornton ordered food from Uber Eats, and the driver delivered the food around 11:30 p.m. Authorities said words were exchanged between Thornton and the driver. >> PREVIOUS STORY: Uber Eats driver accused of killing customer turns himself in The Uber Eats driver then shot the 30-year-old, police said. Thornton died at Grady Memorial Hospital.  Bivines' attorney, Jackie Patterson, calls this a case of self-defense. 'This is a case where my client had no choice but to defend himself,' he said. Patterson said Thornton was irate about the amount of time it took for his food to arrive. He said Thornton was aggressive, and as Bivines walked away, Thornton made a threatening move.  'He turned around, put his hand in his pocket and said, 'I'm going to [expletive] you up,'' Patterson said. Patterson said Bivines was afraid to wait to see what Thornton had in his pocket, so he said he defended himself. Jones asked Patterson why his client, who had only been on the job less than a week, didn't just drive away. >> Read more trending news  'You can't drive away when someone is coming at you with your window down,' Patterson said. Bivines will be taken to the Fulton County Jail. He will have a first appearance before a judge Tuesday. Uber sent WSB-TV a statement Monday saying Bivens no longer has access to the app: “We are shocked and saddened by this senseless act of violence and our hearts go out to Ryan’s friends and family. We have been working with the Atlanta Police Department, and the driver can no longer access the app” A spokesperson for Uber told WSB-TV that Bivens passed a background check. Bivens was an Uber Eats delivery partner only and did not drive passengers. Uber is working with the Atlanta Police Department on this investigation. Morehouse College sent the following statement:  'The Morehouse College community is mourning the passing of Ryan Thornton who was was shot Saturday in Atlanta after ordering a late dinner from UberEATS, according to police reports. 'Thornton, 30, was a recent graduate of Morehouse College. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science in May 2017, and had started a new job. 'Morehouse faculty, staff, and administrators on Monday were shocked and saddened by the news of Thornton’s death. Employees in Morehouse College’s admissions office said they worked closely with Thornton and described him as being friendly, hard-working, and determined to become a Morehouse Man.  'President David A. Thomas said that the Morehouse community stands at the ready to support Thornton’s family during this difficult time. “ ‘The loss of another young life to gun violence is tragic,' Thomas said. 'Ryan was an ambitious student with so much promise. He was well-respected by his peers and highly regarded by his professors. We at Morehouse College will keep Ryan's family in our thoughts and prayers.’ ”
  • The man allegedly behind the fatal Florida high school shooting apparently has a disturbing past that is coming to light. A school fight that was captured on camera a little more than a year ago is the latest development. >> Click here to watch Authorities said 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Cruz was formerly a member of the school’s JROTC program before being expelled. >> Florida school shooting: Teacher of the year's emotional Facebook post goes viral A September 2016 video shared by ABC News shows Cruz wearing a white shirt and khakis while fighting with other students. Cruz was reportedly handed a two-day suspension following the incident. >> Family who took in Nikolas Cruz: 'We just didn't know' According to ABC, the fight was one of five documented incidents that caused school administrators to expel Cruz, mandating his transfer to another high school in February 2017. >> WATCH: Florida school shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez slams politicians, NRA in emotional speech Another incident that reportedly contributed to Cruz’s expulsion was his alleged fight with his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend. Cruz was allegedly abusive toward her before they broke up. >> Read more trending news  The massacre at the high school marked the 25th U.S. school shooting in which someone was killed since the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School.
  • Orange County Fire Rescue will soon own an old Lynx Bus that they plan to use to help save lives during mass casualty incidents in the future.   On Tuesday, commissioners are expected to approve the $2,500 purchase of the bus and refurbish it into a large ambulance.    Fire Rescue officials will take out the bus seats and install rows of stretchers. They believe these new changes will be useful in saving lives during responses to things like wildfires, hurricanes, or any incidents like Pulse.    The bus will the only one of its kind in the Orlando Metro region, but can be requested for use around Central Florida.    The county also plants to stage the bus at large events like marathons and parades.
  • Two New York state troopers are being credited with an immense kindness after they paid for the flight of a young woman to Florida to say goodbye to her friend, one of the 17 victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre.  Jordana Judson, 23, told NBC News that she was devastated to learn that her childhood friend, Meadow Pollack, was among the victims of the Valentine’s Day shooting at her alma mater. Former Stoneman Douglas student Nikolas Cruz, 19, is accused of killing 14 students and three faculty members with an AR-15 rifle.  >> Read more trending news Pollack, an 18-year-old senior, and Judson were lifelong friends, NBC News reported. “They were like our second family our whole lives,” Judson said of the Pollacks. Judson said she showed up at LaGuardia Airport on Thursday, the day after the shooting, frantic to get a flight home to Florida, where she’d grown up.  “As soon as I got out of the car at the airport, I started hysterically crying,” she said.  Troopers Robert Troy and Thomas Karasinski spotted the distraught young woman and asked if she was all right. She tearfully explained that a friend was killed in the school shooting in Florida and that she needed help figuring out where to buy her ticket.  The troopers led her inside to the JetBlue counter, where an agent told her a one-way ticket to Florida would be almost $700, Judson told the news station. Unable to afford the cost, she begged the agent to lower the price or allow her a bereavement discount. The agent could not accommodate her, and was about to give the ticket to another passenger when Troy and Karasinski stepped in. “I look up, and the state troopers are standing there and they’re both handing over their credit cards,” Judson told NBC News. “I’m telling them that they don’t have to do this. This is crazy. They said, ‘It’s already done. We want you to be home with their families.’” A rabbi who sat Shiva with the Pollack family confirmed that Judson made it home to be with the family and to attend Meadow’s funeral on Friday, where the Miami Herald reported that she was described as a star with “a smile like sunshine.” Meadow’s father, Andrew Pollack, and her older brother, Hunter, both lamented the fact that they couldn’t protect her when she needed them. “This piece of (expletive) killed my kid, and I couldn’t do anything about it,” Andrew Pollack said, according to the Herald. “That’s never happened to me in my life. I’m always able to protect my family in any situation.” Hunter Pollack said he always looked out for his sister.  “I wanted to be the over-supportive brother my whole life, and I feel like I failed,” Hunter said. “So all I can do is hope that (her killer) gets what he deserves.” Judson told NBC News that the troopers’ gesture to get her to the funeral made her heart “full and heavy at the same time.” New York State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II told the news station in a statement that, as law enforcement officials, all troopers take an oath to protect and serve.  “We also instill in our members the importance of acting with respect and empathy for the people they encounter,” Beach said.  Troy told the news station that he sympathized with Judson’s dilemma. “The sense of just being there for your family and friends, you want to be there for them,” Troy said. “You’re going to go through anything to get there.” Explaining that he has five younger sisters, the trooper said it was a “sigh of relief” to be able to help Judson. “If that was one of them, I’d want someone to help them out,” he said. 
  • The White House on Monday signaled that President Donald Trump is willing to back at least one bipartisan measure to strengthen the national instant check system for those who buy firearms, as Democrats in the House and Senate continued to argue that action by the Congress on gun violence is long overdue. “While discussions are ongoing and revisions are being considered, the President is supportive of efforts to improve the Federal background check system,” said White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. In a written statement sent to reporters, Sanders said the President spoke to Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) on Friday; the Texas Republican has a bipartisan bill with Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), which would force states and federal agencies to submit more information into the instant gun check system. Our churches and schools should be refuges where children and parents feel secure. Many of these shootings can be prevented. There's no reason not to advance #FixNICS to help https://t.co/0JpZDiLPOr — Senator John Cornyn (@JohnCornyn) February 15, 2018 Interesting morning. Two quick thoughts: 1/ Trump's support for the FixNICS Act, my bill with @JohnCornyn, is another sign the politics of gun violence are shifting rapidly. 2/ No one should pretend this bill alone is an adequate response to this epidemic. — Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) February 19, 2018 After a mass shooting last November in Sutherland Springs, Texas, where 25 people died, the Air Force acknowledged that the killer – who received a ‘bad conduct’ discharge from the military – should not have been able to buy guns, but those records were never placed in the instant check system. “For years agencies and states haven’t complied with the law, failing to upload these critical records without consequence,” Cornyn said in November when he introduced this bipartisan gun measure.” Democrats had hoped there would be action on that measure – just like they had hoped there would have been action to ban “bump stocks” after the mass shooting in Las Vegas, action on the “No Fly, No Buy” measure after the Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting, and then the “FixNics” bill after the Texas shooting. I know assault rifles. I carried one in Iraq. They have no place on America's streets. #Orlando pic.twitter.com/ibKQE2PpqF — Seth Moulton (@sethmoulton) June 14, 2016 Last week’s shooting in Florida simply put all of those requests for legislation to deal with guns on repeat for Democrats. “We can’t ignore the issues of gun control that this tragedy raises,” said Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA). “And so, I’m asking – no, demanding – we take action now.” Democrats would certainly like to do much more than the ‘FixNics’ bill, or banning bump stocks, as other ideas have popped up in recent days, like not allowing anyone under age 21 to buy weapons like an AR-15. But as the President returned to Washington on Monday evening from a long weekend at his Florida retreat, it wasn’t clear if his support for one bipartisan plan would actually mean action – as GOP leaders have not put such measures on the fast track to a vote in the House and Senate. On Sunday, when the President met with House Speaker Paul Ryan in Florida, the two men discussed a series of issues, including “the recent tragedy in Parkland, Florida.” The White House statement on their meeting did not characterize whether legislative action was discussed. No action will happen on anything gun-related this week – as the Congress won’t be back on Capitol Hill for votes until February 26.