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Latest from Gene Wexler

    One of the biggest U.S. chicken producers blames the recent NFL player-protest controversy for slower sales of chicken wings, often considered a game-time favorite of fans. Sanderson Farms Inc. reports that spot prices slumped in each of the last three months and are now 14 percent lower than a year earlier, according to Bloomberg.  That’s after wing prices had a banner year for much of 2017, boosting profits at Sanderson. “The only thing puzzling me right now is wings,” said Sanderson CEO Joe F. Sanderson Jr.  “We’ve been talking to our wing customers and they’re the ones that are telling us that they’re seeing less traffic in their stores.  They attribute that to the NFL.” A graphic posted by Bloomberg shows the spot price of chicken wings sinking 28 percent since the peak in September.Last month, Papa John’s Pizza apologized for CEO John Schnatter blaming sluggish pizza sales on NFL players kneeling during the national anthem.
  • Central Florida’s law enforcement agencies are making sure children in their districts are feeling the holiday spirit this month. Patrol officers with Mount Dora Police are riding around with comfort bears to hand out to children during certain emergency calls. (Picture of comfort bears) On Thursday morning, the Orlando Police Department had their “Shop with a Super Cop” even.  Children are chosen from Orlando school and paired with an officer for a shopping spree.  Each child (about 50 in total) was given a $50 gift card donated by Walmart. (OPD Facebook post) On Dec. 9, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office received their first set of “We Care Bears” bags.  The project was started by a 14 year-old student: the oranization provides new stuffed animals to First Responders who then hand them out to children who have been involved in a traumatic experience. (OCSO Facebook post) On Dec. 10, the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office participated in the Kissimmee Festival of Lights Parade helping to spread Christmas cheer. (Facebook post) Over the last weekend, the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office in the south region participated in the Sanlando United Methodist Church’s annual parade.  Deputies and volunteers welcome Santa and Mrs. Claus and distributed gifts to the under-served children of the Mobile Manor Community. (SCSO Facebook post)
  • A naked man stripped naked and jumped onto a moving truck in freezing temperatures on Tuesday near Washington Dulles International Airport, and now there’s a video for everyone to see. Some of the drivers who stopped their cars to gawk at the man’s ridiculous rampage recorded it on their phones, backing up traffic on Route 28 in Fairfax County, Virginia. According to NBC4 Washington, Jose Gonzalez Flores was involved in a hit-and-run and then assaulted another driver and ran into traffic.  The 32 year-old tried to smash the windows of passing cars and used a knife to stab at the roof of the truck he jumped onto. (Video)  Police said he broke the window of the truck.  Then he jumped off of it and ran into a wooded area with a tire around his neck. (Video) Police said it was not immediately claer if Flores had been under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or if he had a medical emergency.  They plan to charge him with indecent explosure, felony hit-and-run, throwing an object at a moving vehicle, destruction of property, assault and battery, disorderly conduct and marijuana possession.
  • During a Wednesday meeting of the Florida Cabinet, Governor Rick Scott and cabinet members celebrated Hanukkah. Governor Scott said in a release: “Ann and I would like to wish Florida’s Jewish community a happy Hanukkah filled with family and loved ones. Earlier this month, we had the opportunity to visit Israel and experience some of the rich traditions and history of the Jewish community first-hand. During this holiday, let us all reflect on the many blessings we had this year and on the importance of tradition and family. Happy Hanukkah!” (Tweet)
  • A former Facebook executive says he feels “tremendous guilt” about the social network, which is “destroying how society works.” Chamath Palihapitiya was the company’s vice president of user growth from  2007 to 2011.  According to The Verge, he thinks Facebook has created tools “that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works.” “The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created are destroying how society works,” he told the Stanford Graduate School of Business, referring to online interactions drive by hearts, likes and thumbs-ups.  “No civil discourse, no cooperation; misinformation, mistruth.  And it’s not an American problem - this is not about Russians ads.  This is a global problem.” Facebook responded to the former employee, an unusual step. “Chamath has not been at Facebook for over six years,” a company spokesperson told The Verge. “When Chamath was at Facebook we were focused on building new social media experiences and growing Facebook around the world.  Facebook was a very different company back then and as we have grown we have realized how our responsibilities have grown too.” Recently, early investor Sean Parker said he has become a “conscientious objector” to social media, and that Facebook and others had succeeded by “exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology.” 
  • A 24 year-old woman was arrested over the weekend after threatening to “f**king kill” every single person on her flight after she was caught smoking in the bathroom and tampering with the smoke detector. According to Mediaite, Valerie Curbelo was ordered back to her seat on a Southwest flight from Portland to Sacramento.  The flight is about 90 minutes. “I swear, if you don’t f*cking land, I will f*cking kill everybody on this f*cking plane” Curbelo shouted at flight attendants. Curbelo told a local news station she was smoking in the bathroom because of “the anxiety.”  She’s being held on $75,000 bail and has been charged with three felony counts of threats to commit a crime resulting in death. (Video)
  • Thousands of Californians are suffering the devastation caused by fast-growing wildfires that have burned through more than 100,000 acres.  New video shows one man appearing to brave the fire to save a wild rabbit from the chaos. The video quickly making the rounds on the Internet shows a Ventura County highway engulfed in smoke and flames, an orange sky in the backdrop.  A wild rabbit quickly runs across traffic and into the burning brush. Then a man wearing shorts and a hoodie frantically goes after him.  He looks panicked: clutching his head, jumping and pacing.  Finally he goes into the brush a little and gets the rabbit into his arms and out of the fire. (Video) The video got some notable reactions on Twitter: (Tweet) (Tweet) (Tweet)
  • Orlando firefighters rescued a cute dog from a burning car in the parking garage at Orlando City Hall. The fire happened around 1 p.m. at the City Commons Parking Garage on Boone Ave. No injuries were reported, and the Orlando Fire Department tweeted a video of the dog shortly after his rescue. (Tweet)
  • A new children’s book for 2017 depicts Santa Claus as a black man who’s married to a white Mr. Claus. “Santa’s Husband” debuted on Oct. 10 and shows an interracial Claus living their lives in the North Pole, vacationing on the beach, getting married and working together to prepare for the Christmas season. The book is written by “Late Show with Stephen Colbert” writer Daniel Kibblesmith.  According to The Daily News, the idea for the book came from a tweet he wrote in December 2016 saying he Jennifer Wright (now his wife) decided their future child will only know about Black Santa, and White Santa would be his husband. (Tweet) Kibblesmith said the response to the book has either been overwhelmingly positive or one-star reviews on Amazon: a love it or hate it effect. The book was partly inspired by Megyn Kelly’s comments on her Fox News show in December 2013 where she said that Santa was white.
  • The manager of a McDonald’s in Tampa who helped police track down the man suspected of murdering four people in the Seminole Heights neighborhood will receive the full $100,000 reward. Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan announced Friday that Delonda Walker will receive the reward for the information she provided to a Tampa police officer, which then led to the arrest of Howell Donaldson III, a former employee of the same McDonald’s in Ybor City. “She’s going to receive every penny of that,” said Chief Dugan. On Tuesday, Walker tipped off an officer inside the restaurant after Donaldson handed her a bag with a gun inside before leaving the restaurant briefly. The gun matched the weapon used in all four murders in Seminole Heights. Even though Walker gave her tip to police instead of the Crime Stoppers line, Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay announced Thursday it will still reward Walker with the $5,000 it had pledged.
  • 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

  • While power has been restored to the world's busiest airport, the travel woes will linger for days.Thousands of people were stranded Monday morning at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, where more than 1,000 flights were grounded just days before the start of the Christmas travel rush.A sudden power outage caused by a fire in an underground electrical facility brought the airport to a standstill Sunday about 1 p.m.All outgoing flights, and arriving planes were held on the ground at their point of departure. International flights were being diverted, officials said.Delta Air Lines, with its biggest hub operation in Atlanta, will be hardest hit. By Sunday evening, Delta had already canceled nearly 900 flights and another 300 Monday, nearly all of them in Atlanta, according to tracking service FlightAware.com.Robert Mann, an aviation consultant and former American Airlines executive, said it likely will be Tuesday before Delta's operations in Atlanta return to normal, and for passengers 'it could be most of the week' because there aren't many open seats on other flights in the last week before Christmas.One bit of good news, according to Mann: Delta has more spare planes and available crews in Atlanta than anywhere else, which will help it to recover.Also, Delta customers flying to or from Atlanta can make a one-time change to travel plans without incurring a $200 change fee. The airline also encouraged travelers not to pick up their bags Monday because of anticipated congestion at the airport.Still, when flights at Atlanta were grounded for most of one day last spring, it took Delta five days — and about 4,000 canceled flights — before it fully recovered.Like Sunday's outage, that April storm hit Delta's largest hub at a busy travel time when there weren't many empty seats to accommodate customers from cancelled flights. At the time, CEO Ed Bastian vowed Delta would make 'significant improvements' to its system for scheduling and tracking aircraft crews to recover more quickly from disruptions.Other airlines also canceled flights for the rest of Sunday. American Airlines canceled 24 departures and an equal number of arrivals, said spokesman Ross Feinstein. The airline also diverted three planes that were headed to Atlanta when the outage struck, sending them instead to Dallas, Nashville and back to Philadelphia.The city of Atlanta provide shuttle service to the Georgia Convention Center on Sunday for travelers in need of a place to stay.Delta passenger Emilia Duca, 32, was on her way to Wisconsin from Bogota, Colombia, when she got stuck in Atlanta. She said police made passengers who were in the baggage claim area move to a higher floor. She said restaurants and shops were closed. Vending machines weren't working.'A lot of people are arriving, and no one is going out. No one is saying anything official. We are stuck here,' she said. 'It's a nightmare.'Adding to the nightmare are what some passengers said was a lack of information from airport officials and help from first responders to get the disabled and the elderly through the airport without the use of escalators and elevators.'They had these elderly people, handicapped people lined up in wheelchairs,' said stranded passenger Rutia Curry. 'The people were helpless, they can't get down the stairs. It was just a nightmare.'Passenger James Beatty said there was no real method for evacuation.'I mean there was 40 or 50 people per the terminal area that were confined to wheelchairs and some that couldn't get through the airport very well, some of them actually couldn't walk and there was no plan at all to get them out of here without any power.'Beatty said passengers carried those who used wheelchairs down stairs.The FAA said it would staff the airport control tower throughout the night so that it can handle flights once they resume. The FAA said the tower could operate normally but flights were affected because airport equipment in the terminals was not working.According to a Georgia Power statement, the utility believes a piece of equipment in an underground electrical facility may have failed, causing the fire. The fire was next to equipment for a backup system, causing that to also fail.'No personnel or passengers were in danger at any time,' the statement said.No areas outside of the airport were affected by the power loss. The utility said there are 'many redundant systems in place' to ensure the power supply to the airport and that such outages at the airport 'are very rare.'That wasn't enough to comfort Jeff Smith, 46, of Pittsburgh, who ended up stuck in a plane on the tarmac for three hours after it landed.'This is the worst experience I've ever had at an airport,' he said.Sara Melillo, who was traveling to Pittsburgh from Kenya, where she lives with her husband, Greg Presto, to spend Christmas with his family were stuck on the tarmac for six hours. The couple had made stops in Nairobi and Amsterdam and landed shortly after the lights went out in Atlanta.She said the pilot didn't have a lot of information for the travelers but the plane had air conditioning and attendants offered water and juice a few times. She described the Delta terminal as 'big chaos' with not enough customer service for the hundreds of people trying to find a flight to their next destination and a place to sleep for the night.With her new boarding pass handwritten and her bags still stuck on a plane, Melillo was hopeful that she and her husband would be able to get a flight in the morning to Pittsburgh, she said as she waited for an Uber to take them to a hotel.Airport workers were distributing bottled water, and Dunkin' Donuts was giving out doughnuts.Officer Lisa Bender of the Atlanta Police Department said officers were at the airport to help with crowd control and managing traffic around the airport.At Southwest Airlines, about 70 Atlanta departures out of 120 scheduled for Sunday were canceled, an airline spokesman said in an email. United Airlines and JetBlue Airways were among carriers reporting delays or cancellations.American Airlines reported only a handful of diversions and cancellations because the carrier does not use Atlanta as a hub, airline spokeswoman Alexis Aran Coello.Hartsfield-Jackson, which serves 104 million passengers a year, is the world's busiest airport, a distinction it has held since 1998.The airport serves an average of 275,000 passengers daily, according to its website. Nearly 2,500 planes arrive and depart each day.___AP Airlines Writer David Koenig in Dallas, Texas, contributed to this report.
  • 12:06 A.M. DEC. 18 UPDATE:  Power has been restored on all concourses. More than 5,000 meals are being delivered to passengers. Trains will be operational soon. 11:20 P.M. UPDATE: Power has been restored to the airport’s Atrium and Concourses T, A and B.  10:30 P.M. UPDATE: Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed says all passengers have been allowed to get off planes that have been stranded for hours.  9:45 P.M. UPDATE: Delta Air Lines cancels 300 flights on Monday. 9 P.M. UPDATE: Mayor Kasim Reed started off an evening news conference with an apology. “First and most importantly, I was to express my sincere apologies to the thousands of passengers whose day has been disrupted in this manner,” he said. “We certainly understand that the outage has caused frustration and anger, and we’re doing everything that we can to get folks back home right away.” Reed said the outage started shortly after 1 p.m., at one of the three Georgia Power substations at the airport. It was caused by an electrical fire that started some time between 12:30 and 12:45 p.m. 8:30 P.M. UPDATE: The Federal Aviation Administration will retain normal staffing in  the Air Traffic Control Tower at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport as the airport is open and accepting general aviation and cargo operations. Air traffic controllers also will be ready to handle commercial flights as soon as they resume. 8:25 P.M. UPDATE: Mayor Kasim Reed will hold a press conference at 8:30 at the Airport Emergency Operations Center along with Georgia Power CEO Paul Bowers, Police Chief Erika Shields and airport General Manager Roosevelt Council about the power outage at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and the multi-agency, coordinated response effort. 7:40 P.M. UPDATE: Mayor Kasim Reed has tweeted: Power at Concourse F is back on. If you are in another concourse, please remain there. We have an additional update on when full power will be restored from. ORIGINAL STORY: Nearly six hours after a power outage began at Hartsfield-Jackson international Airport, officials said a fire likely caused the outage. But the cause of the outage is still not confirmed, officials with Georgia Power said. Atlanta police sent extra officers to help. >> Read more trending news “We are aware of the situation and are assisting with crowd control and helping to manage traffic around the airport,” police spokeswoman officer Lisa Bender said. All flights were canceled,and baggage is being held in a secure area for future pickup, said Rick Crotts, an Atlanta Journal-Constitution editor who was stuck on a plane for hours. Camp Creek Parkway was also shut down, and Atlanta police discouraged anyone from heading toward the airport. Inside the airport, a swirling mass of people waited in an aimless pattern, trying to get cellphone signals in a darkening airport as passengers sat stranded in parked planes on the tarmac. The terminals were pitch black and people had to use cellphones to light their path. People in wheelchairs had to be carried down stopped escalators and stairwells.  Delta Air Lines released a statement, saying, in part, that the outage was ongoing and they were “working to deplane customers from aircraft that have not been able to park at a gate due to the outage.” Olivia Dorfman described by phone to The AJC what she witnessed in Concourse D when the power went out.  “Maybe 10 minutes later a buzzer went off in the background -- that has been going on for over an hour and every so often bright lights flash in the ceiling,” Dorfman said. Near the D9A gate, she said smoke filled the area, and at different times airport workers tried to herd passengers toward the smoky area and away from it. “This has been very bizarre,” she said. “No one seems to know what they’re doing.” After at least one other woman said she wouldn’t stand in the area that smelled of acrid smoke, as if from an electrical fire, because she suffers from asthma. She and others then walked back toward the gate, Dorfman said.  “A man is just yelling, ‘Go this way,’” Dorfman said.  She said the stores weren’t able to sell water or other items because of the power outage. “It’s unbelievable. This is the busiest airport,” Dorfman said. Malou Cadavillo and her 16-month-old granddaughter sat in the dark at Hartsfield-Jackson on a motionless luggage carousel, waiting. Her grandchild’s car seat looked like it would never arrive.  She described her family’s journey from the gate where they arrived in the afternoon to the terminal as a scary odyssey. They walked through the dark corridor between concourses, guided by the lights of other people’s cellphones, as smoke poured in from some unknown source. Her grandsons, 7 and 11, were uneasy. “I hope there’s no monsters down here,” one said.  Her son-in-law Michael Rances said emergency preparedness at the airport was unsatisfactory. “There was nobody there to tell you what to do,” he said.  Nearby, a group of Delta pilots stood conferring.  “This is gonna take hours,” said one. “Days,” said another.  Crotts, who was aboard Flight 3392 that arrived at the airport at 1:31 p.m., was among passengers waiting aboard their flights to reach a gate. Crotts' flight had been waiting for more than two hours when crews brought a ladder and started getting people off the plane, he said. Andy Gobeil, a spokesman for the airport, said officials weren’t sure what happened. “We have not determined what caused it,” Gobeil said. Atlanta fire officials and others are “trying to determine how long it will take to get everything up and running.”  Passenger Norman Radow emailed The Atlanta Journal-Constitution after he heard an announcement at the airport that all flights through Atlanta from Johnson City were canceled. “To quote the announcer, ‘I recommend you rebook on Tuesday as it will take days for us to get out of this mess,’” Radow said. He was hopeful his flight wouldn’t be canceled. John Reetz, a passenger on Flight 5297, said his was one of more than 40 planes parked on the tarmac, waiting for power to be restored. At first, the pilot told passengers there was no estimate on when the power would be restored, Reetz said in an email. At the time, passegners were in a generally good mood, but at least one joked that he didn’t have to use the restroom until he saw a line.  That was after only 45 minutes, Reetz said.  Later, an officer onboard the flight told passengers, '’This looks like it's going to be a longer process now instead of a shorter one,’” Reetz said. “We're going to be here for a while unfortunately.'  Ina Bond, 72, was at her wit’s end after having been stranded on the tarmac for three hours. “With water and pretzels and a nasty bathroom,” she said. Looking for a taxi to find a hotel to spend the night after her connecting flight to Delray Beach, Florida, was canceled, Bond could get no information from airport officials.  “I passed a whole line of policemen, and none of them could tell me anything,” she said. 
  • A man is in the hospital after being shot in the head near the Central Florida fairgrounds Saturday afternoon.   The shooting happened at the vehicle repair shop at 617 Delhi Street around 1:20pm.    First responders say they transported a man in his 30s to the hospital with a gunshot wound to the head.    Deputies have said the man's injuries are life threatening and are working to piece together what led to the shooting.
  • An armed man is still at large after robbing and shooting at a Maitland gas station employee.   The incident occurred just before 11 a.m. at the Shell gas station at 500 South Orlando Avenue. The employee was counting money in the back and the man came in and pointed a gun at the clerk.    The worker ran from the store, and the robber fired a shot, but missed the worker, shattering the glass front door.    The suspect was able to get some money and fled the scene with two others, heading north on US 17-92 in a red Nissan Altima, which has a South Carolina license plate.    Police are reviewing surveillance video to gather more information about the incident and the people involved.    Anyone with information is asked to call Maitland police at 407-539-6262 or Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS(8477)
  • On 11/20/2017 around 9 a.m., the victim, a tourist from Scotland, was walking towards his hotel at 7600 International Drive, when a black male suspect tried to take his bag. The suspect was able to get some money and fled on foot.   The victim stated that the suspect was on the same Lynx bus with him and observed the suspect was with a heavier set black female while on the bus.    The male suspect is believe to be between the ages of 18 to 25, is average built with a short afro, about 6 feet tall with facial hair, and was wearing a black hooded jacket and carrying a red book bag.    The female companion is between the ages of 25 to 30, is heavy set, about 5 feet 6 inches tall and was wearing a gray sweatshirt that reads 'Florida Orlando'.    There is a reward up to a thousand dollars to anyone with any information leading to the identification of the suspect.    If you have any information, you are urged to call Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS(8477).