Hurricane Maria:

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

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Latest from Kevin Rafuse

    Orlando is the second most fun city in the county according a new study by Wallethub. The rankings were based off 58 metrics, including the number of restaurants, golf courses, breweries and affordable activites. Orlando tied for first overall with New York City and Las Vegas in restaurants per capita. The City Beautiful finished only behind Las Vegas in the overall study, while Miami came in at number four, and Tampa at number 15.
  • A woman is in the hospital after getting shot by a Winter Park police office Sunday morning. Winter Park police responded to a home near the intersection of Harmon and Wisconsin Avenues in Orwin Manor after a report from a man that his girlfriend was trying to harm herself. Officers found a woman with a gun in a home around 8 a.m. and tried to speak with her. During the exchange, police fired on the woman, hitting her. She was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening wounds. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the shooting.
  • Osceola County schools will be closed on Friday, September 8th, and Monday, September 11th ahead of Hurricane Irma. All events, program and other school activities for those days are cancelled as well. The school district is planning to be open on Thursday as normal. They’re planning to reopen on Tuesday, September 12th. Osceola County School District said that a number of their schools will be used as hurricane shelters for Osceola County residents and other Floridians evacuating. Parents are told to monitor the district’s website at www.osceolaschools.net for any further updates.
  • Residents in the Orwin Manor neighborhood of Orlando are fighting to save a home built in the 1920s from being demolished, and replaced with two new homes. The property at 440 Westminster Street was built in 1926, and recently gained fame as the home where the Dinner Party Project started. That brings eight strangers together for a meal, and is held at different venues all throughout the city. The property’s owner submitted plans to the Orlando Municipal Plalning Board to tear the home down. Residents of the neighborhood have started a petition in hopes of convincing the owner to change their mind, or the Municipal Planning Board to scrap the plan, calling it a staple of the neighborhood. The proposal will be taken before the Orlando City Council for approval at the end of September.
  • The Sanford Chamber of Commerce has begun a fund to raise money to help victims from Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana. All the money raised will be sent directly to the American Red Cross Hurricane Harvey Disaster Fund. The Sanford Chamber of Commerce said the fund was started, as Americans have a long history and tradition of coming together during times of need. The fund will be taking donations through Friday, September 8th. Anyone looking to donate can go to www.sanfordchamber.com.
  • A firefighter was taken to the hospital, after putting out a house fire in the Pine Hills neighborhood early Wednesday. Orange County Fire Rescue officials said, the fire was reported around 3:45 a.m. at a home on Hastings Court. The homeowner was able to escape the fire uninjured, and police rescued a dog from under a bed. The firefighter who was taken to the hospital suffered minor injuries, and is expected to make a full recovery. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
  •  Several people in California and Virginia have been treated by ophthalmologists after putting sunscreen in their eyes to view the solar eclipse. Nurses told KRCR-TV that they’d seen some patients who had done that because they didn’t have the recommended solar glasses. Many of those patients were reffered to eye specialists.  Doctors and poison control stress to never put sunscreen in your eyes, and to rinse it out immediately if you get it in your eyes.
  • A rare, one-off Ferrari has been found in a Japanese barn rotting, could be worth millions. The Ferrari Daytona was found in filthy condition, after being in that barn for 40 years. It was once the fastest car in the world, and is the only Ferrari ever made with an aluminum body. About 1,200 of the cars were built in total, starting in 1969.  The car will be sold without reserve, meaning it could go for any price. The auction house expecting it to sell for $1.9 million.
  • A Palm Coast man has been arrested Thursday after stabbing his mother to death. 22-year old Nathaniel Shimmel is facing first-degree murder charges in the death of 60-year old Michelle Shimmel. Flagler County deputies responded Wednesday night to a home on Woodhollow Lane around 7:30 p.m. Shimmel originally told police he saw a masked man running out of his home, and that he found his mother with a knife in her back. He later admitted to stabbing his mother during an argument after she threatened to kick him out of the house because he was not looking for a job. According to the arrest report, Shimmel admitting to stabbing her as she ran out of the house for help, and told deputies “There is no God who would forgive what I’ve done. He’s currently being held without bond.
  • Volusia County officials predict anothe record year for sea turtles, as nesting season gets underway. Nesting season goes through August and early September, with new nests hatching in October. County officials have counted 687 total nests, including four Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle nests, who are endangered. A special lighting ordinance is in place to protect the turtles once they hatch and move to the ocean. Anyone who wants to know more information about Volusia County’s sea turtle program, can visit www.volusiaseaturtles.org.
  • Kevin Rafuse

    Reporter/Anchor

    Kevin Rafuse is an afternoon reporter, and anchor for News 96.5 WDBO

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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)