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The Latest from News 96.5 WDBO

    As if traffic on I-4 near the attractions isn't enough on it's own, a depression opened up in the median near World Drive Thursday, causing additional slow downs.   As emergency personnel arrived to investigated the incident, drivers slowed down to get a better look as well.   The depression, which is about 15 feet wide and 10 feet deep, was reported just before 5 p.m. rush.   The Florida Department of Transportation was evaluating the situation and had not released any information on what would be done to mitigate the depression.   No other details were immediately released.
  • A wildfire has grown to 250 acres this afternoon in Volusia County, crossing State Road 44 after the wind shifted. Called the Damascus Fire, it forced the Florida Highway Patrol to close a section of the road between DeLand and Samsula, so fire plows could safely work in the area. Julie Allen with the Florida Forest Service said 14 tractor plows are trying to keep the flames from spreading further, with assistance from local fire departments. Federal personnel are also on the scene. “We had a sudden wind shift in the midst of the battle, and it caused a little bit of an issue with spotting over,” she explained. Cause of the fire is not known, but gusty winds help it to spread in the mostly rural area.
  • Volusia County fire crews and the Florida Forest Service are battling a brush fire that broke out Thursday afternoon off state road 44 between the coast and Deland.   The fire is burning near State Road 44 and Damascus Road and has forced the closure of State Road 44 between Pioneer Trail and Damascus Road.   Fire officials said smoke can be seen along Interstate 4 in Volusia and Seminole County.   The fire was reported as 35 acres but has quickly grown to more than 125 acres.
  • A driver struck a crossing guard and fled the crash on Thursday morning. The crossing guard was helping a child cross the street at West Kennedy Boulevard and Wymore Road just after 8 a.m. Someone driving a 2001 black Mercedes hit the guard while making a left turn according to the Eatonville Police Department. Police said the child had not starting crossing the road when the woman was hit. The crossing guard was struck in the leg, but is expected to be ok. Anyone with information is asked to call police.
  • Its not clear why he went up there, but a naked man spent hours on a 140-foot utility tower in New Orleans East. Firefighters were able to raise a ladder and rescue him about 3 p.m. He was seen being placed in ambulance. Power was cut off to prevent him being electrocuted during the rescue.  The tower is near a Luzianne plant, but on Entergy property.
  • A Florida woman is accused of telling an undercover cop she would exchange oral sex for $25 and an order of Chicken McNuggets. According to a police report posted on TheSmokingGun.com, an undercover deputy from the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office was working in the parking lot of a Marathon gas station on 14th Street in Bradenton. He started talking with two women and offered one a ride.  One of the women eventually asked the deputy what he wanted. After a “few seconds” of bargaining the price for the sexual act, the deputy wrote in the report they agreed he would pay “$25 and get the female chicken nuggets in exchange for oral sex.” The deputy ended up busting the woman, later identified as Alex DiReeno, a 22 year-old.  Inside her purse he fond two hypodermic needles, several small plastic bags, a spoon and a burnt glass pipe.
  • To commemorate the total solar eclipse over the US in August, the U.S. Postal Service is releasing a landmark stamp that does something no other stamp can. The Total Solar Eclipse Forever stamp, which will be issued June 20, changes when you touch it from an image of the eclipsed sun to one of the full moon. >> Read more trending news On August 21, the moon will slip between the sun and Earth, casting a shadow that will create the first full solar eclipse over the U.S. in 38 years. In a swath of the country from South Carolina to Oregon, darkness will reign in the middle of the day for a full two minutes and 40 seconds, beginning at 1:25 p.m. in the Eastern time zone. >> Related: Time running out to get reservations for the total solar eclipse in US The solar eclipse stamp image is a photograph taken by astrophysicist Fred Espenak, aka Mr. Eclipse, of Portal, AZ, that shows a total solar eclipse seen from Jalu, Libya, on March 29, 2006. Thermochromic ink makes the stamp work. Using the heat of your finger, the image will reveal an underlying image of the moon, which Espenak also took. The image reverts back to the eclipse once it cools. >> Related: Rare total solar eclipse visible from America in August  Thermochromic inks are vulnerable to UV light and should be kept out of direct sunlight as much as possible to preserve this special effect. To help ensure longevity, the Postal Service will be offering a special envelope to hold and protect the stamp pane for a nominal fee. The back of the stamp will have a map of the eclipse path. Read more here. 
  • Two Ocoee High School teachers were arrested this week. Orange County Public Schools said one of the teachers was arrested Friday, and the other was arrested Thursday night. Chad Coy, who’s been employed with the school since 2014, faces three counts of sexual activity with a 16-year old or 17-year old. The other teacher was not identified. The district placed both teachers on administrative leave back in November. The school district said they will continue to cooperate with law enforcement and take student safety seriously.
  • Florida’s tourism marketing arm, VisitFlorida, has long been a target for funding cuts by Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran and other lawmakers. Now the agency is looking to missteps in other states to prove their relevance. The agency sent an email to Governor Rick Scott’s email Thursday containing a video that outlines Colorado’s “tourism disaster.” The state eliminated all tourism marketing in 1993. Shortly after in 1994, Colorado sank from the #1 summer tourist spot to #17. It also cost the state upwards of $10 billion. House Speaker Corcoran has publicly advocated for de-funding VisitFlorida and Enterprise Florida, in complete disagreement with Governor Scott. (News 96.5 WDBO app users can click here to watch the video.)
  • Prosecutors are building a money trail of deposits, withdrawals, and lavish spending allegedly benefiting former Congresswoman Corrine Brown, through the testimony of an FBI Special Agent. But Brown’s defense says, at no time, did she have control of the account in question. Deputy Chief of the Department of Justice Public Integrity Section Criminal Division Eric Olshan’s questioning of FBI Special Agent Vanessa Stelly has spanned two days of Brown’s federal fraud trial. Stelly was assigned to this investigation as part of her work in the white collar crime division. She told the court she had worked through bank and business records for Brown, as well as the alleged sham charity One Door For Education, which Brown and a few others are accused of funneling money through. Stelly confirmed that at no time was One Door registered in either Virginia- where it was incorporated as a business- or Florida to solicit charitable donations as a 501(c)(3) organization. One Door’s President, Carla Wiley, opened a bank account for the organization in 2011, but it closed about a year later because of a negative balance. Wiley opened another account with a $250 initial deposit, and there was no activity until August 2012, when Stelly says there was a $25,000 check deposited by a Political Action Committee based in Virginia. That PAC is backed by a lobbying firm where Brown’s daughter, Shantrel Brown, works. Corrine and Shantrel Brown share a home in Virginia. One of the points that prosecutors are trying to hammer in is that there was a habit of using One Door donations for the personal expenses of Brown and a few others. To do that, Olshan first walked Stelly through repeated instances where bank records show hundreds of dollars at a time being taken from the One Door account at an ATM near the home of Brown’s Chief of Staff Ronnie Simmons, with a like sum soon after deposited in one of Brown’s accounts- also in Laurel, Maryland, where Simmons lived. Prosecutors further showed surveillance of Simmons making at least one withdrawal and deposit. Prosecutors alleged Simmons would sometimes withdraw the cash and give it directly to Brown, and there was a surveillance photo of Brown herself making one deposit. Another focus is a trip by Brown and her daughter to the Bahamas, and later Los Angeles. A July 2013 check for $3,000 from the One Door account made out to a specific Bank of America bank account said in the memo line that it was for children’s summer camps. Stelly says bank records show $3,000 being deposited around the same time in to Shantrel Brown’s bank account, and $1,000 being transferred from Shantrel Brown’s account to that of her mother. At the same time, Stelly says bank records show several cash withdrawals from One Door’s account in Simmons’ city of residence amounting to $3,000, the same sum which was then deposited in to Brown’s account as well. This all happened as Brown and her daughter first spent time at a resort in the Bahamas and then traveled to the Los Angeles-area, where they did a significant amount of shopping, according to Stelly’s analysis. When Stelly’s testimony resumed Thursday, the focus turned to more than $330,000 in One Door funds that the US Attorney’s Office says funded events hosted by Brown or in Brown’s honor which didn’t actually result in any kind of scholarship fundraising. There were several events Stelly says were represented as being paid for by another group, like Friends of Corrine Brown, but actually had at least some One Door dollars. Still other events were almost entirely funded by One Door, but raised no scholarship dollars. Brown’s attorney, James Smith III, led questioning where Stelly admitted that at no time did One Door apparently solicit donations claiming it would only be for scholarships. He added that some of those events, including an annual reception held in DC, could provide for good networking opportunities with lawmakers and other important parties. Additionally, Stelly confirmed that Brown herself did not have control over the One Door accounts and was not ever formally affiliated with the organization. This is a developing story that will be updated as testimony continued in to the afternoon. WOKV is inside of the federal courtroom and will bring you new information as it comes in.

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • As if traffic on I-4 near the attractions isn't enough on it's own, a depression opened up in the median near World Drive Thursday, causing additional slow downs.   As emergency personnel arrived to investigated the incident, drivers slowed down to get a better look as well.   The depression, which is about 15 feet wide and 10 feet deep, was reported just before 5 p.m. rush.   The Florida Department of Transportation was evaluating the situation and had not released any information on what would be done to mitigate the depression.   No other details were immediately released.
  • Prosecutors are building a money trail of deposits, withdrawals, and lavish spending allegedly benefiting former Congresswoman Corrine Brown, through the testimony of an FBI Special Agent. But Brown’s defense says, at no time, did she have control of the account in question. Deputy Chief of the Department of Justice Public Integrity Section Criminal Division Eric Olshan’s questioning of FBI Special Agent Vanessa Stelly has spanned two days of Brown’s federal fraud trial. Stelly was assigned to this investigation as part of her work in the white collar crime division. She told the court she had worked through bank and business records for Brown, as well as the alleged sham charity One Door For Education, which Brown and a few others are accused of funneling money through. Stelly confirmed that at no time was One Door registered in either Virginia- where it was incorporated as a business- or Florida to solicit charitable donations as a 501(c)(3) organization. One Door’s President, Carla Wiley, opened a bank account for the organization in 2011, but it closed about a year later because of a negative balance. Wiley opened another account with a $250 initial deposit, and there was no activity until August 2012, when Stelly says there was a $25,000 check deposited by a Political Action Committee based in Virginia. That PAC is backed by a lobbying firm where Brown’s daughter, Shantrel Brown, works. Corrine and Shantrel Brown share a home in Virginia. One of the points that prosecutors are trying to hammer in is that there was a habit of using One Door donations for the personal expenses of Brown and a few others. To do that, Olshan first walked Stelly through repeated instances where bank records show hundreds of dollars at a time being taken from the One Door account at an ATM near the home of Brown’s Chief of Staff Ronnie Simmons, with a like sum soon after deposited in one of Brown’s accounts- also in Laurel, Maryland, where Simmons lived. Prosecutors further showed surveillance of Simmons making at least one withdrawal and deposit. Prosecutors alleged Simmons would sometimes withdraw the cash and give it directly to Brown, and there was a surveillance photo of Brown herself making one deposit. Another focus is a trip by Brown and her daughter to the Bahamas, and later Los Angeles. A July 2013 check for $3,000 from the One Door account made out to a specific Bank of America bank account said in the memo line that it was for children’s summer camps. Stelly says bank records show $3,000 being deposited around the same time in to Shantrel Brown’s bank account, and $1,000 being transferred from Shantrel Brown’s account to that of her mother. At the same time, Stelly says bank records show several cash withdrawals from One Door’s account in Simmons’ city of residence amounting to $3,000, the same sum which was then deposited in to Brown’s account as well. This all happened as Brown and her daughter first spent time at a resort in the Bahamas and then traveled to the Los Angeles-area, where they did a significant amount of shopping, according to Stelly’s analysis. When Stelly’s testimony resumed Thursday, the focus turned to more than $330,000 in One Door funds that the US Attorney’s Office says funded events hosted by Brown or in Brown’s honor which didn’t actually result in any kind of scholarship fundraising. There were several events Stelly says were represented as being paid for by another group, like Friends of Corrine Brown, but actually had at least some One Door dollars. Still other events were almost entirely funded by One Door, but raised no scholarship dollars. Brown’s attorney, James Smith III, led questioning where Stelly admitted that at no time did One Door apparently solicit donations claiming it would only be for scholarships. He added that some of those events, including an annual reception held in DC, could provide for good networking opportunities with lawmakers and other important parties. Additionally, Stelly confirmed that Brown herself did not have control over the One Door accounts and was not ever formally affiliated with the organization. This is a developing story that will be updated as testimony continued in to the afternoon. WOKV is inside of the federal courtroom and will bring you new information as it comes in.
  • A pair of protective hawks has residents in one central Florida neighborhood ducking and running for cover this week. The birds are attacking people who get too near their nests in Oviedo in suburban Orlando, local news outlets reported. >> Read more trending news It hits me on the side of the head, not just hit, but grabbed, knocked me to the ground. I had to kind of shake my head loose,' resident Beverly Bonadonna told WPLG-TV.  'At that point, I started screaming for my husband ... then it flew away, it finally let go. >> Related: Man allegedly stuffed puppies into pillow cases, left them in drain Bonadonna had to go to the hospital for treatment of puncture wounds and a tetanus shot, but she said more than anything she was terrified during the attack. 'I have never been attacked by one; never even considered that I could be. I have never, I mean, they swoop real low over our head but never considered it was really a possibility,' she told WPLG. Bonadonna isn’t the only victim. Another resident in the same neighborhood, Don Cochran, has a hawk nest in tree next to his house and has been attacked twice. 'He scratched me right in the back of the head, but if you weren't thinking about him, he could have knocked you down because he weighs about 5, 6 pounds,' Cochran said.' >> Related: Florida Fish and Wildlife searches for monkey on the loose Cochran says he now uses an umbrella to go to the mailbox and hasn’t been attacked since. Hawks and their nests are protected under Florida law and can’t be moved or harmed.  Sarah Elsesser contributed to this story.
  • A wildfire has grown to 250 acres this afternoon in Volusia County, crossing State Road 44 after the wind shifted. Called the Damascus Fire, it forced the Florida Highway Patrol to close a section of the road between DeLand and Samsula, so fire plows could safely work in the area. Julie Allen with the Florida Forest Service said 14 tractor plows are trying to keep the flames from spreading further, with assistance from local fire departments. Federal personnel are also on the scene. “We had a sudden wind shift in the midst of the battle, and it caused a little bit of an issue with spotting over,” she explained. Cause of the fire is not known, but gusty winds help it to spread in the mostly rural area.
  • Its not clear why he went up there, but a naked man spent hours on a 140-foot utility tower in New Orleans East. Firefighters were able to raise a ladder and rescue him about 3 p.m. He was seen being placed in ambulance. Power was cut off to prevent him being electrocuted during the rescue.  The tower is near a Luzianne plant, but on Entergy property.