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  • Grab a tissue and watch the video below as Gatorland sadly says goodbye to Blackwater, one of their star alligators, who passed away Saturday night.  The video shares how they first adopted Blackwater from Ookefenokee Swamp in Georgia, where the alligator was living in a tiny pool in Blackwater Pond. Blackwater was sick with pneumonia when he first arrived at the park, but he was nursed back to health and grew to be more than 13 feet long. Gatorland’s Savannah Boan befriended the reptile and shared her love for the animal through shows and on the parks blog.   People, including trainers at Gatorland, were surprised at the relationship between the two.   During mating season male alligators like to fight and Savannah noticed Blackwater had been injured. Park officials secluded the big fellow from the other gators to try to rehabilitate the beast.  He seemed to be doing well, but took a turn for the worse and passed away Saturday during a rainstorm.  “We lost a really, really cool alligator,” said CEO Mark McHugh in the vlog. Savannah held the gator’s head in her lap and cried.  She wrote on her blog, “He was my very best friend and I'm so sad to let you know that he passed away. 😢 Rest In Peace sweet Blackwater.” “Savannah’s goin’ to take a little time off “ said McHugh  “she deserves it.” App users click here to watch the video. 
  • Nationwide-turned-local unrest over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis PD custody has prompted an indefinite 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew in Orlando and unincorporated Orange County. Speaking at a press event this afternoon, Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings made the announcement after conferring with Sheriff John Mina following 48 hours of “lawlessness” in which some night-time protests led to the partial blocking of the 408, and some businesses violated. Demings, former Sheriff of Orange County, preceded his statement to the matter with a personal anecdote: “As an African American, a father of three African American males, grandfather of five children, one male, as the son of a man who was born in the south, who was born in Alabama and yet lives on at nearly 98 years old, the racism that we have in America I’ve certainly experienced. So I get it when it comes to understanding the call to action that we’re seeing all across America, but as we respond to that call to action, I believe that the response has to be one that is thoughtful and peaceful with a healthy respect for the rule of law. We cannot as a civilized society accept violence and destruction of the property of others, and so I stand with law enforcement officers who serve currently and in the past, as well as leaders across america who stand against the oppression and wrongful use of force on anyone, but certainly we see in america a disproportionate use of force against people of color, and so what I would say to all of those who are responding now in terms of the direct action response, it has to be one that is peaceful and nonviolent.” Demings said. Mayor Buddy Dyer also spoke, largely to the understanding of these protests, while maintaining a peaceful position in regard to the balance of crime and social justice. “I want to start by saying something that all Americans should agree on; what happened to George Floyd was horrific, it was unacceptable, and it wasn’t the first time. It follows the horrific deaths, or killings, of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and too many other black Americans. As a community and as a nation we need to recognize why so many Americans are participating in these recent demonstrations and why they’re happening, they’re a result of the many inequities that exist in our country. Now I will tell you, as a white male I can’t stand here and tell you that I fully understand the hurt and the fear many people of color experience every single day in our country, but what I can say is that I see you, that I hear you, and that above all else, we will not remain silent; together, we will enact change by joining our voices. Demonstrations allow us to join together peacefully to speak out and have our voices heard,” Dyer said. “Unfortunately, last night, a small group of people brought violence to these peaceful demonstrations, putting others, putting themselves, and putting our officers in danger,” Dyer said. “I want to remind our residents, we support your demonstrations, we stand with you, we join our voices together with you, but we do not welcome violence of any type or hatred to our community. We should not overshadow our demands for change by bringing violence to these events, vandalism does not support a path to a better tomorrow,” Dyer said. While Mayor Dyer alleges that small groups of protesters instigated the violence and vandalism which led local leaders to agree on a curfew tonight, the same cannot be said for other parts of the country. Evidence compiled on social media shows a collection of law enforcement officers instigating violence against otherwise non-violent demonstrators. CONTENT WARNING: BODILY HARM Mobile users, see video here. Recorded in Minneapolis, what appear to be armed members of the National Guard can be heard saying “light ‘em up” before firing rubber bullets at people watching them march from a suburban porch. CONTENT WARNING: LOUD NOISES, BODILY HARM Mobile users, see video here. With the exception of footage depicting OPD’s use of tear-gas canisters on protesters blocking the 408 yesterday according to our news partner Channel 9, similar acts of brute force used against civilians have yet to come out of demonstrations in Orange County. This is a developing story.
  • Minutes ahead of a 19-hour schedule, a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule manned by NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken has finally docked with the International Space Station, legitimizing a new era of cost effective human spaceflight for the United States. The DM-2 mission, short for “Demo 2,” can be viewed in it’s entirety by scrolling through NASA’s official live feed: Mobile users, see video here. The full docking was preceded by a “soft docking” to ensure the capsule was property hooked to the ISS, occurring 18 hours 58 minutes and 42 seconds after Saturday’s 3:22 p.m. launch atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. Still in his suit, Hurley congratulated all involved upon the successful docking. “We copy, docking complete. We just wanted to say that it’s been a real honor to be just a small part of this nine-year endeavor since the last time a United States spaceship has docked with the International Space Station. We have to congratulate the men and women of SpaceX at Hawthorne, McGregor, and at Kennedy Space Center. Their incredible efforts over the last several years to make this possible can not go overstated. We’d also like to thank Kathy Lueders and her team of the commercial crew program of NASA, an outstanding job by everyone. I also would like to thank the men and women of the National Aeronautics and Space Institute, this is an incredible time to be at NASA; three new vehicles to be flown, continuing mission in low-earth orbit, and then to the moon and mars. We thank you again, and congratulations.” The mission will last for a now undermined amount of time, but no more than 110 days, according to NASA; upon it’s conclusion, once Behnken and Hurley are back on board, the Crew Dragon capsule will autonomously undock and re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere, parachuting into the ocean off of Florida’s east coast. Both the capsule and the Falcon 9 rocket may be reused for future missions, slashing the cost of manned spaceflight as it existed prior to this mission’s success.
  • The spring semester is over, but the fall semester at the University of Central Florida and across the colleges across the region is around the corner. Last week, UCF released its plan for students to return to campus, which includes requiring all faculty and students to wear a face mask. Officials also shared diagrams of what social distancing in lecture halls and classrooms would look like. “It will be much different of a feeling than the 300 people. But hey, maybe you get a row to yourself,” UCF student Caleb Hage said. UCF falls under the Board of Governors, which oversees the state public university system. On Thursday, the board approved a broad blueprint for how to reopen several public universities in the fall. LIVE UPDATES: Testing sites heading to Florida Publix, Home Depots Here’s a breakdown of where Central Florida colleges stand: Seminole State College: Finalizing its plan, and will present an update to its board of trustees on June 15. Rollins College: The first day of in-person classes will be Sept. 14. It is also working on a phased-return approach. Stetson University: They are analyzing what it looks like to have in-person classes in a safe way, and how to build in the flexibility necessary for quarantined students of faculty. Coronavirus live updates: Virus protection adds new wrinkle to Southwest heat relief Florida Tech: Will return to “normal operations” in August, but will continue with extra sanitation steps and modified social distancing. Bethune Cookman: Hopes to resume as much in-person education as possible. Hage said he hopes to go back to in-person education, but to do it safely. “You complain about being in school while you’re in school,' he said. 'And then when you leave it’s like, oh my god, I want to go back.”
  • You may see a large police presence on Daytona Beach’s beach side this weekend. The county and city will make changes following last weekend, when hundreds of people gathered in the streets during Orlando invades Daytona, resulting in fights and a shooting. The city is putting up fencing and instituting travel restrictions on A1A during peak hours, and foot traffic will be restricted by the bandshell and boardwalk. Read: George Floyd protests: Lockdown at White House lifted Also, parking will be paid for when you arrive instead of when you leave, to help traffic flow better. Police Chief Craig Capri told Eyewitness News they would instead rely on intel to determine the kind of staffing levels they’ll need in case of anymore large-scale events, and that the fencing would likely be there all summer. Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said that extra police presence would be seen throughout the county. “There’s going to be a lot of police out that you may not be accustomed to see or may not have seen since the early or middle 2000s,” he said. Helicopter video from the scene shows hundreds of people flooding the streets, and some climbing on top of cars. At one point, a man passed out cash for a music video shoot. Read: 'Prepare now’: Hurricane preparation tax-free holiday underway Witnesses said they saw fights break out and two people geting shot. A few were hit by debris during a shooting up the street. Daytona Beach’s Starlite Diner is just a block north from where it all went down. Kevin Gelnaw owns Starlite Diner just down the road from where it happened. “I’m just happy it never made it up this far,” he said. “Another block and ahalf and it would have been trouble for us.” Read: 'It’s very concerning’: Local law enforcement share concern regarding Minneapolis incident Still, he remains optimistic. “It’s Daytona -- events are going to happen,” he said. “You just hope they are organized properly or there’s a police presence.” WFTV Free Apps for Coronavirus Information WFTV is committed to bringing you the most accurate information about the coronavirus pandemic in Central Florida.