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    Jurors say a Florida hotel dishwasher should get $21.5 million after her employer failed to honor her religious beliefs by repeatedly scheduling her to work on Sundays and eventually firing her. The Sun Sentinel reports a federal jury in Miami found for 60-year-old Marie Jean Pierre on Tuesday. Her attorney says she will likely get about $500,000 because punitive damages are capped in federal court. The former Conrad Miami hotel worker had sued in 2017 for violations of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Pierre is a member of a Catholic missionary group. The lawsuit says she told her managers she needed Sundays off when she was hired in 2006. She was fired in 2016 for missing work. The hotel issued a statement saying it plans to appeal. ___ Information from: Sun Sentinel , http://www.sun-sentinel.com/
  • Some domestic violence shelters have had to cut staff and services beacuse of the government shutdown. Volusia County's Beacon Center is one of the shelters expected to take a hit. 'I have been tossing and turning, up late, early, waking up, thinking about the choices that we have to make,' said Beacon Center Director Angie Pye. Pye has been crunching the numbers and believes she'll have to furlough 15 of her 27 employees and limit financial help for some of the women that the shelter assists. The center will soon only be able to provide 'core services' such as the emergency shelter and 24-hour hotline. Services such as helping women file restraining orders will have to be cut. DOWNLOAD: Free WFTV News & Weather Apps Lara Weems Rezapour serves as a lawyer for the Beacon Center and is worried that some of the cuts will leave women in danger. 'If I had a lawyer to be able to stand beside me to say, no we are going to do this together, then I would've moved forward with my case,' said Rezapour. 'I most likely would've gotten an injunction and I wouldn't have had to live on the run for all that time.' Many Central Florida domestic violence shelters rely on the federal government for up to 40 percent of their funding.  A Flagler County shelter director had to lay off six of her 27 employees due to the shutdown. She was planning on more layoffs, but recieved a loan from a supporter on Thursday to help prevent it.  Not near a TV? Click here to watch WFTV newscasts live Watch Live: Doppler 9 HD 
  • An 85-year-old man was arrested after a road rage shooting, according to deputies with the Marion County Sheriff's Office. Deputies said Christino Aquino followed a motorist home and shot him inside the Marion Oaks area on Wednesday evening. The victim had a dashcam in his vehicle that recorded the entire incident, deputies said. Watch: Marion County teacher accused of molesting student, police say The victim told investigators that a suspicious vehicle was following him as he was driving home from work. Deputies said the driver was flashing his vehicle’s high-beam headlights and followed the victim around his neighborhood. The victim told deputies he got behind the vehicle to get a tag number and Aquino got out and started shooting. Watch: DeSantis in Winter Park: End ban on smokable medical marijuana Investigators said the victim was not injured during the shooting but his vehicle was struck by several bullets. Deputies said the victim does not know Aquino and is unaware why he was following him before the shooting. Aquino was arrested and charged with one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Marion County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) Deputy Christian Guerra arrested 85-year old Christino Aquino (DOB: 06/15/1933) after he followed a motorist home and shot at him in Marion Oaks Wednesday evening as a result of... https://t.co/Ys0fo1dhiV — Marion Co.Sheriff-FL (@MCSOFlorida) January 17, 2019
  • Changes are coming to help crack down on some of the parking of Lime bicycles that have created an inconvience for some Orlando residents. The electric bikes are meant to serve as an easier method for some to get around the city by the use of a phone app, but lately the way the bikes have been parked has caused concern for some. 'With Lime, you can just leave it, take it,' said rider Britt Blakely. 'It's great.' Others don't think it's so great. The City of Orlando has received over two dozen complaints about the bicycles, with the most common being that the bikes are blocking sidewalks or ramps.  The city said that it will be installing parking boxes that outline where bikes can be docked. The move is not meant to be a response to the complaints, but rather a better way to accomadate bicyclists and enhance dockless bike sharing options.  The painted bike squares should cost between $16,000 and $22,000. Those costs are being covered by dockless permit fees and Orlando's bike plan fund.  DOWNLOAD: Free WFTV News & Weather Apps Not near a TV? Click here to watch WFTV newscasts live Watch Live: Doppler 9 HD 
  • The Miami Heat have fined Dion Waiters an undisclosed amount for his expletive-laden comments about playing time earlier this week. Waiters made the comments to reporters from two South Florida newspapers after Miami's lopsided loss in Milwaukee on Tuesday night. The Heat were off Wednesday and announced the fine Thursday. 'We fined him and we addressed it as a team,' Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. Waiters has played in five games this season, all as a reserve. He missed just over a full year while recovering from surgery to repair a long-problematic ankle, and has repeatedly said that being patient throughout the process is a challenge for him. 'Look, this is going to be very difficult for Dion,' Spoelstra said. 'I have empathy for everything he's gone through in the last year to get back to where he is right now. But this is not about him. This is only about the team and it's about winning.' Miami is 21-21 this season, going into its game Friday at Detroit. Waiters appeared in 76 games in his first two seasons with the Heat, starting 73 of those. He's averaged 16.1 points for Miami as a starter, 7.0 points for the Heat as a reserve. And he's trying to get minutes now with Miami having a slew of wings already in the rotation, including Dwyane Wade, Josh Richardson, Rodney McGruder and Tyler Johnson. Even Wayne Ellington, who set a Heat franchise record for 3-pointers made in a season a year ago, has fallen out of the rotation this year in large part because of Miami's depth at the wing. Spoelstra said no one is going to volunteer their minutes for Waiters. 'We value him. We need him,' Spoelstra said. 'It won't be on his terms. It'll be on the team's terms.' ___ More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • No one was entirely sure what to expect from the first LPGA Tour event of the year — least of all Stacy Lewis. Nearly three months after Lewis became a mother, and six months after she last played on tour, she opened with seven birdies on Thursday for a 5-under 66 that left her one shot behind Brooke Henderson and Eun-Hee Ji at the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions. 'Pleasantly surprised,' Lewis said. 'Had pretty low expectations going into the day. Just really made a lot of putts. I had some weird shots, which I knew was going to happen having not played in a while. I don't know where it came from, but I'm going to take it.' Henderson overcame a slow start with a bogey on the second hole and a par save on No. 3 at the Tranquilo Golf Club at Four Seasons. She birdied five of her last eight holes for a 65 to tie Ji, who had a bogey-free round. The tournament — the first season-opener in Florida for the LPGA since 2015 — is only for LPGA winners each of the last two years. Ariya Jutanugarn, coming off a year in which she claimed every major award, opened with a 67. The event had the feel of a pro-am because of all the celebrities and athletes, although it wasn't all hits and giggles. Along with the 26-player field from the LPGA Tour competing for a $1.2 million purse, 49 entertainers are competing for a $500,000 prize fund using the modified Stableford scoring system. Tennis player Mardy Fish led that field with 39 points for a two-point lead over a group that included retired pitcher Mark Mulder. But it was a different vibe from most LPGA events. 'I had to remind myself it wasn't Wednesday afternoon, it was Thursday, and I had to get a good score together,' Henderson said. 'I think that's when things kicked in on the front nine. I started getting a couple of birdies to recover from that bogey, and then from there I was ready to go and made a lot of birdies.' Lydia Ko joined Lewis at 66. Both formerly were No. 1 in the world. Another shot back were Jutanugarn, Lexi Thompson and Mirim Lee. Jutanugarn started the year with a new caddie, who previously worked for his fiancee, ANA Inspiration winner Pernilla Lindeberg. She opened with a 77, the highest score among LPGA players. The Thai said she had some nerves from not having played in two months. And not being used to celebrities in her group also required an adjustment. 'Because I didn't play for so long — especially playing with them — I feel upset. He hit like 60 yards past me,' said Jutanugarn, who played in the same group with retired baseball players Josh Beckett and Kevin Millar. 'Every hole he has a chance to make eagle, so I thought, 'Maybe I'm not that good.'' She was referring to Beckett on the long tee shots. She didn't know much about either, though she figured one thing one quickly. 'I know they are baseball players. I know both of them are really famous,' she said. 'And nobody asked me for an autograph. They all asked them.' Lewis had not played on the LPGA Tour since a 66 to tie for 39th on July 12 at the Marathon Classic in Ohio. She gave birth to her first child, a daughter they named Chesnee, on Oct. 25. The biggest difference was her routine. She now has to remember where to find daycare, to get out the door a little earlier and making sure she has all the bags for her game and her daughter. 'You've got to take three trips to the care to get out the door every morning,' she said. 'So it's a new normal.' Her game looked like the old Stacy Lewis, at least for the opening round. She was 1 under at the turn until rolling in five birdies to offset one bogey on the back nine.
  • The Florida Panthers desperately need a boost, and Vincent Trocheck has pronounced himself ready to provide one. Barely eight weeks removed from surgery to repair the right ankle that he fractured by crashing into the boards during a game at Ottawa, Trocheck took part in a full practice Thursday for the first time since the injury happened. He's been back on the ice for the last couple weeks, limited to either working out either on his own or with a small group. 'I've been pushing to play for the last couple weeks,' Trocheck said. 'So I don't think it's up to me at this point. It's just a matter of whenever they give me the go-ahead. When I get back out there, it'll be 100 percent me. Whenever they give me the go, I'll be ready.' He'll likely miss only three more games before returning. The Panthers play Friday against Toronto, Saturday against Nashville and Monday against San Jose. The All-Star break follows that stretch, and when Florida resumes play on Feb. 1 it seems that barring a setback Trocheck will be back in the lineup. 'The doctors have basically said his healing process is back to where it should be, his cardio is back to where it should be, he's ready to play as of right now,' Panthers coach Bob Boughner said. 'But we're going to do the smart thing, obviously, and not rush him back until after the break. If it was Game 7 tonight, he'd be in.' Trocheck had a series of checkmarks to hit before reaching this point. The first step was getting his cast removed after surgery, followed by having the ability to walk again, then some strength-building, then getting skates on and stepping back onto the ice. All that remains on the list now is suiting up for games. 'It was tough to see him go out,' Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo said. 'But it's nice to have him back.' Trocheck can't get back soon enough for Florida, which is facing a long road back into the playoff picture. The Panthers have lost seven consecutive games, their longest slide since dropping nine straight early in the 2013-14 season. They started Thursday 14 points out of the final Eastern Conference playoff spot and even with roughly half the season left — 37 of their 82 games — they are, at best, highly doubtful to make a postseason appearance. 'I'm sure you can imagine, it's been tough to watch,' Trocheck said. 'Win or lose, I want to be on the ice. It's a matter of me wanting to be out there. It's been a tough couple months.' ___ More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
  • Royal Caribbean International says it's issued a lifetime ban for a Canadian man who jumped off a cruise ship in the Bahamas. The Sun Sentinel reports that Nick Naydev posted the video on Instagram last week showing him standing on the balcony of the Symphony of the Seas and jumping off. In the comments section, the Vancouver, British Columbia, man estimated that he jumped from the 11th-story deck, more than 100 feet (30 meters) above the water's surface. Naydev says he and his friends were kicked off the ship and had to fly back to Miami. He says he was sore for several days after the jump but didn't report any serious injuries. A Royal Caribbean spokesman called the incident extremely dangerous and confirmed the lifetime ban. The company says it's also exploring legal action. ___ Information from: Sun Sentinel , http://www.sun-sentinel.com/
  • Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis criticized the Legislature's implementation of a medical marijuana law and said Thursday that if they don't fix it quickly, he'll take matters into his own hands. DeSantis wants a new law by mid-March that will end a ban on smokable medical marijuana and loosen limits on treatment center licenses, saying voters spoke clearly when they approved medical marijuana in 2016. If the Legislature fails to act, DeSantis will drop challenges to lawsuits on both those issues, effectively letting the courts resolve them instead of lawmakers. He said he would prefer not to do that. 'I want to have the elected representatives write the law in a way the people intended, so we'll give them a couple of weeks in session to address the smoking issue, and if they don't do it, we're going to dismiss the case and move on,' DeSantis said. He addressed the media in Winter Park, near Orlando, standing alongside personal injury John Morgan. Morgan led the effort to put the medical marijuana constitutional amendment on the 2016 ballot. It was approved by more than 71 percent of voters. Morgan is also the person who sued the state over the smoking ban, publicizing it with the slogan, 'No smoke is a joke.' 'What's next is no smoke is no longer a joke. It's a victory for the people of Florida,' Morgan said before the press conference. 'Litigation should always be the last resort ... Negotiation should be the best resort. That's what we're going to do. We're going to step back a few inches, give them a chance to get it right and if they don't get it right, then they're going to get it another way.' A circuit court judge ruled in May that the smoking ban is unconstitutional, but then-Gov. Rick Scott appealed the decision. DeSantis replaced fellow Republican Scott, who is now a U.S. senator, earlier this month. DeSantis also said he wants the amended law to address licensing limits that are also subjects of lawsuits. 'They created a cartel, essentially,' he said. 'That is not good policy, so I'd like them to address that as well.' Florida's new Republican legislative leaders, Senate President Bill Galvano and House Speaker Jose Oliva, said they'll work with DeSantis to amend the law. Galvano said in a news release that implementing the constitutional amendment 'has been an ongoing problem mired in complex and protracted legal challenges.' 'Governor DeSantis has indicated that he prefers a legislative solution rather than a judicial order to bring the issue of implementation of the amendment to a conclusion. A legislative solution has always been my preferred course of action, and we will certainly honor the Governor's request,' Galvano said. Democratic Sen. Gary Farmer filed a bill to allow smokable medical marijuana shortly after the DeSantis announcement. 'I would like to commend Governor DeSantis for his willingness to lead on this issue where past administrations have showed a lack of courage,' Farmer said in a press release. Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, who campaigned on making medical marijuana more accessible, said she wants quicker action on smokable medical marijuana. 'Every day that medical marijuana in the pure plant form is unavailable to patients, Floridians continue to suffer. This is an issue I've seen firsthand throughout our state and country, and one that touches my family personally,' Fried said. 'My mother was recently diagnosed with cancer, and she is struggling to find medicine that relieves her suffering.' The annual legislative session begins March 5. ___ Farrington reported from Tallahassee.
  • The winning numbers in Thursday afternoon's drawing of the Florida Lottery's 'Pick 5 Midday' game were: 0-4-5-8-6 (zero, four, five, eight, six)