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Latest from Laurel Lee

    Over the weekend the country of France celebrated “Bastille Day” and with that, parades, parties and shows of all kinds. But on demonstration is catching the eye of the world, when the country hinted at what could be the future with it’s ‘flying soldier.’ Former jet-skiing champion Franky Zapata first created the flyboard to work over the water but now says the board has the power to take off and reach speeds up to 118 mph an hour and run for 10 minutes. He showed off his creation in front of awed crowds, dawned in a military-type suit, helmet and grasping a rifle to show what the future’s soldiers may look like. Mobile users see tweet here. Now Zapata has an eye on crossing the English Channel with his showpiece. The tricky part is that he would need refueling mid-flight. Still, he aims to make the trip on July 25, 110 years to the day after pioneering aviator Louis Bleriot made the first airplane flight across the Channel.
  • Alexander Acosta to resign from his position with administration. He acted as Labor Secretary for President Trump. The move comes after criticism of his handling of Jeffrey Epstein case.
  • The stunning video comes from National Geographic, in which two great white sharks lunge out of the ocean and appear to bite each other’s face and body, taking chunks of flesh out. The channel was filming for their new show, “Cannibal Sharks,” that’s set to air on National Geographic WILD’s next week, when the fight emerged. Cameramen for the channel couldn’t keep quiet as the underwater warriors viciously attacked one another. Seconds later the giant predators disappear back underwater where they apparently carried the battle on. The jaw-dropping incident was captured off South Australia’s Neptune Island. Although the footage is rare, Professor Mark Meekan from the Australian Institute for Marine Science reveals in the program that all sharks are actually cannibals, “It’s not just one rogue shark attacking other sharks or even one species of shark attacking other sharks, it’s lots of different sharks turning on each other.” And the behavior isn’t new. Scientists have found sharks have been eating one another for millions of years. An examination of fossilized dung taken from the prehistoric orthacanthus – a shark that swam the oceans 300 million years ago – found it contained fossilized baby shark teeth. “That shows that 300 million years ago these were cannibal sharks. Shark on shark predation is a fundamental trait,” Meekan explains. Mobile users see video here. National Geographic WILD’s “Cannibal Sharks” airs Monday July 15 at 8 p.m. 
  • If you ever had the thought that the Coast Guard was one of the more ‘laid back’ branches of the military - think again. A recently published Defense Department video shows just how incredible these men and women, and their missions, can be. The video begins mid-chase, with crew members from the Coast Guard Cutter Munro chasing  a 'self-propelled semi-submersible suspected drug smuggling vessel' (or a narco sub, for short) through international waters in the Eastern Pacific Ocean on June 18. As the dramatic video shows the crew of the Munro speed after the sub, one of the Coast Guardsmen can be heard yelling in Spanish and ordering the vessel to stop, before turning to his crewmen and saying 'that's going to be hard to get on.' But the criminal vessel wasn’t stopping and the Coast Guard wasn’t going to let them get away. That’s when one of the ‘Coasties’ jumps from his moving boat onto the hatch of the sub and bangs on the door. The clip, which seems to have been recorded via helmet cam, ends with the narco sub crew opening the hatch, and emerging with their hands in the air. According to the website Task & Purpose: The footage is from just one of 14 similar drug interdictions that the Munro and two other Coast Guard cutters pulled off between May and July 2019 along the coasts of Mexico and Central and South America, according to a July 11 statement from the U.S. Coast Guard Pacific Area. On July 11, the Munro and its crew will offload more than '39,000 pounds of cocaine and 933 pounds of marijuana worth a combined estimated $569 million,' in San Diego, California, according to the press release. Vice President Mike Pence is expected to attend. Mobile users see video here.
  • Florida wildlife officials are offering a reward for information that leads them to the person who stabbed a dolphin to death. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is offering $38,000 for help in solving the case, which came to light earlier this week when the NOAA revealed it had found the dolphin, an apparent victim of a spear through its head. The bottlenose dolphin’s body was discovered along Upper Captiva Island in Lee County in May. Upon closer examination, the wound was 'extending almost 6 inches toward the top and back of the head,' according to NOAA. There's evidence of hemorrhaging, indicating the animal was stabbed while alive. Officials said the water mammal was likely in a 'begging' position when it was killed. The Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 prohibits harassing, harming, killing or feeding wild dolphins. The NOAA urges anyone with information to call its enforcement hotline at 800-853-1964. Mobile users see tweet here.
  • President Trump’s attorneys have shared the video of the moment a campaign worker says Trump ‘forcibly kissed her.’ The campaign worker, Alva Johnson, worked on Donald Trump's presidential campaign in 2016. She claims that during a small gathering of supporters before a Florida rally, “Trump grabbed her hand and leaned in to kiss her on the lips as he exited an RV outside the rally in Tampa on Aug. 24, 2016.” Johnson says she turned her head so that the kiss landed on the side of her mouth and called the move ‘super-creepy and inappropriate.’ She later contacted a Florida attorney about the incident, but the lawyer never took her case ‘for business reasons.’ In a statement, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders dismissed Johnson's allegation as ‘absurd on its face.’ 'This never happened and is directly contradicted by multiple highly credible eye witness accounts,' she wrote. The moment in question in the video below: Mobile users see video here. See the video slowed down: Mobile users see the slowed down video here.
  • A video taken in Central Florida has gone viral after is showed two women telling a Burger King general manager to ‘go back to Mexico’ for speaking Spanish to his employees. The man who took the video, Oni Martinez, was eating with girlfriend at the fast food joint in Eustis when they became disturbed by argument going on near them. Martinez began videoing the elderly ladies chastising the manager, Ricardo Castillo. “When you’re in America, you should speak American English,” one of the women shouts. “No, ma’am, I don’t,” Castillo responds. “Yeah, yeah, go back to Mexico if you want to keep speaking Spanish, go back to your Mexican country, your state, your country,” she continues. “Guess what ma’am, I’m not Mexican, I’m not Mexican but you’re being very prejudice and I want you out of my restaurant, right now,” he retorts. “I’ll finish my meal and then I’ll leave.” “You know what, I’ll do it for you ma’am, I’ll call the cops.” The women left following the exchange and Martinez applauded Castillo for the professional manner in which he handled in the incident. Burger King released this statement on the incident. “There is no place for discrimination in our restaurants. We expect employees and guests to treat each other with respect. This incident took place at a franchised restaurant and the owner is looking into the matter.” Mobile users see video here.
  • If you didn’t know that you could get a ‘marijuana-themed’ cake, well now you do. At least you can at where ever one Georgia woman got her a daughter a cake from. Kensli Taylor Davis posted about a hilarious mix-up with her birthday sweet on Facebook, writing, “I haven’t had a chance to tell y’all about our experience this weekend with my birthday cake.” She begins by explaining that some how, the baker misheard the decoration instructions. “So my mama called and ordered me a cake telling them how much I loved Moana. (Because really I do) Well needless to say these people thought she said marijuana 😂😂😂,” Kensli wrote. The cake they received didn’t have the Disney character but instead a huge green pot leaf and a green, stoned-looking marijuana My Little Pony. Apparently the family just laughed it off and ate the cake anyway because the now 25-year-old ended her post by saying, “That ice cream cake was still good though 🤷🏻‍♀️.” Mobile users see the cake here.
  • A Houston doctor is accusing American Airlines of humiliating her after an employee made her 'cover up.' Dr. Tisha Rowe says she and her 8-year-old son had already boarded a plane traveling from Jamaica to Miami when a flight attendant asked her to leave the plane for a talk. Rowe says she complied and was told she'd have to 'cover up' her outfit if she wanted to get back on the plane. Rowe says she didn't want to miss the flight, so she agreed to wrap herself in a blanket so she could return to her seat. She remained in the blanket for the entire flight, she says. In a photo posted on Facebook, Rowe's outfit appears to be a typical romper, revealing only her shoulders and arms. Mobile users see tweet here. “We were concerned about Dr. Rowe’s comments, and reached out to her and our team at the Kingston airport to gather more information about what occurred,” said Shannon Gilson, an American Airlines spokeswoman. “We apologize to Dr. Rowe and her son for their experience, and have fully refunded their travel. We are proud to serve customers of all backgrounds.” Mobile users see tweets here and here.
  • Since the 1970’s, south Florida has been dumping partially-treated human waste by the billions of gallons offshore, into the ocean. It’s only recently been brought up, though, because of a picture that’s stirred a lot attention on Reddit. The picture shows a scuba diver swimming right next to a barnacled-covered pipe, which is spewing out brown muck into the water. Six plants shoot out that wastewater, releasing massive clouds of brown and cause the surface to look like it’s boiling. Environmental concerns spurred a 2008 state law to pass to end the regular use of the pipes by 2025. Since then, two of them have almost entirely stopped flowing. The other four are in Broward and Miami-Dade where millions of gallons are still pumped into the ocean each day.  According to the Department of Environmental Protection, treatment plants disinfect the sewage before it heads to the ocean but leave behind concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorous. These chemicals are harmful to Florida’s many coral reefs. But for Broward and Miami-Dade, complying with the 2025 deadline is a balancing act between meeting requirements and hiking utility rates.
  • Laurel Lee

    Laurel Lee is the producer of Orlando's Morning News, Orlando's News at Noon and produces various Ask the Expert shows on the weekend.

    Born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA, she bleeds black and gold and is a huge Steeler and Penguins fan.

    Lured by the chance to escape ice and the dream of learning sound production, Laurel moved to Orlando to attend college. In 2012, she graduated from the University of Central Florida with a degree in Radio and Television Production and a job at News 96.5.

    Falling into radio was a bit of a happy accident, but she couldn't be more elated about it. A few days on the job and it was love. Laurel has been at News 96.5 since October of 2011.

    When she isn't working the air waves, Laurel loves doing charity work through the 501st Legion and Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando and riding her motorcycle.

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The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • Oviedo Mayor Dominic Persampiere announced that he will not seek reelection today, after more than 20 years in city government. Persampiere said the decision is because he wants to spend more time with his family, and work on growing his business. Previously, he had served as an Oviedo city councilman before running for mayor. He’s been serving as Mayor since 2011.  Two months ago, Persampiere was involved in a dispute with a neighbor that led to police involvement, but a judge dismissed an injunction filed against him.
  • Disney World is hiring part-time workers to operate it's Disney Skyliner, set to debut in late September. The new transportation system will connect Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios and four nearby resort hotels.  Skyliner workers will be responsible for greeting guests, loading and unloading the gondolas, as well as, monitoring the gondola system and providing audience control, according to a job posting.  The starting pay will be $12 an hour according to the posting, but Skyliner workers will be eligible for Disney's new starting rate of $13 as of September 29, 2019  Click here to apply
  • Aaron Carreto was enjoying his 10th birthday, playing outside his Compton home on July 6 when two neighbors tossed a lit, homemade firework at him, his family said. The boy reflexively grabbed the illegal firework, which exploded in his left hand, destroying four fingers and most of his palm, the Los Angeles Times reported. Aaron also lost a finger on his right hand and suffered burns on both hands, his face and his torso. One of the neighbors, Walter David Revolorio, 27, was arrested and charged with felony child cruelty and possession of a destructive device, the Times reported. The investigation is ongoing, but no charges had been filed against a second neighbor as of Monday. Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department officials had no immediate comment on the status of the investigation. Aaron told Fox 11 in Los Angeles he was playing outside in his neighborhood when he walked over to the neighbors to say hello. At one point, the men called out his name. “They said my name, and then I turned and my hand flipped over, so that’s when they handed the firework to me,” Aaron said. “I was about to throw it and it exploded in my hand.” The explosion was so great, it rocked nearby cars, Fox 11 reported. >> Read more trending news The Times reported that Aaron was immediately taken to Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, where he underwent a series of emergency surgeries. Doctors at UC Irvine Medical Center attached his left arm to his stomach to hopefully preserve nerve and skin tissue they can use to reconstruct his hand. Aaron’s older sister, Adriana Carreto, said doctors also reattached the finger her brother lost on his right hand. Carreto wrote on a GoFundMe page set up to help with Aaron’s medical expenses that he has a long recovery ahead, including at least two additional surgeries. Photos and video of the boy on the fundraising page, as well as on social media, show him with burns on his face and his left arm hidden under a hospital gown. Pain is etched on the boy’s face. “This incident changed his life, (his) way of living, but not his spirits,” Carreto wrote. “Everyone knows him as a social butterfly, always friendly to his teammates on the soccer team. He’s very caring and aware of other people’s needs.” Carreto wrote that her brother loves riding his bike with neighborhood friends and playing the popular online video game 'Fortnite' with classmates over their summer break. “Now with his new disability, he’ll find it difficult to adjust to his day to day lifestyle,” Carreto wrote. As of Monday afternoon, donors had raised more than $47,000 of the page's $50,000 goal to help Aaron and his family. Carreto said along with the physical pain her brother is in, he is also psychologically scarred. “He tells his family how he feels betrayed by those people around us and wants to start a new life far away from where he grew up,” Carreto wrote on the GoFundMe page. As of Monday, Aaron had been released from the hospital to continue his recovery at home. “I been reading all the positive and kind words to Aaron from his donors and he said he appreciates all the help and support,” Carreto wrote. “He said he feels happy with each and every one of you guys.” The distraught sister told ABC 7 she, however, is angry. “I’m angry because those two guys are adults and one of them has kids,” Carreto told the news station. “I’m pretty sure if it was his kid, he wouldn’t have let that happen.” Aaron told KTLA he wants to see both men punished for what they did to him. “Those guys who did this, I don’t want to see them no more,” Aaron told the news station. “I just wish that they could be in jail.” Revolorio remained Monday at the Los Angeles County Jail, where records show he is being held in lieu of $630,000 bond. The second neighbor accused in the incident has not been publicly identified.
  • President Trump continues his public criticism of House democrats Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar. He tweets, “The “Squad” is a very Racist group of troublemakers who are young, inexperienced, and not very smart. They are pulling the once great Democrat Party far left, and were against humanitarian aid at the Border...And are now against ICE and Homeland Security. So bad for our Country!” These comments come after President Trump last week said those four freshman House Democrats should 'go back to the crime infested places' from which they came. This also comes after a crowd at a Trump campaign rally in North Carolina chanted 'send her back.
  • A California woman and her boyfriend have been charged in connection with their newborn son’s death after investigators learned they strangled the boy at the hospital shortly after he was born, authorities said. Andrea Torralba, 20, and David Villa, 21, both of Oxnard, are being held in the Ventura County Jail on suspicion of felony assault on a child causing death, Oxnard Police Department officials said. Jail records show Villa, who is described as a field worker, is being held in lieu of $5 million. ABC 7 in Los Angeles reported that Torralba’s bail was set at $1 million. >> Read more trending news  Oxnard police investigators said officers were called just before 8 a.m. Friday to St. John’s Medical Center, where they learned a newborn boy was in critical condition with serious injuries. The boy was found unresponsive and despite all medical efforts, he died of his injuries. Detectives from the department’s Family Protection Unit learned that Torralba and Villa strangled the newborn until he lost consciousness, police officials said. Oxnard police Sgt. Brandon Ordelheide told ABC 7 that the couple, when questioned by detectives, admitted they did not want the baby. Both were arrested and charged in the boy’s death.

Washington Insider

  • President Donald Trump and Democratic leaders in Congress agreed on Monday to a two-year budget plan which will increase spending in 2020 and 2021, and allow the national debt to go up for a two year period, while including little in the way of budget savings, continuing a trend of higher government spending and larger deficits under the Trump Administration. 'If this deal passes, President Trump will have increased discretionary spending by as much as 22 percent over his first term, and enshrine trillion-dollar deficits into law,' said Maya MacGuineas, head of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, who labeled the deal a 'total abdication of fiscal responsibility.' The agreement includes only $77.4 billion in budget offsets to pay for an estimated $320 billion in extra spending over two years. While the President tweeted his support, joined by Congressional leaders in both parties, a handful of lawmakers said the deal made no sense, because it guaranteed more deficit spending. With the White House already forecasting deficits above $1 trillion for the next four years, this agreement would do nothing to ease that tide of red ink, which had dropped to $438 billion in 2015 - but has steadily increased over the past three years. 'With more than $22 trillion in debt, we simply cannot afford deals like this one,' said Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA), the head of the conservative Republican Study Committee. 'It’s not too late to reject the Pelosi-Mnuchin spending deal and strike a better deal for all Americans that cuts spending,' argued Jessica Anderson, a former Trump budget official. But those voices have faded into the wilderness in recent years in the GOP, as deficits have steadily increased under President Trump. “It’s pretty clear that both houses of Congress and both parties have become big spenders, and Congress is no longer concerned about the extent of the budget deficits or the debt they add,” said the Club For Growth, which has seen its influence on Capitol Hill dwindle in recent years.