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Latest from Laurel Lee

    A group of 'furries' is being credited with saving a San Jose woman who was being assaulted. The incident occurred over the weekend as FurCon -- San Jose's convention for people who like to dress in furry animal costumes -- was letting out for the evening, police say.  One of the convention's attendees, who wasn't in costume, was with a group of furry friends when he heard a commotion from a vehicle parked on the side of the street.  'It was pretty intense,' says 26-year-old Steven Rodriguez.  'We saw the passenger just whaling on her. Just a full-on punch.'  So Rodriguez and another man pulled the assailant out of the vehicle, only for the man to attack them, Rodriguez says. That's when the furries took action.  A pink dinosaur, a tiger, a cat and a platform shoes-wearing cowboy grabbed the man, threw him to the ground and sat on him until police arrived, according to an incident report. Mobile users see video here.  *WARNING: VULGAR LANGUAGE USED* Demetri Hardnett, 22, was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence.  'It happened very, very fast and it was just a horrible thing to see,' Rodriguez says.  'But overall, everyone was very happy that we stepped in.
  • A video out of Iran is making waves, this time, for something positive. The footage is of an Iranian University where protesters are marching and shouting. On the road or sidewalk, a U.S. and an Israeli flag appear to be painted on the ground. Most of the protesters walk around the flags, refusing to walk on the national symbols. Twitter user @mamlekate, who posted the 12-second video on Sunday, wrote with it, “Today, the crowd in an Iranian university refused to trample US and Israel flag #LoveBeyondFlags. These IR ideologies, like forced hijab, are falling one by one.' Mobile users see tweet here. Giancarlo Sopo of ‘The Blaze’ writes that these protesters show “more respect toward the flags of the U.S. and Israeli than, frankly, many Americans, like Colin Kaepernick and others, show to Old Glory.”
  • 7:58 UPDATE: Lock down has been lifted. 7:45 a.m. update:  There is NO active shooter, according to MacDill AFB officials. There is a report of shots fired near the base and they are assisting Tampa police with the investigation ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Original Story - MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa is on lock down after reports of an active shooter. Mobile users see tweet here. The alert sent out says the shooter is near buildings '1180, 1156, 1185 and 4899 Radar Road, entrance to control tower.'  They are advising to lock all doors and stay in place.  We will get you more as we learn more.
  • American officials believe Iran mistakenly shot down Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 after it took off Wednesday from Tehran’s airport, killing all 176 people on board. Ukrainian officials said they are investigating several theories to explain the crash. The plane, a Boeing 737-800, went down in the outskirts of Tehran just hours after Iran launched a barrage of missiles at U.S. forces. Mobile users see video here. Here are the latest updates: Update 4:55 a.m. EST Jan. 10: Iranian officials denied allegations by at least two Western nations on Friday that a Ukrainian jetliner that crashed near Tehran earlier this week was brought down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile, The Associated Press reported. Ali Abedzadeh, head of Iran’s national aviation department, said during a press conference, “What is obvious for us, and what we can say with certainty, is that no missile hit the plane.” Abedzadeh then urged both U.S. and Canadian leaders to share any information they have on the crash to the contrary, the AP reported. “If they are really sure, they should come and show their findings to the world,” he said. Meanwhile, the head of Iran’s investigation team, Hassan Rezaeifar, said it could take more than one month to recover data from the plane’s black box flight recorder, the extraction of which might require assistance from international experts. The entire investigation, Rezaeifar told the press conference, could last until 2021, the AP reported.
  • The Orlando Police Department says the woman involved in a fatal accident Friday has been identified as Michelle Batista of Jacksonville. A car crashed into two other cars stopped on the Interstate 4 shoulder, pushing the 38-year-old woman over the highway barricade to her death. Police say Batista was outside of their car on I-4 after an initial crash when a second car hit them, throwing her off the overpass and onto Garland Avenue. A GoFundMe account has been created by her sister to help support her three children.
  • Once the holidays are over, it's time to take the real tree out of the house before it turns into a fire hazard. While many municipalities have recycling programs in place, what happens if you miss the pickup? You can actually give the tree a 'second life' and let it return to nature, according to Dan Kraus, the senior conservation biologist at the Nature Conservancy of Canada. If you have a backyard, trim off the branches and place them on the ground where they will decompose into soil, leaving the trunk to provide a habitat for the woodland creatures. Hit up Pinterest for some home decor idea that you can create using the tree. Or drive it to the forest and leave there, says Marie-Paule Godin, operations manager at Tree Canada. Mobile users see video here.
  • The holidays are celebrated quite differently depending on where you are in the world. Austrian children hide from Krampus, while in Sweden they burn a huge wooden Yule Goat structure. Over in Japan, the traditional meal for Christmas since the 1970s has been a big bucket of the Colonel's secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices. When KFC came to the country they launched a campaign called 'Kentucky for Christmas,' telling citizens that it's what Americans eat during the season. While that may have been a little white lie, according to CNN, it stuck, with lines snaking outside the fast-food chain's restaurants starting on December 23rd. They even dress up statues of Colonel Sanders as Santa. Mobile users see video here.
  • Ah, the innocence of children. The internet is getting a kick out of its newest child-star: a little angel named Ella Legge who spent a whole chunk of her nativity play flipping off the audience. A photo of the bright-eyed UK tot raising her middle finger high while donning a halo and angel wings has gone viral quickly. And while Ella’s mom, Carla Bovingdon, was at first mortified, she eventually had to let go when her daughter didn’t understand her mouthed message of ‘put your hand down.’ Nor her telepathic messages of ‘Oh god Ella, please stop.’ 'The performance was about half an hour long, and I would say 70% of it she had her middle finger up,” says the 33-year-old. 'She likes to let me know if she's at all injured, so she was basically trying to show me what she had done from across the room. It was the tiniest little hangnail as well,” Ella’s mom explains, “Then she put both her fingers up because she was trying to compare to see if both fingers were hurt.' And little Ella kept up her injured middle finger for almost the entirety of the play. Mobile users see tweet here. Bovingdon continues, “A couple of the teaching assistants had a bit of a giggle. I think where she was standing, and the fact that you don't watch one child the whole time, I don't think everyone noticed. A few of the older children whispered, 'Ella's got her finger up'. Everyone seemed to know what she was doing, but yeah there were a few laughs here and there.” Yet, no one seemed offended. “Because she was doing it so innocently I think most people were thinking, 'Oh bless her,’” Bovingdon continues, 'That's what made it so funny as well, because she was completely oblivious.” Since then Ella’s mom has told her not to repeat the action for the second performance of the nativity play as it “wouldn’t be funny this time.”
  • A brand new high rise is set to break ground in Orlando within the year. The high rise will tower at 32 stories tall and Lincoln Property Co. will start construction in the first week of may. The ‘T2 building,’ as it will be called, at Church St. Station will be taller than its sister building - the 28-story ‘SunTrust Plaza’ and will feature hotel rooms, retail space and hospitality space. The Orlando Business Journal says this is one of ten new towers proposed for Orlando's 1,000-acre central business district. For more details about what Orlando’s newest high rise will include, check out the story on Orlando Business Journal.
  • Disney is a master at not only creating technology but using it in a way that audiences have never seen before. Take, for instance, the projections that turn Cinderella’s castle and the Hollywood Tower of Terror into gingerbread houses or frozen wonders. But, up until now, the object had to stationary for projections to work correctly against them. That may all about to change. Disney has just turned in a patent that could give the projection technology a major upgrade. To see what Disney has planned for the future of their projection attractions, check out the article on Orlando Business Journal.
  • 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.

    Read More

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • A lot of listeners to News 96.5 WDBO have been calling the newsroom and using the open mic feature in our app to ask about smoke all over Orange and southern Seminole County on Tuesday afternoon. According to the St. Johns River Water Management District, there’s a 1400 acre prescribed burn happening within the Lake Apopka North Shore, west of Lake Level Canal road.   “The purpose of the burn is to reduce hazardous fuel accumulations and maintain fire-dependent ecosystems,” SJRWMD said. Orange County Fire and Rescue tweeted there are also two burns on the east side of Orange County at 528 and 520, as well as 528 and Dallas. (App users tap here to see tweet) Our meteorologist George Waldenberger says the winds today are driving the smoke over Orlando. (App users tap here to see tweet) Waldenberger later tweeted an aerial view of the smoke: (Tweet)
  • Lucky's Market will close all but ONE of its stores in Florida. It was confirmed by the Sun Sentinel Tuesday morning.  All five stores in Central Florida will close including the Colonial Landing shop that opened 8 months ago.  The only location to survive will be the store in Melbourne.  After an unfavorable portfolio review last year, Kroger pulled out its investment.  Lucky’s hasn’t made a public statement yet but the closures would effect 2,500 employees.
  • A California mother of two died during childbirth last week while acting as a surrogate for another family, according to multiple reports. Community members came together to support the family of Michelle Reaves after she died Thursday, according to KGTV and a GoFundMe campaign set up to support Reaves’ family. Jamie Herwehe, a close family friend of Reaves', launched the GoFundMe campaign last week, with donations slated to go toward covering funeral costs and supporting Reaves’ husband and children, CNN reported. “For those of you who didn’t have the pleasure of knowing Michelle, she will always be known for the love she had for her family,” Herwehe wrote on the campaign page. “Michelle has the best, most sarcastic, funny personality and always had you laughing.” Herwehe said Reaves was acting for the second time as a surrogate for a family when 'one complication led to the next.' She died during childbirth, but Herwehe said the baby she was carrying survived. 'I can’t even begin to imagine what her husband Chris and her two babies are going through,' Herwehe wrote. 'No one deserves to lose their mama so young or the mother of their children.' Reaves was survived by her husband and their children, Gage and Monroe, Herwehe said.
  • The Lake City Police Department in Florida is asking for the public’s help in locating Kellie Woofe, 13. Kellie was last seen running west on Faith Road near the Bascom Norris intersection on Monday. Police said her grandfather reported her missing. After an argument that happened in his car, he told police Kellie got out of the car while they were in the Interface parking lot and ran off. LCPD said she was wearing a black jacket and ripped blue jeans. If you see her, you are asked to call police at 386-752-4343 or call 911. Kellie is 5 feet, 3 inches tall and weighs 130 pounds. She has red hair and blue eyes.
  • Search crews have found the body of a Montana teen who vanished on New Year’s Day, deputies said. According to USA Today, 16-year-old Selena Not Afraid was found dead near an Interstate 90 rest area Monday morning, weeks after she disappeared while traveling from Billings to Hardin after a New Year’s Eve party. Investigators do not suspect foul play, the Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office said. In an FBI notice, authorities said the girl “left a disabled vehicle and walked into a field adjacent to the rest area” about 2 p.m. Jan. 1. She was “not dressed for the weather conditions,” authorities said. Not Afraid’s disappearance sparked a multiagency search involving hundreds of people, the Billings Gazette reported. Read more here or here.

Washington Insider

  • Facing opposition from within Republican ranks, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell presented an amended rules proposal on Tuesday to govern the start of President Donald Trump's impeachment trial, most significantly giving more time for House prosecutors and the President's lawyers to make their opening arguments. The changes came after a lunch meeting of GOP Senators, where Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and others expressed reservations about the idea of forcing each side to cram 24 hours of opening arguments into just two days. 'She and others raised concerns about the 24 hrs of opening statements in 2 days,' a spokeswoman for Collins told reporters. Along with that change, McConnell backed off a provision which would not allow evidence from the House impeachment investigation to be put in the record without a vote of the Senate. The changes were made as House prosecutors and the President's legal team made their first extended statements of the Trump impeachment trial. 'Why should this trial be any different than any other trial? The short answer is, it shouldn't,' said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), as he made the case that the Senate rules would not pass muster in a regular courtroom. 'This idea that we should ignore what has taken place over the last three years is outrageous,' said Jay Sekulow, the President's personal attorney, who joined White House Counsel Pat Cipollone in arguing against the impeachment charges. 'It's very difficult to sit there and listen to Mr. Schiff tell the tale that he just told,' Cipollone said, in one of the first direct jabs of the impeachment trial. “A partisan impeachment is like stealing an election,” Cipollone added. While there were GOP differences on the rules package offered by Republican leaders, GOP Senators stuck together on the first substantive vote of the impeachment trial, defeating an effort by Democrats to subpoena certain materials from the White House. The first vote was 53-47 to block an amendment offered by the Democratic Leader, Sen. Schumer.  It was straight along party lines. A second vote along party lines blocked a call by Democrats to subpoena documents from the State Department. Opening arguments are expected to begin on Wednesday.