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Latest from Brandon Hogan

    Parking lots surrounding Camping World Stadium opened at 10 AM, exclusively designated by the City of Orlando for sports fans attending the 2020 Pro Bowl. Even with tickets costing upwards of thirty dollars, these parking lots could theoretically fill up and leave people literally in the street when it comes time to find a spot. Thinking ahead, the city has issued special instructions for everyone who wants a shot at getting in the game this afternoon. While most parking garages on the West side of Orlando have been roped-off for the event, virtually all public parking on the East side is up for grabs. Just a short ride-share or Lime scooter rental away from the stadium, the parking lots are sandwiched largely between E South St and E Amelia St: Mobile users, see map here. Be mindful of the road closures as well, notice that most streets immediately around Camping World are foot-traffic only. The gates open at 12 PM, kick-off is at 3 PM; if you can’t make it down there in time, you can always watch the 2020 Pro Bowl live by joining our news partners at Channel 9.
  • Some may call it odd, rescheduling a rocket launch due to bad weather when it was destined to blow up either way, but it can also be seen as a testament to NASA’s obsession with perfection. At 10:30 AM Sunday, Jan. 19, the SpaceX Falcon Nine rocket launched just one day behind schedule from the Kennedy Space Center, carrying an unmanned Dragon crew capsule. Ninety seconds after launch, the Dragon capsule began its safety test, rocketing away from the Falcon Nine shortly before a spectacular timed detonation of the ship’s fuel tanks: Countdown begins at 1:44:00, mobile users see video here. Some large pieces of the Falcon Nine are said to have survived, but the Dragon capsule itself is still in one piece. Ten minutes after takeoff, the capsule successfully parachuted into the Atlantic Ocean to the timeless cheering of NASA engineers in mission control. Sunday morning’s demonstration clears the way for SpaceX’s first crewed flight test to the International Space Station with NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken. This is the next step towards once again launching American astronauts from U.S. soil, something that hasn’t been done since the termination of the Space Shuttle program in 2011.
  • It can take anywhere from five to seven hours for the average person to complete a 26.2 mile marathon, but not for folks like Nick Hilton of Flagstaff. The Arizonian athlete ran his race in just two hours, 22 minutes, and 19 seconds. Hilton is now a two-time gold medalist at the event, having won previously in January 2018. “It means the world, ever since I won that first one I wanted to come back and do it again.” Mobile users see tweet here. Hilton’s time in 2018 was incrementally faster than today’s splits, taking just over two hours and 17 minutes. On the women’s side, Giovanna Martins of Brazil crossed the finish line after two hours and 54 minutes: Mobile users see tweet here. In the post-race interview, Channel 9 Sports reporter Christian Bruey asked Hilton if the win makes him feel optimistic for his upcoming U.S. Olympic marathon trials in February: “It does, yeah it does, I think I’m ready to roll, my fitness is there. Obviously it’s as long as a long shot could be, but I just want to go have a good experience and have fun in Atlanta.” It’s estimated that this weekend’s races drew about 75,000 people to Central Florida, surpassing 2019’s attendance by nearly 10,000 runners. Sunday’s marathon capped a four-race schedule; a 5K on Thursday was followed by a 10K on Friday, and a penultimate half marathon Saturday. Runners that sought to finish all four races participated in the “Dopey Challenge.” Sources close to the race tell us that over 8,000 people committed to said challenge, running 48.6 miles in four consecutive days.
  • Police are still on the lookout for two suspects who robbed a local gas station Sunday morning. At approximately 6:45 AM on December 15, surveillance footage shows how two people held up an employee of the Circle K at 4680 N. Orange Blossom Trail, across the street from the Lake Fairview Marina. Demanding cash from the registers, their faces partially obscured by clothing as one of them points a pistol at the cashier and the other hops the counter, the suspects soon fled on foot. Mobile users see video here. The two robbers are still at large at the time of this report, and Orlando Police hope that viewers can help track them down. If you have any information, please call Crimeline at 800-423-8477.
  • Some new detours and lane closures are scheduled for our Seminole County commuters. Construction begins at 8:30 PM Friday night and will last until 6:30 Monday morning. As FDOT widens the few miles of 17-92 near Seminole state college from four to six lanes, thru traffic won't be affected. However, Northbound drivers will have to take an early detour if they need to turn left at Ronald Reagan Blvd.  Southbound drivers wishing to turn left into Parks Lincoln of Longwood are asked to make a U-turn farther down the road. Additionally, Westbound drivers on Ronald Reagan Blvd turning left on Southbound 17-92 will not have a detour, but are asked to follow channeling devices to keep traffic flowing smoothly during construction: FDOT reminds drivers to stay alert and use caution while driving, as safety doesn’t happen by accident.
  • Attending the 20th annual Veterans Day parade in downtown Orlando is just one of many ways you can honor the upcoming national holiday in Central Florida. The parade will last from 11 AM to 1 PM, starting at the corner of Robinson Street and North Orange Avenue, marching around the block to the intersection of Robinson and North Rosalind Avenue. The city has provided a map of relevant daytime road closures, all of which should be lifted by 3 PM: The Kissimmee Veterans Day parade also kicks off today at 10 AM in front of the Osceola County courthouse. In Sanford, at 600 East 1st street, a scaled-down replica of the Vietnam Memorial is on display for public viewing until November 11. A Veterans Day celebration in Seminole county is sure to attract a crowd with food and fireworks at VFW Post 10139, 300 Lake Mills Avenue, from 5 to 10 PM. At the American Legion in Casselberry, 2706 Wells Avenue, a flag retirement ceremony will be held at 3 PM for locals to dispose of old, worn-down American flags in a respectful manner. In Maitland, 10 AM on November 10 at 2121 Brook Drive, locals will team up with active service members, cadets, and scouts to place new flags on the graves of military veterans. Apopka’s Veterans Day festival is the first event on this list to fall on the holiday itself, November 11, with live performances and fun at 5th Street and Central Avenue from 5 to 9 PM. Also on the 11th, a Veterans Day tribute will be held at the Winter Springs Town Center from 6 to 7 PM at 150 Tuskawilla Road. Notable local events apart from a Veterans Day theme include the UCF / Prairie View A&M game at the Addition Area tonight at 6 PM, the College Park Jazz Fest tonight at 9 PM, and Maker Faire Orlando, a family friendly showcase of invention and creativity at the Central Florida Fairgrounds on Colonial, November 9 and 10. And of course, the ongoing Electric Daisy Carnival at Tinker field enters a second day; the roads around Camping World stadium, including parts of South Street and Colyer Avenue, are closed all weekend.
  • One person is dead in Cocoa after crashing their car into a utility pole on a residential street, splitting the vehicle in half. Cocoa police say that the driver died at the scene, on School Street near the historic Cocoa Village. Officers have not yet publicly identified the driver at the time of this report, nor have they said what they believe led to the crash.
  • Authorities responded to a call about the fissure at 6:20 P.M., Tuesday evening. Altamonte Springs Police say that the possible sinkhole has since grown in size, threatening the Royal Arms condominium at the 500 block of Orange Drive. Channel Nine reporter Ken Tyndall arrived that night to assess the damage and take photographs. Mobile users see tweet here. The hole appeared to be at least 20 feet wide and just as deep. Deputies say that they don’t yet have an accurate measurement at the time of this report. The entire 16-unit building was evacuated as the ground beneath it was slowly eaten away. As deputies wait for engineers to explain exactly what’s happening, the American Red Cross says they’re arranging temporary shelter for the apartments’ 13 residents. No injuries are reported.
  • Tropical Storm Nestor hit the panhandle so hard October 18 that tornadoes organized all the way down here in Central Florida.  One of them touched down near Seminole, FL; it damaged a mobile home park without injuries, the National Weather Service reports. Hours later, another tornado organized in Hillsborough County and ripped into Polk County, damaging at least 50 homes and businesses. The latter took the roof off of a man’s garage in the Carillon Lakes neighborhood of Lakeland, FL. As he documented the damage to his home, he turned his camera around to find a herd of cows wandering through the street. The video, published by Fun in the Sun Floridian, shows about nine cows following their rancher among houses damaged by the 120 mph winds. Mobile users see video here. The community appeared bemused, the unidentified Lakeland man says that he and his neighbors are thankful no one was hurt. It’s likely that the violent weather destroyed the rancher’s fences, but a definite reason has not been pinned down at the time of this report.
  • Police say that new footage has given them a lead in the search for an Orlando-area toddler’s parents. Surveillance video recorded on Monday shows two suspects walking away from a burning car with the three-year-old boy. The Buffalo Police Department now confirms that the boy’s parents, with their child and a family friend, drove that car to New York after renting it in Orlando. BPD Captain Jeff Rinaldo provided commentary as the video was shown to the public for the first time: Mobile users see video here. Rinaldo says that the remains of two bodies were found inside of that vehicle, but the search is still on for the toddler’s parents, 31-year-old Miguel Anthony Valentin-Colon and 24-year-old Nicole Merced Plaud, as well as for the family friend who was with them.   The boy is now in the custody of Child Protective Services.
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  • A strong earthquake was reported Tuesday afternoon in the Caribbean Sea between Cuba and Jamaica, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The earthquake was reported around 2:10 p.m. EST, according to officials. It was centered about 78 miles south-southeast of Lucea, Jamaica and 87 miles east-northeast of Niquero, Cuba. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage caused by the temblor. Reports to USGS showed the earthquake was felt as far away as South Florida. In Miami, fire officials ordered a precautionary evacuation of the Stephen P. Clark Government Center, where some reported feeling the quake, according to the Miami Herald. Officials with the National Weather Service’s Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said the earthquake posed no tsunami threat. Tuesday’s temblor is the fourth magnitude 7 or above quake felt in the Caribbean since 2000, USA Today reported. Officials with the USGS initially said the earthquake had a magnitude of 7.3.
  • A California sex offender already in prison on unrelated charges has been accused of torturing and killing five of his own infant children over a nine-year span between 1992 and 2001, authorities said. Paul Allen Perez, 57, was arrested on five counts of premeditated murder Monday, days before he was due to be paroled from prison. According to California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation records, Perez has been in Kern Valley State Prison in Delano since August 2010. He was arrested on the murder charges at Kern Valley, Yolo County Sheriff Tom Lopez said during a news conference Monday morning. “The fact that he was not allowed to walk out of that prison a free man cannot be overlooked,” Lopez said. Perez is accused in the deaths of Nikko Lee Perez, Kato Allen Perez, Mika Alena Perez, Kato Krow Perez and another infant named Nikko Lee Perez, who was born the year after the brother who shared his name. His murder charges include the special circumstances of lying in wait, torture and multiple victims. According to The Associated Press, he also faces charges of assault on a child under 8 and criminal enhancements due to his prior convictions. Lopez described the alleged slayings as acts of “unspeakable evil” that “ignited a resolve in the hearts of all involved to bring justice to the vulnerable and innocent victims of this case.” Perez, a convicted sex offender, became a murder suspect after investigators took a look at the cold case of a slain infant found March 29, 2007, in an irrigation slough just east of Woodland. According to the AP, the baby boy was wrapped in a Winnie the Pooh blanket and a layer of plastic before being placed in a metal cooler. The cooler was weighed down with heavy objects and submerged in the slough, located about 15 miles northwest of Sacramento. The infant, who was about 3 months old when he died, suffered a fractured skull and other blunt force trauma, the AP reported. He also had healing fractures, including broken ribs, that showed a pattern of abuse. Lopez said having the unsolved case on the books haunted investigators in the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office. The case remained unsolved until October, when DNA testing identified the boy as Nikko Lee Perez, who was born Nov. 8, 1996, in Fresno. The sheriff did not go into details of how Nikko’s DNA led to his identification. Fresno is about 190 miles from where the infant’s body was found. It was not immediately clear if his body was in the slough the entire nine years before it was found or if he was hidden elsewhere and dumped there more recently. Watch the news conference with Yolo County law enforcement officials below.  “His identification is the result of extraordinary work done by the Yolo County Coroner’s Office and the California Department of Justice (Bureau of) Forensic Services’ Jan Bashinski DNA Laboratory in Richmond,” Lopez said. “What began as a single unsolved homicide has become so much more. “Sadly, we learned during this investigation that Nikko was not an only child.” Detectives discovered that Nikko had at least four siblings, including Kato Allen Perez, who was born in 1992 in Merced and was known to have died. Kato’s cause and manner of death were not detailed Monday morning. The whereabouts of the other three siblings -- Mika, who was born in 1995; the second Nikko, who was born in 1997; and Kato Krow, born in 2001 -- are unknown, but investigators believe they, too, are dead. “All are now believed to have been murdered as infants,” Lopez said. The fisherman who discovered Nikko’s remains in 2007 told the AP he has never forgotten what he saw that day. “When I opened that box, I was 99 percent sure it was a human body, but I wanted to hold onto the belief that maybe it wasn’t,” Brian Roller said. “When I saw one of the officers (at the scene) start to cry, I knew right then that what I was thinking was true.” Roller told the news agency he was relieved to learn the long-ago mystery had been solved. Lopez said while DNA testing provided the break in the case, it was the “human element” that ultimately led to Perez’s arrest. He said a team of investigators “determined to learn the truth” spent countless hours on the case. “While I am proud of the efforts of my investigators and coroner’s office, this is not a day that will bring joy to any one of us,” Lopez said in a written statement. “In my 40 years in law enforcement, I cannot think of a case more disturbing than this one. There can be no victim more vulnerable and innocent than an infant, and unfortunately this case involves five.” Lopez told reporters he could not answer questions Monday about the case, which is still extremely active. In particular, he said he could not discuss anything regarding additional family members of either Perez or the slain children. Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig, who also spoke at Monday’s news conference, said Perez is eligible for the death penalty. His office is still reviewing the case to determine if it will seek it. The AP reported that Perez was first sent to prison in 1990, sentenced to two years for assault with the intent to commit a sex offense. He was released the following year, according to California’s sex offender registry. He has also served time for vehicle theft, possession of a deadly weapon by an inmate and fleeing while on parole, according to the AP. Anyone with information on Perez or the slain infants is urged to contact the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office at 530-668-5280 or 530-666-8282. Anonymous tips can be called in at 530-668-5248.
  • Butler County and Miami University officials are investigating two possible cases of coronavirus at Miami. Miami officials informed the Butler County General Health District about the possible cases on Tuesday. The people had recently traveled to and returned from China, officials said. They are in isolation and “not severely ill,” officials said in a news release. Samples from their tests were sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday. Officials said that, unless someone has recently traveled from China or been near someone ill with the new virus, their risk is low. In an email to the Miami community, officials said a student went to the Student Health Services with “very mild symptoms” on Monday after recently traveling to China. The student “met the criteria for 2019-Coronavirus testing,” and officials expect results from the CDC “in the coming days.” The student and his traveling companion are being isolated in their residence that is away from campus awaiting the test results, the email said. About a dozen Miami University Regional campus students in Hamilton and Middletown list their residence near the area in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, where the outbreak began in December, according to school officials. It’s unclear how many of those students returned home for winter break and how many remained in the U.S. Officials are asking those who traveled to China and are experiencing symptoms to contact their doctor before traveling to the doctor’s office. The Butler County General Health District has produced a fact sheet about the virus. “This is what public health does and why we train,” Jennifer Bailer, health commissioner for the Butler County General Health District, said in a news release. “Our staff, officials at Miami University and the Ohio Department of Health are taking every precaution to keep the community safe. “The same precautions that protect against catching and spreading the flu are likely to be helpful for this respiratory virus: Wash your hands regularly, avoid touching your nose and eyes, cover your mouth when you cough and sneeze and don’t go to work if ill. Displaying compassion to all people will be vital as the situation evolves.”
  • Authorities in Pennsylvania have filed charges against a 21-year-old man accused of pouring hot sauce into a 7-month-old girl’s mouth and attacking her mother Monday, according to multiple reports. Johnstown police arrested David Jones, 21, on charges of aggravated assault on a person under 6, strangulation, simple assault and harassment, WNEP reported. In a criminal complaint obtained by The Tribune-Democrat, authorities said they were called around 3 a.m. Monday to a home on the 200 block of Ohio Street. A woman told police Jones hit her child, poured hot sauce into the infant’s mouth and sat on the girl, the newspaper reported. The woman said that when she tried to intervene, Jones grabbed her by the neck, threw her against a wall and choked her for about 30 seconds, The Tribune-Democrat and WTAJ reported. Authorities said the woman managed to flee to a neighbor’s home, where she called 911, according to WNEP. “(Police) found the baby responsive with a very clear red rectangular line on her stomach consistent with the foot of the bassinet,” The Tribune-Democrat reported. The child was taken to Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center for evaluation of her injuries, according to WTAJ. A judge ordered Jones held in Cambria County Prison on a $10,000 bond, according to The Tribune-Democrat. Records from Cambria County showed he remained jailed Tuesday.
  • Lots of people associate dip with he Super Bowl, so it's appropriate that Bush's has created a 70-layer bean dip, weighing 1,087 pounds in honor of the upcoming Super Bowl. They say the dip has '10 unique 7-layer bean dip recipes' stacked on top of one another, and was officially recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records last week. (More)

Washington Insider

  • With Republican Senators facing uncertainty over whether to call witnesses like former national security adviser John Bolton, President Donald Trump's legal team wrapped up its opening arguments in the President's impeachment trial on Tuesday by calling on the Senate to reject the case from House Democrats. 'It is time for this end end here now,' said White House Counsel Pat Cipollone. 'We urge the Senate to reject these articles of impeachment.' After almost completely ignoring the question of whether Bolton could tell a story about the President's actions regarding Ukraine, the Trump legal team took on Bolton directly on Tuesday afternoon. 'Nothing in the Bolton revelations, even if true - even if true - would rise to the level of abuse of power or an impeachable offense,' said the President's personal lawyer Jay Sekulow. 'You cannot impeach a President on an unsourced allegation,' Sekulow concluded, as he said the President's defense was 'compelling.' Originally, the White House legal team seemed to be ready to go until close to dinner - but instead used less than two hours of arguments in their third and final day before the Senate. Bubbling underneath the surface of the final summary by the White House legal team was the question of whether GOP Senators would agree to call Bolton - and others as witnesses. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said there would not be a scenario where just one witness would be called by the Senate in this impeachment trial. 'If people want witnesses, we're going to get a lot of witnesses,' Graham told reporters before Tuesday's impeachment session began, as he said the GOP would be interested in calling Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, the whistleblower and more. Democrats felt like the White House wrap up was lacking. 'It's clear that they are still reeling from the revelations of John Bolton's book,” said lead House manager Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA).