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Latest from Kevin Rafuse

    Week one of High School football kicks off Friday night all across Central Florida.  Matchups this week include: Edgewater at Bishop Moore, kick off at 7 Stoneman Douglas at Colonial, kick off at 7 Timber Creek at Boone, kick off at 7 Jones at Raines, kick off at 7 Cypress Creek at Windermere High, kick off at 7 Dr. Phillips at Seminole, kick off at 7 Hagerty at Lake Nona, kick off at 7 University at East River, kick off at 7 Central Florida Christian at Cornerstone Charter, kick off at 7 Evans at Freedom, kick off at 7 Osceola at Harmony, kick off at 7:30 Pine Ridge at Celebration, kick off at 7 Winter Springs at Oviedo, kick off at 7 St. Cloud at Bayside, kick off at 7 Jupiter at Tohopekaliga, kick off at 7 Wekiva at Winter Park, kick off at 7 Orlando Christian Prep at Seffner Christian, kick off at 7:30 Ocoee at Oak Ridge, kick off at 7 Olympia at West Orange, kick off at 7 Lyman at Lake Mary, kick off at 7 Lake Howell at Poinciana, kick off at 7 West Oaks at the First Academy, kick off at 7 Faith Christian at Bronson, kick off at 7 Lake Highland Prep at Mount Dora Christian, kick off at 7 Merritt Island at Gateway, kick off at 7:30 Liberty at Lake Brantley, kick off at 7
  • Orlando Police have arrested 21-year old Chasjuan Allen for the murder of George Dallas at an Orlando apartment complex. Back on June 28th, Dallas was shot and killed at the Orlando on the Lake apartments on South Ivey Lane near West Gore Street. Police had previously arrested 18-year Miguel Bush in connection with the murder. Both Allen and Bush are facing first degree murder charges. Investigators said Dallas had been shot in the neck and was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center, where he died July 1.
  • SunRail announced today that they’ll be adding a special southbound, late train to accomidate riders going to Tuesday night’s Orlando City vs. Atlanta United F.C. match. The special train leaves from the southbound Church Street Station at 10:30 p.m., in addition to the regular northbound train that also leaves at that time. Regular fairs will apply on that train. Orlando City is taking on Atlanta United F.C. at Exploria Stadium in the U.S. Open Cup semifinal match.
  • The ramp from southbound State Road 417 to eastbound State Road 408 is scheduled to close tonight from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. for overhead sign work. Drivers will be shifted onto the Curry Ford Road exit, then re-enter northbound State Road 417 to return to eastbound State Road 408.  The work could take longer if bad weather happens. All tolls at Curry Ford Road will be suspended during the detour. The work is part of the $90.7 million State Road 408/State Road 417 interchange project.  The project’s estimated finish date is late 2019.
  • 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.
  • Orlando police are asking for help identifying two persons of interest after a carjacking near Camping World Stadium. On July 9th, the pair carjacked a gray Jeep Cherokee after the victim refused to give them a dollar. The pair knocked the victim to the ground before speeding off. The victim had minor injuries and was taken to the hospital. An investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to call police.
  • Orlando gas prices have dropped over the past week, averaging $2.58 a gallon in Orlando. According to GasBuddy, gas prices have fallen 6.9 cents in the past week, and are 17.6 cents per gallon lower than a year ago. The drop in Orlando comes amid a rise in national gas prices, as they’ve gone up 3.3 cents over the past week. The average national prices for a gallon of gas is $2.79. Patrick DeHaan from GasBuddy said, “With Barry in the rearview, we are unlikely to see major disruptions arise, and gas prices nationally will avoid seeing much of a price rise as a result.” The Orlando average price of $2.58 is slightly lower than the Florida average, which is $2.62.  The cheapest station in Orlando right now is priced at $2.43 a gallon, while the most expensive is $2.89 a gallon.
  • The number of people injured by fireworks in Orlando on the 4th of July dropped this year compared to last year. Orlando Health said that four people were brought into the Orlando Health Trauma Department since the holiday. In 2018, fifteen people were taken to the hospital with firework related injuries. Orlando Health said the majority of those injuries were to people’s hands and fingers. Doctors at Orlando Health believe more firework safety education, and the rainy weather this holiday played a role in the decrease.
  • Drivers on John Young Parkway will see a traffic shift on Wednesday and Thursday night this week. The traffic shift is for overnight work between Technology Drive and Silver Star Road and will affect all drivers between West Colonial Drive and Shader Road. Traffic will be moved east onto the newly constructed northbound lanes. At a later date, the remaining northbound lanes between Shader Road and Silver Star Road will be shifted. The work is all part of an ongoing project to widen John Young Parkway between Colonial Drive and Shader Road. Electronic signs will be active to warn drivers about the change.
  • A Kissimmee man is dead after he got into a motorocycle accident in Orlando. Florida Highway Patrol said 39-year old Firas Alsaadon was driving in the parking lot off 36th Street when he lost control of the motorcycle. Alsaadon then crashed into a fence and was thrown from the motorcycle. Troopers found him around 7:45 this morning next to the bike. Alsaadon was not wearing a helmet. It’s unclear if alcohol was a factor in the accident.
  • Kevin Rafuse

    Anchor/Reporter

    Kevin Rafuse is a reporter and anchor for News 96.5 WDBO. 

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The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • Usually the Central Florida International Auto Show starts over Thanksgiving, but this year, they chose to have it in September to make more room on the show floor for more manufacturing companies. This weekend's event at the Orange County Convention Center features more than 400 of the latest brand of cars, trucks, crossovers, you name it- and you can test them out! Good thing is you don't have to feel pressured to buy anything because everything on display is for informative and planning purposes only. You can get in, get a feel for it, read all the stuff like mileage and what not, and eventually, you can decide for yourself if its something you want to invest in. Some of the new models include the 2020 Toyota Supra, the 2020 Lincoln Corsair, and the 2020 Nissan 50th Anniversary Z. They have product specialist there to answer any questions you may have.  There is also plenty of stuff to do for the kids in case they get bored. They can bounce around on a bungee rope, have their picture taken in a Formula 1 type racing car, get their faces painted, or even take a ride as many times as they want at the Camp Jeep test track which features the iconic Jeep Mountain, which is an 18 foot, 35 degree hill climb.  You can check out our exclusive look at the ride so you know what to expect here:   https://www.facebook.com/965Orlando/videos/627153287691443/ The event lasts throughout the weekend with it wrapping up on Sunday from 10 am to 6pm. Admission for adults(13 and over) is $12, $7 for seniors(62 and older), military or first responders( with ID) and students 21 and under, and free for kids under 12 with an accompanying adult.  You can check out our gallery which features some of the newer cars and even some of the classic cars on display here: https://www.news965.com/news/local/check-out-these-cars-the-central-international-auto-show/G5U1EOCfSRM0mpO0AkXrQK/
  • School leaders at Lake Mary High School in Seminole County say that two students have been arrested for reportedly brining weapons on school campus. According to a Seminole County Sheriff's Office incident report, 14 year old Curtis Leonard was called to the discipline office on Thursday for an unrelated incident. When he he opened his backpack, that's when an administrator noticed a gun and notified a deputy. Deputies say the chamber was loaded, but the gun was disassembled.  Leonard now faces a felony charge of possession of a firearm of school property and was taken to the Juvenile Assessment Center. This is the second incident within the last year where a student managed to sneak a gun onto the campus.  Following this incident, school leaders say another situation happened on Friday where students came forward and accused a 15 year old student of carrying a weapon on school grounds. They say 15 year old Bernard Blackmon was located with a 7 inch fishing knife and was arrested. The arrest report shows Blackmon has also been charged with possession of a weapon on school property.  In response of these incidents, school leaders say that they are testing new technology as part of a pilot program which acts similar to metal detectors, but can be used in more places. They also want to remind students to report any suspicious activities by calling the SpeakOut hotline at 800-423-8477 or use their campus app.
  • A North Carolina sheriff stands accused of urging the murder of a former deputy who had a recording of him using racially offensive language, authorities say. Granville County Sheriff Brindell Wilkins was indicted Monday on two counts of felony obstruction of justice, according to court records. Wilkins is accused of trying to get another man to kill former Deputy Joshua Freeman, who he believed was going to expose his racist talk. >> Read more trending news  Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman, who is prosecuting the case, said Wilkins' Aug. 12, 2014, phone conversation with the 'well-known' man who threatened Joshua Freeman's life was caught on tape, according to The News & Observer in Raleigh. Lorrin Freeman and Joshua Freeman are not related. Joshua Freeman worked for the Sheriff's Office from November 2011 to August 2014 but was let go in the days leading up to Wilkins' alleged crimes, WRAL in Raleigh reported. Wilkins, who was reelected in 2018 for a third four-year term, is accused of advising the unnamed man to kill Joshua Freeman, 'whom the defendant knew to have expressed his intention to soon publicly reveal a purported audio recording of the sheriff using racially offensive language to authorities in Raleigh,' the indictment states. The court records do not detail what Wilkins is alleged to have said, or what ultimately happened to the recording of his words. The indictment against the sheriff alleges Wilkins encouraged the man to 'take care of it' and said, 'The only way you gonna stop him is kill him.' According to the indictment, Wilkins counseled the would-be gunman on how to kill Joshua Freeman in a way to avoid getting caught. He offered two tips, according to the document: Get rid of the murder weapon and keep quiet. 'You ain't got the weapon, you ain't got nothing to go on,' Wilkins allegedly told the man, the court records allege. 'The only way we find out these murder things is people talk. You can't tell nobody nothin', not a thing.' Wilkins and the individual discussed a time in which to kill Joshua Freeman and a location that would ensure it would be Wilkins' own Granville County Sheriff's Office investigators who would get the case, the indictment says. Wilkins assured the man he would not tell investigators of his prior knowledge of the crime. The indictment accuses Wilkins of failing to prevent harm to Joshua Freeman or warn him of the 'credible threat' to his life. It alleges the sheriff also failed to seize the gun the other man planned to use, despite the person showing him the weapon at one point. 'The defendant failed to properly execute his duties because of his personal animosity towards Joshua Freeman,' the indictment states. Joshua Freeman was never harmed, though the indictment offers no indication why the alleged plot failed. Wilkins went before a magistrate Monday and was released on $20,000 unsecured bond. Court records show he was ordered to have no contact with anyone named in the indictment. He was also ordered to surrender his passport, if he has one. Read the indictment against Granville County Sheriff Brindell Wilkins below.  Brindell Wilkins Indictment by National Content Desk on Scribd 'No one is above the law,' Lorrin Freeman said Monday, according to WRAL. 'It is always painful when someone who has the public trust faces these types of allegations for voters who put them in that place. 'Any time you have someone who is sworn to uphold the public trust, to protect their community, to investigate and report crimes, allegedly engage in this type of conduct, it is something that needs to be brought to justice, and so we will continue to follow the evidence in this case.' Several followers of Wilkins' public Facebook page offered support in the wake of the indictment. 'You will always have our support,' one woman wrote. 'Praying for you and your family.' 'Our friendship goes back 30 years or more and you have always been a great friend to me,' another woman wrote. 'You were there for me many times. I believe in you and you have my support, always.' Lorrin Freeman said Wake County is handling the case because Mike Waters, her counterpart in Granville County, could potentially become an important witness at trial. Waters, who addressed the case in a statement on his office's Facebook page, wrote to Lorrin Freeman in November to ask her to look into the case. Watch Wake County DA Lorrin Freeman discuss the case below, courtesy of the News & Observer. WRAL reported that Joshua Freeman, who Waters represented in 2014 while in private practice, gave the future prosecutor the tape recording of Wilkins' conversation with the man who talked of killing the former deputy. It was not clear Friday how Freeman obtained the recording. Waters said he immediately turned the tape over to the FBI. The Washington Post reported that Waters met with North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation agents about the recording in January 2017, but nothing happened. 'Quite frankly, it did not get to the top of their investigative list,' Lorrin Freeman told WRAL about SBI agents. Waters gave the recording to a different SBI agent in October 2018, but still, no investigation was initiated, the Post reported. That is when Waters turned to Lorrin Freeman to initiate a probe into the sheriff. She agreed. 'I have reviewed this recording,' Lorrin Freeman wrote to SBI agents, according to the Post. 'It contains a conversation between two individuals, one of whom appears to be the Granville County sheriff, about a former deputy sheriff and culminates in a discussion about committing a homicide.' In his Facebook statement, Waters expressed frustration at the amount of time it took to get an investigation going. 'At all times since (turning over the recording), I have provided assistance to investigators, and once Ms. Freeman opened a criminal investigation, have urged that this matter be given investigative priority,' Waters wrote. 'I understand it is a matter of great importance to the people of Granville County, and it has been a point of frustration that the investigative process has not been more expeditious.' He wrote that any allegations of wrongdoing by law enforcement are troubling, particularly when they involve a sheriff elected by the community. 'Over the next few months, my office will continue to lend assistance to the ongoing investigation as requested, while we continue to do our daily work of protecting victims, prosecuting those who violate the law and seeing that justice is administered,' Waters said. WRAL reported Lorrin Freeman said she worked to obtain obstruction charges against Wilkins because obstruction would be easier to prove in the five-year old case than solicitation of murder or conspiracy. The Granville County Board of Commissioners met Tuesday to discuss the indictment, but County Attorney Jim Wrenn said the board has no authority to remove Wilkins, an elected official, from office as his criminal case winds its way through the court system, WRAL reported. Lorrin Freeman confirmed that fact to the News & Observer. 'Technically, he can continue to serve if he chooses, until convicted,' Freeman told the newspaper. Spectrum News' Charlotte bureau reported that Wilkins has indicated he will not step down. Wrenn said he is considering trying to get Wilkins out of office through the courts but wants to hear the recording himself before making that decision. Gerry Cohen, former special counsel to the North Carolina General Assembly, said state law has a provision allowing a judge to suspend a sheriff and allow a county commission to appoint a temporary replacement pending the outcome of a criminal case. 'The statute is there to allow removal of sheriff,' Cohen told Spectrum News. 'One of six causes is, in fact, conviction of felony. Others are some of the things in his indictment, like willful misconduct, corruption, willful neglect or refusal to perform duties of his office. Some of them match the charges in his indictment.' The News & Observer reported that the probe into Wilkins' alleged actions against Joshua Freeman has led to investigations of the Granville County Sheriff's Office's accounting practices, as well as the operations of its drug unit. Freeman was a member of the drug unit when he was with the agency. 'Part of this investigation has centered on why this sort of conversation would have occurred, what the underlying motivation would have been,' Lorrin Freeman said Tuesday, according to the newspaper. 'Additional information has come to light regarding operations and accounting practices of the Granville County narcotics interdiction team.' Those investigations remain ongoing.
  • President Donald Trump called reports that a U.S. intelligence official filed a whistleblower complaint against him last month 'a ridiculous story' while speaking Friday to reporters in the Oval Office. >> Read more trending news  According to the Washington Post, the president made an unspecified 'promise' to an unidentified foreign leader that concerned the intelligence official. The official filed a complaint Aug. 12, two anonymous former U.S. officials told the newspaper, though lawmakers said Thursday they had yet to see the complaint. The intelligence community's inspector general, Michael Atkinson, appeared before the House Intelligence Committee behind closed doors Thursday but declined, under administration orders, to reveal the substance of the complaint. Update 7:40 p.m. EDT Sept. 20: Former Vice President Joe Biden has released a statement on the whistleblower's complaint against President Trump. In it, Biden describes Trump's alleged behavior as 'abhorrent' and calls on him to release a full transcript of the call 'so that the American people can be judged for themselves.' The entire statement reads: Update 4:40 p.m. EDT Sept 20: The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the son of Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter. The Journal reported Trump asked Zelensky to work with Rudy Giuliani to determine whether Biden 'worked to shield from investigation a Ukrainian gas company with ties to his son, Hunter Biden.'  Trump made the request about eight times during a phone call in July, according to the Journal. Trump was asked Friday if be brought up Biden in the call with Zelenskiy, and he answered, 'It doesn't matter what I discussed.' But then he used the moment to urge the media 'to look into' Biden's background with Ukraine. Trump and Zelenskiy are to meet on the sidelines of the United Nations next week. Update 1 p.m. EDT Sept. 20: President Donald Trump told reporters Friday that the person behind the complaint filed against him was a 'partisan whistleblower' who 'shouldn't even have information,' though he added that he did not know the person's identity. 'I don't even know exactly who you're talking about,' Trump said. 'I don't know the identity of the whistleblower. I just hear it's a partisan person, meaning it comes out from another party.' Trump said Friday that he's spoken with several world leaders and that his conversations with them were 'always appropriate.' Details surrounding the complaint remained unclear Friday afternoon, though The Washington Post and The New York Times reported at least some of the allegations centered on Ukraine. Both newspapers cited unidentified sources. Asked if he knew if the whistleblower's complaint centered on a July 25 phone call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, the president responded 'I really don't know' but continued to insist any phone call he made with a head of state was 'perfectly fine and respectful.' Update 9:50 p.m. EDT Sept. 19: The whistleblower complaint against Donald Trump centers around Ukraine, two anonymous sources confirmed to The Washington Post Thursday evening. The New York Times and ABC News are also citing anonymous sources, saying the complaint involves Ukraine. It's not clear exactly how Ukraine fits into the allegations. However, Trump spoke on the phone with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky two and a half weeks before the complaint was filed, the Post reported. That call was already under investigation by House Democrats, who are looking into whether Trump and his attorney, Rudy Giuliani, tried to manipulate the Ukrainian government into helping with Trump's re-election campaign, according to The Post. Update 1:45 p.m. EDT Sept. 19:  The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee suggested Thursday that lawmakers could ask a judge to compel White House officials to share with Congress a whistleblower complaint allegedly filed last month against Trump. The complaint was filed Aug. 12 and involved an undisclosed 'promise' made by the president to an unidentified foreign leader, CNN reported Atkinson declined to share details of the complaint during a closed meeting of the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday, citing a lack of authorization. 'We do know that the Department of Justice has been involved in the decision to withhold that information from Congress,' Schiff told reporters Thursday. 'We do not know -- because we cannot get an answer to the question -- about whether the White House is also involved in preventing this information from coming to Congress.' He said lawmakers had yet to see the complaint by Thursday afternoon. 'We do not know whether press reports are accurate or inaccurate about the contents of the complaint,' he said. Earlier Thursday, the president denied having done anything inappropriate. Update 1 p.m. EDT Sept. 19: Trump on Thursday denied any wrongdoing after reports claimed a whistleblower had come forward with a complaint about the president making an unspecified promise to a foreign leader. 'Another Fake News story out there - it never ends!' Trump wrote Thursday in a tweet. 'Virtually anytime I speak on the phone to a foreign leader, I understand that there may be many people listening from various U.S. agencies, not to mention those from the other country itself. 'Knowing all of this, is anybody dumb enough to believe that I would say something inappropriate with a foreign leader while on such a potentially 'heavily populated' call. I would only do what is right anyway, and only do good for the USA!' Original report: The promise occurred during a phone conversation with the leader, one source told the Post. Details about the alleged pledge and the leader's identity was not immediately available. Although Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community's inspector general, believed that the whistleblower complaint warranted 'urgent concern,' acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire so far has declined to provide information about the communication to the House Intelligence Committee, the Post reported. A closed hearing with Atkinson is slated for Thursday, the committee said. Maguire is expected to testify publicly Sept. 26, according to the committee's chairman, U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • Police are responding to the Woodfield Mall after an SUV drove into a Sears and through the mall walkways. WGN is reporting that the driver is in custody.  So far there have been no reports of injures. Video posted on Twitter shows a black SUV driving past a Forever 21, and people running away.

Washington Insider

  • The White House campaign of Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) teetered on the edge of being abandoned in coming days, as the candidate on Saturday publicly confirmed the existence of an internal memo which bluntly said that unless Booker could get a surge of donations in the next ten days, his 2020 campaign was doomed. 'I want people to see where we are and understand that we have a pathway to victory,' Booker wrote on Twitter Saturday morning, 'but I can’t walk it alone.' Booker's comments came soon after NBC News had reported that the campaign's top aide told the candidate and staff that a major infusion of money was needed to keep Booker's campaign going. 'This isn’t an end-of-quarter stunt or one of those memos from a campaign trying to spin the press,' said Addisu Demissie. Booker's predicament in the Democratic race is much like a large number of other candidates right now - they are mired in low single digits in most polls, and have shown no ability to break out of that group to challenge the leaders in the race. For example, in the latest national poll from Fox News on the Democratic race, Booker is a 3 percent - that's where he was in August, June, and May. Others who have shown little to no ability to jump up in recent polls would include Marianne Williamson, Tim Ryan, Tulsi Gabbard, Tom Steyer, Julian Castro, John Delaney and Michael Bennet. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio was also in that group - he officially quit the race on Friday. Others stuck in the polls have been Andrew Yang, Amy Klobuchar, and Beto O'Rourke - and even Pete Buttigieg and Kamala Harris - who while they are above most of those in the race, the two have been unable to make up ground on the Democratic Party leaders. Harris encountered rough waters in the last week as repeated stories reported that her campaign was going to focus much more on Iowa - a decision which is often a signal of broader difficulty for a presidential candidate. Meanwhile, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders seem locked in to the top three spots in the Democratic race, with little evidence that any of the other Democrats were going to be able to pull them down at this point. And for Booker - it's been a bridge too far. “Now or Never,” his campaign chief wrote.