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Latest from Jessica Davis

    It's definitely not the first time residents of the Springs located in Longwood to see bears, but it's definitely not common to see them in broad daylight. 'I came out and heard a snapping of branches above me and as soon as I looked up, I see the mother bear and her baby,' said one neighbor. Another neighbor said, 'We put the dogs outside in the yard and they start barking like crazy. Well wouldn't you know why, there's two bears up in our tree!' The mother and cub resorted to staying in the shade and trees, most likely to avoid the heat.  Most residents nearby understand the general rule: leave the bears alone, and the bears won't bother you. In the meantime, let's admire those adorable round ears on that cub.
  • It's not the first time residents of the Springs have seen bears, but it's definitely not common to see them in the middle of the day. 'I came out and heard a snapping of branches above me and as soon as I looked up, I see the mother bear and her baby,' says a neighbor. Another neighbor says, 'We put the dogs outside in the yard and they start barking like crazy. Well wouldn't you know why, there's two bears up in our tree!' >> Read more Floridoh! stories The mother and cub seem to be wanting to escape the Floria heat by catching some shade in the trees. Most residents nearby understand the general rule: leave the bears alone, and the bears won't bother you.
  • A panel of law enforcement experts speaking exclusively with News 96.5's Joe Kelley and Star 94.5's Monica May, on what law enforcement is doing in Central Florida Wednesday evening. The expert panel consisted of Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings, Orlando Police Chief John Mina, Sanford Police Chief Cecil Smith, former Chief Judge Belvin Perry, and Executive Director of Crimeline, Barb Bergin. The event being simulcasted by both Star 94.5 and News 96.5, is also aimed for local law enforcement to answer questions from citizens. 
  • Drunk drivers will be targeted by law enforcement officers from several agencies in Orange County Friday night and Saturday morning, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Department.Sheriff's officials said the DUI saturation patrol operation will run from 11 p.m. Friday until 4 a.m.  Saturday. Along with deputies from the sheriff's department, police officers from cities in Orange County and from the University of Central Florida will take part.Officials said the goal of the operation is to remove suspected DUI offenders and traffic violators from the streets and to educate motorists.
  • Jones High School’s head football coach Kevin Lewis confirmed with News965 that they have welcomed their new female football coach, Acoreous Lewis. Acoreous Lewis is an FSU graduate who teaches English at Jones High School.  Except English isn't the only topic she teaches, as she's also a football coach that's been working with the school's offensive and defensive linemen.  'I love sports and I always wanted to be involved with sports...so I end up finding out who the head coach was at Jones High School, and I told him I was interested in coaching football.' Lewis ended up getting the coaching job, but not without raising a few eyebrows.  'He [the coach] was shocked at first but very welcoming, and open and very excited for me to coach football.'  Lewis isn't the first female to be involved with football, as there have been female high school football players before. Coaching however is a completely different matter. I've looked for records indicating if there have been female high school football coaches before in Florida, and so far I've come up empty.  If that's true, then that would make Lewis the first female high school football coach in the state of Florida.  But to Lewis, this coaching position isn't just a score for her, but for women everywhere.  'I really feel like I'm breaking a barrier for women.' Although Lewis doesn't want to end her football coaching career at the high school level. 'One thing I think that is going to be challenging is my pursuit to coach football at a higher level...not as many people would be as accepting to a female coaching football.' Football season doesn't return until the beginning of fall, so Lewis has been working with the offensive and defensive linemen for their upcoming spring game versus Lake Minneola. “I love the coaches I coach with, and I love the enthusiasm about coaching football.' Kickoff against Lake Minneola is 7 pm, on May 21st. 
  • Senior Vice President Katherine Jaeger of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores tells News965 that Florida's painkiller abuse is rising.  Last year the CDC listed Florida as having anywhere between 72 and 82 prescription painkiller medications per 100 people.   According to Jaeger, drug abuse is the leading cause death for adults between 24 and 44.   'More people die from overdosing on prescription pain medication than cocaine and heroine combined.'   Jaeger also credits this rise of abuse to young adults who can get to the medication easier.   'Most young Americans get these prescription pain killers through their family's or friend's medicine cabinet.'  Some of the more popular medications people are getting their hands on are Vicodin, Percocet, and Hydrocodone.   However, Florida did experience a plunge in prescription drug abuse when the state government cracked down on 'pill mills', or clinics that conspire in  prescribing and dispensing controlled substances outside of medical practice standards.   The CDC reports Florida experience a 23 percent decrease from overdoses on prescription pain medication  from 2010 to 2012. 
  • Daytona Beach police are searching for the man who they said punched a 76-year-old woman as she was walking down the street Friday. Police said the unidentified woman was walking northbound on the sidewalk on S. Ridgewood Avenue when she was approached by a man who appeared to be in his 30s. Raw: Man punches elderly woman in face She told police he asked her, “Where’s the freaking police?” twice before he punched her in the face. Surveillance video captured the incident. It shows the woman being punched on the left side of her face and immediately falling to the ground. She was taken to Halifax Hospital with a possible broken nose, bruised left eye and possible brain swelling. Police said the suspect and the victim do not know each other. The man was described as a white, in his 30s with blond hair, and was wearing a white and red shirt, blue jeans and white tennis shoes. Police are offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.
  • It's the second time in a week where the Eye has had to be shut down.  The wheel's operating systems detected an irregularity around 11 AM Thursday, forcing the staff to close down the wheel.  It was later revealed that an oil leak caused the ride to shut down. The ride has been shut down for over 24 hours, and it's still not clear when it will be open again. 
  • In an exclusive interview, I was able to talk to former head coach Earl Holmes before he made his official announcement of suing FAMU. For reminder purposes, Holmes was a legend when he was a player at FAMU.  In his college days, he was known as the Hitman, finishing as the school’s all-time leader in tackles. Holmes was inducted into the FAMU Sports Hall of Fame in 2005. He went on to play in the NFL for 10 seasons, before getting a call to join the football staff at FAMU. He would later make the transition of being defensive  coordinator to head coach. However it would be the week of FAMU’s 2014 Homecoming game where Holmes would be notified that his time as head coach was over.  Holmes tells me, “You know at the end of the day it was done…no one explained anything other than ‘we’re moving in a different direction’.” Holmes finished with an overall 6-16 record but contests that certain athletic department officials were either uncooperative or didn’t communicate  with him.  “I never really got a chance to sit down with Kellen Winslow…there was no communication…When you’re a head coach you try to…especially with someone coming in late, you try to let that person or people know the 3-5 year plan [on rebuilding the program]...but that never took place,” claims Holmes. Now Holmes will be filing a wrongful termination lawsuit today in Leon Circuit Court. Reasons for  Holmes’ suing the school range from the school allegedly breaking of a good-faith and negligent misrepresentation on the part of the university. “To this day, no one has come out and said the truth,” says Holmes. Attorney Tim Jansen will hold a 3 p.m. news conference today at the Leon County Courthouse, where Holmes is expected to speak. “It was very disrespectful.  Again, you put your faith in God and not in man,”says Holmes. It has yet to be confirmed if Holmes has secured a coaching job at the University of Florida. News965 has contacted FAMU’s athletic department and is awaiting their response.
  • From January 1st through January 7th, you may be seeing your neighbors lighting blue lights on their front porch. The blue lights are meant to honor fallen Law Enforcement Officers in an event called National Blue Light for the Fallen. KFSM News in Arkansas reports that the national event was recently started by a woman over social media, Callee Landers who felt like police weren't getting enough support. Landers started a Facebook group called Turn the Neighborhood Blue, which then went viral. Landers says she got the idea after two NYPD cops were shot and killed in December. Now states all over the nation are participating in the National Blue Light for the Fallen event.
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  • A suspect hiding from Pasco County deputies in a swamp after a high-speed chase was arrested covered in slobbery kisses instead of a bite from their K9.  The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office sent out an alert to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office after they say Paul Daniel Smith, 34, resisted arrest and battered a deputy. He took off in a Ford F150.  Deputy Marc Lane spotted the vehicle on US 41 and went after him.  Smith eventually stopped and ran into a heavily wooded, swampy area. With the help of their K9 bloodhound Knox, deputies tracked Smith down through the swamp, finding him stuck in thick mud with water up to his neck. “Stop resisting,” the deputies can be heard saying in the video posted to Facebook. (Facebook) As they try to get Smith out of the mud, instead of biting, Knox covers his face in wet, doggy kisses. Knox’s specialty is finding people, from missing children to wanted men. Smith is facing several charges including aggravated assault and violation of probation. As for Knox, he’s been rewarded for a job well done with his favorite treat: cheese.
  • Have you seen this guy? (tweet) Orlando police need your help in identifying the man who is suspected of attacking an elderly gentleman in the parking lot of the Lake Fredrica Shopping Center on Semoran Boulevard and Lake Margaret Drive. Witnesses say the suspect, a man in his 20s, stood in front of the car of the victim and blocked him from being able to drive away. When the elderly victim got out to confront him, the suspect punched him once, knocking the victim out cold. 'One punch that was all it took,” witness Jennifer Pola tells WKMG. “He hit him dead in the temple, boom. He was out for at least two minutes.' When police arrived, they found the victim, a man in his 60s, on the ground and bleeding.  Pola says the attack was completely unprovoked.  Several witnesses went after the suspect but he got in a vehicle and drove away. They managed to snap a clear photo of him before he took off. Anyone with information is asked to call Orlando police or Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS.
  • The head of the Capitol Hill office which deals with workplace harassment cases said Wednesday that she still does not have the power to reveal the names of lawmakers who used taxpayer dollars to pay legal harassment settlements, drawing sharp rebukes from members of both parties on a House spending panel, as lawmakers in both the House and Senate expressed growing frustration about the matter. “The transparency issue is revolting,” said Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL). “It is absolutely unacceptable that we continue to let members who abuse their employees hide.” At a hearing of a House Appropriations subcommittee, Susan Grundmann, the head of the Congressional Office of Compliance, said that workplace settlements which involve lawmakers, often include non-disclosure agreements, precluding any publicity. “Most settlement agreements – in fact all that I have seen – contain non-disclosure clauses in them,” said Grundmann. “Those are not by our doing.” In my opening statement to @LegBranch_OOC Executive Director Susan Grundmann, I emphasize the need for Congress to remedy workplace harassment on Capitol Hill. How can we expect others to follow our example if we're not willing to acknowledge and address this problem? pic.twitter.com/AHKtaPHVy9 — Congressman Tim Ryan (@RepTimRyan) April 18, 2018 Pressed sharply by both parties at a hearing where she asked for a nine percent budget increase to help deal with harassment training and case reviews, Grundmann made clear there was no plan to reveal the names of members who had engaged in such settlements in the past. “No, I think we are prohibited from under the law – in terms of the strict confidentiality that adheres to each one of our processes, and the non-disclosure agreements, we cannot disclose who they are,” Grundmann added. Grundmann said new reporting standards approved by the House would reveal every six months which offices had some type of legal settlements – and she also said that if a lawmaker agreed to a workplace settlement, taxpayers would pay the bill up front – and then have that member of Congress reimburse Uncle Sam within 90 days. So far, the House and Senate have not finalized an agreement on legislation to set new standards for transparency on workplace settlements involving lawmaker offices, as one leading Democrat today again demanded action by that chamber. “The Senate has no more excuses,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). The Senate has no more excuses. We must pass these reforms before our next recess. Members of BOTH parties, men and women, agree that it’s time to act. https://t.co/vSr7sew5KN — Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) April 19, 2018 Back in Wednesday’s House hearing, lawmakers did not like to hear that while reforms in the House would publicly name the lawmaker and/or a top staffer if they were involved in harassment of other staffers, a Senate reform plan would not be as sweeping. “So, if a Chief of Staff engages in that conduct, or anyone else that isn’t the member, then their conduct is not disclosed?” Wasserman Schultz asked. “That’s correct,” replied Grundmann. “That’s absolutely unacceptable,” the Florida Democrat said. The hearing came days after the resignation of Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX), who had taxpayers foot the bill for an $84,000 settlement with a former office employee – Farenthold had promised to pay that money, but now that he is gone, it seems unlikely to happen. Meanwhile, Grundmann denied press reports in recent weeks that any personal information about sexual harassment or workplace abuses in Congressional offices was left on unsecured computer servers. “We have not been hacked. We have never stored our data on an unsecured server,” as Grundmann said their computer precautions had been described by officials as “Fort Knox.” “Fort Knox doesn’t talk about their cyber security,” she added, offering to brief members in private about the issue
  • U.S. marshals have erected billboards in multiple states as they continue to search for a Minnesota grandmother, gambling addict and alleged killer who is suspected in two homicides, including that of a woman she allegedly killed to assume her identity.  Lois Riess, 56, was last seen April 8 in the area of Corpus Christi, Texas, following what is believed to be a multistate homicide case. She is sought on murder and theft charges in the slaying of Pamela Hutchinson, of Bradenton, who was found shot to death April 9 in a condominium in which she was staying in Fort Myers Beach, Florida.  Riess, who Minnesota law enforcement officers dubbed “Losing Streak Lois” for her penchant for gambling, is also a person of interest in the killing of her husband, David Riess, who was found shot to death March 23 on the couple’s worm farm in Blooming Prairie. In each shooting, the victim had been dead for several days when the body was found. Authorities also believe Lois Riess used the same weapon in both cases. >> Related story: Minnesota grandma sought in deaths of husband, Florida ‘lookalike’ killed for ID The U.S. Marshals Service on Tuesday updated the search for Riess to major status and announced a $5,000 reward for her capture. Another $1,000 in reward money is being made available by Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers.   John Kinsey, a deputy U.S. marshal in Florida, told the Star Tribune in Minneapolis that the billboards are going up in Texas, New Mexico, California and Arizona.  “Unfortunately, there have been no further sightings,” Kinsey told the Star Tribune. “She blends in real well. She is an average, 56-year-old white female walking around, and that is part of the problem.” >> Read more trending news Florida investigators have said Riess killed Hutchinson, 59, for her identity. The women, who were strangers before Riess befriended Hutchinson, bore a striking resemblance to one another.  Surveillance footage from the Smokin’ Oyster Brewery, located two blocks from Hutchinson’ condo at the Marina Village at Snug Harbor, shows Riess smiling and chatting with a blonde woman in a hat who Lee County Sheriff’s Office detectives have identified as Hutchinson.  Hutchinson’s cousin on Monday posted an image from the surveillance footage to Facebook, side by side with an undated image of Hutchinson wearing that same hat as in the footage.  Officials with the U.S. Marshals Service said investigators believe Hutchinson was killed on or around April 5, when the surveillance footage at the bar was shot.  Lee County officials also on Tuesday released several snippets of surveillance video, including one piece that shows Riess, wearing the same blue shirt seen in the bar video, calmly walking away from Marina Village toward the parking lot. She is seen on another video driving away in Hutchinson’s white 2005 Acura TL. Hutchinson’s keys, identification, cash and credit cards were also missing when her body was found. The News-Press in Fort Myers reported Tuesday that sometime after Hutchinson’s death, Riess went to a Wells Fargo branch there and used Hutchinson’s identification to withdraw $5,000 from the slain woman’s account.  See the original footage of Riess chatting with Pamela Hutchinson, obtained by the News-Press, below. Riess was next spotted in Ocala, about 215 miles north of Fort Myers, where more surveillance footage released Tuesday shows her driving up to a Hilton hotel in Hutchinson’s stolen car and checking in as a guest. Again, she is wearing the blue top seen in previous videos, as well as a light-colored fedora-style hat with a black band. Lee County Sheriff’s Office officials told the News-Press that Riess stayed in the hotel the nights of April 6 and 7.  Riess used Hutchinson’s identity to check into the hotel around 8 p.m. on April 6. She also used the victim’s identification to withdraw another $500 from Hutchinson’s bank account at an Ocala bank.  “She’s confident, doesn’t look over her shoulder, like she’s not hiding anything,” Kinsey told the Star Tribune of Riess’ demeanor in the videos. “She was very nonchalant.” >> Related story: New footage released of ‘killer grandma’ suspected in 2 homicides; $6,000 reward offered for capture The fugitive was next spotted in the stolen Acura in Louisiana, where an attempt to get $200 at a gas station failed, the News-Press said.  Kinsey said Riess was also spotted on surveillance images April 7 and 8 in casinos in Louisiana.  “She went from casino to casino to make money, or because she is addicted to it,” Kinsey said. “She is consumed by it.” The final definite sighting of Riess was the following day, April 8 in Refugio, Texas, about 40 miles north of Corpus Christi. Corpus Christi is about 150 miles from the Mexico border.  Mexican authorities are aware of the search for Riess and are keeping an eye out for her, or anyone using Hutchinson’s identification, at the border, the News-Press reported. A Lee County Sheriff’s Office spokesman said she would have to show identification to cross, but there is no guarantee she would not be able to slip through. The last confirmed sighting of Riess or the stolen car was the day before Hutchinson’s body was found -- and before she was even linked to that homicide.  The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which has been searching for Riess since late last month, describes her as a white woman with brown eyes and pale blonde hair. She is about 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighs about 165 pounds.  The white Acura she is accused of stealing from Hutchinson has Florida license plate number Y37TAA.  Riess has been on the run since mid-March, when she is suspected of gunning down her husband, David Riess, on their rural worm farm before stealing $11,000 from his personal and business accounts. Deputies with the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office found him after his business partner reported that he had not been seen or heard from in several weeks.   Lois Riess was nowhere to be found, but investigators learned she visited a casino in Iowa on her way out of the Midwest, investigators said. She is charged with grand theft in connection with her husband’s slaying.  Dodge County investigators are also anticipated to file murder charges against her sometime this week.  Riess was initially linked to Hutchinson’s slaying, in part, because her family’s white Cadillac Escalade, which she was believed to be driving after her husband’s murder, was found abandoned in a county park in Fort Myers Beach, the News-Press reported.  Court records in Minnesota also show that Riess, who was named guardian of her disabled sister in 2012, stole more than $78,000 from her before being caught three years later.  Lee County Undersheriff Carmine Marceno described Riess to NBC News earlier this week as a “stone-cold killer” who authorities fear might kill again when she runs out of resources.  “She smiles and looks like anyone’s mother or grandmother,” Marceno said. “And yet she’s calculated, she’s targeted and an absolute cold-blooded killer.”
  • On hold for months, President Donald Trump’s pick to head NASA was finally given the green light by a pair of GOP Senators, as the Senate voted 50-48 to overcome a possible filibuster, and advance the nomination of Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) to be the next Administrator of NASA. A final vote to confirm Bridenstine’s nomination could come as early as Thursday in the full Senate. The key votes came from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) – Flake initially voted to filibuster Bridenstine, but after an extended wait, returned to change his vote for the final margin of victory. It wasn’t immediately clear why Flake – and then Rubio – had changed course on the President’s NASA nominee, as Bridenstine supporters had spent months trying to squeeze out a final vote in support of the President’s choice, who faced determined opposition from Democrats. Before the vote, Rubio’s office did not respond to requests for comment on the decision of the Florida Republican, who had repeatedly rebuffed the calls of fellow GOP lawmakers to support Bridenstine, a more conservative House GOP lawmaker who has not hesitated to make waves during his time on Capitol Hill. Sen Marco Rubio votes 'Yes' on cloture for Bridenstine – after months of opposing his nomination — Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) April 18, 2018 Just before the vote, Bridenstine’s leading Democratic critic in the Senate wasn’t backing away from his stern criticism of the three-term Republican Congressman from Oklahoma. “The NASA Administrator should be a consummate space professional,” said Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) in a speech on the Senate floor. “That’s what this Senator wants – a space professional – not a politician,” Nelson added. “Senators on both sides of the aisles have expressed doubts – both publicly and privately to me – about his qualifications for the job,” said Nelson, who was the only Senator to address the matter before the vote on cloture, a procedure to end debate in the Senate. Since Bridenstine was nominated for NASA Administrator in September, Rubio had sided with Nelson and other Democrats, raising questions about Bridenstine’s ability to run a federal agency in a nonpartisan manner. But that suddenly changed this week – and GOP leaders quickly moved to take the Bridenstine vote, moving the President a step closer to having his choice in the job as NASA chief. The procedural vote on Bridenstine’s nomination almost went awry, as Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) voted “No,” leaving the vote tied at 49-49. Ordinarily, the Vice President would be brought in to break the tie, but Vice President Mike Pence was in Florida with President Trump, hosting the Japanese Prime Minister. After a wait of over a half hour, Flake returned to the floor and voted “Yes,” allowing the Senate to force an end to debate.