ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

clear-day
89°
Sunny
H 92° L 72°
  • clear-day
    89°
    Current Conditions
    Sunny. H 92° L 72°
  • clear-day
    73°
    Morning
    Sunny. H 92° L 72°
  • clear-day
    91°
    Afternoon
    Sunny. H 95° L 73°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest newscast

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

Local
Rep. Soto pushes for more federal funds to house, support Puerto Ricans
Close

Rep. Soto pushes for more federal funds to house, support Puerto Ricans

Rep. Soto pushes for more federal funds to house, support Puerto Ricans
Photo Credit: Darren Vierday
Reporter Gene Wexler sits down with Orlando Democratic Congressman Darren Soto at his office in Kissimmee on Nov. 17, 2017.

Rep. Soto pushes for more federal funds to house, support Puerto Ricans

Orlando-area Democratic Congressman Darren Soto says the massive influx of Puerto Rican evacuees to Central Florida will have a long-term positive effect on the area’s growth, but there are many short-tern needs to be met.

To date, 120 to 160 thousand Puerto Ricans have moved from the island to the US with many choosing to live in Central Florida.  Soto says the growth will eventually turn into more jobs for the area, but right now it’s stressing out budgets: school boards, cities and counties.

Along with Republican Congressman Dennis Ross and Democratic Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy, Congressman Soto co-signed a letter requesting additional federal funds for HUD housing vouchers, Section 8 assistance in the short-term, and HUD dollars to build more affordable housing in the region.

“In Central Florida, we have a need for higher paying jobs and affordable housing,” Soto tells News 96.5 WDBO in an exclusive interview.  “It’s what I hear everyday.”

Soto says a lot of Puerto Ricans are getting jobs already.

“That’s the positive,” he says.  “They’re getting jobs at the parks, at the hotels and so many different industries around here.  But we need to have long-term housing strategies in the process.”

Dennis Vierday
Reporter Gene Wexler sits down with Orlando Democratic Congressman Darren Soto at his office in Kissimmee on Nov. 17, 2017.
Close

Wexler and Soto 2

Photo Credit: Dennis Vierday
Reporter Gene Wexler sits down with Orlando Democratic Congressman Darren Soto at his office in Kissimmee on Nov. 17, 2017.

Soto says many hotels in Central Florida are helping the Hurricane Maria evacuees.

“Particularly the 192 and I-4 corridor, they’ve really stepped up.  Some of our higher-end hotels, we really could use more help.  We need you.”

But right now he’s focused on the medium and long-range solutions for the families who want to stay.

“A lot of these folks - even though they’ll be working a full-time job or maybe their spouse is - they’re still going to need more apartments...and more affordable, single-family households,” he says.  “That will be a crunch if we don’t get our act together.  And while a lot of folks are talking about it, we need action.”

Soto says anyone who touts him or herself as “pro economy” is going to want growth.

“Growth is jobs in Central Florida,” he says.  “Because that’s what creates new small businesses that grow to new big businesses.  It requires more housing, but it’s gotta be done right.  We can’t have urban sprawl.”

CLICK HERE to read the letter Soto and his colleagues sent to Chairman Frelinghuysen and Ranking Member Lowey in the House Appropriations Committee.  CLICK HERE to read the letter they sent to FEMA Administrator Brock Long.  They’re requesting the House and FEMA to fully fund the host-state agreement with Florida.  The FEMA/Host-State agreement provides direct reimbursement to the state of Florida for costs associated with evacuation and shelter support for Puerto Rican evacuees.

Read More

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • As you spend this Memorial Day weekend celebrating with your friends and family, its important to remember that the freedom many of our nation's heroes have fought and died for always comes at a price. Well in honor of the occasion, as you would expect, here are some freebies and deals through Memorial Day that veterans, active duty and retired military members and their families can take advantage of( standard disclaimer: some locations may not be participating, so its important to always contact them ahead of time):  Ace Hardware: While supplies last, you can get a free 8 by 12 inch flag on May 25th.  AAA: Through Tuesday, you can get free tipsy low service.  Apple: They have special offers on their products, including their Apple Care Protection Plans.  Cinemark Theatres: It varies by location, but if you show your military ID, you get a special discount.  Delta Airlines: Military personnel get a free bag check.  Home Depot and Lowe's: Veterans and their families get 10 percent off. Just show your ID  Hooters: Show your military ID on May 27th and you can get free entrees including 10 free boneless wings, Buffalo chicken salad, Hooters Burger or a Buffalo Chicken sandwich.  Longhorn Steakhouse: Check out the coupon below to get a free appetizer or dessert when you get an entree through May 26th.  https://www.longhornsteakhouse.com/customer-service/coupons/free-app-or-dessert-with-2-entrees-lh74-052319?cmpid=br:lh_ag:ie_ch:eml_ca:LHQ419L52COUP_dt:20190523_vs:1NV_in:Specials_pl:image01_FreeApp_rd:9bc86910b47843f7a15abeafd3d66e28  Sea World and Busch Gardens: The Waves of Honor program gives free entry to military families and members with their ID through December 31st. TGI Fridays: Check out the coupon to a free entree when you buy one and two drinks from May 25-27.  https://share.rivet.works/fridays
  • An ex-Magic Kingdom worker from Clermont has been arrested, accused of trying to set up a sexual encounter with an 8 year old girl.  According to the United States Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Florida, Frederick M. Pohl Jr.  sent inappropriate pictures of himself to what he believed was the 8 year old girl and talked online with her and her father in order to arrange a meeting. When he arrived at an Orlando hotel that they were supposed to meet at, Pohl was arrested by an undercover federal agent who was the one posing as the girl he was talking to.  According to the submitted criminal complaint, Pohl was in possession of condoms and a child sized pink dress. While the Middle District did confirm that he was an employee at the Magic Kingdom, they did not say what his role was.
  • A man who was shot and killed in an officer-involved shooting outside a mosque in South Florida on Friday was wanted in Osceola County for attempted murder, according to law enforcement officials. >> Read more trending news  The U.S. Marshals Service Florida and Caribbean Regional Fugitive Task Force were involved in the shooting at the parking lot of the Masjid Al-Iman mosque in Fort Lauderdale. The Osceola County Sheriff’s Office said the man who was shot was Hamid Ould-Rouis, 58, who was wanted for attacking two people at a home on Luminous Loop in Kissimmee on Thursday.  Deputies said Ould-Rouis entered the home and battered a man before attacking a woman with a knife. The woman is in a hospital in critical condition, deputies said. Marshals said they were attempting to arrest Ould-Rouis, but a threat posed by him prompted members of the task force to fire their weapons. There is no indication that the mosque is related to the incident, officials said. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the shooting.
  • A man who was shot and killed in an officer-involved shooting outside of a South Florida Mosque Friday afternoon was wanted in Osceola County for attempted murder. According to the Osceola County Sheriff's Office, Police in Broward County and U.S. Marshals had been looking for Hamid Ould-Rouis,58, who was accused of beating up a man and stabbing a woman nearly to death in a Kissimmee home early Thursday. The woman remains hospitalized in critical condition.  Members of the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force tracked him to the parking lot near the Masjid Al Iman mosque, in Fort Lauderdale. When he got out of a black SUV with a weapon, several officers opened fire. He died on the scene.  There is no indication that the mosque is related to the incident, officials said.  The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the shooting.
  • Game dates and kickoff times for Orlando’s Camping World Bowl and Citrus Bowl games were announced Thursday as part of ESPN’s 2019-20 college football bowl schedule. This year, the Camping World Bowl, which traditionally features teams from the ACC and Big 12 conference will be broadcast on ABC for the first time in the bowl’s 30-year history.  It is set for Saturday, December 28 at Noon.  Last year’s contest saw Syracuse beat West Virginia 34-18 which helped guide the Orange to a 10-3 record, the team’s best finish since 2001.  The Citrus Bowl, which typically features teams from the ACC, SEC and Big Ten conference will continues its News Years Day tradition, kicking off at 1 o' clock on January 1, 2020.  It will also be broadcast on ABC.  In last year’s game, Kentucky defeated Penn State 27-24.  “We are thrilled to present two big-time bowl games from Orlando on national television this season,” Florida Citrus Sports CEO Steve Hogan said. “It’s an amazing opportunity to showcase the Central Florida community twice in five days this postseason.”  The Cure Bowl, Orlando’s third bowl game, had already announced that this years game will be played at Orlando City Stadium, on Saturday, Dec. 21.

Washington Insider

  • Victims of Hurricanes, floods, wildfires, and other natural disasters will have to wait into next month for Congress to give final approval to a $19.1 billion relief bill, as final passage of the plan in the House was blocked on Friday by a lone Republican lawmaker, forcing a delay until Congress returns for legislative business in the first week of June.   “I respectfully object,” said Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX), a more conservative Republicans who stayed in town after the House had completed its legislative business on Thursday, and came to the floor Friday morning to object to acting on the plan without a full roll call vote.   The House had approved $19.1 billion in disaster aid in early May; the Senate on Thursday amended the plan with the backing of President Trump – but it wasn’t good enough to get unanimous consent for approval in the House. “If I do not object, Congress will have passed into law a bill that spends $19 billion of taxpayer money without members of Congress being present here in our nation’s capital,” Roy said on the House floor, forcing a further delay on the disaster aid measure. One of Roy’s objections was that no money was included in the plan for the immigrant surge along the southern border - President Trump had backed off of that in order to secure a deal on Thursday. Roy’s maneuver drew the scorn of fellow Republicans from states which are need of aid - like Georgia - where farmers suffered devastating losses from Hurricane Michael. Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA) tweeted that “our farmers need aid today,” as this move by his GOP colleague will delay that process into June, leaving a bad taste in the mouths of fellow Republicans with farmers in need of assistance.   Democrats were furious. “House Republicans’ last-minute sabotage of an overwhelmingly bipartisan disaster relief bill is an act of staggering political cynicism,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  “Countless American families hit by devastating natural disasters across the country will now be denied the relief they urgently need,” Pelosi added in a statement. “This is a rotten thing to do,” said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), who noted to reporters that Roy was blocking aid for his own home state of Texas. “We should have passed this months ago,” said Rep. Donna Shalala (D-FL), who asked for approval of the measure on the House floor. “I am beyond fed up. This is wrong,” said Rep. Cindy Axne (D-IA).  “This bill is about helping people – not about playing Washington politics.” “Republican politicians are playing games while people’s homes are literally underwater,” said Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH).   Unless Republicans relent next week, the House would not be able to set up a vote on the disaster aid measure until the week of June 3. “There are people who are really hurting, and he’s objecting,” Shalala said.  “He’s holding hostage thousands of people.”  The House has two ‘pro forma’ meetings scheduled for next week - on Tuesday and Friday.  Republicans could object to passing the bill at those times as well.