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    Over 1,000 children of fallen soldiers are enjoying a special holiday vacation to Disney World thanks to actor Gary Sinise.  It’s part of the Snowball Express, a program by the Gary Sinise Foundation.  “Each December, we host a five-day experience for 1,750+ children of the fallen and their surviving parent or guardian,” the Gary Sinise Foundation said on its website. “As a therapeutic retreat with a blend of fun and inspiring programs, these families can lean on their peers for support.” (tweet) Sinise posted a picture to Twitter of some of the families on board a plane (which has been decked out in holiday decor) getting ready to take off to Orlando. “This charter left LAX this morning,” he tweeted on December 8. “I’ll join up in a few days. Have fun kids! We love you!” (tweet) According to KCAL, the “Snowball Express” flew out of 15 locations across the country to bring the families to Florida. Sinise will be staying in Orlando through the weekend to be the guest celebrity narrator at Epcot’s Candlelight Processional.
  • Attention Walmart shoppers: this guy quits. Jackson Racicot, 17, was fed up with his job at a Walmart in Grande Prairie, Alberta. Instead of handing in his resignation and moving on peacefully, Racicot decided to go out in a blaze of glory in a way most employees only dream about: by roasting his management team over the store’s intercom! “I would like to say to all of you today that nobody should work here. Ever.” During his obscenity-laced tirade, the disgruntled former employee put his assistant manager on blast for calling him a ‘waste of time.’ He also claimed that management tried to save money by cutting full-time employees down to part-time so they would lose benefits.  “I’ve been a loyal employee here for over a year and a half and I’m sick of all the bullsh**, bogus write-ups and my job.” Racicot finally ends his rant like a scene straight out of the movie ‘Half-Baked.’ “F*** management. F*** this job and f*** Walmart.” Racicot posted the video to his Facebook page and has already racked up over 168,000 views. **WARNING: BAD LANGUAGE** (video)
  • Disney is apologizing after several guests got  stuck on a monorail when the doors failed to open  Saturday night. “We’re stuck! Help us!” the guests yelled as they banged on the windows of the yellow monorail. According to the description on YouTube, the doors to the train wouldn’t open as it passed the Ticket & Transportation Center, the Polynesian Village Resort and the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. One guest reportedly tried to use the monorail’s emergency phone but no one answered. Finally, when the monorail reached the Grand Floridian, a cast member heard the yelling and opened the doors. (VIDEO) “We apologize for the inconvenience and are looking into this matter,” said a Disney spokeswoman in a statement on Monday. Disney’s monorail fails have been trending on social media this year. Just last month, a monorail door became unhinged and nearly fell off. Back in January, video shows a monorail traveling with the doors open while Disney guests were on board. 
  • A Kissimmee family is fighting back after a video of their toddler’s terrified reaction to the Easter bunny at her daycare went viral. Cassandra Bryson is filing a lawsuit against the Around the World Learning Center where the video of her daughter Surai was taken. Attorney’s say the daycare violated her privacy request after she had signed a form denying workers permission to photograph or videotape the child.  The clip, which has been viewed millions of times on social media, shows Surai jumping out of her seat and screaming during a surprise visit from the costumed Easter bunny. The video quickly went viral, sparking memes and punchlines for late night hosts like Jimmy Kimmel. “I think this is the proper way to react when a 7-foot tall rodent shows up at your school,”  Kimmel joked during his late night show.  (video) Bryson tells NBC News in Miami that there is nothing funny about the video. “You can see the distress in her face and it’s bringing millions of people so much joy and laughter.” Details of the lawsuit will be released Wednesday.
  • All a Texas family wanted was to win their neighborhood Christmas lights display contest. Instead, they panicked a passerby with their very realistic-looking dummy!Alfred Norwood, Jr. was walking past the Heerlein family’s home when he noticed a ‘man’ dressed in a flannel shirt, jeans and a vest dangling from the roof. The concerned good Samaritan quickly jumped into action, grabbing the ladder (which was rigged to look like it had fallen) and shouting to the man to hang on. “Oh mister, please hold on!” Norwood is heard saying as he tries to stand the ladder up. When the dummy didn’t respond, Norwood called police. “I thought, ‘Oh my God! I hope he’s not dead. Let me call 911,' Norwood told KVUE. (VIDEO) The entire ‘rescue’ was caught on the home security video. Turns out the ‘man’ was a dummy dressed as Clark Griswold to recreate the iconic scene for the family’s ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’-themed display.  The family commended the U.S. military veteran’s actions and gave him a gift card to thank him for his good deed.
  • In an effort to help Central Florida residents avoid becoming victims of holiday burglaries, several ‘burglar boxes’ have been set up where residents can dispose of their cardboard boxes instead of leaving them on the curb until trash day.   “This practice is not only good for the environment but it prevents the opportunity for criminals to learn what new items are available in your home,” said Master Deputy Barbara Smith-Herron in a message on Nextdoor. “Criminals are known to look at the product boxes left curbside for disposal as potential target homes to burglarize.” To drop off your boxes, look for the green and yellow dumpster bearing the logo “Burglary Box” at one of the designated drop off locations listed below:  *Orange County Sheriff’s Office Substation1111 North Rock Springs Rd. Apopka, FL 32712  *Auto Zone/Citi Trends Plaza2714 N. Pine Hills Rd. Orlando, FL 32808 Silver Star Rd/ Pine Hills Rd. * 525 N Alafaya Trl. Waterford Lakes Towne Center (Behind Pier 1)  *St. Luke’s United Methodist Church at Windermere4851 South Apopka Vineland Rd. Orlando, FL 32819  *Conway United Methodist Church 3401 South Conway Rd. Orlando, Fl. 
  • Would you pay hundreds of dollars for a pair of shoes from Payless? Probably not, but some fashion influencers recently did when they thought they were attending the opening of a luxury shoe store called Palessi. Payless decided to launch a clever experiment to see how much people would pay for their $20 shoes if they thought they were a high-end brand. So the shoe retailer took over an Armani store in Santa Monica, California and displayed Payless merchandise on the racks. They called the store “Palessi” and threw a  launch party for the fake brand.  (video) Fashionistas snatched up the shoes, paying up to $600 for some that are usually priced at Payless for under $40. They even commented on how ‘sophisticated’ and ‘high-quality’ they were! “I would pay $400...$500. People would be like ‘where did you get those?’” said one duped shopper. More than $3,000 worth of shoes were sold within just a few hours. When shoppers learned the truth behind the experiment they were given their money back, but their reactions are priceless. “Shut up!” said one woman who couldn’t wait to show off her new Payless leopard-print sneakers ...that she had just shelled out $500 for. “Did I just pay too much?” Payless says the goal was to remind customers that they are a great place to shop for affordable fashion. The string of videos showing buyers reactions will appear in ads on social media and TV. (video)
  • For many people, the holidays are a time to celebrate. But for some local senior citizens without families, it can be extra lonely. That’s why Home Instead Senior Care is asking you to ‘Be a Santa to a Senior’ this year. “These are seniors in our community who either have financial challenges or are isolated and don’t have family or friends,” says Debra Foscolo who runs the program in Orlando. “And that’s really difficult around the holiday season.” Those who want to help out can select a tag from a Christmas tree at one of the designated locations around Orlando. All you have to do is buy a gift and bring it back to the location unwrapped. The gifts will then be picked up and distributed to local senior citizens.  Foscolo tells News 96.5 WDBO that the gifts don’t have to be expensive, just thoughtful. “Those gifts tend to be towels, slippers, socks, blankets.” The program was started in 2003 and has provided over 2 million gifts to deserving seniors. “When a senior is not expecting a gift and you just hand them this wrapped present and the biggest smile comes across their face, it’s just amazing.” To find a tree near you, visit the Be a Santa to a Senior website.
  • Last month, a female Masai giraffe calf was born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida. She’s adored by the  theme park staff  but she still has no name. That’s where you come in. Disney Parks Blog is asking the public to help name their newest addition. The animal care team at the park have narrowed the names down to four options based on Swahili words: Dafina (which means ‘Treasure’), Milima (’Mountain’), Amira (’Princess’), and Naima (’Graceful’).  To vote, click HERE. The calf was born to parents Kenya and George as part of the Species Survival Plan which ensures the breeding and survival of threatened and endangered species. There are only about 32,000 Masai giraffes left in the wild and their population continues to decline due to loss of habitat and poachers.  According to Disney Parks Blog, the new calf will join baby giraffe Aella, who was born just four months ago, on Kilimanjaro Safaris savanna before the end of the year. (VIDEO)
  • Here’s one turkey that will be getting pampered--instead of seasoned and roasted-- for Thanksgiving. The Varsity Veterinary Center in Orlando, Florida is treating a wild turkey that was hit by a car this week.  “Why did the turkey cross the road?!?! To get an exam at Varsity Veterinary Center!” the center writes in a post on Facebook.  “He had been injured while walking in traffic!!” (Facebook) Dr. Elizabeth Olson tells News 96.5 WDBO the turkey had been wandering around a Lake Brantley neighborhood when a good Samaritan saw a car bump the 16-pound gobbler! “We found some soft tissue injury around his hip so he’s limping a little bit,” says Dr. Olson. “We’ve been giving him some pain meds for that and he’s doing really well.” Dr. Olson says the turkey (named Tom by the staff) is making excellent progress in physical therapy. Tom will finish recovering at his new retirement home on a farm in Chuluota....far away from a Thanksgiving table. “He’s really domesticated. Very friendly.”
  • Samantha Jordan

    Samantha Jordan is a reporter for Orlando's Morning News and website contributor for News965.com.

    After graduating from the University of Central Florida, Samantha interned for the morning show at Magic 107.7 in 2010. She was then offered a job in Houston, TX for the top 10 radio news station KTRH 740. Trading in her swimsuit for a cowboy hat, Samantha made the move to KTRH where she worked as the web reporter and writer. Her on-air segment 'Connected' brought to life all of the viral videos that are trending on the web. Houston listeners dubbed her 'the web goddess' as she brought light-hearted and comedic relief during the morning commute. 

    Television came calling and Samantha was approached by the local TV station Fox 26 to participate in their weekly 'Fox in Focus' segment, which talked about women's issues in a debate-style setting. In 2012, Samantha was offered a job with News 96.5 as an anchor/reporter and happily returned to her hometown. 

    When Samantha isn't reporting or scouring the web for cat videos, she enjoys going to concerts, movies, and spending time with her son and their dogs, Sebastian and Maya. 

    Follow Samantha on Twitter.
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The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • Facing investigations by the Justice Department, his own Inspector General, and Democrats in the U.S. House, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will leave his post by the end of this year, President Donald Trump announced on Saturday, continuing the high profile staff changes since the elections in his administration. “Ryan has accomplished much during his tenure and I want to thank him for his service to our Nation,” the President tweeted, not mentioning the investigations Zinke faced, covering excessive travel costs, improper political activities, and potential conflicts of interest. Zinke – like others in the Trump Cabinet – also faced the prospect of actual aggressive oversight in the Congress, with Democrats taking over the House of Representatives in January. The lawmaker who would lead most of those questions is Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), whom Zinke said a few weeks ago was nothing but a drunk. “It’s hard for him to think straight from the bottom of the bottle,” Zinke tweeted from his official account. My thoughts on Rep. Grijalva’s opinion piece. #TuneInnForMore pic.twitter.com/VMGxdtHwvU — Secretary Ryan Zinke (@SecretaryZinke) November 30, 2018 “This is no kind of victory, but I’m hopeful that it is a genuine turning of the page,” Grijalva said on Saturday. Among the investigations into Zinke, the internal watchdog at the Interior Department found that he had taken a security detail with him for a vacation with his wife to Turkey and Greece, costing taxpayers $25,000. Zinke also spent $12,375 on a chartered flight to take him from Las Vegas back to his home of Kalispell, Montana. During some of the Inspector General investigations of Zinke, the Trump Administration tried to move an appointed from the Department of Housing and Urban Development into the IG office at Interior; after complaints and questions about the legitimacy of the move, the change did not occur. Democrats in Congress, who often compared Zinke’s ethics questions to those of former Trump EPA chief Scott Pruitt, had nothing good to say about Zinke, who arrived at the Interior Department for his first day of work in Washington, on his horse. “Glad to see that Interior Secretary Zinke is being forced out,” tweeted Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ). “Tired of Trump Administration officials who use their office for personal gain.” “Ryan Zinke kept zero of his promises and used our public lands as handouts to his fossil fuel cronies,” said Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA). “Ryan Zinke’s tenure at Interior was a never-ending stream of terrible management decisions,” said Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA). “I will not miss him.” Good riddance to Ryan Zinke and the horse he literally rode in on. pic.twitter.com/triFovIXPZ — Chellie Pingree (@chelliepingree) December 15, 2018 The President’s announcement about Zinke’s future came a day after the President announced that his budget chief, Mick Mulvaney, would be Acting White House Chief of Staff starting in 2019. Other Trump Cabinet officials also could be on their way out in coming weeks, including Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. “Thank u, next,” tweeted Rep. Dina Titus (D-NV).
  • Insuring that North Carolina’s Ninth District seat will be vacant when the 116th Congress convenes in January, the North Carolina state elections board on Friday set a hearing for January 11, 2019, where officials will receive evidence on election irregularities focused on absentee ballot fraud which seemingly benefited Republican Mark Harris. “State investigators are awaiting additional documents from parties subpoenaed in this matter and finalizing the investigation prior to the hearing,” the State Board of Elections and Ethics said in a statement. Originally, the board had planned a hearing before December 21. In an interview with WBTV on Friday, Harris denied knowing that McRae Dowless – hired to run an absentee ballot operation in Bladen County – was doing anything which was illegal. “No, absolutely not,” Harris said in his first interview since allegations of election fraud began to surface after the November elections. This means Mark Harris will not be sworn in on January 3. #NC09 #ncpol — Joe Bruno (@JoeBrunoWSOC9) December 14, 2018 “In the Marines, I learned what it means to fight for our democracy,” tweeted Democrat Dan McCready, who lost to Harris by 905 votes. “I never imagined I would watch our democracy come under attack right here at home,” McCready added. It’s not clear if the U.S. House of Representatives will also investigate the possible fraud in the Ninth District race, which possibly involved ballot fraud and discarded ballots. The North Carolina board could still order a new election, which may involve a new primary as well, as some Republicans would like to get Harris out of the race for the seat in Congress, worried that he will be too tainted by the charges of election fraud. . @NCSBE will hold public hearing into 9th CD irregularities on Jan. 11. Notice below. #ncpol #ncga pic.twitter.com/5TYZOFhJYC — NCSBE (@NCSBE) December 14, 2018 The decision to extend the investigation of any election fraud into 2019 means that the U.S. House will start the 116th Congress with Democrats holding a 235-199 edge in the House – with the one vacancy from North Carolina.
  • A federal judge in Texas ruled President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act 'invalid' Friday, the eve of the sign-up deadline for coverage next year. In a 55-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor ruled that last year's tax cut bill knocked the constitutional foundation from under 'Obamacare' by eliminating a penalty for not having coverage.  Supporters of the law immediately said they would appeal.  California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who has been leading the multistate coalition to defend the law, issued a statement saying: 'The ACA has already survived more than 70 unsuccessful repeal attempts and withstood scrutiny in the Supreme Court. Today's misguided ruling will not deter us: our coalition will continue to fight in court for the health and wellbeing of all Americans.'  Becerra called Friday's ruling 'an assault on 133 million Americans with preexisting conditions, on the 20 million Americans who rely on the ACA's consumer protections for healthcare, on America's faithful progress toward affordable healthcare for all Americans.'  President Donald Trump hailed the ruling, tweeting: 'As I predicted all along, Obamacare has been struck down as an UNCONSTITUTIONAL disaster! Now Congress must pass a STRONG law that provides GREAT healthcare and protects pre-existing conditions.'  But Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who is expected to become House speaker in January, vowed to fight what she called an 'absurd ruling.' She said the House 'will move swiftly to formally intervene in the appeals process to uphold the life-saving protections for people with pre-existing conditions and reject Republicans' effort to destroy the Affordable Care Act.'  White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued a statement saying: 'We expect this ruling will be appealed to the Supreme Court. Pending the appeal process, the law remains in place.'  Twenty Republican-led states brought the lawsuit. After Trump ordered the Justice Department to stop defending the health law, a coalition of ACA-supporting states took up the defense.  O'Connor is a conservative Republican appointee who has previously blocked other Obama-era policies.
  • Update 5:23 p.m. EDT Dec. 14: In a tweet Friday, President Donald Trump named Mick Mulvaney, the current Director of the Office of Management and Budget, as acting White House Chief of Staff. Trump deemed Mulvaney his “acting chief of staff” but it was not immediately clear what that meant for the length of his tenure. >> Read more trending news President Donald Trump said Saturday that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly will leave his position by the end of the year. The president’s first choice was Nick Ayers, the vice president’s chief of staff, who bowed out after being unable to come to an agreement on how long he would serve in the post. Read the original report below. Trump announced last week that Kelly, who served in the post for more than a year, would soon be departing. Rumors have swirled off-and-on for months that Kelly, a retired four-star general, planned to leave his post. >> Related: Who is Gen. John Kelly, President Donald Trump’s Chief of Staff?  Sources with knowledge of the inner workings of the West Wing told CNN that President Donald Trump and Kelly have recently stopped speaking. He reportedly clashed with several members of the administration, including national security adviser John Bolton, the president's daughter, Ivanka Trump, and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, Politico reported. Tension between Bolton and Kelly spilled out into the public earlier this year when The Washington Post reported Kelly stormed out of the White House after getting into a shouting match with Bolton over immigration. The Wall Street Journal reported in June that Kelly expected to make his exit over the summer, but the newspaper later reported that he agreed to stay on through the 2020 election at the president’s request. Reports indicate that the relationship between Trump and Kelly has long been fraught with tension. Former FBI director James Comey said in his book, “A Higher Loyalty,” that Kelly was “sick about my firing” in May 2017 and that he intended to quit in protest of Trump’s decision. Comey said he urged Kelly not to quit. >> 'A Higher Loyalty:' Here’s some of what James Comey says about Trump NBC News reported in April that Kelly called Trump “an idiot” who he needed to “save from himself” during a tense meeting on immigration. Kelly later denied making such a statement and claimed he and the president had “an incredibly candid and strong relationship,” according to NBC News. Kelly faced criticism earlier this year after two of former staff secretary Rob Porter’s ex-wives went public with allegations of domestic abuse. Porter denied the allegations, but submitted his resignation Feb. 7 amid public outcry. >> White House ‘could have done better’ handling Rob Porter allegations, spokesman says In a statement released after the revelations first surfaced, Kelly stood behind Porter, who he called “a man of true integrity and honor.” He appeared to walk back his comments in a subsequent statement, amid criticism based on reports that the White House knew of the allegations long before Porter’s resignation. The allegations held up the security clearance process for Porter, who was only ever issued a temporary clearance. Amid the media furor, Kelly moved to end or downgrade temporary clearances for all staff members, including some, like Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, who had regular access to top secret U.S. documents. Kelly joined the Trump Administration as the secretary of Homeland Security in January 2017. Six months later, he was appointed as chief of staff after Trump’s first chief of staff, Reince Preibus, submitted his resignation amid tension with Trump. >> Reince Priebus out: Trump names new chief of staff Reuters reported in February that Kelly and Trump national security adviser H.R. McMaster were considering leaving their posts because of the way they were treated by Trump in public. Unidentified sources told Reuters that 'Kelly and McMaster have chafed at Trump’s treatment of them in public and in private, which both at times have considered insulting.' The Associated Press contributed to this story.
  • Two New Orleans psychiatrists have found a man who stabbed his brother 93 times before placing his body under a burning mattress in 2013 “irrestorably incompetent” to stand trial and recommended he be committed to a psychiatric hospital.  Ian Broyard, 27, is accused of murder and tampering with evidence in the Nov. 6, 2013, stabbing death of 23-year-old Michael Broyard III, NOLA.com reported. Ian Broyard was 22 at the time of the crime.  Michael Broyard, a tattoo artist, was working on a degree in social work at Southern University at New Orleans. >> Read more trending news The New Orleans Advocate reported in July 2014, when Broyard was indicted, that the brothers had been in several fights prior to the killing. Their sister arrived at the family home in the Gentilly section of New Orleans the morning of the stabbing to see smoke coming from the front door.  Firefighters found Michael Broyard dead inside but there was no sign of Ian Broyard, who had been home shortly before the fire broke out, the Advocate reported. While police officers and firefighters worked the scene, Ian Broyard showed up, with cuts on his forearms and holding his stomach in pain, the newspaper said.  A witness told police he saw a man, who was riding away from the Broyard home on a bicycle, toss something into a trash can nearby. Investigators found a bloodstained vest constructed out of book covers taped together.  The DNA from the blood on the vest matched that of Michael Broyard, the Advocate reported. Other DNA and fingerprints recovered from the vest matched Ian Broyard, NOLA.com said.  NOLA.com reported that Ian Broyard was diagnosed as bipolar and schizophrenic in June 2013, just five months before his brother’s brutal slaying. Broyard’s arrest warrant indicated that he sometimes became violent. Broyard was initially found competent to stand trial in August 2014 but was found incompetent during another hearing almost three years later, the news site said. He was sent to Eastern Louisiana Mental Health System in June 2017 and has been there since.  Two of the members of the court-appointed sanity panel who examined Broyard have found it unlikely that Broyard will ever become competent to stand trial for his brother’s slaying. NOLA.com reported that Dr. Sarah DeLand testified Thursday that Broyard, who suffers from delusions and auditory hallucinations, would be unable to assist his lawyer at trial. Broyard believes that the IRS and the FBI control him and those around him, DeLand said in court. He also believes that the federal agencies could influence his case based on his outstanding student loans.  A judge will decide next week if Broyard will be committed indefinitely, NOLA said.  Investigators said during Broyard’s March 2014 preliminary hearing that it was possible he was connected to a second slaying 10 months before that of his brother. NOLA.com reported that a homicide detective testified at the hearing that Broyard was related to Edward Richardson, an 83-year-old retiree who was found stabbed to death New Year’s Day 2013 in his apartment at a senior living community.  Like Michael Broyard, Richardson was found stabbed an excessive number of times -- more than 50 -- and his body was under a mattress that had been set on fire, NOLA.com reported in 2014. No physical evidence linked Ian Broyard to the scene.  WDSU in New Orleans reported in 2015 that cold case investigators were still seeking leads in the unsolved case.