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Latest from Gene Wexler

    On Monday, the Orange County Library System became the first in Florida to offer virtual library cards that can be stored on phones, as well as mobile checkout and a new Express Collection. The new virtual card service is offered at no cost to library users, who only need to have a valid library card.  To set up your virtual card, download the free “Cloud Library” app on either the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.   You can also go to www.yourcloudlibrary.com.  Then follow the prompts and login using your library card number and PIN. The Cloud Library app also allows you to favorite, mark as read, and sort through a digital record of your borrow history.  You can view and cancel current hold items, renew currently borrowed books, and get due date reminder notifications to avoid late fees. Cloud Library comes with an “Express Collection” which offers access to newer releases that can be read or listened to on a smartphone.  Titles in the Express Collection can’t be checked out for longer than seven days or placed on hold, which  makes popular ebooks and audiobooks more available. Mobile checkout eliminates the need to visit a self-Check kiosk or circulation desk to borrow items.  The Cloud Library app allows users to check out materials on their phone.
  • When a red-tailed hawk became trapped in a net at Orlando’s Top Golf on Wednesday morning, firefighters decided to “wing it” and come up with a unique rescue plan. “It just goes to show that when our firefighters come to work, they don’t know what the day will bring,” said Mike Jachles with Orange County Fire and Rescue. Around 8 a.m. workers at Top Golf on Universal Blvd. noticed a hawk caught in a net about 50 feet up at the end of a driving range.  Orange County Fire and Rescue reached out to SeaWorld and the Orange County Convention Center to help in their operation. “The plan was devised to send some of the SeaWorld workers up in a lift that the Orange County Convention Center brought over,” Jachles said.  “They had to work for several minutes to free the hawk.  They got a hold on him, brought him down to the ground and got him in a cage.” Firefighters were waiting on the ground with a tarp as a backup plan in case the hawk fell, but it didn’t happen. “Fortunately it had a good outcome,” Jachles said. The red-tailed hawk was taken back to SeaWorld for their veterinarians to check out.  They told Jachles they’d give the bird fluids and eventually release it in the area from where it was rescued. “This is definitely one of the more peculiar animal rescue calls,” Jachles admitted. (App users tap here to see the video) (Tap here for video)
  • From now through the end of December, Central Floridians can head to Lake County and ride The Polar Express. The Polar Express Train Ride is licensed by Warner Bros. and features a musical, theatrical recreation of a Christmas movie favorite. The ride began on Friday, Nov. 15 and runs to Dec. 30 out of the Tavares train station at Wooton Park in Tavares. The ride’s website says, “You will have your golden ticket punched by the conductor, experience the dancing chefs who will serve cocoa and a tasty treat, interact with the hobo and other characters from the movie, along with enjoying a reading of the classic children’s book THE POLAR EXPRESS™ by Chris Van Allsburg.” Tickets for the ride tart at $48 for weekday coach passes and go up to $$88 for first-class weekend tickets. CLICK HERE for more info and to purchase tickets.
  • The Orlando Police Department saluted two of their officers for buying a student a bike helmet. A few days before Halloween, School Resource Officer Erin Lawler said she noticed a new student riding a bike without a helmet. “I want him to obviously be safe getting to and from school,” Lawler said. Lawler reached out to retired CSO Wendy Moore who’s known as the “bike lady.”  Moore told her about a program the school has where officers can issue a light “citation” that allows for an officer to later fit the child with a helmet. “He was able to get a helmet fitted for him and take it home as well,” Lawler said.  “He was so excited.” Orlando Police sent out a tweet sowing Lawler fitting the student with the helmet. (App users click here to see tweet) This comes after the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office commended two deputies who bought a car seat and hotel room for a woman who was stranded in New Smyrna Beach.
  • Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood commended two of his deputies on Wednesday for helping an Orlando mother out of a tough situation by buying her a car seat and hotel room. Early in the morning, Deputy Brady Bergeron and Sgt. Austin Hairston found an Orlando mother at a BP gas station in New Smyrna Beach.  She had no money for a place to stay and only one car seat for her two small daughters. The woman told them she was traveling to the beach for a few days and planned to rent an Airbnb in New Smyrna Beach using her debit card to pay for it.  She claimed she had no money because her debit card and ID were stolen in Orlando, so she was asking for money to buy gas. Deputy Brady Bergeron went to Wal-Mart and bought the woman a car seat for her 5 month-old infant daughter.  He installed it and safely adjusted the existing car seat for the other daughter who’s 2 years-old.  Body camera released on Wednesday shows Bergeron assembling the car seat and comforting the older daughter. Sgt. Austin Hairston then made arrangements for the family to stay at a hotel in Edgewater.  Both deputies followed the family to the hotel where they helped them check in. “A Bible verse kept flipping through my head about helping the stranger on the side of the road,” said Sgt. Hairston in a phone interview.  “When you do that, you’re helping the lord.” On Wednesday, Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood commended the dedication and generosity of the deputies in personal letters. (App users tap here to see the full video)
  • Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Monday announced a new website meant to help people find transparent healthcare cost estimates. The new Florida Health Price Finder website (https://pricing.floridahealthfinder.gov) serves as a tool for Floridians to find the best prices for non-emergency healthcare. The Agency for Health Care Administration says the website is a “huge step forward in providing consumers with as much information about pricing and quality as possible, allowing Floridians to make more informed health care decisions.” Governor DeSantis said it will make it easier for Floridians to see how much they will pay before walking in for medical work. For example, a search for “chiropractic manipulation” brings up a table showing the national average at $209 for six visits to a chiropractor.  The Florida average is $197 and the Orange County average is $195.  Then there’s information on what to expect at the visit, how to prepare for the visit and other related care bundles. On Monday, Governor DeSantis also announced he’s creating an annual Governor Transparency Award, which will be given to one hospital or ambulatory surgical center per year for excellence in price and transparency.
  • The Orange County Sheriff’s Office tweeted Friday morning about police activity in East Orange County. “Police activity on Jepson Street near Park Manor Drive, please stay clear of the area,” a tweet reads. It was sent out at 10:05 a.m. “Sheriff Mina and PIO [Public Information Officer] on the way for briefing. Details of time and location forthcoming.” No other details are available. We have a reporter at the scene and will update as details become available. (App users tap here to see the tweet)
  • One of Orlando’s most unique Halloween displays isn’t in the theme parks. It’s in the quiet neighborhood College Park at the corner of Winter Park St and Harrison Ave, raising money for animals in need.  This year the house boasts a gigantic two-story pumpkin, witches, dragons, skeletons, spiders, werewolves, and cats.  It’s complete with special effects too including lightning, fog machines, sound machines, and animatronics. “It’s a labor of love.  I do it for the kids,” said Dr. Daniel LaVene, an emergency physician from Longwood.   “Everyone’s got a passion.  My passion’s Halloween.” LaVene said he’s been doing this since the early 2000s.  He used to build the display in Maitland, Celebration, Poinciana, and now his cousin’s home in College Park.  That’s where it’s been since 2012. “I’ve collected this stuff over 25 years,” said LaVene.  “We get almost a thousand kids here a year.” In recent years, LaVene decided to raise money for animals, one of his passions. “We sponsor and take donations for a charity called RAIN, which stands for Rescuing Animals in Need,” he said. This year LaVene brought back a popular addition, the “I4 Ultimate” display.  It shows skeletons constructing the road, a skeleton family that never made it to Disney, and a sign showing mayhem ahead. “It’s a parody,” LaVene said.  “We try to be sensitive to it because it had some deaths associated with it.  But it’s Halloween.” LaVene also hopes his Halloween home can serve as an attraction for children who’s parents can’t afford to bring them to the theme parks. “They can come here and see something similar to it.  Not on the detail as the big parks, but our little mini version of animatronics,” he said. LaVene said he invites everyone in Central Florida to come out to trick-or-treat and see the display.  LaVene said he’ll be giving children light-up toys to help them stay safe on Halloween. 
  • A man from New York City is suing NBC Universal over a promotion for unlimited soda refills at a Universal theme park in Orlando. On Thursday, Luis Arnaud from the Bronx filed a lawsuit in a Manhattan federal court against NBC Universal claiming “false advertising.”  His lawsuit claims a soda promotion promising “unlimited refills” was actually “limited” to a “total of only six per hour.” Arnaud says he visited Universal’s Islands of Adventure in Orlando on July 30 and bought a 16 oz. Coca-Cola Freestyle cup for $16.99. It was advertised as coming with “unlimited” refills all day. According to the NY Post, Arnaud went to Volcano Bay the next day and “reactivated” the cup for $8.99.   He would soon learn each cup has a computer chip which tracks and restricts refills to every ten minutes. When Arnaud tried to get a refill before the period was up, the machine would flash the message, “Hi. You are not quite ready to fill up.”  His lawsuit included pictures of the machine showing how much longer he had to wait before his next refill. The lawsuit alleges the move is a “deceptive” and “unconscionable trade and business practice.” Arnaud is seeking unspecific damages. His lawsuit calls for a jury trial.
  • Several veterans charity groups in Central Florida are spreading awareness of their services following a troubling VA report on veteran suicides. Last week, the Department of Veterans Affairs released a report showing at least 60,000 veterans committed suicide between 2008 and 2017. In 2017, more than 6,100 veterans died by suicide, and increase of two percent over 2017 and six percent since 2008. K9 Partners for Patriots “When I came back from those [Iraq] deployments, something was off but I couldn’t place my hand on it,” said Ron Flaville. Ron Flaville is the new CEO of a veterans charity group called K9 Partners for Patriots which is based in Brooksville, Florida.  He spent 17 years in the military (Marine Corps and Army) and deployed to Iraq in 2004 and 2009.  He was diagnosed with PTSD while in service, but he says it got worse when he got out and moved to Central Florida with his wife. “I started isolating really bad,” Flaville said.  “I was suffering with bits of depression, anxiety and outbursts of rage.” Flaville said his wife pushed him to get a dog, and later to begin training her to be his service animal.  The two met Mary Peter who was then a dog trainer and would later go on to start K9 Partners for Patriots. Flaville said he went from a reclusive life and a troubled marriage to being a dog trainer.  He said it became the mission and challenge he needed. “Over the years I’ve developed better coping mechanisms, and having Sophia is what has allowed me to be able to do that.” Flaville said he’s noticed a “180 degree change” in the veterans who go through their program, which involves instructing veterans in how to train their dogs to become service animals.  Flaville himself went from taking 14 medications to now four. How do the dogs help?  If a veterans is having a nightmare during their sleep, their trained dog will come over to lick or paw them to wake them up, which is safer than having a person wake them up. If a veteran is having an anxiety attack or an episode of rage, the dogs try to turn the focus to them. But a service animal may not be for every veteran. Camaraderie Foundation Orlando-based veterans charity Camaraderie Foundation provides mental health counseling for veterans suffering from PTSD or TBI. “Different types of therapies that are accepted and approved by our medical-advisory council,” said CEO Nef Rodriguez.  Rodriguez said Camaraderie Foundation has an 87 percent success rate. “We got EMDR as one, accelerated resolution therapy is another, and we have cognitive behavioral therapies.” Both Rodriguez and Flaville said their programs have helped veterans get off of prescription medications that weren’t working for them. Flaville urges veterans who are struggling to not lose hope. “I know it’s easy to get caught up in the depression and thinking that nothing will ever go right.  I am here to tell you a hundred percent that it can. Do not give up.” There are many other veterans charity groups in Florida, such as 22 Project, aiming to provide alternative therapies for veterans who are suffering. (App users click here to see video) (App users click here)
  • Gene Wexler

    Anchor

    Gene spent his youth in upstate New York before making the pilgrimage down to the sunshine state. After spending a few years reporting, anchoring, and hosting at our sister station WOKV in Jacksonville, Gene was asked to bring his talents to Orlando at News 96.5 WDBO

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The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • Police in Titusville, Florida, said a man was arrested after a 9-year-old girl was accidentally shot Saturday afternoon. >> Read more trending news  Police said Titusville resident Dustin Adkins, 34, was arrested and is now facing charges including aggravated child neglect with great bodily harm and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Adkins is on probation for manslaughter involving the shooting death of a child, police said. The shooting occurred as four young juveniles were with an adult relative target shooting in the woods near State Road 407 and I-95, authorities said. Police said that at some point, the adult left the children unsupervised, and the 9-year-old girl was shot by a sibling accidentally while the sibling was shooting at a target. 'It is outrageous that this adult provided firearms and ammunition to these young children,' said Deputy Chief Todd Hutchinson. 'Especially given his past arrest and conviction.' Police said the family transported the child to the hospital. The child was critically injured and is in stable condition, officers said. After a lengthy search, officers found several firearms on a trail hidden under a disposed tire in the wooded area, officials said. No other details were made available.
  • An Arkansas officer was killed in a shooting outside the Fayetteville Police Department on Saturday night, authorities said. >> Read more trending news  Update, 11:22 a.m. EST Dec. 8: Fayetteville police Chief Mike Reynolds identified the officer who was shot and killed outside the Fayetteville Police Department on Saturday night and also identified the shooter, KFSM reported. Reynolds said Officer Stephen Carr was alone in the parking lot waiting for his partner when the suspect, London T. Phillips, 35, approached and fatally shot him, the television station reported. Original story: According to a Fayetteville police news release, the shooting occurred just after 9:40 p.m. in the parking lot behind the police station. Officers in the building heard gunfire and rushed outside to find their colleague down and the suspected shooter fleeing, the release said. Police then chased the suspect, who exchanged fire with officers in a nearby alley, KTHV reported. The suspect was shot, authorities said. The officer and suspect both died from their injuries, according to the news release. Officials have not released the name of the slain officer or suspected shooter. No further information was immediately available. Read more here or here.
  • A suspect died Friday morning after opening fire at Florida’s Naval Air Station Pensacola, killing at least three people and injuring seven others. >> Read more trending news  Authorities said the shooting was reported just before 7 a.m. local time in a classroom building at NAS Pensacola. Responding deputies with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office exchanged gunfire with the suspected shooter, killing him, officials said. Here are the latest updates: Update 3:42 p.m. EST Dec. 8: Officials are still trying to determine whether Ahmed Mohammed al-Shamrani acted alone or was part of a terrorist group Friday when he opened fire at Florida’s Naval Air Station Pensacola, The Washington Post reported. Rachel Rojas, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Jacksonville division, said at a news conference that the agency’s main goal is to determine whether the Saudi air force lieutenant worked as “part of a larger network,” the newspaper reported. Rojas said Shamrani’s weapon, a 9mm Glock, was purchased legally, but she did not describe how Shamrani obtained it and brought it onto the base, according to the Post. Update 10:38 p.m. EST Dec. 7: The third victim of the Naval Air Station Pensacola shooting was identified as Cameron Scott Walters, 21, of Richmond Hill Georgia. “The Sailors that lost their lives in the line of duty and showed exceptional heroism and bravery in the face of evil,” Capt. Tim Kinsella, commanding officer at the installation, said in a release. 'When confronted, they didn’t run from danger; they ran towards it and saved lives. If not for their actions, and the actions of the Naval Security Force that were the first responders on the scene, this incident could have been far worse.” Update 9:58 p.m. EST Dec. 7: Two of the three victims in the deadly shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola were identified. Mohammed “Mo” Haitham, of St. Petersburg, Florida, was killed as he tried to stop the shooter, The Tampa Bay Times reported. Haitham, 19, joined the Navy after graduating high school last year. He was assigned to flight crew training and was expected to graduate later this month. “He said he was going to get his flight jacket for Christmas,” his mother, Evelyn Brady, who also served in the Navy, told the Times. Update 3:08 p.m. EST Dec. 7: Authorities said Mohammed Saeed Ashamrani, the Saudi student who fatally shot three people at Florida’s Naval Air Station Pensacola hosted a dinner party earlier in the week, and he and three other people watched videos of mass shootings, The Associated Press reported Saturday. The official was briefed by federal investigators, according to the AP. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Florida, whose district includes the Pensacola area, tweeted he received condolences from Saudi Ambassador Reema Al-Saud, WEAR-TV reported. Update 11:05 a.m. EST Dec. 7: Family members identified one of the victims fatally shot at Florida’s Naval Air Station Pensacola, the Pensacola News Journal reported Saturday. Joshua Kaleb Watson, 23, a recent graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy who reported to Pensacola two weeks ago, was one of the three people killed during Friday’s shooting, the newspaper reported. Watson’s brother, Adam Johnson, confirmed the death in a Facebook post, the News Journal reported “Joshua Kaleb Watson saved countless lives today with his own,” Adam Johnson wrote Friday night. ”After being shot multiple times he made it outside and told the first response team where the shooter was and those details were invaluable. 'He died a hero and we are beyond proud but there is a hole in our hearts that can never be filled.” Watson’s father, Benjamin Watson, told the News Journal his son was the officer on deck at the time of the shooting. Joshua Watson was shot at least five times, his father told the newspaper. Update 11:05 a.m. EST Dec. 7: Family members identified one of the victims fatally shot at Florida’s Naval Air Station Pensacola, the Pensacola News Journal reported Saturday. Joshua Kaleb Watson, 23, a recent graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy who reported to Pensacola two weeks ago, was one of the three people killed during Friday’s shooting, the newspaper reported. Watson’s brother, Adam Johnson, confirmed the death in a Facebook post, the News Journal reported. Update 9:30 p.m. EST Dec. 6: The shooter has been identified as Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani according to WKRG. He is one of hundreds of international military members who are receiving training there. In a news conference Friday night, the FBI declined to comment on his possible motivations. “There are many reports circulating, but the FBI deals only in facts,” said Rachel L. Rojas, the FBI’s special agent in charge of the Jacksonville Field Office. “This is still very much an active and ongoing investigation.” Update 2:25 p.m. EST Dec. 6: Authorities declined to confirm the identity of the person who shot several people Friday morning at Naval Air Station Pensacola, killing three people before being shot and killed by deputies. “I think there’s obviously going to be a lot of questions about this indivdual being a foreign national, being a part of the Saudi Air Force and then to be here training on our soil and to do this,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Friday morning at a news conference. “The FBI is working with (the Department of Defense), they’re working with (the Florida Department of Law Enforcement), they’re working with Escambia County sheriff’s to answer those questions.” DeSantis said he spoke earlier Friday with President Donald Trump. “One of the things that I talked to the president about is given that this was a foreign national in the employ of a foreign service ... obviously the government of Saudi Arabia needs to make things better for the victims,' DeSantis said. 'I think that they, they are going to owe a debt here, given that this was one of their individuals.” Authorities confirmed at a news conference that the suspect used a handgun in Friday’s shooting. Capt. Tim Kinsella, commanding officer of NAS Pensacola, said the suspect was at NAS Pensacola for aviation training. Earlier in the day, deputies said the suspect opened fire just before 7 a.m. local time in a classroom building at NAS Pensacola. Authorities continue to investigate. Update 1:45 p.m. EST Dec. 6: Authorities in Pensacola are expected to provide an update Friday afternoon on the investigation into the deadly shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola that left four people dead. Update 1:20 p.m. EST Dec. 6: President Donald Trump said Friday afternoon that he’s spoken to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and received a full briefing on the deadly shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola. “My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families during this difficult time,” Trump said. “We are continuing to monitor the situation as the investigation is ongoing.” Update 12:50 p.m. EST Dec. 6: An official told The Associated Press that the person who opened fire Friday at Naval Air Station Pensacola, killing three people and wounding several others before being shot and killed by authorities, was an aviation student from Saudi Arabia. Authorities are investigating to determine whether the shooting was terrorism-related, according to the AP. Military from around the globe attend the Naval Air Station in Pensacola. Authorities are expected to hold a news conference at 12:30 p.m. local time Friday to update the public on the investigation. Update 11:50 a.m. EST Dec. 6: Authorities expect to hold a news conference at 12 p.m. local time Friday to provide more updates on the shooting that left four people dead at Naval Air Station Pensacola.  Update 11:05 a.m. EST Dec. 6: Authorities said a total of 11 people were injured or killed in Friday morning’s shooting, including the suspected shooter. The injured included two responding deputies with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff David Morgan said Friday at a news conference. One deputy was shot in the arm and the other was shot in the knee, Morgan said. They were both expected to survive. Morgan described walking through the scene left by Friday’s attack as being similar to “being in a movie.” “You just don’t expect this to happen here at home,” he said. Authorities continue to investigate. Update 10:45 a.m. EST Dec. 6: Officials are holding a news conference to update the public on Friday morning’s deadly shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola. Update 10:25 a.m. EST Dec. 6: Vice President Mike Pence said he’s monitoring the situation in Florida after a shooting left two victims and a suspect dead at Naval Air Station Pensacola. “Praying for the victims & their families,” Pence wrote Friday morning in a Twitter post. “We commend the first responders for their swift action in taking down the shooter & getting those on base to safety.”  Update 10:20 a.m. EST Dec. 6: White House officials said President Donald Trump has been briefed on the deadly shooting reported Friday morning at Naval Air Station Pensacola.  Update 10:15 a.m. EST Dec. 6: Officials with Naval Air Station Pensacola said the base will closed for the day Friday after a shooting left three people dead earlier in the day. Authorities said at least three people, including the suspected shooter, were killed in the incident. Reports indicated at least eight other people were wounded in the shooting. The incident happened two days after authorities said a U.S. sailor shot and killed two civilian employees before turning the gun on himself at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard. One other person was injured in that shooting. Naval Air Station Pensacola employs more than 16,000 military and 7,400 civilian personnel, according to officials. Update 10:10 a.m. EST Dec. 6: Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, said his office has been in “close contact with all the relevant officials & closely monitoring events” after a shooter opened fire at Naval Air Station Pensacola on Friday morning, killing two people. Authorities said the shooter also died. “Please pray for everyone impacted by this horrible situation,” Rubio said in a Twitter post. Update 10 a.m. EST Dec. 6: A spokesman at Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital told CNN that hospital officials expected to get three patients who had been injured in Friday morning’s shooting, down from the six expected earlier in the day. Hospital spokesman Mike Burke told the news network most victims were taken to Baptist Hospital because of its proximity to the base. Kathy Bowers, a spokeswoman for Baptist Hospital, earlier told the Pensacola News Journal that the hospital had received five patients wounded in Friday’s shooting. Update 9:45 a.m. EST Dec. 6: Officials with the U.S. Navy have confirmed that a second person has died after a shooter opened fire Friday morning at Naval Air Station Pensacola.  Update 9:35 a.m. EST Dec. 6: Officials told the Pensacola News Journal two people were confirmed dead after Friday morning’s shooting, in addition to the shooter. Naval officials previously said at least one person had been killed. Update 9:20 a.m. EST Dec. 6: At least 11 people were hospitalized in the immediate aftermath of Friday’s deadly shooting, according to The Associated Press. Ascension Sacred Heart spokesman Mike Burke told the AP six people were taken to the hospital after a shooter opened fire at Naval Air Station Pensacola early Friday. The Pensacola News Journal previously reported five other people were taken to Baptist Hospital with injuries. Naval officials said at least one victim was killed in Friday’s shooting. Authorities continue to investigate. Update 9:10 a.m. EST Dec. 6: Officials with the U.S. Navy said at least one person died Friday morning in a shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida. Authorities said the suspected shooter was also dead Friday morning. Update 9 a.m. EST Dec. 6: An official with Baptist Hospital told the Pensacola News Journal five patients were taken to the hospital after Friday morning’s reported shooting. Authorities continue to investigate. Update 8:55 a.m. EST Dec. 6: Authorities with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office said a suspected shooter was dead Friday morning at Naval Air Station Pensacola. Original report: Authorities are responding Friday morning to reports of shots fired at Naval Air Station Pensacola, according to base officials. Authorities at NAS Pensacola said both gates to the base were closed Friday morning as authorities investigated. Officials with the U.S. Navy said the base was on lockdown around 7:45 a.m. local time. A spokeswoman for ECSO told the Pensacola News Journal deputies were working to “take down” what was described as an active shooter around 7:30 a.m. local time. Officials with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office told WEAR-TV injuries were reported. Details on the number of people wounded and the extent of their injuries was not immediately available. The Associated Press contributed to this report. Check back for updates to this developing story.
  • Bill Nye the Science Guy has now been given the go ahead by a judge with his lawsuit against The Walt Disney Company. According to AV Club, the complaint stems from when his show was produced by Buena Vista Television. The agreement reportedly entitled Nye to 16.5% of the net profits from sales and distribution of the show. Back in April 2008, he received a payment of $585,123, but then it was retracted by Disney three months later, with them claiming it was an accounting error, and they asked for a payment back of $496,111 and that he would not get any more money until he paid that back.  In the complaint, Nye says he hired an auditor to review Buena Vista's records, which he claims Disney dodged until May of 2016, which showed that he was owed more than $9 million in under-reported royalty payments.  After making certain changes to his complaint, the judge ruled that he may proceed with his $28 million lawsuit, which not only covers what he is owed, but also includes legal fees and damages. In a statement from Nye's legal team, they told Fox Business that 'it is our hope that this case, which Disney has fought so hard to stall, will finally shine some light upon the improper accounting practices that Disney utilizes to unjustly deprive profit participants, like our clients, of their fair share of revenues from the programming that they work so hard to create.'  While Disney has sold a select amount of episodes of Bill Nye the Science Guy to Netflix( which has since been removed in May of this year), the show cannot be found on Disney+.
  • Despite it being a week since a 73 year old Sanford man has been missing, his family and members of the community are not giving up. Police in Sanford say Robert Ford left his home on November 29th on the 300 block of Fern Drive and has not been back since. They say Ford is a Navy veteran who suffers from post traumatic stress disorder and is on medication for depression.  While police continue their search, his daughter has put up flyers around the community and has even set up a Facebook page so that volunteers can help look for him.  Ford is 5 feet, 7 inches weighing 160 pounds and was last seen wearing a dark colored shirt and a jacket. Police say he may act confused and might not know his own name. Anyone who knows where he is is asked to contact the Sanford Police Department at 407-688-5070.

Washington Insider

  • Even as Democrats press ahead with a historic effort to impeach President Donald Trump in the House, lawmakers in both parties are on the cusp of possibly producing series of major, bipartisan legislative deals, covering everything from a crackdown on surprise medical bills to a compromise establishing the President's plan for a 'Space Force' at the Pentagon in exchange for a big benefits change for federal workers. The calendar doesn't offer much time for action in either the House or Senate, as lawmakers hope to leave town by the weekend before Christmas - which would give the House and Senate until around December 20-23. Here are some of the big issues which might get resolved in Congress at the same time as Democrats force a vote on impeachment. 1. Lawmakers cut deal on surprise medical bills. Sunday brought news that a group of key lawmakers - in both parties from the House and Senate - had reached agreement on a plan to rein surprise bills which consumers often face, especially after emergency care. Backers stressed the bipartisan nature of the agreement. 'The legislation includes proposals from 80 Senators, 46 Democrats and 34 Republicans,' said Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) in a Sunday statement. That does not necessarily mean this deal gets voted on in the next two weeks. 2. New minimum age to buy tobacco products. The deal on the issue of surprise medical bills also has some other items involved in it, including a provision which would raise the minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21 years. The idea of raising the legal age for buying cigarettes and tobacco has been supported in recent months by the Senate's top Republican - Majority Leader Mitch McConnell - but it's not clear if McConnell would rush such a bill to the Senate floor over the next two weeks. 3. 'Space Force' might be ready for launch. Lawmakers in both parties were trying to finalize a major defense policy bill early this week, and the details are expected to finally give President Trump his plan to set up a 'Space Force' inside the Pentagon. The plan - which has been resisted by lawmakers in both parties - would not set up a brand new branch of the military, as sought by President Trump. Instead, the Space Force would operate out of the Air Force, sort of like the Marines are considered part of the Navy. Critics argued a plan to set up a separate new branch of the military would have been too expensive, and would create an unnecessary new bureaucracy. 4. Paid family leave benefit for federal workers? The President won't get his Space Force for nothing in this major defense policy bill, as reportedly the deal with the White House will give around 2.7 million federal workers a new benefit - paid family leave. The plan would reportedly include up to 12 weeks of such leave for federal civilian workers. While no final bill language has been released, a tweet from over the weekend by President Trump's daughter shows this exchange could well be part of the defense bill. Stay tuned. 5. USMCA trade deal still a late year possibility. With a flurry of late negotiations involving U.S., Mexican, and Canadian trade officials, it's still possible that the final touches could be put on a new trade deal among the three nations, and have it voted on by the House and Senate. The White House has been quietly working with Mexico and Canada in recent weeks to work out tweaks to the agreement, mainly dealing with labor and environmental enforcement, trade dispute resolution, and issues dealing with some medical drugs. While the President and his allies keep saying the plan has been sent to Congress already for a vote - that is simply not true. 6. Government funding plan remains in limbo. While there were seemingly agreement on surprise medical billing, the Space Force, and more, lawmakers still have not finalized a giant package of bills to fund the operations of the federal government for 2020. The current temporary funding bill runs out on December 20. While there is obviously the threat of a government shutdown, lawmakers in both parties hope they can either reach a deal now - or extend that temporary spending plan into the New Year. So, this could also be part of a late rush of big legislation.