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Rebecah James
Rebecah James
3:00pm - 7:00pm
Afternoon Show

Local News

February 3, 2023 Evening News

Rape Suspect Arrested 

 

Ocala Police have arrested a 31-year-old homeless man who they say is responsible for breaking into the apartment home of an 80-year-old woman and raping her. Taquino Williams was arrested Friday morning. Investigators were able to identify the suspect through various surveillance videos. Police say Taquino entered the apartment by crawling through a torn screen and entering the victim’s home through an unlocked side door. 

 

DeSantis Not In Mix For White House 

 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis may be months away from publicly declaring his presidential intentions, but his potential rivals aren’t holding back. No fewer than a half dozen Republicans eyeing the White House has begun actively courting top political operatives in states like New Hampshire and Iowa. Thus far, only Donald Trump is the declared candidate. DeSantis, meanwhile, is plowing forward with a fiery discriminatory agenda in the legislature before a presidential announcement which is expected in late spring or early summer. 

 

Business Pledges Millions To Stem Road Fatalities 

 

Nearly 50 businesses and nonprofits — including ride-share companies Uber and Lyft, industrial giant 3M, and automaker Honda — are pledging millions of dollars in initiatives to stem a crisis in road fatalities under a new federal effort announced Friday. It’s part of the Department of Transportation’s “Call to Action” campaign, which urges commitments from the private sector, trade groups, and health and safety organizations to reduce serious traffic injuries and deaths. Traffic fatalities are near historic highs after a surge of dangerous driving during the coronavirus pandemic. 

 

US Tracking Chinese Spy Balloon 

 

The U.S. was tracking a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon spotted over American airspace. China said Friday that it would look into those reports, as the discovery further strained already tense relations between Beijing and Washington. The Pentagon decided not to shoot down the balloon, potentially flying over sensitive sites, because of concerns about hurting people on the ground. China said it had no intention of violating the territory and airspace of any sovereign country. Still, then again, China has a long history of lying to its people and the world. 

 

You’ve Heard This Before – This One Is Real 

 

You’ve heard of these stories before. Now here’s one for real. An Iowa nursing home facility is facing big fines after mistakenly pronouncing a 66-year-old patient dead and transporting her to a funeral home where she woke up gasping for air. Staffers at the nursing home reported no breathing and no pulse from the woman, who was critically ill, so the funeral home and family were called. After the incident, the woman was returned to the nursing home, where she died a couple of days later. 

 

Heading To The Beach This Summer – Where Not To Go 

 

If you’re heading to the beach this summer, you might want to leave this one to the tourists. According to Travel Lens, 7 of the ten most deadly beaches in the country are in Florida. And topping that list, New Smyrna Beach. Travel Lens looked at several factors, including surf zone fatalities, hurricanes, and shark attacks. New Smyrna topped the list with 32 shark attacks. Cocoa Beach and Ormond Beach rounded out the top three on that list. 

 

Top Retirement Place – Guess What? It’s Not Florida Anymore 

 

So where do people go when they retire? Florida, of course, and some of the reasons are obvious: warm weather, no income tax, and until recently, low housing costs. But not so fast, says Wallet Hub and other survey companies. The Sunshine State is no longer the top pick. Virginia has outflanked Florida for the top spot, with Florida at number two. The surveys looked at senior affordability, health care, and housing—the absolute worst state: Kentucky.

February 3, 2023 Evening News

Rape Suspect Arrested 

 

Ocala Police have arrested a 31-year-old homeless man who they say is responsible for breaking into the apartment home of an 80-year-old woman and raping her. Taquino Williams was arrested Friday morning. Investigators were able to identify the suspect through various surveillance videos. Police say Taquino entered the apartment by crawling through a torn screen and entering the victim’s home through an unlocked side door. 

 

DeSantis Not In Mix For White House 

 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis may be months away from publicly declaring his presidential intentions, but his potential rivals aren’t holding back. No fewer than a half dozen Republicans eyeing the White House has begun actively courting top political operatives in states like New Hampshire and Iowa. Thus far, only Donald Trump is the declared candidate. DeSantis, meanwhile, is plowing forward with a fiery discriminatory agenda in the legislature before a presidential announcement which is expected in late spring or early summer. 

 

Business Pledges Millions To Stem Road Fatalities 

 

Nearly 50 businesses and nonprofits — including ride-share companies Uber and Lyft, industrial giant 3M, and automaker Honda — are pledging millions of dollars in initiatives to stem a crisis in road fatalities under a new federal effort announced Friday. It’s part of the Department of Transportation’s “Call to Action” campaign, which urges commitments from the private sector, trade groups, and health and safety organizations to reduce serious traffic injuries and deaths. Traffic fatalities are near historic highs after a surge of dangerous driving during the coronavirus pandemic. 

 

US Tracking Chinese Spy Balloon 

 

The U.S. was tracking a suspected Chinese surveillance balloon spotted over American airspace. China said Friday that it would look into those reports, as the discovery further strained already tense relations between Beijing and Washington. The Pentagon decided not to shoot down the balloon, potentially flying over sensitive sites, because of concerns about hurting people on the ground. China said it had no intention of violating the territory and airspace of any sovereign country. Still, then again, China has a long history of lying to its people and the world. 

 

You’ve Heard This Before – This One Is Real 

 

You’ve heard of these stories before. Now here’s one for real. An Iowa nursing home facility is facing big fines after mistakenly pronouncing a 66-year-old patient dead and transporting her to a funeral home where she woke up gasping for air. Staffers at the nursing home reported no breathing and no pulse from the woman, who was critically ill, so the funeral home and family were called. After the incident, the woman was returned to the nursing home, where she died a couple of days later. 

 

Heading To The Beach This Summer – Where Not To Go 

 

If you’re heading to the beach this summer, you might want to leave this one to the tourists. According to Travel Lens, 7 of the ten most deadly beaches in the country are in Florida. And topping that list, New Smyrna Beach. Travel Lens looked at several factors, including surf zone fatalities, hurricanes, and shark attacks. New Smyrna topped the list with 32 shark attacks. Cocoa Beach and Ormond Beach rounded out the top three on that list. 

 

Top Retirement Place – Guess What? It’s Not Florida Anymore 

 

So where do people go when they retire? Florida, of course, and some of the reasons are obvious: warm weather, no income tax, and until recently, low housing costs. But not so fast, says Wallet Hub and other survey companies. The Sunshine State is no longer the top pick. Virginia has outflanked Florida for the top spot, with Florida at number two. The surveys looked at senior affordability, health care, and housing—the absolute worst state: Kentucky.

February 3, 2023 Morning News

Cops Seek Man Who Raped A Senior Citizen

 

Ocala Police say an 80-year-old woman was raped in her apartment home Wednesday night.  Now investigators are looking for a black or Hispanic male, about 5 feet 9 inches tall, with a muscular build. The man was armed with a screwdriver during the attack at Saddleworth Green, located in the 2900 block of SW 41st Street. The woman told investigators that her door had been left unlocked.  The woman called 911 and was taken to a hospital for treatment. Cops say they have a photo of the attacker but only show him from behind. To see that photo just go to our website classichitsocala.com and click on today’s news 

 

Shivering in Usually Warm Texas

 

Thousands of frustrated Texans shivered in their homes Thursday after more than a day without power, including many in the state capital, as an icy winter storm that has been blamed for at least 10 traffic deaths lingered across much of the southern U.S. Even as temperatures finally pushed above freezing in Austin — and were expected to climb past 50 degrees on Friday — the relief will be just in time for an Arctic front to drop from Canada and threaten northern states. New England is forecast to see the coldest weather in decades, with wind chills that could dive below minus 50.

 

Your Grounded Kid – Forever

 

A Michigan man says he was left with a $1,000 bill after his 6-year-old son ordered a virtual smorgasbord of food from several restaurants last weekend, leading to a string of unexpected deliveries — and maybe a starring role in an ad campaign. Keith Stonehouse said the food piled up quickly at his Detroit-area home on Saturday night after he let his son, Mason, use his cellphone to play a game before bed. He said the youngster instead used his father’s Grubhub account to order food from one restaurant after another.  The six-year-old is grounded – forever.

 

New Poll on President

 

The new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds 41% of Americans say they approve of how President Biden is handling his job as president, about the same as the 43% who said that in December. In the new poll, 77% of Democrats approve of how Biden is handling his job, while 91% of Republicans disapprove, both little changed since late last year. Those numbers could change depending on how Americans perceive the President’s State of the Union address next week.

 

US House Kicks Democrat Off of Committee

 

The Republican-led House voted after raucous debate Thursday to oust Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar from the chamber’s Foreign Affairs Committee, citing her anti-Israel comments, in a dramatic response to Democrats last session booting far-right GOP lawmakers over incendiary remarks. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was able to solidify Republican support against the Somali-born Muslim in the new Congress although some GOP lawmakers had expressed reservations.

 

Removing the Unanimous Jury Requirement For the Death Penalty

 

Gov. Ron DeSantis and Florida lawmakers proposed legislation making sending convicts to death row easier by eliminating a unanimous jury requirement in capital punishment sentencing — a response to anger from victims’ families following a verdict sparing a school shooter from execution. The proposal comes after a divided 9-3 jury spared Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz in November from capital punishment for killing 17 at the school in 2018. The Parkland school shooter instead received a life sentence.

 

February 2, 2023 Evening News

DUI Manslaughter Gets Man Ten Years 

 

A Missouri man was sentenced to ten years in prison followed by two years probation after a jury found him guilty of DUI manslaughter in connection with the vehicle crash death of a 69-year-old woman. Joseph Bailey was in a car with his wife, children, and a female passenger when he slammed into the rear of a motorcycle carrying Barbara Margaret in 2019 along State Road 40. Bailey was under the influence of drugs at the time. The impact of the crash was so severe that the victim was dismembered. The state had sought 15 years. 

 

Removing the Unanimous Jury Requirement For The Death Penalty 

 

Governor Ron DeSantis and Florida lawmakers proposed legislation making it easier to send convicts to death row by eliminating a unanimous jury requirement in capital punishment sentencing — a response to anger from victims’ families following a verdict sparing a school shooter from execution. The proposal comes after a divided 9-3 jury spared Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz in November from capital punishment for killing 17 at the school in 2018. The Parkland school shooter instead received a life sentence. 

 

Fed Raises Rates – What Does That Mean For You 

 

The Federal Reserve raised interest rates again Wednesday. What does that mean for you? The rate increase will likely make it even costlier for you to borrow for homes, autos, and other purchases. But if you have money to save, you’ll probably earn a bit more interest on it. The latest rate increase is smaller than the Fed’s rate hike in December. The slowdown reflects that inflation, while still high, is easing, and some parts of the economy seem to be cooling. 

 

Another Greedy Oil Company Reports Record Profits 

 

Exxon Mobile isn’t the only oil company that has shown that it is greedy. Global energy giant Shell said Thursday that its annual profits doubled to a record high last year as oil and natural gas prices soared after Russia invaded Ukraine. Shell posted earnings of nearly $40 billion just for the final three months of 2022. The move of sheer greed underlines the tension between energy company shareholders seen as reaping big profits and consumers weighed down by higher costs for heating their homes and filling up their cars. 

 

Stop Using These Eyedrops 

 

U.S. health officials advise people to stop using over-the-counter eye drops linked to an outbreak of drug-resistant infections. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday night sent a health alert to physicians, saying the outbreak includes at least 55 people in 12 states. One died. Disease investigators have linked the infections, including some found in blood, urine, and lungs, to EzriCare Artificial Tears. Many of the patients said they had used the product, which is a lubricant used to treat irritation and dryness. No recall has been announced, but if you have some of the product, you should probably get rid of it. 

 

Murderer Of Moscow Keeps Killing Civilians 


Russian missiles hit residential areas in an eastern Ukrainian city Thursday for the second time in 24 hours, while top European Union officials held talks with the government in Kyiv as the war with Russia approaches its one-year milestone. The latest strikes came as rescue crews searched for survivors in the rubble of an apartment building hit late Wednesday by a missile ordered by the murderer of Moscow that killed at least three people and wounded 21 others.

February 2, 2023 Morning News

Distraction?  Who Knows As Another School Bus Hit

 

So was the driver on the phone, texting, yelling at kids in the back seat. Who knows?  In any case, a Lincoln SUV crashed into the rear of a Marion County School bus just before 3 PM Wednesday. The accident occurred on SW 103rd Street Road. The Florida Highway Patrol said the bus had stopped to unload students with lights flashing when the SUV traveling behind it, failed to stop. 16 students were on the bus but nobody was hurt. The driver of the SUV, a 69-year-old female, was ticketed for careless driving. 

 

Federal, State, and Local Law Enforcement Discuss Crime

 

Federal, state, and local law enforcement officials told members of the media Wednesday to update the public on the efforts of law enforcement to curb crime in the area. Officials say fewer than 1 percent of offenders are responsible for 60 percent to 70 percent of the crime. The US Attorneys’ office, at the news conference, said a crackdown continues on convicted felons having weapons. As of December 2022, 49 of the 60 defendants convicted for federal weapons charges are now serving a combined total of 400 years in federal penitentiaries. The news conference was held at the Ocala Police Department community room. 

 

Smelling a Rat

 

So why would China want to own a wet corn milling operation in North Dakota?  The plant would be an economic boon for the area. But federal officials put a stop to the projects as it is just 12 miles from the Grand Forks Air Force Base, saying it poses a national security risk. The Grand Forks Air Force Base is a center for both air and space operations.  Once informed of the risk concerns, local officials put a halt to the project.

 

Canned Meat Recall

 

Conagra Brands is recalling over 2.5 million pounds of canned meat and poultry after a packaging defect was found that could have caused the product to be contaminated. The problem was found when a Conagra location in Iowa found spoiled and leaking cans with multiple production dates. The goods were produced between December 12th and January 13th and shipped across the country. Look for the establishment number of P4247 on the cans if you have concerns. 

 

Do You Know Where to Find Kaylyn Booth? 

 

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office would like to have a little chat with 24-year-old Kaylyn Booth. Booth is wanted by the county on charges of burglary and grand theft in connection with the theft of the victim’s wallet while he was being distracted. Sheriff Billy Woods says Booth is unlikely to turn herself in and is asking the public for help. A reward could be in the mix for anyone who helps bring Booth to justice. To remain anonymous, just call Crime Stoppers. 

 

Search Of Biden Vacation Home Turns Up Nothing

 

The FBI searched President Joe Biden’s vacation home in Delaware, on Wednesday without turning up any classified documents, the latest turn in an extraordinary series of searches of his and his predecessor’s properties. Investigators searched his former office at a Washington think tank that bears his name in November, but it isn’t clear whether they took anything. Unlike former President Trump, Biden allowed the searches to be totally transparent in the investigation.

 

Prez and McCarthy Meet At White House

 

President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy met face-to-face Wednesday for more than an hour of highly anticipated budget talks — “a good first meeting,” the new Republican leader said — but expectations were low for quick progress as GOP lawmakers push for steep cuts in a deal to prevent a national debt limit crisis. McCarthy emerged saying the meeting went better than expected: The two agreed to meet again, and the speaker said he expected to hear from Biden soon.

 

Fed Raises Interest Rates Again

 

The Federal Reserve extended its fight against high inflation Wednesday by raising its key interest rate a quarter-point, its eighth hike since March. And the Fed signaled that even though inflation is easing, it remains high enough to require further rate hikes. At the same time, Chair Jerome Powell said at a news conference that the Fed recognizes that the pace of inflation has cooled — a signal that it could be nearing the end of its rate increases. The stock and bond markets rallied during his news conference. 

February 1, 2023 Evening News

Governor Releases Proposed Budget

 

Florida will have enough money and reserves to withstand a national economic downturn while still being able to provide tax breaks, Governor Ron DeSantis said while releasing his proposed budget Wednesday. The proposal also included permanently removing a sales tax on gas stoves that have become a political rallying cry for Republicans.  DeSantis’ overall spending proposal is nearly $115 billion but is only a recommendation. The Legislature will approve a final budget during the annual session that begins next month.
 

Traffic Deaths Mount Over Two Days

 

Two people died late Tuesday evening when their car missed a curve on County Road 464C near Ocklawaha and struck a tree, bursting into flames.  Marion County has now recorded three traffic deaths over two days. The names, ages, or genders of the victims were not revealed by the Florida Highway Patrol as the bodies were too badly burned. The FHP report did not indicate if the victims were wearing seatbelts or if speed contributed to the crash. On Monday, a North Marion High School student was killed in a motorcycle crash when he slammed into a car.

 

Brady Retires Again

 

Is two the magic number?  Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady announced his retirement again Wednesday. The announcement came on an Instagram post lasting just under one minute. Brady insists that it’s for good this time around.  Brady won a record seven Super Bowls for New England and Tampa and is regarded as one of the greatest athletes in team sports. He retires at age 45, the owner of numerous passing records in an unprecedented 23-year career.

 

Be Glad You’re Here in Florida

 

Bands of sleet and snow that brought traffic to a standstill across the nation’s midsection canceled thousands of flights, left hundreds of thousands without power, and were blamed for six deaths caused dangerous conditions for a third day Wednesday in several Southern states. Watches and warnings stretched from Texas to Tennessee and Mississippi. Several rounds of mixed precipitation, including freezing rain and sleet, were in store for many areas throughout the day, meaning some regions could be hit multiple times,

 

Governor Releases Proposed Budget

 

Florida will have enough money and reserves to withstand a national economic downturn while still being able to provide tax breaks, Governor Ron DeSantis said while releasing his proposed budget Wednesday. The proposal also included permanently removing a sales tax on gas stoves that have become a political rallying cry for Republicans.  DeSantis’ overall spending proposal is nearly $115 billion but is only a recommendation. The Legislature will approve a final budget during the annual session that begins next month.

 

Job Market Still Strong Despite Inflation

 

U.S. job openings rose to 11 million in December, delivering a setback to the Federal Reserve’s effort to cool a hot job market. Openings were up from 10.44 million in November and were the highest since July, according to data released Wednesday by the Labor Department. Economists had expected job openings to drop slightly in December.  For 18 straight months, employers have posted at least 10 million openings — a level never reached before 2021 in Labor Department data going back to 2000.

 

How About Those Free Breakfasts at Hotels

 

When you shop for a hotel, what do you look for?  New surveys out say one of the most popular filters now is complimentary breakfast.  And the hotels are taking note.  Free breakfast can be a money-saver, especially for families or larger groups. A $100 room that includes food for four can feel practically free if you’d otherwise pay $25 per person at brunch. But there can be a downside.  At some hotels, complimentary breakfast can be mediocre. At others, it’s downright gross.  But take note, typically it's the better hotel chains that are beefing up their breakfasts, not the budget outlets.

 

February 1, 2023 Morning News

North Marion Student Killed In Crash

 

A Marion County motorcyclist was killed Tuesday when he, for some unknown reason, swerved into the path of an oncoming vehicle. The crash occurred on NW 100th Avenue near County Road 329. The biker was identified as 18-year-old James Wilkerson of Flemington. After striking the oncoming vehicle, the 18-year-old was thrown onto the grassy shoulder. He was taken to Shands in Gainesville where he was pronounced dead. Wilkerson was a student at North Marion High School. 

 

Aren’t You Glad You’re In Florida?

 

Winter weather brought ice to a wide swath of the United States on Tuesday, causing the cancellation of more than 1,700 flights nationwide, bringing traffic to a standstill on an interstate through Arkansas, and knocking out power to thousands of Texans. As the ice storm advanced eastward on Tuesday, watches and warnings stretched from the western heel of Texas all the way to West Virginia. Several rounds of mixed precipitation — including freezing rain and sleet — were in store for many areas through Wednesday.

 

Governor Puts On The Boxing Gloves

 

Governor DeSantis Tuesday made it clear that he wants to steer colleges and universities in Florida to the political right, outlining plans to dismantle campus diversity, equity, and inclusion programs and making it easier for his mostly hand-picked boards of trustees to hire and fire tenured professors. DeSantis made the remarks just a few miles from his first target, New College near Sarasota, where his hand-picked board was meeting for the first time.  The radical governor says he just wants schools to be accountable.

 

Greed Driving Oil Companies Over Patriotism

 

With gas prices expanding again to near-record highs, many wonder where all that money is going.   Here is one answer.   Exxon Mobil posted record annual profits in 2022. Exxon’s bounty came as Americans shelled out $4 per gallon for gasoline throughout most of the spring and summer with millions hitting the road. Exxon Mobile and other big oil companies have ignored pleas from President Biden to cut back on profits and give Americans a break at the pump, instead choosing to gouge the country in the name of money.

 

Ford Explorers Under The Microscope

 

The U.S. government’s road safety agency is investigating complaints that windshield trim panels can fly off of Ford Explorers while they’re traveling at highway speeds. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it has 164 complaints about the trim pieces detaching on 2011 through 2019 Explorer SUVs. The probe covers about 1.86 million vehicles. The agency hasn’t received any reports of crashes or injuries and no recall has been announced.

 

The Guru of Peeps Dies

 

Ira “Bob” Born, a candy company executive known as the “Father of Peeps” for mechanizing the process to make marshmallow chicks, has died. He was 98.  Just Born Quality Confections, the 100-year-old family-owned company Born led for much of his life, said Monday that he had died peacefully on Sunday.

January 31, 2023 Evening News

Governor Wants Right-Wing Colleges

 

Governor DeSantis Tuesday made it clear that he wants to steer colleges and universities in Florida to the political right, outlining plans to dismantle campus diversity, equity, and inclusion programs and making it easier for his mostly hand-picked boards of trustees to hire and fire tenured professors. DeSantis made the remarks just a few miles from his first target, New College near Sarasota, where his hand-picked board was meeting for the first time. The radical governor says he just wants schools to be accountable.

 

Oil Companies Record Massive Profits While Americans Suffer

 

With gas prices expanding again to near-record highs, many wonder where all that money is going.  Here is one answer.  Exxon Mobil posted record annual profits in 2022.  Exxon’s bounty came as Americans shelled out $4 per gallon for gasoline throughout most of the spring and summer with millions hitting the road.  Exxon Mobile and other big oil companies have ignored pleas from President Biden to cut back on profits and give Americans a break a the pump, instead choosing to gouge the country in the name of money.

 

 Own A Ford Explorer – Then Read This

 

The U.S. government’s road safety agency is investigating complaints that windshield trim panels can fly off of Ford Explorers while they’re traveling at highway speeds. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it has 164 complaints about the trim pieces detaching on 2011 through 2019 Explorer SUVs. The probe covers about 1.86 million vehicles.  The agency hasn’t received any reports of crashes or injuries and no recall has been announced.

 

Woman Attacks, Stabs Victim at Home

 

Sheriff’s deputies have arrested an 18-year-old woman after she reportedly stabbed another woman in the shoulder. Kamiya Baker- Andrews reported had become upset when she was reminded about an appointment Monday with a doctor she did not like and attacked the victim. The victim claimed that Baker Andrews was special needs but according to investigators, the 18-year-old successfully answered several competency questions. She’s now facing felony aggravated domestic battery charges and is being held on a $5000 bond. 

 

Cloning Company Gets Extra Funding

 

The dodo bird isn’t coming back anytime soon. Nor is the woolly mammoth. But a company working on technologies to bring back extinct species has attracted more investors, while other scientists are skeptical such feats are possible or a good idea.  But that doesn’t mean big bio isn’t trying. Colossal Biosciences first announced its ambitious plan to revive the woolly mammoth two years ago, and on Tuesday said it wanted to bring back the dodo bird, too.  And the Dallas company announced Tuesday it had raised an additional $150 million in funding to that end. We’ll watch it.

 

The Last Boeing 747

 

Boeing is bidding farewell to an icon. It’s delivering its final 747 jumbo jet. Since its first flight in 1969, the giant yet graceful 747 has served as a cargo plane, a commercial aircraft capable of carrying nearly 500 passengers, a transport for NASA’s space shuttles, and the Air Force One presidential aircraft. The final plane is the 1,574th built by Boeing and is being delivered to cargo carrier Atlas Air.

January 31, 2023 Morning News

Powerful NRA Flexes Muscle In Florida 

 

Saying gun owners don’t need a government permission slip to protect their God-given rights, Florida’s House speaker proposed legislation Monday to eliminate concealed weapons permits, a move Democrats argue would make a state with a history of horrific mass shootings less safe. The reckless legislation should not have a problem passing in a legislature with a GOP a super-majority. GOP members of the legislature have shown little, if any compassion following mass shootings in Florida, despite pleas from multiple groups to enact stricter gun legislation. 

 

Cops Find Virtual Pharmacy In Traffic Stop

 

A 39-year-old Ocala woman has been rung up by sheriff’s deputies after a traffic stop that turned up a virtual pharmacy of illegal drugs. Tanya White was stopped for an illegal lane change. While investigating, deputies learned that White had no driver’s license because it had been suspended. Checking the vehicle, investigators found marijuana, meth, and fentanyl. White is now facing multiple felony charges but police let her go after she posted an $11,000 bond.

 

Belleview Rattlers Get New Football Coach

 

Belleview High School has a new football coach that principal Heather Guest says will rebuild the program. He is Thomas Elliott, who played quarterback at the University of Northern Alabama and was part of the coaching staff that won three state championships at Leeds High School in a four-year period and most recently at Trinity High School in Ocala. Guest said that she believes Elliott is in it for the long haul. 

 

Possible Trump Indictment Coming From Georgia

 

Former President Donald Trump and his allies have been put on notice by a prosecutor, but the warning didn’t come from anyone at the Justice Department.  It was from a Georgia prosecutor who indicated she was likely to seek criminal charges soon in a two-year election subversion probe. Though Trump was not mentioned by name, the announcement marked the first time a prosecutor in any of several current investigations tied to the Republican former president has hinted that charges could be forthcoming.

 

 Actress Cindy Williams Dead at 75

 

Cindy Williams, who played Shirley opposite Penny Marshall's Laverne on the popular sitcom "Laverne & Shirley," has died. Williams died in Los Angeles Wednesday after a brief illness according to a statement from her children.  They did not explain the illness. Williams also starred in director George Lucas' 1973 film “American Graffiti. Her co-star in Laverne and Shirley, Penny Marshall died in 2018.  Cindy Williams was 75 years old.

 

Hockey Great Bobby Hull Dies

 

In the world of sports, Canadian hockey great Bobby Hull has died.  The 12-time All-Star, two-time Hart Trophy winner, and Hall of Famer played with the Chicago Blackhawks for 15 seasons and had one of the most feared slap shots in the league. Bobby Hull died at his home in Wheaton, Illinois on Monday, the cause of death was not given. Bobby Hull was 84.

January 30, 2023 Evening News

Welcome To The Wild West – Sorry – Wild Florida

 

We report nearly every week about people with guns who shouldn’t have them at all. But now, in a reckless move, Florida could become the 26th state to allow people to carry concealed loaded guns anywhere without any permit. Currently, Florida residents who receive a concealed permit must have undergone firearms training, along with clearing a background check that shows they are not convicted felons or fall under a host of other restrictions. But soon that won’t be necessary.

 

Got Your Ticket?

 

The multi-state Powerball jackpot has grown to $613 million after no winner last  Friday. The next drawing is tonight. Your chances of winning are not very good….just one in more than 300 million. But even if you don’t win the big prize, check your ticket. Several combinations of fewer numbers can mean cash prizes of up to a million dollars. 

 

Lawsuit Filed Over Sheriff’s Social Media Post

 

A man has filed a defamation lawsuit against Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey who posts weekly “Wheel of Fugitive” videos on social media, saying that he wasn’t a fugitive when his name and an image appeared several times in 2021 in the sheriff’s posts inspired by the long-running TV game show “Wheel of Fortune.” Because of the sheriff’s posts, David Gay lost a job and suffered emotional distress, according to the lawsuit seeking more than $50,000 in damages.

 

Yard Signs – A Problem According To The City

 

The city of Ocala says it removed more than 200 yard signs last week, which code enforcement considers litter.  And that was just in a four-hour span.  Yard signs are any sign that advertises events or specials like garage sales, etc.  Code enforcement officers say the violators are difficult to catch in the act because the signs are often put out at night.  The city just removes them.  If you have questions about signage, check out the city’s website

 

Auto Insurance Revamp Before Legislature

 

A bill before the state legislature would prevent motorists from assigning auto insurance benefits to repair shops that then pursue payment from insurance companies. The bill was filed and is similar to the measure passed by lawmakers that now prohibit property insurance benefits from being assigned in the property insurance industry. Insurance assignments were one way that sham roofing companies were getting new roofs for homeowners that really didn’t need a new roof.   

 

Commissioners Get Update On Budget

 

Marion County Commissioners got a budget update Monday afternoon during a meeting at the McPherson Center. It’s all to start planning next year’s budget which doesn’t come around until autumn. During the Monday session, commissioners got updates on roadway and infrastructure development, along with a presentation on the jail project. Some county commissioners have called for a moratorium on growth as the county can’t keep up with the infrastructure development or the costs.

January 30, 2023 Morning News

Gas Prices Exploding  

 

Gas prices in Florida and across the nation are on the rise again. On average, prices in Florida have jumped 50 cents a gallon over the past month. Here in Ocala prices that were under $3 a gallon just a few weeks ago, are spiking.  The lowest price we can find today is $3.27, and that’s only at one 7-11 on SW 49th Avenue. Sam’s Club is posting $3.29 but a more likely price you’ll find around town is going to be somewhere between $3.39 and $3.45.

 

Powerball Grows Again

 

After no Friday winner, the multi-state Powerball jackpot has grown to $613 million. The next drawing is tonight. Your chances of winning are not very good….just one in more than 300 million. 

 

Radical Changes Coming To Florida College

 

A progressive liberal arts state college in Sarasota, ranked as one of the best in the nation is about to undergo a radical change in philosophy thanks to Governor DeSantis. New College, which has a student population of less than 1000, promotes the mantra your education, your way, be original, be you. Now the Governor has appointed six new board members to the school to change the institution into a school more like Hillsdale College in Michigan, a strict conservative, religious-based school. One of the new trustees told reporters that the governor wants the group to accomplish what he calls institutional recapture, moving New College away from things like diversity, equality, and inclusion programs. 

 

Subway Manager Accused of Stealing $17K

 

A former manager of three Subway shops in Ocala has been arrested for stealing $17,000 from the company. The owners of the shops called the police last October after noticing a discrepancy in the deposits. That’s also when Ben Stokes also quit coming to work. After investigating the paperwork, investigators said 49 deposits were not made completely or were missing money. Stokes blamed company ownership for taking the money but cops didn’t buy it. He was arrested last week on charges of organized fraud but later released on a $5000 bond.

 

Population Center Moving South  

 

The U.S. population center is on track this decade to take a southern swerve for the first time in history. Last year, the South outgrew other U.S. regions by well over 1 million people through births outpacing deaths and domestic and international migration, according to population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. The Northeast and Midwest lost residents, and the West grew by an anemic 153,000 people.  Experts say the Southern allure has to do with a mix of housing affordability, lower taxes, the popularity of remote work during the pandemic era and baby boomers retiring.

 

McCarthy Says Social Security And Medicare Safe

 

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said Sunday he is looking forward to discussing with President Joe Biden a “reasonable and responsible way that we can lift the debt ceiling ” when the two meet Wednesday for their first sit-down at the White House since McCarthy was elected to the post. McCarthy, R-Calif., said he wants to address spending cuts along with raising the debt limit but the speaker pledged that cuts to Social Security and Medicare would be off the table.

January 27, 2023 Evening News

As States Discriminate – What Next? 

 

The Biden Administration is considering what to do next as many red states have now or are preparing to pass legislation that would essentially discriminate against the LGBTQ community. Florida is in that mix with a governor who is anti-gay and anti-black. The administration is now proposing sweeping changes to the federal Title IX, a federal law that protects against discrimination based on gender and sex. Schools would have to conform to federal law because it trumps state regulations.

 

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

 

A travel note for you today. Forestry officials are conducting a controlled burn along County Road 314 near Salt Springs that could create smoky conditions and limited visibility on the roadway. Officials are warning drivers to slow down and to be aware of changing conditions.

 

Newsmax May Be Dropped From Direct TV

 

If you have Direct TV and watch the right-wing news channel Newsmax, you may be out of luck soon. The agreement between the two corporations expires this week.  The disagreement isn’t a dispute over the content. It’s over money and Newsmax is seeking more money from Direct TV to carry their programming.  So far Direct TV has said no to increased payments. Newsmax is now one of the few outlets that still cover Donald Trump Rallies, drawing a small, but loyal audience.

 

Poking In The Left Lane Could Be Outlawed

 

Ever driven down a highway someone is just poking along in the left lane, creating a hazard? Sure, we’ve all seen it. Now one state legislator is proposing a bill that would make driving in the left lane illegal unless you are passing or overtaking another vehicle. The rule would apply only to roadways with a speed limit of 65 miles per hour or more. The legislation, however, has a long way to go.

 

Ocala Detectives Hit Brick Wall In New Year’s Murders

 

It's been weeks since the New Year’s Day shootings in Ocala that left two people dead and injured four others. But yet police have made no arrests. 100 people had shown up for the block party on the city’s west side when shots rang out killing Abdul Van Crosky and D’amonta Harris. And those 100 people are not talking according to detectives, who have received very few clues. Typically, that means people are afraid of talking, usually because of gangs who can invoke revenge.

 

Motorcycle Gang Member Off To Prison

 

A motorcycle gang member from Marion County who tried to outrun Flagler County Deputies during Biketoberfest last year is headed off to prison for two years. 31-year-old Robert Wilson received the sentence after pleading no contest to the charges.  He was captured when his motorcycle ran out of gas. Oh, Wilson was another person who shouldn’t be behind the wheel of anything. His license was suspended at the time.

 

Earth Can Supply Enough Material For Clean Energy

 

The world has enough rare earth minerals and other critical raw materials to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy to produce electricity and limit global warming, according to a new study that counters concerns about the supply of such minerals. With a push to get more electricity from solar panels, wind turbines, hydroelectric, and nuclear power plants, some people have worried that there won’t be enough key minerals to make the decarbonization switch.  Rare earth minerals, also called rare earth elements, actually aren’t that rare. The U.S. Geological Survey describes them as “relatively abundant.”

 

January 27, 2023 Morning News

Off To Prison For 82-Year-Old Convicted Of Murder

 

An 82-year-old man from Ocklawaha who stabbed his wife to death in 2022 was sentenced to 15 years in prison Thursday. Ronald Foreman has a history of domestic violence and mental illness. Twice before he had been in trouble for spouse abuse.

 

Florida GOP Following Iowa Lead To Eventually Abolish Schools

 

Earlier this week we reported that Iowa has expanded its voucher program so that any student could attend private school. The GOP in many states is on a march to end the public school system as we know it.  Florida is no different.  Legislators here at this session are poised to greatly expand the voucher program. The proposal would drain nearly 2.4 billion dollars of public funding for schools used by 2.9 million students in Florida.

 

FBI Hacks The Hackers

 

The FBI and international partners have at least temporarily disrupted the network of a prolific ransomware gang they infiltrated last year, saving victims including hospitals and school districts a potential $130 million in ransom payments, essentially, the government hacked the hackers. Officials said the targeted syndicate, known as Hive, is among the world’s top five ransomware networks and has heavily targeted health care. How the takedown will affect Hive’s long-term operations is unclear.

 

Need a job? 

 

Just head to your nearest fast food spot.  Restaurants are beginning the New Year with a recurring problem: labor shortages. Chipotle said Thursday it’s looking to hire 15,000 people in North America to ensure its stores are staffed up ahead of its busy spring season. Other chains are also looking for workers: Taco Bell has more than 25,000 listings for crew members posted on its website, while Starbucks has posted more than 10,000 listings for baristas.

 

Bed Bath and Beyond In Trouble

 

If you like shopping at Bed Bath and Beyond, you might want to go on a spree. Bed Bath & Beyond said Thursday that it’s in default on its loans and doesn’t have sufficient funds to repay what it owes. The home goods chain said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that the default would force it to consider alternatives including restructuring its debt in bankruptcy court. The company announced in August it would close about 150 of its namesake stores and slash its workforce by 20%.

 

Two Arrested For Stealing Mail

 

A couple of Alachua County men are under arrest on federal charges after investigators say they stole mail from several Postal Service collection boxes in Marion County. Jordan Jax from Newberry and Tarod Goodman from Gainesville. The pair used keys that had been reproduced to gain entry into the boxes. Investigators say surveillance video proved crucial in identifying the crooks.  

January 26, 2023 Evening News

No Match – Powerball Grows Even Bigger

 

Well nobody marched all the numbers in the multi-state Powerball drawing last night sending the jackpot for Friday’s drawing to $572 million for a single winner. The cash all-at-once option is just under $309 million. Again, your chances of winning are astronomically high at one in 292 million. 

 

Zipline Comes To Ocala

 

Adventure seekers will soon have a new form of entertainment. A new zip line is coming to the north end of Ocala at Coehadjoe Park. The park is located at 4225 NE 35th Street. The park also features pickleball courts, tennis courts, picnic areas, walking trails, and racquetball courts. The county will only say that the zip line should be done very soon and there were no details on how much it might cost to ride the line. 

 

Arrest Count In Degree Scam Increases To 25 

 

The arrest count in that nursing degree scam is up to 25.  7600 degrees were sold to students without them having to go thru the two-year educational and clinical program at a cost of $10 to $17,000.  The schools involved — Siena College, Palm Beach School of Nursing, and Sacred Heart International Institute — are now closed. About 2,400 of the 7,600 students eventually passed their licensing exams. Those charged with the scam could get 20 years in prison. Many of the people who got the fake degrees may lose their certification but likely won’t be criminally charged. 

 

Mortgage Rates Lowest in 4 Months

 

The average long-term U.S. mortgage rate fell to its lowest level in more than four months, giving some relief to homebuyers faced with higher prices for just about everything, including homes. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the average on the benchmark 30-year rate inched down to 6.13% from 6.15% last week. A year ago the average rate was 3.55%. The rate for a 15-year mortgage, popular with those refinancing their homes, also fell this week, to 5.17% from 5.28% last week.

 

Do You Own An RV?  Read This

 

A federal grand jury in Los Angeles is gathering evidence in a criminal investigation of Goodyear recreational vehicle tires that the government blames for crashes that killed eight people and injured dozens of others. A 2017 investigation of the tires by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration resulted in a recall last year. The documents also revealed that Goodyear knew the G159 RV tire could fail and cause severe crashes, yet it didn’t recall them for as many as 20 years. Goodyear, of course, is denying the accusations in an attempt to avoid massive lawsuits. 

 

DeSantis In Trouble Over Black Study Programs

 

Governor Ron DeSantis may have shot himself in the foot and sealed the fate of the Republican candidate’s next election with his decision to cancel African American studies in Florida schools. Now black leaders across the state are warning the Governor to change course or get taken to court. Lawmakers and civil rights attorneys gathered in Tallahassee for a Wednesday Stop the Black Attack rally in the Capitol building. DeSantis has made no apologies for his anti-black positions, starting with restricting voting access for minorities to dismantling two black congressional districts and now removing African American Studies from the classroom.

January 26, 2023 Morning News

20 Arrested In Nursing Degree Scam

 

Some 20 people in South Florida have been arrested in a nursing degree scam following a joint investigation by the FBI and the Department of Justice. Prosecutors say the scam was started because of the nursing shortage caused by COVID. The scammers would provide fake transcripts showing a potential student had passed the nursing program. The cost – is ten to seventeen thousand dollars. Then coaches would help those students pass the necessary state exams to be certified. Those students would then be certified to work in Florida, New York, New Jersey, and Texas. The number of students who entered the scam could be in the thousands. 

 

DeSantis Opened A Can of Worms

 

Governor Ron DeSantis may have shot himself in the foot and sealed the fate of the Republican candidate’s next election with his decision to cancel African American studies in Florida schools. Now black leaders across the state are warning the Governor to change course or get taken to court. Lawmakers and civil rights attorneys gathered in Tallahassee for a Wednesday Stop the Black Attack rally in the Capitol building. DeSantis has made no apologies for his anti-black positions, starting with restricting voting access for minorities to dismantling two black congressional districts and now removing African American Studies from the classroom. 

 

See Ya Around, Roger

 

Say goodbye to Roger Handberg of Ocala. The 29-year-old is a convicted felon indicted by the feds this week for possession of a weapon by a convicted felon. The Ocala Police Department investigated his case. Handberg will be off to federal prison for up to 15 years if convicted.  Convicted felons are not allowed to possess guns of any kind or ammunition. 

 

Duke Energy and FP&L Want Big Rate Hikes

 

Duke Energy and Florida Power and Light, who serve 75% of Florida customers, want to raise rates by 20%. The companies complain they need more money to help offset the cost of funds spent restoring power and repairing after hurricanes and the higher cost of natural gas. But some customers aren’t buying it. One customer complained that the companies are making plenty of profit. No mention was made of stockholders picking up the tabs and the Florida Public Service Commission must approve the increases. 

 

Seriously?  Really?  Are The M&M Guys Under Attack? 

 

M&M candies are getting a new spokesperson. Apparently, some people got their panties in a knot over the M&M guys and gals cartoon characters that were in the ads, over the way their shoes looked, and that the female characters were sexualized and supposedly competing for some of the male characters.  Seriously?  Really?  It’s candy. Apparently, some people have way too much time on their hands if they’re critiquing candy commercials. 

 

Short On Money But Not For Drugs

 

An Ocala man is in the no-frills hotel after police say he went to the Walmart store on State Road 200, picked up about $145 worth of merchandise, then went directly to the customer service center and tried to get money for a fraudulent return. 27-year-old Sean Burham told police that he was going thru some hard times and needed money. But apparently, Burham wasn’t that hard up. During a pat down, police found a pipe filled with meth, meaning he had enough money for drugs. A court date has not been set.  

January 25, 2023 Evening News

Home Sales Dip In December

 

Home sale statistics for the month of December are out, and home sales in the area are down by more than 36% compared to the same month the previous year. There are some interesting notes. The average sale price has also dropped to just over $319,000. That’s down by nearly 7% from December of 2021. Houses are also staying on the market longer before they sell. In 2021, the average time to sell was 61 days. Now that is up to 81 days.

 

Pope Francis – “Don’t Criminalize Homosexuality”

 

Pope Francis criticized laws that criminalize homosexuality as “unjust,” saying God loves all his children just as they are, and called on Catholic bishops who support the laws to welcome LGBTQ people into the church. Francis acknowledged that Catholic bishops in some parts of the world support laws that criminalize homosexuality or discriminate against the LGBTQ community. Some 67 countries or jurisdictions worldwide criminalize consensual same-sex sexual activity, 11 of which can or do impose the death penalty.

 

Couple Faces Charges In Abortion Vandalizing

 

A Florida man and woman accused of vandalizing several anti-abortion reproductive health services facilities are facing federal charges. A federal grand jury in Tampa returned an indictment last week accusing a 27-year-old man and a 23-year-old woman of spray-painting threatening messages last summer at facilities in Hollywood, Winter Haven, and Hialeah. If convicted, the man and woman each face up to 12 years in prison.

 

Prosecutors Urge Congressional Help With Prison Smuggling

 

Top state prosecutors from across the country are again urging Congress to pass legislation allowing state prisons to jam the signals of cellphones smuggled to inmates, devices the attorneys argue allow prisoners to plot violence and carry out crimes. The letter to Congress cites a handful of criminal incidents the attorneys say were orchestrated by inmates using contraband cellphones, including a Tennessee drug conspiracy and a double homicide hit ordered by an Indiana inmate.

 

NRA To Battle Illinois Ban On Assault Weapons

 

Illinois’ two-week-old ban on semiautomatic weapons is radical defiance of the Constitution’s Second Amendment, a federal lawsuit filed by the National Rifle Association Tuesday claims. The powerful NRA joined a parade of gun-rights activists seeking to toss out the newly minted prohibition on dozens of rapid-fire pistols and long guns, as well as large-capacity magazines or attachments. Illinois isn’t banning weapons, but essentially restricting weapons to those used for legitimate hunting and protection.

 

Admin Warned Three Times About Armed 6 Year Old

 

Concerned staff warned administrators at a Virginia elementary school three times that a 6-year-old boy had a gun and was threatening other students in the hours before he shot and wounded a teacher, but the administration “was paralyzed by apathy” and didn’t call the police, remove the boy from class or lock down the school, the wounded teacher’s lawyer. Police said the shooting was intentional. The injured woman’s lawyer says they are planning a lawsuit against the school district.  

January 25, 2023 Morning News

Two Arrested For Bringing Stolen Gun To School

 

Back in October, a student at Forest High School found a gun that had been stashed in a restroom. Now, police have arrested 16-year-old Bryce and 14-year-old Dyson Disalvo. The teenagers face multiple felony charges. Police narrowed their search after reviewing the surveillance video. Detectives learned that the gun had been stolen during a string of car burglaries and in other surveillance videos, investigators determined that the Disalvo’s were responsible for those break-ins. 16-year-old Bryce is being charged as an adult. 14-year-old Dyson Desalvo is being held as a juvenile delinquent.

 

SUV Slams Into School Bus

 

Speeding, careless driving, distracted driving? Generally, those are the causes of crashes with school buses.  And it happened again Tuesday morning in Marion County. The accident occurred when a 74-year-old woman smashed her SUV into a school bus stopped for students with lights flashing. The accident occurred near SW 155th Street and SW 100th Avenue near Dunnellon. Officials say 23 children were on board the bus but nobody was injured.

 

Trump Abandons Appeal In Case

 

Former President Donald Trump has abandoned efforts to revive his federal lawsuit against New York Attorney General Letitia James — the second time he’s halted legal action against her after a judge last week fined him and his lawyers nearly $1 million for filing frivolous cases. Trump’s lawyers and James’ office agreed Tuesday to a stipulation ending an appeal that had sought to reverse a judge’s decision to dismiss the lawsuit.

 

FL Supreme Court To Argue Abortion Law

 

Florida’s ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy will be allowed to stand until a hearing before the state Supreme Court. The court said late Monday it will hear the case, which has been part of a legal fight since the law took effect last July. Here’s the rub. The high court won’t likely begin debating the law until after the legislative session this spring.

 

Google Being Sued By Justice Department

 

The Justice Department and eight states filed an antitrust suit against Google on Tuesday, seeking to shatter its alleged monopoly on the entire ecosystem of online advertising as a hurtful burden to advertisers, consumers and even the U.S. government. The government alleges that Google’s plan to assert dominance in online ads has been to “neutralize or eliminate” rivals through acquisitions and to force advertisers to use its products by making it difficult to use competitors’ offerings. It’s part of a new, if slow and halting, push by the U.S. to rein in big tech companies

 

Tanks Now Going To Ukraine

 

In what would be a reversal, the Biden administration is poised to approve sending M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, U.S. officials said Tuesday, as international reluctance to send tanks to the battlefront against the Russians, begins to erode. The decision could be announced as soon as Wednesday, though it could take months or years for the tanks to be delivered.

 

When Will This All End, We’re Not Sure?

 

Documents with classified markings were discovered in former Vice President Mike Pence’s Indiana home last week, his lawyer says, the latest in a sobering string of recoveries of supposedly secure information from the homes of current and former top U.S. officials. A small number of documents, taken into FBI custody last Thursday, apparently “were inadvertently boxed and transported to the personal home of the former vice president at the end of the last administration."  

January 24, 2023 Evening News

SUV Slams Into School Bus

 

Speeding, careless driving, distracted driving?  Generally, those are the causes of crashes with school buses.  And it happened again Tuesday morning in Marion County. The accident occurred when a 74-year-old woman smashed her SUV into a school bus stopped for students with lights flashing. The accident occurred near SW 155th Street and SW 100th Avenue near Dunnellon.  Officials say 23 children were on board the bus but nobody was injured.

 

Two Arrested For Bringing Stolen Gun To School

 

Back in October, a student at Forest High School found a gun that had been stashed in a restroom. Now, police have arrested 16-year-old Bryce and 14-year-old Dyson Disalvo.  The teenagers face multiple felony charges.  Police narrowed their search after reviewing the surveillance video. Detectives learned that the gun had been stolen during a string of car burglaries, and in other surveillance videos, investigators determined that the Disalvo’s were responsible for those break-ins. 16-year-old Bryce is being charged as an adult. 14-year-old Dyson Desalvo is being held as a juvenile delinquent.

 

One More Time – If you Drink, Don’t Drive – Here’s Why

 

We’ve often mentioned the perils of drunk driving but apparently, some people don’t listen to Classic Hits and therefore don’t get the memo. One is 23-year-old Gabriel Hausy, who police say drove his SUV into a dentist’s office on SW 10th Street Monday, causing severe damage, then fleeing the scene on foot.  He wasn’t hard to spot. After a brief chase, Hausy was apprehended, failed a drunk driving test, and was arrested. In addition to drunk driving, the 23-year-old faces multiple other charges. His photo is now on our news site.  If you see him, be sure to congratulate him on his new status.

 

Walking Along the Interstate Is Illegal

 

There’s a reason why signs posted on the interstate say no pedestrians. The Florida Highway Patrol says a man walking along busy I-75 early Monday was struck and killed.  Troopers say the man was trying to cross the busy roadway. The driver of the vehicle was from Orlando. The accident occurred near the Orange Lake exit in northern Marion County.  The victim has not been identified. 

 

Powerball Rolls – Bigger Jackpot Wednesday

 

Nobody won that $502 million dollar Powerball jackpot in Monday’s drawing. The new jackpot for Wednesday’s drawing is now a whopping $526 million. Check your ticket in any case. Florida officials say someone matched four numbers and the Powerball, making that ticket worth $50,000. 

 

GOP Plan To Do Away With Public Schools Moves Forward

 

The GOP plan in many states to do away with the public school system is coming to fruition in Iowa. Republican lawmakers have passed a bill allowing any student who wants to attend a private school to use public money to pay for tuition or other expenses with few restrictions. Legislators in GOP states approve the measures believing that paying for private education is cheaper than providing constitutionally required public education. 

January 24, 2023 Morning News

Ladapo Now Out With His Anti-Vax Stance

 

It’s now more than just suspected. Dr. Joseph Ladapo, the Florida surgeon general, has been wooing the anti-vaxing crowds on podcasts talking against science. Ladapo is a professor of medicine at the University of Florida and may have violated school integrity rules when he discouraged young men from getting the common coronavirus vaccine. But the school says it has no plans to investigate. He was pencil whipped into his position by Governor DeSantis and has already drawn the ire of his fellow professors over his picking and choosing research items that only support his positions.

 

Governor Signs Death Warrant

 

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a death warrant Monday for a man who was convicted of fatally stabbing a woman after escaping from custody while serving a life sentence for killing a deputy.  59-year-old Donald Dillbeck is scheduled to die on Feb. 23 by lethal injection for the 1990 murder of Faye Vann in Tallahassee. He had escaped from custody two days earlier while serving a life sentence for killing a Lee County deputy.

 

Mercy Killing Suspect Charged With Murder

 

The 76-year-old woman who fatally shot her terminally ill husband inside a Florida hospital in Daytona has been charged with first-degree murder. 76-year-old Ellen Gilland told officers that her 77-year-old husband, Jerry Gilland, had been ill for some time and they had planned the shooting together.

 

Crazy Loser In New Mexico Ordered Held Without Bond

 

A political newcomer who lost his bid for the New Mexico statehouse and is accused of orchestrating a series of drive-by shootings at the homes of Democratic officials will remain in custody pending trial after a judge agreed Monday that he is a danger to the community. 39-year-old Solomon Peña is charged with multiple counts that include shooting at a dwelling and possession of a firearm by a felon. Detectives identified him as their key suspect using a combination of cellphone and vehicle records, witness interviews, and bullet casings collected at the lawmakers’ homes.

 

Florida’s Unemployment Stays Low

 

Florida’s unemployment rate dropped to 2 1/2 % in December despite employers still struggling to fill openings. About 271,000 Floridians did not have jobs last month out of a labor force of more than 10 and ¾ million. Florida’s unemployment rate has now remained under the national average for 25 months.

 

Citra Man Held For Stealing Copper

 

A 26-year-old Citra man will be back in court on February 21st after deputies caught him with copper piping that had been cut from an electrical panel and air conditioning system at a gas station. Cody Lee Flood faces multiple charges and is being held in Sheriff Wood’s No Frills Hotel. The copper found on Flood was worth $300 but the damage he caused taking it was $1000.  

 

January 23, 2023 Evening News

Another Huge Lottery Jackpot Is On The Line

 

Another big lottery jackpot is on the line tonight. This time it’s the Powerball jackpot, now up to an estimated $502 million for a single winner. The Mega Millions jackpot grew to over a billion dollars just days ago after multiple rollovers. Powerball drawings are held on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. The cash option for tonight’s drawing is $271.1 million for a single winner.

 

Spotify Cutting Jobs

 

Music streaming service Spotify said Monday it’s cutting 6% of its global workforce, becoming yet another tech company resorting to layoffs as the post-pandemic economic outlook weakens. CEO Daniel Ek announced the restructuring in a message to employees that was also posted online.

 

Cancer Linked to Missile Silos

 

Nine military officers who had worked decades ago at a nuclear missile base in Montana have been diagnosed with blood cancer and there are “indications” the disease may be linked to their service. Now the government is trying to figure out the connection between blood cancer and the silos.

 

396 Haitians Stopped at Sea

 

The U.S. Coast Guard has detained a boat carrying 396 Haitian migrants near the Bahamas in one of the biggest human smuggling incidents in the region. The migrants were detained close to the far-flung Cay Sal Island located between Florida and Cuba. They said the migrants will be processed in the Bahamas and sent back home. Thousands of Haitians are fleeing a spike in gang violence and deepening political instability in a country that currently has no democratically elected institutions.

 

Another Conviction In Attempted Coup On US Government

 

An Arkansas man who propped his feet up on a desk in then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office during the U.S. Capitol riot was convicted on Monday of joining a mob’s attack on the building two years ago. A jury deliberated for approximately two hours before unanimously convicting Richard Barnett on all eight counts in his indictment. More than 940 people have been charged with federal crimes related to the Jan.6 attack to overthrow the government.  Barnett will be sentenced at a later date.

 

Memphis On Edge Over Violent Arrest

 

Memphis was on edge Monday ahead of the possible release of video footage of a Black man’s violent arrest that has led to three separate law enforcement investigations and the firings of five police officers after he died in a hospital. His family, protesters, and activists have called for the video’s release and for the officers to be charged with murder. All of the fired officers are also black.  

 

January 23, 2023 Morning News

State Senator Says DeSantis May Have Acted Illegally

 

A state senator from West Palm Beach says a move by the DeSantis administration to disallow an AP course in high schools on African American studies could violate state law. Senator Bobby Powell says the Florida Legislature, some 30 years ago, passed a law that requires public school students to be taught the history of African Americans, including slavery, abolition, and the contributions of blacks to society. Senator Powell says DeSantis is driving to squash basic freedom of thought and speech in Florida schools. 

 

Stube Back Home After Falling From Tree

 

A U.S. congressman from Florida who was seriously injured in a tree-trimming accident in Sarasota said Saturday he has been discharged from the hospital and is recovering at home for some time. His office says a timetable for when he will return to Washington has not been finalized.

 

Gas Continues To Rise

 

No gas here under $3 a gallon anymore. The cheapest fuel we can find today is $3.24 at Circle K on State Road 200. A more likely price you’ll find around town will be closer to $3.30 a gallon.

 

DOJ Now Investigating Baby Formula Factory

 

The U.S. Justice Department is investigating the Abbott Laboratories infant formula plant in Michigan that was shut down for months last year due to contamination. The factory’s closure in February 2022 was a key cause of a nationwide baby formula shortage that forced parents to seek formula from food banks, friends, and doctor’s offices. Production restarted in June. The DOJ declined to give specifics about the probe.

 

Biden Says No Concessions On Debt Ceiling 

 

The White House says President Joe Biden “looks forward” to sitting down with new House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to discuss a range of topics, including perhaps the thorniest challenge confronting Washington this year: raising the nation’s debt limit. One hitch: That statement Friday came with no actual invitation to the White House and no meeting date or time. Instead, the White House again emphasized that Biden is unwilling to entertain policy concessions in exchange for lifting the debt limit, which is the nation’s borrowing authority.

 

Hundreds Gather For Presley Funeral

 

Hundreds of people gathered on the front lawn of Graceland on a gray, chilly Sunday morning in Memphis to mourn the death and remember the life of Lisa Marie Presley, who died earlier this month. Some mourners held flowers as they waited for the service to begin under the tall trees on the lawn of Graceland, the home where Lisa Marie lived as a child with her father, Elvis Presley.

 

Insurrectionist? You Can’t Hold Public Office

 

Democratic lawmakers in a handful of states are trying to send a message two years after the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol: Those who engage in an attempted government overthrow shouldn’t be allowed to run it. New York, Connecticut, and Virginia are among states where proposed legislation would prohibit anyone convicted of participating in an insurrection from holding public office or a position of public trust, such as becoming a police officer. While the bills vary in scope, their aim is similar.

 

Religious Leaders File Suit Over Anti-Abortion Law

 

A group of religious leaders who support abortion rights filed a lawsuit Thursday challenging Missouri’s abortion ban, saying lawmakers openly invoked their religious beliefs while drafting the measure and thereby imposed those beliefs on others who don’t share them. The lawsuit filed in St. Louis is the latest of many to challenge restrictive abortion laws enacted by conservative states after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June.

January 20, 2023 Evening News

Time To Call It A Career

 

Dunnellon Mayor Bill White has decided to resign. The resignation announcement came just one day after he hosted a special meeting to discuss city council goals. The resignation is effective immediately and is said to be over health concerns.

 

He Saw Right Through the BS

 

A Florida judge sanctioned former President Donald Trump and one of his attorneys, ordering them to pay nearly $1 million for filing what he said was a bogus lawsuit against Trump’s 2016 rival Hillary Clinton and others. In a blistering filing on Thursday, U.S. District Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks accused Trump of a “pattern of abuse of the courts” for filing frivolous lawsuits for political purposes, which he said “undermines the rule of law” and “amounts to obstruction of justice.”

 

Another Illegal Driver Caught Behind The Wheel

 

A man with a revoked driver’s license,  and also wanted on a violation of probation charge, has been arrested again after deputies caught him driving erratically and under the influence along County Road 484. When investigators tried to stop Steven Perk, he took off, engaging deputies in a high-speed chase. But soon, Perk drove into some sand, and his vehicle became stuck. Perk is now being held in the no-frills hotel with no bond. 

 

GOP Agenda To Do Away With Public Education Advancing

 

The Republican agenda to eventually do away with public schools is advancing in Tallahassee. Florida would make every student eligible for vouchers to attend private school with taxpayer money under proposed legislation House Speaker Paul Renner said Thursday will be a priority for the session that begins in March. The bill could greatly expand the state’s current voucher programs. Still, it would prioritize low-income and special needs students ahead of wealthier families seeking help with private school tuition.

 

US Citizens Get A Chance To Play Role In Resettling Refugees

 

A government program launched Thursday gives American citizens the chance to play a role in resettling the thousands of refugees arriving every year in the United States. During the first year of the Welcome Corps, the State Department aims to line up 10,000 Americans who can help 5,000 refugees adjust to life in the United States.  Under the refugee program, people fleeing violence or persecution can come to the U.S. and stay permanently. Since the Refugee Act was passed in 1980, the U.S. has admitted a little over 3 million refugees.

 

Anti-Abortion Forces March on Washington

 

Thousands of marchers descended on Washington, DC, Friday to warn Congress against attempting to curtail the multiple anti-abortion laws imposed last year in a dozen states. Some movement leaders also hope to plant seeds in Congress for a potential federal abortion restriction down the line.

January 20, 2023 Morning News

GOP Agenda To Do Away With Public Education Advancing

 

The Republican agenda to eventually do away with public schools is advancing in Tallahassee. Florida would make every student eligible for vouchers to attend private school with taxpayer money under proposed legislation House Speaker Paul Renner said Thursday will be a priority for the session that begins in March. The bill could greatly expand the state’s current voucher programs but prioritize low-income and special needs students ahead of wealthier families seeking help with private school tuition.

 

Honoring Those Who Died At Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High

 

A foundation dedicated to the 17 people killed in the Parkland school shooting has begun raising money and seeking designs for a public memorial to the victims on a nature preserve near Florida’s Everglades. The Parkland 17 Memorial Foundation said the memorial will offer the public a place to reflect on the victims of the shooting, which occurred just before the school day ended at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day in 2018.

 

State Starting To Dig A Hole Over Stop Woke

 

Governor DeSantis’s Stop Woke law is digging a deeper and deeper hole that the state may have a tough time crawling out of. Florida high school students won't have access to a new Advanced Placement course on African American Studies after Department of Education officials rejected the class, saying its curriculum violates state law. The department didn’t give specifics or return calls from reporters asking questions. 

 

So Is That Organic Food You’re Buying Really Organic?

 

The Agriculture Department on Thursday issued new requirements for foods labeled organic, a move aimed at cracking down on fraud and boosting oversight. The rule strengthens enforcement of the USDA’s strict definitions of organic. The rule requires USDA’s National Organic Program certification for all imported organic food, increases certifications of more businesses in the supply chain, and boosts authority for inspections, record-keeping, traceability, and fraud prevention practices.

 

Ocala Storage Company Sold

 

Neighborhood Storage, which operates 26 facilities, has announced it has been sold to Public Storage, the largest self-storage company in the nation. Neighborhood Storage was begun in Ocala by the Rudnianyn family and has several local locations. The sale, for an undisclosed amount, also includes two facilities under construction. 

 

Caution If You Drive 314

 

The Florida Highway Patrol advises motorists to use extreme caution if driving County Road 314 near Salt Springs again today after a 300-acre prescribed burn Thursday caused traffic problems. The FHP says smoke from the burn reduced visibility on the roadway to such an extent that multiple accidents were reported. That residual smoke from the burn could also be present today.

January 19, 2023 Evening News

Have You Seen Brian Mullis?

 

Sheriff’s investigators would like to have a little chat with 35-year-old Brian Mullis. Mullis is wanted on 52 counts of organized fraud and failing to register as a sex offender. Investigators say Mullis organized a fraudulent company last year and filed papers with the county showing his company, not the real company of the same name, owned the house from where he was being evicted. The scheme has finally caught up with the 35-year-old. Police believe he may be living somewhere in the Jacksonville area. 

 

Crackdown On Littering 

 

Marion County is about to employ a new weapon in its fight against illegal littering and dumping… off-duty deputies. Illegal dumping and littering already carry fines. The problem is enforcement. Nobody ever seems to see these people at work. Now the county wants to hire off-duty deputies to patrol known dumping areas. The thought is once big fines or jail time is had, they’ll get the message. 

 

Trump Leads DeSantis In New Poll 

 

Former President Trump holds the 17-point lead over Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in a hypothetical GOP primary match-up, according to a new poll. A Morning Consult poll released Wednesday showed Trump with 48% support among potential Republican primary voters, followed by DeSantis with 31%. Morning Consult is one of the most accurate polls, not leaning left or right. 

 

Trump Classifieds - A Cool Keepsake? 

 

At first, Donald Trump claimed that FBI agents planted classified documents in his Florida home to entrap him. Then, the former president said he was entitled to de-classify those documents on his own and fought the justice department for eight months. Now Trump claims he kept the documents and “hundreds” of empty classification folders from meetings and briefings as a “cool keepsake.” What to believe? Take your pick. 

 

Greenland Melting Away 

 

Here’s the latest on global warming. A sharp spike in Greenland temperatures since 1995 showed the giant northern island 2.7 degrees hotter than its 20th-century average, the warmest in more than 1,000 years, according to new ice core data. The warming spike also mirrors a sudden rise in the amount of water running off from Greenland’s melting ice. The jump in temperature is so much larger than in pre-industrial times before the mid-19th century that there is “almost zero” chance that it is anything but human-caused climate change, according to scientists. 

 

Florida Congressman Hurt In Fall 

 

U.S. Rep. Greg Steube sustained “several serious injuries” when he fell off a ladder while cutting trees on his property on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Steube was taken to a local hospital and put in the intensive care unit to ensure he did not suffer any unseen internal injuries. He’ll be ok. 

 

They Just Quit Buying 

 

Procter & Gamble Co., the maker of iconic household products like Crest toothpaste, Tide detergent, and Charmin toilet paper, is seeing shoppers cut back some of their purchases as they push back on price hikes. The company said Thursday that sales slipped 1% in the latest quarter that ended December 31, the first quarterly sales decline since mid-2017. In dollars, the fall is tens of millions of dollars.

January 19, 2023 Morning News

Letting The Inmates Run The Asylum?

 

Controversial House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has appointed election deniers and conspiracy spreaders Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona to key committee positions. The two had been booted off their committee assignments during the last congress because of their incendiary remarks. Some of Green’s comments include global warming is healthy for us and Jews are controlling space lasers.

 

DeSantis Asking To Track Transgender Students

 

Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is asking state universities for the number and ages of their students who sought gender dysphoria treatment, including sex reassignment surgery and hormone prescriptions, according to a survey released Wednesday. Why he was conducting the survey wasn’t completely clear. DeSantis has been criticized by LGTBQ advocates for policies seen as discriminatory. The governor’s office did not respond to emails and a phone call seeking information about the purpose of the survey.

 

Another Gun – Another Convict Behind Bars

 

Another convicted felon is back behind bars after being found possessing a handgun.  Sheriff’s deputies were called to Circle K in the 4100 block of W Highway 326 because of a fight. They found James Jackson and observed him pulling a handgun from his waistband. It turns out Jackson is a convicted felon and isn’t even allowed to have a weapon. He’s now a guest at the county’s no-frills hotel.

 

Change of Heart

 

Florida quarterback recruit Jaden Rashada requested a release from his national letter of intent Tuesday night after a $13 million name, image, and likeness deal fell through. Rashada was rated as the number 2 quarterback prospect in the nation having completed 60.1% of his passes last season. Rashada is now back home in California with his parents.

 

School Bus Hit Wednesday – No Kids Hurt

 

Have you ever seen those people who, turning into a driveway or turning onto another street, think they have to swing clear out into the other lane of traffic? Well, a driver turning into a driveway Wednesday morning was doing just that and smacked a Marion County School bus. The accident occurred on SW 55th Avenue. The driver of the car was cited for an improper turn. No students on the bus were hurt. 

 

Where Are People The Happiest? 

 

So in what cities in the United States are people the happiest? A new survey puts three Florida cities in the top tier. Utah wound up being home to the happiest people. Concord, California rated as the happiest city, followed by Provo, Utah, and Knoxville, Tennessee. But Cape Coral, Sarasota, and Orlando ranked in the top 20.

 

How Your Car Insurance Rates Compare To Other States

 

Some things in Florida are very reasonable, like seasonal fruits and veggies, but when it comes to car insurance, there’s no way.  You would think places like California and New York would be worse, but not so. According to Value Penguin, Florida ranks as the second most expensive state to have car insurance at an average cost of $238 per month. Only Michigan is higher than Florida. 

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