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June 8, 2023 Morning News

Charlie Crist Appointed To Aviation Panel


President Joe Biden has nominated former Florida representative and Governor Charlie Crist to serve on the United Nations' International Civil Aviation Organization council. Crist is nominated to serve as a U.S. ambassador on the council. The ICAO is a U.N. agency that supports the development of worldwide civil aviation and sets standards for safety and security in air travel. If Crist is appointed to the council, he would succeed Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, a retired fighter pilot and former airline pilot known for landing U.S. Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River.


Some GOP Lawmakers Begging Migrants To Stay


Some conservative Florida lawmakers are now practically begging migrants who remained in the state, to stay. After the Florida legislature passed tough new anti-immigration laws, many migrants are leaving the state for other work areas, like Georgia and that has those lawmakers worried because of the possible economic consequences that may result. Farmers are mad because they’re losing employees. Under the new law, migrants must have an ID to prove citizenship, and businesses that have more than 25 employees must use the e-verify system. The state can also do spot audits on businesses that they suspect violating the law. 


DeSantis At Border Talking Policy


The federal government reports that illegal border crossings are way down but that didn’t keep Governor Ron DeSantis from hammering away at the border policies of the Biden Administration on Wednesday. DeSantis convened a roundtable discussion of border issues with law enforcement officials. DeSantis is looking to win over supporters of former President Donald Trump. The border visit was orchestrated just days after Florida instituted another migrant flight to California, which is under investigation by state officials there for possible criminal violations.


Environmental Ministers Talk Improvement In Paris


As 30 energy environment and trade ministers plus 50 CEOs assemble in Paris for the 8th international conference on energy efficiency, the International Energy Agency is urgently calling for greater investment in energy efficiency for factories, cars, and appliances to meet international climate goals. The agency touted recent global progress: A report released Wednesday says that demand for energy is growing, yet emissions are not growing as fast. Efficiency is increasing every year as technology improves, and last year that increase was twice the average of the previous five years.


Cancer Treatment Drugs In Short Supply


A growing shortage of common cancer treatments is forcing doctors to switch medications and delaying some care. Multiple cancer centers across the country along with hospitals are reporting shortages of common drugs. The problem began earlier this year when some shortages reported quickly turned into a big shortage problem. The problems began after a factory in India that makes both commonly used drugs paused production following an inspection that raised quality concerns.


Virginia Graduation Gunman Held Without Bond


A gunman who opened fire minutes after a high school graduation in Richmond, Virginia, targeted an 18-year-old graduate he had a long-running dispute with according to police. Shawn Jackson, 18, and his father, Lorenzo Smith, 36, were both killed Tuesday in the gunfire, which sent hundreds fleeing in panic outside the state capital’s Altria Theater after the graduation ceremony for Huguenot High School. Five other people were wounded by gunfire, and at least 12 more suffered other injuries or were treated for anxiety due to the mayhem. The suspect was arraigned Wednesday and is being held without bond. 

June 7, 2023 Evening News

Woman Arrested for Shooting Mom of Four


The Marion County Sheriff’s Office early Wednesday announced the arrest of the 58-year-old woman who fired a shot through a door, killing a mother of four. Susan Lorincz faces charges of manslaughter with a firearm, negligence, and assault. The 58-year-old said the victim, AJ Owens, was trying to knock down her door after a dispute with her children. The feud had been going on for years before last Friday’s shooting death. Lorincz is proclaiming the stand-your-ground law, so the final prosecution decision will be in the hands of the state attorney’s office.


Federal Investigation of Trump Nearly Complete


Federal prosecutors are using a grand jury in Florida as part of their investigation into the possible mishandling of classified documents at former President Donald Trump’s Palm Beach property, a person familiar with the matter said Tuesday night. The grand jury is in addition to a separate panel that has been meeting in Washington for months to consider charges against Trump over the retention of hundreds of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago and potential obstruction of the government’s efforts to reclaim the records.


NYC Sues Hyundai and Kia


New York City has filed a lawsuit against Hyundai and Kia, joining many other cities beset by a social media fueled wave of car thefts due to a flaw that made some car models highly susceptible to theft. Viral how-to videos on TikTok and other sites show how to start the cars using only USB cables and a screwdriver. The reason is that some models sold by Hyundai and Kia in the U.S. came without engine immobilizers, a standard feature on most cars since the 1990s that prevent the engine from starting unless the key is present.


Chinese Government Outed For Using TikTok To Spy


The Chinese government says it doesn’t use TikTok to track people, and TikTok’s parent company ByteDance says it doesn’t inform the Chinese government. But now, a former executive at ByteDance noted in a legal filing that some members of the ruling Communist Party used data held by the company to identify and locate protesters in Hong Kong. And that same executive says those same people had access to U.S. user data, an accusation the company continues to deny.


Be Careful What Airlines You Book To Fly Out West


Airline unions are fighting a request by SkyWest Airlines to operate some flights as charters, accusing the company of trying to evade safety rules for passenger airlines. SkyWest is not a familiar name to most air travelers, but it is one of many small carriers operating American Eagle, United Express, and Delta Connection flights. The Utah-based company asked the U.S. Transportation Department for permission to operate new flights under less restrictive charter airline rules if it limits planes to 30 seats.


You Know Her Music


You may not know her name, but you’ll know her music. Singer Austrud Gilberto has died. The Girl from Ipanema shot Gilberto into fame almost instantly, and she never looked back. Gilberto was 83 years old.

June 7, 2023 Morning News

Ocala And Marion County Making National News Again Tuesday


Pastors, family, and some residents are now demanding that the Marion County Sheriff’s office file murder charges against the white woman who fired shots through a door last Friday, killing a black mother of four. The killing culminated in a years-long dispute between two families over the children of the victim. When the 35-year-old mom knocked on the door of the woman Friday evening following an issue with the children, she was met with a bullet and died. Sheriff Billy Woods says questions about Florida’s stand-your-ground law have come into play and will likely be ultimately decided by the state attorney. 


Governor Claims Migrants Went To California Voluntarily


Gov. Ron DeSantis' administration broke its silence late Tuesday about a new round of migrant flights that have been heavily criticized by California officials, claiming the transported individuals voluntarily agreed to be relocated to the state. Though the program is designed to keep undocumented immigrants out of Florida, the asylum seekers never touched foot in the state. Their journey began in El Paso, Texas, where they were approached by state officials. They were bussed to New Mexico and a private plane carried 16 migrants to Sacramento on Friday.


Canadian Smoke Probably Won’t Get Here


The smoke hasn’t reached us, and probably won’t, but parts of the Midwest and east coast are dealing with thick smoke begin generated by more than 400 wildfires blazing across Canada. And officials in Canada say many of them are still burning out of control.  On Tuesday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a poor air quality alert for New England, a day after parts of Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota received a similar advisory. Some of that smoke haze can now be seen as far south as the Carolinas.


No Remorse From Big Tech


Big tech continues to invade your privacy without remorse. Microsoft will pay a fine of $20 million to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that it illegally collected and retained the data of children who signed up to use its Xbox video game console. The agency charged that Microsoft gathered the data without notifying parents or obtaining their consent and that it also illegally held onto the data. Those actions violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, the FTC stated. That fine is a drop in the bucket for companies like Microsoft, who often consider the fines as a cost of doing business.


PGA and LIV Tours Combining


The announcement was so shocking that not even PGA Tour players knew what was coming. The tour was fighting the threat of Saudi-backed LIV Golf for more than a year. On Tuesday, they decided to start working together.  The PGA Tour, European tour, and Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund say they will combine their commercial businesses into a new company with hopes of unifying golf.  That means all lawsuits are being dropped immediately.

June 6, 2023 Evening News

20-Year-old Nabbed With Stolen Gun


Calling him a convicted delinquent, Ocala Police say they’ve arrested 20-year-old Timothy Johnson charging him with possession of a stolen weapon. Last week, police say they stopped an SUV for running a stop sign. A K-9 officer alerted the vehicle for drugs and a search ensued. That’s where they found Johnson, a passenger in the vehicle, with a loaded, and stolen handgun. The weapon had been stolen in Pasco County. Johnson, who had active warrants for his arrest, is now additionally charged with several more felonies and will likely be facing substantial time in prison.  


Florida Trans Gender Care Ban Struck Down In Court


A federal judge has partially struck down Florida’s ban on gender-affirming healthcare for transgender minors, in a ruling that condemns anti-trans bigotry and debunks bogus claims from state officials. Judge Robert Hinkle pointed to discriminatory language and bigotry that have fueled Florida’s rules as well as similar legislation across the country. At least 19 GOP-controlled states have passed similar laws all against the guidance of health providers and major medical organizations, including the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics.


Texas Now Considering Criminal Charges Against DeSantis


If possible criminal charges in California aren’t enough, the Texas sheriff where 49 asylum seekers were flown to Martha’s Vineyard last September by Governor Ron DeSantis is now recommending that criminal charges be filed in that state. Sheriff Javier Salazar says the case his office filed with the DA’s office is for unlawful restraint, with some of the cases being misdemeanors and others, in the case of juveniles, felonies. The sheriff said the migrants were lured onto the flights with false promises of jobs and opportunities.  The DA’s office hasn’t yet commented but if filed, could spell criminal trouble for top DeSantis aides, if not the governor himself.


So Just How Much Is The State Lawsuit Against Disney Costing Taxpayers? 


According to a report in the Miami Herald, about $1300 an hour for lawyers, while another law firm has been hired to handle other lawsuits at $725 an hour. Thus far, according to the Herald, that has added up to a whopping $16.7 million dollars for you. A Nova Southeastern University law professor, Bob Jarvis, said quote, DeSantis has been God’s gift to lawyers.


Supreme Court Won’t Stop Florida Execution Next Week


The Florida Supreme Court has rejected arguments about death row inmate Duane Owen’s mental competency and refused Monday to block his scheduled execution next week. Owen was convicted of beating to death a Palm Beach County woman back in 1984. Owen was also convicted of stabbing to death a 14-year-old Delray Beach teenager that year. His execution in Starke is scheduled for June 15th.

June 6, 2023 Morning News

Prehistoric Bone Find Near Williston Called Significant


Officials with the Florida Museum of Natural History say a discovery by a five-year-old girl has led to one of the most significant prehistoric finds ever in Florida.  The girl was hunting arrowheads near Williston when she discovered some bones and turned them over to the museum. That’s when the real digging began. Scientists found the remains of an ancient elephant-type animal and even a saber-toothed cat. The location of the find was near an ancient river that ran through Florida 5 to 6 million years ago. 


More Voting Fraud Cases Fall Through Locally


A new report shows that State Attorney Bill Gladson, who oversees the 5th Judicial Circuit, including Marion County, refused to prosecute six voter fraud cases out of Lake County when charges were brought by Governor DeSantis’s election police.  All six were convicted sex offenders. The six had voted in the 2020 election.  But staffers figured out that the six had not committed willful fraud.  In fact, the state had apparently messed up by sending the six voter identification cards, essentially inviting them to cast ballots. Many of the initial cases were dismissed because the state had invited convicted felons to go ahead and vote. 


Newsome Belittles DeSantis Over Migrant Flight


California Governor Gavin Newsom Monday called Florida Governor Ron DeSantis a quote a small pathetic man in connection with the flying of several South American migrants to Sacramento over the weekend with no notice, being dumped at the steps of Catholic Charities. The migrants bore documents that indicated they were flown as part of the Florida migrant program. The California Attorney General is investigating and looking into possible criminal as well as civil charges being filed.  On Monday Newsom suggested that those charges could include criminal kidnapping charges…but not naming Governor DeSantis specifically.   


New Dangers From Artificial Sweeteners


From the medical pages, a new study now shows that the artificial sweetener erythritol could be linked to heart problems. Erythritol is the ingredient in some Stevia mixes and low-sugar products. The problems include an increase in blood clots, heart attacks, and stroke. The determination was made after researchers examined data from American and European patients undergoing elective cardiac exams.


Racial Cooperation In Call To Ban Guns


In a move of racial cooperation, hundreds of white women descended on the state capitol in Denver, Colorado Monday to protest and demand that the governor ban guns in the state and begin a gun buyback program. The protest was the result of a plea from women of color to white women in the state to use their so-called privilege to conduct the protest. One of the reasons blacks were asked to stay home was statistically, white women have been the least likely to be arrested, or assaulted by police. The protestors say current state gun laws don’t work. 

June 5, 2023 Evening News

Children May Have Witnessed Mom’s Killing


Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods said the shooting death of a woman Friday evening apparently was the result of an ongoing several-year feud between neighbors over children. During a news conference Monday afternoon, the sheriff said the victim’s children may have been witnesses to their mother’s killing and that the department will go slow in the interview process because of the possible trauma involved.  The victim was identified as Ajiae Owens.  Woods said Owens was shot through a door during a confrontation and that the shooter was being cooperative. No arrests have been made in the case because the stand-your-ground law may have come into play. Woods said the department will make a thorough investigation.


California May File Criminal Charges Against Florida


California’s attorney general said the State of Florida appears to have arranged for a group of South American migrants to be dropped off outside a Sacramento church and that criminal and civil charges may be forthcoming.  The documents said the migrants were transported through a program run by Florida’s Division of Emergency Management and carried out by contractor Vertol Systems Co who has not returned answers to any questions. 


Many Big Companies Still Standing With LGBTQ Pride Month


Many big companies, including Target and Bud Light’s parent, are still backing Pride events in June despite the minefield that the month-long celebration has become for some of them. Target and Bud Light recently came under fire for their efforts to appeal to the LGBTQ+ community, only to come under more fire when they tried to backpedal.  But even as they battle the negative publicity, Target, and Bud Light haven’t pulled away from this year’s Pride celebrations. Target is a platinum sponsor of NYC Pride, which requires a $175,000 donation. And Bud Light’s parent Anheuser-Busch is a sponsor of Pride celebrations in Chicago, San Francisco, Charlotte, and elsewhere.


WWII Vets Return To Normandy


Dozens of World War II veterans, mostly Americans, and British, traveled to Normandy this week to mark the 79th anniversary of D-Day, commemorating the decisive assault that led to the liberation of France and Western Europe from Nazi control.  On D-Day, Allied troops landed on the beaches code-named Omaha, Utah, Juno, Sword, and Gold, carried by 7,000 boats. On that single day, 4,414 Allied soldiers lost their lives, 2,501 of them Americans. More than 5,000 were wounded.  Most of those still surviving are now near or over 100 years old.


Supreme Court To Hear T-Shirt Case


The Supreme Court said Monday it will hear a case in which a man tried to trademark a phrase mocking former President Donald Trump as “too small.”

The Justice Department is supporting President Joe Biden’s once and possibly future rival in urging the court to deny a trademark for the suggestive phrase “Trump too small” that a California man wants to put on T-shirts. The case will be argued in the fall, one of two disputes on the court’s upcoming agenda that involve Trump or one of his businesses.

June 5, 2023 Morning News

Violent Weekend In Marion


It was not a good weekend in Marion County for gun statistics. On Saturday, police were called to the Home Depot parking lot, where a woman had reported that her son might be suicidal. On arrival, officers approached the man’s vehicle and tried to de-escalate the situation, but the man pulled a gun and fired. Police returned the gunfire and fatally shot the suspect. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating.


Earlier on Friday evening, sheriff’s deputies were called to SW 108th Lane on reports of a shooting. On arrival, they found a woman who had been shot. Despite medical efforts, the woman died. Investigators say everyone at the scene has been identified, but no arrests have been made.


How Bad Has Shoplifting Become? Real Bad.


Target recently reported $500 million in theft losses in 2022, and Walmart has closed four Chicago area stores that were constant victims of crime. Even here in our area, police have broken up shoplifting rings. Now Walgreens is fighting back. In a re-designed Chicago test store, the Illinois-based pharmacy has put virtually everything behind lock and key except for two aisles of basic, albeit inexpensive items. When customers enter, they use a kiosk to order what they want, and the items are brought to a checkout for payment. Two employees patrol the open aisles. Stores are reverting to the days when clerks pulled everything. Customers say they don’t like it, but we all pay the price for the acts of some.


Looking For Cameron Taylor?


If you’re looking for 55-year-old Cameron Taylor, look no further than the Marion County No Frills Hotel. Taylor was found guilty in March of operating a cockfighting ring. On Friday, he was sentenced to six months in jail and ordered to register on the county’s animal abuse registry. Last July, authorities raided Taylor’s property and found a makeshift cock fighting ring and nearly 30 dead roosters.


Think Gas Prices Are High Now?

You haven’t seen anything. Saudi Arabia said Sunday that it would reduce how much oil it sends to the global economy, taking a unilateral step to support the sagging cost of crude after two previous cuts to supply by major oil-producing countries in the OPEC+ alliance failed to push prices higher. A recent slump in crude prices has helped to drop pump prices for the start of the summer driving season. If you think $3.00 a gallon is cheap, it won’t last. The Saudis hope the production cut will help drive crude prices back up again.


Chuck Todd Leaving Meet The Press


NBC’s Chuck Todd announced Sunday that he is leaving the popular program Meet the Press to be replaced by 46-year-old Kristen Welker. Todd said he was leaving before the program consumed him as it had some other hosts to spend more time with family. Of Meet The Press, Todd said, “If you do this job seeking popularity, you are doing this job incorrectly,” adding the goal of each show is to “make you mad, make you think, shake your head in disapproval at some point and nod your head in approval at others.”


Recovery Begins In Davenport, Iowa Building Collapse


According to city officials, the body of one of three men who had been missing after the partial collapse of an apartment building in Davenport, Iowa, has been found, with two others still unaccounted for. The discovery of the man’s body came a day after authorities announced that the search for survivors had been completed, with attention turning to shoring up the structure so recovery efforts could begin.

June 2, 2023 Morning News

Tropical Depression Will Miss Us


That storm in the Gulf of Mexico is now a Tropical Depression but, fortunately, won’t impact us directly. The storm is moving southward in the gulf, and forecasters say it should begin dissipating in a few days as it approaches Cuba.  But the storm is expected to bring us rain, possibly lots of it, as it goes by.  On the good side, the storm is expected to keep us mostly cloudy, and that will keep temperatures in the 80s for the next several days.  


Two Men Charged With Scamming Elderly Woman


Ocala detectives have arrested two men on charges of scamming a 69-year-old woman out of $80,000. Parth Patel and Jayarami Kuruguntla were arrested as they attempted to pick up $30,000 from the woman. Investigators say the scammers told the woman that she was in trouble for buying pornography out of China and it would cost her $30,000 to clear her name. The scammers were pretending to be from her bank. The scam escalated to the point where the pair threatened to kill the woman if she didn’t cooperate. Patel is not a US citizen, and police believe they are a flight risk, but a judge let them go anyway.


Man Charged With Raping 80-Year-Old Held on $1 Million Bond


A man who reportedly broke into an older woman’s home in February and raped her was in court Thursday.  32-year-old Taquino Williams had threatened the woman with a screwdriver during the attack.  The attack occurred at the Saddleworth Apartment complex.  Judge Robert Hodges set bail at $1 million and said if the 32-year-old does make bail, he will be required to wear an ankle bracelet. Williams was identified thru a Ring doorbell camera.


Is This You?


If you’re one of the idiots who pass school buses when they’re stopped with red lights flashing, you might want to smile as you drive by next time. Governor DeSantis has signed legislation that will allow school districts to set up cameras on buses to capture the images of vehicles that violate the law. The bill takes effect in July, and if you’re caught, get ready to pay a fine of $225 plus court costs, not to mention the points on your driver’s license.  One senator who voted against the measure likened the cameras to red light cameras. In a survey of school bus drivers, the Department of Education found that vehicles blowing by stopped school buses were a big problem.


Hedge Trimmer Recall


Nearly 90,000 hedge trimmers are being recalled because of a laceration hazard that has caused multiple injuries, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said Thursday. Chevron North America is recalling about 85,000 of its EGO Power+ Model HT2410 Cordless Brushless Hedge Trimmers sold in the U.S.  To date, there have been 34 reports of the trimmers starting unexpectedly in the U.S., including eight reports of lacerations that required stitches. Contact your dealer for repair information.


Mortgage Rates Up This Week


The average long-term U.S. mortgage rate climbed this week to its highest level since November, driving up borrowing costs for would-be homebuyers when a near record-low inventory of homes is holding back the housing market. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate on the benchmark 30-year home loan rose to 6.79%. The average rate on 15-year fixed-rate mortgages, popular with those refinancing their homes, rose to 6.18% this week.

June 1, 2023 Evening News

Teen In Jail After Fleeing Cops


A 19-year-old man is in trouble with the law after fleeing a traffic stop after running a stop sign Wednesday night. Sedrick Bryant Junior is facing multiple charges and is being held on more than $12,000 bond.  Investigators say Bryant ran a stop sign in the 5200 block of SE 28th Street. When he did finally stop at an apartment complex, he ran. Police quickly caught up with the 19-year-old. And of course, he had no driver’s license.


Storm System Becomes Better Organized.


That low-pressure system over the Gulf of Mexico surprised forecasters last night and became better organized. The National Hurricane Center now says that the system has a marginal chance of additional development over the next couple of days as it drifts near the big bend. The NHC believes the system will start to drift southward along the west coast of Florida and not come inland. What does that mean for us?  More rain as the system sucks moisture from the gulf and dumps it over the peninsula this weekend. As usual, we’re tracking the system and will keep you informed if anything dangerous develops.


Hurricane Season 2023


Welcome to the 2023 hurricane season in Florida. Officially the season began Thursday and runs to autumn. For those of you who are experiencing your first, this is typically the calm part of the hurricane season with the worst coming by September. The time to prepare for bad weather is now locals will tell you.  The plan is to have a plan.


Thousands In Orlando For LGBTQ+ Event


Tens of thousands of LGBTQ+ people are flocking to central Florida this weekend to go on theme park rides, mingle with costumed performers, dance at all-night parties, and lounge poolside at hotels during Gay Days, a decades-long tradition. The party is going on despite discriminatory laws passed by the Florida legislature this year and championed by Governor DeSantis who has had liquor licenses of some venues revoked for holding drag shows.


Do you trust social media? 


Here’s something to ponder.  Amazon agreed Wednesday to pay a $25 million civil penalty to settle Federal Trade Commission allegations it violated a child privacy law and deceived parents by keeping for years kids’ voice and location data recorded by its popular Alexa voice assistant. The Alexa-related action orders Amazon to overhaul its data deletion practices and impose stricter, more transparent privacy measures.

June 1, 2023 Morning News

Fire Damages House On West Side


Ocala Fire Rescue responded to a house fire early Wednesday morning in the 100 block of NW MLK Jr. Avenue. The house was vacant and 50% engulfed when firefighters arrived and quickly brought it under control. There were no injuries, but the cause is under investigation.


Man Being Held For Kicking And Punching Woman


A man accused of pushing a woman to the ground and kicking her in the stomach is now in the Marion County jail without bond. The incident occurred over the weekend after the woman called police to report the incident. But police couldn’t find the suspect, Kalen Washington, after he failed to show up for a meeting with investigators. He was later found on Tuesday and arrested. Oh, the woman he pushed down and kicked in the stomach? She is pregnant.


Florida Businesses Protest Immigration Laws


Florida businesses across six cities are shutting their doors Thursday, protesting Governor DeSantis’s immigration policies. The Florida protests are part of a nationwide effort led by Latino organizations opposing anti-immigration laws in several states. The DeSantis law, passed by the legislature, is some of the harshest anti-immigration laws in the country to deter immigration and is due to take effect July 1st. In addition, the bill allows law enforcement to conduct random audits of businesses suspected of hiring undocumented workers.


Habitual Felon Could Be Getting Life


An Ocala man who has 20 felony convictions under his belt could be facing life in prison. But not state prison. Local authorities are done fooling with 53-year-old Craig Antwon O’Neal. This time federal ATF agents investigated and arrested him for firearm possession by a convicted felon. He was indicted in March on the charges and is awaiting trial in federal court.


Supreme Court To Look At Marijuana Proposal


The Florida Supreme Court will hear a challenge to a proposed constitutional amendment that would make recreational marijuana legal in the state for those over 21. Attorney General Ashley Moody, in her brief, said the amendment fails to meet specific state law requirements. However, with little or no other objections, Moody said she would come up with additional arguments at another time. The group leading the effort has reached the required number of signatures to have the Supreme Court review the proposal.


NHTSA Proposing New Safety Features


The U.S. government’s auto safety agency plans to require all new passenger cars and light trucks to include potentially life-saving automatic emergency braking and meet stricter safety standards within three years. Wednesday’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announcement represents the agency’s latest move toward regulating electronic systems that take on specific tasks that drivers have typically done.

May 31, 2023 Evening News

15 Years For DUI Manslaughter


A 39-year-old was sentenced Wednesday to 15 years in prison on charges of DUI manslaughter. Shawn St. Lawrence was sentenced following a brief hearing before Judge Robert Hodges. A jury convicted him of the crime nearly three months ago. In January 2019, St. Lawrence’s vehicle slammed into a vehicle driven by Marilyn Ortiz along US 301. Ortiz died in the crash. St. Lawrence was in the wrong lane and drunk at the time.


Man In Jail Faces New Charges


A man who Marion deputies had arrested for possession of child pornography is now charged with sexual assault on a child. Luis Rosado was arrested on March 17th on a pornography charge. Then in April, detectives learned that Rosado had sexually battered a boy between 12 and 18. Rosado was arrested on the charges earlier this week, but detectives now believe there may be more victims. Rosado was easy to find. He was already in the Marion County jail on the porn charges.


Gun-Wielding Man Arrested After Firing Shots


A man has been arrested after police say he chased a woman through a parking lot of a motel and shot at her. 25-year-old Connor Rypl was arrested Tuesday on charges of aggravated assault, firing a weapon in public, and destroying evidence. Investigators say Rypl and the woman got into an argument outside the Dinner Bell Motel in Dunnellon when the 25-year-old pulled the gun and started shooting in the direction of the woman but missed hitting her.


China’s Communist Party Warns About AI


Here’s a switch! China’s ruling Communist Party has warned of the risks posed by advances in artificial intelligence while calling for heightened national security measures. The statement issued after a meeting Tuesday underscores the tension between the government’s determination to seize global leadership in cutting-edge technology and concerns about the possible social and political harms of such technologies. It also followed a warning by scientists and tech industry leaders in the U.S. about the perils that artificial intelligence poses to humankind.


Recall at Jaguar


Jaguar is recalling more than 6,000 I-Pace electric SUVs in the U.S. due to the risk of the high-voltage battery overheating and catching fire. The recall is the latest in a series of electric vehicle battery recalls because of the potential for fires. Documents posted Wednesday by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration say the recall covers all the SUVs from 2019 through 2024 model years.


How Does Your Paycheck Stack Up?


After ballooning for years, CEO pay growth is finally slowing. The typical compensation package for chief executives who run S&P 500 companies rose 0.9% last year to a median of $14.8 million. However, the median pay for workers at companies included in the AP survey was just over $77,000, up 1.3% from the previous year. That means it would take that average worker 186 years to make what a CEO making the median pay earned just last year.

May 31, 2023 Morning News

Another Highway Death In Marion


The Florida Highway Patrol still investigating a motorcycle crash on I-75 at the 372-mile marker Monday that took the life of the biker. According to witnesses, the motorcycle was traveling at a high rate of speed when it crashed into the rear of a sedan. The biker was thrown from the vehicle and was pronounced dead at the scene. The biker was only identified as a 36-year-old male from Reddick.


Impact Fees Returning?


Could impact fees be returning to Marion County? That could be a possibility as the Marion County School Board discussed the issue during a work session Tuesday. Impact fees have not been charged in Marion County since 2006. But a consulting firm told the board that they are way behind in construction and other areas because of the growth in the county. But whether or not impact fees return isn’t a total decision of the board. First, the board must approve the idea. Afterward, it must be presented to the county commission which will have the ultimate say, which can also bring in the argument of increased taxes. 


Hurricane Center Tracking Gulf Disturbance


The National Hurricane Center is tracking a weak disturbance in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico. While the NHC doesn’t believe this system will produce any kind of strong storm, it is likely to bring gusty winds and rain to parts of the Florida peninsula by this weekend before moving out into the Atlantic.


Don’t Leave Kids In Sun Soaked Autos


A baby died after being left in a hot car for approximately three hours on Sunday in Palm Bay, according to police. The Palm Bay Police Department found an unresponsive 11-month-old baby around 1 p.m. The child was left in the car while her parents attended a church service. This reminder.  Never, ever, leave a child in a car in Florida that sits in the sun. Temperatures can rise to over 100 degrees in just one hour. Children’s bodies can overheat at a rate three times faster than adults.


Minnesota About To Ok Recreational Pot


Minnesota Democratic Gov. Tim Walz has signed a bill that legalizes recreational marijuana for people over the age of 21, making Minnesota the 23rd state to legalize the substance for adults. Former Gov. Jesse Ventura, who supported legalization when he served from 1999-2003, attended the signing ceremony. The Governor said that Ventura would be invited because Ventura was one of the first governors in the country to support legalization.


Route 66 TV Star Dies


George Maharis, a stage-trained actor with rough-hewn good looks who became an icon to American youth in the 1960s as he cruised the country in a Corvette convertible in the hit television series “Route 66,” has died. Maharis’ friend and caretaker said in a Facebook post that he died Wednesday. He had contracted hepatitis. George Maharis was 94.

May 30, 2023 Evening News

Marion Man Nabbed For Child Pornography


Sheriff's detectives have arrested a 62-year-old man on charges of possession of child pornography. Frederick Huffman was arrested after online investigators noticed many files being shared showing child sexual abuse. A check of the IP address sharing the files belonged to Huffman, and detectives found the illegal material after confiscating Huffman's computer hard drive.


Big Detour Downtown Starting Tonight


Starting Tuesday evening, motorists in Ocala will encounter a detour along a major artery, US 441. Construction crews will work at the intersection of 441 and Highway 40 nightly from 8:30 PM to 6:30 AM for the next several nights. Traffic will be detoured to Martin Luther King. Regular traffic patterns will be allowed during the day after 6:30 a.m. Just be mindful of the detour signs.


Memorial Day Marred By Mass Shooting


Memorial Day in Hollywood, Florida, was ruined for hundreds of people when gunfire erupted between two groups of individuals. Nine people were shot, including a one-year-old child. The injured included six adults and three children. Police say one person was arrested, but authorities are looking for three others.


Rules For Golf Cart Driving Changing


Sorry grandkids, you won't be driving your parents or grandparents' golf carts anymore. Governor Ron DeSantis has signed legislation changing the minimum age to 16. And those teens driving a golf cart must have a minimum of a learner's permit. But don't worry; you still have this summer. The bill doesn't go into effect until October 1. The bill will primarily affect The Villages and other retirement communities. In The Villages alone, officials estimate between 50,000 and 80,000 golf carts.


Florida Deputy To Go On Trial Over Parkland Shooting


In a prosecution believed to be a national first, a former Florida sheriff's deputy is about to be tried on charges he failed to confront the gunman who murdered 14 students and three staff members at a Parkland high school five years ago. Jury selection begins Wednesday in the trial of former Broward County Sheriff's Deputy Scot Peterson, who remained outside a three-story classroom building at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School during Nikolas Cruz's six-minute attack on February 14, 2018. Opening statements are scheduled for early June; the trial could last two months.


Leasing An EV May Be The Way To Go


Thanks to a boost from the government, leasing - not buying - is becoming the most affordable way to get your hands on an electric vehicle. Last year's Inflation Reduction Act provided a federal tax credit of up to $7,500 for an EV. Under the rules, a dealer can apply that credit to any leased electric vehicle, no matter where it's made, to reduce a customer's monthly payment. Only EVs made in North America qualify for the full tax credit for buyers. And only 10 of the 49 electric vehicles for sale in the United States this year meet that requirement.

May 30, 2023 Morning News

Illinois Man Dies On Marion Roadway


A 61-year-old Illinois man was killed Sunday night in a single-car crash in Marion County, and his passenger was critically injured, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. The FHP said the man was traveling along County Road 484 when for some unknown reason, the man braked hard, sending the vehicle out of control and overturning, ejecting the driver and passenger. The man was pronounced dead at the scene.


Good News From The Hurricane Center


The NHC says it is not tracking storm systems in the Atlantic or Gulf of Mexico. That means no tropical cyclone activity is expected for at least the next several days. A low-pressure system over the southeast, however, will be dragging more moist and warmer air up from the Caribbean, meaning our chance of showers will be increasing as the week goes on, and temperatures will be rising.


Biden and McCarthy Pushing Congress To Pass New Debt Ceiling


President Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy worked the phones over the weekend into Memorial Day, encouraging congressmen and women to pass the new debt ceiling agreement. At least ten conservative members of the House say they won’t support the measure, but the President told reporters Monday that he believes the measure will pass.


Partially Collapsed Iowa Apartment Building Being Demolished


That 6-story apartment building in Davenport, Iowa, that partially collapsed over the weekend is being destroyed today. Structural engineers say the building cannot be salvaged. However, rescue workers pulled eight people from the rubble; amazingly, nobody was killed. City officials in Davenport had received multiple complaints about the building, but the cause of the collapse has not been determined.


Malls Requiring Adult Supervision


The second largest mall in New Jersey is now requiring kids under 18 to be accompanied by an adult on Friday and Saturday evenings because of an increase in violence by a small minority of kids. But it’s not new. Mall of America in Minnesota has required adult supervision since 1996. Even a Chic-Fil-A in Pennsylvania bans kids under 16 without adult supervision. In reality, violent crime arrests among youth had been declining for years, falling to a new low in 2020, according to the latest federal data. The number of youth homicide victims, however, increased by 30% from 2019 to 2020 –- the most significant one-year increase since at least 1980.


Ed Ames Dies


Ed Ames, the youngest member of the popular 1950s singing group the Ames Brothers, who later became a successful actor in television and musical theater, has died. Ames died from Alzheimer’s disease, according to his wife. Ames went on in the 60s to act on TV and Broadway but had hit songs with Who Will Answer and My Cup Runneth Over. Ed Ames was 95.

May 29, 2023 Evening News

Hundreds Flocked To Memorial Day Ceremonies


Hundreds of area residents flocked to veteran's sites across the state Monday as soldiers everywhere were honored for their service, especially those who died in service to their country. 10 a.m. services were held at the Veterans Park in Ocala, with ceremonies at Rolling Acres at noon. Also, hundreds of residents visited the Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell to our south, where thousands of veterans are buried.


No Fatalities in Iowa Apartment Collapse


No confirmed fatalities or known people were still trapped the morning after a six-story apartment building in the eastern Iowa city of Davenport partially collapsed Sunday. Davenport Fire Chief Michael Carlsten said at a news conference Monday that workers searched for survivors throughout the night and rescued one person from the six-story building. Work was being done on the building, but the cause of the partial collapse is still unknown.


Russia Issues Arrest Warrant For Lindsey Graham


Russia's Interior Ministry issued an arrest warrant for U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham following his comments on the fighting in Ukraine on Monday. In an edited video of his meeting on Friday with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy that was released by Zelenskyy's office, Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, noted that "the Russians are dying" and described the U.S. military assistance to the country as "the best money we've ever spent." 


Sinking? Seriously?


If rising oceans aren't worrying enough, add this to New York City's risks: The metropolis is slowly sinking under the weight of its skyscrapers, homes, asphalt, and humanity. New research estimates the city's landmass is sinking at an average rate of 1 to 2 millimeters per year.


Kissinger Turns 100


Former diplomat and presidential adviser Henry Kissinger marked his 100th birthday on Saturday, outlasting many of his political contemporaries who guided the United States through one of its most tumultuous periods, including the presidency of Richard Nixon and the Vietnam War. The elder Kissinger will celebrate this week with visits to New York, London, and his hometown of Fürth, Germany.


Capitol Rioters Profiting From Insurrection


Convicted Capitol rioter, Daniel Goodwyn appeared on a Fox News program less than two months after his conviction promoting a new website asking for donations for the rioters. Since then, thousands of dollars have flowed into the site, allowing the convicts to profit from the coup attempt. But apparently, the government is going to get the last laugh. Prosecutors have now filed briefs with federal courts to force those collecting the funds to turn them back to the government. In addition, prosecutors are increasingly asking judges to impose hefty fines so that those convicted will not profit.

May 29, 2023 Morning News

Plenty To Do To Remember Vets


Memorial Day activities abound in Marion County this Monday. At 10 a.m., a ceremony honoring all veterans will be held at the Marion County Veterans Park at 2601 SE Fort King Street. The event is open to the public. Then at noon, a ceremony will be held at Rolling Greens on SE 58th Avenue. The event is free to veterans, and admission is $10 for others. Then the National Moment of Remembrance is an annual event that asks Americans, wherever they are at 3:00 p.m. local time on Memorial Day, to pause for one minute to remember those who have died in military service to the United States.


Headed To The Beach – Heads Up


Many of you are heading to the beach this Memorial Day. A word of caution if you are planning that option. According to the National Hurricane Center, a non-tropical low-pressure system about 150 miles south of Charleston, South Carolina, continues producing gusty winds, disorganized showers, and thunderstorms over portions of the southeastern United States and the western Atlantic Ocean. Even though development into a subtropical or tropical cyclone is not expected, the system will produce gusty winds and dangerous surf and rip current conditions along the Florida coast. Be careful out there.


Marion Man Tied To Beating Death Arrested Again


A man tied to an infamous beating death in The Villages is back in jail. 25-year-old Nicholas Metcalf was sentenced to 6 months in jail in connection with the 2016 beating death of Austin Stevens, who worked at McCall’s Restaurant in Spanish Springs. Earlier this year, Metcalfe was arrested for carrying a pistol in Washington DC, violating his probation. Now Metcalfe has been arrested on a reckless driving charge involving alcohol and a probation violation.


Stealing As a Profession


Sheriff’s deputies have arrested some people who habitually steal from Walmart. Teeyana Mims and Keaveona Peoples were working together to scan price tags for lower-priced items to steal more expensive merchandise. The total amount stolen was $876. They were both arrested and taken to jail. Later it was learned that the pair had pulled the same stunt on March 24, using the same techniques, netting them $165 in stolen goods.


Reviews On The Debt Ceiling Agreement


The reviews are starting to emerge as details emerge about the debt ceiling agreement President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy reached. Already, some lawmakers are criticizing the deal as not doing enough to tackle the nation’s debt, while others worry it’s too austere and will harm many low-income Americans. As a result, the legislation will likely need support from a significant number of lawmakers from both parties to clear the closely divided House and gain the 60 votes necessary to advance in the Senate.


May 26, 2023 Evening News

46-Year-Old Arrested For Affair With 16-Year-Old


Ocala Police say they have arrested a 46-year-old man on charges that he was having an affair with a 16-year-old girl. Ocala detectives took Randy Owens into custody and charged him with five counts of sexual assault on a minor. Police became aware of the case when the girl's mother reported that she suspected her daughter was having a relationship with Owen. Even though the relationship may have been consensual, it was still illegal.


Spending Agreement Could Come This Weekend


Days from a deadline, President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy are narrowing in on a two-year budget deal aiming to curb federal deficits in exchange for lifting the nation's debt ceiling and staving off an economically devastating government default. The Democratic president and Republican speaker hope to strike a budget compromise this weekend. Biden is considered a master of negotiations, having served in the Senate for years and working both sides of the aisle.


President Of Mexico Urges Don't Vote For DeSantis


The President of Mexico is getting involved with U.S. politics. President

Andres Obrador Thursday called on all Hispanic people in Florida to vote against Ron DeSantis because of his immigration policies. Obrador said, "Hopefully, Hispanics in Florida will wake up and not give him one single vote, to not vote for one who persecutes migrants, who doesn't respect migrants."


DeSantis Turns On Environmentalists


Governor DeSantis, who initially supported environmental safety policies in Florida, has signed a bill that environmentalists call the worst piece of environmental legislation ever. Under the legislation, if an individual, group, or HOA files a lawsuit against a developer's project, and loses, that individual, group, or HOA can be held responsible for the developer's legal fees, which can be astronomical. The bill's sole purpose is to stop lawsuits and let big developers get their way most of the time.


For The Ultimate Tom Brady Fan


If you're a true Tom Brady fan, this is for you. A house for sale in Indian Creek Village near Miami would put you next door to the football great and close by to one of Donald Trump's ex-wives. This 7 bedroom, 11 ½ bath behemoth boasts more than 16,600 square feet, sits on just under 2 acres, is on an exclusive golf course, and opulent would be under describing it. And it can be all yours for just $85 million.


DEA Strips License From Big Drug Distributor


The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration stripped one of the nation's largest drug distributors of its license to sell highly addictive painkillers Friday after determining it failed to flag thousands of suspicious orders at the height of the opioid crisis. The action against Morris & Dickson Co. that threatens to put it out of business came two days after an Associated Press investigation found the DEA allowed the company to keep shipping drugs for nearly four years after a judge recommended the harshest penalty for its "cavalier disregard" of rules aimed at preventing opioid abuse.

May 26, 2023 Morning News

Meggs Gets 12 Years For Capitol Riot


Dunnellon resident Kelly Meggs, also the Florida leader of radical group Oath Keepers, was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison Thursday followed by 3 years of supervised release for his part in the January 6th coup attempt at the US Capitol. The sentencing came just hours after the group's national leader, Elmer Stewart Rhodes, was sent to jail for 18 years. Prosecutors had wanted up to 21 years for Meggs and others for their part in the riot designed to deny the peaceful transfer of power to President Biden, effectively keeping Donald Trump in office illegally.


We’re Still Watching For You


The National Hurricane Center is still watching that disorganized system off the east coast of Florida but says it shouldn’t mean much to us other than an increased chance of rain. But if you’re headed to the beach on the Atlantic side for the holiday weekend, weather officials say the near sub-tropical system could produce strong winds, meaning rough surf and rip currents. Make sure it’s a safe holiday if you’re headed to the beach.


One thing is for certain. 


Governor Ron DeSantis won’t be running the state for now.  DeSantis on Thursday sought to push past an embarrassing beginning to his presidential campaign, outlining an aggressive travel schedule as his allies insisted they remain well-funded and well-positioned for a long Republican primary fight ahead. On Thursday, the Republican governor announced plans for a three-state blitz next week featuring at least a dozen stops. He’s scheduled to campaign Tuesday and Wednesday in Iowa before a trip to New Hampshire on Thursday and South Carolina on Friday.


Let Summer Begin


The unofficial start of the summer travel season is here, with airlines hoping to avoid the chaos of last year and travelers scrounging for ways to save a few bucks on pricey airfares and hotel rooms. Some travelers say they will settle for fewer trips than they hoped to take, or they will drive instead of fly. Others are finding different money-saving sacrifices. AAA predicts that 37 million Americans will drive at least 50 miles from home this weekend, an increase of more than 2 million from Memorial Day last year but still below pre-pandemic numbers in 2019.


Governor Signs Tax Breaks Bills


Governor DeSantis Thursday signed into law a long list of tax exemptions adding up to tens of millions of dollars.  Among the bills, are two tax exemption holidays for hurricane season. The disaster preparedness holidays will be from May 27th to June 9th and August 26th to September 8th. Also, a new law will now exempt most baby products from state sales taxes, permanently. 

May 25, 2023 Evening News

Sheriff Wants To Chat With Thief


The Marion County Sheriff’s Office would like to have a little chat with a man whom they say stole a backpack out of a truck parked at a Shell Gas Station located at 5985 W Highway 40. Investigators say the theft took place on May 19th.  Surveillance video captured shots of the theft. If you can identify the man, contact investigators.  There may be a reward involved.


So Just How Important Is This Debt Ceiling?  Congress Leaves Town


This will make you wonder just how important the debt ceiling talks really are. House Republicans have left town for the long holiday weekend just days before the U.S. could face an unprecedented default that could hurl the global economy into chaos. But a few of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s staff will stay behind to continue negotiations with the White House. Lawmakers are tentatively not expected back at work until Tuesday, just two days from June 1, when Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said the U.S. could start running out of cash to pay its bills and face a federal default.


Economy Grows At Lackluster Rate


The U.S. economy grew at a lackluster 1.3% annual rate from January through March as businesses wary of an economic slowdown trimmed their inventories, the government said Thursday in a slight upgrade from its initial estimate. The government had previously estimated that the economy grew at a 1.1% annual rate last quarter. Despite the first-quarter slowdown, consumer spending, which accounts for around 70% of America’s economic output, rose


SCOTUS Blocks Clean Water


The Supreme Court on Thursday made it harder for the federal government to police water pollution in a decision that strips protections from wetlands that are isolated from larger bodies of water. It’s the second decision in as many years in which a conservative majority of the court narrowed the reach of environmental regulations. The justices boosted property rights over concerns about clean water in a ruling in favor of an Idaho couple who sought to build a house near Priest Lake in the state’s panhandle.


If It’s Any Consolation


If it’s any consolation, the gun violence in Florida isn’t confined to Ocala. Police in Leesburg, just to our south, say two 17 year old’s were shot Wednesday evening at an apartment complex. One teen was taken to a local hospital for treatment, the other was shot in the finger. These two apparently aren’t your typical choir boys. The teen shot in the finger was already wanted on charges of grand theft auto and other offenses.


Big Turnaround On DeSantis View Of Social Media


Two years ago, signing a bill intended to punish Twitter and other major social media companies, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis blasted the platforms as “suppressing ideas” during the COVID-19 pandemic and silencing conservative voices.  What a turnaround. The new Elon Musk-owned version of Twitter helped DeSantis launch his bid for the Republican presidential nomination Wednesday. Though it was marred by technical glitches and skewered by the candidate’s critics, the forum nevertheless underscored Twitter’s unmistakable shift to the right under Musk, who bought it for $44 billion and took over in October.

May 25, 2023 Morning News

$500 Wasn’t A Parting Gift


Sheriff’s investigators have arrested Zachery Beeber on charges of theft after he reportedly stole nearly $500 from the 7-11 on Mericamp Road where he worked. Convenience stores videotape everything. When police questioned Beeber he admitted taking the money just prior to quitting the job. Apparently, he thought it was a parting gift.


Penalty Phase For Meggs


Police officers who defended the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and public servants who fled the mob’s attack told a judge on Wednesday that they are still haunted by what they endured, as the judge prepares to hand down sentences in a landmark Capitol riot case. In that mix is Kelly Meggs of Dunnellon, who was instrumental in the attack. Prosecutors are asking for up to 21 years in prison for Meggs. The sentence will be handed down on Friday.


Busy Holiday Weekend


This weekend marks the first, albeit unofficial, holiday kicking off the summer season.  AAA says traffic on roadways is expected to be heavy. AAA says some 2.4 million Floridians are expected to travel 50 miles or more this weekend, most of them sharing the highways with you. That’s 137,000 more drivers than last year. If you’re planning on traveling, just be careful and drive defensively.


DeSantis Launches Campaign For POTUS


Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis launched his 2024 presidential campaign on Wednesday on Twitter.  He’s stepping into a crowded Republican primary contest that will test his strength against former President Donald Trump. The announcement was met with constant glitches causing the platform to crash repeatedly, forcing most viewers to go back and watch later. The ultimate winner of the GOP nomination will likely face Joe Biden in the general election.


This is almost sick. 


The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has allowed one of the nation’s largest wholesale drug distributors to keep shipping highly addictive painkillers for nearly four years after a judge recommended it be stripped of its license for its “cavalier disregard” of thousands of suspicious orders fueling the opioid crisis. The study was revealed by the Associated Press Wednesday. The DEA isn’t talking about it, but the delay has raised concerns about how the revolving door between government and industry may be impacting the DEA’s mission to police drug companies blamed for tens of thousands of American overdose deaths.


Don’t Blame Me Says McCarthy


House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is now in damage control, saying the debt ceiling standoff was “not my fault” as he sent Republican negotiators to the White House to finish out talks. McCarthy said he remained optimistic they could reach an agreement before a deadline as soon as next week when the Treasury Department could run out of cash to pay its bills. McCarthy said the country will not default on its bills. A default would affect social security payments, pay for military and retirees, and cost potentially millions of jobs, not to mention throw the country into recession.

May 24, 2023 Evening News

Commissioner Gold Resigning


Saying he could now better serve the community, state, and nation in other capacities, Marion County Commissioner Jeff Gold has decided to call it quits. Gold sent his resignation letter to County Commission Chair Craig Curry dated May 23rd. Gold said he would submit his resignation letter to Governor DeSantis after the July board meeting.


Robocall Companies Get Hit Hard


Attorneys general across the U.S. joined in a lawsuit against a telecommunications company accused of making more than 7.5 billion robocalls to people on the national Do Not Call Registry. The 141-page lawsuit was filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Phoenix against Avid Telecom and its officers. The lawsuit alleges the company violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, the Telemarketing Sales Rule, and other federal and state telemarketing and consumer laws. In addition, the lawsuit is seeking unspecified damages.


McCarthy Sends Envoy To White House


House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said Wednesday he was sending Republican negotiators to the White House to finish debt limit talks. However, he warned that the two sides are “still far apart” as they try to reach a budget deal with President Joe Biden. Nevertheless, McCarthy said he remained optimistic they could make progress in hopes of an agreement before a deadline as soon as next week when the Treasury Department could run out of cash to pay its bills.


Typhoon Slams Guam


Typhoon Mawar rumbled through Guam as a powerful Category 4 storm on Thursday, relentlessly lashing the U.S. Pacific island territory with heavy rain, powerful winds, and a dangerous storm surge and knocking out power to many communities where frightened residents hunkered down for the night in homes and shelters. The typhoon’s center passed over the northern tip of Guam on Wednesday evening. It is the strongest storm to hit the territory of over 150,000 people in decades, with sustained winds of 140 mph.


Indian River Sheriff Foils Escape Attempt


Indian River County authorities have foiled an escape attempt by multimillionaire John Manchec. With the help of outsiders, corrections officers were to be overcome while Manchec was at an outside medical appointment. From there, the multimillionaire was to be flown to France on his private jet parked in Ft. Pierce. Instead, the 78-year-old is in jail on child pornography charges and skipped bail once returning to France and safety. But he made the mistake of traveling to the Dominican Republic in 2020 and was captured. He has been in jail since.


Tina Turner Dies


Tina Turner, the pioneering rock’n’roll star who became a pop behemoth in the 1980s, has died after a long illness. She had suffered ill health in recent years, being diagnosed with intestinal cancer in 2016 and having a kidney transplant in 2017. Turner affirmed and amplified Black women’s formative stake in rock’n’roll, defining that era of music. Tina Turner was 83.


May 24, 2023 Morning News

Firefighters-County Reach Contract Deal


Negotiators for the firefighters union and Marion County have agreed to a three-year, $21 million dollar contract with the county. The contract addresses recruitment and retention issues by raising the starting pay across all positions while implementing a loyalty incentive program, an annual 2% cost of living adjustment, and an annual 2% education incentive. Paramedics will also receive an additional 3% increase on October 1st. The contract will need to be approved by the full county commission.


20 Arrested In Marion Sex Sting


Authorities in Marion County have arrested 20 people and have warrants for three more in connection with a sex sting operation.  Investigators say 14 of the suspects had traveled to Marion County to meet children between 14 and 16 for sexual activity but were met by arresting officers. 9 others were engaging in explicit online conversations. 6 of the 9 have been arrested and three of those already have felony warrants for their arrest. The sting operation involved multiple law enforcement agencies. The sheriff’s office made the announcement during a news conference Tuesday morning.  


Former Teacher Won’t Be Charged


A former police officer and teacher who was charged with inappropriate conduct with students will not be charged according to the State Attorney’s office. 47-year-old Bernard Smith was arrested and charged with engaging in sexual conduct with students. But the State Attorney’s office says the victim’s unwillingness to prosecute or participate in prosecution, leaves them with no alternative but to drop the charges. Meanwhile, the school district says it will not be renewing Smith’s contract.


Mexican Rape Case Reversed


Remember that case out of Mexico where a woman killed a man who was raping her? A Mexican court sentenced her to 6 years in prison and ordered her to pay the rapist’s family restitution. The case caused outrage among lawyers and women’s groups all over Mexico and here in the US. But now, the Mexican court has decided to withdraw all of the charges against the woman.


Blogger License Bill Goes Nowhere


It's a known fact that Governor DeSantis just doesn’t like the news media or bloggers. In fact, he doesn’t like anybody who talks against his ideals and programs. So DeSantis backed a bill in the legislature that would have forced bloggers to register with the state, essentially obtaining a license, if they were being paid for their programs. It’s not happening. The bill has died without any serious consideration.


DeSantis To Announce Presidential Bid


Governor Ron DeSantis will announce his presidential bid Wednesday evening during a feed on Twitter beginning at 6 pm. The announcement will be moderated by Elon Musk ally David Sacks. Musk said he would support DeSantis for the nomination. Separate from his Twitter announcement, staffers have put together a kickoff in his hometown of Dunedin. 

May 23, 2023 Evening News

20 Arrested In Marion Sex Sting


Authorities in Marion County have arrested 20 people and have warrants for three more in connection with a sex sting operation. Investigators say 14 of the suspects had traveled to Marion County to meet children between 14 and 16 for sexual activity but were met by arresting officers. 9 others were engaging in explicit online conversations. 6 of the 9 have been arrested and three of those already have felony warrants for their arrest. The sting operation involved multiple law enforcement agencies. The sheriff’s office made the announcement during a news conference Tuesday morning.  


US Surgeon General Weighs In On Social Media For Kids


The U.S. surgeon general is warning there is not enough evidence to show that social media is safe for children and teens — and is calling on tech companies, parents, and caregivers to take “immediate action to protect kids now.” With young people’s social media use “near universal” but its true impact on mental health not fully understood, Dr. Vivek Murthy is asking tech companies to share data and increase transparency with researchers and the public and prioritize users’ health and safety when designing their products, which isn’t likely to happen. Now lawmakers are looking to reel in tech companies and regulate them just like they do car seats and baby formula.


Orlando Restaurant Sues State Over Drag Shows


A popular Orlando restaurant that regularly features drag shows filed a federal lawsuit against the state of Florida and Gov. Ron DeSantis on Monday, less than a week after he signed a bill that targets drag performances.  The lawsuit filed in Orlando federal court by the owner of Hamburger Mary’s Orlando claims the state is depriving the business of its First Amendment rights to free expression. The restaurant is asking the court to temporarily stop the law from taking effect while the case moves forward.


Guam To Be Pounded By Typhoon


Authorities in Guam warned anyone not living in a fully concrete house to head to safety elsewhere, and emergency shelters began to fill as residents braced for Typhoon Mawar, a powerful storm that could deliver the biggest hit in two decades to the U.S. territory in the Pacific. The brunt of the storm could hit the island on Wednesday. Rain from the outer bands is smacking the island today and winds could reach 150 mph in a direct hit.


Illinois AG Releases Results of Catholic Church Sex Abuse Study


Illinois’ attorney general released the results of a sweeping investigation into allegations of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy on Tuesday, saying investigators found that 451 clergies sexually abused nearly 2,000 children since 1950 — far more than the 103 individuals the church had named when the state review began in 2018.  At a news conference announcing his office’s findings, Attorney General Kwame Raoul credited accusers for making the review possible. He said state investigators found that 1,997 children across the state were abused by clergy between 1950 and 2019.


Missouri Man Arrested After Ramming Truck Into White House Barricade


Police have arrested a Missouri man they believe intentionally crashed a U-Haul truck into a security barrier at a park across from the White House. The box truck’s driver smashed into the barrier near the north side of Lafayette Square on Monday at around 10 p.m., He was identified as 19-year-old Sai Varshith Kandula, of Chesterfield, a St. Louis suburb.

May 23, 2023 Morning News

Rental Fraud Continues


Rental fraud continues to be a problem, even here in Marion County. Sheriff’s detectives report that a victim was duped out of $800 in a rental scam. The victims told investigators that they found the rental home on the Facebook marketplace and sent an $800 deposit. But when they went to see the home, the so-called owner never showed up. The individual they were speaking with has refused further contact and police say the investigation is ongoing.


Amerasian Groups Sue DeSantis Over Land Purchase Law


A group of Chinese citizens living and working in Florida sued the state Monday over a new law that bans Chinese nationals from purchasing property in large swaths of the state. The American Civil Liberties Union says the law will have a substantial chilling effect on sales to Chinese and Asian American people who can legally buy property. The suit says the law unfairly equates Chinese people with the actions of their government and there is no evidence of national security risk from Chinese citizens buying Florida property


He just can’t keep his mouth shut. 


E. Jean Carroll, the columnist who won a $5 million sexual abuse and defamation award against former President Donald Trump, is seeking at least $10 million more in a new court filing Monday that seeks to hold him liable for remarks he made after the verdict. The rewritten lawsuit Trump “doubled down” on derogatory remarks about Carroll at a cable television appearance just a day after the verdict during a town hall meeting on CNN. Trump’s lawyers aren’t commenting. 


TikTok Sues Montana Over Ban


Social media company TikTok Inc. filed a lawsuit Monday seeking to overturn Montana’s first-in-the-nation ban on the video-sharing app, arguing the law is an unconstitutional violation of free speech rights and is based on “unfounded speculation” that the Chinese government could access users’ data. The law is scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, but cybersecurity experts say it could be difficult to enforce.


Michigan Governor Signs Red Flag Law


Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer gave final approval Monday afternoon to a red flag law that aims to keep firearms away from those at risk of harming themselves or others as the state grapples with ways to slow gun violence in the wake of its second mass school shooting. Michigan joined Minnesota as the second state in under a week to implement a red flag law after Democrats in both states won control of both chambers and the governor’s office in November. Florida, on the other hand, has made obtaining weapons easier, even for some mentally ill people who have no business with a weapon.


Fired Florida Sheriff Ready For Trial


A fired Florida sheriff’s deputy charged with failing to confront the gunman who murdered 17 at a Parkland high school five years ago said Monday that he is “looking forward” to his trial, which is scheduled to start next week. Scot Peterson told reporters after a court hearing that the public needs to know he did everything he could as Nikolas Cruz murdered 14 students and three staff members. Peterson, the deputy then assigned to the school, says he didn’t charge into the three-story classroom building during the six-minute massacre because he thought the dozens of shots fired were coming from outside. He was armed with a handgun at the time.

May 22, 2023 Evening News

Sink Hole Repair Underway


Construction workers say a large sinkhole opened up over the weekend near The Vitamin Shoppe. Repairs are hoped to be completed by the middle of June. Engineers believe the hole opened when a huge drain pipe eroded at a joint giving way. The sinkhole did not compromise traffic on State Road 200 or nearby SW 27th Avenue.


Good Argument To Ban TikTok


It's a good argument for just banning TikTok entirely. Video postings on YouTube and TicTok show potential thieves how to steal a Kia or Hyundai in just seconds using only a USB cord. It’s called the Kia challenge. Hyundai and Kia tried to fix the problem to no avail. But YouTube did ban the videos once it learned of the damage. But TicTok refuses to do so denying their mass popularity. The crimes are called performance crimes and they are a problem for police.  Hefty class action lawsuits have resulted and Hyundai and Kia say they are working to fix the problem for good.


Biker Dies After Crash Last Week


A motorcyclist, who was critically injured in a crash last week, died Sunday at an Ocala hospital. The man was not identified by the Florida Highway Patrol.  According to reports, the crash occurred on State Road 326 near Ocala when the driver of a pickup truck failed to yield to the biker at the intersection of N# 25th Avenue and turned into its path causing the crash. The biker, who was not identified, was thrown and taken to a local hospital in critical condition where he died on Sunday.  Charges in that case are pending.


Do They Really Care?


The more we read and hear about them, the more we realize that these guys are pretty much scum and don’t care about your safety or your child’s safety online, but only their cash flow. We’re talking about Meta or Facebook this time. Now the company has been fined a record 1.3 billion dollars by the European Union, and ordered to stop transferring users’ personal information across the Atlantic by October, the latest salvo in a decade-long case sparked by U.S. cyber snooping fears. Meta, which had previously warned that services for its users in Europe could be cut off, vowed to appeal and ask courts to immediately put the decision on hold.


Teens To Be Allowed Venmo Accounts


Teenagers will officially be allowed to open a Venmo account with their parent’s permission, the company said Monday, expanding the popular social payments app to an age demographic that is likely to embrace it almost immediately. Using Venmo won’t necessarily be new to a good number of teens — parents often set up accounts for their children through their own accounts, which is a violation of Venmo’s terms of service. If you’re not familiar, Venmo is a type of social media account that allows users to quickly and safely transfer money between one another.


Biden Ratings Stay The Same


As President Joe Biden embarks on his reelection campaign, just 33% of American adults say they approve of his handling of the economy and only 24% say national economic conditions are in good shape, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.  American opinion is also gloomy about Biden’s efforts on gun policy and immigration, with only 31% saying they approve of the president’s performance on those hot-button issues. But overall, 40% say they approve of the way Biden is doing his job, similar to where his approval rating has stood for much of the past year and a half.




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