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8-foot king cobra remains on loose after escaping Orlando home

<p> Wildlife officials continue to search for an 8-foot king cobra that recently escaped from an Orlando home near an elementary school.</p><p> The snake was reported missing Wednesday to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission by its owner, a licensed and bonded individual, officials said.</p><p> The privately owned nonnative, venomous snake escaped a home in the 4800 block of North Apopka Vineland Road in Orlando, according to FWC.  Clarcona Elementary School is less than a mile from the home.</p><p> "(There will be) patrols out here tomorrow just in case there's any kids walking to school or anything like that," said FWC's Chris Roszkowiak.</p><p> News 6 has learned the owner, Mike Kennedy, is a well-known handler. He houses and rescues exotic animals at his home. A website shows photos of Kennedy with several different animals.</p><p> "The last thing I need is a king cobra sneaking around the bushes," said neighbor James McCloud.</p><p> The green-and-yellow male snake looks identical to an image provided by FWC of a longer female at the same location.  All other venomous snakes are in their locked cages and are accounted for.</p><p> [RELATED: <a href="/news/man-bitten-by-coral-snake-at-job-site-in-volusia/34780846" target="_self">Man recovers after coral snake bite</a> | <a href="/news/deland-hospital-testing-new-treatment-for-coral-snake-bites/34761414" target="_self">New snake bite treatment tested</a>]</p><p> "We, after talking to the handler, he seems pretty comfortable that the snake is going to be close to his residence right now, which is a heavily wooded area," said Roszkowiak.</p><p> Officials said a permit is required to possess a king cobra and owners are required to report escaped animals immediately.</p><p> FWC officers and staff canvassed the area Wednesday evening in search of the snake. Officials said anyone who may come across the snake is asked to report the sighting to the FWC's Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-FWCC (3922).</p><p> Stay with News 6 and for updates on this developing story.</p>

Published: Thu, 03 Sep 2015 10:09:36 GMT

Florida wildlife officials approve bear hunt harvest quota

<p> Despite throngs of protesters, bear advocates were dealt a crushing defeat Wednesday when the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission approved the killing of 320 bears next month during the state's first bear hunting season in more than 20 years.</p><p> "When this many people are speaking out and advocating for the bears, how would it have hurt them to put it off for a year and get better science behind it?" Terri Miller asked.</p><p> The decision by FWC comes after a series of bear attacks on people and pets.</p><p> "Nobody has done anything to educate the local people, until very recently, that there are ways to avoid human-bear interactions," Miller said.</p><p> State wildlife experts said they hope to curb the bear population.</p><p> "Calls are up, vehicle strikes are up and they are starting to show up in places they have never shown up before," FWC Bear Management Program Director David Telesco said.</p><p> For a week in October, an unlimited number of permitted hunters can kill 320 of the estimated 3,000 bears in Florida. But with 1,900 hunters already with permits, some fear bears will be over-hunted.</p><p> "I don't see how it can be prevented," Miller said. "It's not as though the 1,900 people with permits will have instant communication with each other and somebody will know, 'Oh, there went the 320th bear, let's stop.'"</p><p> The FWC is also promoting the use of bear-proof trash cans to keep bears away from homes. Bear advocates said that should have been pushed years ago, so hunting didn't have to happen.</p>

Published: Thu, 03 Sep 2015 10:19:51 GMT

UCF struggles with ?no rules? party frat

<p> It’s rush week at the University of Central Florida. Now is the time for freshmen to choose a fraternity. And at UCF's official fraternities, that means a lot of name tags and “man flirting” – but no alcohol.</p><p> "We're at a frat house with a bunch of guys and I don't see any beer?” asked News 6 Anchor Matt Austin.</p><p> “It's not your typical frat house today. It's strictly business I guess,” said Mirz Duzel, the rush chairman of Phi Delta Theta, an official fraternity at UCF.</p><p> It’s strictly business, because booze – and even women – are banned from UCF’s official fraternity rush activities. But there’s one fraternity that doesn’t have to follow UCF’s rules.</p><p> The Gazoni Family has been sharing video on social media of wild rush parties with bikini-clad women. That’s how they recruit UCF students.</p><p> “Unlike other fraternities, we're not bullied by the university,” said Gazoni Family President Yuval Mor.</p><p> The Gazoni Family house didn’t always have a big “G” on it. About nine months ago, they were known as Lambda Chi Alpha, a legitimate, long-standing fraternity. In January, its charter was revoked by the national office after UCF accused the group of alcohol misconduct, public urination, trashing property and breaking university rules.</p><p> Now, there are no UCF rules to follow.</p><p> And the Gazoni Family advertises that on fliers it uses to recruit UCF and Valencia College students.</p><p> “Be honest. Is this the craziest fraternity at UCF?” Austin asked a Gazoni member.</p><p> “We already were the craziest fraternity at UCF. Now, it's just - we don't have anyone to stop us," said Rashad, a Gazoni member, who pointed out years of tension between UCF and fraternities. A<a href="" target="_blank"> couple years ago, a group of fraternities threatened to sue UCF for temporarily banning Greek activities without due process.</a></p><p> Mor doesn’t have to worry about battles like that anymore, and said the lack of university support that comes with the freedom from university rules hasn’t hurt his unofficial fraternity.  </p><p> “It's not any different than it's ever been,” Mor said. “You know, same quality of kids, the same quantity of kids. I see no real difference.”</p><p> Austin asked if parents dropping their kids off at UCF would “be terrified if their kids joined an organization like this.”</p><p> “My parents were terrified,” said Kevin, a Gazoni member. “But, once you meet us, we're well spoken kids, we have good GPAs we're not troublemakers."</p><p> So how did the Gazoni Family get to keep its house?</p><p> Here’s the trick: UCF doesn’t own it and neither does the national fraternity. The brothers lease it themselves and decided to re-sign it.  </p><p> The Gazoni Family still has a president, still pays dues, and still recruits just like every other fraternity. The Gazoni Family accepts students from Valencia College as well, something UCF bans its official fraternities from doing.</p><p> “Is it safe to have no rules, no oversight,” Austin asked.</p><p> “Yes and no,” Rashad said, adding that while it could be helpful to have oversight, “brothers keep other brothers accountable."</p><p> Now other fraternities that are accountable to the university have to compete against the Gazoni Family.</p><p> Back at the Phi Delta house, right next door to the Gazoni Family, Duzel told Austin, “I kind of wish it were different, but we don't need alcohol and girls to have a good time.”</p><p> Does this fraternity, or any other, have any reason to be threatened by guys who don’t have to follow the same rules?” Austin asked.</p><p> “I wouldn’t say so,” Duzel said. “No.”</p><p> UCF would not return calls or be interviewed, and even former UCF staff declined to comment. The university released a statement via email saying, “UCF supported that decision and does not recognize Lambda Chi Alpha as a registered student organization, including a small group of students formerly in the chapter who call themselves the Gazoni Family. We do not approve or support the online material used to promote this unregistered group of students.”</p>

Published: Thu, 03 Sep 2015 03:36:33 GMT

Windermere man steals more than $2 million from former Orlando Magic player, DOJ says

<p> A Windermere man was found guilty Wednesday for 11 counts of wire fraud and four counts of filing a false tax-related document during his employment with a former Orlando Magic player.</p><p> According to the Department of Justice, from 2006-2012, John A. White worked as a personal assistant to Gilbert J. Arenas. Between 2008 and 2001, White reportedly stole approximately $2,188,170 from Arenas by making unauthorized banking transfers from one of Arenas' accounts into three separate bank accounts controlled by White.</p><p> The DOJ said White used the money on personal items such as mortgage payments for his home and the purchase of a Ferrari and Range Rover.</p><p> White also filed false joint income tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service for each year. In them, he and his wife never reported more than $60,000 in gross income.</p><p> White faces up to 20 years in prison for each wire fraud count and up to three years in prison for each false document charge.</p><p> White's sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 19.</p>

Published: Wed, 02 Sep 2015 23:04:08 GMT

Man blinded Marion sheriff's pilot with hair growth laser comb, deputies say

<p> Marion County deputies arrested a man who they say temporarily blinded a Sheriff's Office helicopter pilot with a laser from a hair growth comb.</p><p> Mark Geoghagan, 55, has been charged with pointing a laser light at driver or pilot of sheriff's department helicopter/pilot, which is a third-degree felony.</p><p> Deputies said the Marion County Sheriff's Office helicopter was assisting deputies on the ground with a suspicious vehicle investigation early Wednesday morning when the helicopter was struck with a laser three to four times.</p><p> According to the report, the laser temporarily blinded the pilot and briefly affected his night vision goggles.</p><p> Deputies said they went to a home on Hemlock Terrace Lane where Geoghagan said he was experimenting in his backyard with the Bosley LaserComb to see how far the laser went.</p><p> Geoghagan told deputies that he was surprised to see how far the laser went into the trees and when he pointed in the air, MCSO's helicopter flew by, according to the report.<br/></p><p> A yellow warning label on the handle of the comb read, "Laser Light. Avoid Direct Eye Exposure. Class 3R Laser Product," deputies said.<br/></p><p> Geoghagan was booked into Marion County Jail on $2,000 bond.<br/><br/></p><p> <br/></p>

Published: Wed, 02 Sep 2015 23:11:35 GMT

Winter Garden police officer tackles man who threatened to shoot outside grocery store

<p> A man who claimed to be a former police officer threatened to shoot a Winter Garden police officer outside a grocery store.<br/></p><p> According to his arrest report, 62-year-old Allan Ruprecht started acting violently inside the Bravo Supermarket on South Dillard Street around 7 p.m. Tuesday.<br/></p><p> Shoppers said Ruprecht was ramming them with his shopping cart. They also said he yelled at a cashier when she asked him for his discount card.</p><p> That's when a store worker called police.<br/></p><p> Officer Peter Keane responded and confronted Ruprecht in the parking lot.<br/></p><p> Keane said at first, Ruprecht didn't want to talk, and yelled at him for stopping him.<br/>Keane said Ruprecht refused to take his hand out of his pocket, and he told him he was armed.<br/></p><p> Keane pulled out his service revolver and pointed it to the ground, at which point Ruprecht told him, "if you're going to pull out your gun, I'm going to pull out mine and use it."<br/></p><p> Keane said the next few moments were a blur.<br/></p><p> "I immediately felt a rush of adrenaline, got tunnel vision and truly felt in fear of a deadly confrontation with this subject," Keane wrote in his police report. "I do not recall putting my weapon back or actually lunging to gain control of this suspect, as again, I was in fear for my life, and I had total tunnel vision on this subject's hand."<br/>Ruprecht was physically apprehended and arrested for aggravated assault of a police officer.<br/></p><p> He posted $2,500 bond Wednesday morning.<br/></p><p> News 6 has learned Ruprecht was a civilian law enforcement worker for the Bloomfield Township Police Department in Michigan, and he left the department in January.<br/><br/></p>

Published: Wed, 02 Sep 2015 22:23:56 GMT

Dean Jones, star of Disney films, dies at 84

<p> Dean Jones, the go-to Disney actor whose films included "The Love Bug," "The Million Dollar Duck," "That Darn Cat!" and "The Shaggy D.A.," died Tuesday, according to his publicist. Jones was 84.</p><p> The cause of death was Parkinson's disease, according to publicist Richard Hoffman.</p><p> Jones made his film debut in 1956's "Somebody Up There Likes Me," which starred Paul Newman as boxer Rocky Graziano. The next year he appeared in the Elvis Presley movie "Jailhouse Rock." </p><p> He also starred on Broadway in such works as "There Was a Little Girl," with Jane Fonda, and the hit "Under the Yum-Yum Tree," also starring in the 1963 Jack Lemmon film.</p><p> Jones originated the performance of Bobby in the 1970 production of Stephen Sondheim's "Company."</p><p> But he had his greatest success as a Disney player, usually playing genial fathers or bemused leading men.</p><p> His Disney debut was in 1965's "That Darn Cat!", in which he played an FBI agent who solves a kidnapping with the help of the title character (and Hayley Mills, another Disney regular). He followed it up with such films as "Monkeys, Go Home!" (1967), "The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit" (1968) and the extremely popular "The Love Bug" (1969), about a Volkswagen with a mind of its own.</p><p> The latter spawned four sequels.</p><p> After a number of other film and TV roles, Jones returned to the stage in the 1980s, notably starring in the one-man show "St. John in Exile," about the apostle. </p><p> Jones was born in Decatur, Alabama, in 1931. He served in the Navy during the Korean War. Later in life, the actor -- who had become a devout Christian after a drunken driving accident almost killed him -- founded Christian Rescue Committee, now known as Christian Rescue Fund. The organization works to "rescue persecuted Christians and Jews," according to its website.</p><p> Jones is survived by his wife of 42 years, Lory Basham Jones, three children, eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.</p>

Published: Thu, 03 Sep 2015 01:41:23 GMT

On this day: September 3

<p> The American Revolutionary War ends, baseball Hall of Famer Ty Cobb collects his last hit, the Allies declare war on Germany during World War II, and a U.S. Supreme Court chief justice dies, all on this day.</p>

Published: Thu, 03 Sep 2015 06:00:00 GMT

Celebrities who have fallen from grace

<p> Few celebrities can contend with Thursday's 50-year-old birthday boy Charlie Sheen when it comes to spectacular public meltdowns. Take a look at Sheen other stars who have fallen from grace.</p>

Published: Thu, 03 Sep 2015 06:00:00 GMT

Atlas V rocket launches from Cape, creating art in morning sky

<p> An Atlas V rocket launched Wednesday morning from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, creating a magnificent sight in the process.</p><p> [SLIDESHOW: <a href="/news/35058164" target="_blank"> Photos show rocket, sun creating art in sky</a>]</p><p> The launch occurred at 6:18 a.m., 19 minutes after the launch window opened.</p><p> The trails of the rocket mixed with the rising sun over Central Florida, lighting up the skies.  The magnificent sight could be seen all the way from the Gulf Coast.</p><p> [RAW VIDEO:  <a href="/news/raw-video-atlas-v-rocket-launch/35058512" target="_blank">Rocket l</a><a href="" target="_blank">aunch</a>]</p><p> The mission is taking the Navy's fourth Mobile User Objective System satellite, completing an initial constellation intended to enable mobile forces to make calls and transmit text messages and other data from wherever they are around the world.</p><p> </p><p> [VIEW & SHARE:  <a href="" target="_blank">Rocket launch creates art in sky</a>]</p><p> Watch News 6 and stay with for more on this story.</p><p> </p>

Published: Wed, 02 Sep 2015 16:21:54 GMT

Widows channel grief to help other widows

<p> It's been two years since a Winter Garden CrossFit gym owner was murdered in the middle of a class at his gym leaving a widow and toddler son behind. Now his widow is speaking out, and using her loss to help get results for other widows and widowers in similar situations.</p><p> [WEB EXTRA: <a class="nofollow" href="" target="_blank">Widows at work </a>]</p><p> In 2013, Richard Millsap was in the middle of a class when police said a man wearing a black hat and black sunglasses entered a fitness room at the gym and shot the instructor, who died at the scene. His killer has never been caught.</p><p> "As soon as I heard the word shot, which was the only word I could hear from all the screams, my body just started convulsing," said Karen Millsap, Richard's widow. "Nerves just completely took over."</p><p> Millsap is still grieving, but can now smile while remembering her late husband.</p><p> "Richard was amazing," said Millsap. "He was an amazing father, he loved being a dad."</p><p> She said there was no way to prepare for what happened and there was no way to prepare for how it affected her.<br/></p><p> "You are in a fog, a constant state of fog," said Millsap.<br/></p><p> She said unfortunately, feeling incapable for a widow can happen anytime, even at work.<br/></p><p> "I would sit there and I would try to respond to an email and if I couldn't think of a word, or if couldn't get the sentence together like I wanted to, I would just break down and cry," said Millsap. "I could sit there for 30 or 45 minutes just crying because I felt like I wasn't the professional I used to be."<br/></p><p> While she said she was lucky to have six weeks paid time off through donated time from other coworkers, she said each year most of the 800,000 widows and widowers in the country may only get three to five paid days off from work.<br/></p><p> "Which doesn't even give you time to prepare for the funeral," said Millsap. "Grief doesn't have an expiration date, I'm still grieving."<br/></p><p> So that's why, two years--and lots of ideas later-- Widows at Work was born.<br/></p><p> "I realized there's a need for this company," said Millsap.<br/></p><p> Her company's major goal is to help employers help employees who are suffering losses, whether it be the loss of a spouse, child, or even divorce. Millsap said the company provides training services for employers on dealing with grief in the workplace. It will also help businesses put out campaigns for time donations from other employees and provide weekly mentorship for the widow as well as supervisor coaching.<br/></p><p> "My company will offer temporary services which will allow the widow to come back gradually, because when you're forced back, you don't have your focus," said Millsap.</p><p> This way, Millsap said, widows have support from people who understand what they're going through when they need it most and don't have to worry about losing their jobs if they lose it at work.</p><p> "It's one one breath at a time," said Millsap. "It's not one day, not one step, it's literally one breath."<br/></p>

Published: Wed, 02 Sep 2015 23:13:16 GMT

South Florida police officer refused service at Arby's

<p> The chief of police in Pembroke Pines has received an apology after one of his officers was denied service at a fast-food restaurant in the city, WPLG reports.</p><p> Pembroke Pines police spokeswoman Amanda Conwell said a uniformed officer was denied service Tuesday night at the Arby's on Pines Boulevard. The reason, Conwell said, was because the customer was a police officer.</p><p> According to police, the officer was in the drive through of the restaurant when she was told that she would not be served because she was an officer.</p><p> WPLG reporter Terrell Forney asked an employee at the restaurant if they had heard about the incident.</p><p> “No I didn't," the employee said. "I'm not really at liberty to say even if I was."</p><p> "I am offended and appalled that an individual within our community would treat a police officer in such a manner," Police Chief Dan Giustino said in a news release. "It is unacceptable, and I will be contacting the Arby's CEO to demand an apology."</p><p> Conwell said Giustino called the restaurant's corporate office and spoke to Arby's executives, who apologized on behalf of their organization. She said Arby's CEO Paul Brown and senior vice president of operations Scott Boatwright assured Giustino that the employee's behavior was "unacceptable and not representative of the company's values."</p><p> "Chief Giustino was appreciative and accepted their apology and now considers this matter closed," Conwell said.</p><p> Conwell said the incident happened on the same evening that a woman and her daughter visited the Pembroke Pines Police Department to drop off cookies and a "thank you" card.</p><p> "We are very proud of the partnerships we have built within our city, and for an incident like this to have happened is very disappointing for everyone," Giustino said.</p><p> Police are asking anyone with information about the incident to contact them at 954-431-2200.</p>

Published: Wed, 02 Sep 2015 15:52:05 GMT

Photos: Recent Fla. mugshots

<p> Here's a look at some of the individuals who have been arrested recently in the Sunshine State.</p>

Published: Wed, 02 Sep 2015 19:14:57 GMT