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National Weather Service confirms 100 m.p.h. winds in Edgewater tornado

<p> As a tornado tore through the Massey Ranch Air Park in Edgewater, several people were inside the hangars, said fire officials.</p><p> [RELATED: <a href="/weather/residents-react-after-tornado-strikes-in-edgewater/27159134" target="_self">Residents react after tornado strikes in Edgewater</a>]</p><p> "Damage was everywhere, there was hangar debris everywhere, so I drove over here thinking there was nothing left," said John Calvo, who spent the night with his family inspecting damage at the private airplane hangars.</p><p> Calvo's property was barely touched, but the one next door took the brunt of the storm, with its owner cowering inside.</p><p> "He's got a plane, a car. The plane was actually cut in half. The tail-end of the airplane was completely off," said Calvo. "The one guy was actually in the hangar when it came through. He just said it was loud as can be, scared as can be. He got lucky, is all I can say."</p><p> Firefighters said several people were inside the three damaged hangars when, according to the National Weather Service, an EF-0 tornado landed and then scattered debris in a path that was clearly visible from above.</p><p> Firefighters said none of the people inside the hangars were injured.</p><p> Cory Dewitt helped upright one of the two planes flipped over by the high winds. He works at the Air Park and was outside in the storm when that tornado hit.</p><p> The National Weather Service confirmed on Saturday that damage indicated 100-105 m.p.h. winds from the EF-1 tornado.</p><p> "I thought I was going to die," said Dewitt. "I told my boss, 'Listen, it looks like a tornado.' Sure enough, we just saw debris fly. I've lived here my whole life, I've never seen weather like this."</p><p> Watch Local 6 News and stay with for updates on this story.</p>

Published: Sat, 26 Jul 2014 16:35:39 GMT

Residents react after tornado strikes in Edgewater

<p> There were some terrifying moments Friday evening for dozens of people living in the Wildwood subdivision in Edgewater when a tornado touched down.</p><p> [RELATED: <a href="/weather/2-aircraft-overturn-possible-tornado-touches-down-in-volusia-county/27154470" target="_self">Tornado touches down in Volusia County</a>]</p><p> "At first it was very calm and nothing, and then it sounded like a train was coming through and it shook everything and your ears were ringing," said resident Holly Woodard.</p><p> Woodard's husband saw the storm approaching and called to tell her to get home from Walmart immediately. When she pulled into her driveway with her two children, the power was out, so her garage door wouldn't open, and a huge tree had already fallen, blocking the way to her front door.</p><p> "I drove wherever I seen a vehicle to get in," said Woodard. "There was about four or five families in the same house."</p><p> Woodard rushed over to a neighbor's house, where she and several others hid in a bathroom together.</p><p> "We saw just this big wind come through the back of our yard, so we ran out there to see what was going on and that's when the pressure started dropping and we all ran to the bathroom," said Kim Dennis, who also lives in the neighborhood.</p><p> The subdivision is very close to the Massey Ranch Air Park, where the tornado is believed to have originally touched down. Homeowners came outside after to find damage and debris everywhere.</p><p> "Trees everywhere, parts of the hangar from the airport all over the streets, busted windows, sheds torn apart, fences down," said Ken Huberman, describing the damage he saw.</p><p> Piles of tree limbs and leaves line the streets in the neighborhood Friday night as people have started to clean up. Several big trees still lay over front yards.</p><p> Residents said firefighters and police officers were in the subdivision minutes after the tornado touched down, knocking on doors to make sure everyone was accounted for.</p>

Published: Sat, 26 Jul 2014 04:23:15 GMT

Lakeland cop arrested in Osceola

<p> Osceola County deputies said they arrested a police officer on suspicion of DUI Friday night.<br/><br/>Lakeland police officials said around 11:39 p.m., 41-year-old detective Billy Lane was stopped by deputies at International Drive and Osceola Parkway.<br/><br/>Officials said Lane failed a field sobriety test and was arrested for suspicion of DUI.<br/><br/>Deputies said Lane was taken to the Osceola County Jail.<br/><br/>Officials said Lane was placed on administrative leave.  He was hired by Lakeland police in 1996.<br/></p>

Published: Sat, 26 Jul 2014 16:45:19 GMT

Surgeries cancelled over instrument contamination

<p>  Officials at a Polk County medical center have shut down surgeries after they suspected a surgical instrument may have been exposed to a rare, fatal brain disease.<br/>   David Daniel, the CEO of Lakeland Surgical & Diagnostic Center on North Florida Avenue, says it was highly unlikely the exposure to the disease occurred, but he wanted to take all precautionary measures. The disease is the human form of mad cow disease called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.<br/>   The Ledger reports that the surgical instruments in question were on a tray at Lakeland Regional Medical Center. Officials at the surgical center canceled 10 surgeries Friday and planned to soak all instruments in bleach over the weekend. Daniel said the plan is to resume surgeries on Monday.<br/></p>

Published: Sat, 26 Jul 2014 15:15:20 GMT

World-ranked wakeboarder facing paralysis after accident

<p> Pro wakeboarder Brad Smeele, 28, went from doing complicated back flips and turns on a Central Florida lake to facing paralysis from the neck down in the intensive care unit at an Orlando hospital.</p><p> Friends said Smeele was attempting a first-of-its-kind trick July 6 when he had a rough landing. On his next attempt, something went terribly wrong: He didn't complete a flip and crash-landed on a ramp headfirst.</p><p> "It was the worst possible way to fall. He had his arms out in front of him but he landed head and neck," said Smeele's best friend and competitor, Jeff Weatherall.</p><p> Smeele, a New Zealand-native, now needs help breathing and is fighting pneumonia, all while facing a harsh prognosis from doctors -- that he only has a 1 to 2 percent chance he'll even be able to move his upper body again.</p><p> That prognosis hasn't stopped hundreds from believing in him, according to Weatherall. Weatherall said an online campaign to raise money for Smeele's medical expenses has raised tens of thousands. He said Smeele is optimistic, too.</p><p> Weatherall said after doctors treat Smeele's pneumonia, they hope to move him to a hospital in Colorado, where he'll receive care from world-renowned experts on spinal injuries.</p><p> Smeele's brother, Alex Smeele, told Local 6 every moment of the phone call alerting him of Brad's accident is crystal clear.</p><p> "As soon as I heard my mom's voice I knew something was wrong," said Alex Smeele.</p><p> Alex Smeele flew in from London and is here to support his brother, along with his mom who made the trip from New Zealand. He said if anyone can turn a bleak prognosis into a miracle, it's his brother.</p><p> "It may be the toughest competition that he's ever won, but he's going to win it," he said. "A 1 to 2 percent chance for Brad is better than a 50 percent chance for most of us."</p><p> Once Brad Smeele's medical expenses and recovery are paid for, his family hopes to raise funds to support others with spinal injuries.</p><p> To donate to Brad Smeele's medical expenses <a href="!ways-to-donate/cfga" target="_blank">click here</a>.</p>

Published: Sat, 26 Jul 2014 03:40:39 GMT

Seminole County deputy arrested after soliciting teen for sex, Indian River cops say

<p> A Seminole County deputy has been arrested after investigators said he had inappropriate contact with a teenage girl.</p><p> David Rodriguez, 28, is accused of messaging the 17-year-old on Facebook, soliciting her for sex, according to Indian River County deputies.</p><p> Deputies said Rodriguez had known the girl for several years through martial arts tournaments they both attended.</p><p> Rodriguez was arrested after the girl's father notified the Indian River County Sheriff's Office in mid-July.</p><p> The Seminole County Sheriff said Rodriguez will lose his job as a deputy. He has patrolled the Altamonte Springs area since February 2010. He was given a written reprimand after crashing an agency vehicle two different times but has no other discipline on his record.</p><p> Deputies said Rodriguez told investigators he wrote the messages, but the two never had sex.</p><p> Some of the Facebook messages Rodriguez sent to the teen include, "I wish you could send me pics. But not till ur 18," and "what place do you want to have sex at."</p><p> Rodriguez faces one count of lewd computer solicitation of a child and was booked into the Seminole County jail on a $50,000 bond.</p>

Published: Sat, 26 Jul 2014 03:24:26 GMT

History of the death penalty in America

<p> The alleged botched execution of Arizona prison inmate Joseph Wood has put capital punishment -- specifically, the manner in which criminals are executed -- back in the spotlight. Take a look at the history of the death penalty in America.</p>

Published: Fri, 25 Jul 2014 20:21:15 GMT

What would Americans do if they won the lottery?

<p> A family of 17 is splitting a $20 million lottery jackpot they won in New Jersey. How would most Americans spend their winnings if they hit it big? Click through to find out. <br/></p>

Published: Fri, 25 Jul 2014 14:04:46 GMT

Optometrists treating more computer-related eye problems

<p> Are your eyes irritated, blurry and red after a day at work? You may be one of a growing number of workers suffering from C.V.S., or computer vision syndrome.</p><p> Studies show between 50 and 90 percent of people who work at computers have at least some of the symptoms.</p><p> Staring at a computer, tablet or even a phone for long hours can lead to a variety of eye problems including headaches, itchy burning eyes and in extreme cases even permanent scaring.</p><p> Dr. Trisha Tran, of Eye Express in Fern Park, said it's a problem she sees daily. Anyone who uses a computer for more than five hours a day is at risk.</p><p> "The main complaint my patients tell me is that at the end of the day their eyes feel tired, they feel like there's more pressure in and around the eyes, they feel like their eyes are irritated or red," said Tran. "That's my first clue, then I usually ask them, 'Well, how many hours a day do you spend on the computer?'</p><p> "It's a product of modern times. I feel like it's an epidemic because I see it almost on a daily basis, at least half my patients come in complaining about it."</p><p> Tran said the problems stem from not blinking enough.</p><p> "The back lighting that is on a lot of our modern day devices overstimulate us. Basically, it can cause us to want to focus and not look away," said Tran.</p><p> But Tran said there are a number of things we can do to help prevent eye irritation. She tells her patients to follow the 20-20-20 rule.</p><p> For every 20 minutes of computer time you should spend 20 seconds looking away at a distance of 20 feet. Tran also suggests using artificial tears sold over the counter in drug stores.</p><p> "Take artificial tears, take breaks when you can and also make sure your work environment is best for your eyes so that it doesn't cause any strain or problems," said Tran.</p><p> Tran said you should minimize glare in the room by keeping walls and other surfaces dull. In addition:</p><p>Use proper lighting, as bright lights should be overhead and out of your eyes.Upgrade your monitor to an LCD if you're still using an old-tube type.Adjust the brightness on your monitor. It should be the same as the lighting in the room.You can also use a glare filter that goes on the front of your screen.</p><p> If you wear glasses or contact lenses you can also get glare resistant glasses with a focal length appropriate for desk work.</p>

Published: Sat, 26 Jul 2014 03:41:43 GMT

Jacksonville teens charged in killing of gopher tortoise

<p> Two Orange Park teenagers who posted a disturbing video online of themselves torturing and killing a gopher tortoise have been arrested, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.</p><p> WJXT reports Jennifer Greene, 18, and Danielle Dionne, 15, are charged with felony cruelty to animals, a third-degree felony, and taking, harassing, harming or killing a gopher tortoise, a second-degree misdemeanor. They were taken into custody at Dionne's Orange Park home and are both being held on $55,000 bond.</p><p> If convicted, Greene could get up to five years in prison on the felony charge and 60 days in jail and/or a $500 fine on the misdemeanor.</p><p> Dionne's case will be prosecuted in juvenile court and she will be placed in the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice. Her picture was not provided by law enforcement because of her age.</p><p> The video went viral last week, sending social media into an uproar.</p><p> The cellphone video shows the tortoise being lit on fire, thrown on the concrete and being stomped on until it dies. Some of the video is too graphic to show and contains vulgar language. The teens in the video are heard laughing and talking about killing the turtle.</p><p> </p><p> "Let's light his head on fire," one said.</p><p> "Burn baby, burn baby," one said.</p><p> "Now you're scared of us, huh?" one said.</p><p> "Ugh, I just want him to die," one said.</p><p> After multiple complaints into FWC, officials started an investigation and worked with the State Attorney's Office to determine what charges would be filed.</p><p> FWC said the turtle is a threatened gopher tortoise, one level above endangered.</p><p> "It's something that we're not going to tolerate," FWC spokesman Brad Stanley said.</p><p> Amber Teska, who lives next door to Dionne's house, said the younger teen didn't seem upset when she was arrested, but quite the opposite.</p><p> "I had walked out to my mailbox and she was just in the car smiling," Teska said. "She smiled all the way from her house, being handcuffed to the car, and she was inside the car smiling, and it was just disgusting. It's like she doesn't even care."</p><p> The outcry for the teens to receive the maximum punishment allowed circulated on the Internet in the form of online petitions, including one by an Orange Park woman on</p><p> She said her petition garnered more than 10,000 signatures and she's glad the girls were arrested.</p><p> Workers at the Clay County Humane Society were also relieved to hear the teens had been arrested.</p><p> “I'm very sad the tortoise died as it did, but I'm glad this is not being swept under the rug or ignored,” said veterinarian Christian Broadhurst. “It's being treated like the crime that it is.”</p><p> Broadhurst said he's seen his fair share of animal abuse cases over the years, and he said what was even more disturbing about killing this gopher tortoise is how long it likely took to finally die.</p><p> “Tortoises do everything slowly, walk slowly, and they die slowly, when they're hit by cars or in this case crushed under a foot,” Broadhurst said. “That tortoise probably suffered many hours before passing away to injuries.”</p>

Published: Sat, 26 Jul 2014 00:39:22 GMT

Home invader points gun at DeLand woman, police say

<p> Police have released a composite sketch of an armed man who broke into a home in DeLand.</p><p> A 58-year-old woman at 510 W. Minnesota Ave. called around 3:45 p.m. Thursday about an encounter with the armed masked intruder inside her home.</p><p> The man may have stealthily forced entry into the home before seeing the woman and pointing a gun at her, according to police.</p><p> The woman was unaware the man was inside her home until the encounter. Police said no demands were made.</p><p> The woman wasn't injured and it appears nothing was stolen. Authorities said the man was gone when police arrived.</p><p> Police described the man as white, about 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighing 210 pounds.</p><p> Anyone with information about the armed home invasion is asked to call Detective Jamie Brazeau at 386-626-7428 or Crime Stoppers at 888-277-8477. Police said the caller may remain anonymous.</p>

Published: Fri, 25 Jul 2014 20:39:47 GMT

Boy receives robotic arm from UCF student, engineers

<p> Daily tasks that we take for granted were a struggle for a young boy who only has one arm, but thanks to a University of Central Florida student and a group of his friends, that boy doesn't have to struggle anymore.</p><p> "I can go fishing with my mom and dad," said 6-year-old Alex Pring.</p><p> And that's only one of the many activities Alex can now do after receiving his new robotic arm and hand Friday morning at the Fairwinds Alumni Center.</p><p> "Words can't explain how grateful and excited and happy we are. I mean look at his face, look how happy he is," said Alex's mother.</p><p> Alex was born with only one arm, and his mother wanted to see if she could make a hand for him using a 3D printer. But when it got too complicated, she turned to UCF aerospace engineering student Albert Manero for help.</p><p> "I figured I'd ask him for help and he would give me some kind of pointers," she said. "I didn't think he was going to say, 'I can do way better. Just give me a couple of weeks.'"</p><p> Six weeks later, Manero and his group of engineering friends developed a robotic arm for Alex using the 3D printer.</p><p> "Alex flexes his muscle. It reads a little voltage inside the arm and actuates the motor that closes the hand."</p><p> The family said the prosthetic would have cost thousands of dollars and it wasn't covered by insurance. However, it only cost Manero and his group $350 to make but they gave it to Alex for free. The family said it's forever grateful.</p><p> "They'll always have a place in our hearts and a place in our home. They are going to do great things like they are now."</p><p> The only thing Alex can't do is get his arm wet, but Manero said his group is now looking at a new 3D printer that'll hopefully make a waterproof model in the future.</p>

Published: Fri, 25 Jul 2014 20:55:08 GMT

Reasons why Pope Francis is cool

<p> Pope Francis is coming to the U.S. in Sept., to head the eighth World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, according to the National Catholic Reporter. Take a look at the many reasons why Pope Francis is cool.</p>

Published: Fri, 25 Jul 2014 16:35:18 GMT

Photos: Florida mug shots

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

Published: Thu, 24 Jul 2014 19:54:52 GMT