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The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • Orlando-area Democratic Congressman Darren Soto says the massive influx of Puerto Rican evacuees to Central Florida will have a long-term positive effect on the area’s growth, but there are many short-tern needs to be met. To date, 120 to 160 thousand Puerto Ricans have moved from the island to the US with many choosing to live in Central Florida.  Soto says the growth will eventually turn into more jobs for the area, but right now it’s stressing out budgets: school boards, cities and counties. Along with Republican Congressman Dennis Ross and Democratic Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy, Congressman Soto co-signed a letter requesting additional federal funds for HUD housing vouchers, Section 8 assistance in the short-term, and HUD dollars to build more affordable housing in the region. “In Central Florida, we have a need for higher paying jobs and affordable housing,” Soto tells News 96.5 WDBO in an exclusive interview.  “It’s what I hear everyday.” Soto says a lot of Puerto Ricans are getting jobs already. “That’s the positive,” he says.  “They’re getting jobs at the parks, at the hotels and so many different industries around here.  But we need to have long-term housing strategies in the process.” Soto says many hotels in Central Florida are helping the Hurricane Maria evacuees. “Particularly the 192 and I-4 corridor, they’ve really stepped up.  Some of our higher-end hotels, we really could use more help.  We need you.” But right now he’s focused on the medium and long-range solutions for the families who want to stay. “A lot of these folks - even though they’ll be working a full-time job or maybe their spouse is - they’re still going to need more apartments...and more affordable, single-family households,” he says.  “That will be a crunch if we don’t get our act together.  And while a lot of folks are talking about it, we need action.” Soto says anyone who touts him or herself as “pro economy” is going to want growth. “Growth is jobs in Central Florida,” he says.  “Because that’s what creates new small businesses that grow to new big businesses.  It requires more housing, but it’s gotta be done right.  We can’t have urban sprawl.” CLICK HERE to read the letter Soto and his colleagues sent to Chairman Frelinghuysen and Ranking Member Lowey in the House Appropriations Committee.  CLICK HERE to read the letter they sent to FEMA Administrator Brock Long.  They’re requesting the House and FEMA to fully fund the host-state agreement with Florida.  The FEMA/Host-State agreement provides direct reimbursement to the state of Florida for costs associated with evacuation and shelter support for Puerto Rican evacuees.
  • A man impersonating a law enforcement officer pulled over a woman in Arkansas, according to the St. Francis County Sheriff’s Office. The incident happened Saturday on Highway 38 near Hughes. >> Read more trending news Investigators said a man impersonating a game and fish officer stopped a woman and asked to check her vehicle for guns. He had a blue light on his dash and was in a dark-colored pickup truck. The man did not show the woman a badge or a weapon. The incident happened during the daytime hours and appears to have been an isolated occurrence. Investigators said they believe they know who the man is, but no arrests were immediately made. Officials said the impersonator is not the same one who stopped people earlier this year.
  • Police in Austin, Texas, are looking for a woman who they say stole merchandise from a Macy’s department store with the help of another woman and four children no older than 10 years old. >> Read more trending news Investigators are looking for 27-year-old Martha Monique Lopez, who is charged with robbery by assault, according to an arrest affidavit filed this week. On Nov. 12, police received a call around 2 p.m. from a store employee who watches for shoplifters at the Macy’s in the Domain shopping center. She told police she was watching the children, who were between 7 and 10 years old, through a security camera. According to the affidavit, they re-entered the store and met two women near the hotel bedding and pillow area. The store worker told police that she saw the women point to some pillows, which the children then picked up before they “exited the store past the last point of purchase without attempting to pay for the items,” the affidavit said. The worker said in the affidavit that she confronted the children and identified herself as a Macy’s employee, after which point she said the children complied and started to come back with her to a store office. The employee told police that as they were going back to the office, the two women approached her and one of them told her to let the children go and then pushed her, according to the affidavit. The other woman and the children began running away, the employee told police. She tried to grab the children, but the “female who told her to let her children go began to punch (her) on the left side of her face, chest and left arm with a closed fist causing (her) pain and redness,” the affidavit said. The employee told police that she “tried to grab the female to detain her but the female took off running and (she) ripped (the woman’s) shirt off of her and the female ran out of the store wearing just a black bra,” the affidavit said. A customer saw the woman running from the store and saw her and the children get into a white 2009 Chevy Malibu with a Texas license plate that matched a car registered to Lopez, according to the affidavit. Lopez was also identified by the store worker from a photo taken during a previous arrest, police said.
  • New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Tuesday that his office is investigating tens of thousands of comments posted to a notice of the FCC’s proposed change to net neutrality rules after learning that they were made by impersonators. >> Read more trending news The investigation was launched six months ago, after researchers and reporters learned that the comment process, which is integral to the agency’s procedure for determining such rule changes, was being usurped by fraudsters who submitted an enormous number of fake comments, Schneiderman said Tuesday in an open letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. “While some of these fake comments used made up names and addresses, many misused the real names and addresses of actual people as part of the effort to undermine the integrity of the comment process,” Schneiderman wrote. “That’s akin to identity theft, and it happened on a massive scale.” He said that the identities of tens of thousands of New Yorkers were fraudulently used. “Analysis showed that, in all, hundreds of thousands of Americans likely were victimized in the same way, including tens of thousands per state in California, Georgia, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and possibly others,” Schneiderman wrote. He said his office tried nine times over the course of five months to get records from the FCC necessary to investigate the apparent identity theft. He said his office and the FCC have shared information with one another before, but that despite offers to keep the records confidential, as done in the past, New York officials have “received no substantive response to our investigative requests.”  “We all have a powerful reason to hold accountable those who would steal Americans’ identities and assault the public’s right to be heard in government rule making,” Schneiderman wrote. “If law enforcement can’t investigate and (where appropriate) prosecute when it happens on this scale, the door is open for it to happen again and again.” He urged Pai and the FCC to “reconsider its refusal to assist in my office’s law enforcement investigation.” “In an era where foreign governments have indisputably tried to use the internet and social media to influence our elections, federal and state governments should be working together to ensure that malevolent actors cannot subvert our administrative agencies’ decision-making processes,” he wrote. Pai previously pledged to try to repeal the net neutrality regulations enacted under the Obama administration, which treat internet service providers as if they were utility companies that provide essential services, like electricity. The rules mandate that they give equal access to all online content and apps. Pai distributed his alternative net neutrality rule plan to other FCC commissioners Tuesday in preparation for a Dec. 14 vote. Although the FCC’s two Democrats said they will oppose the proposal, the repeal is likely to prevail as Republicans dominate 3-2. The vote for net neutrality in 2015 was also along party lines, but Democrats dominated then. Schneiderman said that his office’s investigation is not about net neutrality, but is instead about “the right to control one’s own identity and prevent the corruption of a process designed to solicit the opinion of real people and institutions.” “Misuse of identity online by the hundreds of thousands should concern everyone – for and against net neutrality, New Yorker or Texan, Democrat or Republican,” Schneiderman said. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • Orlando police homicide detectives are seeking the identity of a white or hispanic male whose body found in the Southport community near Orlando International Airport last weekend. The body was found in the woods near Andros Place and Avenue C. Police released three photos with clothing similar to what the victim was wearing at the time. The exact cause of death has not been released. Police are asking anyone with information to call Detective Michael Fields at (407) 246-2979 or to call Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS (8477), if you want to remain anonymous.