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Police investigating shooting outside Cocoa Walmart, officers say

<p>Police are investigating a shooting that happened in the parking lot of a Cocoa Walmart early Saturday morning, police said.</p><p>Cocoa police said officers received multiple calls about a shooting outside of a Walmart shopping center near Clearlake Road and State Route 524.</p><p>Once officers arrived, they found three victims who had not been struck. police said. Officers said evidence at the scene indicates that there was a shooting victim, but the unidentified person had fled the scene before police arrived.</p><p>Police said area hospitals were made aware of the incident.</p><p>No other details were available. Stay with News 6 and ClickOrlando.com for updates on this developing story.</p>

Published: Sat, 29 Apr 2017 14:47:17 GMT

In Trump's White House, CEOs shape economic policy

<p>A Washington outsider, President Trump has surrounded himself in his first 100 days in office with those he knows best: business executives.</p><p>He appointed Stephen Schwarzman, chairman and CEO of private-equity firm Blackstone Group, to head his economic advisory council. Gary Cohn and Steven Mnuchin, two former Goldman Sachs executives, were named to key administration posts.</p><p>The president has met regularly with dozens of CEOs, who have helped shape his views on how policy affects the economy and how to create jobs.</p><p>"I do strongly believe he is listening," Larry Fink, the CEO of the world's largest asset manager, BlackRock, said at a dinner earlier this month hosted by the Economic Club of Washington.</p><p>A majority of Trump's executive actions have targeted regulations or come to the aid of specific industries, like steel and aluminum. Seeking to reduce the burdens on banks, Trump has singled out specific parts of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law for review.</p><p>At the same time, Trump has failed to deliver on any major legislative priorities, most notably on the Republican promise to repeal and replace Obamacare. Details of many of his initiatives are scant, as evidenced this week when Mnuchin and Cohn unveiled a tax reform plan that they summarized in one page.</p><p>"Washington is now figuring out what is rhetoric and what is a promise he made on the campaign trail that he's going to keep," said one business executive, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.</p><p>And representatives in some business sectors say they have had trouble getting their message heard.</p><p>Bill Brown, the president of the National Association of Realtors, a trade group with 1.1 million members, opposes Trump's directive to reverse a cut on some mortgage premiums that would potentially make it more expensive to own a home.</p><p>Brown says he has made several attempts to set up a meeting with the president but has yet to meet with him. "We want to emphasize home ownership to the president," he said.</p><p>Other industry groups, such as the American Petroleum Institute and the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America, have objected to the president's "Buy American" plan because of its ripple effects. The plan calls for new oil pipelines to use American-made steel, which they say will ultimately drive costs higher.</p><p>But for now, executives are still largely happy with Trump. They know it will take time before any policy changes take root.</p><p>In public statements and interviews this week with CNNMoney, a number of executive and business lobbyists say they believe the central promise to loosen regulatory burdens on their businesses will eventually help boost their bottom lines.</p><p>JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon, a member of the president's economic council, said on a recent earnings call that any new administration experiences "ups and downs, wins and losses." He focused on Trump's stated "pro-growth agenda -- tax, infrastructure, regulatory reform -- and that is a good thing."</p><p>Dimon isn't alone. A survey of chief executives by the Conference Board showed executive confidence rose again in the first quarter to the highest it's been in 13 years.</p><p>The National Association of Manufacturers, a trade group representing 11,000 small and large companies, said 93% of members surveyed last month were positive about the economic outlook -- the highest in the survey's 20-year history.</p><p>Jay Timmons, the organization's president and chief executive, said members have responded strongly to Trump's plans to cut the corporate tax rate to 15%.</p><p>"He went directly at the problem we have. We are simply not as competitive because of how our tax are structured," said Timmons. "Frankly, we were pretty proud that he stood up for us."</p><p>The Trump administration has "changed the tone," said Camden Fine, president of the Independent Community Bankers of America. "The tone in the prior administration was regulate, regulate, regulate."</p><p>The country was on the precipice of a global financial meltdown when former President Obama took office in 2009. Wall Street was at the center of it. Obama's chief aim after stabilizing things as to put safeguards in place so another crisis would never happen again. That eventually became Dodd-Frank, the largest regulatory overhaul since the Great Depression.</p><p>But Trump hates regulations and has pledged to do a "big number on Dodd-Frank."</p><p>Mnuchin has started to review regulations that could be stifling economic growth. Treasury Department staffers have hosted at least 20 focus groups, often with roughly 40 business leaders at a time, to hear ideas about how to provide regulatory relief to the financial sector.</p><p>Already, insurance giant MetLife has seized on Trump's decision to halt regulators from labeling any firm as too-big-to-fail until Treasury is done with its review. The company has asked a court to pause a lawsuit.</p>

Published: Sat, 29 Apr 2017 14:37:08 GMT

Pence still humbled, relishing large behind-the-scenes role

<p>On Election Day in November, then-Gov. Mike Pence rode his bicycle around his neighborhood in Indianapolis with his wife Karen.</p><p>It's a passion of his and an activity that the now-vice president indulged in during a recent vacation in April with his family on Sanibel Island, the first break he's had since Inauguration Day.</p><p>Pence now finds himself in one of the busiest roles in Washington. He's at the President's side during visits by foreign heads of state. He's omnipresent during executive order signings, standing quietly in the background. He was in the Situation Room during the Syrian missile launch. He was personally calling members of Congress during the health care repeal-and-replace push that the administration failed to pass in the House of Representatives ahead of the 100-day mark.</p><p>Longtime aides to the vice president describe him as a calm, measured voice inside the West Wing. "He brings stability and a consistently clear message to the White House," one adviser says. In a White House swirling with internal feuds, Pence is free of drama.</p><p>Pence has been an integral part in selling the administration's agenda. Four weekends in a row between March and April, Pence hit the road, traveling to West Virginia, Ohio and Florida while President Donald Trump spent time at his various golf courses.</p><p>"The role of the vice president is one hundred percent decided by the President," says a spokesman for Pence's office.</p><p>Another adviser to Pence says he is the consummate "foot soldier" for the President. He and his team knew they were signing up for the number two slot when they joined the ticket, well aware of the work that would be in their job descriptions, the source added.</p><p>The vice president is perhaps the most important liaison in the West Wing for Capitol Hill. An aide says he speaks with House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky "multiple times a week."</p><p>After the health care bill imploded at the end of March, the former Indiana congressman was "frustrated" and "disappointed," but he's focusing on the administration's pivot to other items on its agenda, a source said.</p><p>"The vice president is still trusted to negotiate with Congress. The entire team learned lessons from that and applied then to the future," the adviser said.</p><p>One senior Republican aide on Capitol Hill says of Pence, "He's been incredibly involved in working with Congress, more so than any other senior administration official. It's not surprising to see his entourage walking the halls." The aide added that the vice president certainly uses the House side office he has in the Capitol.</p><p>As for his standing in the Oval Office, people close to the vice president say that his opinion matters.</p><p>"He's right up there as high as anyone else in the central circle," said a longtime adviser, adding that Pence would certainly defer to the President in an overall vision for the government, but in implementation, the President trusts his senior people. "The President gives the vice president latitude. He's not into micro-management."</p><p>That means that Pence has become a trusted representative for Trump on the global stage. While the President himself has yet to travel internationally, the vice president has embarked on two foreign trips within the first 100 days.</p><p>During that first foreign trip to Germany in February, Pence visited a former concentration camp. Before a major policy speech during the trip, an aide to the vice president says that the President and vice president spoke for an hour via telephone, crafting the right message and ironing out details of the speech.</p><p>And as the 100-day mark closed in, the vice president finished whirlwind, week-and-a-half long trip through Asia, where he visited the demilitarized border zone with North Korea and met with Australian Prime Minister Turnbull.</p><p>While the President himself struggles with poor ratings, the lowest of any president at this point in his first term since modern polling began, those close to the veep say that the last six weeks have been "peak Pence."</p><p>"He's become the most trusted and effective person in the West Wing not named Donald Trump," a senior administration adviser told CNN.</p><p>As for life in the swamp of Washington, those close to the vice president say he is "incredibly happy" at the Naval Observatory residence, where he and his wife Karen are settling in along with their daughter Charlotte. They've brought along their cats and bunnies to keep the place homey and frequently entertain for friends, Congressional members and key players from around town, according to one adviser.</p><p>"They seem as happy as I've seen them," said a longtime Indiana adviser.</p>

Published: Sat, 29 Apr 2017 12:57:31 GMT

Marion County deputies search for missing 14-year-old boy

<p>Marion County deputies are searching for a 14-year-old boy who was last seen Friday, the Sheriff's Office said.</p><p>Deputies said Kaiden Johnson was last seen at the 6600 block of Southeast 30th Court.</p><p>Johnson did not return home from his bus stop Friday, and ran away in an unknown direction, according to Marion County deputies.</p><p><img embed-content-articleid="519431390" embed-content-groupid="33113" embed-content-id="519431390" embed-content-index="0" embed-content-type="PHOTO" src="https://media.clickorlando.com/photo/2017/04/29/kaidenjohnsonMCSO.JPG2_1493474749787_9624897_ver1.0_160_90.JPG" style="margin: 3px; height: 300px; width: 444px;" /></p><p>Deputies said Johnson made multiple statements to his parents before he ran away that have them and law enforcement officers concerned for his well-being.</p><p>Anyone with information on Johnson's whereabouts is asked to call 911.</p>

Published: Sat, 29 Apr 2017 14:10:40 GMT

Baby falls from second-story window, deputies say

<p>Deputies are investigating after a baby fell Friday out of a second-story window in Orlando, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Office.</p><p>The 18-month-old was found at the 14000 block of Cheval Mayfaire Drive after the fall around 4:45 pm., officials said.</p><p>Orange County deputies said the fall appears to be accidental, and the baby had been at a grandparent's home where the window is left open at times.</p><p>Deputies said the baby was responsive and was transported to Arnold Palmer Children's Hospital, Orange County deputies said. The baby was said to be in stable condition.</p><p>The home is located inside the Stoneybrook Apartment complex.</p><p>Deputies said the incident remains under investigation. Stay with News 6 and ClickOrlando.com for updates on this story.</p><p> </p>

Published: Sat, 29 Apr 2017 13:53:51 GMT

Crews battle brush fire in Deltona

<p>The Deltona Fire Department battled a one-acre brush fire near a residential area Friday evening, officials said.</p><p>Fire officials said they were able to put out a brush fire estimated to be one acre near Newmark Drive and Salters Court at 8:11 p.m.</p><p>The fire did not cause any evacuations or damage to homes, the Fire Department said.</p><p>No other details were available.</p>

Published: Sat, 29 Apr 2017 13:29:55 GMT

Search continues for missing hunter in Volusia County, deputies say

<p>Crews are continuing the search Saturday for a 65-year-old man who went missing while hunting in dense woods near Edgewater Friday afternoon, Volusia County deputies said.</p><p>A 64-year-old hunter visiting from Ohio left a home on the 4000 block of Liza Clinton Road around 6:30 a.m. Friday to rifle hunt for hogs, deputies said.</p><p>Deputies said the man's cousin, who was also visiting from Ohio, received a call from the man around 12:30 p.m., during which the man said he was lost in some thick brush.</p><p>The man's cousin told the hunter to fire his gun into the air so he could try to find him from the sounds, deputies said. His cousin said he heard gun shots coming from the south, but they seemed far away. Authorities believe the man's phone has since died.</p><p>His cousin searched for the man until 2:30 p.m., when he asked an Edgewater animal control officer for help, according to the Sheriff's Office. A massive woods search then began, which included both on the ground and in the air, deputies said.</p><p>The Edgewater Police Department and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission assisted Volusia County deputies in Friday's search. The Tomoka Correctional Institution also sent bloodhound teams to the scene.</p><p>Deputies said the general search area runs fro Liza Clinton Road to the east, Volco Road to the south, Cow Creek Road to the west and 35th Street to the north.</p><p>The search will continue Saturday morning when the bloodhounds return to the scene, the Sheriff's Office said.</p>

Published: Sat, 29 Apr 2017 13:25:15 GMT

Pope Francis preaches tolerance at Mass in Cairo

<p>Pope Francis sent a message of tolerance and co-existence as he celebrated Mass at a stadium in Egypt on Saturday.</p><p>The Pope arrived is in Egypt on a trip designed to forge Muslim-Christian brotherhood and show solidarity with the country's persecuted Coptic Christian minority.</p><p>His visit to the North African country comes nearly two weeks after the Palm Sunday bombing of two Coptic churches, which left at least 45 people dead.</p><p>Heavy security surrounded the Pope as he entered Cairo's Air Defense Stadium in an open golf cart.</p><p>He waved at worshipers and stopped momentarily to bless a group of children in costume. Parts of the stadium stands were draped with the Pope's photo as well as Egyptian and Vatican flags.</p><p>The Pope said "religiosity means nothing unless it is inspired by deep faith and charity."</p><p>"True faith is one that makes us more charitable, more merciful, more honest and more humane," he said.</p><p>"God is pleased only by a faith that is proclaimed by our lives, for the only fanaticism believers can have is that of charity! Any other fanaticism does not come from God and is not pleasing to him," he added.</p><p>The Pope started his Mass with the "As-Salaam Alaikum," the traditional Muslim greeting in Arabic that means "Peace be upon you," and ended it with "al-Masih qam! Bi-l-haqiqa qam! (Christ is risen! He is truly risen)".</p><p>A Vatican spokesman said 15,000 people attended the mass at the stadium, which holds 30,000.</p><p>The Pope is expected to visit Egypt's small Catholic community later Saturday.</p> <h3> 'Incompatibility of violence and faith'</h3> <p>On Friday, Francis stressed the importance of unity between Muslims and Christians to shape world peace.</p><p>"Let us say once more a firm and clear 'No!' to every form of violence, vengeance and hatred carried out in the name of religion or in the name of God," the Pope said in Italian in a speech at a peace conference at Al-Azhar University, the premier seat of high learning among Sunni Muslims.</p><p>Francis met with Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb and became the first pontiff to visit the institution since Pope John Paul II in 2000.</p><p>The Pope and the Grand Imam spoke at the closing of the International Conference for Peace, organized by Al-Azhar. When he greeted the Grand Imam, the Pope called him "my brother" and the men sat side by side at the conference.</p><p>He addressed a familiar theme: the roots of violent extremism.</p> <h3> Eliminating poverty and exploitation</h3> <p>Francis opened his speech Friday with "As-Salaam Alaikum," after the imam's address.</p><p>"In order to prevent conflicts and build peace, it is essential that we spare no effort in eliminating situations of poverty and exploitation where extremism more easily takes root, and in blocking the flow of money and weapons destined to those who provoke violence," he said.</p><p>Francis called for an end to the "proliferation of arms" and lambasted "demagogic forms of populism."</p><p>"If they are produced and sold, sooner or later they will be used," he said. "Only by bringing into the light of day the murky maneuverings that feed the cancer of war can its real causes be prevented. National leaders, institutions and the media are obliged to undertake this urgent and grave task."</p><p>El-Tayeb addressed the status of faith in modern life.</p><p>"With all these accomplishments [of the 21st century], how come peace has become a lost paradise? The answer, I assume, is that modern civilization has ignored religion," he said.</p> <h3> President receives Francis</h3> <p>The Pope was greeted earlier in the day on the tarmac at Cairo International Airport by Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, Egyptian state TV showed.</p><p>He then was received by Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, at the Ittihadiya Presidential Palace in Cairo.</p><p>After the peace conference, the Pope and the Egyptian President arrived at Al-Masa Hotel and addressed religious and political dignitaries.</p><p>The Pope, again speaking in Italian, focused on Egypt's role in fighting terrorism in the region, evoking incidents from its biblical and modern history. He ceremonially greeted all Egyptian people, including minority Christians -- Coptic Orthodox, Greek Byzantines, Armenian Orthodox, Protestants and Catholics.</p> <h3> 12-point declaration</h3> <p>Pope Tawadros II, head of Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church, then greeted Francis at St. Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo's Abbassiya district, state TV said. They walked together in procession and took part in ecumenical prayers at the adjacent church of St. Peter, the site of a deadly blast in December that left at least 23 people dead.</p><p>Francis commended the efforts of Tawadros II, whom he called a brother, in organizing meetings between the Coptic Orthodox and Catholic churches.</p><p>Francis and Tawadros II signed a joint, 12-point declaration reiterating the fraternity between their churches. "Let us intensify our unceasing prayer for all Christians in Egypt and throughout the whole world, and especially in the Middle East," the declaration states.</p>

Published: Sat, 29 Apr 2017 10:22:41 GMT

Man arrives home to find gator hanging out in garage

<p>A man arrived home Friday to find a gator hanging out in his garage.</p><p>Chris Winardi said he opened the garage door of his home on Compass Drive after returning home from working out and found an alligator hanging out.</p><p>"'There's no way this is real,'" he said of his first thought. "The neighbor was out working on his boat. I turned around to talk to him to get somebody else to confirm that I was seeing what I was actually seeing."</p><p>Winardi said he called Animal Control, who eventually sent someone to retrieve the gator.</p><p>Winardi said his mom was home at the time.</p><p>"She was wondering why I hadn't pulled my car into the garage, so she opened the door to the garage, from the house, and she closed it right afterward," Winardi said.</p><p>The gator was calm and hardly moved until Animal Control arrived.</p><p>When asked if this will be in the back of his mind every time he pulls up to the garage, Winardi said, "It's something that I'll think about, but this is the first time in I don't know how many years, so I think we're good."</p><p>His parting words: "Go gators!"</p>

Published: Sat, 29 Apr 2017 12:26:25 GMT

Hot start to the weekend in Central Florida

<p>Central Florida will feel a very hot start to the weekend.</p><p>Most inland counties will reach the low to mid-90s. Temperatures will stay in the 80s on the coast.</p><p>Orlando will make it to a high of 93 degrees Saturday.</p> <h5> <span style="font-size: 12px;"><span font-variant-ligatures:="" font-weight:="" helvetica="" style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">[WEATHER: </span><a background-color:="" box-sizing:="" color:="" font-size:="" font-variant-ligatures:="" font-weight:="" helvetica="" href="http://www.clickorlando.com/weather" text-decoration-line:="">Extended forecast | Radar</a><span font-variant-ligatures:="" font-weight:="" helvetica="" style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"> | </span><a background-color:="" box-sizing:="" color:="" font-size:="" font-variant-ligatures:="" font-weight:="" helvetica="" href="http://www.clickorlando.com/weather" text-decoration-line:="">Warnings</a><span font-variant-ligatures:="" font-weight:="" helvetica="" style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"> | </span><a background-color:="" box-sizing:="" color:="" font-size:="" font-variant-ligatures:="" font-weight:="" helvetica="" href="http://www.clickorlando.com/weather/attractions" text-decoration-line:="">Pinpoint Weather Zones</a><span font-variant-ligatures:="" font-weight:="" helvetica="" style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">]</span></span></h5> <h5> <span style="font-size: 12px;"><span font-variant-ligatures:="" helvetica="" style="box-sizing: border-box; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">[DOWNLOAD: <a href="http://www.clickorlando.com/news/download-free-apps-from-news-6" style="box-sizing: border-box; text-decoration-line: none; background-color: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0); color: rgb(51, 122, 183);">Pinpoint, Hurricane apps</a> | SHARE: <a href="http://share.clickorlando.com/" style="box-sizing: border-box; text-decoration-line: none; background-color: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0); color: rgb(51, 122, 183);">Weather pictures</a>]</span></span></h5> <p>"It will be mostly sunny throughout the day with really no chance of rain," News 6 meteorologist Madeline Evans said. "The wind will also be a big factor in today's forecast."</p><p>Winds will be coming from the southeast at 10-15 mph, gusting as high as 25 mph by the afternoon.</p><p><strong>[SIGN UP: <a href="https://cb.sailthru.com/join/54v/signup" onclick="window.open(this.href, '', 'resizable=no,status=no,location=no,toolbar=no,menubar=no,fullscreen=no,scrollbars=no,dependent=no'); return false;">Subscribe to ClickOrlando.com newsletters</a>]</strong></p><p>"If you are headed out to the beach, it's not a bad day for it, but be aware there is a high rip current risk on the water," Evans said.</p><p>Saturday night will reach a low of 71 degrees, and the wind will continue gusting up to 20 mph.</p><p>Central Florida will see a few changes from a weak front Sunday. The high will only be 88 degrees in Orlando with a 20 percent coverage of rain.</p>

Published: Sat, 29 Apr 2017 12:21:47 GMT

North Korea's missile test fails, US military says

<p>A ballistic missile launched early Saturday by North Korea in defiance of international pressure and at a time of heightened regional tensions appears to have failed.</p><p>The missile blew up over land in North Korean territory, said US Navy Cmdr. Dave Benham, a spokesman for the US Pacific Command. </p><p>US President Donald Trump cast the launch as a direct snub against China, one of North Korea's only allies and a nation seen by the Trump administration as a potential US ally in efforts to stamp out Pyongyang's nuclear program.</p><p>"North Korea disrespected the wishes of China & its highly respected President when it launched, though unsuccessfully, a missile today. Bad!" Trump tweeted. </p><p>Pyongyang's show of defiance -- at a time when its military ambition has reached its highest level in years -- came just hours after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson addressed a special meeting at the United Nations and called for increased pressure on North Korea.</p><p>"All options for responding to future provocations must remain on the table," Tillerson said. "Diplomatic and financial leverage or power will be backed up by willingness to counteract North Korean aggression with military action, if necessary."</p><p>The launch was swiftly condemned by South Korean and Japanese leaders.</p><h3>'Continuously playing with fire'</h3><p>South Korea called it a "provocative action," saying it clearly violated UN Security Council resolutions and constituted a serious threat to peace and security.</p><p>"It demonstrates once again the regime's belligerence and recklessness of categorically disobeying the international community's resolve to achieve the denuclearization of North Korea," the foreign ministry said. </p><p>South Korean officials also said the test likely was a failure.</p><p>"We are analyzing additional information," the nation's Joint Chiefs of Staff said. "Our military is maintaining a thorough defense posture while keeping a close eye on the possibility of North Korea's further provocations."</p><h3>Japan protests</h3><p>Japan launched a protest through its diplomatic channel in Beijing, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said.</p><p>Japan won't tolerate repeated provocative actions by North Korea and asked the Japanese public to remain calm, Suga said.</p><p>Tokyo's subway operator temporarily halted train service Saturday morning after the missile launch, the Tokyo Metro said. All trains stopped running for 10 minutes, then resumed service after it was confirmed the launch had no impact on Japan's safety. An estimated 13,000 people were affected, an official said. </p><p>White House officials said Trump was briefed as Air Force One returned to Maryland from Atlanta, where the President earlier addressed a meeting of the National Rifle Association. </p><p>The test-fired missile probably was a medium-range ballistic missile called a KN-17, a US official told CNN. The KN-17 is a land-based solid-fuel missile fired from a mobile launcher. </p><p>A US military assessment found the main part of the missile landed about 35 kilometers (22 miles) from Pukchang airfield, the US official said.</p><p>There has been no announcement on North Korean state television, CNN's Will Ripley in Pyongyang reported.</p><h3>Analyst: Launch 'preordained' by North Korea</h3><p>Trump's administration has delivered a drumbeat of warnings about the dangers of North Korea this week, using presidential statements, an unusual White House briefing for the Senate, and a White House lunch for UN ambassadors to underscore that Pyongyang is a priority. </p><p>The US military has moved an aircraft carrier strike group into the region, docked a powerful nuclear submarine in South Korea and staged large military drills with South Korea and Japan.</p><p>New joint drills with the USS Carl Vinson and the Korean navy began Saturday in waters off the Korean Peninsula, a South Korean military spokesman said.</p><p>In light of those actions, Saturday's launch amounts to a message from the regime of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to the United States and others, said John Kirby, a CNN military and diplomatic analyst.</p><p>"This is Kim giving us the finger, giving China the finger, giving the UN the finger," he said. "I think timing is absolutely planned and preordained in his mind."</p><p>There is no such thing as a failed missile attempt for Kim, Kirby said. </p><p>"He learns from every single attempt, and he gets knowledge, and he gets intel," the analyst said. "And he takes those lessons learned and just churns them right over into the next one."</p><h3>Risk of conflict simmers</h3><p>North Korea has been "provocative all along," US Deputy National Security Adviser K.T. McFarland said when asked whether the missile test was provocative.</p><p>But "there is reason to be concerned" about North Korea's missile tests, she added.</p><p>Trump this week said there's "a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea," but added he would prefer a diplomatic resolution.</p><p>Washington is hopeful the Chinese can help.</p><p>China has threatened North Korea with sanctions if the regime conducts a nuclear test, Tillerson told Fox News on Thursday. North Korea conducted its fifth nuclear test last fall, and observers have said a sixth test could come soon.</p><p>China remains one of North Korea's only allies and is responsible for much of the heavily-sanctioned nation's economy.</p><p>North Korea on Saturday said it is developing nuclear weapons for self-defense and as a deterrent to the United States, according to an unofficial translation of a statement released by an official in Pyongyang's mission to the UN. The statement, which came in response to CNN's questions about the latest launch, did not acknowledge Saturday's missile test. </p><h3>Launch follows special UN meeting</h3><p>North Korea has attempted at least nine missile launches on six occasions since Trump was inaugurated in January. Some of those missiles reached the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea.</p><p>The United States called Friday's UN meeting to call for greater sustained pressure on Pyongyang.</p><p>At the meeting, South Korea's foreign minister urged proactive sanctions. </p><p>"The council has repeatedly warned that it will take 'further significant measures, including sanctions' in the case of future provocations," Yun Byung-se said. "But Pyongyang may still harbor the illusion that the Security Council will only take limited action and that it can disregard and ridicule the authority of the UN."</p><p>Uruguay's UN Ambassador Elbio Rosselli, who sits on the UN Security Council, condemned the missile test as "very disgraceful" and "against international law and humanity."</p><p>Italian UN ambassador Sebastiano Cardi, who heads the UN committee that could sanction North Korea, said he hoped Pyongyang would "refrain from any other further escalation."</p><p>With less than two weeks until South Korea votes for a new president, the spokesman for the frontrunner, Moon Jae-in, called on North Korea to stop its military tests.</p><p>"We urge the North Korean regime to immediately stop its reckless provocations, give up its nuclear ambitions and cooperate with the international community," Democratic Party spokesman Park Kwang-on said. "That would be the only way it can save itself, instead of taking the path of destruction." </p>

Published: Sat, 29 Apr 2017 09:53:04 GMT

The first 100 days in LGBT rights

<p>Even before US President Donald Trump took office, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans feared his administration would roll back gains they made in the Obama administration.</p><p>Now, 100 days into Trump's presidency, advocacy groups say their concerns have been realized through Cabinet appointments and policy decisions that undermine civil rights for LGBT Americans.</p><p>Here's a timeline of key actions affecting LGBT Americans from the first 100 days.</p> <h3> Reversing course</h3> <p>February 10: In the first sign of a new Justice Department with different priorities, the agency dropped its defense of Obama-era protections for transgender students in a key lawsuit.</p><p>After the departments of Education and Justice issued joint guidance in May 2016 directing schools to let transgender students use facilities that correspond with their gender identity, officials in a dozen states sued to block their implementation.</p><p>A federal judge in Texas granted the states' request for a nationwide injunction to halt the guidelines' enforcement. The Obama administration's Justice Department appealed to reduce the injunction's scope to states involved in the lawsuit while the case was alive.</p><p>Then, the day after Attorney General Jeff Sessions was sworn in, the Justice Department said it withdrew its appeal so it could decide how to "best proceed" with the lawsuit.</p><p>February 22: A few weeks later, the Trump administration withdrew the guidelines entirely, in a joint decision from the departments of Justice and Education.</p><p>March 27: Trump signed an executive order that nullified an Obama administration initiative to ensure that federal contractors complied with labor and civil rights laws forbidding discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.</p><p>March 28: Meanwhile, the Obama administration's efforts to collect data on LGBT Americans had begun to unravel.</p><p>Advocates have long pushed for the government to gather data on LGBT Americans, including how numerous they are. There's no official national count of gay, bisexual or transgender Americans. Therefore, advocates welcomed the inclusion of "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" in the Census Bureau's road map for 2020 data collection. But celebrations were premature. The agency later said it found "no need" to collect the data.</p><p>The reversal came days after Secretary Tom Price's Department of Health and Human Services eliminated questions about about sexual orientation and gender identity in proposed versions of two critical health-care surveys addressing the needs of the elderly and the disabled.</p><p>Advocates said their inclusion in surveys helps assess needs within the LGBT community and collect data to support policy changes.</p><p>April 14: After North Carolina repealed and replaced its so-called bathroom bill with another measure that prevents cities from passing anti-discrimination ordinances, the Justice Department halted its litigation related to the laws.</p><p>Meanwhile, a handful of state and district courts have sided with transgender students in lawsuits against schools. And, observers are waiting to see what's next for transgender teen Gavin Grimm's lawsuit against the Gloucester County School Board in Virginia. The withdrawal of the guidance led the Supreme Court to return the case to a lower court to consider whether anti-discrimination protections extend to gender identity.</p> <h3> Trump's appointments</h3> <p>Presidential appointments speak volumes about what an administration will stand for, said Sharon McGowan, director of strategy at legal aid group Lambda Legal.</p><p>LGBT advocacy groups opposed the nominations of then-US Sen. Jeff Sessions and then-US Rep. Tom Price to head the Justice Department and Department of Health and Human Services based on their legislative track records on gay rights issues.</p><p>As lawmakers, both supported a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in 2006, though Sessions promised in his confirmation hearings that he would follow the Supreme Court's decision on marriage equality. It didn't come up in Price's hearings, and observers are waiting to see whether he upholds anti-discimination measures in the Affordable Health Care Act that protect LGBT Americans.</p><p>When in Congress, Sessions and Price co-sponsored the First Amendment Defense Act, the so-called religious liberty bill preventing the federal government from punishing businesses for denying services to same-sex couples. They voted against expanding federal hate crime statutes to include sexual orientation, gender and disability. They condemned the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," the policy that forbade gay and lesbian service members from serving openly.</p><p>LGBT advocates are concerned about the White House appointment of former Heritage Foundation employee Roger Severino to lead the Health and Human Services civil rights office. He came out against a provision of the Affordable Care Act banning discrimination against transgender patients, saying the rule would "threaten the religious liberty, freedom of conscience, and independent medical judgment of health care professionals."</p> <h3> The road ahead</h3> <p>From the President to the attorney general to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, the administration has said it's trying to balance civil rights with states' right to set their own policies.</p><p>But advocacy groups say the administration's actions are efforts to erase them from America narrative.</p><p>"One hundred days of Trump translates into 100 days of erasure for the LGBTQ community," said Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of advocacy group GLAAD.</p><p>"From the census exclusion, to rescinding Obama's guidance for trans youth in schools, and lack of any LGBTQ mentions on the White House website, he has spent the early days of his administration trying to remove us from the very fabric of this country, and we must resist."</p>

Published: Sat, 29 Apr 2017 04:20:55 GMT

Homeland Security secretary: Kim Jong Un 'knows what he's doing'

<p>Shortly after news broke of another North Korean nuclear test Friday, Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said the country's dictator, Kim Jong Un, "seems like someone who knows what he's doing."</p><p>Asked by CNN's Jake Tapper on "The Lead" whether the North Korean president is "mentally unbalanced," Kelly responded that "clearly the No. 1 thing in his mind is to remain in power."</p><p>Kim appears to be solidifying his power by instilling fear in his subjects and showcasing military might, Kelly said.</p><p>The DHS secretary admitted he may not be the best person to assess Kim's mental state, telling Tapper: "The only way to decide whether he's insane or not is to lay him down on a couch and have a battalion's worth of therapists figure him out."</p><p>Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Thursday that he also believes Kim is a rational actor.</p><p>"He may be ruthless," he said. "He may be a murderer. He may be someone who, in many respects, we would say by our standards is irrational. But he is not insane."</p><p>Trump was less certain, telling Reuters that he has "no opinion" on whether the North Korean dictator was rational or not.</p><p>"I hope he's rational," Trump said.</p>

Published: Sat, 29 Apr 2017 01:51:15 GMT

What are the top reasons that you take your pet to the vet?

<h4> <em>Editors Note: News 6 investigates a problem that veterinarians are encountering with some pet owners using their pets' drugs to fuel their addictions. Watch Erik Sandoval's report<a href="http://www.clickorlando.com/news/pet-owners-using-animals-to-get-prescriptuion-drugs-for-themselves-veterinarians-say"> here</a>.</em></h4> <p>Animals, much like their owners, may need medical care to make sure they are happy and in the best health. The cost of a trip to the vet can be high, but experts say preventative care is always best. News 6 has compiled information from Nationwide Insurance on the top 10 reasons your pet may need to visit the vet.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="604" scrolling="no" src="//e.infogr.am/top_ten_vet__visits?src=embed" style="border:none;" title="Top Ten Vet Visits" width="550"></iframe></p> <h2> 5 surprising facts about pet insurance</h2> <h2> Things for you to consider before you purchase</h2> <p><a href="http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/money/5-surprising-facts-about-pet-insurance">(Consumer Reports)</a>--Pet insurance can help offset the costs of paying a veterinarian to diagnose, treat, and manage a pet’s illness or injury. An unexpected illness or injury can happen at any time. Pet owners will probably incur at least one $2,000 to $4,000 bill for emergency pet care at some point during their pet’s lifetime, says Louise Murray, D.V.M., a veterinarian and vice president of the ASPCA’s Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital in New York City.</p><p>When we investigated this coverage, we found deciding whether or not to buy the insurance can be a tough call. Many policies may not be worth the cost over many years for a generally healthy animal. But if you're unlucky enough to have a pet with a costly chronic condition or illness, or a young animal in need of major care, we found you could get a positive payout from pet insurance if your pet develops the condition while covered.</p><p>If you’re considering a policy, look for free quotes, terms and conditions, and a sample policy on insurers’ websites. Consider coverage with simple, percentage-based payouts and no reliance on judgments of what’s “reasonable,” to avoid your own future headaches. Find out how your premiums might increase as your pet ages.</p><p>Here are some other surprising tidbits about pet insurance to consider:<br /> 1. Your Employer Might Offer Pet Insurance as a Benefit<br /> As one of the fastest-growing voluntary employee benefits, one in three Fortune 500 companies now offer as pet insurance. More than 3,800 companies and organizations have added Veterinary Pet Insurance (a Nationwide Insurance company) to their benefits portfolio, including Chipotle Mexican Grill, Deloitte LLP, Delta Airlines, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, T-Mobile, UPS, and Xerox, according to VPI.</p><p>Some companies are subsidizing a percentage of their employee's cost, with several companies now paying as much as 100 percent of their employee's pet insurance premiums (you'll still owe additional costs, like co-pays).</p><p>How Do You Save on Vet Costs?<br /> Let us know in the comments section below.<br /> 2. It's Not Just for Cats and Dogs<br /> At least one company offers policies for birds, as well as "exotic" pets that include amphibians, chameleons, chinchillas, ferrets, geckos, gerbils, goats, guinea pigs, hamsters, hedgehogs, iguanas, lizards, mice, opossums, potbellied pigs, rats, rabbits, snakes tortoises, and turtles.<br /> Since so few companies offer coverage for our feathered friends and "exotic" pets, however, you can't compare several policies, so you'll have to take–or leave–its coverage. </p><p>Several companies cover horses, but you may have to pair it with the company's mortality coverage (essentially horse life insurance), and the amount you'll pay and the coverage you can get may depend on the horse's age, breed, and other criteria.</p><p><br /> 3. Discounts Might Be Available<br /> Membership in some affinity groups may provide you with breaks on pet insurance premiums. Healthy Paws, for example, provides a 10 percent lifetime discount to AAA members. PetPlan gives AARP members and active-duty or retired military personnel a 10 percent discount if they sign up for a plan online, or 5 percent if they buy a plan by phone.</p><p>Keep in mind, however, that these plans might not be the best choice in your situation. You still have to compare premiums, cost sharing, and exclusions to decide if a plan is right for you. You can always add some money to an emergency account to cover unexpected pet costs instead.<br /> 4. Older Pets Can Be Covered<br /> Many companies will insure older pets, but age does matter. ASPCA Pet Health Insurance won't cover illnesses in dogs over 12 and cats over 14. Healthy Paws and Trupanion will cover pets for their lifetime, but you have to enroll them before their 14th birthday. Figo, which dubs itself the first cloud-based pet insurance, has no age limit.<br /> But you'll generally pay more to insure older pets, and you may receive less coverage. For example, although the ASPCA doesn't cover illnesses in older pets, it will provide some coverage for accidents.</p><p>At any age, pure-bred animals will cost more to insure than mutts, and dogs are more expensive than cats.</p><p>5. Paying More for Routine Care Coverage Isn't Worth It<br /> Many plans add "wellness" coverage that covers routine care like annual exams and vaccines. We found it's generally not worth the cost.</p><p>What goes in their bellies likely costs you more than routine vet care. Dogs gobble up about $270 of dog food annually, while routine vet visits for dogs total $235 a year. Cats consume $245 in grub annually; routine vet visits for cats average $196 a year.<br /> Unexpected bills are, of course, the budget-busters. Surgical costs for dogs, for example, average around $550 annually; cats, $400. And serious accidents or illnesses can be many times that amount. We profiled a couple who paid $6,500 to repair their cat's leg after he had a run-in with some mattress springs.</p><p>Here's more about how to decide if pet insurance is right for you.</p><p style="text-align: center;"> </p>

Published: Sat, 29 Apr 2017 03:51:53 GMT

How to keep your lawn looking its best

<h4> <em>Editors Note: Investigator Louis Bolden helps one local woman get results after she had trouble with a lawn care service that she hired.  Watch his report on how he got her money back <a href="http://www.clickorlando.com/news/investigators/lake-county-woman-says-she-battled-landscaping-company-for-refund">here</a>. </em></h4> <p><a href="http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/news/2013/08/5-ways-to-keep-your-lawn-looking-its-best/index.htm">(Consumer Reports)</a>--If the lush lawn you enjoyed all summer long is being overtaken by crabgrass and other weeds, join the club. A mild winter and wet spring have made for a particularly brutal weed season in many parts of the country. Fall is always the best time to fortify turfgrass, and this year more than ever. It's also when you'll find end-of-season deals on lawn care equipment, including <a href="http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/lawn-mowers.htm">mowers</a>, tractors, and <a href="http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/lawn-mowers.htm">string trimmers</a>. Keep these tips in mind as you take back your lawn.</p><p><br /> <strong>When fertilizing, less is more.</strong> The five applications that fertilizer companies sometimes recommend is overkill. Your lawn will probably thrive with just one or two applications, especially if you mulch clippings when mowing, rather than bagging them. The one must-time for fertilizing is in September, using a fall formula with slow-release nitrogen.</p><p><strong>Let the grass grow a bit longer.</strong> Cutting grass too short can compromise root development. But most domestic grasses can do just fine with 50 percent or more of the blade removed, meaning you can let the lawn grow to about 5 inches before mowing. That might result in a shaggier lawn than you're used  to, but it will reduce mowing frequency by about 25 percent. You should continue mowing the lawn until it goes dormant for the season.</p><p><strong>Learn to live with certain weeds.</strong> That includes dandelions, which don't actually harm the lawn. In fact, their penetrating tap roots might even improve the soil structure. Clover, which takes nitrogen from the air and feeds it to the soil, also has benefits. Crabgrass, however, should be eliminated since it promotes soil erosion; consider corn gluten meal, an organic alternative to chemical herbicides. Grubs can devastate a lawn, so it's worth consulting with a professional about preventive measures, especially if you've had problems in the past.</p><p><strong>Overseed bare spots.</strong> A thick lawn is always the best defense against weeds and disease. Choose grass suited to your climate, soil conditions, and lifestyle. Your<a href="https://nifa.usda.gov/Extension/"> local cooperative extension</a> should have a list of recommended species and varieties, including low-maintenance options that need the least water and fertilizer.</p><p><strong>Never lose sight of reliability.</strong> Sears is slashing prices on lawn equipment by up to 20 percent, while Lowe's is offering free delivery on outdoor power equipment. Those are tempting deals, but you need to make sure the products covered will hold up over time. In our surveys, Cub Cadet, John Deere, Snapper, and Husqvarna have been among the more repair-prone brands for self-propelled mowers. See our <a href="http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/lawn-mowers.htm">reports on mowers and tractors</a> for more information, plus Ratings of dozens of models.</p> <h2> Improve your landscape without all the work</h2> <h2> Experts provide three scenarios to help you achieve best landscape</h2> <p><a href="http://www.consumerreports.org/lawn-garden/improve-your-landscape-without-all-the-work/‚Äč">(Consumer Reports)</a>--The lawn on Robinwood Drive was green and lush while others in the area were parched and brown. It looked so good that neighbors suspected that the homeowner was ignoring watering restrictions and called the police—the water police, that is. The door that the local water-authority employee knocked on belonged to Peter Sawchuk, our lead tester of lawn mowers and outdoor gear. But he wasn’t watering at all; he was fertilizing and mowing smartly. You can too with his tips and our advice.</p><p>We’ve broken up our advice into three scenarios. In the first, you want to keep your lawn and use less water. Maybe you feel guilty about using too much water in light of droughts and water restrictions like those that continue to be in effect in California despite rainfalls from El Nino earlier this year. In the second, parts of your lawn are dying, and you want to know why and what you can do. And last, you’re fed up with the labor and cost required to maintain your lawn and want to replace most of it with native plants and ground cover.</p><p>In all three cases, the first step to using less water outdoors is simple: Check the health of your soil. Grab handfuls from several places, then look at them—and smell them. Healthy soil breaks in clumps, is brownish-red in color, smells earthy rather than like sulfur, and isn’t hard or wet. It can absorb enough water to nourish roots and drain excess water so that roots don’t drown. Your local cooperative extension (there’s a national directory at nifa.usda.gov) can test your soil, and identify the pH level and any missing nutrients needed to fix it, for $10 and up. Once you know it’s in good shape, follow our step-by-step advice and check out our latest Ratings of mowers and tractors.</p><p>Improve your landscape by not cutting the grass too short.<br /> Scenario 1: Keep Your Lawn and Use Less Water<br /> As much as half of the water we use to irrigate our lawns and gardens is wasted because of run-off from inefficient watering, evaporation, and wind, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Here’s how to minimize the waste.</p><p>1. Fertilize when the time is right. Fertilizer won’t help a dry or brown lawn. The time to use it is when the grass grows more roots than blades, usually in the fall in cooler climates (such as the Northeast and Northwest), and late spring in warmer climates (the South and Southwest). More isn’t better; you could damage the grass. So follow the instructions on the fertilizer bag.</p><p>2. Avoid fast-release fertilizers. Though they will green up your lawn quickly, putting down too much could burn your grass. Use compost instead, or slow-release or organic fertilizers. Read the labels and look for ones without bone, blood, or fish meal, which can sicken pets.</p><p>3. Mow higher. Let the grass grow to about 4½ inches before mowing it to 3 to 3½ inches. Tall grass helps promote deep roots that don’t need as much water, making your lawn hardier and more resilient. And avoid mowing off more than one-third of a grass blade’s height at a time. “Scalped” grass is more likely to go brown.</p><p>Raise the mower deck using the height adjustment lever or levers. Some mowers have one that controls all four wheels, others have two levers (one each for the front and back wheels), and still others have a lever for each wheel. On a tractor or rider, changing deck height is usually done with a single control.</p><p>How do you keep your lawn looking picture perfect?<br /> Tell us in the comments below.<br /> 4. Use the mulch setting. Mulched clippings deposit nutrients into the soil and reduce evaporation, so your lawn won’t need as much fertilizer or water.</p><p>5. Keep blades sharp. They cut cleaner and faster. Dull blades tear rather than slice grass, stressing it and making it thirstier and more prone to disease. Grass tips that are brown are a sign that you need to sharpen your blade. You’ll need to do that about three times during the growing season. Keeping an extra blade on hand—or blades in the case of a tractor or rider—means you won’t lose mowing time while the other is in the shop for sharpening.</p><p>An outdoor-gear dealer will sharpen a mower or tractor blade for about $5 to $7. Or you can do it yourself. Wear heavy leather gloves to remove your mower’s blade, then remove the spark-plug wire and jam a 2x4 against the blade to keep it from turning as you loosen the bolts. Skip the 2x4 and the dull blade could still be sharp enough to send you to the ER.</p><p>6. Clear the mower deck. The buildup of clippings inhibits airflow. A clear deck is especially important when cutting high grass because good airflow lifts the longer grass blades for a clean cut. Keep in mind that those clippings make great mulch, so spread them on the lawn.</p><p>7. Water wisely. An established lawn needs no more than an inch of water per week, including rainfall. (Sawchuk places empty tuna cans in inconspicuous spots to help measure.) To promote deep roots, give your grass one long soak to get the 1 inch of water instead of several short, shallow ones. Consider adding a sprinkler system or updating the one you have.</p><p>“Irrigation systems that connect to soil-moisture sensors can use up to 60 percent less water, and you’ll have a great lawn,” says Frank Rossi, a turf scientist and an associate professor of horticulture at Cornell University.</p><p>8. Use drought-tolerant grasses. Grass labeled drought-tolerant or resistant will maintain some active growth with about 30 percent less water than conventional cool-season grasses, Rossi says. They’re available at home and lawn centers.</p><p>9. Match the grass to your locale. Rossi recommends tall fescue in the Northeast; Bermuda and zoysia in the South; tall fescue and zoysia in Mid-Atlantic states across to St. Louis; and buffalo grass in the prairie areas and out West, except for California, where Bermuda and zoysia are possibilities. They should also fare well in the Southwest.</p><p>Your local cooperative extension can help you find species that are right for your climate and soil. And check the list of grass-seed brands at the Turfgrass Water Conservation Alliance. Those grasses use, on average, 30 percent less water compared with conventional varieties of the same species, says Jack Karlin, program administrator.</p><p><br /> Looking for a pressure washer to tackle some other exterior projects? Check our reviews and buying guide for pressure washers.</p><p><br /> Scenario 2: Can My Lawn Be Saved?<br /> Brown grass? The first thing you need to do is find out if it’s really dead. Excluding the historic California drought, it’s rare for a lawn to die from drought, Rossi says. Here’s a test: Cut a patch of grass with roots attached and put it in a coffee cup, place it on a windowsill inside your house, add water, and watch to see whether the grass grows. If the grass is alive, it will start to green up at the base within a couple of days, according to Rossi.</p><p>1. If it’s alive. Give brown grass (not dead grass) just enough water for survival. About 0.1 to 0.2 inches every two to three weeks should be enough water to keep the grass “crown”—the roots and blades at the soil line from which grass grows—alive. But it won’t green up until later in the season, when temperatures are cooler or water conditions improve.</p><p>2. Or give up. If the same spot goes brown season after season, it may not be because of the grass. Chronic lawn problems are often caused by the soil or a lack of light. Heavily compacted soil denies a lawn much-needed oxygen. Aerating the soil with a core aerator will help it breathe and promote growth no matter what you decide to plant, whether it’s a lawn or native plants and ground cover. Fall is the best time to aerate because spring is when weeds usually sprout. (Aerating then can spread weed seeds.) Remember, even shade-tolerant grass won’t grow in some areas. And pruning trees too aggressively to allow more sunlight can hurt them.</p><p><br /> Find the best gas grill to use for warm-weather cooking and entertaining.</p><p><br /> Scenario 3: Giving up on Grass<br /> Transitioning to a yard with little or no grass doesn’t mean giving up greenery. There are lots of water-saving options.</p><p>1. Start with the design. Sketch your property as it is, noting its orientation to the sun and wind. Create zones based on watering needs: high, moderate, low, and very low, suggests Peter Estournes, co-owner of Gardenworks in Healdsburg, Calif., which specializes in sustainable landscaping. The EPA’s WaterSense website features a budgeting tool that can indicate whether your design uses water efficiently for your climate.</p><p>2. Till the soil. Turning over the soil in low-water zones exposes it to moisture and air. Adding organic matter, such as compost or manure, can also help soil hold in moisture, which is important to help establish new plants while using less water.</p><p>3. Go native. Local plants can often thrive with less water and cool the air around your home as well as the lawn, according to the EPA. Established plants, shrubs, and trees use less water than most common turf grasses. Go to epa.gov/watersense and click “outdoor” and “landscaping tips” for low-water and native plants for your region.</p><p>4. Don’t crowd new plants. Leave enough room between plants to allow them to grow to their full size without being overcrowded, even if they look sparse at first.</p><p>5. Don’t forget mulch. Two to 3 inches of organic material per season will reduce evaporation, keeping soil moist and controlling water-thirsty weeds. It also helps fill in the spaces between new plants.</p>

Published: Sat, 29 Apr 2017 03:44:20 GMT

Lake County woman says she battled landscaping company for refund

<p>A Lake County woman has gotten hundreds of dollars back after a months long battle with a landscaping company.</p><p>She says she paid the company in full for a service she never got.<br /> <br /> Then she called Investigator Louis Bolden and got results.<br /> <br /> Cindy Dettman's Lake County yard is lush, green and manicured, but she says it didn't get that way by Service Smart Lawncare.<br /> <br /> "It makes me very mad.  I'm not happy.  I'm very frustrated," Dettman said.<br /> <br /> According to the company's service agreement, they were supposed to provide trimming every other month and bed weeding monthly for $790 a year.<br /> <br /> "I complained a couple of times last year," Dettman said. "I don't think they did a very good job."  <br /> <br /> Dettman wasn't going to renew her agreement for another year, but she did when the company offered her a $150 discount.</p><p>This time she paid $640 for the year she said.<br /> <br /> When no one showed up to work on her yard for two months, she said knew it was a mistake.<br /> <br /> "I've had absolutely no service whatsoever on that $640," she said. "I want my money back."<br /> <br /> First she was told it would take 30 days to get a refund, then she was flat out ignored, according to Dettman.<br /> <br /> She says she kept a log of every time she called.</p><p>"I just don't understand a company that won't call you back and let you know what's going on." she said.  "I think they at least owe me that courtesy, and my money back."<br /> <br /> We checked and found Dettman isn't alone.  According to the Better Business Bureau, Service Smart Lawncare has only been in business 6 years, but has an "F" rating with the BBB along with 92 complaints filed and 14 unresolved complaints, according to the bureau's website.<br /> <br /> "Hopefully we can get you some help," Investigator Louis Bolden told Dettman.<br /> "Well good luck," Dettman said. "Don't try calling, they wont let you through to anyone."<br /> <br /> Bolden called and left a message for the owner and within 5 minutes the owner called back and promised to refund Dettman's money within a week.<br /> <br /> "I got in touch with you and voila, within a week I've got my money back," Dettman said. "Can't thank you guys enough."<br /> <br /> Dettman did what many people do when looking for a vendor, she got a referral from her neighbor.<br /> Keep in mind, just because a company does good work for your neighbor, doesn't mean they'll be good for you.  Always do your research.</p>

Published: Sat, 29 Apr 2017 03:37:12 GMT

Pet owners using animals to get prescription drugs for themselves, veterinarians say

<p>Central Florida veterinarians say some pet owners are using their animals to get prescription medication for themselves, and they say some of them are going to extremes.</p><p>News 6 found out an alert was sent to veterinarians across Central Florida by the Veterinary Emergency Clinic chain. It advised veterinarians to be on the lookout for pet owners who may be trying to get pain medications for themselves by claiming their pet is in pain.</p><p>"It's a new thing that has popped up," said Dr. Christine McCully.</p><p>McCully said  just a few weeks ago someone brought  their dog into the Downtown Pet Hospital in Orlando seeking pain medication and she quickly suspected the pills would not be going to the dog.</p><p>"We have had a scenario where we've had newer clients, so not a long-standing relationship with someone, claiming an injury to their dog or a chronic condition, requesting a particular medication," she said.</p><p>The most popular medication being sought --is Tramadol.</p><p><a href="https://www.drugs.com/tramadol.html">According to the website drugs.com</a>, Tramadol is an opiod, just like oxycodone, and both of them are highly addictive.</p> <div class="ftb-widget" data-height="810" data-href="https://www.graphiq.com/vlp/95Eyreae7bL" data-widget-id="95Eyreae7bL" data-width="500">  </div> <script async src="https://s.graphiq.com/rx/widgets.js"></script><p>The same website claims Tramadol is much cheaper that oxycodone.</p><p>According to its numbers, one pill of oxycodone can cost $10, while 1,000 pills of Tramadol can cost $25.</p><p>McCully says she keeps her office's stock of Tramadol locked away in a safe to prevent anyone from getting to it.</p><p>She says she has seen a rise in people coming into her practice simply to ask for Tramadol.</p><p>"I will get a lot that people that are just down here on vacation," she said. "That's a little more concerning for repeated refills for medication."</p><p>What's even more concerning, is that News 6 found a case in Kentucky where police say a dog owner cut her own dog open, so she would be prescribed Tramadol by the veterinarian.</p><p>In Oregon, a <a href="http://www.kgw.com/news/local/animal/100000-opioid-pills-dogs-living-in-squalor-found-in-oregon-city-raid/346425939">police raid led authorities to seize 100,000 Tramadol pills </a>and rescue more than a dozen dogs.<br /> "If I were to see something like that, I would absolutely report it. That's beyond normal behavior," McCulluy said. "We would report it to the police."</p><p>To prevent abuse, some veterinarians have stopped prescribing Tramadol altogether.</p><p>McCully says she resorts to injectable medication first, but she says Tramadol is an important tool in her office to fight pain.</p><p>She said she has a message for any pet owner contemplating going to such extremes to get the medication.<br /> "I would say, 'Go through the proper routes. Go to your doctor, and if you actually need it, get it appropriately,'" she said. "You're putting at risk lots of other people."</p>

Published: Sat, 29 Apr 2017 03:18:27 GMT

Homeowners scare off attempted burglars, deputies say

<p class="p1">A couple was able to scare off two young men who were trying to break into their home Thursday afternoon, according to the Seminole County Sheriff's Office.</p><p class="p1">Homeowner Sally Jalbrzikowski said she saw a man at her front door, while another <span class="s1">man</span> tried to get into the back of her home through a sliding glass door.</p><p class="p1">The husband was outside behind <span class="s1">a</span> shed around noon when he heard noises coming from the pool area. He walked over to find a young man in a red shirt trying to open the sliding glass doors, the incident report said.</p><p class="p1">"The doorbell rang and kept ringing and ringing," she said. "I got up to answer it and there was a young man standing here facing toward the street."</p><p class="p1">Jalbrzikowski said she opened the door and told the man to stop. That's when he asked for someone named Andy and walked off.</p><p class="p1">The wife was watching the man walk away when her husband ran through the back door yelling that someone was trying to break into the house.</p><p class="p1">"I'm very nervous, because if my husband wouldn't have been here, that sliding glass door was unlocked, and that man could have been inside the house with me," Jalbrzikowski said.</p><p class="p1">Jalbrzikowski's neighbor said she saw the whole <span class="s1">incident</span>, and that she was just getting home when she thought something was off.</p><p class="p1">"There were two men standing in Sally's driveway and I knew something was suspicious, so I just sat in my driveway and watched for a few minutes," Charlie Windisch said.</p><p class="p1">That's when she saw them <span class="s1">run</span> off.</p><p class="p1">"I noticed one of the gentlemen running from her backyard, so I grabbed my phone real quick and snapped a few pictures," Windisch said.</p><p class="p1">Jalbrzikowski said what happened has left her and her husband on edge.</p><p class="p1">"They were probably going to rob us if we weren't home," she said. "I think the fact that we were home changed their mind."</p><p class="p1">Detectives describe the two men as being in their 20s. They added that as the men left the area<span class="s1">,</span> they got into a black sedan.</p><p class="p1"> </p><p class="p1">Anyone with information is asked to call the Seminole County Sheriff's Office at 407-665-6650 or Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS (8477).</p>

Published: Sat, 29 Apr 2017 03:16:42 GMT

State Fire Marshal's Office investigates after 2 homes burn in Kissimmee

<p>The State Fire Marshal's Office is investigating a double house fire in Kissimmee on Friday.</p><p>The fire was reported around 5:30 p.m. on Silver Lake Drive.</p><p>Fire officials said a home caught on fire and because of heavy winds, the flames reached the house next door.</p><p>"The whole house was, like, full of smoke in, like, five seconds. It was crazy," said a resident of one of the homes, who asked to not be identified. "I went to open the door and they were yelling to get out, get out, get out. So I had to go back in and grab my kids because they were all over the place."</p><p>The resident said their family, with two children, moved in three weeks ago.</p><p>Several residents told News 6 that without any fire hydrants on the street, they fear fires take longer to put out.</p><p>"Send letter out to the commissioner or whoever and tell them we need fire hydrants out here. You know? Because we have nothing. By the time the Fire Department gets out, the house is on fire. It's gone," resident Doris Alexander said.</p><p>Fire officials also said that going around the block to access a hydrant on Friday was an added challenge, but said the damage would not have been prevented.</p><p>"The access of the hydrant, because it's a long distance from here, did affect to our extent of reaching the fire quickly, but remember, our apparatus comes already with water. So the firefighting efforts were already in place before the water was established," Osceola County Fire Division Chief Ivan Mustafa said.</p><p>According to neighbors, a woman lives alone in the home that initially caught fire, and three adults and two children live in the second home.</p><p>The State Fire Marshal's Office is investigating the cause of the fire.</p>

Published: Sat, 29 Apr 2017 03:14:20 GMT

Press freedom declines in US and globally, report says

<p>Press freedom in the United States and across the world is at its lowest point in 13 years, according to a new report by the independent watchdog group Freedom House.</p><p>The group makes its annual analysis based on the legal, political, and economic environment for journalists in the prior year. The countries are rated on a scale of 0-100, and the closer to zero a country is, the freer its press.</p><p>This year's report changed the United States' press freedom rating by two points, from 21 to 23 -- its worst rating in more than a decade. The group attributes this to a worsening political environment, the rise and polarization of partisan media outlets and an increase in Russian-sponsored propaganda related to the 2016 presidential election.</p><p>President Donald Trump's open disparagement of the press, both as a candidate and since taking office, also contributed to the diminished score, according to the report.</p><p>"No US president in recent memory has shown greater contempt for the press than Trump in his first months in office," the report noted. "Trump's attacks mirror initial actions in other countries where media freedom subsequently suffered far more drastic restrictions and interference." </p><p>Still, the US is categorized as having a free press in the latest findings, and its constitutional protections were applauded.</p><p>"The United States remains one of the most press-friendly countries in the world," the report said. "It enjoys lively, aggressive, and diverse media, and some of the strongest legal protections for reporting and expression anywhere in the world."</p><p>Globally, the 2017 report found that only 31% of countries have a free press, which the group defines as "a media environment where coverage of political news is robust, the safety of journalists is guaranteed, state intrusion in media affairs is minimal, and the press is not subject to onerous legal or economic pressures."</p><p>Norway, Sweden, Finland, Belgium and Denmark had the most press freedom; North Korea, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Crimea and Eritrea had the least.</p>

Published: Sat, 29 Apr 2017 00:13:19 GMT