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Fatal crash blocks I-75NB in North Port

A fatal crash in North Port has blocked the northbound lanes of I-75, according to Florida Highway Patrol.

The crash happened at mile marker 177 around 9:40 p.m.

Reports say there is a complete roadblock on all northbound lanes.

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Fort Myers motorcycle crash kills one

A motorcycle driving at high speeds crashed into another vehicle Thursday killing the driver and seriously injuring another, according to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office.

It happened at the intersection of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Flint Drive in Fort Myers.

A motorcycle speeding down MLK Jr. Boulevard slammed into the driver’s door of a Ford vehicle attempting to turn onto the street. The high speed of the motorcycle left Crews unable to judge the motorcycle’s distance.

The motorcycle driver, Jeffrey Lynn Dennis Jr., 35 of North Fort Myers, was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics. Due to Dennis’ speeding, the distance Dennis was at fault for the crash. 

The driver of the Ford, 29-year-old Jerred Daniel Crews of Cape Coral, was transported to Lee Memorial Hospital with life-threatening injuries, but according to LCSO, he’s expected to survive.

If there are any other witnesses to the crash that have not already spoken with investigators, please contact Corporal Lenny Gould at 239-477-1636.

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FSW denied $8 million in rebuild funding

Florida Southwestern State will have to spend another year dumping money into maintenance after Governor Rick Scott vetoed the $8 million the college requested to replace the cracking building exteriors, all because a mistake in the way the funding was requested.

– Using our app? CLICK HERE to watch video

FSW spends tens of thousands of dollars each year patching up cracks in the exterior walls of Buildings A through J on it’s Collier campus. It wants a more permanent fix but will have to wait another year to request the funds again. 

In a statement, and FSW Director of Communications Teresa Morgenstern said: “Governor Scott was correct in vetoing our request because it didn’t go through the right process. We will make sure that the request goes through the right process next year.”

In the meantime, students who go there say they’d like to see the fixes, at least for aesthetic purposes.

“We need to build and innovate the school to make it much more presentable and much more open for more students to want to come and attend here,” said Jimmy Saint-Hilaire.

Another student, Carlos Quintero said upgrades “makes this campus look nicer, makes you feel safer.”

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SW Fla. women fire at Trump for comments on abortion

It’s been an interesting week on the campaign trail for Donald Trump.  The GOP candidate is coming under fire for his latest comments about abortion.

During an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews Wednesday night, Trump advocated a nationwide ban on abortion and punishment for women who pursued the procedure illegally. 

His fellow candidates, both Republicans and Democrats, were quick to criticize Trump’s comments. 

And women in Southwest Florida followed suit. 

“I believe women with intelligence of their own body will not support him,” Hillary Clinton support Bea Butler said. 

“For me it’s ABT: anybody but Trump,” Republican voter Janice Nevarez said. 

Just hours later, Trump issued a statement saying: 

If Congress were to pass legislation making abortion illegal and the federal courts upheld this legislation, or any state were permitted to ban abortion under state and federal law, the doctor or any other person performing this illegal act upon a woman would be held legally responsible, not the woman. The woman is a victim in this case as is the life in her womb. My position has not changed – like Ronald Reagan, I am pro-life with exceptions.

“I’m just shaking my head thinking ‘How you could say stuff that’s, to me, so ignorant,” voter Chenoa Butler-Lingard said. 

But some Southwest Florida women are fed up with Trump, not just because of his most recent comments, but for what they say is a history of divisive and sometimes demeaning statements. 

It could have some lasting implications, as experts say winning the female vote is a critical step to the White House.  It’s something ABC7 Political Analyst Dr. Sandra Pavelka says candidates should not underestimate. 

“This has really struck a nerve. Not only with the party itself, the Republican Party and the Democratic party, but specifically with women,” Pavelka said, “I don’t think that a presidential candidate, presidential nominee at this point, could win without the female vote.”

His comments on abortion are just the latest episode to highlight several disparaging incidents about women. 

Earlier in the week, Trump questioned a female reporter’s account of being grabbed by his campaign manager when charges were field and surveillance video of the incident was released.

Previously, he has drawn criticism for attacking rival Ted Cruz’s wife, Heidi. 

“There have been a number of undecided female voters out there, and so the fact that Donald Trump made this comment may have an impact, and probably will have an impact on women who at this point have been undecided,” Pavelka explained.

For some Republican women, a ballot with Trump may not be an easy choice. 

When asked who she would vote for if Trump was the nominee, Janice Nevarez paused to think, saying she hasn’t made up her mind. 

“I don’t know honestly. I’ll have to figure it out if it comes to that. I’m hoping it doesn’t,” she said. 

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Cape business owner dodges check scam

Sandy Vitella, a Mary Kay beauty consultant, received a text message from someone wanting products from her.

This text mentioned for her to check her email, as the buyer had already reached out.

– Using our app? CLICK HERE to watch video

She did, only to find five carbon copies — all asking her to do a “straight order” to be paid by the buyer’s boss with a certified check.

That check came in the mail made out for $1,705 — almost 10 times the order total of $205.

That’s when Sandy’s suspicions elevated.

“She said she was out of town and to text her to let her know that I received the check,” Vitella said, “and what to do with the extra cash because she was out of town.”

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office Fraud Prevention Unit’s Stacey Payne says this is a crime that’s been seen here before.

“It was targeting small businesses,” Payne said. “Now, it looks like it’s targeting maybe some independent sellers.”

Payne also said it’s tough to crack down on scammers like these, adding that most are out of the country.

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FSW denied $8 million in rebuild funding

Florida Southwestern State will have to spend another year dumping money into maintenance after Governor Rick Scott vetoed the $8 million the college requested to replace the cracking building exteriors, all because a mistake in the way the funding was requested.

– Using our app? CLICK HERE to watch video

FSW spends tens of thousands of dollars each year patching up cracks in the exterior walls of Buildings A through J on it’s Collier campus. It wants a more permanent fix but will have to wait another year to request the funds again. 

In a statement, and FSW Director of Communications Teresa Morgenstern said: “Governor Scott was correct in vetoing our request because it didn’t go through the right process. We will make sure that the request goes through the right process next year.”

In the meantime, students who go there say they’d like to see the fixes, at least for aesthetic purposes.

“We need to build and innovate the school to make it much more presentable and much more open for more students to want to come and attend here,” said Jimmy Saint-Hilaire.

Another student, Carlos Quintero said upgrades “makes this campus look nicer, makes you feel safer.”

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East Naples to transform into luxury hotspot, developer says

Big plans are in the works to transform East Naples into Collier County’s newest luxury hotspot.

This is at US-41 and Davis Boulevard — more commonly known as the “Gateway Triangle.”

A new skyline, and setting a new tempo for East Naples development will transform the area into something unrecognizable. Think Mercato or Coconut Point — only taller. 

Renderings show an 18-story condo building, 11-stories for office space and a 10-story hotel with a rooftop restaurant.

“With all of the places to go to, I think this is a pretty good idea,” said visitor Jean Paulpori from Chicago.

The goal is to attract more tourists and make East Naples a destination, like downtown, or North Naples.

“This place has a lot of potential. I’m a tourist, and there are a lot of good people here. I think this would be good thing for the community here,” said Paulpori.

Plans also include numerous restaurants, an upscale boutique movie theater, and of course, a parking garage.

We found out the developer, Real Estate Partners International, is negotiating with Collier County after their $6.4 million offer.

On Thursday, we noticed most businesses on the industrial, partially abandoned strip have either moved out or will do so by next week.

“We’re pretty sad that we have to go, but they have other plans for this location,” said Marie Galvan, owner of Union Motors.

The company is spending their last few days at their current shop and about ready to open a new one a few blocks away.

“This is going to be a very, very busy [and] exciting, exciting area to be in,” said Galvan.

County leaders need to approve a zoning variance to build as high as the renderings show. We’re told negotiations are going well and should be done by the end of April.

Permitting, demolition and construction will, however, take years to complete.

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Rubio’s delegate grab provides new wrinkle in GOP race

There’s been another shocking move in the Republican presidential race as former contender Marco Rubio is asking to keep all of his delegates.

Rubio is asking party leaders that his 171 delegates remain on lockdown until the GOP convention in July, so no one else can claim them.

USING OUR APP? WATCH VIDEO HERE.

Political experts said the request is an effort to thwart frontrunner Donald Trump by denying him the delegates needed to clinch the nomination and possibly get Rubio back in the running if there is a contested convention.

It’s the latest surprise in an ongoing saga.

After losing Florida’s primary earlier this month, Rubio said it was not God’s plan that he become president.

But many political analysts say they’re not sure that even a higher power could predict what will happen next.

“Just when you think you know what’s going to happen next then it doesn’t,” said political science professor Dr. Laura Weir.

Rubio is sending a letter to the 21 states and territories where he earned delegates, requesting they vote for him at the convention. That would keep them out of Trump’s hands and could keep him from clinching the nomination with the 1,237 delegates needed to win.

Weir said the move gives Rubio a bigger role in the convention.

“By holding back this ensures that Donald Trump doesn’t have access to those people at all,” she said.

Former GOP delegate Marilyn Stout said if Rubio is able to create an open convention by holding the delegates, she favors it.

Stout attended two conventions including one in 2000.

“Those conventions were just a formality,” she said.

But the 2016 convention will be far from it.

“I think it would be exciting. You know the two conventions I went to were just kind of a party,” Stout said. “It wasn’t a real business transaction. This would be different.”

Political junkie Mary Adams said, since Rubio only suspended his campaign, he may get back in.

“I think he probably thinks he still may have a chance if it goes to the committee to decide who the Republican candidate is going to be,” she said.

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U.S. women soccer players charge pay discrimination

Women in the U.S. make only .79 cents for every dollar a man makes, and the disparity in professional soccer is much worse.

Members of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer team make .37 cents for every dollar the men’s players do in a win.

It has women in Southwest Florida scratching their heads.

– Using our app? CLICK HERE to watch video

“I wasn’t aware,” said Christine King, who plays in a Fort Myers Women’s Soccer league. “In fact because of the great popularity of the women’s team I assumed they were getting paid maybe even more than the men.”

Five members of the national team are suing U.S. Soccer for wage discrimination, and it’s easy to understand why. There is no comparison for success between the women’s and men’s teams.

The best World Cup finish for the men’s team was third place in every World Cup in 1930.

There have been seven women’s World Cups in history. The U.S. Women’s team has won three times — never finishing no worse than third place.

“They are the most popular most watched women’s sport,” said King. “To hear that they’re not getting paid fairly or equally was very disheartening.”

It’s a message that has trickled down to 12-year-old Jules Taglieri.

“It’s kinda sad,” said Taglieri. “I feel like the women achieved more than the men have, and they should be paid as much.”

The U.S. Women’s team plays against Colombia in a friendly on April 6 in East Hartford, Connecticut.

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Developer plans to convert East Naples into luxury hotspot

Big plans are in the works to transform East Naples into Collier County’s newest luxury hotspot.

This is at US-41 and Davis Boulevard — more commonly known as the “Gateway Triangle.”

A new skyline, and setting a new tempo for East Naples development will transform the area into something unrecognizable. Think Mercato or Coconut Point — only taller. 

Renderings show an 18-story condo building, 11-stories for office space and a 10-story hotel with a rooftop restaurant.

“With all of the places to go to, I think this is a pretty good idea,” said visitor Jean Paulpori from Chicago.

The goal is to attract more tourists and make East Naples a destination, like downtown, or North Naples.

“This place has a lot of potential. I’m a tourist, and there are a lot of good people here. I think this would be good thing for the community here,” said Paulpori.

Plans also include numerous restaurants, an upscale boutique movie theater, and of course, a parking garage.

We found out the developer, Real Estate Partners International, is negotiating with Collier County after their $6.4 million offer.

On Thursday, we noticed most businesses on the industrial, partially abandoned strip have either moved out or will do so by next week.

“We’re pretty sad that we have to go, but they have other plans for this location,” said Marie Galvan, owner of Union Motors.

The company is spending their last few days at their current shop and about ready to open a new one a few blocks away.

“This is going to be a very, very busy [and] exciting, exciting area to be in,” said Galvan.

County leaders need to approve a zoning variance to build as high as the renderings show. We’re told negotiations are going well and should be done by the end of April.

Permitting, demolition and construction will, however, take years to complete.