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Road rage driver pulled gun, threatened to kill Lehigh family

Cut off, then threatened with a gun.

A Lehigh Acres family says they are afraid for their lives after a road rage incident on Joel and Bell Boulevard.

Their 10-year-old son watched from the backseat as a man brandished a gun yelling swear words and threatening his parents.

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The family told detectives a red car cut them off then the driver yelled, “I will kill you,” while showing the family his gun.

Luckily, they were quick enough to get his license plate and call 911.

“I’m cut off all the time,” said Justin Broome, a driver from Lehigh Acres.

We asked about the nature of traffic in Lehigh Acres.

“I get a little upset, but I don’t yell and scream at the driver in front of me, ya know, I wish they would pay more attention,” Broome said.

Luis Felipe Arias-Casado was arrested 10 days later for possession of marijuana.

Investigators realized he was the man who most likely was responsible for the Lehigh Acres road rage.

“You gotta be really careful what you’re doing in your vehicle now,” Broome said.

When they searched Arias-Casado’s car, they found a .40 Glock and multiple magazines. Detectives did find a legal permit for the gun.

Arias-Casado has been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

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Sunken, charred yacht a ‘total loss’

The yacht that sunk off Wiggins Pass and caught fire Thursday night is now a total loss, according to North Collier firefighters.

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The Collier County Sheriff’s Office, North Naples Fire Rescue, and Sea Tow were all on the scene as well.

It happened near 11135 Gulfshore Drive.

Crews were working to salvage partially sunken 45-foot vessel and tow the boat when it went up in flames.

“It was fully involved, flames high off the water. It was really burning hot,” said…..

Using the deck gun aboard the North Collier Fire Department boat, firefighters say they had the fire under control within 20 minutes of being on scene.

Some of the crew were hurt, but no one was taken to the hospital.

“Those flames had to be probably 10-foot tall, I mean that boat was burning good,” said Kevin Condon, who was watching from the beach.

The same boat had taken water in the Wiggins Pass Channel Tuesday afternoon. The captain was the only person aboard at the time. He called for help and was taken off on another boat.

Why the boat had sank is still under investigation, but Sea Tow said it appeared the boat struck a sandbar and ripped out the prop shaft, causing a huge hole in the bottom.

They plan to tow the yacht to the Naples Boat Yard Friday night so it’s out of the way for a hopefully busy holiday weekend.

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Life after MLB: Six4Three Hiit Room

NAPLES– Jason Bartlett knows a thing or two about turning double plays in his professional baseball career. Now, he and his wife are giving the double play a new meaning right here in Southwest Florida. Sports anchor Victoria Carmen has the story. 

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SW Fla. summer camp to help kids, dogs

This summer, parents are trying to keep their kids busy with lots of summer camps and activities. 

There are sports camps, beach trips, and plenty of indoor activities to beat the heat. But what about a camp that involves man’s best friend?

A Southwest Florida program is helping kids by helping the animals they love. 

The Pawsitive Kids Camp is a week-long program in which elementary and middle school-aged kids are matched with a rescue dog from Brooke’s Legacy Animal Rescue.

Repeat campers like 12-year-old Kailee and 12-year-old Sophia say they love teaching the dogs things that will come in handy in their future homes. 

“I just think it’s really fun and exciting and you know you’re helping them too,” Sophia said. 

Each camper is matched with a dog. They teach the animals basic commands and socialize with them, but counselors say the kids benefit just as much as the dogs. 

“Working with the animals gives them a sense of accomplishment, a sense of self-worth and self-value, self-control,” program founder Tara Moser said. 

Moser is a certified animal assisted play therapist. She often brings in therapy dogs as she works with children at her practice, Delta Family Counseling. She says sees first-hand the impact animals can have in therapy.

“Often kids will turn to the animals and share things they wouldn’t share with humans,” she explained, “because the dogs unconditionally listen to you and really validate what you’re saying without having to share anything back.”

An avid dog-lover with animals of her own, Kailee says dogs are always supportive. 

“I talk to my dogs. Even though they can’t understand what I’m saying, but they’re good listeners!” she said.

Moser says the benefit stays with the kids even when they leave camp.

“Parents report just a better attitude at home, more value to what they’re doing with the family, more value of their friendships, socializing a little bit better,” she said.

Man’s best friend is making these kids happy this week, and they hope they’ll make someone else happy for life. 

The dogs will be up for adoption at an event Saturday, July 2nd. The campers will be with their dog showing off the skills they’ve learned.

It’s happening at the Pet Supermarket in Cape Coral from 12 to 3 p.m.

For more information about the adoptable dogs and to sign up for future Pawsitive Kids camps, visit their website.

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Hot fitness trend turns Sanibel teen’s dream into reality

Imagine diving into the world of a mermaid. You might be able to on your next vacation. 

More resorts around the country are offering mermaid fitness classes with life-like mer-tails. 

ABC7 gets you more on one local business cashing in on the new trend. 

“I always thought it was just going to remain in our local area,” said 17-year-old entrepreneur McKenzi Massey, “but it has certainly surpassed my dreams.”

Massey and her father Roy Massey began making mermaid tails a couple years ago, selling hundreds of them so far. They’ve received calls from Austrailia, even Dubai.

“We have a mono-fin that we make here,” said McKenzi while touring their surf shop near Sanibel.

The Massey family first sands down the plastic fin, then bonds it with a pair of snorkeling flippers. That process takes about 24 hours. Meanwhile, a seamstress sews the tail’s fabric, each one custom cut.

“Where did you get this idea?” ABC7 Weekend Anchor Bryan Anderson asked. 

“My dad and I, we experimented with different fabrics and different plastics to make it. But honestly, just Disney.” 

Clients as young as four and young at heart can’t get enough of their mer-tails. One woman in her 60s bought a custom fin. 

As for the company’s name, Grow A Tail, McKenzi told us she came up with the idea easily. 

“I just always wanted to grow a tail.”

To Get More on mermaid tails, visit Grow A Tail’s website- growatail.com

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Bad news for cookie dough lovers

Baking cookies is a family favorite in the Harter household, but doing so just got a little more unhealthy.

“I want to learn more about it, and it is concerning,” said Cape Coral mom Kim Harter.

She’s talking about a new warning from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration about E-Coli poisoning when you eat raw cookie dough. The federal agency is investigating along with the Centers for Disease Control of dozens of cases across the country where people consumed raw cookie dough and got E-Coli. 

“I definitely am concerned and will be keeping a watch out for that for sure,” said Harter. 

According to the FDA, the E-Coli risk comes from grain in flour used to make cookie dough. In the outbreak mentioned above, General Mills is to blame. The company has now voluntarily recalled 10 million pounds of its flour. Brands include Gold Medal, Signature Kitchen’s, and Gold Medal Wondra. Varieties affected are unbleached, all-purpose, and self-rising. 

“As you see, my children love to get their hands dirty, so I definitely am concerned,” Harter told us as she and her three young kids made a batch of gluten-free cookies. 

Even though the brand of flour they used was labeled gluten-free, there was still one grain we found in the ingredients. The FDA stated that grains are the concern because they come from the fields typically untreated for bacteria, and go straight into your cookie recipe. So if you don’t cook it, any bacteria in the flour isn’t killed.

The FDA’s warning includes avoiding homemade play dough as kids can get contaminated if they don’t wash their hands and put them in their mouth after playing with it. 

Also, any type of bread or pizza crust made with flour containing grains should not be consumed raw, according to the FDA.

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Victims unite against Naples Park burglar

A thief was caught on camera burglarizing vehicles in Naples Park.

Video shows the burglar trying to open two cars in a single driveway with cameras watching.

One car was entered, and the thief broke the locked glove box trying to get inside. 

The homeowner with the surveillance called the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, and he also posted the video to social media.

Since then, more victims have come forward as the community works to find out who the criminal is.

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Residents on the fence regarding Corkscrew Road developments

Big changes are happening along Corkscrew Road and Via Coconut Point in Estero.

The Village Design Review Board just approved a three-story condo complex called Genova on Tuesday. Developers are expected to break ground in November where ‘The Farm,’ a produce market, is located now. 

A second residential development just across the street on the southwest corner of Corkscrew Road and Via Coconut Point is just weeks away from approval as well. This condo, called Via Coconut, is made up of just under 300 units.

Some Estero residents are upset with the approval of the Genova development concept, which borders the Estero Community Park. 

“I don’t know how that fits in with the town concept,” said George Molnar, an Estero resident for the past three years.

The village of Estero is trying to make a walkable, bikeable downtown. Genova developers are planning on creating an entrance to the Estero Community Park.

“I think it’s good because it’s gonna bring more businesses, it represents more economic growth,” said Carlos Gonzalez, who used to live in Estero. 

Many residents are concerned about traffic along Via Coconut Point because there are only two lanes on each side of the road. 

“I don’t think we need an additional 500 homes based on traffic,” said Molnar.

But in November, Genova developers will be breaking ground. Even without even so much as a foundation poured for the condo complex, developers say more than half of the 205 units have been sold.

Aside from housing, Via Coconut condos will also include commercial buildings with boutiques and restaurants. 

Via Coconut developers will go before the Village Design Review Board in July with more pictures of the master plan before being approved to break ground.

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Lee County added to state of emergency for algae in water

Governor Rick Scott has added Lee and Palm Beach Counties to the state of emergency declaration for algae in the waterways. 

Scott issued a state of emergency for Martin and St. Lucie Counties on Wednesday after algae blooms were found in local waterways. 

On Thursday, Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto of Fort Myers and Reps. Matt Caldwell of North Fort Myers and Ray Rodrigues of Estero issued a joint statement asking Scott to include Lee County as well.

The three Republicans said Scott’s declaration draws attention to water quality issues also affecting the Caloosahatchee River.

The lawmakers also have asked federal authorities that oversee Lake Okeechobee to immediately stop freshwater releases that coastal communities blame for algae blooms and other environmental damage.

Thursday afternoon, the Army Corps. of Engineers sent out a memo saying the emergency declarations have forced them to reduce the water releases from Lake Okeechobee. Starting Friday, the target flow for the Caloosahatchee Estuary will be 3,000 cubic feet/second averaged over a seven-day period.

The new target flow for the St. Lucie Estuary will be a seven-day average of 1,170 cubic feet/second as measured at St. Lucie Lock near Stuart. Additional runoff from rain in the St. Lucie basin could occasionally result in flows that exceed targets.

The corps says the lake stage is 14.90 feet, up more than a foot since the lake hit its low for 2016 of 13.64 on May 17. The corps will continue to monitor conditions and adjust flows as necessary.

Toxic blue-green algae invading east coast

While the west coast is dealing with brown water, the east coast is dealing with toxic blue-green algae.

Several beaches are closed. On Thursday, Senator Bill Nelson toured areas where a state of emergency has been declared. We went on that river tour in Stuart and asked Nelson what can be done.

“Oh, it’s bad. It’s all bad. You know, our way of life here in Stuart, Florida is dictated by the river and the condition of the water,” said Captain Rufus Wakeman, who lives in Stuart.

Captain Wakeman was devastated after seeing the algae on the St. Lucie River. 

“When you show up at a boat ramp and you’ve got a high bacteria sign, game over,” said Wakeman.  

Senator Bill Nelson was on a boat himself to see the blooms firsthand after Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in Martin and St. Lucie Counties. 

“You put enough nutrients in, and you’re going to get this kind of stuff,” said Sen. Nelson. 

Senators Benacquisto and Southwest Florida representatives have now asked Gov. Scott to include Lee County in the declaration. 

“I’ve been on the Caloosahatchee many, many times. [The] same thing is happening in the Caloosahatchee that is happening here in the St. Lucie,” said Sen. Nelson.

The brown water seen around Southwest Florida is just one of the water woes stemming from Lake Okeechobee’s releases and runoff.  

“When Fort Myers, Captiva, Sanibel, that area of the Caloosahatchee outflow which gets twice the discharge we get — when they start really feeling this, then they’re going to get emotional,” said Wakeman. 

Senator Nelson said twice as much water is released to the west than to the east. He said legislation is in the works to allow water storage near LaBelle as it waits to be sent south.