Categories
ABC-7 | WZVN

How Boxing Saved Jamal Stewart

Fort Myers – Boxer Jamal Stewart weighed nearly 600 pounds 1 year ago, but knew he couldn’t continue that lifestyle.  So he transformed himself in the gym and with his diet and dropped nearly 300 of those pounds.  Chris Parks has his truly inspirational story.

Categories
NBC-2 | WBBH

Weather Blog: Pileus cloud spotted over Bonita Springs 

An excellent example of pileus clouds were photographed over Bonita Springs, Fla. on Sunday in advent of a round of developing storms over Lee County.  

Pileus clouds are a somewhat rare feature in the sky bearing a resemblance to a cap or helmet atop towering cumulus clouds.  

For pileus clouds to develop, a layer of moist or humid air must be in place above the Earth’s surface.  When rapidly rising warm air condenses into cumulus clouds, these developing thunderstorms punch through the layer of moist humid air above the surface, pushing it upward and outward.  

That’s why pileus clouds take on their smooth, cap-shape appearance as they condense in the atmosphere by air forced to rise.  

Since these clouds are created by the upward rising motion of developing cumulus clouds, they often signal rapidly developing thunderstorms in their given location.  

The sighting of Sunday’s pileus clouds follows several examples of shelf clouds spotted over Southwest Florida on Saturday.  Though shelf clouds are more common than pileus clouds, they also signal the arrival of developing thunderstorms moving toward an area. 

Pileus cloud photo taken by NBC2 News viewer Jason Rybak of Bonita Springs, Fla. 

Categories
ABC-7 | WZVN

Woman shot, armed robbery at Fort Myers gas station

Police say an overnight shooting at a new gas station in Fort Myers has left one woman injured and shoppers shaken up.

We were on the scene late Saturday night at the Wawa convenience store on the corner of Colonial Boulevard and SR-82 while police investigated.

Police say a man attempted to rob a driver parked outside the store at gunpoint.

The gunman fired a round into the air, which struck a woman in the leg.

“It disturbs me. I have children growing up in this area and now I’m sort of very, I don’t even want to go outside sometimes,” said Christine Manno, a Fort Myers resident.

The Wawa store location has only been open two months.

“I think things are starting to get out of hand I think lately. I think there’s starting to be a fear in the area. I mean, I don’t want it to be a regular thing going on. I moved down from up north to get away from that stuff,” said Larry Monette, an Alva resident.

The store is equipped with security cameras. Wawa Corporate public relations has not confirmed if police are using those to help in the investigation.

“You shouldn’t feel scared coming to your local gas station or to get a drink or get some food,” said Marissa Manno, a Fort Myers resident.

Police say no arrests have been made so far, and they have not released a description of any possible suspect.

“I just don’t want to have to be looking over my back every time I go to the gas station or anywhere. I mean this is supposed to be a safe area, that’s what I thought anyway,” said Monette.

Categories
ABC-7 | WZVN

Woman killed crossing street in Fort Myers; driver fled scene

Troopers are searching for a car involved in a deadly hit-and-run crash along Palm Beach Boulevard. 

It happened just after 5 a.m. Sunday near the intersection with Waverly Avenue.

Investigators say a woman was killed as she tried to cross the street. The fiancé of the victim, Carlos Sanchez, says he doesn’t understand why she was crossing the street.

“I have no idea, we were partying all day and all night, but she still could walk. It wasn’t like she was stumbling,” Carlos said.

Sanchez is in disbelief after his fiancé, Xiomara Olivia De Garcia, was hit and killed.

He says Olivia was living at a motel right across the street from the crash site.

“I couldn’t understand why. If she told me she was going to the office then why was she going over here,” said Sanchez.

Sanchez believes his fiancé may have been walking to a convenience store two blocks away. 

“She would have came back and had me go to the store,” he said. 

Amanda Green lived next door to Garcia.

“She was different but everybody got along with her, and she was just a good-hearted person,” she said.

Green wasn’t surprised to hear of the deadly crash saying pedestrians often try to cross the road, narrowly missing cars. She now hopes troopers will the find the driver who hit and killed her friend before speeding away. 

“I just hope that she gets justice,” said witness Amanda Green. “This has happened so many times over here, people just get hit and nobody stops. Nobody does anything about it.”

No details of the vehicle have been released.

The scene was temporarily shut down for investigation but has since been cleared for traffic.

Anyone who may have witnessed this crash or has any knowledge as to the identity/location of the hit and run driver and/or vehicle is asked to contact the Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Jason Moore at 239-938-1800.

Categories
NBC-2 | WBBH

Teens ask for jobs to stay away from gangs, hired immediately

LAGRANGE, Ga. — When school is out for the summer months, it’s easy to understand how kids can get bored and look for things to keep them occupied. But for one local official, the reason behind a group of teens seeking out a way to stay busy made a big impact.

On July 27, head of the LaGrange Housing Authority Zsa Zsa Heard was working in her office, as she has for the last two years, when she was approached by four young teens asking for jobs.

When she asked why, she thought the boys would tell her they simply wanted to earn a few extra bucks for the summer. But, their actual answer shocked even her: “They revealed gang members were approaching them,” Heard said.

All of the young teens are between the ages of 13 and 14. And when she asked if gang members had tried to speak to them before, she was floored when one of the boys told her they’re approached “all the time.”

Zsa Zsa Heard

She said she hired Dylik, Dennis, Deion and Jalen immediately on the spot, no questions. After, she took to Facebook as a way to “empower the young men” for making the decision to come to her. The post has now been shared more than 300 times.

Read the full story on 11Alive NBC

Categories
ABC-7 | WZVN

Tropical Storm Earl weakening over Mexico

Tropical Storm Earl continues to weaken over the rugged terrain of southern Mexico

In the 5 p.m. advisory from the NHC, Earl is located 95 miles southeast of Ciudad del Carmen, Mexico. Maximum sustained winds are at 40 mph. 

Earl continues to move westward at about 10 mph. 

The minimum pressure is at 999 mb.

Earl will continue to produce heavy rainfall over southern Mexico. It is now likely the system will stay over land along the east coast of Mexico.

It is expected that Earl will become a tropical storm tonight or early Friday.

The second hurricane of the Atlantic season made landfall near Belize City, Belize early Thursday morning. 

The system formed in the western Caribbean Tuesday morning.

Earl is the fifth named storm of the 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season, and the first since June. Earl is also the strongest tropical cyclone since Alex, which formed in January.

Earl will not impact the weather in Florida or in the United States.

You can track Earl’s movement’s this week using the Interactive Hurricane Tracker on ABC-7.com. 

Download the ABC7 StormWarn7 Weather App

Categories
NBC-2 | WBBH

Public Service Announcements aim to protect aquatic life

“They’re definitely, clearly disturbed and want to be left alone,” said Abigail Machernis of the NOAA Fisheries SERO.

That’s one of several public service announcements warning tourists and boaters to be on the lookout on our waterways. 

We’ve confirmed the Florida Department of Environmental Protection hopes they’ll curb the record-setting pace of manatee deaths caused by boaters.

A total of 71 have been killed already this year — well on its way to breaking 2009’s record of 97.

Environmentalists argue that an improving economy — cheaper gas and more people are out boating — leads to increased sightings. But many boaters we talked to say it all has to do with the growing manatee population.

For the DEP’s Florida coastal office couldn’t be a better time to educate boaters, especially tourists, about the importance of protecting our marine life with public ads.

“Slowly approach the animals! When they purposely trying to leave the area, they are clearly disturbed,” Machernis said in one ad.

But many boaters say the ample protection has only fueled the current problem, and the last thing on their mind are more manatee zones like environmentalists are pushing for.

“They don’t need any more. It’s just a hassle to the boaters in general. Most fishermen don’t like manatees just for that reason,” said Dan Goodwin, who opposes manatee zones.

Boating the Sanibel Causeway, Goodwin says he knows for sure there’s a crowd of boaters who would rather kill manatees and not protect them.

“If you take them off the endangered species list, what’s that going to do? People are gonna start shooting ’em and eating ’em,” he said.

“Up to the channel you get to what’s called the miserable mile because you have to go more than a mile at idle speed, and that really gets people upset,” said Bill Johnston, who supports the zones.

Johnston is sensitive of both sides of the issue as federal wildlife officials consider a recommendation that the manatee be reclassified as merely “threatened.”

Some worry what that decision could do to current protection, like that miserable stretch of idle speed in Lee County. The reclassification doesn’t necessarily mean any protection will change. In fact, some boaters say it wouldn’t matter anyway because people don’t follow the rules.

“We’ve seen boats that do not slow don’t even where it says idle speed, no wake manatee zone,” Johnston said.

That only adds to the reasoning behind the public services ads — not only to protect the manatee, but for dolphins, and educate everyone about our ecosystem in general.

During fly-overs, 6,000 manatees have been counted the last two years. Still, groups like “Save the Manatees” are urging the feds to keep them listed as endangered when they weigh the change during the next several months.

Categories
NBC-2 | WBBH

Senior citizen robbed in Whiskey Creek; suspect sought

A 79-year-old man was robbed Saturday night in the Whiskey Creek neighborhood. Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers is asking for your help in tracking the suspect down.

It happened just after 9:30, the victim was walking towards his apartment in a parking lot at 6102 Whiskey Creek Drive.

The victim said he felt someone reach into his back pocket and turned around to see a younger white man trying to grab the wallet.

The senior citizen was pushed to the ground still holding onto the wallet until the suspect grabbed it and ran off.

The suspect is described as a stocky, muscular white man between 20 and 30 years old, taller than 5-foot-8-inches with short light-colored hair. He was last seen wearing a light-colored short-sleeved shirt and dark pants.

Anyone who saw anything suspicious in that area last night, or a suspect fitting that description, is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS (8477).  All callers will remain anonymous and will be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000.  Tips may also be made online at www.southwestfloridacrimestoppers.com or by texting a tip to CRIMES (274637) Keyword: REWARD.

July 31, 2016

Suspect sought in robbery of senior citizen

Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers is asking for the public’s help identifying and tracking down a white male who robbed a 79 year old man in the Whiskey Creek neighborhood last night.

Just after 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 30, the victim was walking towards his apartment in a parking lot at 6102 Whiskey Creek Drive when he felt someone reach into his back pocket.  When he turned around, he saw a younger white male attempting to grab the wallet out of his pocket.  The victim struggled with the suspect, who then pushed the senior citizen to the ground, never letting go of the wallet.  The suspect took the wallet and fled on foot.

The suspect is described as a white male, between 20 and 30 years old, taller than 5’8”, with a stocky, muscular build, and short light colored hair.  He was last seen wearing a light colored short sleeved shirt and dark pants.

Anyone who saw anything suspicious in that area last night, or a suspect fitting that description, is asked to callCrime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS (8477).  All callers will remain anonymous and will be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000.  Tips may also be made online at www.southwestfloridacrimestoppers.com or by texting a tip toCRIMES (274637) Keyword: REWARD.

Categories
ABC-7 | WZVN

Olympic traveler prepares for Zika

The growing fears over Zika stretch beyond Florida’s borders.

England issued a travel warning Saturday to pregnant mothers telling them not to visit our state.

Meanwhile, thousands of Americans are getting ready to travel to Brazil for the Summer 2016 Olympics, and some are taking precautions at any cost.

Ryan Sherry says he’s got the “Olympic bug.”

“I got some friends down there some that are either competing in the games or some that are coaching,” he said.

But when he and his father go to Rio de Janeiro next week, it’s a different bug that has them spending hundreds of dollars worth of mosquito-resistant clothing.

“Probably spent about $1,000 between the two,” Sherry said. “Good price to pay to be safe.”

– RELATED STORY: Zika virus concers hit Collier County blood centers

But the virus is now hitting closer to home as health officials are investigating after at least four people who contracted Zika in one square mile of Miami.

This weekend, extra patrols are out in force spraying, screening residents, and passing out critical supplies in the trouble zone.

“The key is keeping pregnant women safe,” said Dr. Richard Besser.

It’s no easy task as Dr. Besser says for Americans like Sherry, the threat doesn’t go away when they’re safely back home.

“I’m just going to try to take safety precautions and put myself in the best situation possible,” Sherry said.

Florida blood banks are doing what they can to keep donations safe. Oneblood is testing all of their donations for the virus, and starting Monday, the Red Cross will stop taking blood donations from those who have been in Miami-Dade or Broward counties in the last four weeks.

RELATED STORIES
SW Fla. responds to new Zika concerns
– Zika virus found in common mosquitoes
– Are people getting complacent over Zika?
– Collier residents concerned flooding could attract Zika mosquitoes

Categories
ABC-7 | WZVN

Mad moms leave ‘Bad Moms’ movie in Fort Myers theater

It’s opening weekend for the movie “Bad Moms,” and a Regal movie theater in south Fort Myers has encountered some mad moms.

Lia Denison was among them. 

“Then when I heard other women saying ‘He’s telling her she needs to cover up,'” said Denison, “I started crying.”

Her friend, Juliana Valverde, was asked to cover up while breastfeeding and then given a choice.

“That ultimatum,” said Valverde. “[The employee] was like ‘You can either cover up or you can leave.’ I was just, at that point, I was so hurt and walked away. Tears came down.”

Valverde was with a group of about 50 women to see the movie. A couple of mothers brought their children. There’s just one problem: Regal’s policy does not allow children age six and under to attend R-rated films — even with a parent.

“They were outside dealing with the manager trying to get things squared away,” said Amber Cebull. “But what ended up happening was he was unwilling to budge on the policy.”

Cebull says while talking with the manager in the lobby, the moms claim the manager went too far. They say he requested Valverde cover up while breastfeeding her baby.

“They can’t go everywhere,” said Cebull. “People don’t want them in restaurants, people don’t want them in other places, people don’t want them nursing in public. Where are moms supposed to go?”

State law allows women to breastfeed in any public or private location.

Daniel Garza with Wilbur Smith Attorneys at Law sat down with us to talk more about the case.

“Somebody can’t stop the mom from breastfeeding,” said Garza.

But he also says there’s an important question to answer.

“Was this mother kicked out because of the policy or because she was breastfeeding?” asked Garza. “That’s what we need to determine.”

We reached out to one mother that says some moms did re-enter the movie but were caught by a manager and asked to leave.

We reached out to Regal but have not heard back.

Whether policy was broken or not, Juliana Valverde feels her rights were violated.

“There’s always people that are going to feel uncomfortable and they shouldn’t,” said Valverde. “I don’t need anyone’s approval to feed my baby.”