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Boaters advised to stay off the water during Hermine

With Tropical Storm Hermine making its way to the north coast of Florida, winds kicking off the system are making their way to our area.

Sailboaters are looking to take full advantage of the gusts, but a boat towing company says don’t take the chance.

Many boats at the Cape Coral Yacht Basin have been secured in anticipation of gusty winds and higher tides.

“We’ve probably a few boats that have taken on a little more water because of the rain,” said Richard Paul with Tow Boat US.

He’s prepping his team for emergency calls if people decide to go out.

If winds go over 45 knots (51 mph), even his crews are limited.

“We can handle the river with gale force, but it’s when you get offshore. It’s when you get the eight to ten foot waves. We just don’t have that kind of equipment to take on that type of responsibility,” Paul said.

His biggest concern with Hermine is over-zealous sailboaters.

“You get a 40-knot wind, and now that’s twice the speed and three to four times as more dangerous.”

Sailboat captain Michael King said being in actual danger on the Gulf depends on one’s level of experience.

“It’s not unusual to want to go out and play; that’s what they’re for. So you want to go out and run around in front of the storm.

“You still keep an eye on them, because they’re subject to turn, they’re subject to grow.”

Still, Paul can’t help but remember the Kimberly family from Sarasota, lost at sea in a sailboat off our coast in June.

“It’s not something that you go out and play in, no,” Paul said.

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Bagpipe-playing FGCU student shuts down anti-gay preacher on campus

A man using a megaphone to spread an anti-gay message at Florida Gulf Coast University was confronted by a gay student who just couldn’t take it anymore.

She fought back without ever saying a word, and it went viral.

Brice Ehmig is a senior. She said after seeing what she calls a “hate preacher” on campus for days, she promised to do something about it. So, when the man came back with a megaphone, she decided to get louder and prouder – following him on his walk and playing a song on her bagpipes.

“He started mentioning a lot more violent things against, you know, homosexuals,” Ehmig said.

Ehmig played “Amazing Grace,” saying she thought it was a “good piece to play for him.”

Gabrielle Cicolani is Ehmig’s girlfriend and called it a peaceful protest. She recorded the whole thing.

“I was really proud of her, honestly, for going out there and standing up for something.”

Cicolani said the man “looked at (Ehmig) and said, ‘why are you doing this? Why are you doing this?'”

Ehmig said she wanted to stand up for herself. “I just wanted to do something that made me feel brave.”

Student Travis Means saw the whole exchange. He said both sides had freedom of speech.

“She was fighting fire with fire. He was yelling very controversial remarks,” Means said.

The video has been viewed more than 100,000 times. Ehmig said she has received a lot of praise, but also some criticism.

“It probably wasn’t the proper thing to do,” said junior Trevor Brown. “In a way, she was being disrespectful too.”

Still, Ehmig said she was doing what felt right.

“When I hear things like that, I just think about me when I was 12 and still in the closet and feeling really bad about myself. I wouldn’t want her to feel bad, 12-year-old me, I need to stand up for her.”

Ehmig said the man had just as much of a right to speak his mind as she had to play her music.

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Cape police hold active shooter training for public

Cape Coral Police on Wednesday held a public training session on active shooter situations.

They said they decided to host the class after the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando that left 49 people dead.

ALICE is an acronym Cape Coral Chief David Newlan said can save lives in active shooter situations.

“One person might think, ‘Well, maybe I should do this,’ but another person might think something the total opposite. So by this, everybody’s learning the same thing, and it’s almost where everybody knows what to do.”

ALICE stands for “Be Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate.”

With nowhere else to go, lock down with whatever you can find and barricade doors.

Pastor Paul Irminger took the course to share with his church volunteers.

“We hope we’re never faced with a situation like this but if something does happen we want to see people make it through,” he said.

Inform the authorities but know it takes an average of five to six minutes for them to respond.

“It’s a nationwide thing. There’s no particular place where these events couldn’t happen. There have been active shooter events in Cape Coral,” said Sgt. Brian Kearney.

Counter or fight back. Throw something – anything can slow the shooter down.

“I believe that you have to fight back in a life or death situations,” said Eric Sellers, who attended the class.

Finally, evacuate when it’s safe.

Jen Gayton said she wants more businesses and organizations to be on board with adopting ALICE to prevent tragedy.

“Perception needs to be changed from what other businesses think… policies and procedures. We’re not instead of being reactive we need to be proactive.”

The course is free. CCPD will host it twice a month until the wait list is gone. This is a completely different course than a Citizen Police Academy, as there are no weapons used.

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Bagpipe-playing FGCU student shuts down anti-gay preacher on campus

A man using a megaphone to spread an anti-gay message at Florida Gulf Coast University was confronted by a gay student who just couldn’t take it anymore.

She fought back without ever saying a word, and it went viral.

Brice Ehmig is a senior. She said after seeing what she calls a “hate preacher” on campus for days, she promised to do something about it. So, when the man came back with a megaphone, she decided to get louder and prouder – following him on his walk and playing a song on her bagpipes.

“He started mentioning a lot more violent things against, you know, homosexuals,” Ehmig said.

Ehmig played “Amazing Grace,” saying she thought it was a “good piece to play for him.”

Gabrielle Cicolani is Ehmig’s girlfriend and called it a peaceful protest. She recorded the whole thing.

“I was really proud of her, honestly, for going out there and standing up for something.”

Cicolani said the man “looked at (Ehmig) and said, ‘why are you doing this? Why are you doing this?'”

Ehmig said she wanted to stand up for herself. “I just wanted to do something that made me feel brave.”

Student Travis Means saw the whole exchange. He said both sides had freedom of speech.

“She was fighting fire with fire. He was yelling very controversial remarks,” Means said.

The video has been viewed more than 100,000 times. Ehmig said she has received a lot of praise, but also some criticism.

“It probably wasn’t the proper thing to do,” said junior Trevor Brown. “In a way, she was being disrespectful too.”

Still, Ehmig said she was doing what felt right.

“When I hear things like that, I just think about me when I was 12 and still in the closet and feeling really bad about myself. I wouldn’t want her to feel bad, 12-year-old me, I need to stand up for her.”

Ehmig said the man had just as much of a right to speak his mind as she had to play her music.

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NBC-2 | WBBH

Boaters advised to stay off the water during Hermine

With Tropical Storm Hermine making its way to the north coast of Florida, winds kicking off the system are making their way to our area.

Sailboaters are looking to take full advantage of the gusts, but a boat towing company says don’t take the chance.

Many boats at the Cape Coral Yacht Basin have been secured in anticipation of gusty winds and higher tides.

“We’ve probably a few boats that have taken on a little more water because of the rain,” said Richard Paul with Tow Boat US.

He’s prepping his team for emergency calls if people decide to go out.

If winds go over 45 knots (51 mph), even his crews are limited.

“We can handle the river with gale force, but it’s when you get offshore. It’s when you get the eight to ten foot waves. We just don’t have that kind of equipment to take on that type of responsibility,” Paul said.

His biggest concern with Hermine is over-zealous sailboaters.

“You get a 40-knot wind, and now that’s twice the speed and three to four times as more dangerous.”

Sailboat captain Michael King said being in actual danger on the Gulf depends on one’s level of experience.

“It’s not unusual to want to go out and play; that’s what they’re for. So you want to go out and run around in front of the storm.

“You still keep an eye on them, because they’re subject to turn, they’re subject to grow.”

Still, Paul can’t help but remember the Kimberly family from Sarasota, lost at sea in a sailboat off our coast in June.

“It’s not something that you go out and play in, no,” Paul said.

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Tips for staying safe while driving on wet roads

While Tropical Storm Hermine is expected to make landfall north of Southwest Florida, it’s still bringing plenty of rain to the area.  

As drivers prepare to ride out several days of rain, officials are warning everyone to be careful on the roads. 

“I’m not worried about myself driving, I think I can handle it, it’s the next guy that I’m worried about,” said Fort Myers resident Laurie Morris. 

AAA spokesperson Montrae Waiters offered the following advice to drivers:

Check your treads and tire pressure. Tires with good tread and adequate pressure are easier to maneuver and better equipped to handle slick roads. 

Take it slow. Leave a good following distance and don’t use cruise control. If you have to brake quickly, it’s easier to lose traction with the road at high speeds. 

Know your lights. It’s illegal to drive with your emergency flashers on.  Instead, drivers should use headlights in poor visibility conditions like rain. Don’t use high beams that will reflect off the rain and could make your visibility worse.  

Avoid standing water and flooded roads. It’s impossible to tell how deep a pool of water is, so you run the risk of flooding your car or damaging it on something you can see, like a pothole. 

When possible, experts say it’s best to stay off the roads and avoid the rain.

“Things can get out of control, and I figure why bother?” Morris said, “If it’s really, really bad, I just stay home.”

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Rash of armed business burglaries, robberies reported along Palm Beach Blvd.

Investigators are trying to figure out if a recent string of armed robberies and burglaries targeting businesses along Palm Beach Boulevard are connected, following yet another robbery Tuesday night.

“It’s devastating,” said Brad Foster. His pizza shop was burglarized last month by two men, caught on surveillance cameras, using a pickaxe to smash through the glass in the front door.

“We were here two years, and had no incidents…until now,” Foster said.

He’s not alone. A total of seven businesses along State Road 80 have either been burglarized or robbed in just the past two months.

“It’s unfortunate that there’s those kind of people out there who don’t want to get up and go to work like the rest of us,” Poster said.

The latest case happened Tuesday night at the Hardee’s near I-75. Surveillance cameras captured a man, armed with a gun, burst inside and demand cash.

It’s not the first time that restaurant has been hit. Two men barged in last month, flashed a gun, and forced employees to the ground before leaving with one worker’s purse.

“These are well-skilled individuals, they know what they’re doing,” said Trish Route of Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers.

Routte said investigators aren’t sure if these crimes are related. She said one of the reasons these crooks may be targeting businesses along the same road is because it allows for a quick escape.

“It’s easy access in and out,” Routte said. “You can easily go into a business there. Get right back onto Palm Beach Boulevard and head east or west. And the interstate isn’t too far away.”

Meantime, Foster has upgraded his camera system at his pizza shop, along with a note from his granddaughter, which reads “No bad guys allowed in the pizza shop. No money takers.”

Extra precautions in case the crooks come back.

“I’m hoping they find these guys,” Foster said. “That’s all you can do.”

In all of the cases, the crooks acted quickly, leaving within a couple of minutes or as soon as they get what they’re after. But the suspect descriptions have differed.

If you have any information that could help detectives, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS (8477).

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Delta to introduce new luggage tracking system at RSW

Delta Airlines will install a new luggage tracking system at Southwest Florida International Airport in September.

The system uses the same technology like your old debit and credit cards. It’s called RFID, or Radio Frequency Identification.

“It would be a really big deal. It would be inconvenient if we did lose our luggage,” said RSW traveler Nicole Coleman.

Waiting at a baggage carousel can be like waiting for your lost socks to reappear in the dryer, anxiety only getting worse until that suitcase finally emerges.

“When we wait for the bag to come, you always get a nervous breakdown,” said another traveler at RSW.

Delta handles 120 million bags every year, so a lost bag is bound to happen, but the airline hopes it won’t happen as often with the RFID tracking system, which will embed invisible chips on your baggage tags. Those chips enable Delta and travelers to follow your bags journey to, let’s hope, the correct destination.

“They’ll know exactly when this object is going through, what gate to get to, what terminal,” said tech expert Brandon Kucia.

Peace of mind, he described, but he’s worried it’s not foolproof.

“Anybody can, as you know in the payment industry, they can basically walk by and scan your wallet, and you lose your card.”

Kucia explained how RFID baggage could be just as vulnerable to hackers in the high skies in the worst case scenario. 

“They could cause some type of mass hysteria where they’re able to actually link in to the scanner themselves and shut them down or reroute everything that they want to do and completely mess up the whole infrastructure of the airline,” Kucia said. 

But Delta is diving into the tracking system, investing $50 million. The airline will roll out RFID tracking at several hundred airports around the world in September. 

“If it would compromise security, I don’t know if that would be worth it. Like I said, we haven’t had trouble losing luggage before,” Coleman said.

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Possible multi-family dwelling has Cape Coral neighbors worried

Some residents in Cape Coral are fighting to keep condos and apartments out of their neighborhood.

The owner of a large lot on the corner of Southeast 15th Street and Southeast 6th Avenue wants to change the land-use of his property and build multi-family housing there.

His neighbors are all single-family homeowners and say they’re ready to pack their bags if his plans go through.

“It’s just not… It’s not where my husband and I envisioned retiring. So we would have to do something about that,” said Tina Garcia.

The case has been heard by the Cape’s Planning and Zoning Commission. At their hearing, the commission pointed out the city has a low amount of land available as multi-family.

The owner of the lot is from out of state. In a statement to NBC2, the lot owner’s representative, Annette Barbaccia, said her clients “…have written to one of the neighbors that are concerned and expressed to them that they wish to be good neighbors and not build a large multi-family development, rather something smaller in scale, possibly two to three units.”

But that might not be enough for the neighbors of SE 6th Ave. to stay.

“The potential of what we may be asked to live with next door to us is just not something we’re willing to entertain,” Garcia said.

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Single vote decides Naples Reserve annexation

It all came down to one vote.

ABC7 uncovered only one person cast a vote to annex the Naples Reserve area into the Greater Naples Fire Department. 

Just over a dozen homes make up the reserve area, and even fewer homeowners are registered as voters. 

We learned the names of those eligible and began the search for the lone vote.

After an exhaustive search, we ran across Al San Souci who had just moved to the area. He said he voted to pass the annexation efforts. 

San Souci has been a voter nearly all of his life and considers it an obligation. It’s an obligation he takes seriously.

He’s only been in the community about two weeks, but he’s already being regarded as a hero by local firefighters. 

“We’re in a free country. It is important that we exercise our right,” said San Souci. 

Consolidating means not only will fire services continue for the new development, but homeowners have saved 25 percent on ad valorem taxation on property located within the district. 

“I think that person is probably a hero. They don’t know that,” said Chief Kingman Schuldt of the Greater Naples Fire Department. 

Without a vote, the two other annexation races – Collier County Fire Control MTSU and the Isle of Capri MTSU – would still have passed. But Naples Reserve would have been carved out as the only piece of the district left. 

Most homes here are still being built from scratch. But for this Vietnam veteran, it’s just a part of his civic duty.

“There is no rest for the weary on these things. We’ll get it switched over and continue to provide service,” said Schuldt.