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Weary Bonita Springs residents brace for more rain

More flooding could impact parts of Bonita Springs already underwater after Hurricane Irma.

Heavy rains pose the biggest threat to neighborhoods by the Imperial River. Standing water continues to devastate people there to the point where some of them said another rainstorm wouldn’t faze them.

“More rain doesn’t matter now. Everything is destroyed,” said Lidia Escobar, who lives in Bonita.

Pat Poulos, Escobar’s neighbor, agreed. She returned Saturday after evacuating to find her home covered in mold. 

Poulos said she doesn’t have much left to lose. 

“It’s already all ruined. You know, what more can happen? It’s gone,” she said. 

Others in Bonita Springs do all they can to protect what’s left. 

“We discovered a leak last night with all the rain. And now, of course, we’re trying to deal with it before we get even more rain,” said John Paeno, CGT Kayaks C.E.O. 

Bonita Springs Rotary Club members are helping affected families get rid of everything that has touched flood water. Don Manley, one of the club members, said it could take up to eight weeks before most impacted families can move back into their homes.

© Copyright 2017 WBBH/WZVN (Waterman Broadcasting). All rights reserved.

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ABC-7 | WZVN

Immokalee man arrested for tossing dog out of truck

In the midst of Hurricane Irma recovery in Immokalee, a dog — appearing to have been abused — was dumped at a gas station.

More than two weeks later, the man responsible for leaving the dog was arrested.

Multiple people saw Norberto Delarosa throw a dog tied up with Christmas lights out of his truck, leaving it near a dumpster.

One of those at the gas station was a Collier County deputy, who stepped in to help after being alerted by bystanders.

Those who witnessed the horrific sight were waiting in line for gas at a Handy gas station off Carson Road, two days after Irma struck.

Animal Services showed up and took the dog to a vet in Naples. Not only was he tied up in those lights, but he also appeared to have been badly beaten, with bruises and cuts all over his body.

His condition is unavailable.

Delarosa admitted to leaving the dog at the station, telling deputies there was “plenty of food on the ground for the dog to eat.”

He was arrested Saturday on a charge of animal cruelty and later released.

If you, or someone you know, would be interested in surrendering a pet to the Gulf Coast Humane Society, click here

© Copyright 2017 WBBH/WZVN (Waterman Broadcasting). All rights reserved.

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NBC-2 | WBBH

Immokalee man arrested for tossing dog out of truck

In the midst of Hurricane Irma recovery in Immokalee, a dog — appearing to have been abused — was dumped at a gas station.

More than two weeks later, the man responsible for leaving the dog was arrested.

Multiple people saw Norberto Delarosa throw a dog tied up with Christmas lights out of his truck, leaving it near a dumpster.

One of those at the gas station was a Collier County deputy, who stepped in to help after being alerted by bystanders.

Those who witnessed the horrific sight were waiting in line for gas at a Handy gas station off Carson Road, two days after Irma struck.

Animal Services showed up and took the dog to a vet in Naples. Not only was he tied up in those lights, but he also appeared to have been badly beaten, with bruises and cuts all over his body.

His condition is unavailable.

Delarosa admitted to leaving the dog at the station, telling deputies there was “plenty of food on the ground for the dog to eat.”

He was arrested Saturday on a charge of animal cruelty and later released.

If you, or someone you know, would be interested in surrendering a pet to the Gulf Coast Humane Society, click here

© Copyright 2017 WBBH/WZVN (Waterman Broadcasting). All rights reserved.

Categories
NBC-2 | WBBH

Weary Bonita Springs residents brace for more rain

More flooding could impact parts of Bonita Springs already underwater after Hurricane Irma.

Heavy rains pose the biggest threat to neighborhoods by the Imperial River. Standing water continues to devastate people there to the point where some of them said another rainstorm wouldn’t faze them.

“More rain doesn’t matter now. Everything is destroyed,” said Lidia Escobar, who lives in Bonita.

Pat Poulos, Escobar’s neighbor, agreed. She returned Saturday after evacuating to find her home covered in mold. 

Poulos said she doesn’t have much left to lose. 

“It’s already all ruined. You know, what more can happen? It’s gone,” she said. 

Others in Bonita Springs do all they can to protect what’s left. 

“We discovered a leak last night with all the rain. And now, of course, we’re trying to deal with it before we get even more rain,” said John Paeno, CGT Kayaks C.E.O. 

Bonita Springs Rotary Club members are helping affected families get rid of everything that has touched flood water. Don Manley, one of the club members, said it could take up to eight weeks before most impacted families can move back into their homes.

© Copyright 2017 WBBH/WZVN (Waterman Broadcasting). All rights reserved.

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NBC-2 | WBBH

MADD raises $40,000 for local program

Hundreds of people started their Saturday at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, raising money for Mothers Against Drunk Drivers.

The organization had a record turnout for their annual run/walk.

The organization works to educate the public on the impact of drunk driving and underage drinking.

This year’s event raised more than $40,000, which will stay local and fund programs in Southwest Florida.

For more information on MADD in Southwest Florida, click here.

© Copyright 2017 WBBH/WZVN (Waterman Broadcasting). All rights reserved.

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NBC-2 | WBBH

Here’s how you can help Puerto Rico

AP — Hurricane Maria has devastated Puerto Rico, destroying buildings leaving its more than 3.4 million residents largely without power. Food and drinking water are also difficult to come by, and the recovery will be long, difficult and expensive.

While the urge to donate clothes and other supplies is natural, money is the best way to contribute during times of disaster, charities and philanthropy experts say. That’s not to say there’s never a time and place for supplies. Diapers, for example, are often requested. And donating directly through a website gets money to a charity faster than a text donation, even though the text might seem easier.

Here’s how to make sure you are giving in a way that matters the most.

GIVE TO ESTABLISHED CHARITIES

GuideStar’s website has a database that lets you vet charities . You can find information on a charity’s expenses, assets and revenue, as well as its programs. Stacy Palmer, editor of The Chronicle of Philanthropy, also suggests looking at a charity’s website for information on how it will use donations. And look through local news reports for information on a charity’s work, or contact the local United Way (in this case, Puerto Rico’s). It’s up to you whether to go with a local charity that might know the area better, or a national charity that has wider reach.

TEXTING TO GIVE?

It might be tempting to make a donation through a text and have the phone company charge it on your phone bill. It’s easy, and it might feel as though it’s the quickest way to get money to a charity.

But Palmer says that’s not the case, as charities have to wait for the phone companies to release the money.

The quickest way to give is to go to the charity’s website and donate directly, using a credit or debit card. That said, relief agencies will need money beyond first few days or even weeks, so if the ease of text donations appeals to you, tap away. To donate $10 to the Red Cross via text, send a text message saying “REDCROSS” to the number 90999.

Apple users in the U.S. can also donate to the American Red Cross through the company’s iTunes and app stores to help people affected by Hurricane Maria and the earthquake in Mexico. Amounts range from $5 to $200, and you can’t use store credit. The donations will be split equally between the two disasters.

On Google, searching for terms such as “Hurricane Maria” will let you donate directly in the search results. Just scroll down and you’ll find an option to give $5, $25 or $50 to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy .

TIMING

Donations often pour in immediately after disaster strikes but peter out during the long recovery process. While there are a lot of immediate needs, Palmer says, charities are going to need support for the long haul.

Consider saving some of your money so you can donate again in a few weeks or months. Better yet, set up a recurring donation to support your chosen charity over time.

Some charities will say when they have raised enough for a particular disaster and use any extra money for their general fund, Palmer says. This isn’t bad.

“One of the things this disaster shows is that it’s important to have resilience,” she says. “It’s smart to just give and say that it can be used wherever it’s most needed.”

CROWDFUNDING

Group fundraising services such as GoFundMe let people raise money for friends, families, neighbors or themselves — as well as for charity. As always, do your homework before giving to a stranger or cause online.

GoFundMe has a special page for Hurricane Maria pleas for charities, individuals and families. GlobalGiving , a crowdfunding site for charities, is trying to raise $5 million for local relief and recovery efforts.

Remember that donations are tax-deductible only if they go to a registered nonprofit or charity. Otherwise, they are generally considered gifts.

HOLD OFF ON MATERIAL DONATIONS

Donating food, clothing and household items can complicate and even hinder relief efforts, experts say. After Superstorm Sandy in 2012, for example, there were reports of relief agencies not knowing what to do with the piles of clothing and other unsolicited items pouring in.

The U.S. Center for Disaster Information says such donations “require transportation — which is expensive and logistically complicated — and a pre-identified recipient on the ground who will receive the shipment, pay customs and other fees, sort and distribute the items.”

Unsolicited goods, the agency says , are “never required in early stages of response, and they compete with priority relief items for transportation and storage.”

LOCAL HELP

Puerto Rico’s first lady, Beatriz Rossello, has launched an emergency fund with help from private companies. United for Puerto Rico (Unidos Por Puerto Rico) lets you donate through PayPal or directly to its bank account.

AID FOR CHILDREN

UNICEF USA is working to get essential supplies such as water purification tablets, water containers, sanitary pads and detergent to children and their families in Puerto Rico. The relief agency says a donation of $28 will provide one kit to a family in need.

Save the Children says 700,000 children have been affected by the storm. The charity is providing aid in Puerto Rico as well as the Dominican Republic.

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NBC-2 | WBBH

ISIS leader seemingly breaks 11-month silence in audio recording

CNN — The leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, seems to have broken his 11-month silence with a long audio message in which he mocks the United States, calls on jihadis to rally against the Syrian regime and insists that ISIS ‘remains’ despite its rapid loss of territory.

A spokesman for the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Timothy Barrett, told CNN that after analyzing the recording, the intelligence community has determined the message “appears to be authentic.”

The speech seems to have been recorded relatively recently, as it references North Korean nuclear threats against Japan and the United States, as well as Syrian peace talks — in which Russia, Turkey and Iran are trying to extend ceasefires across Syria.

The release appears to lay to rest claims by the Russian military that they had almost certainly killed Baghdadi in an airstrike near Raqqa on May 28. US officials say ISIS has largely been forced out of Raqqa as well as Mosul, and Baghdadi may be somewhere in the middle Euphrates River Valley.

That is an area that straddles Syria’s border with Iraq, to which much of the group’s leadership is thought to have relocated earlier this year.

A spokesman for the US-led coalition fighting ISIS said they were not aware of the audio recording. “This is the first I’ve heard about it,” US Army Col. Ryan Dillon, a spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, told reporters Thursday at the Pentagon by teleconference from Baghdad.

Dillon later added “without verifiable evidence of his death we have continued to assume he’s alive.” Dillon said he was “sure our people” are looking at the recording, and if there is any information in the recording as to his location “we may have folks moving in right now.”

In his 46-minute message, Baghdadi urged fighters (“the mujahideen”) to persevere, and to show that the bloodshed in Mosul, Raqqa and elsewhere was not in vain “by clashing the shining swords and shedding filthy blood.”

He appealed for jihadi attacks worldwide, claiming that “America, Europe and Russia are living in a state of terror,” according to a translation provided by the SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks jihadi groups. Baghdadi also rallied Sunni Muslims against the Shia, saying that they would never accept “half-solutions” — especially after all the destruction and the gains they’ve made. This appears to be a reference to Iran’s growing reach across the region.

Scholar Hassan Hassan, who has written a book about the rise of ISIS, said in a tweet that a key theme of Baghdadi’s speech was that he sees ISIS’s fight as a “ceaseless war of attrition to deplete enemies.” In that regard, Baghdadi claims the US decision not to send ground troops to Syria as vindication of ISIS’s strategy. (In fact, the United States has several hundred combat troops in Syria.)

Baghdadi says the US suffers from fatigue and Russia has taken control of the Syria situation. Baghdadi also echoes the message of another ISIS leader, Abu Mohammad al-Adnani, who declared that holding territory mattered less than the will to fight. Adnani was killed in 2016.

In his speech, Baghdadi says that the prophet had not told his companions when or how Islam would be victorious, “so that they don’t make victory or defeat dependent upon losing territory or some of the believers being killed.”

Both US and Russian air power, as well as a variety of ground forces, are active in the area, but ISIS still holds some towns on the Euphrates.

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2017 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

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NBC-2 | WBBH

NICU Grandpa’s story goes viral

ATLANTA (WXIA) — It’s a story that’s stolen thousands of hearts, a photo of the NICU Grandpa. 

The Children’s Healthcare volunteer cuddles babies too small to leave the NICU. He talked to 11Alive’s Kaitlyn Ross about why he loves it so much.

For the past 12 years David Deutchman has come every Tuesday and Thursday to hold, soothe, and love the tiniest babies at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

He said it’s the best job he’s ever had. He thinks he gets more out of his snuggle sessions with the Preemies at CHOA then they do, even if not everyone understands why he does it.

“Some of my guy friends, they ask me what I do here. And I say, ‘Well, I hold babies. I get puked on, I get peed on,’ and they say, ‘Why would you do that?’ Some people just don’t understand the kind of reward you would get from holding a baby like this,” Deutchman said.

“It’s been wonderful because it gives me something to do that has meaning to it.”

He quickly earned the nickname “NICU Grandpa” for his easy demeanor and loving embrace. 

This Tuesday he was cuddling Logan Brulette, born at just 25 weeks old, when Logan’s Mom walked in.

“All my anxiety and everything was gone, and I was just filled with joy,” MaryBeth Brulette said.

For the past six weeks, she’s been driving two hours each way to see her little boy who was born at just 1 pound 15 ounces.

“Every morning I get here as soon as I can, but I’m always anxious that he’s alone, and he’s missing Mommy,” she said.

Usually she finds him in an incubator at the NICU, but this week, she found him in NICU Grandpa’s arms.

“When I saw Grandpa, I of course started crying. Because it was so precious and he was so cozy in his arms and Grandpa was just as happy as can be, as if it was his own grandchild,” she said.

She had trouble finding the words to thank him and tell him how much what he does means to families with babies in the NICU. 

“He comes and snuggles when mommies and daddies have to take showers or eat, or be with brothers and sisters,” she said.

David says it just comes naturally to him and he treasures every minute he can spend with the babies in their young lives. 

“Every day I drive in here I don’t know what kids I’m going to meet, what parents I’m going to meet, what the issues will be and how I can help. It’s been wonderful for me,” Deutchman said.

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NBC-2 | WBBH

Irma carried message in a bottle from Cuba to Central Florida

CNN — Chila Lynn is a Cuban R&B singer who has enjoyed a certain level of success since she was a teenager. She gave life to the singing voice of Tiana in the Spanish version of Disney’s “The Princess and the Frog” in 2009, when she was only 18, and released her first album, “Real Woman,” in 2012.

But Lynn wanted more. She wanted to become an international sensation.

A devout believer in the Afro-Cuban goddess Yemayá, Lynn wrote her a letter asking for a successful career. She put her message inside a green wine bottle and threw it into the sea by a waterside church in her native Havana.

“I hoped for my career to travel as far as the bottle would go,” Lynn told CNN.

She never imagined her bottle would be found nearly 400 miles away — and by somebody who says he’ll help take her career further.

Message in a bottle

Earlier this month, Allen Gibson and Nikki Snow discovered Lynn’s bottle at a beach near Melbourne, Florida, as Hurricane Irma was passing through. The letter inside was written in Spanish, so they needed help translating it. Gibson took the letter to his workplace, which just so happens to be a Cuban restaurant owned by a musician.

“It’s absolutely incredible, but there’s a reason why it was sent here,” El Ambia Cubano restaurant owner Alfredo Hernandez told CNN.

The restaurant owner said he emailed Lynn telling her the bottle had been found. They have been in regular contact since then, with Hernandez listening to much of Lynn’s music online.

Hernandez, who describes Lynn as a “talented and dedicated artist,” framed her letter and put it on display in his restaurant next to a small altar to the Cuban Virgin of Charity, Ochún. He told CNN he feels that the virgin is asking him to help Lynn pursue a successful international career.

Ready for the future

Despite her faith, Lynn did not leave the entire future of her success in the hands of the water goddess. She told CNN she is working to make her second album, “Amor y Miel,” available outside of Cuba. It has been difficult because she no longer has a record deal, but she remains confident her career will grow.

Hernandez told CNN he is making arrangements with his industry contacts for Lynn to perform in Florida. He said he has “no financial interest” in helping Lynn and is doing it to honor the virgin.

Lynn has already assembled a band and is ready to go on tour. The singer says she hopes to be in Florida by Christmas with help from Hernandez.

“You have to help faith with your own hard work,” Lynn told CNN.

The-CNN-Wire ™ & © 2017 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

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Sarasota convenience store robbed at gunpoint

Deputies in Sarasota are looking for a man who robbed a convenience store at gunpoint Saturday morning.

It happened shortly before 6:30 a.m. at the 7-Eleven, 5420 N. Lockwood Ridge Rd.

The suspect was armed with a silver handgun and fled the store with the cash drawer. He was seen headed westbound on DeSoto Road in a silver four-door sedan.

He is described as a black male in his early 20s, wearing a black hoodie, dark jeans, black sneakers and gloves. 
 
Anyone with information related to this incident is asked to contact our Criminal Investigations Section at 941.861.4900 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers by calling 941.366.TIPS (8477), online at sarasotacrimestoppers.com.

Copyright 2017 WBBH/WZVN (Waterman Broadcasting). All rights reserved.