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Gator spotted at Bonita Springs golf course in viral video

A video showing a gator walking around a Bonita Springs golf course is now going viral. 

ABC-7 went to the golf course and found out he’s still there although he’s back in the water now where he belongs.

But this is just the most recent gator sighting in Florida. There have been at least six in the last month. Half of them here in Southwest Florida.

So we wanted to know why they seem to be popping up a lot. FWC said the reason this massive creature could be coming a little closer than usual may have to do with our dangerously dry conditions. 

In a statement to ABC-7 officials said, “prolonged drought conditions may cause alligators to move in search of water,” which isn’t a surprise to those on the course.

“It’s been pretty dry this year so far they’re probably coming out looking for food I’d imagine there’s not a lot out here everything’s drying up,” said Daniel Eaker in Bonita Springs.

“When it gets so hot down here or you don’t see a lot of rain, we see him more often because you see them on the banks,” added Adam Dolan, operations staff member. 

Even though that gator is quite large, FWC says unless he becomes a nuisance or aggressive towards any golfers, he’ll stay put safe and sound in his pond on hole 8, waiting for the rain, just like us.

 

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Man shot by deputies after running from traffic stop

Deputies fired multiple shots at a man who ran from a traffic stop and ended up at a Fort Myers hotel.

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office said that deputies shot a man near the Howard Johnson hotel off of highway US 41 when he ran after being pulled over and pointed a gun at law enforcement. 

Multiple deputies shot at the suspect. He was taken to the hospital where his condition was not released. 

One bullet hole was found in a window of one of the hotel rooms. 

One witness said he saw a man running from police along the road when he was caught and shot. They also said he had a gun and has been taken to the hospital.

Other witnesses said they heard multiple gunshots.

Deputies said there were multiple people inside the car. 

 

 

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Loading zone signs create confusion for Sam’s customers

Confusing signs at the Sam’s Club on Pine Island Road in Cape Coral are causing headaches for customers.

One woman got stuck with a traffic fine for following the directions.

Carmen Perez said a Sam’s Club staff member pointed her to a white loading bay door at the front of the store to pick up an online order. The area has three clear signs that say loading zone.

She went inside for less than five minutes to get her order and then returned to her car.

“There was a volunteer behind my vehicle and he goes, ‘Can I have your license, and you’re going to get a ticket, you’re not supposed to park in the fire lane,'” Perez said.

Perez explained her confusion to the Cape Coral Police volunteer unit about the poorly placed signage by the loading area.

“One says pull forward for loading; the other one says no parking, fire lane,” Perez said.

The volunteer officer would not budge and wrote Perez a traffic citation. 

The experience makes Perez question Sam’s Club’s confusing signs that are leaving customers facing financial consequences.

“I think they should take those signs down and get rid of this door,” Perez said.

Perez’s ticket could cost her anywhere from $10 to $50.

Sam’s Club corporate said it wants to make shopping as easy as possible for customers.

They released the following statement:

We are reviewing our current signage to ensure we’re clearly communicating how our members can use Club Pickup to get in and out of our parking lot quickly.

 

Copyright 2018 WBBH/WZVN (Waterman Broadcasting). All rights reserved.

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Naples hospital sacrifices efficiency for security

Naples Community Hospital made major security changes Monday. Hospital staff said it’s not a direct response to the incident at Lehigh Regional Medical Center over the weekend.
 
They just felt the timing was right to step up security, but some wish the new system was more efficient.
 
“This morning we took the positive step of starting to identify our visitors that come into the hospital,” said John Griffith, Director of Security at NCH Health Care System.
 
Starting Monday, visitors to Naples Community Hospital must present photo identification in order to get inside.
 
“We’ve locked all of our exterior entrances, other than the main lobby and the emergency room, and now all of our visitors are filtering into the main lobby entrance,” Griffith said.
 
That’s where guests will have their I.D. scanned in exchange for a temporary I.D. badge to enter the hospital.
 
“It’s beginning to be a nationwide trend in hospitals to screen your visitors and I think most hospitals in Florida are already doing that,” Griffith said.
 
Some visitors were caught off guard by the security changes.
 
“Of course we’re all very concerned about schools and Americans’ safety in general, but it’s a very inefficient system today,” Edwina Proctor said.
 
But Proctor was more mad about the long lines and wait times.
 
“When I saw that there were eight, 10, 12 people standing there and there was one person doing the best he could processing driver’s license information, I thought that was insulting to the public,” Proctor said.
 
N.C.H. is not the first hospital in Southwest Florida to screen guests.
Lee Health debuted its fast pass security system in 2013, requiring visitors to present a passport or state-issued I.D. in order to enter Lee Memorial Hospital or Gulf Coast Medical Center. The fast pass requirement was extended to Golisano Children’s Hospital and Healthpark Medical Center last year.
 
“It really makes it much more safe because when a person comes in as a visitor, they’ll tell us who they’re here to visit or if they’re here to go to the post office or have lunch in our cafeteria, so we will know who is supposed to be here,” said Cindy Brown, Vice President of patient care services at Healthpark Medical Center.
 
ABC-7 reached out to several other Southwest Florida hospitals, including Physicians Regional in Naples and Bayfront Health in Port Charlotte to compare their hospital security policies, but we have not yet heard back.

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Palmetto Ridge coaching addition will keep players more safe

For the second time in three years under head coach Chris Toukonen, the Palmetto Ridge Bears made the playoffs. This year they will look to make it over the first round hump and make a run. Something that might help that cause, is the addition of new defensive coordinator PJ Gibbs.  

Gibbs a master trainer with USA Football brings a unique style to the Bears that will help their players stay safe on the field.  It’s called Heads up Football before the players do any live contact drills they spend about an hour getting themselves in good tackling positions.
 
“We do it to emphasize using your leverage. You’re near foot and near shoulder to keep your head out of the game,” Gibbs said.  
 
He joins comes to Palmetto Ridge from Gulf Coast High School.  For Coach Toukonen it was a no-brainer to call Gibbs after last year’s defensive coordinator got a head coaching position.
 
“We’re getting better every day and obviously gelling as a team becoming one unit and going along for the ride,” said Toukonen about having Gibbs on his staff.  
For the players, there has been a little bit of a learning curve but they now these new techniques will keep them safer come Friday nights in the fall.
 
“He’s taught us a better way to still make the play aggressively but do it in a safer manner we do play a violent game,” said sophomore safety Voshon Siriac.
 
The Bears will wrap up their spring football season on Wednesday, May 16 with a game against Charlotte High School.   

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Major policy approved to prevent heat illness for high school athletes

The Florida High School Athletic Association unanimously approved a new policy requiring Florida athletes and coaches to pass a heat illness prevention course before participating in sports.

“The education piece is critical,” said Lee County mother, Laurie Giordano, whose son Zachary Martin Polsenberg died after overheating at a Riverdale High School football practice last summer.

“Riverdale did have cold water immersion tubs. They did have ice available in the building. And the unfortunate piece is no one knew what to do,” she continued.

Giordano is still pushing the FHSAA to require the presence of wet bulb globe thermometers and cold water immersion tubs near any athletic activity. Currently, the FHSAA is only recommending it.

“We certainly don’t want to pass something that we are not able to follow up on,” warned FHSAA Board of Directors member Doug Dodd. “This is important to the point where if we are going to require it, then we should have avenues that we can look to, to make sure it’s being done. I feel confident we’re going to be able to get to a good decision.”

“I’m actually happy with what happened today,” said Sports Medicine Advisory Committee member Robert Sefcik.

The FHSAA will collect data on what schools already have cold water immersion tubs and wet bulb globe thermometers before their next meeting on June 11, and they will vote on whether or not their presence is mandated then.

 

© Copyright 2018 WBBH/WZVN (Waterman Broadcasting). All rights reserved.

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NBC-2 | WBBH

Major policy approved to prevent heat illness for high school athletes

The Florida High School Athletic Association unanimously approved a new policy requiring Florida athletes and coaches to pass a heat illness prevention course before participating in sports.

“The education piece is critical,” said Lee County mother, Laurie Giordano, whose son Zachary Martin Polsenberg died after overheating at a Riverdale High School football practice last summer.


RELATED: After her son died, this mother is fighting for high school football player’s safety


“Riverdale did have cold water immersion tubs. They did have ice available in the building. And the unfortunate piece is no one knew what to do,” she continued.

Giordano is still pushing the FHSAA to require the presence of wet bulb globe thermometers and cold water immersion tubs near any athletic activity. Currently, the FHSAA is only recommending it.

“We certainly don’t want to pass something that we are not able to follow up on,” warned FHSAA Board of Directors member Doug Dodd. “This is important to the point where if we are going to require it, then we should have avenues that we can look to, to make sure it’s being done. I feel confident we’re going to be able to get to a good decision.”


RELATED: Player safety ‘first and foremost’ in coaches’ minds as high school football spring practice begins


“I’m actually happy with what happened today,” said Sports Medicine Advisory Committee member Robert Sefcik.

The FHSAA will collect data on what schools already have cold water immersion tubs and wet bulb globe thermometers before their next meeting on June 11, and they will vote on whether or not their presence is mandated then.

© Copyright 2018 WBBH/WZVN (Waterman Broadcasting). All rights reserved.

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Propane tank removed from homeless camp for posing fire threat

By Chris Lovingood, Reporter

Over the weekend, Scott Baumgart told us about a man who admitted to stabbing another man, 33-year-old Phillip Ronzone, at a homeless camp behind the United Plaza off US 41.

We followed up with Baumgart on Monday to see if the camp, the same one where Baumgart used to live and went to jail for trespassing, was dangerous.

“I wouldn’t say all homeless camps are dangerous,” said Baumgart. “There are probably a lot of them that are.”

He and others said that people in the homeless camps tend to keep to themselves with passer-byes being the problem.

At last check, Baumgart’s camp was abandoned.

“No, sir,” said Baumgart. “No one is back there anymore.”

Just to be sure, we took our cameras inside this homeless camp, and we did find it empty, but what we also found was a propane tank rigged up to a stove, and there was still gas inside the tank.

We called the North Fort Myers Fire Department to let them know. They met us near the homeless camp so we could show them where the tank was.

A fire investigator was called out to check out the tank to make sure it wasn’t leaking. When he determined it was, he called the Lee County Sheriff’s Office because the propane tank belonged to Scott Baumgart, a previously daily user of the tank who was no longer allowed on the property.

However, investigators let him take it.

The propane tank wasn’t leaking, but the NFMFD says cooking on it could pose a fire threat.

We reached out to the realtor that handles this property where the cap sits. A man there said that the LCSO has a letter on file to clear a camp if one pops up again.

© Copyright 2018 WBBH/WZVN (Waterman Broadcasting). All rights reserved.

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Guard at Miami juvenile lockup charged with ordering inmates to beat up teen

Dangling rewards and special privileges before young inmates, an officer at Miami’s juvenile lockup masterminded an attack on another inmate who was beaten so severely that he died, according to a federal indictment unsealed Monday.

As part of a coded bounty system known in prison vernacular as “honey-bunning” — for the sweet rolls sometimes offered as rewards — detention officer Antwan Lenard Johnson ordered the attack on 17-year-old Elord Revolte at the Miami-Dade Juvenile Detention Center in August 2015, the indictment says. The document refers to the victim as “E.R.” because he was a minor at the time of his death.

At a news conference, federal prosecutors in Miami announced charges Monday afternoon against Johnson for civil rights violations that resulted in Revolte’s death.

“This cannot and will not stand,” said Benjamin Greenberg, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida. “The United States Constitution protects every person in the country, including those who are detained in juvenile detention facilities. When an officer abuses his or her badge and violates the civil rights of another person, this office and the FBI will hold that officer accountable.”

Greenberg acknowledged that the practice of honey-bunning is commonly used at juvenile detention centers in Florida. However, he declined to comment on the specifics of any other investigations.
 
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Drought conditions worse than previous years

From grounded boats in Cape Coral to dried out greens at country clubs, the drought in 2018 is already worse than last year.
 
 
Rich Lamb is the golf director at the Fort Myers Country Club. They are already cutting water use by a third to conserve.
 
“Once we get to the 15th  of May and say we have 0 in though 15 days were going to start panicking a little bit,”  Lamb said.
 
Canals are drying up in Cape Coral. The area is six inches below the average rainfall for this time of year.
 
“The canals are lower than I’ve ever seen them in my community the lakes are way down,” Tony Reed of Fort Myers said.  
 
Areas south of Estero are in a severe drought, while North Lee County is in a moderate drought. If May stays dry, get ready to see yellow lawns throughout the area.
 
“We’re really praying we get a whole bunch of those in May,” Lamb said.
 
“The lakes are down so far I mean there isn’t much room for the fish to swim anymore,” Bob Valeriano said. “It’s really brown.”
 
Shallow canals and lakes have gators on the move.
 
“Most body of water in Florida has gators and they are disappearing so they’re looking for different places,” Reed said.
 
For now, all there is to do is wait.