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    An 80-year-old woman was rescued from her bedroom after a fire broke out in her home in Deerfield Beach.

    The fire was reported Wednesday afternoon in the 5300 block of Northeast First Avenue. A neighbor across the street called 911.

    The woman's 5-year-old and 7-year-old grandchildren were playing with a lighter and lit a mattress, Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue officials said.

    "I was in my bedroom and I didn't even know when it started," Mary Smith said.

    Firefighters pulled the woman, her grandchildren, a man and a dog from the home. Firefighters were also seen pulling out a scorched couch and mattress from the home.

    The grandchildren will have to complete a juvenile fire-setters program, along with their caregivers.

    The Red Cross is assisting the family. The house suffered significant damage.

    No injuries were reported.

    Follow Janine Stanwood on Twitter @JanineStanwood

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10

    --Photos courtesy of Broward Sheriff's Office Fire Rescue

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    A small amount of cocaine residue was found on a boat operated by DJ Laz the day after a man was killed while trying to help the radio host get his boat off the Nixon Beach sandbar last year, a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission report states.

    Investigators said several ripped up dollar bills contained white residue, which tested positive for cocaine.

    Laz, whose real name is Lazaro Mendez, was not criminally charged in the incident, but received a $90 citation for operating a vessel recklessly.

    "There was no other evidence that could support any other charge," FWC spokesman Jorge Pino said.

    Ernesto Hernandez, 23, was killed after a propeller on the Voli vodka party boat sliced his upper body.

    Authorities said toxicology tests showed that Hernandez had been drinking the night of the accident. Mendez refused to submit to any intoxication tests and Pino said officers did not see any signs of impairment and therefore could not force him to submit to any tests.

    "Was he drinking? I don't know. Was he doing other things? We don't know. We can just go on the physical evidence that was present at the time," Pino said.

    Hernandez's family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Mendez.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10

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    Authorities continue to search for a person of interest in a rape after a woman was found naked and disoriented at Walt Disney World.

    The woman, whose age was not released, was discovered by a security worker last Thursday morning in some bushes outside the House of Blues and Cirque du Soleil, Orange County sheriff's deputies said.

    According to deputies, the woman's underwear, clothing, purse and a used prophylactic were found nearby.

    The woman told deputies that she was drinking with her friend and a roommate at her apartment and consumed two bottles of Redd's Apple Ale and seven or eight shots of vodka before going to the House of Blues.

    The woman said she does not remember leaving the House of Blues.  She was found outside by the security officer around 5 a.m.

    The woman said she was unaware of being involved in sexual activity but was certain that if she had sex it was not consensual, authorities said.

    On Wednesday, Orange County deputies released a Crimeline flier saying they were working to identify a person of interest in a sexual battery near Lake Buena Vista.  Surveillance pictures were also released of the man.

    Anyone with information about the man is urged to call Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS.

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    A 13-year-old who lost his hand in a fireworks accident earlier this month is speaking about the ordeal for the first time.

    Javonte McNair has been out of the hospital for more than a week. He told Local 10 News that he lost his right hand and most of the sight in his left eye after a firework went off while he was holding it.

    "Did you light it yourself?" Local 10 News reporter Shyann Malone asked.

    "No," a shy McNair responded.

    "Someone else lit it?" asked Malone.

    "Yeah," said McNair.

    "And what happened when they lit it?" asked Malone.

    "It exploded in my hand and my face," McNair said.

    Initially Javonte claimed someone threw a firework at him and it went off in his hand as he tried to block it, but on Friday that story changed. Javonte told detectives that he tried to light a firework which other boys in his neighborhood were playing with July 8. He said he did not realize it was already lit when it exploded in his hand.

    A GoFundMe page set up by his big brother in the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Broward County program provided the update.

    "We are relieved to know no one intentionally hurt Javonte," wrote Troy McHatton. "We regretted that we had shared so much of the unconfirmed initial story. But when we thought how traumatic it must have been for a 13-year-old boy to look down at his arm and see the damage, to go through eight hours of surgery and to know that by doing something dumb, his life wouldn't be the same, we felt a flood of forgiveness."

    Javonte and his mother are grateful for the support.  The soon to be 7th grader at Sunrise Middle School hopes to one day play football again.  

    "His dream is to play football and that's what he even asked the surgeon that worked on his hand." said Theresa McNair. 

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10

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    A beachgoer was taken to a hospital after being struck by lightning at Haulover Park.

    Miami-Dade Fire Rescue said the victim was taken to Aventura Hospital in critical condition.

    Two other beachgoers were in the water at the time.

    "I looked in the water and I saw three people and they kind of looked like zombies, like paralyzed," a witness told Local 10 News.

    He said lifeguards helped the man out of the water and used a defibrillator on him.

    One of the men in the water was taken to the hospital as a precaution because of the nearby lightning strike.

    The third man was treated at the scene.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10

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    Three lanes are blocked on I-95 NB at Oakland Park Blvd right now.

    Heavy delays are expected throughout the morning commute.

    Drivers are urged to take an alternate route such as the Turnpike or State Road 7.

    Stay with Local 10 for updates.

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    An investigation is underway following the death of a former Miami-Dade Police Director.

    Robert Parker was found dead Wednesday night. A source told Local 10 News he died from a gunshot wound. 

    Parker retired in 2009 after serving as director for five years. He had served on the force for 33 years. 

    Watch Local 10 News and refresh for updates on this story. 

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    It’s every dog owner’s nightmare: You look over and see a seven-and-a-half-foot alligator with its jaws clamped on your pooch.

    Lori Beiswenger didn’t think twice when faced with just such a situation. She jumped in the swamp to save her nine-year-old pet, Hope, going to-to-toe with the alligator, according to Bay 9 News, WFTS and WTSP 10 News, all in Tampa, Florida.

    Beiswenger and her husband own Point O' Woods Golf Course in Inverness. Almost two weeks ago, Hope and Lori were doing some work by a pond when things got ugly fast.

    She heard “screaming. It was the worst screaming I ever heard," Beiswenger said. “I said, God, no this can't be happening, and it was the scariest feeling in the world."

    Hope was on the losing end of the fight with the alligator. “I saw them rolling around on the bank. All I could see was teeth. Gator teeth and her teeth,” Beiswenger said.

    That's when Beiswenger waded up to her neck in the swamp, grabbed the gator's tail and tried three times to pull it back on land. She gave three good tugs on the gator's tail when it let go.

    "After that, (Hope) was just floating -- all you could see was the top of her nose and we didn't know where the gator was," Beiswenger said.

    That's when a golf course volunteer took a shovel and was able to float Hope's body out of the water.

    Hope suffered several wounds including a severed artery, but is on the mend.

    "I love this dog. … I wasn't going to lose her," Beiswenger said.


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    A small plane that was circling Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport because of a landing gear issue skidded off the runway Thursday afternoon.

    Sky 10's pilot had been monitoring pilot-to-control tower communications, which indicated that the left rudder was struck and there was a problem with the front wheel.

    The plane touched down shortly after 4 p.m., but it skidded onto the grass and eventually came to a stop on the other side of the runway.

    Broward Sheriff's Office fire-rescue personnel were standing by at the airport as a precaution.

    There were two people in the plane. Both the pilot and passenger stepped out of the plane and didn't appear to be hurt.

    The single-engine Piper belonged to Sky Eagle Aviation Academy, based at the airport.

    Plane skids off runway at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport

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    A teenager who was found shot to death Sunday in a North Miami Beach alley has been identified by police.

    North Miami Beach police said Anthony Holley, 16, was gunned down in an alley near Northeast 176th Street and 16th Avenue.

    Witnesses said they heard about six gunshots .

    Detectives said they interviewed someone who was with the victim at the time of the shooting, but haven't released any details about what that person told them.

    A woman who wished to remain anonymous told Local 10 News that she saw two boys running away shortly after the shooting.

    "I saw two young boys running down the alley, and I said to them, 'Stop! What's going on here?'" she said. "It's scary because we have kids, and it's a problem."

    No arrests have been made.

    Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. A reward of up to $3,000 is being offered for information that leads to an arrest.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10

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    Homicide detectives are investigating after one person was found dead Thursday in northwest Miami-Dade County.

    Miami-Dade police said someone called 911 just after 10 a.m.  to report a burglary at 10939 NW First Lane.

    When officers arrived, they had to make a forced entry and found one person dead, Miami-Dade police spokesman Daniel Ferrin said.

    "In fear that there may be a subject still at the home, they contacted our special response team, the SRT, who then cleared the home and determined there was no other subject in there," Ferrin said.

    Neighbors reported hearing gunshots in the area, but police have not confirmed those claims.

    "There was like 30 or 35 police cars and SWAT. It was really scary," Juliet Marin, who lives in the neighborhood said. "I was here with my grandparents and my sister and it was scary. I was nervous."

    Police have not identified the person who was found dead, but neighbors said the owner of the home was often seen around the neighborhood.

    "I think the owner is an old lady from China or some place. I don't know exactly," Ruben Gonzales said. "She walks the neighborhood every day and she tried to sell the house."

    Police are currently interviewing witnesses and are waiting on a warrant to re-enter the home.

    Anyone with information about the death are asked to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10

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    No charges will be filed against the Miami Beach police officer who used a Taser on a graffiti artist in August 2013, which resulted in the man's death, the State Attorney's Office announced Thursday.

    "The investigation has determined that the officer was legally justified in his use of force and no criminal charges will be filed against the subject officer," State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle said in the final report.

    According to the report, at about 5:15 a.m.on Aug. 6, 2013, a witness told Officer Jorge Mercado and Officer Cormilus Lattimore that he saw three men spraying graffiti on an old McDonald's building at 71st Street and Collins Avenue.

    SLIDE SHOW: Read excerpts of the State Attorney's Office report

    The report said the officers saw Israel Hernandez-Llach, 18, a local artist, better known as Reefa, standing by the building and shaking a paint can.

    Authorities said Mercado ordered Hernandez-Llach to stop, but said the artist ran off and refused to obey verbal commands.

    According to the report, Hernandez-Llach ran into an occupied apartment building and hopped a fence before Mercado stunned him with a Taser in order to take him into custody.

    The report said Hernandez-Llach was unresponsive after the Taser deployed and was taken to Mount Sinai Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

    "It was determined that the actions taken by MBPD Officer Jorge Mercado were consistent with the physical evidence and overall testimony of law enforcement officers and civilian witnesses," the report said.

    Associate Medical Examiner Dr. Mark Shuman confirmed that Hernandez-Llach's death was the result of the Taser, which caused him to go into cardiac arrest. Shuman said that the artist's blood tested positive for marijuana, but said it did not contribute to his death.

    According to the report, Shuman found that the Taser's prongs deployed in "such a manner that the heart was located between the prongs."

    Mercado was placed on administrative leave, but was later placed back on duty.

    "This officer acted negligently," the Hernandez family attorney, Todd Falzone said. "He had no business deploying the Taser in the fashion that he did that day, and in addition to that, this product is dangerous and deadly."

    A group walked in silence, but they were angry and upset. Some had tears in their eyes, others with flowers and shirts.

    "He had to lose his life at such a young age for what? For going to a building that was already marked up and tagging it?" a member of the group asked.

    The group was marking the spot where Hernandez-Llach was shot by a stun gun by police, hours after the State Attorney's Office announced the officer involved will not be charged.

    Hernandez-Llach's family has filed a civil lawsuit against the city of Miami Beach and the Taser company.

    Follow Andrew Perez on Twitter @PerezLocal10

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10

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    A man was shot in the leg Thursday afternoon in northwest Miami-Dade County, police confirmed.

    The shooting was reported about 5:30 p.m. outside a store at 8201 NW 17th Ave.

    Miami-Dade police said they are looking for the gunman.

    Details on what led to the shooting were not immediately released.

    Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call police.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10

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    State records show a South Florida bakery was busted after live roaches were found in a container of flour.

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    A man from Lighthouse Point was arrested Tuesday on multiple sexual assault and sexual battery charges after molesting a girl for years, according to the Lighthouse Point Police Department.

    According to an arrest warrant, Louis Bianculli, 68, raped the girl beginning in September 2005 when she was 12 years old.

    The report states that the abuse lasted through 2013.

    The victim, who is now an adult, disclosed the allegations during therapy sessions and later went to the police to file a formal complaint.

    According to the affidavit, Bianculli used various methods to make the victim pass out, including applying a pressure-point technique to make her black out, knocking her out with chloroform and putting a bag over her head to "see how many breaths she could take until she passed out."

    The victim said that sometimes she was conscious while being raped, and other times she was not.

    The victim told police that she feared that Bianculli would hurt her or her family because he told her he was contracted to fly helicopters during the Vietnam War and had killed people in Cambodia.

    The victim also claimed that Bianculli told her she would have to perform sexual acts if she misbehaved.

    Bianculli allegedly engaged in "rough play" with the girl, which consisted of "arm twisting, wrist bending and occasionally resulted in bruising."

    According to the report, when the victim was between 14 and 15 years old, Bianculli used chloroform to render her unconscious for up to 15 minutes. The victim said he told her it was laughing gas, and she believed he used it "because he would feel bad and didn't like seeing her uncomfortable."

    The victim told police that he became obsessed with her being skinny and would prick her with insulin needles, telling her that he was sucking out her fat and injecting it into her breasts to make them larger.

    The victim told police that she would slip in and out of consciousness while under chloroform during the so-called "surgeries" or "procedures," as Bianculli allegedly referred to the acts as.

    The report states the victim would sometimes be allowed to choose between the "surgeries" or sex acts.

    She said Bianculli later used sleeping pills instead of chloroform to keep her subdued for a longer period of time.

    Police said Bianculli used a kitchen filet knife to make small cuts on the victim's stomach and sides.

    According to the report, the victim's mother recorded a conversation that she had with the suspect after she found out about the allegations.

    In the recording, Bianculli tells the woman to go to police and that "I don't care anymore. I'd rather be in jail."

    The report states that Bianculli also called himself a "bad person" in the victim's life and said he "did something terrible." According to the report, Bianculli expressed remorse stating that he doesn't "expect her to forgive" him.

    Bianculli, who lives in a multimillion-dollar mansion in Lighthouse Point, remains at the Broward County Jail without bond.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10

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    An Amber Alert was issued early Friday morning for a missing 21-month-old from the Jacksonville area. 

    The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is searching for Lonzie Barton, who was last seen on the Southside about 2:20 a.m. Later in the morning, police issued an alert for Lonzie, who was believed to be taken during a car theft. 

    According to Chief Tom Hackney, the mother's boyfriend was getting ready to pick up the mother from her job at a bar around 2 a.m. He left the Lonzie and his 5-year-old sister inside his orange 1995 Honda Civic when he ran inside to get something from his apartment. 

    The young girl followed him, telling him she was scared. When they arrived back in the parking lot, they saw the Civic leaving the parking lot with the toddler still inside. 

    Deputies were called to the scene and were able to locate his car 10 minutes away but Lonzie was not inside of it. Lonzie has blonde hair, blue eyes and weighs 20 pounds. He was only wearing a diaper when he was taken. 

    According to deputies, Lonzie's father lives in Baker County. He has been contacted and authorities do not believe he is involved in the child's disappearance. JSO reports the mother is also being very cooperative in the investigation.

    Watch Local 10 News and refresh for updates on this story. 

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10

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    Long before the divers and the death investigation Thursday night, screams surfaced from an Opa-locka canal.

    "I saw the kids screaming, saying, 'It's dead body, a dead body," the 911 caller said.

    Two kids had simply stumbled upon it, snagged in the brush. They called in their dad and then called out for 911.

    "He came out, told me there was a dead body there and said he wanted me to call 911," the caller said.

    But before police arrived, witnesses began walking by.

    "She was bloated up pretty bad -- you know, flies and everything," one man told Local 10 News.

    He said it was a woman with long braids, tattoos on her right arm and fully clothed.

    "She was wearing a black shirt, gray tights (and) no shoes," he said.

    Now, police will only confirm that they're investigating it as a homicide.

    One resident said it's not the first body to wash up across from his home.

    "As a matter of fact, not too long ago my boy found a body there -- about a year ago," a nearby resident said.

    Now, another body has created another wave of mystery.

    "They (were) all screaming and sad and crying and everything," the witness said.

    "You know, it could be pretty bad around here," the 911 caller said.

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10

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    When Florida ranked first in the nation for mortgage fraud and second on foreclosures, Robert "Bobby" Parker took action in Miami-Dade County.

    He implemented the Mortgage Fraud Task Force and worked with the Miami-Dade County state attorney's office and several other agencies, including the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the FBI. It was one of the many times he demonstrated his leadership abilities, police said.

    He was the first African-American director of the police department, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said. Juan Perez, the current deputy director of the Miami-Dade Police Department, described him as a "great man and director." And Police Benevolent Association Secretary Luis Fuste said Parker "loved the community."

    "Rest easy brother, we have it now," said Joe Naranjo, of Miami-Dade County's Hammocks District Station, on a Facebook post.

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    Miami-Dade police announced Parker committed suicide Wednesday. Condolences poured in from former police chiefs who met him at conferences and other members of law enforcement nationwide. From Washington to New York City and Los Angeles, the news of Parker's death was felt Thursday.

    "The law enforcement family has lost a wonderful man," Austin Robinson said on Facebook.

    The former Miami-Dade County police director was a beacon in the nation's law enforcement community, police said. He did everything he could to get guns off the streets, police said.

    In 2007, Parker implemented the Gun Bounty Program. Those who used Crime Stoppers to turn in someone with an illegal gun would immediately get a $1,000 reward from money seized through prosecutions. Two years after his retirement, the little-known program reported having removed 535 illegal guns from the streets and making 329 arrests.

    "Bobby was truly a leader and law enforcement partner," Kathy Rundle said on Twitter. "[Rest In Peace] my friend."

    Parker was active member of The 5000 Role Models, a dropout prevention program for boys in Miami-Dade County public schools. Several school principals said they were saddened by the loss.

    "[He was] a great man and mentor," Kenneth Williams, of The 5000 Role Models, said.

    Parker graduated from high school in Georgia. After serving in the U.S. Army, Parker joined the police force in 1976. He earned degrees in criminology from Barry University and business administration from University of Miami. In 2004, he earned a graduate degree from Nova Southeastern University. He retired from the Miami-Dade Police Department in 2009.

    "Bobby's foresight and hard work have consistently had a profound and positive impact on all of South Florida," Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said during a congressional session in Washington when he retired. "He has always made his greatest efforts for the benefit of others."

    He had just turned 62 Tuesday. He died near a canal by the home. He is survived by his son Robert Parker Jr., his daughter, Kalika Parker, who is a mother and a member of the Miami-Dade Police Department, and his wife, Veronica "Ronnie" Parker.

    The couple celebrated their 37th wedding anniversary in March.

    "Words cannot express the sadness my family feels from losing such a strong, compassionate and God-fearing man," the Parker family said in a statement.

    On Parker's Facebook wall, Tony Wilson said he liked serving in the Miami-Dade Police Department, while Parker was a leader. He said he was saddened by all who were devastated with the loss.

    "For those of us that knew him, [we] will never forget the man who he was and how he touched us all with his caring and unique personality," Wilson wrote.


    Follow reporter Andrea Torres on Twitter @MiamiCrime

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  • 07/24/15--23:00: On this day: July 25
  • America gives its Army generals five stars, a family favorite amusement park ride is patented, Dylan plugs in, and Roseanne "sings," all on this day.

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    Before the prayer at the start of every Pompano Beach commission meeting, Commissioner Barry Dockswell walks off the dais, taking a stand on principle.

    "I believe in a clear separation of church and state," said Dockswell.

    The commissioner is now calling for an end to the decades-long prayer practice after a blogger has requested to give a farcical Satanic invocation at city hall, claiming he has as much right to lead a prayer as the local clergy.

    "My hope is the is the commission will see the wisdom of getting out of this denominational thicket that we've gotten ourselves into," Dockswell said.

    But he was the lone no vote at the July 14 commission meeting on a resolution to establish clear rules on who can and cannot lead a prayer at City Hall.

    Mayor Lamar Fisher supports the invocations and said the new rules will protect the commission from stunt artists.

    "I think the resolution we just passed protects that and gives that guidelines so it doesn't become a sham," said Fisher.

    "It tries to establish that it's a bona fide religious clergyman that will give the invocation," Dockswell said.

    The blogger, Timothy "Chaz" Stevens, is anything but a bona fide clergyman. He's an often vulgar public gadfly and church and state activist who hounds local government officials.

    On his blog, he often attacks his targets in a very personal manner, with a penchant for photoshopping obscene symbols on their faces.

    Notably, Stevens, who routinely refers to himself as a genius, was arrested in 2004 on a charge of violating a domestic violence injunction after a woman claimed he stalked her and threw feces on her porch, among other transgressions. Stevens refused comment for this story.

    Stevens, whose efforts are supported by the Freedom from Religion Foundation, formed what he calls the First Pompano Beach of Satan, with an address that comes up to a box in a Parcels Plus store on Atlantic Boulevard. He has advertised the church on Yelp and listed it in the Yellow Pages, a requirement of the city.

    The big snag may come from other requirements including one that the church have a discernible "congregation" and that it be a registered 501-C3 non-profit corporation.

    Dockswell said that as absurd as the blogger's pursuit may be, it raises questions about the separation of church and state that should be addressed and could possibly lead to expensive litigation. He said he is searching for a compromise with his fellow elected officials, including a proposal that they open each meeting with a moment of silence and reflection.

    When he raised that idea at the last meeting, he didn't even get a second.

    "If we could just have something that everybody could feel reasonably good about, I wouldn't have to walk off the dais every time there's an invocation given," he said. "I believe we could all construct language where we could all come together for a common purpose in the city."

    Follow Bob Norman on Twitter @NormanOn10

    Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10

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