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Dale Earnhardt was born into a racing family, following his father, NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Sr., his paternal grandfather Ralph Earnhardt and his maternal grandfather was Robert Gee Sr., a NASCAR car builder, on the racetrack. He has been behind the wheel professionally for 18 years in the NASCAR Cup Series competition. Junior, as he is known, announced his retirement from racing Tuesday.
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The Latest News Headlines

  • Tornadoes tracked across parts of Texas on Saturday, leaving behind a swath of damage, injuring dozens of people and killing at least five, according to multiple reports. >> Read more trending news Preliminary reports to the National Weather Service in Fort Worth indicated that as many as three tornadoes raked over parts of Henderson, Van Zandt and Rains counties in eastern Texas. Crews will survey the damage Sunday to determine the strength of the twisters. 'We have a lot of injuries,' a dispatcher with the Van Zandt County Sheriff's Office told KXAS-TV. The dispatcher added that there was “a lot of damage.” At least five people were killed in the storms, according to KTVT. None of the victims have been identified. One person was found dead in a pasture in Canton, the Ben Wheeler Volunteer Fire Department told KTVT. The Canton Fire Department told KXAS-TV that another person was killed along Highway 64 when a tornado threw the person’s vehicle. Nearly 50 people were taken to hospitals with a variety of injuries after the tornadoes struck, including one with critical injuries. A dispatcher at the Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office told The Associated Press that “officers were chasing numerous injury reports.” Video from local television stations shows uprooted threes, damaged homes and overturned cars along roadways.
  • One of the money trails prosecutors are following in the federal fraud trial of now-former Congresswoman Corrine Brown deals with funds solicited for computers for middle school students.  Multiple donors say they were asked by Brown to fund the project, but the money that was used traced back to Brown’s campaign group, according to evidence presented by prosecutors so far.  FULL COVERAGE: Federal fraud trial of now-former Congresswoman Corrine Brown The project was part of an initiation in to a service organization called The Links, according to Ingrid Burch, who was behind the project. She says Brown joined around the same time as her, in mid-2013.  Burch bought 33 laptop from the Duval County surplus, paying the $1,420 with her own money. She submitted to be reimbursed for the purchase, but could only find receipts for $1,350 of the $1,420. She added in her testimony that the laptops were refurbished, but basic, and that the service project then additionally funded software and accessories for the computers. While she didn’t say how much the additional outfitting cost or where that money came from, the estimated project cost detailed in information she worked up about the project pinned the estimated cost at $5,000 overall.  Burch says she submitted the receipts to someone who worked with Brown, because Brown had found a donor to cover the expense- something Burch says they were “blessed” to have. Burch also sent information she worked up about the project, which spoke about encouraging minority youth- specifically 6th grade girls at Eugene Butler- to find their “intellectual purpose” by having a laptop to use at home to support their learning.  She asked to be reimbursed by May 24, 2013. Just ahead of that, Burch says she picked up Brown at the airport, and Brown said she had a check for Burch, but it had been made out to the wrong person by mistake. On May 24, 2013, Burch says she got a check for $1,420, although she doesn’t remember who gave it to her. The check was written by The Alexander Agency- a group Burch has no knowledge of.  The Alexander Agency is associated with longtime Brown staffer Vonn Alexander. Prosecutors showed not just the check in question that went to Burch, but a check from Friends of Corrine Brown to The Alexander Agency for the same amount- $1,420- that was written the day prior. The memo line on the check from Friends of Corrine Brown was “laptops”.  One the same day Friends of Corrine Brown wrote the check to The Alexander Agency, Friends of Corrine Brown made out another check- for $1,350- to Corrine Brown herself. Prosecutors pointed out that amount is the same as what Burch submitted for reimbursement because of the missing receipt. The memo line on that check was “refund”. While being questioned by prosecutors, Burch says she didn’t believe Brown had put any money toward the laptops, although there was no mention of who funded the software and accessories.  During cross examination, Brown’s attorney had Burch confirm that she was, in fact, reimbursed for the money she had put out, and that the students had received the laptops.  One email chain shows Brown’s Chief of Staff Ronnie Simmons had tried to run the donation for the computers through another way.  When Jessica Lazzara Wynne started working with her family’s Foundation, one of her first tasks was ensuring the organizations they were donating to were all 501(c)(3) groups. In this process, she learned One Door was not registered, and reached out to Simmons- who is an alleged co-conspirator who’s already pleaded guilty in this case.  An email chain between Lazzara Wynne and Simmons in June 2013 showed Lazzara Wynne’s father had committed to the Congresswoman that he would pay $5,000 for the computers for The Links. The email indicates Brown had told Lazzara Wynne she had paid for the computers and was seeking reimbursement.  Lazarra Wynne told Simmons the Foundation would only donate to a 501(c)(3), though, and Lazzara Wynne had previously determined One Door was not properly registered- so they would not write the check either to Brown or One Door. Simmons responded by telling her to make the check out to the Community Rehabilitation Center Foundation. Lazzara Wynne says she didn’t know what the CRC was or how money donated there would help fund the computer program. They ultimately did not write the check.  As the defense continues to put the blame on Simmons, Lazzara Wynne agreed that Brown herself was not involved in the communication on where to make the check out to. Her father also said in prior testimony that they did not communicate to Brown when they discovered One Door was not a registered non-profit, speaking instead to Simmons.  What was not mentioned during this questioning was any money from One Door For Education, which is the group Brown and a few others represented as a charity to solicit more than $800,000 in donations, but the government argues was actually used for personal expenses and lavish events. Burch says she didn’t know about One Door at the time.  Others say they donated to One Door for computers or iPads, although that hasn’t been linked to this project. One example is Stephen Bittel, who’s $5,000 contribution to One Door was invoiced for “annual student computer drive”.  The service project for The Links is not the only time The Alexander Agency has come up in the testimony so far. Another instance deals with a commemorative edition of Onyx magazine featuring Brown on the cover. The magazine says it was funded by Friends of Corrine Brown, but prosecutors say the money actually came through One Door donors.  Don Miller, the Director of Government Affairs for Picerne Development Corporation, says he tried to talk his boss, Robert Picerne, out of giving for the magazine. Ultimately, prosecutors showed a $5,000 invoice from the company to Onyx magazine for 20,000 copies.  The check that Richard Lipsky wrote for $10,000, though, was ultimately made to pay to The Alexander Agency.  Lipsky said he and a driver picked up Brown and her daughter Shantrel at the airport one day, and Brown showed him the magazine while asking for support to complete it. Lipsky agreed to contribute $10,000, and wrote a check with the memo line “printing”, but left the pay to line blank. He says he did that because Brown wasn’t sure who to make it out to at the time and told him that she would figure it out.  Alexander is expected to testify Monday.  WOKV is inside of the courtroom through these proceedings. Continue to check wokv.com for frequent updates.
  • The 2013 Corrine Brown Invitational Golf Tournament was advertised “to benefit the COMTO Jacksonville Chapter Scholarship Fund and other community non-profits”, but the head of COMTO says they have no record of any money coming in from the event. Testimony Friday in the federal fraud trial of now-former Congresswoman Corrine Brown has focused on events allegedly funded by donations to a “sham” charity, One Door For Education, and whether those events actually did anything for charitable giving. An FBI Special Agent on the case previously told the court that bank and financial records showed more than $55,000 from One Door was used toward this golf tournament at TPC Sawgrass. The event took place during the same time frame that the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials- or COMTO- was holding an annual conference in Jacksonville, and the President of COMTO at the time did attend the event. Current COMTO President and CEO Brad Mims testified that their records show One Door made no donation to their scholarship fund, either at the national or local level. When prosecutors asked what a $25,000 donation to the organization directly would have meant, Mims said it breaks down to five or six scholarships. Brown’s defense, James Smith III, questioned Mims whether he was at that event, and he was not. He added that he could not speak to any networking or future donation opportunities that may have been discussed at the event, only that their records did not reflect any hard giving. FULL COVERAGE:The federal fraud trial of now-former Congresswoman Corrine Brown Another event that allegedly tapped One Door funds- about $15,000 worth- is a luxury box at a Jaguars-Redskins game in DC. The head of the Florida Democratic Party, Stephen Bittel, says he paid more than $11,000 for his private plane to take people he believed to be One Door donors to what he thought was a fundraiser in DC. He also says he didn’t know Brown herself would be on the plane for the ride up to DC. Prosecutors say there was no fundraising done during the game.  One of the people who was invited on the plane along with his family was Jack Hanania. Hanania says he had refused a requested $10,000-$12,000 donation to Brown’s campaign, but when he heard about One Door’s mission to help youth in education, he agreed to contribute $7,000.  “Corrine knows how to raise money,” he says. Hanania told the court after he donated, he was invited to the game- including on the plane with Brown- but his understanding was that these were separate. He told prosecutors he believed at the time that his donation to One Door was going to charity, and the event was being covered by other dollars. An email from Brown’s Chief of Staff Ronnie Simmons showed reference to a FedEx label to send the “payment” Hanania was making. That same email inquired who Hanania would be bringing on the plane with him, in reference to the football game. Hanania says he understood the payment to refer to his One Door donation, and not anything connected to the game itself- although it’s a distinction that Smith pointed out is far from clear on paper. Prosecutors have also frequently questioned an annual reception held in Brown’s honor in conjunction with- although not affiliated with- the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Leadership Conference, which allegedly gets tens of thousands of dollars in One Door money. Smith has worked to show that there are valuable networking and development opportunities at this annual event- even if the focus itself is not on raising scholarship money. Tasha Cole, a senior official with the CBCF who oversees scholarships and charitable giving, says there was no record of funding from One Door to go either toward CBCF scholarships or tables at their conference dinners. Marva Brown Johnson- who was with Bright House Networks at the time- says she paid for ALC attendance and tables through One Door, though. She says she was inspired by Brown to attend the conference, and ultimately the conference inspired future charitable interests and giving. Proosecutors have checks and invoices that show tens of thousands of dollars from Bright House to One Door to go toward various conference expenses. Brown Johnson is one of a few donors who testified on Friday that they were aware that some of the money they were giving was not going to scholarships, and would instead be used on various expenses connected to putting on events. Bright House Network, for example, cut a $10,000 check to sponsor Brown’s golf tournament. Another donor gave tens of thousands of dollars toward Brown’s reception at the annual ALC conference and the veteran’s even Brown also hosted that week. Richard Lipsky owns some hospital facilities that were working to open their doors to veterans who were struggling with the VA, and he admitted he believed Brown could help him with that process. In terms of the $20,000 from the hospitals and $5,000 personal check he cut to One Door, though, he knew that was to support various events with catering, entertainment, and other areas. In fact, put an additional $4,290 toward an event after getting a call from either Corrine Brown or her daughter Shantrel that something happened with a portion of a catering bill, asking for his help to cover it. Some $90,000 was given by the Picerne Development Corporation to One Door- at least some in part to also host events. Director of Government Affairs Don Miller says the requests for funding from Brown and her staff to the head of the company, Bob Picerne, became so frequent that he actually tried to cut of communication at some point. “I kind of felt like he was being taken advantage of,” Miller said. Overall, even the donors who knew they were at least in part funding the expenses of running various events, they all also shared an expectation that excess funds, as well as their other contributions, would be going to scholarships.
  • An estimated 500 people marched to the edge of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club Saturday, hoping to turn up the heat on a president they say has turned his back on the threat of climate change. >> Read more trending news “The time for denial is over,” said Patrick Ferguson, an event organizer. “The time for climate solutions is now.” Protesters gathered at George S. Petty Park in West Palm Beach, Florida, walked along Flagler Drive and crossed the Southern Boulevard Bridge into Palm Beach around noon. Toting signs and chanting slogans, they marched down to the Southern Boulevard roundabout, circling it and back toward the bridge and out of town. President Trump is not in town this weekend. “Sea level rise affects us all, especially in South Florida, and that includes Mar-a-Lago,” said Ferguson, a representative of the Sierra Club Florida. The protest was part of the People’s Climate March, which originated with a massive demonstration in New York in September 2014. Tens of thousands of people gathered in Washington on Saturday, enduring sweltering temperatures while protesting Trump’s rollbacks of environmental protections and Obama climate policies. At the Palm Beach event, Alex Newell Taylor of the Women’s March said environmental justice is very much a women’s issue. “As a woman, I want clean water to drink, I want clean air to breathe and I want to see our beautiful planet protected,” she said. The climate denial problem is bigger than Trump, she said. “We have too many people in power who put profits and corporate interests over the health of our planet and its people.” David Gibson, an event organizer and Coconut Creek resident, said embracing climate change solutions means “devoting resources to climate change mitigation, and no more resources to war and fossil fuel extraction.” Robert Lewis of Lake Worth carried a sign reading “Make America think again.” Lewis said Trump is bowing to the interests of big oil and big coal while gambling that the nation’s elite will be able to ride out a climate-driven catastrophe. Left behind will be “all those people who will be displaced, who won’t be able to grow food, whose economy will be ruined, whose water will be tainted,” he said. “Don’t stop being outraged” read the sign toted by Dave Haglund of Tequesta, who said he’s participated in several demonstrations in the 100 days since Trump took office. This is not a time for complacency, he said. “This involves everyone, and we’re running out of time,” he said. Palm Beach Police were on hand for crowd control and safety. The Palm Beach portion of the march, which lasted about an hour, was peaceful and occurred without incident, according to Sgt. Scott Duquette. Last weekend, demonstrators came to the island as part of the March for Science.
  • A Texas police officer who was originally reported missing is believed to have attempted to fake his own death and to have fled to Mexico, officials said Friday night. >> Read more trending news Austin police Officer Coleman Martin, 29, is facing a Class A misdemeanor charge of “false report,” as a result. Martin’s wife told KVUE-TV on Saturday that “Cole recently received a new prescription medication.' 'The side effects were causing him to be depressed and think irrationally,” she said. “We want him to know his family loves him unconditionally and wants him home safe.'  Martin’s wife asked to remain anonymous for the interview. An arrest affidavit for the missing officer said a woman, who was not his wife, shared an email with detectives, in which Martin wrote to her and said his plan for a staged death had been successful. The affidavit does not say how the woman knows Martin. Martin’s email to the woman said he had staged a scene by parking his vehicle by a body of water near the U.S. border with Mexico, the affidavit says. Then he rode a bicycle for about 8 miles to a convenience store, took a taxi to the border and rode a bus farther into Mexico, the affidavit says he said in the email. Police obtained video footage of Martin at a gas station in Del Rio, the affidavit says. They also talked to a clerk at the gas station who had spoken to Martin. Martin told the clerk he had biked from Amistad Park to the store, the affidavit says. Police first got involved on Tuesday night, when Martin’s wife called 911, the affidavit says. She told police that Martin had texted her a photo of a handwritten note that said he was going to drown himself in a lake near the border of Mexico.  The next morning, officials at the Amistad National Recreation Area said they found Martin’s vehicle with a suicide note inside, the affidavit says. His wallet was also inside the vehicle, but there was no money inside it. His passport was also not in the vehicle. In response, “a massive search operation was initiated using local, state and federal resources” on Wednesday and Thursday, the affidavit says. The search team found an inflatable raft in the Amistad Reservoir, which is on the Rio Grande at the border between Mexico and the United States, with Martin’s name, his date of birth, date of death and his and his wife’s initials written on the side, the affidavit says. Inside the raft were remnants of a concrete block as well as scrape marks that indicated that concrete blocks had been pushed over the edge. Investigators discovered a charge on Martin’s credit card for a new HP tablet from a Best Buy in Austin a few hours before he sent the suicide note to his wife, and the tablet was not found in his vehicle, the affidavit said. Then, investigators learned that someone had accessed Martin’s email from Mexico about five hours after he sent the suicide note text. According to the affidavit, investigators believe Martin placed “the boat to appear he entered the water, paddled to the middle and jumped overboard with concrete blocks and ropes, and (placed) the raft on the shore to give the appearance it had drifted to shore from where the initial entry place was.” Investigators tracked down and interviewed the unnamed woman at 4:15 p.m. Thursday.

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