News You Should Know

ICYMI: Broward Struggles with Understaffed 911 Call Center, Video Shows Florida Alligators Bellowing in Mating Season

Here are some of the top stories from the past week from NBC 6 News:

NBC Universal, Inc.

‘Everyone Expects 911 to Answer': Broward Struggles with Understaffed 911 Call Center

Broward County's emergency call center is greatly understaffed and the sheriff told county commissioners his agency does not have the money to fill the empty positions.

In addition, Sheriff Gregory Tony said Tuesday that he is also having a difficult time retaining other dispatchers who can make more money elsewhere.

“We’re going to continue to lose these people,” he warned. “This will always be a problem here whether we want to admit it or not.”

Some Broward County Commissioners told the sheriff to fix the issues immediately.

“Give everybody a raise ... and you won’t lose anybody,” Commissioner Mark Bogen told the sheriff. “You got the money to do that right now without us giving you a penny.”

Tony told commissioners Tuesday he’s not going to make “random or quick decisions” that can create other problems. He agreed to make a presentation outlining financial needs at the May 10 commission meeting.

The understaffing came to light in a South Florida SunSentinel investigation that documented thousands of unanswered 911 calls. The newspaper found that abandoned calls, those which are disconnected before they are answered, increased 26% from 2019 to 2021. In February, there were 14,505 abandoned calls. That is the latest month for which statistics are available.

Click here to read the full story.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday signed into law a bill revoking the Walt Disney Company's special district status in the state, just days after the legislation was first introduced on Tuesday. NBC6's Tony Pipitone reports.

Disney Government in Dark About Effect of Law Dissolving It

At the first meeting of Walt Disney World's private government since Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law a measure to dissolve it next year, officials said Wednesday they were still confused about what the new legislation meant, even as some ripple effects were starting to be felt.

The administrator of the government, called the Reedy Creek Improvement District, said the expansion of a solar power project could be delayed because of financing challenges linked to the legislation, and the union for the district’s firefighters expressed concerns about what the dissolution might mean for members' lifetime benefits.

After the meeting, Donald Greer, who has been a member of Reedy Creek’s board of supervisors since 1975, said the board could not provide clear answers on those issues because “we don’t know where we are going.”

“The district may have a response as soon as we know what it means, but I don’t know if anybody knows what it means. I don’t think anyone has deciphered it,” Greer said.

The dissolution measure was passed quickly in the Republican-controlled statehouse without public study of its impact and was hastily signed into law by DeSantis. The move came in a GOP push to punish Disney over its opposition to another new law barring instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation in early grade school, which critics call “Don’t Say Gay.”

Click here to read the full story.

Leo Soto went to Ukraine and created a "wall of hope" for victims and their families. NBC 6's Claudia DoCampo reports

Miami Man Creates ‘Wall of Hope' in Ukraine and Poland

A Miami man who created the Surfside memorial wall is turning his attention to the war in Ukraine.

Leo Soto went to Ukraine and created a "wall of hope" for victims and their families. He first went to Warsaw, Poland, where he created a wall of hope there, too.

It took him 14 hours to then get into Ukraine.

"I actually collect as many flowers, artificial flowers, that I could in Warsaw and then made my way into Ukraine," Soto said. "It was actually a little bit difficult because of customs and how difficult the security was obviously in a country at war." 

Soto had created the "wall of hope" in Surfside after the tragic condo building collapse that killed 98 people.

He created the Wall of Hope Foundation and is now spreading his message of hope in war-torn Ukraine. 

"They say, 'I lost a brother. and I would like to add my brother, would you be able to help me printing out these pictures and laminating them and adding them to the wall?' And that's when you know that there's real power, right? I came all the way from Miami and my message of hope and about wanting to honor these people translated so well that you know everyone now is participating, adding their own flowers and adding their own pictures and making it really special," he said.

Click here to read the full story.

Friends and families of victims and survivors gathered together for Holocaust Remembrance Day. NBC 6's Claudia DoCampo

Broward Students Meet Survivors for Holocaust Remembrance Day

Broward County students got to meet Holocaust survivors and hear their stories Thursday for Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The students and survivors, as well as children of survivors, met at the Broward County Convention Center on Yom HaShoah to commemorate those who died and survived during World War II.

"The trauma, how I understood the trauma," said Gerard Lob, whose parents lived in France before they were arrested and transported to concentration camps.

Stella Sonnenschein was 4 years old when the war broke out. She was in Warsaw, Poland at the time.

"I escaped the ghetto before the ghetto uprising. My parents were still in ghetto uprising until the ghetto was burning and they escaped at the last minute," Sonnenschein said.

The Holocaust Documentation and Education Center presented the event with other sponsors to make sure we never forget.

Click here to read the full story.

In recent years, we’ve lost more than two dozen teens and children to suicide in South Florida. NBC 6's Willard Shepard shares the story of the life and death of Colin Happ. His family wants you to hear what happened with the hope they can help save someone else.

Their 13-Year-Old Son Died by Suicide. They Want to Help Save Others.

Family videos and photos captured countless moments in Colin Happ’s life: birthdays, holidays, family trips and many outdoor adventures.

“He was funny, had such a sense of humor, was kind, loving, always had a smile on his face,” said his mother Colleen Happ during an interview with NBC 6.

“He enjoyed everything he did, especially outdoor activities,” said his dad Bryan Happ. 

His parents said Colin was enjoying his first year at Calvary Christian Academy - a private school in Fort Lauderdale owned by megachurch Calvary Chapel.

“He seemed to enjoy it. He had made a lot of new friends. He was doing well in school. Everything was smooth sailing until then,” Colleen said. 

They said Colin got in trouble in March 2020 after he admitted selling a vape pen to another student and he was expelled as a result. 

Click here to read the full story.

A local wildlife photographer captured the bellowing sounds of alligators at the start of mating season

Video Shows Florida Alligators Bellowing as Mating Season Begins

A local wildlife photographer used an infrared trail camera to capture bellowing alligators in a South Florida gator hole after dark.

Photographer Bobby Wummer captured the video at Big Cypress National Preserve, which shows the gators thrashing in the water and roaring loudly.

The deep, throaty bellowing sounds in the video are characteristic of American alligator mating calls.

Alligator mating season begins in early April according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and the gators' courtship phase has already begun.

During mating season, it's normal for Floridians to see more of the scaly green creatures lounging around canals, swamps and marshy areas.

But, alligators have also been known to frequent some pretty unusual places in Florida, including swimming pools, golf courses, garages, parking lots, and most recently, front yards.

Click here to read the full story.

Contact Us