Here are ClickOrlando’s Top 10 stories of 2022

ORLANDO, Fla. – This last year came with a bevy of headlines and stories that News 6 has brought to viewers throughout Central Florida.

As 2022 comes to a close, here’s a look back at the top Florida stories that viewers read on ClickOrlando over the past year.

Stuck Norwegian passengers sing, play, wait for flight home

The first story on this list dates back to March, which is when a Norwegian Cruise Lines ship ran aground in the Dominican Republic.

Passengers on the ship told News 6 that the Dominican Republic government wouldn’t allow them to disembark without a passport, meaning many aboard the cruise liner were stuck with nowhere to go.

Despite that, passengers said they were making the most of their situation — eating, singing and having fun.

You can read the full story HERE.

Lotto ticket winners in Jacksonville, Ocala lose money to DEO overpayments

Earlier this December, News 6 Investigator Mike Holfeld spoke with two Florida men who won $1,000 playing the lottery — then lost the prizes to the Department of Economic Opportunity.

Jerry Kirkpatrick, a self-employed handyman from Ocala, and John Moore, a manager for Battalion Airsoft in Jacksonville, were the two lucky lotto winners caught in an unlucky DEO snag.

When the men tried to go collect their winnings, they were each told they owed thousands in unemployment overpayments.

“It was some back taxes that they were looking for,” Kirkpatrick told News 6. “They were investigating a possible overpayment.”

You can read the full story HERE.

Is it illegal in Florida to back into a parking space?

News 6 traffic safety expert Trooper Steve Montiero answers viewer questions about the rules of the road every week, and this July story was no exception. For this edition, Trooper Steve was asked whether it’s illegal in Florida to back a vehicle into a parking space.

While the state of Florida doesn’t have laws against backing into parking spaces, there are some things that Trooper Steve said drivers should keep in mind.

“Be sure to check for signs,” he said. “Some private-property locations may have signs to restrict that type of parking. Also, some city limits and municipalities have parking ordinances that restrict certain types of parking behaviors.”

You can read the full story HERE.

Florida lawmakers discuss repealing Disney’s Reedy Creek government

Republican lawmaker tweeted about repealing Reedy Creek act after company denounced ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill

In late April, Florida lawmakers voted to repeal the Reedy Creek Improvement District that was created decades ago in 1967.

The special tax district historically provided Walt Disney World the ability to self-govern with its own board of governors, infrastructure obligations and municipal services like a fire department.

However, following Disney’s criticism of the Parental Rights in Education law, dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” law by some, earlier this year, state lawmakers began to discuss reneging the company’s control over the district, which would bring it under the purview of Orange and Osceola counties.

The district’s dissolution is currently scheduled for June 1, 2023.

You can read the full story HERE.

Drunken woman on motorized suitcase leads police chase through Orlando airport

This July story brought thousands of sets of eyes to the Orlando International Airport, where an intoxicated passenger rode away on her motorized suitcase from a police officer on a bicycle.

The passenger — 32-year-old Chelsea Alston — was barred from boarding an airplane at the airport after an officer told her she had the symptoms of someone who had been drinking too much alcohol, video shows.

“It’s OK. You just need to go over to the terminal and sober up a little bit. Get another flight,” the officer said.

However, Alston cursed at the officer, waved her middle finger and rolled away from the gate on her suitcase, prompting the chase.

Alston was later arrested and accused of battering the officer and causing more than $1,000 in damage to his patrol car.

You can read the full story HERE.

Hurricane Ian pummels Florida

Chief Meteorologist Tom Sorrells flew over parts of Central Florida to survey the damage and flooding caused by Ian.

Hurricane Ian tore into Florida back in September as a massive Category 4 storm.

At the time of this story, Ian had just ripped through Cuba, causing tens of thousands of evacuations as officials set up 55 shelters in the country’s Pinar del Rio province.

In a hurricane season that was largely quiet, Ian came as a shell shock, striking Florida’s west coast and leaving extreme flooding in its wake. The hurricane moved across the state and eventually through to the northeast, though Ian’s impacts can still be felt months after its departure.

More than 220,000 views came in just ahead of Ian’s arrival as viewers rushed to track the storm on ClickOrlando’s live weather tracker.

You can read the full story HERE.

Private ride inspector says 14-year-old who fell from Orlando drop tower too big to ride

Parents of 14-year-old Tire Sampson experienced a tragic loss in March when the teen fell to his death from the Orlando FreeFall.

Following Sampson’s death, an inspector revealed to News 6 that the manual for the ride lists the maximum rider weight as roughly 286 pounds. Sampson’s football coach said Sampson weighed 320 pounds.

“The most spectacular thing that the industry has done lately is they put sample chairs outside the ride before you get into the cue line,” the inspector said. “Those model chairs are for you to sit down in and sit to see if you fit. If that chair existed at the entrance that would be your first level of safety. It didn’t.”

Sampson’s death sparked outrage from his parents, who brought legal action against the ride’s owner-operator, The Orlando Slingshot Group, after the incident.

The Florida Department of Agriculture announced the end of its investigation in November and sought a $250,000 fine against The Orlando Slingshot Group. Court documents in December show that the owner is appealing the decision.

You can read the full story HERE.

Orlando restaurant makes changes after problems with Bishop Moore High students, parents

A restaurant in Orlando’s College Park neighborhood is making changes to its rules for customers after dealing with problems from students at nearby Bishop Moore Catholic High School and their parents.

Tornatore’s Restaurant, located in Orlando’s College Park, became the center of controversy last May after deciding to ban anyone under the age of 18 from entering the restaurant without an adult.

The restaurant’s owner told News 6 that students from the nearby Bishop Moore Catholic High School were being picked up by their parents in the restaurant’s parking lot instead of the school’s pickup line, causing crowds and jamming neighborhood streets.

“Every year I go to complain to Bishop Moore and they tell me the same thing — that anything that happens off their property, there’s nothing they can do,” said Denny Tornatore, the restaurant’s owner. “And I get that it’s not on their property. So it’s the parents that are the issue. And you can’t even get in here when they’re letting out of school.”

You can read the full story HERE.

Loud music and take-out alcohol. Here are all the new Florida laws going into effect

Trooper Steve was asked Thursday about a new Florida law concerning loud music in cars that goes into effect July 1.

Several new laws went into effect starting in July, including the Parental Rights in Education law, a restriction on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, and school choice legislation to help low-income and disabled students.

However, one of the most notable laws passed was aimed at keeping drivers from playing music too loudly in their vehicles.

Florida Statute 316.3045 prohibits drivers from playing music from a vehicle at a distance of 25 feet or more, and officers were granted the ability to ticket drivers for playing music too loudly while near churches, schools or hospitals.

You can read the full story HERE.

Florida education officials reject math textbooks for ‘attempts to indoctrinate students’

54 textbooks submitted for the state of Florida’s approved list have been rejected by the Florida Department of Education.

The top story on ClickOrlando this year came back in April when dozens of math textbooks were rejected by Florida officials, who said the publishers were trying to indoctrinate students.

According to the Florida Department of Education, 41% of submitted textbooks included references to critical race theory, Common Core and social emotional learning. Of those, state officials said grades K-5 had the greatest number of materials rejected.

“This is not only a matter of ensuring that textbooks are free of critical race theory ideology, but also ending common core, which is a whole separate issue from CRT. Common core is used in some math textbooks, and those would not be aligned to Florida’s BEST standards,” said Christina Pushaw, the governor’s spokesperson.

You can read the full story HERE.

With New Year’s Day just around the corner, there will be no shortage of new and exciting stories headed to Central Florida — and News 6 will be there to provide up-to-date coverage.

In the meantime, be sure to click back to ClickOrlando to check on the latest for what’s happening.

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