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Independent residences open for adults with developmental disabilities
<div>Erica Bonn,&nbsp;27, walked through her new neighborhood with her&nbsp;watering&nbsp;can in hand.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>&quot;The hard part is trying out a new plant,&quot; Bonn told News 6 Anchor Kirstin O&#39;Connor.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Her mother Jill said&nbsp;Bonn was diagnosed with autism at the age of 9.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>&quot;It&#39;s just difficult, when your child leaves for the first time, especially when they have a disability,&quot; said Jill Bonn.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>But her daughter has always exceeded expectations, and this big move is no exception.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>&quot;So far I&#39;m doing pretty good for myself,&quot; said Erica Bonn.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>For the last two weeks, Erica has been living in one of the independent units&nbsp;at Quest Village, a community designed for adults with developmental disabilities.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>&quot;Housing for this population is a challenge, it&#39;s estimated that about 50,000 individuals will be turning 18 with a developmental disability over the next 5 to 10 years,&quot; said John Gill, president and CEO of Quest, Inc.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>According to recent estimates from the <a href="http:// https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/developmentaldisabilities/facts.html">Centers for Disease Control and Prevention</a> about 1 in 6 children in the United States ages 3 to 17 years old have a developmental disability.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>&quot;We&#39;re 50, out of 50 states for support in the individuals that we serve,&quot; said Gill.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Navigating the application process for state support can be daunting for parents with children with developmental disabilities, sometimes waiting years on a waitlist. This is the first generation of adults with autism and developmental delays expected to outlive their parents.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>&quot;There&#39;s nothing like this in Central Florida, I mean I&#39;ve been looking for years because what you think about is the day you&#39;re not around anymore,&quot; said Jill Bonn.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>The forty-eight units in&nbsp;Quest Village are&nbsp;situated within walking distance from Waterford Lakes Town Center in Orlando. The price of living is dependent on the needs of the resident, and rent costs $379 to $597 a month.</div> <div><br /> &quot;It is state of the art for Central Florida because it is really independent, we&#39;re not&nbsp;providing food service, we&#39;re not providing transportation,&quot; said Gill,&nbsp;&quot;and so we believe that&nbsp;<br /> because of the way it&#39;s structured, it is unique.&quot;<br /> &nbsp;</div> <div>In her first two weeks as an independent resident, Erica said she has stayed busy cooking for herself, starting a gardening club, and making new friends.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <p>&quot;The great thing about this is that it&#39;s a whole community of people, so she has a chance,&nbsp;you know, to have a social life. Which, for a lot of people that have, you know, on the&nbsp;autism spectrum that&#39;s one of their biggest problems, is not having any friends,&quot; said Jill Bonn.</p> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>&quot;I like to think I&#39;m going to be staying here long term,&quot; said Erica Bonn.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Bonn hopes to begin working in a library or office setting soon. In the meantime she&#39;s working on a project with other adults on the spectrum called &quot;Autistically Crafted&quot; to sell her knitted scarves and blankets at craft fairs.&nbsp;</div>

Grant aims to control 60,000 feral cat population in Osceola County
<p>Many counties in central Florida are dealing with a growing feral cat population. In Osceola County, leaders hope a new six-figure solution will help get things under control.</p><p>&quot;[We had] hundreds and hundreds of hundreds of kittens pouring into the shelter,&quot; said animal control director Kim Staton.</p><p>In her 30 years of doing this, Staton believes the feral cat population problem in the county has never been worse as each kitten season gets&nbsp;longer.</p><p>&quot;We estimate we have a population of feral and free-roaming cats in Osceola County of about 50,000 to 60,000,&quot; she explained.</p><p>But a new grant&nbsp;could&nbsp;make things easier and more manageable.&nbsp;</p><p>The $300,000 - $500,000 grant, awarded recently by Best Friends Animal Society, will enable the shelter to better handle and control the influx of the feral cat population.</p><p>Over the next three years, the shelter will have two additional employees, whose job it is to spay and neuter feral cats, then release them back into the community. The grant allows for the spay and neutering of&nbsp;2,500&nbsp;cats each year.</p><p>&quot;So that they&#39;re not having three or four litters of kittens every year which is the situation we&#39;re dealing with now,&quot; Staton added.</p><p>Staton also wants those in the community to realize that this problem is a community-wide effort.</p><p>&quot;Obviously no one wants to see an animal starve and they&#39;re trying to help,&quot; she explained.<br /> &quot;In reality, they&#39;re just feeding the cat, more cats join and pretty soon you&#39;re feeding a colony of cats and&nbsp;it&#39;s&nbsp;out of control.<br /> That&#39;s kind of how we got into this situation we&#39;re in now:<br /> uncontrolled breeding and this uncontrolled check and feeding of cats.&quot;</p><p>As for what you can do on your own, Staton says if you feed a feral cat, you can get it&nbsp;spayed&nbsp;or neutered too.</p><p>&quot;The best thing is to get that animal&nbsp;spayed&nbsp;and neutered,&quot; she said.<br /> &quot;If you have the ability to care for the animal, we can help with the spay and neuter.&nbsp;We have a low-cost clinic in the county.&quot;</p><p>The program is scheduled to get underway in the spring.</p>

Brevard undercover operation leads to heroin suppliers
<p>Brevard County authorities arrested eight&nbsp;people on drug charges in a months-long investigation that happened as communities across Central Florida are dealing with an increasing number of people overdosing on heroin mixed with fentanyl.</p><p>In an undercover video shared exclusively with News 6, an officer rides in a truck with a man. The two then exchange a fistful of cash for a bag with a white substance in it. It is one of a few undercover operations the Brevard County Sheriff&#39;s Office conducted during the course of several months, according to Brevard-Seminole Assistant State Attorney Justin Keen.</p><p>&quot;Anytime we can interrupt drug trafficking operations is always a good thing for the community,&quot; Keen said.</p><p>The investigation ended with multiple arrests and large quantities of heroin, cocaine and cash confiscated.&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;The Sheriffs Office and the State Attorney&#39;s Office worked on trying to shut down the supply chain from the beginning, before the drugs made it onto the streets,&quot; Keen said.</p><p>Spencer Smith, 33, is the man seen in the video, Keen said. While investigating Smith, deputies learned of&nbsp;29-year-old Jonathan Sorenson who is accused of trafficking cocaine and heroin. &nbsp;</p><p>&quot;You don&#39;t think it&#39;s legit?&quot; an undercover officer asked Sorenson in a different video. &nbsp;Sorenson is seen inspecting a kilo of cocaine, according to Keen.</p><p>Deputies later arrested Sorenson and his 52-year-old mother, Kathleen Sorenson.</p><p>&quot;Mom was involved in helping her son, Jonathan, package quantities of cocaine for customers,&quot; Keen said.</p><p>Deputies found a closet of weapons in Sorenson&#39;s home, according to Keen. They also found bags of suspected drugs stamped with the street name &quot;Jumpman&quot; Keen said.</p><p>Smith and Sorenson are mid-level dealers, according to Keen. Their arrests&nbsp;led authorities to Dennis Soler, 28 and Anthony Sanders, 40, who are alleged heroin suppliers, according to authorities.</p><p>The goal was to interrupt the supply before it made it to the hands of users,&nbsp;&quot;so that we can close down the operation before anyone overdoses,&quot; Keen said.</p>

Getting Results Award winner honors veterans with annual cruise, salute
<p>Rozann Abato and Carroll Jaskulski are this week&#39;s Getting Results Award winners.&nbsp;</p><p>Abato&nbsp;and Jaskulski&nbsp;are the founders of the Mount&nbsp;Dora Patriot Cruise and Salute. The annual Veterans Day celebration takes place on the shores of Mt. Dora&#39;s Gilbert Park.</p><p>Each year between 10 and 30 veterans and their families are treated to a two-hour recreational boat tour on the Harris&nbsp;chain of lakes. The celebration continues with a color guard salute and prime rib lunch.</p><p>&quot;It hit me that we need to do something to give back,&quot; Abato&nbsp;said. &quot;Freedom is not free.&nbsp;Someone paid&nbsp;for it and it&#39;s our veterans who payed for this and it was given to us.&quot;</p><p>Abato&nbsp;laughs when she thinks about how the event started&nbsp;back in 2012. The inspiration came from a TV news segment she saw showing&nbsp;a similar cruise in Northern Virginia. Patients from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center&nbsp;are taken for an afternoon ride down&nbsp;the Potomac River every&nbsp;July Fourth.</p><p>&quot;I thought, you know we have&nbsp;plenty of patriotic Americans in Lake County, we have Gilbert Park, we have public docks down there,&quot; Abato&nbsp;said.&nbsp;&quot;If there&#39;s ever a place that&#39;s set up better to do this than Mt. Dora I don&#39;t know where it could possibly be.&quot;</p><p>There was just one problem.</p><p>&quot;My husband came back from the gym and I said &#39;Here&#39;s what I saw on TV do you think we should do this?&#39;&quot; Abato&nbsp;recalled&nbsp;telling her husband.</p><p>Her husband Carroll Jaskulski&nbsp;replied, &quot;Well other than the fact that we don&#39;t own a boat, we don&#39;t know anybody that owns a boat and we don&#39;t particularly know any veterans, yeah, I don&#39;t see why we couldn&#39;t do this.&quot;</p><p>Just as Abato&nbsp;predicted, they found plenty of volunteers willing to help and in less than six months the first Mt. Dora patriot Cruise and Salute was held on Veterans Day.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s a peaceful place to be, you just float around and it&#39;s just a feel-good time,&quot; Abato&nbsp;said. &quot;I think that&#39;s what our veterans get out of it, they can relax out here.&quot;&nbsp;</p><p>Abato was nominated for the Getting Results Award by veteran Oscar Morris, who participated in this year&#39;s cruise.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s no easy task to do what she does to put this together,&quot; he wrote. &quot;She has chosen the best of the best&nbsp;volunteers. They made us feel like royalty.&quot;</p><p>Abato&nbsp;is already planning next year&#39;s cruise but says the event is&nbsp;about as big as it will&nbsp;get. She says the small sense of community is what makes it special.</p><p>&quot;We&#39;re out there on the docks taking pictures, the firetruck and waterfall, the big flag hanging down, all these people waving American flags,&quot; Abato said.&nbsp;&quot;Yeah, it feels good.&quot;</p>


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