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Dean, 1st-grade teacher suspended after principal finds them in dark classroom closet

A Groveland Elementary School teacher and a dean were suspended without pay after they were found in a classroom closet and admitted to fooling around.

After they were confronted, the pair said they developed a close friendship at Groveland Elementary School and admitted they took it too far.

The Lake County School District investigated Groveland Elementary School's instructional dean, Alan Rosier, 56, and first-grade teacher Katie Lassen, 34.

It came after the school principal reported she found them in a dark classroom closet.

The two admitted to kissing each other. Rosier said they became "too close, kissing, hugging."

Read: Rescuers use rope to pull woman from submerged car in water in Lake County

He said they were first in the main classroom.

"When we began to kiss, we went in the closet," Rosier said, according to a report.

The school principal said she saw "Rosier's shirt tucked out and shoes untied."

Another school worker said he often saw Rosier visit Lassen's classroom at about 4 p.m. daily.

"Don't they know better? That's horrible," Groveland resident Eunice O'Farrel said.

The school district has recommended firing both teachers. Both have appealed that decision.

O'Farrel said because no students were involved she thinks a suspension and more training would be a more fair punishment than firing them.

"That's taking a big step, (because) you're really talking about somebody's profession, and it could ruin it for life," she said.

Others in the community hope the school district's recommendation keeps them both out of the classroom for good.

"I think they ought to be fired if they got caught doing that in school," Groveland resident Jack Mason said. "I do not think they ought to be there."

Channel 9 reached out to both employees but hasn't heard back. The hearing for their appeal could take place next month.

2 men shot at Marion County home

Best places to get married in Orlando

In addition to the magic of Walt Disney World and Universal Studios, there is romance in the air in Orlando. For those looking to tie the knot, learn the best places to get married in Orlando. The Balcony Orlando Larger wedding parties will find a home for their special day at Orlando's The Balcony venue. The venue, which can accommodate more than 300 guests, is unique in that it is a rooftop venue. Enjoy views of Orlando's Lake Eola, Orange Avenue and more from high above. Features of The Balcony include a bridal suite and more than 13,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor space to imagine your wedding. Citrus Club Dubbed as a premiere downtown wedding club, Citrus Club has been helping couples say "I do" since 1971. Features of this venue include several ballrooms, floor-to-ceiling views of Orlando and the option to work with a private event director to curate the wedding of your dreams. The Villas of Grand Cypress Brides seeking a sleek outdoor venue for their wedding need look no further than The Villas of Grand Cypress. The highlight of the is its 1,500 acres available for hosting the ultimate wedding. Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort Those with a generous budget can host a luxurious wedding at the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney. The Four Seasons has space to accommodate weddings of more than 300 guests. Features of the Four Seasons include the option to curate a lakeside wedding near the water or a lavish indoor reception fit for a queen. Lake Nona Golf & Country Club For those wanting their wedding day to conjure up thoughts of serenity, Lake Nona Golf & Country Club is a venue of choice. This country club, with Lake Nona as a scenic backdrop, has on-site lodge accommodations for wedding guests as well as an 18-hole championship golf course for added entertainment. Discovery Cove Planning a smaller, more intimate wedding? Add Discovery Cove to your venue list. This venue, set upon Sunrise Beach and near nature trails, is a good fit for those with fewer than 30 guests. Features include personalized photo sessions, complimentary lunch and breakfast, as well as unlimited snacks and beverages throughout the day and the option to add an excursion package. Imperial Design Banquet Hall One of the more inexpensive venues of the bunch, Imperial Design Banquet Hall makes a great choice for those wanting a smaller-sized wedding as well. The banquet hall has a total capacity of 250 people, and features pristine hardwood floors, a bridal suite, wireless internet and the option to have fabric draped from the ceiling as an extra embellishment.

9 Investigates Hurricane Maria's death toll

Eight months after Hurricane Maria ravaged the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico, the storm's death toll remains a mystery.

The official count stands at 64, but various groups said the true number could be in the thousands.

An independent review won't be released this month as was previously expected.

Days after the storm, Channel 9 anchor Nancy Alvarez traveled to the island and asked how many people died because of the storm.

"Sixteen, now 17, but the devastation is big," Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said at the time. "We expect that number to go up."

Read: Puerto Rico: Needs go unmet more than 6 months after Hurricane Maria

Nearby, Ilda Ruiz was suffering.

"Three times, they told me she's gonna die," said Oscar Reyes, who spent 41 years with Ilda in both Orlando and Puerto Rico.

Ruiz had Alzheimer's disease. Reyes looked forward to his daily visits with her at a nursing home.

"She was doing good, and after the hurricane, she went back and back and back," Reyes said.

After the storm hit, Ruiz contracted pneumonia and developed bedsores that cut her skin to the bone. She fought hard, but died three months later.

After the storm, Ponce Mayor María Meléndez told Channel 9 that deaths in her city had nothing to do with the hurricane.

Eight months later, experts are revisiting that claim.

A team from George Washington University is reviewing all deaths from September through February.

Ana Cruz, of the city of Orlando's Hispanic Office for Local Assistance, said the agency has assisted thousands of evacuees, many of whom told stories of deaths, including suicides.

"They're so desperate about what's happening on the island," Cruz said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a 14-page guide on how to categorize deaths after a natural disaster.

"Direct deaths" are considered those caused by structural collapses or flying debris, and "indirect deaths" are those tied to unsafe or unhealthy conditions, according to the guide.

The guide said both types could be categorized as disaster-related, even if the death occurred months after the natural disaster.

A GWU spokesman described the process of reviewing the deaths as complicated and said regular blackouts on the island have slowed the team's progress.

Read: FEMA extends housing program for Puerto Ricans, then will fly them back to island

The first phase of the review included interviews with medical examiners, doctors and city officials. A second phase will focus on interviews with the relatives of people who died during the storm.

The report is expected to be completed by summer.

Cruz said an accurate count is crucial.

"This is going to teach us a lesson of how bad a disaster can be if you don't act quickly enough," she said.

Reyes said he doesn't need a report. He blames the storm for Ruiz's death.

9 Investigates Hurricane Maria's death toll

Eight months after Hurricane Maria ravaged the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico, the storm's death toll remains a mystery.

The official count stands at 64, but various groups said the true number could be in the thousands.

An independent review won't be released this month as was previously expected.

Days after the storm, Channel 9 anchor Nancy Alvarez traveled to the island and asked how many people died because of the storm.

"Sixteen, now 17, but the devastation is big," Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said at the time. "We expect that number to go up."

Read: Puerto Rico: Needs go unmet more than 6 months after Hurricane Maria

Nearby, Ilda Ruiz was suffering.

"Three times, they told me she's gonna die," said Oscar Reyes, who spent 41 years with Ilda in both Orlando and Puerto Rico.

Ruiz had Alzheimer's disease. Reyes looked forward to his daily visits with her at a nursing home.

"She was doing good, and after the hurricane, she went back and back and back," Reyes said.

After the storm hit, Ruiz contracted pneumonia and developed bedsores that cut her skin to the bone. She fought hard, but died three months later.

After the storm, Ponce Mayor María Meléndez told Channel 9 that deaths in her city had nothing to do with the hurricane.

Eight months later, experts are revisiting that claim.

A team from George Washington University is reviewing all deaths from September through February.

Ana Cruz, of the city of Orlando's Hispanic Office for Local Assistance, said the agency has assisted thousands of evacuees, many of whom told stories of deaths, including suicides.

"They're so desperate about what's happening on the island," Cruz said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a 14-page guide on how to categorize deaths after a natural disaster.

"Direct deaths" are considered those caused by structural collapses or flying debris, and "indirect deaths" are those tied to unsafe or unhealthy conditions, according to the guide.

The guide said both types could be categorized as disaster-related, even if the death occurred months after the natural disaster.

A GWU spokesman described the process of reviewing the deaths as complicated and said regular blackouts on the island have slowed the team's progress.

Read: FEMA extends housing program for Puerto Ricans, then will fly them back to island

The first phase of the review included interviews with medical examiners, doctors and city officials. A second phase will focus on interviews with the relatives of people who died during the storm.

The report is expected to be completed by summer.

Cruz said an accurate count is crucial.

"This is going to teach us a lesson of how bad a disaster can be if you don't act quickly enough," she said.

Reyes said he doesn't need a report. He blames the storm for Ruiz's death.

City of Orlando partners with Amazon to test real-time facial recognition technology

The city of Orlando could soon watch residents and track their movements each time they're on a city street.

The city has signed on to a pilot program with Amazon to test Amazon Rekognition , a real-time facial recognition technology that aims to identify people and track them.

The Orlando Police Department said it could use the software to catch criminals.

The city is considering testing the software using Innovative Response to Improve Safety cameras and surveillance cameras at city-owned venues.

Read: Amazon urged not to sell facial recognition tool to police

"This would be one of the first cities -- as I understand it -- that would be rolling out real-time facial recognition," said Matt Cagle, an American Civil Liberties Union attorney.

The ACLU of Northern California and the ACLU of Florida started looking into the software after Amazon Web Services uploaded a video about it on YouTube earlier this month.

The software could use the city's more than 100 IRIS cameras, traffic cameras, surveillance cameras and police body-worn cameras, documents said.

The city described the program as "public safety software" that could be used to detect and get notifications of persons of interest in real-time.

Read: Orlando police say crime is up in the city

"If it can help reduce the crime, I don't mind if it invades my privacy for a little bit," visitor Daniel Ngu said.

Critics warn the software could be a dangerous invasion of privacy. They said people should have the right to walk free and assemble, and they're asking Amazon to stop providing the technology to the government.

"Frequently we see surveillance adopted for one reason -- maybe to fight crime -- but then frequently used for other reasons that the public did not consent to," Cagle said.

Police said they haven't had to pay for the software yet, which they're testing on eight cameras using police officers who have volunteered their participation. They said there isn't yet data to suggest the new technology works.

The Orlando Police Department provided Channel 9 with the following statement:

"The city of Orlando is excited to work with Amazon to pilot the latest in public safety software through a unique, first-of-it's-kind public-private partnership. Through the pilot, Orlando will utilize Amazon’s Rekognition Video and Amazon Kinesis Video Streams technology in a way that will use existing city resources to provide real-time detection and notification of persons-of-interests, further increasing public safety, and operational efficiency opportunities for the city of Orlando and other cities across the nation.

"The Orlando Police Department is not using the technology in an investigative capacity or in any public spaces at this time. The purpose of a pilot program such as this is to address any concerns that arise as the new technology is tested. Any use of the system will be in accordance with current and applicable law. We are always looking for new solutions to further our ability to keep the residents and visitors of Orlando safe."

City of Orlando partners with Amazon to test real-time facial recognition technology

The city of Orlando could soon watch residents and track their movements each time they're on a city street.

The city has signed on to a pilot program with Amazon to test Amazon Rekognition , a real-time facial recognition technology that aims to identify people and track them.

The Orlando Police Department said it could use the software to catch criminals.

The city is considering testing the software using Innovative Response to Improve Safety cameras and surveillance cameras at city-owned venues.

Read: Amazon urged not to sell facial recognition tool to police

"This would be one of the first cities -- as I understand it -- that would be rolling out real-time facial recognition," said Matt Cagle, an American Civil Liberties Union attorney.

The ACLU of Northern California and the ACLU of Florida started looking into the software after Amazon Web Services uploaded a video about it on YouTube earlier this month.

The software could use the city's more than 100 IRIS cameras, traffic cameras, surveillance cameras and police body-worn cameras, documents said.

The city described the program as "public safety software" that could be used to detect and get notifications of persons of interest in real-time.

Read: Orlando police say crime is up in the city

"If it can help reduce the crime, I don't mind if it invades my privacy for a little bit," visitor Daniel Ngu said.

Critics warn the software could be a dangerous invasion of privacy. They said people should have the right to walk free and assemble, and they're asking Amazon to stop providing the technology to the government.

"Frequently we see surveillance adopted for one reason -- maybe to fight crime -- but then frequently used for other reasons that the public did not consent to," Cagle said.

Police said they haven't had to pay for the software yet, which they're testing on eight cameras using police officers who have volunteered their participation. They said there isn't yet data to suggest the new technology works.

The Orlando Police Department provided Channel 9 with the following statement:

"The city of Orlando is excited to work with Amazon to pilot the latest in public safety software through a unique, first-of-it's-kind public-private partnership. Through the pilot, Orlando will utilize Amazon’s Rekognition Video and Amazon Kinesis Video Streams technology in a way that will use existing city resources to provide real-time detection and notification of persons-of-interests, further increasing public safety, and operational efficiency opportunities for the city of Orlando and other cities across the nation.

"The Orlando Police Department is not using the technology in an investigative capacity or in any public spaces at this time. The purpose of a pilot program such as this is to address any concerns that arise as the new technology is tested. Any use of the system will be in accordance with current and applicable law. We are always looking for new solutions to further our ability to keep the residents and visitors of Orlando safe."

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