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News
Local man convicted of attempted murder
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Local man convicted of attempted murder

Local man convicted of attempted murder

Local man convicted of attempted murder

A Jacksonville man was convicted Wednesday of attempted murder after police say he shot another man eight times before he drove off.

Police say 31-year-old Tavoris Simmons demanded money from a man at his home in April of last year, became angry when he didn't get it, and shot the victim, Eric Rand, multiple times.

The victim recovered.

Simmons now faces a minimum of 25 years in prison.

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The Latest News Headlines

  • Jacksonville is now officially poised to access a half-cent sales tax you approved to pay down the more than $2.8 billion pension debt, while closing out pensions and making wage and benefit changes for local unions. A slew of bills has been filed in front of the Jacksonville City Council, including legislation that approves tentative agreements with the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5-30, Jacksonville Association of Fire Fighters Local 122, Communication Workers of America, AFSCME, Jacksonville Supervisors Association, and Northeast Florida Public Employees’ Local 630 LIUNA. A bill formally levying the half-cent sales tax to pay the unfunded liability, or pension debt, has also been introduced.  A special Council “Committee of the Whole” meeting has already been scheduled for April 19 to review all of this legislation. Council approval is the final step needed in the process. WOKV has told you in recent weeks that the police and fire union membership- which make up the majority of the debt- approved the tentative agreement that resulted from collective bargaining with the City’s team. There is an increase in pay and restoration of benefits cut under a 2015 reform plan for existing members, while new hires are moved to a 401(k) style plan instead of a traditional pension. Closing the traditional pension plans was key in this ongoing process from the City’s perspective, because it was a needed move in order to tap in to the voter-approved sales tax. That tax would take effect upon the expiration of the Better Jacksonville Plan half-cent tax for capital improvement projects in 2030, and last for up to 30 years or until the defined benefit plans are fully funded. Voters approved the tax last year, after the concept was authorized at the state level. Since Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry and his team first started pitching this plan, it has been with the promise that generating this future sales tax revenue would result in immediate budget relief- possibly tens of millions of dollars. The bill text spells out some of the funding mechanism, saying the sales tax revenue would be “actuarially recognized” and applied to the employer contribution as early as the upcoming fiscal year. Some financial questions still remain, and are expected to be aired out as the Council begins its review. One question is exactly how much the benefit changes in the tentative agreement will cost the City. Another is how much money will be added to the total paydown by using this financial mechanism to provide short term relief and shift the large burden in to the future.
  • It's about being 'scam smart'.   Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater's Department of Financial Services, along with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, are hosting a series of workshops to help seniors, their families, and their caregivers avoid being ripped off.   The workshops, which are part of the Operation S.A.F.E. (Stop Adult Financial Exploitation) initiative, will teach attendees how to identify scams targeting the senior community, as well as receive tips on ways they can protect themselves.   The Director of the Division of Consumer Services in the Department of Financial Services says the workshops will cover a wide variety of potential scams.   Tasha Carter says, 'Many times the frauds and scams targeting seniors are related to telemarketing scams, sweepstakes scams, lottery scams, and even one of the bigger ones that have become more popular over the last several years, the romance scam.'   If you're interested in attending, the 'Be Scam Smart' Workshops are being held at the following locations and times:  - Wednesday, March 29, 2017  10:45 am to 12:15 pm  Wallace Small Senior Center  1083 Line Street  Jacksonville, FL 32209   -Thursday, March 30, 2017  10:00 am to 11:30 am  Frances Padgett Arlington Senior Center  1078 Rogero Road  Jacksonville, FL 32211   To register or request a workshop, you can visit www.MyFloridaCFO.com/SAFE or call 1-877-MY-FL-CFO.
  • A woman has a warning for people who use the changing rooms at a Robinson Township, Pennsylvania, mall. Heather Lapinski said that while she was trying on bathing suits at Macy’s in the Mall at Robinson, she noticed a cellphone under the door. She grabbed it, but a man’s hand grabbed it back.  >> Read more trending news By the time she was able to exit the dressing room, the man was gone. “I got ahold of it and a man's hand came down and grabbed it. I couldn’t scream. I was in so much shock,” Lapinski said. “I was crying. I didn't have my top on (and) I’m not running out completely naked.” By the time she was able to exit the dressing room, the man was gone. Lapinski described the man as having a medium build and balding in the front of his head. She said she hopes that someone recognizes the man before he does it again. “I want someone to say, ‘I know him.’ He can't keep going back and keep doing this to women. I’m going to be traumatized for the rest of my life,” she said. “When I go to bed, I toss and turn thinking about his face.” Both Macy’s and the Mall at Robinson said in statements about the matter that the safety of customers is a top priority. They could not confirm whether other incidents were previously reported.
  • When a teenager in Texas borrowed a family friend's computer, he made a shocking and sickening discovery. The boy found nude photos of his 10-year-old sister on the computer of Joe Garza Jr., according to the Star-Telegram. >> Read more trending news Garza, 65, was arrested March 3 on child pornography charges, and faces additional charges after it was discovered that he allegedly molested an older sister in the family years ago. The Star-Telegram reports that the boy, who was trying to fix the hard drive on his own computer, asked to borrow Garza's computer. While using it, he clicked on a folder and discovered the images of his sister. He returned the computer to Garza and told his mother about the images. She asked the boy to request to use the computer again so she could see the images for herself. The mother confronted Garza about the images and police were called to the scene. Officer Domingo Martinez, who works for the Fort Worth Police Department’s Crimes Against Children Task Force, told the Star-Telegram that Garza admitted to the mother that he had a problem and said he would disappear if she didn't call police. In interviews with authorities, the 10-year-old victim said Garza bought her items and gave her money, and told her not to tell her parents about the abuse.  Garza remains behind bars while investigators work to determine if there are additional victims.
  • A suspicious odor on a Duval County school bus leads the driver to pull over, ultimately leading to that driver and seven children being taken to the hospital. The Duval County School District says the bus was transporting 16 students from Grasp Academy and Fort Carolina Middle School when the odor was detected. The driver pulled over in the Hogan’s Creek area and contacted dispatch.  Jacksonville Fire and Rescue transported seven children and the driver to the hospital as a precaution, but all are said to be in good condition.  JFRD suspected carbon monoxide, but when they tested there was nothing abnormal at the scene. DCPS says they believe a general cleaning product used to wipe down bus seats may have caused the children to feel ill.

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