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  • It's called the Sheriff's Neighborhood Engagement Team, or NET.   The Clay County Sheriff's Office is announcing a new neighborhood crime prevention tool, with a big focus on community involvement.   Sheriff Darryl Daniels says, 'What I envision happening is, neighbors are more concerned about one another and their own safety and they get more energized collectively to make ensure that their areas are kept safe and secure, with cooperation from the Sheriff's Office.'   NET will involve monthly meetings with deputies to discuss crime trends and crime prevention strategies, with each neighborhood getting their own meeting.   The Sheriff's Office has released the following list of monthly meeting dates, times, and locations:   • Zone 1 (Orange Park) – Orange Park Operations Center, 212 Blanding Blvd.  Fourth Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m.  • Zone 2 (Oakleaf) - Oakleaf Community Center, 370 Oakleaf Village Pkwy.  First Thursday of the month at 7 p.m.  • Zone 3 (Fleming Island) – Sacred Heart Catholic, 7190 U.S. 17  Second Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m.  • Zone 4 (Middleburg) Middleburg Operations Center, 1836 Blanding Blvd.  Second Thursday of the month at 7 p.m.  • Zone 5 (Green Cove Springs) Clay County Agricultural Center (Fairgrounds), 2497 SR 16  First Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m.  • Zone 6 (Keystone Heights) Keystone Heights City Hall, 555 S. Lawrence Blvd.  Second Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m.   If you're interested in joining, you can sign up at www.claysheriff.com.
  • Today, Governor Rick Scott announced that he will propose $30 million in pay raises for state law enforcement agencies. Last month, Governor Scott signed a bill to  provide a five percent pay raise for Florida’s law enforcement officers. This $30 million would double that investment and be used to reward current sworn state law enforcement officers and continue to attract qualified officers. “Our state law enforcement officers face danger every day, and they have protected our communities during some of our state’s most challenging times,” Scott said. “ I was proud to stand with the Florida Senate and Florida House this year to fight for the well-deserved five percent pay raise for sworn state law enforcement officers, but we cannot stop there. We must do everything we can to recognize our law enforcement and work to ensure that our state can recruit hard-working law enforcement officers to build on Florida’s 46-year crime low.” The Governor will announce his entire recommended budget before the beginning of next year’s legislative session. 
  • A police shooting and chase on Jacksonville’s Westside involved a woman who was carjacked by a bank robbery suspect, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. We first told you Tuesday that officers following tips from the community had located a man suspected of two bank robberies over two days. The suspect- now identified as 28-year-old Michael Harris- got out of his car and in to a small silver vehicle, which had a woman driving. JSO says the suspect vehicle then led police on a roughly two-mile chase, which ended when the suspect vehicle ran a stop sign and was hit by a civilian car. Since that time, police have been investigating how the woman driving the small silver car Harris got in to was involved in what happened. JSO has now determined she was the victim of a carjacking and abduction by Harris- and she tells our partner Action News Jax that the entire ordeal was terrifying. “I’m dead, I’m dead. Bullets are flying out, bullets are flying in,” she said. Through the chase, JSO says Harris was shooting out of the car. One of the bullets struck Officer Jeremy Mason in the face, but he continued to pursue despite his injury. Mason and a detective ultimately shot Harris after the crash, when he refused to put down his weapon and fired at them again, according to JSO. Harris died of his injuries. JSO says Mason is in stable condition. The carjacking victim is still trying to understand what happened as well, saying it doesn’t feel real, and she’s questioning why this had to happen to her. “I’ve never been so happy to kiss a ground in my life. I’ve never been so happy to just be alive,” she says. Police now also say the gun used by Harris had been stolen out of Taylor County, FL in 2012. Harris has several prior arrests and convictions, including for burglary and dealing in stolen property.
  • They’re looking to fill more than 50 positions in Jacksonville, St. Augustine, and Orange Park. AT&T is currently hiring for several different positions. The company says they’re looking for call center representatives in Orange Park, technicians in Jacksonville and St. Augustine, and retail sales consultants in Jacksonville. If you’re interested in applying, you can visit AT&T’s employment website. This is the most recent of several big jobs announcements that have taken place in Jacksonville, with Amazon holding job fairs, UPS adding hundreds of part time jobs, and Florida Blue boosting its temporary workforce, among other companies.
  • A tip leads Clay County detectives to busting a major marijuana grow operation in Middleburg.   The Clay County Sheriff's Office, along with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, arrested Esmel Diego and charged him with trafficking marijuana, after a recent tip.   Detectives say when they walked up to his home on Hidden Oaks Drive, they smelled a strong odor of marijuana.   But when they tried to make contact with Diego, he tried to run, but was apprehended by the narcotics team.   According to a release from the sheriff's office, detectives seized 96 marijuana plants, weighing a total of 223.70 pounds. The estimated street value is $250,000.
  • About a week after his arrest in St. Petersburg, Jaguars' defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. is issuing an apology.   As he reported for the Jags camp Wednesday, Fowler made the following statement to the media:   “First I would like to start off by apologizing to the organization of the Jacksonville Jaguars and also the city of Jacksonville for my actions and for what had gone down. I just wanted to let people know and everybody know that’s not me as a person, I’m a better person than that and it won’t happen again.” Fowler only answered a few questions on the topic of his arrest, saying he doesn't have a maturity issue and that it was only ‘a bump in the road.’   “Maturity is not a problem. I’m actually growing a lot especially with this new structure and everything that we have. It’s starting to carve me into the person that I want to be, the professional that I want to be. It’s just a bump in the road that I just have to get over and put past me and show you guys, show the organization and show the city that I’m a role model and I want to go in that route and not go in another bad route,” Fowler says. As for his conversations with EVP of Football Operations Tom Coughlin and Head Coach Doug Marrone, Fowler described them as positive.   Fowler says, '“They’ve been very positive and actually made me feel really good to see them supporting me and just being there for me and asking me if I’m okay. Trying to fix the situation in the best way possible way and like I told Tom, I’m very sorry and I told him that I apologize and I can’t make the organization look like that and put us in situations like that because that’s not us, that’s not how we are as a team, and that’s not how we are as an organization. We had a good talk and I told him from here on out nothing else will happen.” Fowler is charged with two misdemeanor counts- battery and criminal mischief, after St. Petersburg police say he got into argument with a man over his driving.   He’s then accused of hitting the man, knocking off his glasses and stepping on them, before going on to throw the man's grocery bag into a lake.
  • UPDATE July 26 6:32 a.m. -- Officials with the Sarasota Slam fishing tournament announced Tuesday on the event's Facebook page that they have reported to authorities the identities of several individuals captured on video dragging a shark behind a speeding boat. >> Read more trending news   The video has been viewed nearly 800,000 times on the WFTV Facebook page alone, and has drawn criticism from countless people on social media. The man piloting the boat in the video can be seen wearing a Sarasota Slam T-shirt, and tournament officials were quick to distance the event from the video and condemn those involved.  'The Sarasota Slam is in no way affiliated with the despicable behavior in the video on social media,' tournament organizers wrote on the group's Facebook page. 'We do not want to give those individuals any more attention.  'They will be banned from our tournament ... their names were already given to the proper authorities when we learned of the video.' Tournament officials did not immediately respond to a Facebook message seeking comment on the case Tuesday. Neither the group nor investigators with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission have publicly identified the individuals in the video. The FWC confirmed that an investigation has been opened into the individuals in the video, and where and when it may have been recorded. ORIGINAL STORY  Investigators with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission confirmed they’re investigating an incident after someone posted video of what appears to be a shark dragged by a boat at a high rate of speed. But investigators don’t know who posted the video, where the video was shot or what happened to the shark.  A spokesperson for FWC said they are taking the incident very seriously and they’re investigating.  'It is too early to speculate as to what, if any, violations took place in this incident,' the spokesperson said. It is not clear in the video if the shark was alive while it was being dragged behind the boat, but experts said it would be virtually impossible for the animal to survive behind pulled by the tail at such a high rate of speed. FWC said they’re attempting to identify the people in the video.  Anyone with information is urged to contact the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-3922 or Tip@MyFWC.com. Individuals can remain anonymous.  It is too early to speculate as to what, if any, violations took place in this incident. This is a developing story. Check WFTV.com for updates.

The Latest News Headlines

  • Today, Governor Rick Scott announced that he will propose $30 million in pay raises for state law enforcement agencies. Last month, Governor Scott signed a bill to  provide a five percent pay raise for Florida’s law enforcement officers. This $30 million would double that investment and be used to reward current sworn state law enforcement officers and continue to attract qualified officers. “Our state law enforcement officers face danger every day, and they have protected our communities during some of our state’s most challenging times,” Scott said. “ I was proud to stand with the Florida Senate and Florida House this year to fight for the well-deserved five percent pay raise for sworn state law enforcement officers, but we cannot stop there. We must do everything we can to recognize our law enforcement and work to ensure that our state can recruit hard-working law enforcement officers to build on Florida’s 46-year crime low.” The Governor will announce his entire recommended budget before the beginning of next year’s legislative session. 
  • With half of the debate completed in the U.S. Senate on a House-passed bill to overhaul the Obama health law, Republicans have yet to reveal the details of what may be the only GOP option that can get a majority of votes, a streamlined measure which would change only a few provisions of current health law. “I don’t know what the “skinny” repeal looks like,” said Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) to a group of reporters, as he acknowledged doing the bare minimum on health care might be about the only way to keep GOP options open on changes to Obamacare. “What you’re really voting on is to try to keep the discussions alive between the House and Senate,” Corker told reporters. Corker says 'content' of skinny bill not the point, rather it is 'forcing mechanism' for conference with House — Peter Sullivan (@PeterSullivan4) July 26, 2017 The way the “skinny” Republican option has been described in recent days is this: + Zero out the tax penalty on the individual mandate (note – this does not “repeal” the mandate – it just reduces the penalty to $0). + Zero out the employer mandate penalty + Repeal the medical device tax. But there were rumblings on Wednesday that the details of the plan would have to be fiddled with, leaving GOP Senators in the dark on what they might be voting on late on Thursday night, or Friday. McCain, with his usual sass, on where he's at with skinny repeal: 'It changes every hour, how can I judge it?' — Emma Loop (@LoopEmma) July 26, 2017 “I want to see what it says; I don’t know what it says – no one knows what it says yet,” Corker said. “All of this right now is procedural setup to get to an end that none of us are certain what it’s going to look like,” said Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA). “I’d rather comment when we see it actually formulated,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) of the “skinny” Senate bill. Down at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, President Trump was continuing to press GOP Senators for action, using his platform on Twitter to make one more direct appeal on Thursday morning. Come on Republican Senators, you can do it on Healthcare. After 7 years, this is your chance to shine! Don't let the American people down! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 27, 2017 But as the day began, it wasn’t clear whether there would be 50 Republican votes for any GOP health plan in the Senate – skinny or not. For seven years, many Republicans and conservative groups have pushed a story line that wasn’t completely true about the Congressional debate on the Obama health law – that few hearings were held, that the bill text was kept a secret until the bitter end, that the House and Senate votes were done in the middle of the night, and more. Having covered the legislative battle over the Obama health law, many of those criticisms weren’t entirely accurate – but the irony right now is that the GOP may be following a health care script in 2017 which mirrors many of their own complaints from 2009 and 2010.
  • It's almost that time of the year again--- football season.   The Jacksonville Jaguars have announced their 2017 training camp schedule, which includes 10 practices open to the public.   The training camps kick off with three open sessions on Thursday, July 27, Friday, July 28 and Saturday, July 29. However, we're told Saturday’s practice on July 29, is open exclusively to Jags365 Season Ticket Members.   If you wish to attend the open sessions, which will take place at the practice fields adjacent to EverBank Field, you should register online at www.jaguars.com/trainingcamp.   The schedule includes the following dates:    Thursday, July 27                    Training Camp Practice                     10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.   Friday, July 28                  Training Camp Practice                    10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.   Saturday, July 29                     Training Camp Practice (open to Jags365 members only)                     6:30 – 9 p.m.   Monday, July 31              Training Camp Practice               10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.   Tuesday, August 1              Training Camp Practice               10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.   Wednesday, August 2            Training Camp Practice              10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.   Thursday, August 3             Training Camp Practice              10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.   Friday, August 4            Florida Blue Family Night Scrimmage at EverBank Field               6 – 8:30 p.m.            * Registration to open at a later date.   Monday, August 14          Joint practices with Buccaneers           10 a.m. – 1:05 p.m.   Tuesday, August 15           Joint practices with Buccaneers             10 a.m. – 1:05 p.m. For more information, visit jaguars.com.
  • One person is dead and seven others were injured after a ride malfunctioned at the Ohio State Fair on Wednesday. >> Ohio State Fair ride accident: 5 things to know about the Fire Ball ride The Associated Press reported that a swinging and spinning amusement park ride called the Fire Ball malfunctioned on the opening day of the fair. People were thrown into the air following the malfunction. At least seven people were injured. >> Read more trending news Battalion Chief Steve Martin, a Columbus Fire Division spokesman, said some or all of the victims were reported to have been thrown from the ride, according to The Columbus Dispatch. Martin told the AP that five of the seven people reported injured were in critical condition and two were in stable condition at area hospitals. The person who died, a man, was one of the people thrown when the malfunction occurred, Martin said. Ohio Gov. John Kasich said in a statement that he is “terribly saddened” about the accident and ordered fair rides were shut down pending additional safety inspections. The Ohio State Fair tweeted a statement about the incident early Thursday. The fair announced it will open gates at 9 a.m. Thursday, and other activities will resume as scheduled. 

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