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Council to hear from public on bill banning Met Park concerts

City councilman Don Redman is sponsoring a bill to ban concerts from Metropolitan Park downtown and tonight, city council will hear from the public on why they should or shouldn't vote for the bill.

"You have to have more events out here to get people to come out, otherwise we're not even going to know our city.  How are we going to be one together if we never really do anything together?" say concert-goers like Andrea Bridge.

She tells our news partner Action News they wouldn't want to see concerts go from Met Park. Councilman Don Redman says he and the key players are doing their best to compromise.

"Hopefully to find something where we can have somewhat loud music but not to the extreme that it is now," says Councilman Redman.

The same company that owns WOKV owns X1029, which is an alternative rock station that holds a number of concerts every year.  Programming Director Aaron Schachter says the ordinance is threatening some of those events and the revenue they bring.

“I’m just astonished that at a time when the economy is at a lull and businesses are looking for any way to monetize that downtown area, we’re gunna take a concert venue that was built specifically for this and shut it down,” he says.

Redman says his constituents across the river from the park in St. Nicholas and South Shores have been complaining about noise levels during concerts. Though the public is welcome to comment the bill will not be up for a vote tonight.  The councilman is also sponsoring legislation to create a stricter background check process on people who want to own and operate ice cream trucks after a convicted sex offender in Clay County began running his own ice cream truck.

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The Latest News Headlines

  • GOP leaders in the U.S. Senate seem ready to push ahead with a showdown procedural vote on a bill to overhaul the Obama health law, even without any assurance that they have enough votes to simply start debate, and without a final decision on what changes Senate Republicans might offer to a health care bill narrowly approved by the House in early May. While most of the attention this week will be on the machinations involving health care legislation in the Senate, the House will take the first steps on spending bills for next year’s budget, and vote on a revised plan for new sanctions against Russia, as the House gets ready to head home for an extended summer break. Here’s the latest from Capitol Hill: 1. Senate GOP bill on health care still in limbo. GOP leaders are still vowing to press ahead this week on a procedural vote that would begin debate on a House-passed bill to overhaul the Obama health law, but it’s not clear that Republicans have enough votes to take that first step. The absence of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) – diagnosed last week with brain cancer – is a big deal, since the White House needs every vote possible. Some still wonder if Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) might be convinced to at least vote to start debate – though he has made clear he is against the options that have been floated so far by top Republicans on health care legislation. As for Democrats, they’re still worried about a late rush to victory by the GOP. We saw what happened in the House of Representatives. They passed a bill after everyone thought it was dead. We can’t let that happen again. — Sen Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) July 23, 2017 2. Senate Parliamentarian knocks some holes in GOP plan. Because Republicans chose to use the expedited procedure known as budget reconciliation, the Senate rules play a much larger than normal role, and that has resulted in problems for a series of provisions in the bill. On Friday, the Parliamentarian said a dozen pieces of the Senate bill could be subjected to parliamentary points of order, which could only be overridden by a 60 vote super majority, something the GOP does not have. That includes provisions designed to block any federal dollars from going through the Medicaid program to Planned Parenthood. And the bill may have more holes poked in it on Monday, when the Parliamentarian goes over four other provisions. 3. Trump keeps pressing GOP on health care. While President Trump again pushed GOP Senators over the weekend to act on health care, his call for action doesn’t seem to be making Republicans in the Congress tremble at the thought of being the target of his ire – and for now, the votes aren’t there to get this Senate health care bill over the finish line. As I type this, it’s not even clear what the GOP might be voting on in the Senate as early as this week – if enough Senators decide to begin debate on the Senate floor. It’s a big week for Republican leaders in the Congress on health care – watch to see what the President says in public about the process, as well as GOP holdouts, and what he does behind the scenes to twist some arms of GOP Senators. Don’t count him out just yet. The Republican Senators must step up to the plate and, after 7 years, vote to Repeal and Replace. Next, Tax Reform and Infrastructure. WIN! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 22, 2017 4. House to pass Russia sanctions bill. After sitting on the measure for a few weeks, Republicans in the House will approve a plan that steps up sanctions on Iran and Russia – it was approved on a vote of 98-2 in the Senate. The House though, will add provisions dealing with North Korea, and send that back to the Senate for further action. It’s expected to be approved swiftly there. Behind the scenes, the White House has expressed frustration about the sanctions bill, because it would not allow President Trump to unilaterally roll back economic sanctions against Moscow. The vote comes as there has been more talk that the Trump Administration wants to give two compounds back to Russia, which were confiscated by the Obama Administration last December, in the first punishment for election interference in 2016. The only thing Republicans have fought Trump on are Russian sanctions… is he that upset that the GOP isn't protecting Trump through Putin? https://t.co/Ufvo9pqXDc — Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) July 23, 2017 5. 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How many spending bills each chamber has passed — House got the last of its bills through cmte yesterday. 2.5 months until govt $$ runs out pic.twitter.com/TlwXVgspWa — Sean McMinn (@shmcminn) July 20, 2017 6. One odd provision in the minibus. One interesting choice made by Republicans this week is that the House will vote on money to build the border wall backed by President Trump – but not the underlying bill that funds the Department of Homeland Security. A provision for $1.6 billion to start work on the wall along the border with Mexico is part of the “Make America Secure” minibus appropriations bill – but the plan to actually fund Homeland Security operations won’t be voted on by the House – until after Labor Day. You can see the House schedule – a rare five day legislative work week is scheduled this week for the House, and then lawmakers head back home for five weeks. 7. Democrats look to force votes on Trump hotels. 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Because it doesn’t have the votes to pass at this point in time. That means any talk you hear from GOP leaders and/or President Trump about action on tax reform needs to be taken with a grain of salt, because that budget blueprint has to be approved by both the House and Senate before any votes on can take place on a tax bill – and since the House isn’t going to be back until after Labor Day, that means tax reform remains on hold in the Congress. So what’s next? Three important agenda items now loom –tax reform, debt ceiling and budget resolution. Path to each is somewhat unclear. — Charlie_Commodities (@lfucha) July 22, 2017 9. Tax reform must be ‘budget neutral.’ One story that didn’t get much play last week because of the GOP troubles on health care is a wonky type of detail from the GOP budget resolution – but it has a big impact on tax reform plans for Republicans. 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  • Just a few days after St. Johns County deputies say a sex offender cut off his tracking device and absconded, he’s now been tracked down. The Sheriff’s Office says Robert Ferrell was arrested without incident Sunday. No details have been immediately provided, but our partner Action News Jax reports Ferrell was found in the Murabella area. Ferrell cut off his GPS monitoring device and threw it in the trash on Tuesday, according to deputies. The Sheriff’s Office is thanking the community for their help tracking Ferrell down. A Facebook post from SJSO says they received tips from the community- who also widely shared his photo- as part of their investigation.
  • Detectives with the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office Special Victim's Unit/ Sexual Predator Offender Tracking are asking the public to keep an eye out for Robert Ferrell, 35.   Ferrell is wanted for failing to register as a sex offender, among other charges. Bulletins have been posted across the country, as a precautionary measure, to help find Ferrell.    The sheriff's office says Ferrell was just released from prison a week ago and told deputies two days ago that he was homeless and residing in the woods.   As part of his probation, Ferrell was court ordered to wear a GPS tracking device.  However, Ferrell allegedly cut off that device this past Tuesday around 6:00 pm and dumped it into a trash can in the 1900 block of US 1 South.   Ferrell is described as a white male, 5'8'' tall, 135 pounds with a shaved head. He also has tattoos all over his body, including a tattoo on the top of his shaved head that says 'FLORIDA' with a picture of a face next to it.   If you see Ferrell or know where he is, you're urged to contact Detective Kevin Green at (904) 209-3988 or by email at kgreen@sjso.org.
  • Tyler Swantek, 24, was already in custody on drug charges when police tacked on a first-degree murder charge. Police said he killed his father, Todd Swantek, and left the corpse on the couch for weeks. The Standard-Speaker reported that Swantek allegedly shot his father in the head with a rifle. >> Read more trending news Police reportedly were called to the scene in Frackville, Pennsylvania, in late May by a friend of Todd Swantek’s, who had not heard from the father for a month. When police entered the house, they found a gruesome scene: The badly decomposed body was on the couch, covered in blankets and a sleeping bag, the Standard-Speaker reported. Police said they searched the house and found the rifle, which they believe to be the murder weapon, in Tyler Swantek’s bedroom. There were a number of candles and air fresheners in the house, apparently put out in an attempt to mask the smell, the Standard-Speaker reported. Police said that when they interviewed Tyler Swantek about his father’s death, he showed no emotion. An autopsy report suggested that the body may have been on the couch for months before it was discovered. Swantek appeared in court where he asked for reduced bail for drug charges, but the judge didn’t agree to the deal. The judge reportedly said, “He’s a danger to himself and society.” Read more here.

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