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Latest from Rich Jones

    Buckle up.  Today is going to be the peak of our storm system as a large and powerful upper level disturbance moves across the area, triggering bands of heavy rain and thunderstorms.  A Tornado Watch had been issued until 6pm for all counties in the NE Florida area, but it is now only in effect for Duval, Baker, and Nassau counties. A severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for Clay and St. Johns counties through 11 PM.  Action News Jax Chief Meteorologist Mike Buresh says this is a dynamic storm system and there is at least some threat for severe weather.  LISTEN:  MIKE BURESH WEATHER PODCAST “We’re going to see a lot of cloud cover today and that stops us from heating up a whole lot, but still we have a very dynamic storm system, there’s a lot of wind energy, and that all adds up to the possibility of at least some severe weather.  The main threat being hail, high winds, and even isolated tornadoes right into this evening”, said Buresh.  One thing that is more certain is heavy rain, possibly several inches in localized area, by tonight. We may have localized flood warnings issued.   Thankfully, we clear out and turn less humid by Thursday and into the long holiday weekend.  Our next chance for rain won’t come until Monday but it’s a low chance for rain/storms.   FIVE DAY FORECAST:  WARM, DRY MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND AHEAD
  • Security at the St. Augustine Amphiteatre was doubled following events from the summer 2016, including the Pulse nightclub attack.  And Community Relations Manager Diana Markovits says they feel the changes are adequate ahead of the next performance Friday night. “People will be more on edge possibly, for Friday’s show, but we feel and are very confident in the procedures we put in place last year....there’s not much of a need for even more because we already have twice the security staff here”, said Markovits.  Those changes included bag checks, metal detectors, and wanding of attendees.   Markovits says they do a security check before every event with the Sheriff's Office and contracted security crews, which they will certainly do before Friday’s Idina Minzel concert.“We encourage people to make sure to plan for a little extra time before getting into the venue because of the heightened security measures”, said Markovits.  They do not allow backpacks and other specific items, which are outlined on their website.  
  • Monday brought some big soakers with up to three inches of rain in South Mandarin and Arlington.  NE Florida saw pockets of severe storms.  On the northside the awning of a Sunoco gas station on Main Street near Tallulah Avenue. 'Walked outside and boom,' car owner Cryshan Muhammad said. Muhammad said her son was inside paying for gas while his car was parked at the pump and when he walked outside, he saw the awning on top of his car.  Thankfully no one was hurt.  Action News Jax Chief Meteorologist Mike Buresh says the setup for today could be as stormy, but the overall severe weather threat is greatest on Wednesday afternoon and evening. Expect periods of heavy rain, frequent lightning, and gusty winds this afternoon.  Mike says Wednesday will feature several bands of heavy rain, and the possibility of large hail and a tornado very late in the day.   Be sure to download the News 104.5 WOKV App and enable alerts so you can get instant updates when severe storms pop up.
  • The WOKV Careathon is fast approaching.  The annual fundraiser for the Child Cancer Fund of NE Florida is scheduled for Friday, July 21, 2017.   Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry has issued a Proclamation declaring July 21st Careathon Day in Jacksonville.  Curry encourages all citizens to join him in raising awareness of childhood cancer and the efforts being made in our community to support those suffering from its effects.  The WOKV Careathon has raised in excess of $250,000 since 2015.  The 13-hour broadcast at Nemours Children’s Special Care features stories of local children who are in various stages of their cancer fight.   Donations made during the WOKV Careathon go to the Christy Fund, an endowment to forever fund the Child Advocate position.   The Child Advocate is the flagship program of the CHILD Cancer Fund and was the genesis for the formation of the fund in 1994. Up until now it has been funded annually through contributions and fundraising events.  The goal of the Christy Fund is to build enough assets to be able to fund the position through investment earnings alone.
  • Jacksonville Police are searching for a man who burglarized a Starbucks on Philips Hwy. near JTB late Friday. According to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, the suspect broke through the front door and ransacked the business about an hour after it had closed. Over $5,000 worth of electronic equipment was damaged, including security cameras and communications equipment.  But, some clear pictures of the suspect were captured. If you recognize the suspect you’re asked to call JSO at (904) 630-0500 or Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS. 
  • The Duval County School Board has voted unanimously (one member was absent) to name Dr. Patricia Willis as interim superintendent.  Willis is a former Deputy Superintendent with DCPS, and was considered by many board members as an internal candidate.  She retired in 2012.  “There may be some areas that we need to tweak but beyond that we want to continue to move our schools forward in the direction we’re going”, said Willis.   Willis and former Hillsborough County Superintendent Dr. Earl Leonard were interviewed Wednesday morning.  Following the interview, board members expressed interest having an interim leader who can steady the ship and make adjustments as needed.  Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti is leaving Jacksonville to take over as Superintendent of the Detroit Public Schools. The Duval School Board will begin contract negotiations with Dr. Willis immediately.   Board members were guided to keep the compensation package the same as Dr. Vitti during the interim period. The School Board intends to begin a more elaborate process of identifying, interviewing, and ultimately selecting a permanent superintendent.   The School Board had previously agreed that the interim will not be considered for the permanent job. 
  • A man is hospitalized after he was shot early Wednesday on Jacksonville’s westside. JSO was called to a reported aggravated battery with life-threatening injuries on Lane Avenue, near Park Street, around 4am. Police tell us a man was found shot in the parking lot of an apartment complex. He was rushed to a local hospital to be treated for injuries. The victim is a 21-year-old black man.  He has not been publicly identified. JSO does not have any suspect description.  Officers were going door to door, seeking witnesses to the shooting.
  • Through the day we are working to update the condition of a man who was shot on Jacksonville's westside.| Just past Midnight police were called to a shooting on Playpen Drive, just off 103rd near Ricker Road.  According to JSO, the victim was rushed to a local hospital where he was listed in serious condition. As of Tuesday morning, JSO does not have any suspect information.  
  • 21 people have been arrested in a week-long undercover operation by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office targeting sex crimes against children.   The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office partnered with multiple agencies including FDLE, Orange Park Police, the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, and Putnam County Sheriff’s Office. Suspects between the ages of 21 and 61 were arrested for soliciting minors for sex.  Officers posing as underage children established meetings, where the arrests were made.  According to Sheriff Mike Williams, most of the suspects live in the Jacksonville area, and one is an Associate Teacher at Palencia Elementary School in St. Johns County.  24-year-old Kyle Parmenter had been hired by the St. Johns Schools in October of 2016 and is in his first year teaching in the district.   A spokesperson for the St. Johns County School District tells WOKV News they learned of the arrest on May 9th and took immediate action by suspending the teacher with pay as an internal investigation continues.  One noteworthy arrest involved a man who had recently been released from prison for armed burglary.  He fled police and even rammed some of the vehicles as he resisted arrest.  “Needless to say individuals who are tolling the Internet are not always who they pretend to be and our children can never be certain of the intentions of strangers”, said Sheriff Williams.  He recommends parents always know when their children are online, and who they are communicating with.   This is a developing story, and we are working to learn more specifics about the individuals arrested.  
  • A pedestrian who walked into the path of a Jacksonville Sheriff’s Officer responding to a robbery call was hit and killed late Wednesday.  Officer T.L. James was responding to a robbery with an individual injured at Harveys Supermarket on University Blvd. and Terry Road around 9:45pm.  “Police officer James was in his marked patrol vehicle not using any emergency equipment whatsoever and he’s traveling eastbound on University Blvd.”, said Chris Butler, Chief of Investigation with JSO.  The officer was following a Jacksonville Fire Rescue emergency vehicle with its lights and sirens activated.  As the JFRD vehicle approached a Burger King near Philips Hwy., a white man - now identified as 62-year-old Blane Land of Jacksonville -  ran from the business and directly in front of the rescue vehicle.  “Rescue vehicle had to sound its air horn. The gentleman made it in front of JFRD vehicle...but he stopped in the center lane. As soon as the Fire Rescue vehicle passed him he then darted back across toward the Burger King and was struck by police officer T.L. James”, said Butler.  James is a three-year veteran and has been placed on administrative leave, which is standard operating procedure.   Chief Butler says it’s unclear if this was a suicide attempt; it is not being ruled out at this early stage of the investigation.  The officer wasn’t one of the primary officers who received the robbery call.  He told investigators he was going the speed limit at the time.  “He heard the call go out and he was responding in addition to that”, said Butler. 
  • Rich Jones

    Host of Jacksonville's Morning News

    Rich Jones has been News Director of WOKV AM/FM since October 2006. Since joining the team, WOKV News has been recognized by the Associated Press as the most awarded radio news team in the state of Florida including awards for Best Newscast, Best Reporting, Best Public Affairs Coverage, and Best News Series, among others.

    Rich has been involved in many organizations and causes on the First Coast. He has twice been captain of WOKV's team at the Heart Walk, and has raised funds for the American Heart Association. 

    Rich is “the face” of WOKV in the community and is the Master of Ceremonies for many philanthropic causes such as the Annual WOKV Careathon, a day-long benefit for the Child Cancer Fund of NE Florida, which raises hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.

    Rich enjoys spending his time away from the studio with his wife, daughters and son as well as watching sports and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

    Read More

The Latest News Headlines

  • ***UPDATE: JSO says the suspect has been identified and is in custody. WOKV is working to learn more details.*** Jacksonville police are asking for your help finding a man accused of exposing himself to a child.  The Sheriff’s Office says an incident occurred around 8:30AM on May 18th, where a man pulled up near the victim around the intersection of Cedar Hills Boulevard and Blanding Boulevard. The suspect reportedly provided a picture of a cat and asked if the victim had seen the cat. We’re told the suspect had his pants down and was fondling himself.   The suspect is described as a white man in his 40s, balding with dark hair around the sides and back. His vehicle is described as a silver or gray 2000-2005 Ford Focus station wagon.  Police say it’s possible there have been other incidents involving this suspect, although none have been reported at this time.  If you have any information on the suspect or his vehicle, you’re asked to contact JSO at 904-630-0500 or JSOCrimeTips@jaxsheriff.org. You can also submit an anonymous tip and be eligible for a possible reward by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.
  • It marks Florida Governor Rick Scott's first veto of the year.   Scott has vetoed a bill, commonly called 'Whiskey and Wheaties', that would have allowed grocery stores, retailers, and certain gas stations to sell liquors alongside other products.   Instead, with this veto, there will be no changes. That means the 'liquor wall' requiring spirits to be sold in a location with a separate entrance will stay in place.   In a letter to the Florida Secretary of State, Kenneth Detzner, Scott says both sides of the bill had good points, but that ultimately he had to side with small businesses.   Scott says small business owners told him they were concerned about this bill's impact on their families and their ability to create jobs.
  • Dog bites man. Man sues dog. Dog wins. The dog was Draco, a prized member of the Gwinnett County Police Department’s K-9 unit. But on July 6, 2013, Draco bit the arm of burglary suspect Randall Kevin Jones, who later claimed the dog clamped down for what “seemed like a lifetime.” >> Read more trending news Jones was taken to Gwinnett Medical Center and given stitches for the dog bite before being jailed and charged with burglary and obstruction. Two years later, he filed a highly unusual lawsuit, in that he not only sued the officers involved but also “Officer K-9 Draco of the Gwinnett County Police Department in his individual capacity.” The lawsuit, alleging excessive use of force, said Draco “viciously mauled” Jones, “tearing his flesh and permanently injuring and disfiguring him, while … officers stood by and failed to intervene.” When a federal judge rejected Gwinnett’s initial attempt to dismiss the lawsuit, the county appealed. On Friday, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta threw out the case against Draco. >> Related: Dog saves family with 9 children from house fire “We hold that a dog may not be sued individually for negligence since a dog is not a ‘person,’” Judge Robin Rosenbaum wrote for a unanimous three-judge panel. Georgia law, she noted, does not allow such claims to be litigated against dogs. The mere notion of allowing a lawsuit against a dog raises abundant practical issues, Rosenbaum added. How would you formally serve the lawsuit on a dog? What about the dog’s retention of legal representation? How can a dog be expected to pay damages? >> Related: Why is there a dog on the roof in a Texas neighborhood? Draco, a Belgian Malinois, retired from the K-9 unit in mid-2014 after seven years on the force, helping officers track down suspects and find stashes of illegal drugs. Read more here.
  • A Texas teenager and cancer survivor is thanking a new friend for giving him a college scholarship. Chase Bradley, 17, of Hyde Park High School in Austin knows what a cancer battle is like. His older sister was diagnosed with cancer five years ago and beat it. >> Read more trending news The experience made him an advocate for cancer research. “I remember being in her hospital room, trying to keep a straight face and not cry in front of her. It was a very heartbreaking setting. I gave my sister a hug and it was very overwhelming.' Bradley told ABC News. Bradley and earned a scholarship after raising $57,000 for cancer research. But instead of keeping the $2,500 prize for himself, he gave it to Sergio Garcia, a senior at nearby Anderson High School, who beat leukemia. 'It was something really nice that he did for me and I didn't even know him,' Garcia said in an interview with ABC News. 'We've became really good friends after that. [I plan] to pay some of my tuition for college.' >> Related: 11-year-old cancer survivor commits suicide after relentless bullying, family says Garcia, now cancer-free, says he’s grateful for friends like Bradley. He plans on attending Austin Community College before transferring to a larger school.
  • A Baltimore defense attorney was arrested Tuesday after he was recorded telling an alleged rape victim the Trump administration would deport her if she testified against his client, court documents said.  Christos Vasiliades, 38, was arrested Tuesday at the courthouse as his client’s rape trial was set to start, according to the Baltimore Sun. He is charged with multiple counts that include witness intimidation and obstruction of justice.  Vasiliades’ interpreter, Edgar Ivan Rodriguez, was also arrested, the Sun reported. A 12-court indictment in the case alleges that Vasiliades was recorded trying to dissuade the woman who accused his client of rape from testifying at trial. He and Rodriguez are also accused of trying to bribe her with $3,000. The recording allegedly captured the lawyer talking about the “current environment” for immigrants in the United States since President Trump’s inauguration.  “You know how things are with Trump’s laws now,” he told the woman’s husband in the recorded conversation. “Someone goes to court, and boom, they get taken away.” According to court documents, Vasiliades also offered an alternative solution that he said would go over well in his native Greece: beat the defendant up. “He’s an (expletive). I think you should find him and kick his (expletive), personally,” Vasiliades said, according to court documents obtained by the Sun. Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, who obtained the indictment against Vasiliades and Rodriguez, commented on the indictment on Facebook.  'Threatening a victim of crime with deportation could have a chilling effect on our criminal justice system,' Frosh said.  >> Read more trending news The indictment, which was filed Tuesday, stated that the case against Vasiliades and Rodriguez began on April 11, when the men called the woman and her husband and asked to meet them, stating that her case had become “more complicated.” The meeting took place at a Baltimore restaurant.  During the meeting, they pointed out that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents would be in the courtroom for their client, Mario Aguilar-Delossantos, the indictment said. They told the couple that due to new federal laws and policies enacted by the Trump administration, there was a high risk that they would be deported if they showed up in court.   Vasiliades and Rodriguez are accused of telling the couple that Aguilar-Delossantos was “very sorry and could offer compensation if they did not come to court and testify against him,” the indictment said. The men claimed that the money could help ensure that the couple remained in the country. Instead of taking the lawyer up on his offer, the couple went to law enforcement. Police investigators had them call Vasiliades on May 15, but that call was closely monitored and recorded.  Over the span of a couple of days, and multiple phone calls with Vasiliades, a face-to-face meeting was set up for May 18. When everyone arrived at the meeting place, an office space in Baltimore, Vasiliades made everyone leave their cellphones in the lobby.  Unknown to him or Rodriguez, however, the couple still had a recording device with them. The device recorded the lawyer reiterating the risk of deportation for the victim if she testified, the indictment said. “Because she’s there (in court), you know, my guy’s going to be, like, ‘I’m here, but she is, too,’” Vasiliades told them, according to the document. Rodriguez told the woman ICE officials would ask for her immigration documents. At that point, Vasiliades allegedly said, “Then everybody’s (expletive).”  Read the entire indictment here.  It was during the May 18 meeting that Vasiliades and Rodriguez told the victim she and her husband would receive $3,000 if they failed to show up and the case got thrown out of court, the indictment said. The court document detailed the plan the men came up with.  “On the upcoming trial date, (the couple) should not show up to court and should instead wait outside the courthouse with Rodriguez, who would be holding the cash, while Vasiliades would appear in court,” the indictment said. “If the case was then ‘thrown out’ due to the fact that (the couple) did not show up, Vasiliades would come out of the courthouse, give a ‘thumbs up’ to Rodriguez and Rodriguez would hand (the couple) the cash.” After pointing out that, in Greece, the punishment for an alleged rapist would be a beating, Vasiliades told the couple that all he wanted was for them to not show up at the trial, court documents said.  “I did my job, I did very good, and I can go home and go to sleep OK,” Vasiliades said, according to the indictment. “And then you get something, and then you find him outside, brother, and you (expletive) him up, that’s it.” The Sun reported that Aguilar-Delossantos’s trial was pushed back to August because of his lawyer’s arrest. Aguilar-Delossantos is charged with second-degree rape and second-degree assault, as well as third- and fourth-degree sexual offenses. 

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