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Latest from Robert Alonso

    The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is looking for your help to solve a double shooting that's claimed the life of one of the victims.  35-year-old Hakeem Rashad Busch was identified by JSO this morning as the man whose body was found Sunday evening outside a home on the 1800 block of Newbolt Court.   The other victim - a woman - hasn't been identified and her condition isn't clear at this point, but we do know she was transported to a local hospital for treatment.   Neighbors tell our partner Action News Jax that they heard around 12 to 15 shots in the area and that a black Chevrolet Camaro sped off just before JSO arrived on scene.   It's not clear what relationship might exist between Busch and the other victim.   Anyone with information is asked to call JSO at 904-630-0500 or email JSOCrimeTips@jaxsheriff.org. Those who wish to remain anonymous and possibly qualify for a cash reward can call Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS (8477).
  • The unofficial start to summer is here.  Memorial Day can certainly be somber, especially for military folks. But if your holiday plans include a bit of water fun, make sure your boat is safe and ready to go.  Coast Guard officials like Lt. Chris Booth are urging you to keep your life-jackets on and have some kind of locating beacon on board if your holiday plans include getting on the water.   'Those types of things go a long way in helping us process search and rescue cases,' Booth added.   Booth is also warning you to be careful about drinking if you're out on the water and to not be afraid to ask the USCG for a safety check of your boat before going out on the water.   If your holiday plans involve a long-distance road trip, expect a lot of people to join you. AAA is projecting 39 million Americans to do a long-distance trip this Memorial Day weekend. That's their largest since 2005.
  • Jacksonville police have made an arrest in a cold case from over 40 years ago.  Johnie Lewis Miller is now in custody for the May 1974 murder of Freddie Farah.   Bobby Farah - Freddie's son - and other family members were alongside Sheriff Mike Williams.   'We're relieved,' Bobby Farah added. 'I mean, some of us never thought we'd see this day.'   Police say Farah was shot and killed during the robbery of his Kings Road convenience store.  Miller was found in New Orleans working as a street performer.
  • Jacksonville police asked for your help over a week ago to find him. Now the Sheriff's Office says they've caught the man responsible for five burglaries at businesses on Timuquana Road and Blanding Boulevard. 37-year-old Christopher P. Bullard was identified as the suspect after multiple tips came in from the public, according to detectives. Detectives believe he broke into the Blanding Food Mart and the Timuquana Food Store three times between February and April and also burglarized the same Metro PCS store twice.  He's now in custody on $250,000 bond at Duval County Jail.
  • It's not official yet, but the St. Johns Sheriff's Office is preparing for the worst in the case of a missing swimmer. The county's Medical Examiner has taken possession of a body which washed up this morning on Vilano Beach. Commander Chuck Mulligan tells us beach runners going through the area around 7:45 this morning found the body and called for help. 'The body was found several miles north of the inlet where Skyler Taylor disappeared on Sunday,' Mulligan added. Search crews had been looking for Taylor ever since, but those efforts were suspended just before the body was found. It's not clear at this point if the body is of Taylor, though Mulligan does say the condition is consistent with being in the water for a few days and the Sheriff's Office has no other missing person reports in the area. Due to the body's condition, Mulligan tells us the Medical Examiner will need some time to determine the identity.
  • The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office wants your help to find a panhandler who tried to rob a Five Guys restaurant in Mandarin earlier this week. It happened around 8 a.m. Sunday at the location on San Jose Boulevard near Crown Point Road. Officers say a black man in the parking lot walked into the store and demanded money from employees. According to the JSO incident report, the man walked in behind a female employee and told another female employee when she asked him to leave that he would only when he got 'the money'. The report also notes that the suspect chased both women at one point, but then left after seeing security cameras in the office area. JSO says the suspect - who appeared to be unarmed - left in an early 2000's model silver Honda Accord heading north on San Jose without any money from the restaurant. The bearded suspect stands around 6 feet tall and weighs between 200 and 220 pounds with short black hair and a dark complexion. He was wearing a dark T-shirt, dark shorts and white high-top sneakers. Anyone with information is asked to call JSO at 904-630-0500 or email JSOCrimeTips@jaxsheriff.org. Those who wish to remain anonymous and possibly qualify for a cash reward can call Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS (8477).
  • Federal government officials are speaking out at this time about the conviction earlier today of former Jacksonville Congresswoman Corrine Brown on 18 of 22 counts in her federal fraud trial. See the full statement below from the Jacksonville office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. See the full statement below from the Department of Justice's Middle District of Florida office.
  • It's going to light up a dark part of Fleming Island. Construction begins today to brighten up nearly three miles of US 17 between County Road 220 and Creighton Road with automated LED street lights. Florida Department of Transportation spokeswoman Mary Justino says it's a stretch of road where they've received lots of complaints from drivers that it's too dark once the sun sets. 'People who drive on 17 in Fleming Island are going to notice large equipment coming in,' Justino added. '[Construction crews are] going to start near Eagle Harbor and work their way north towards the Doctors' Lake Bridge.' 158 new lights sitting atop 40-foot high aluminum poles and 15-foot long bracketed arm extensions will alternate side-to-side down US 17, each placed around 12 feet from the road shoulder. The lights alone are costing the state around $1.5 million dollars and all of them should be ready to go in about 10 to 12 months depending on weather, according to Justino. FDOT also tells us the lights should illuminate the nearby Black Creek Bike Trail at night once they're ready to go. No lane closures are planned at any point, but drivers are warned to be cautious and aware of workers nearby, especially if they see barriers in place along the shoulder. Justino says FDOT is currently researching a similar idea for parts of US 17 south of CR 220, especially those which have seen an increase in accidents recently.
  • The mother of a 15-month-old boy and her boyfriend are now locked up at Duval County Jail in connection to his death earlier this year.  The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office announced this morning the arrests of 29-year-olds Lori Hopper and Andre Keller on a manslaughter and murder charge, respectively, in the death of Isaiah Keller.   JSO Homicide Lt. Steve Golloher says the toddler died at Wolfson Children's Hospital last January 22nd, but it took some time for detectives to determine how the boy actually died.   'We've received the medical examiner's report indicating that they ruled it a homicide,' Golloher added. 'The death was caused by asphyxia.'   Detectives originally did not suspect foul play in the boy's death because there were no obvious signs of it, even after investigating the hotel room at the Diamond Inn on Ramona Blvd. where he and his family were staying at the time of his death.   Golloher also told reporters Andre Keller is not the boy's biological dad, even though he is listed as the dad on his birth certificate.   According to JSO, Andre told police the boy wouldn't respond after they laid him down in bed with a bottle and that's when he and Hopper took him to the emergency room.   Three of Keller's biological children - ages 9, 8 and 4 - were also living in the hotel room with Keller, Hopper and Isaiah. They're now in DCF custody after JSO discovered drugs in the room.   Two of them told police they saw Keller tie Isaiah up when he started crying, a story that Hopper also corroborated later on.   Detectives say video evidence shows Hopper and Keller both waited for some time to get help after finding the boy unconscious.
  • A 49-year-old Vero Beach man is dead after troopers think he fell off the Mickler O'Connell Bridge in St. Augustine early this morning.  It happened around 1:20 a.m. near the eastbound lanes of the bridge, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.   Troopers think Glenn Totemeier was riding a bicycle when he crossed over two travel lanes, entered the right shoulder and hit the concrete barrier wall, causing him to fall over the edge.   He died at the scene.   No other vehicles or people were involved, according to the crash report. It also notes Totemeier wasn't wearing a helmet.   An autopsy is pending to determine if alcohol or drugs were a factor.
  • Robert Alonso

    Morning Reporter

    Robert Alonso is the Morning Reporter and backup News Anchor for Jacksonville's Morning News.  

    He joined WOKV in March 2016 after spending 4 years as a news reporter/backup news anchor for WNDB in Daytona Beach.  

    Other news outlets/stations Robert has been a part of are WSJS in Winston-Salem (North Carolina), Metro Networks (Miami, FL) and WFTL in Fort Lauderdale (FL), where he started after getting his degree in Broadcast Journalism from Florida International University.  

    Robert also has experience in sports radio, working for a year as a talk show producer for SiriusXM's College Sports Nation channel in Washington, DC.  

    Other sports companies/stations Robert has worked at include the Carolina Panthers (gameday producer/on-air talent for Spanish radio), IMG College (studio host for the radio broadcasts of the universities of Akron, Vanderbilt, Arkansas and Oregon), WQAM (Miami) and WFLL (Fort Lauderdale).  

    Robert is married to the former Traci Isley, the best Southern redhead in the world. No kids yet... unless you want to count Moqui, their Jack Russell mix. (She does.)

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The Latest News Headlines

  • The box says “It's amazing what she knows,” but security experts say the My Friend Cayla doll also makes it easy for strangers to know your child. The doll uses Bluetooth technology to connect to a device with no PIN or password required.  >> Read more trending news “On a scale of one to 10 this doll was definitely one to hack,” Ken Munro with Pentest Partners, who discovered the vulnerability in 2015, said. “I don't think anybody takes this seriously enough. What bothers me is we're expecting parents to become computer security experts and that's not realistic.” Privacy groups are taking action. Last December the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington filed a complaint with the FTC about Genesis toys, the maker of My Friend Cayla and the robot I-Que. The complaint cites ease of access and how the app recordings were sent to a third party software company, Nuance Communications, without making it clear to parents.  RELATED: Germany bans talking doll due to security concerns The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, or C.O.P.P.A, sets strict guidelines on how parents must be notified about information collected on their children.  “The parent has to actually know what is going on and then say, ‘Yes, I agree.’ The box cannot already be checked. It cannot be just hidden somewhere in the terms of service. It's supposed to be a moment where the parent realizes what's going on and says, ‘Yes, I'm OK with that,’” Munro said. RELATED: Do some toys threaten your child’s privacy? Even if parents are notified, understanding how the information is stored is key.  'It's going to the cloud. That's the basic thing for so many of our devices,' said Munro. Child user profiles and recordings collected by some other companies have also been compromised. In 2015, V-Tech Toys was hacked exposing over six million child profiles. Plus, security researchers recently discovered that people could access voice recordings of Spiral Toys Cloudpets. Munro said that the best way to make sure your children's privacy is secure is to not give out their information in the first place.  “It's really more of a problem of how we as Americans view our privacy, and we keep giving more and more information out,” Munro said. “Eventually, we're not going to have any more privacy if we don't stop.” The FTC would not comment on their investigation of complaints against Genesis Toys and Nuance. 
  • While the calendar says we are days away from the month of June, Republicans in Congress are already feeling pressure over their legislative agenda for 2017, as time is already growing short for GOP efforts to overhaul the Obama health law, which also puts a time squeeze on other major initiatives on Capitol Hill. There are no votes scheduled this week in the Congress; the Senate returns to legislative session on June 5, while the House is back in Washington, D.C. on June 6. Here’s some of what faces Republicans in the Congress: 1. Everything keys off of the GOP health care bill. Because the GOP is trying to use the expedited “budget reconciliation” process, which allows them to avoid a filibuster in the Senate, nothing involved with next year’s budget – or with tax reform – can move until health care is settled. GOP Senators have been meeting regularly in recent weeks to decide what to do on health care – but they don’t have a deal as yet, and no one is quiet sure when they might have a vote. “We’re a long ways from that,” said Sen. Mike Rounds (R-ND) told reporters this week. “Damned if I know,” Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said about when a deal might be reached. Writing their own bill takes time. Senate laying groundwork for own health care replacement bill — Rusty Arrison (@RustyArrisonXVJ) May 26, 2017 2. Why do you keep saying there isn’t much time? Two things are at work here – the Congressional calendar, and the limits on the “budget reconciliation” process. The authorization to use reconciliation for a health care bill expires on September 30 – the end of the 2017 Fiscal Year. So, the GOP has four months to figure out a bill, and get it approved and sent to the President. But, lawmakers won’t be here much of that four month period. In fact, between now and the end of the fiscal year – there are 43 scheduled legislative work days in the House, which mirrors the Senate schedule. That’s 43 legislative days in session spread out over 18 weeks. You could always get extra time by scrapping the August recess, or working some weekends. 3. The budget is way behind schedule – more than usual. This past week, President Trump delivered his 2018 budget to the Congress. Normally that is done in February. The House and Senate only started having hearings on spending bills this past week. Lawmakers were supposed to approve the blueprint known as the “budget resolution” by April 15. As of now, that plan doesn’t even exist. Congress is supposed to pass all spending bills by October 1, the start of the new fiscal year, but that has not happened since 1996. With the schedule still showing five weeks off during the summer, there is no way that lawmakers are going to meet that spending deadline, which will pave the way for stop gap budgets, and then most likely a year-end omnibus spending deal. Sound familiar? @TheDCVince the congress cannot walk and crew gum at the same time. They haven't begun the FY18 budget.We will get more CRs and then omnibus — Bulldog 6 (@MC22554) May 24, 2017 4. Tax reform still hasn’t taken shape. Despite the Sunday tweet by President Trump about his tax plans, it was obvious in budget hearings last week involving Secretary of Treasury Stephen Mnuchin that a Trump tax plan is not ready to be rolled out any time soon. Remember – all we have right now is a one page document with some bullet points. Even if the White House put out the details this next week, Republicans couldn’t take it up under budget reconciliation rules until they get finished with health care legislation. And, as stated above, the GOP does not seem to be near a deal. Senate Republicans probably cannot let June go by without some kind of agreement on health care. The massive TAX CUTS/REFORM that I have submitted is moving along in the process very well, actually ahead of schedule. Big benefits to all! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 29, 2017 5. You can’t pass bills when you aren’t in DC. Whenever I point out how the Congress is going to be home for an extended break, I always hear from people who say, “If they’re not in DC, they can’t screw things up.” Yes, that’s true. On the other hand, it’s also true that when they aren’t working on Capitol Hill, they can’t pass any bills to fix things, either. And for Republicans right now, if you aren’t at work on the floors of the House and Senate, you aren’t passing any of President Trump’s agenda. Those Republican lawmakers having town hall meetings this week will get a lot of attention. If Republicans in the House and Senate were doing their job, Pres Trump could be returning home to sign laws for taxes, health care, etc. — Pat (@Pat170017001) May 26, 2017 It’s not even the end of May. But time is already running short for Republicans in 2017.
  •   An investigation is underway into the tragic death of a Navy SEAL in a parachuting accident Sunday during a demonstration for Fleet Week in Jersey City, New Jersey, across the Hudson River from Manhattan. >> Read more trending news The SEAL, part of the Navy’s elite skydiving team, the Leap Frogs, plunged to his death in the river when his chute failed to open, according to a Navy spokesperson. The SEAL was immediately rescued from the water, but later pronounced dead at Jersey City Medical Center, the Navy said in a statement. The parachutist was not identified pending notification of his family. “Our hearts and prayers go out to his family, and I ask for all your prayers for the Navy SEAL community who lost a true patriot today,” Navy Rear Adm. Jack Scorby said, according to The Associated Press.  The Leap Frogs have numerous performances scheduled throughout the rest of the year, according to their website.
  • It started as attempted retail theft and only escalated from there.   A St. Augustine woman is facing a felony charge, after an incident at a Jacksonville department store.   According to the arrest report from the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, employees at the Kohl's on Old St. Augustine Road spotted April Felder, 29, load up her cart with merchandise and then walk out of the store with that cart, without making any attempt to pay.   When store security confronted her in the parking lot, Felder allegedly ditched the cart, containing not only the stolen goods, but her young child as well.   Felder faces a felony charge of child neglect, after being arrested about a block away from the store.
  • President Donald Trump marked his first Memorial Day in office with a somber service at Arlington National Cemetery on Monday. >> Read more trending news The president first participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, before addressing a crowd of family members of the fallen gathered there to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. In his speech, the president recognized the Gold Star families at the service. 'To every Gold Star family: God is with you, and your loved ones are with him.' Trump said.  'I believe that God has a special place in heaven for those who laid down their lives so that others may live free.' Trump, along with Vice President Mike Pence, who was also at the service, visited Section 60, where the military members who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11 are buried chatting and shaking hands with the families of the fallen. The president took to Twitter this morning, posting several tweets about Memorial Day.  “Today we remember the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in serving,” he wrote early Monday before heading over to Arlington for the somber remembrance ceremony. “Honoring the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to America. Home of the free, because of the brave,” he tweeted even earlier Monday morning. >> Related: Trump approval rating hits new low in poll Also Monday, Pence and his wife, Second Lady Karen Pence, helped kick off a bike race in Washington for Project Hero, a veterans and first responders group, according to CNN.  

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