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Latest from Sarah Thompson

    The St. Johns River Water Management District is asking for your help saving 1 billion gallons of water, during the cooler months of December, January, and February.  The district is launching a 'Skip a Week' campaign, asking homeowners to not water or irrigate their lawn every week and instead water it every other week of the winter.  'Skipping a week of irrigation when your yard doesn't need it keeps lawns healthy and helps to conserve drinking water supplies-- if homeowners who irrigate skipped every other week of watering this winter, north and east-central Florida could save more than 1 billion gallons of water,' says St. Johns Water Management District Executive Director Dr. Ann Shortelle.  The district says using less water encourages deeper grass and plant roots, which helps make them more drought-tolerant and less susceptible to pests.  To read more about the 'Skip a Week', including how to know when your lawn does need water, by clicking HERE.
  • The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is asking for any information, after a string of recent robberies, they believe are all connected. According to JSO, three robberies have been carried out on the Southside, within the past few weeks, at the following locations and times:  - On Tuesday, November 21, 2017 an armed robbery was reported in the 2800 block of University Boulevard West (Publix) at approximately 7:55 pm.  - On Monday, December 4, 2017 an armed robbery was reported in the 9700 block of Old St. Augustine Road (Circle K) at approximately 9:45 pm.  - On Tuesday, December 5, 2017 an armed robbery was reported in the 9700 block of Old St. Augustine Road (Big Lots) at approximately 8:50 pm.  Police say in all three robberies, the suspect did not show a firearm, but implied that he had one.  He's been described as a black male, 5'8'' to 6' tall, 230 to 250 pounds, and bald.  If you any have information about this man, you're urged to call the sheriff's office at (904) 630-0500.
  • It's quite the bust in Baker County. The Baker County Sheriff's Office says 20 people are facing drug trafficking related charges, after a months-long investigation into narcotic traffickers in the area.  According to deputies, these suspects were all identified as traffickers and were arrested for the sale and possession of multiple different controlled substances. Other suspects are still wanted. The sheriff’s office also reveals that about half of these suspects were arrested near Keller Intermediate School.
  • A day after a St. Augustine middle school student passed away, the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office is releasing tragic, new details. According to deputies, that student, Paris Byrd, 13, was trying out for the basketball team at Murray Middle School Tuesday afternoon, when she became ill.  She left the court to rest on the nearby bleachers, but her condition only worsened, prompting school officials to call 911. Byrd died at the hospital.  The sheriff's office says the District Medical Examiner's Office released the preliminary findings of their autopsy, which found that Byrd died of a congenital disease, with her cause of death being Hypertrophic Obstructive Cardiomyopathy, which is essentially an enlarged heart. Murray Middle School Principal Tom Schwarm released the following statement about Paris:  “Paris represented what is amazing about our children at Murray. A student, who despite life’s difficult challenges and circumstances, demonstrated impeccable perseverance, hope, and strength to achieve greatness. She displayed a unique combination of thoughtfulness, positivity, and leadership that radiated from within and influenced all she encountered in her time with us. As a top student in our A.V.I.D., Cambridge Advanced Studies, and Center Arts programs, Paris not only excelled in her academic studies through hard work and dedication, but also inspired her classmates to achieve. In such a short life, she created a life-long positive impact on our Murray family that will endure always.”
  • A 52-year-old Jacksonville woman is facing a felony child abuse charge, after a fight involving deviled eggs. According to the arrest report from the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, Theresa Grier, is accused of pushing a child victim into a freezer, causing an injury to his shoulder and back area.  The report says a witness and the victim both told police, Grier was mad that the victim hadn't made any deviled eggs for her, so she did something to ruin the eggs, leading to an argument. At some point during that argument, Grier is accused of pushing the victim.  However, the reports states that Grier tried to claim that the victim threw a pot of hot water and the eggs at her, and even pushed her, so she pushed back.  Police say the witness told them that Grier was the aggressor and is a constant issue inside the home.
  • Now through December 23rd, the Salvation Army of Northeast Florida is looking for volunteer bell ringers for its Red Kettle Campaign. The organization tells us they're seeing a shortage of volunteers this year, which they think is at least partially due to the active hurricane season and overall donor fatigue.  'The impact of the hurricane season only makes this year's Red Kettle campaign all the more important. All funds raised for hurricane relief go specially to hurricane relief. But local families need services like our meal ministry and food pantry year-round. The need is growing in our community and we want to be able to meet that need,' says Major Bert Tanner, the Area Commander for The Salvation Army of Northeast Florida.  If you're interested, volunteers can serve at locations throughout Northeast Florida from 10 am to 8 pm, with only a two hour minimum commitment needed.  Text JaxKettle to 41444 or call (904) 301-4852 to sign up.  The Salvation Army of Northeast Florida says you can also help by donating to Red Kettles when you see them or donating online by clicking HERE.
  • It's hard to imagine what her family, loved ones, and classmates must be going through.  The St. Johns County Sheriff's Office says a teenage student has passed away, after she collapsed Tuesday afternoon, while participating in an after-school sporting event at Murray Middle School.  Deputies say they responded to the school, just after 3:00 pm, and rushed her to Flagler Hospital, where she died.  The district medical examiner's office is working to determine a cause of death. A district spokesperson tells us a crisis team will be at the school on Wednesday and that grief counselors will stay as long as they are needed. The principal of Murray Middle School left the following message with parents: “Good Evening Bulldog Families,  This is Principal Tom Schwarm and it is with extreme sadness and a heavy heart that I relay the news that one of our very own students has passed away this evening. It is out of respect for the family that I do not relay her name at this time. Many students, teachers, school staff and parents will be reeling from this news. We will have our crisis team which includes grief counselors, district staff, school counselors and social workers on site tomorrow, and for as long as needed, to support the entire school community.  We will also have materials posted on our website to assist you in speaking to your children about this tragedy. I ask that you keep all of our Bulldogs in your prayers and for the parents at this time.”
  • A Ponte Vedra woman is facing two felony charges, including attempted murder, after St. Johns County deputies say she shot her own husband. According to the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office, deputies responded to their home on Possum Trot Road, just off of Palm Valley Road, in the early morning hours on Tuesday.  Deputies say the suspect, Allison Tomlinson, 43, originally told them, she accidentally shot her husband, but deputies say her husband claimed he had shot himself.  Based on evidence at the scene and the ongoing investigation, deputies say they believe Tomlinson shot her husband, though they didn't release any possible motive.  She's now charged with attempted murder and aggravated battery.
  • The Florida Department of Health in Nassau County has issued a 60 days rabies alert for the northwestern part of the county, after a fox tested positive for rabies on Monday, December 4th.  The health department says the alert is centered at Kings Ferry, with the following boundaries:  - St. Mary's River to the North  - Middle Road to the West  - Owens Farm Road to the East  - W. County Road 108 to the South  With this active alert in effect, the health department reminds people to NOT handle or feed wild animals. They also ask that you vaccinate your pets against rabies and make sure they don't run free.  For more health and safety tips about rabies, click HERE.
  • It's disturbing to imagine what could have happened. The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, the FBI, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement say a recent investigation and subsequent arrest may have helped prevent a mass shooting.  According to Sheriff Mike Williams, they received a tip that a man, identified as Bernandino Bolatete, 69, was plotting a mass shooting at the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida on St. Johns Bluff Road.  Williams says they had an undercover detective interact Bolatete to confirm his plans and then reached out to both the FBI and the FDLE for assistance in the investigation.  'The investigation confirmed that the suspect was making plans to carry out a mass shooting and already had the weaponry necessary to complete the attack,' says Williams.  During the investigation, Williams says Bolatete expressed interest in buying a firearm silencer to that undercover detective, which eventually lead to his arrest by JSO's SWAT team. He's since been transferred to the custody of the FBI.  Court documents reveal some of the conversations between Bolatete and the detective, including that Bolatete did not plan to survive the shooting, instead mentioning a 'suicide by cops.'  Bolatete is currently charged with the illegal possession of a firearm silencer, but we're told other charges are pending at this time. If he’s convicted of the charge, he faces a maximum of 10 years in federal prison. Williams says they are confident his plot has been disrupted.
  • Sarah Thompson

    Sarah Thompson is the Afternoon Producer and Evening Anchor for WOKV and has been with the team since October 2013. She's a University of Florida graduate and a Jacksonville-native.

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The Latest News Headlines

  • An explosion has been reported near the Port Authority in New York, police said Monday morning. >> Read more trending news  >> Click here or scroll down for more
  • Another frosty morning with temps stuck in the 30's and low 40’s.   But Action News Jax Chief Meteorologist Mike Buresh says we'll be a good 8 degrees warmer than yesterday with lots of sun and calm winds. “And then a breezy and rather mild day tomorrow. We’ll approach 70 degrees but that wind is going to make it feel cooler than it actually is, and that wind will be ahead of the next cold front”.  Expect that front to roll across the area Tuesday night, it will be dry, but will usher in another shot at chilly temperatures on Wednesday and early Thursday.  Mike is tracking a possible storm system to end the week and for your upcoming weekend.  LISTEN:  Mike Buresh Podcast
  • A Texas neighborhood is shaken by the deaths of two young children, which authorities believe came at the hand of their father. According to the Star-Telegram, police responded to a North Richland Hills home over the weekend after a mother called 911. The mother was uninjured, but two children and an adult man, later found to be their father, were found dead at the residence. >> Read more trending news “Upon arrival, officers found a 5-year-old female, 9-year-old male and adult male all deceased from apparent gunshot wounds. Initial investigation revealed the father shot the children and then shot himself,” North Richland Hills police said in a statement. The department went on to explain a search into the home’s records “revealed no prior history between [the] department and the family or address.” The names of those involved have not yet been released. “There’s no history here,” said police spokesperson Carissa Katekaru. “We’re still trying to figure out why. I grew up in North Richland Hills, and I would call this a pretty quiet neighborhood.” Neighbor Denise Albino, 57, has lived in the area for about 20 years. “Oh my God, those poor babies,” she said. “I just can’t understand why people do this kind of thing.” Albino said her son told her about the news. “I didn’t know them,” she added. “I would see the kids playing basketball all the time, but I never really got a chance to speak with them.” Another neighbor, Rosa Nichols, told KTVT: “You can drive by, and they can have a perfect house, but you don’t know what’s going on inside the house. It’s so sad.” “We lived there for several years and had some happy memories and sure hate to have sad memories made there for these families. For this family, we don’t know you, but we sure feel for you,” said Mike Bentley, who once lived in the home.
  •  21-year-old Korey Richardson is in police custody after a four-hour long standoff at Southside apartment complex.  Witnesses told police they heard what sounded like a man beating a woman inside of the units. They also said they saw the woman run away from the apartment, but the man chased after her, grabbed her and dragged her back into the apartment.  A small child was also with the man and woman.  Responding officers tried to contact the two inside but they were unable to. A SWAT callout was initiated after there was a concern it was a hostage situation, and Richardson was not letting the woman leave.  The woman was eventually released along with the child. Police reported she had minor injuries but the child was okay.  Shortly after the woman and child were released, Richardson surrendered and was taken into custody.  He’s facing a Battery and False Imprisonment charge.
  • Wildfires are raging through parts of Southern California, burning thousands of acres, destroying homes and businesses and forcing thousands of residents to evacuate. >> PHOTOS: California wildfires burn thousands of acres, force evacuations >> Click here or scroll down for more >> Read more trending news 

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