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The Latest News

    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.
  • He was found alone at the top of the Dames Point Bridge.   A 5-week-old kitten is now safe in the care of the Jacksonville Humane Society (JHS) thanks to two construction workers.   On Sunday, May 21st, Arthur Earley and Jose Rosario were working at the top of the Dames Point, when they heard a kitten cry. They stopped working and eventually found a tiny kitten, huddled behind a large piece of concrete.   They were able to grab the kitten and pull him to safety, offering up their own water and snacks.   A veterinarian with JHS found the kitten needed to gain weight, but is otherwise healthy.   The kitten, now named Dames Point, is currently in a foster home, gaining weight, before he can return to JHS for adoption.
  • Excitement is in the air.   The 2017 Jacksonville Jazz Festival kicks off tomorrow, Thursday, May 25th, and will continue through Memorial Day weekend.   The festival will feature more than 40 performers, three stages, and a vibrant street festival atmosphere.   The three stages include the Swingin' State at the corner of Main and West Adams streets, the Groovin' Stage at Hemming Park, and the Breezin' Stage at the Jacksonville Landing.   The festival hours are as follows:  - Thursday, May 25: 6 – 10 p.m. (Piano Competition Only)  - Friday, May 26: 4 p.m. – midnight  - Saturday, May 27: 1 p.m. – midnight  - Sunday, May 28: 1 – 11 p.m.   But while the festival doesn't kick off until Thursday, drivers can expect closures to start on Wednesday.   Closures include:  - Duval Street closure from Hogan Street to Laura Street  - Adams Street closure from Hogan Street to Ocean Street  - Laura Street closure from Church Street to Bay Street  - Closure of east lane only of Hogan Street from Monroe Street to Duval Street  - Monroe Street from Hogan Street to Main Street  - Duval Street closure from Main Street to Ocean Street  - Monroe Street closure from Main Street to Ocean Street  - Main Street closure from Church Street to Forsyth Street   The Jacksonville Jazz Festival is free and open to the public.   For more information on festival details, check out JaxJazzFest.com.
  • 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.
  • ***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.
  • 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
  • A multi-year dispute over a Springfield housing project has now come to a close- and it’s costing the City of Jacksonville close to $2 million and some changes to zoning code. This started when the nonprofit Ability Housing announced plans for a 12-unit apartment building in Springfield, which they would rework to serve as “supportive housing” for disabled homeless veterans. Through a lengthy proves, the project was denied the needed approval from the City, which claimed that the housing project violated the Springfield Zoning Overlay which restricted “special uses” including residential treatment facilities and similar groupings. Ability Housing maintained they would fit within the zoning code, because no on-site services would be provided, so the project would, in essence, be a multiple-family dwelling- which was allowed.  In 2015, Ability Housing filed a lawsuit against the City of Jacksonville for a violation of the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Disability Rights Florida also sued, and was later consolidated in to Ability Housing’s claim. The US Department of Justice further brought forward a claim against the City in 2016.  WOKV was the first to tell you earlier this year that federal court records showed agreements had been reached to settle this pending litigation. Three bills were filed with the City Council- two of which contain the settlements of the two lawsuits, and the third dealing with changing the Springfield Zoning Overlay- which is a condition of the settlements. The bills were snagged at the Committee level for some time over the zoning provisions, but all three bills have now passed the full City Council.  Under the settlement, Jacksonville commits to awarding a $1.5 million grant through a competitive grant process, with the money going to permanent supportive housing for persons with disabilities. Additionally, Jacksonville is paying Ability Housing $400,000 and Disability Rights Florida $25,000 in fees and expenses, as well as a $25,000 fine to the Justice Department.  On the administrative side, there are some zoning changes, to include a statement of intent that the code be interpreted under civil rights law and that persons with disabilities can request and receive reasonable accommodations. City representatives involved in zoning, permitting, housing, and similar areas will also be retrained under the Fair Housing Act and Americans With Disabilities Act, and the City will designate a Fair Housing Compliance Officer.
  • A viral fight video that for many, is hard to watch. 'It's startling, because not only are kids participating in situations like that, but the parents as well,' Leofric Thomas Jr., said. In the video, a number of young people are seen throwing punches or swinging a bat. Jontaianna Pitts was one of them. The 18-year-old Lee High School student was arrested on multiple charges. PHOTOS: 3 arrested after 18-year-old overdosed on fentanyl Since then, she's taken to Facebook to talk about her new movement 'Pretty Not Prisons.' Teens are exactly who Thomas is trying to reach. He started The Straight and Narrow Project in January and hasn't looked back. 'The Straight and Narrow Project is something that we believe that all kids must walk, all people must walk, in order to not get lost in the crazy mazes of life. Everybody could use a little love and that's exactly what we're trying to instill into our youth today. A lot of kids are going to broken homes. A lot of kids are going to terrible environments. A lot of kids are going where people just don't care,' Thomas said. Coming up through Wolfson High School, Thomas tells Action News Jax Erica Bennett he wasn't the best student and didn't have the best behavior. LOCAL NEWS: Child badly hurt, father killed in Nassau County accident Now he hopes others will learn from him and say 'no' to fights and violence. 'This is not right. This is not acceptable, and we have to better ourselves so people can see us in a better light.' You can keep up with The Straight and Narrow Project on Instagram at @snpdevelops or on Facebook.
  • It’s an “unprecedented” move for an undefeated team- the Jacksonville Sharks arena football team has fired their coach. “We felt that the long term visions were not aligned, and it was better to make a change now than after the season,” says Operating Manager Jeff Bouchy.  Bouchy didn’t offer any further explanation during a brief Tuesday press conference, nor did the team provide further details about the move through their press release. Mark Stoute became the Head Coach of the Sharks in 2017, and was previously assistant to the Interim Head Coach. The team is currently 8-0, all under Stoute’s time as Head Coach.  Bouchy says the same name kept coming up in his early conversations about who should fill the Head Coach spot, and they ultimately reached a deal with that candidate Monday night. Siaha Burley comes to the Sharks with 11 years of playing experience and six years of coaching experience, most recently serving as the Offensive Coordinator for the Cleveland Gladiators. This will be his first time as Head Coach.  “I’m just very honored to take this opportunity to be able to help this franchise continue with their long term vision, to continue the success, and winning more championships here,” Burley says.  Burley will be the third Head Coach in the history of the franchise.
  • The Atlantic Beach Police Department is asking the public for any information about two separate incidents involving gunfire in a three-day span.   The first incident took place on Sunday, May 21st, at around 3:30 AM. Police say unknown suspect(s) shot several bullets at an occupied home on Robert Street.   Then, on Tuesday, May 23rd, at around 2:00 PM, police say numerous shots were fired from multiple guns on Lewis Street. Those bullets hit another occupied home, as well as a car.   Thankfully, no injuries were reported in either incident.   Police tell WOKV there is some evidence these shootings could be related, especially considering their proximity, but at this point, they don't have a lot to go on.   If you have information about either incident, you're urged to call Atlantic Beach police at (904) 247-5859.

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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