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    A new surgical technique is a game changer for active, local women and men, and a St. Augustine doctor is one of the few who perform it. On average, 30% of women in the U.S. have a bone deformity on their foot, also known as a bunion. Traditionally surgery will call for a surgeon to shave away at the protruding bone. Recovery takes months and about 70% of the time, the painful lump comes back. That's what happened to Jenna Jones. 'It's kind of embarrassing.' Jones said. 'It's a bone deformity, but I wouldn't have done anything to it if I didn't have pain.' The 31-year-old runner hung up her running shoes, because nothing could ease her suffering.  TRENDING STORIES: Passenger dies after falling four stories from Carnival Cruise ship  Jacksonville father dies after being shot at home on W. Beaver St., family says  13-year-old girl shot, killed by 16-year-old boyfriend, police say  Four dead, including St. Marys parents, 4-year-old son in head-on crash  'The pain was the debilitating.' Jones said, 'it started affecting my everyday life.' With one surgery under her belt and no relief, Jones had given up — until she met Dr. Hort. He is one of a handful of surgeons to use special titanium plates to restabilize and secure the joint. 'The newer technology -- those risks are a lot less, and so I think people in general are probably going to become more comfortable with it,' Dr. Hort said. He operated on Jones in July. She has already seen a huge improvement. The X-rays speak for itself. ((pic attached)) 'Technically, it went as well as it could go,' Dr. Hort said. 'Sometimes that's hard in re-do situations because the bones have been cut. They're not exactly normal.' But, Jones said she finally feels normal. Next up … a marathon. 'It's on the list' Jones said. 'I'm gonna sign up for one, and start training hard-core.' STAY UPDATED: Download the Action News Jax app for live updates on breaking stories
  • A Florida lawyer collected nearly $1 million in fees by filing over 300 unauthorized lawsuits alleging violations of laws protecting disabled Americans in New York and Florida, federal authorities said Tuesday. Stuart Finkelstein, 65, of Davie, Florida, was arrested Tuesday and released on $150,000 bail after an appearance in federal court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. In a release, U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said Finkelstein stole the identities of two individuals to file lawsuits in New York and Florida. The lawsuits claimed the individuals were unable to access public establishments because they did not comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Yet, Berman said, the individuals had never tried to go into the establishments and Finkelstein did not represent them as an attorney. Berman said Finkelstein engaged in a “galling scheme” that was “as profitable as it was brazen” from at least October 2013 through last May. A criminal complaint filed in Manhattan federal court said Finkelstein made false representations to various establishments before suing them in the Southern District of New York and the Southern District of Florida. It said he obstructed official judicial proceedings and then settled the fake lawsuits to collect about $930,000 in attorney fees. Finkelstein was charged with mail fraud, aggravated identity theft obstruction of justice and making false declarations to a court. A message seeking comment was left with Finkelstein. In a story earlier this year, the New York Post said Finkelstein usually targeted small businesses. “It’s like the old days, when the Mafia would say, ‘You have to pay us or we’ll break your windows,’” Micheline Gaulin, the owner of the Left Bank eatery in Manhattan’s West Village, told the newspaper. The Post said she paid over $18,000 to Finkelstein in what she called “a legal shakedown.” The Post said Finkelstein was barred from practicing law in New York state in 2007 but was reinstated in 2016 after a probe by the state judiciary’s Committee on Character and Fitness.
  • Two masked men fired a dozen shots into a home on Grampian Drive North on Tuesday. A grandmother and her grandchildren were home at the time of the shooting. No one was hurt. A neighbor told Action News Jax a small gray car — possibly a Honda — drove up onto the curb and the occupant began firing bullets into the home and at the white car in the driveway. A young man was inside the white car at the time. A witness said he fired back in self-defense. This happened around 12 p.m. JSO secured the scene and laid out 13 evidence markers next to several shell casings. Shawn Gorman, who lives down the street, said typically everyone keeps to themselves on this side of town, and she does not believe the people who live inside the home knew the shooter.  TRENDING STORIES: Passenger dies after falling four stories from Carnival Cruise ship  Jacksonville father dies after being shot at home on W. Beaver St., family says  13-year-old girl shot, killed by 16-year-old boyfriend, police say  Four dead, including St. Marys parents, 4-year-old son in head-on crash  'Hopefully they catch whoever did this.' Gorman said. 'This happened in broad daylight. That never happens.' Action News Jax did some digging and found that this is typically a low crime area. In the last month, there have been 11 crimes. Seven were related to car break-ins, but there were no violent crimes. Again, no one was hurt. STAY UPDATED: Download the Action News Jax app for live updates on breaking stories
  • The winning numbers in Tuesday evening's drawing of the Georgia Lottery's 'All or Nothing Evening' game were: 01-02-03-07-11-12-13-15-16-18-22-23 (one, two, three, seven, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fifteen, sixteen, eighteen, twenty-two, twenty-three)
  • A preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board says a small airplane broke up in flight before crashing into a Georgia townhouse last month. WSB-TV says the preliminary report doesn’t identify the cause of the Oct. 30 crash but includes information investigators will use to determine it. The single-engine Piper-28 slammed into the top floor of a townhouse killing North Carolinians 59-year-old pilot Leslie Csanyi Jr and 60-year-old Scott Lowrie. The agency says shortly after takeoff from DeKalb-Peachtree Airport, the pilot reported losing the vacuum gauge. WSB-TV engineer and pilot Cliff Rogers says the vacuum gauge controls instruments in the cockpit that tell the pilot things such as direction, altitude and pitching direction. The final report from the agency is expected to take several months. ___ Information from: WSB-TV, http://www.wsbtv.com/index.html
  • A tip about a student with a gun at Winder-Barrow High School in Georgia has resulted in the arrests of two students. Barrow County sheriff’s deputies seized a gun Tuesday about 8:40 a.m. The Athens Banner-Herald reports the subsequent investigation led to another student who allegedly brought the firearm to school. Both juveniles were taken into custody and face charges of possession of a firearm on school property. They were transported to the Regional Youth Detention Center in Gainesville. It was unknown if either is represented by an attorney. Deputies say there was no evidence that either student planned to use the gun on campus. ___ Information from: Athens Banner-Herald, http://www.onlineathens.com
  • Pete Buttigieg’s dramatic rise from little-known Indiana mayor to a leading Democratic presidential candidate faces its toughest test on Wednesday, with rivals poised to lob debate-stage attacks in an effort to stall his momentum. The debate in Atlanta marks the first time Buttigieg will face other White House hopefuls as an undisputed member of the top tier. The 37-year old mayor of South Bend, Indiana, gained significant ground in recent months in Iowa, which holds the nation’s first caucuses in February. He is bunched at the top of most polls in Iowa with candidates who have much longer political resumes: former Vice President Joe Biden and Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Some surveys are beginning to show him taking a more convincing lead in the race. Buttigieg still faces plenty of hurdles to clinching the Democratic nomination, particularly winning over black and other minority voters. But his Iowa rise means he could come under fire from his rivals like never before. “Anytime a candidate pops up above the pack, there’s a vigorous effort to vet them,” said Democratic strategist Zac Petkanas. “Buttigieg is going to have to prove that his recent rise is not just a flash in the pan.” Biden, Warren and Sanders have all faced similar scrutiny in previous debates, and those attacks did little to change the trajectory of the race. The debate will unfold at a moment of uncertainty about the Democratic field, with some in the party, particularly donors, worried there’s no one positioned to defeat President Donald Trump. Former President Barack Obama took the unusual step last week of warning the party against moving too far to the left. Speaking to that anxiety, former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick entered the Democratic race last week. Billionaire Michael Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor, is openly flirting with a bid. Neither Patrick nor Bloomberg will be onstage Wednesday. With less than three months before voting, much of the nation’s political attention would typically be focused on the primary. Instead, the focus is on the impeachment inquiry against Trump. Hours before the debate, Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, will testify before Congress in an appearance that will be closely watched for new evidence that Trump pressured leaders in Ukraine to find damaging information about Biden. Some campaigns have privately questioned whether a debate against the backdrop of impeachment would have much impact. Still, for the candidates at the bottom of the polls who face increasingly dire prospects, nothing provides the opportunity for a breakout moment like two hours of exposure on national television. “We’re at the phase in the campaign where voters are beginning to make decisions, and they’re beginning to see which of these candidates can go up against Trump and which can serve as president,” said Jesse Ferguson, who worked for Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016. “This is the time period where people start making decisions and locking in, regardless of what’s going on in Washington.” New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker faces especially intense pressure. He’s yet to meet the Democratic National Committee’s polling requirements for the December debate, and his campaign acknowledges that he needs to capitalize on the national spotlight. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar offered the model last month by repeatedly calling for a “reality check” on Warren and her sweeping progressive agenda. Klobuchar’s campaign said the subsequent few days were her best fundraising period yet. But it still hasn’t shown up in national or most early state polls. For California Sen. Kamala Harris, it’s the first debate since cutting her operation in New Hampshire, the first primary state, and concentrating on Iowa. Like Klobuchar, Harris has qualified for the December stage but needs more than the minimum polling performance to make any serious play for the nomination. That trio of senators could see Buttigieg’s resume as a prime target, with his political experience limited to running a city of about 100,000 residents. The Buttigieg campaign expects the scrutiny and has taken an increasingly tough posture. The mayor was noticeably more aggressive during the October debate, joining Klobuchar with a more moderate argument against Warren’s and Sanders’ policy pitches for single-payer government health insurance, among other ideas. This is the first debate since Warren said she would gradually guide the country to a “Medicare for All” system if elected president. The move prompted criticism from Sanders, who is arguing for a more immediate shift to a single-payer system, and has left her open to skepticism from moderates who say her plan is unworkable and could feed into Trump’s criticism of Democrats as socialists. Warren and Biden, meanwhile, have been viewed as national front-runners in recent months but have yet to take each other on directly enough to define previous debates. They have, however, ratcheted up their rhetoric toward each other in recent weeks — often without naming the other. At a major Democratic gathering in Iowa this month, Warren suggested that rivals who disagreed with her call for “big structural change” might be running in the “wrong” party’s primary. Biden took umbrage, defending his proposals as “bold” and “ambitious,” while accusing Warren of being dishonest about the cost of her agenda and the likelihood she could get it through a divided Congress. Ferguson, the Democratic strategist, downplayed the idea that the details of Warren’s or anyone else’s health care plan will determine the primary outcome. “Democrats are arguing over Coke vs. Pepsi, while Donald Trump is selling arsenic,” he said, referring to GOP efforts to roll back the 2010 Affordable Care Act. The debate airs on MSNBC from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. EST. ___ Associated Press writers Thomas Beaumont in Des Moines, Iowa; Sara Burnett in Chicago; Kathleen Ronayne in Sacramento, Calif.; and Will Weissert in Washington contributed to this report. ___ Follow Bill Barrow on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BillBarrowAP ___ Catch up on the 2020 election campaign with AP experts on our weekly politics podcast, “Ground Game.”
  • One of the rookies on the LPGA Tour next year was asked which player she admired when she started getting serious about golf. She mentioned Lexi Thompson. “It kind of makes me feel old. I’m 24,” Thompson said when told this, her smile a mixture of disbelief and pride. “For somebody to say I was a role model, that’s awesome.” This wasn’t her best year on the LPGA Tour, with only one victory. That came one week after Thompson began the final round of the U.S. Women’s Open one shot out of the lead, started with three bogeys in four holes and never caught up. But that victory at the ShopRite Classic was memorable because Thompson hit pitching wedge from 192 yards on the par-5 closing hole to 20 feet and made eagle. Power is appealing. And it was meaningful, because it extended her remarkable run of at least one victory in each of the last seven years, the longest active streak on the LPGA Tour. This also made her feel old. “It’s pretty crazy to think that I’ve been out for so long and I’m only 24 years old,” Thompson said. “It’s been a great road, journey for me.” The question is whether she feels 24 or someone closing in on a decade of golf at the elite level. Thompson, with 11 LPGA victories, returns to CME Globe Tour Championship as the defending champion, blowing away the field by four shots. Her brother was on the bag and she had family who drove over from the other side of Florida. Those were happy times. But it has not been without plenty of bumps along the way. She took an extended break from golf last year to try to become more emotionally whole. She took to social media earlier this year to announce that she was getting off social media, bothered by an endless stream of negativity from people hiding behind handles. And there is the relentless temptation to meet expectations that inevitably follow a player who was powerful and polished before she could drive a car. “This year, I learned the most about how I need to be emotionally,” Thompson said. “On and off the golf course, I’m trying to be happier, be myself, not putting up a front, just trying to enjoy life more. I think that’s helped me out more on the course, especially recently.” Her best golf was in the summer, when she won and was runner-up three times during a rare five-week stretch. But when you’ve been that good for that long, it’s easy to follow a narrative of negativity. Should she be winning more? Has it really been five years since she won her only major at Rancho Mirage and took a joyous leap into the pond? Remember, she was 12 when she qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open in 2007. She was 15 when she finished runner-up at the Evian Championship. She was 19 when she won her first major at the Kraft Nabisco. There was always the urge to feel like she’s playing for others. “I’ve gotten to that point at some parts of my career, just a lot of expectations and feeling like I have to perform for others,” she said. “But now I know I’m putting in the hard work. I’m going out and trying to win. But it’s not going to happen every time. I’m not a robot. I’m human. This is my life, and I’ve put in a lot of work, and that’s what people need to realize.” The challenge in golf is not one’s age or experience, but rather how young everyone else is getting. Thompson’s best chance to reach No. 1 in the world was at the Tour Championship two years ago, when she stood over a 2-foot par putt on the 18th hole that would’ve won the tournament and made her player of the year and rise to the top of the world ranking. She missed, and Ariya Jutanugarn won the tournament. Thompson, who has played only twice since going 0-2-2 in the Solheim Cup in September, is now at No. 9. She no longer is even the highest-ranked American. That distinction goes to 21-year-old Nelly Korda, who has won three times in the last 13 months. Thompson spent her recent break working on changes to her swing, an evolving process that she figures will last as long as she plays for a living. She looks at this as a good year — a victory, three runner-up finishes, No. 6 on the money list, among the leaders in driving distance and greens in regulation. Her lesson going forward is to be happy with what she has done and to not be as obsessed with what she hasn’t. “The more pressure you put on yourself and listen to the outside on expectations and what you should be achieving, it's just going to tear you down,” she said. “Then if you focus on that, you can’t perform to your highest.” She knows this from experience, even at 24.
  • Two former officials of a Florida city are charged with conspiring with two businesses to bilk the federal government out of $5 million in Hurricane Michael cleanup money, the U.S. attorney’s office announced Tuesday. U.S. Attorney Lawrence Keefe said the two former Lynn Haven officials approved false invoices for the two companies, Erosion Control Specialists and Greenleaf Lawn Care, for work they never performed. One of the companies also was paid to wrap Christmas presents, prepare a site for a Halloween party, and clean and repair the private homes of several city officials, including the mayor and city attorney, according to the indictment. “Abusing one's position for personal gain — especially in a time of crisis — is a blatant disregard to the oath that every government official takes,” Rachel Rojas, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Jacksonville division, said in a news release. “Federal assistance programs are established to help individuals, families, and businesses that have suffered tremendous loss, and abusing these programs is egregious.” The hurricane last year caused catastrophic damage to Bay County and surrounding areas. Those arrested were former Lynn Haven City Manager Michael White, former community services director David Horton, Erosion Control Specialists owner David White, Erosion Control employee Shannon Rodriguez and Greenleaf Lawn Care owner Joshua Anderson. Michael White and David White aren’t related. The officials approved payments to the companies and then sought reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Michael White resigned as city manager in March after facing another unrelated criminal charge. The 35-count indictment includes charges of wire fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, theft and honest services fraud. Federal authorities said Michael White asked David White to buy his farm and a Trans Am. He was paid $300,000 in money David White received through the scheme. Erosion Control Specialists was paid nearly $10,000 for repairs to Horton’s home, according to the indictment. Horton then filed an insurance claim even though he didn’t personally pay for the repairs, the indictment said.