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Latest from Arielle Wysocki

    The State Board of Education has approved a new rule intended to make every school in Florida a child trafficking free zone. The rule requires teachers to educate students in grades K-12 in child trafficking prevention, making Florida the first state in the nation to address the need for instruction on this issue.  Under the new rule, each school district will be required to submit an implementation plan to the commissioner and post the plan on the school district website by December 1 of each year.  Each plan must include the methods in which instruction will be delivered for each grade level, the professional qualifications of the teacher, and a description of the materials and resources used to deliver instruction.  Additionally, by July 1 of each year, an annual report must be submitted by each school district to the commissioner to verify completion.  Governor Ron DeSantis says, children of all ages need to know and understand the hazards of human trafficking and how to protect themselves from dangerous predators.  According to the Florida Department of Education, Florida is ranked third in the nation for reported cases of human trafficking. The department says up to 70 percent of sex trafficking and exploitation starts with predators connecting with youth online. While there is no standard profile of a child-trafficking victim, reports show that traffickers often target children with a history of sexual abuse, dating violence, low self-esteem and minimal social support.
  • More changes may be coming to Beach Boulevard, and the Florida Department of Transportation will be discussing those proposed changes with the public during an open house on Tuesday, September 10.  FDOT says proposed improvements to the quarter-mile stretch of Beach Boulevard between Southside Boulevard (SR-115) and Eve Drive include:  • Construction of a signal-controlled Median U-Turn Intersection (MUT) on Beach Boulevard eastbound to Southside Boulevard northbound. • Construction of a signal-controlled Median U-Turn Intersection (MUT) on Beach Boulevard westbound to Southside Boulevard southbound.  • Construction of a stop-controlled median directional crossover on Beach Boulevard to Newell Boulevard. • Construction of a signal-controlled median directional crossover on Beach Boulevard to W. Eve Drive. • Widening Beach Boulevard to accommodate the MUTs and directional crossovers. • Construction of traffic signals, pedestrian and bicycle facilities and driveway modifications. • Installation of overhead and post-mounted signs and pavement markings. • Milling and resurfacing within the project limits. The open house will take place at the Regency Square Branch Library from 4 pm to 6 pm.  FDOT says anyone who shows up will have an opportunity to view displays and discuss the proposed changes with project staff and consultants. 
  • As part of the Blanding Boulevard widening project between Long Bay Road and Allie Murray Road in Middleburg, the Florida Department of Transportation says a closure and detour will begin Monday, September 9. FDOT says the closure on Long Bay Road will last about three months, and motorists will be diverted to County Road 220 and Blanding Boulevard. Local traffic will also have the option to use Lazy Acres Road.   Improvements included in the $19.1 million project are widening the two mile stretch of Blanding Boulevard from four lanes to six lanes, adding 4-foot-wide bike lanes in both directions as well as 6-foot-wide sidewalks, replacing traffic signals and street lights, and construction of a new drainage system.  Intersections between County Road 220 and Long Bay Road will also be realigned on Blanding.  The contractor R.B. Baker Construction Company expects to complete the project by spring of 2021. 
  • More changes could be coming to Beach Boulevard, and the Florida Department of Transportation wants to hear what residents have to say about it during a public hearing on Monday, April 1.  During the meeting at the Regency Square Branch Library, FDOT will go over a list of proposed changes on Beach Boulevard between Southside Boulevard and Eve Drive.  FDOT’s inviting the public to their open house starting at 4:30 pm, followed by a formal public comment period at 6:30 pm. During the open house, attendees will be able to see displays and discuss the plan with project staff and consultants on site.  Proposed improvements include: Construction of a Restricted Crossing U-Turn (RCUT) on Beach Boulevard to northbound Southside Boulevard and northbound Eve Drive. Construction of a Displaced Left Turn (DLT) on Beach Boulevard to southbound Southside Boulevard. Construction of a bypass right turn lane on Southside Boulevard to eastbound Beach Boulevard. Construction of median improvements and pedestrian facilities at the intersection of Patton Road and Southside Service Road. Widening Beach Boulevard and Southside Boulevard to accommodate RCUT and DLT. Construction of traffic signals, pedestrian and bicycle facilities and driveway modifications to accommodate RCUT and DLT. Construction of overhead and post-mounted signs and pavement markings to accommodate RCUT and DLT. Milling and resurfacing within the project limits. FDOT says the project documents will also be available to the public after the hearing.  Attendees who want to make a verbal statement, can complete a speaker’s card that will become part of the public hearing record.  FDOT says attendees can also send written statements to Peter Osborne at 2198 Edison Avenue, Jacksonville, Florida 32204.   All exhibits or statements postmarked on or before April 11, 2019 will become part of the public hearing record, according to FDOT.
  • It will likely make your drive through Jacksonville’s Southside a little smoother when it’s done— the Florida Department of Transportation is upgrading the traffic signals along Beach Boulevard from Parental Home Road to Cortez Road starting next week.  FDOT says among the upgrades are new mast-arms and signals along Beach Boulevard, at Parental Home Road, Foster Drive, Grove Park Boulevard, Barkley Road, Peach Drive, Forest Boulevard, Anniston Road, DeSalvo Road and Cortez Road.  Roadway lighting, sidewalk repairs, new highway signage and an additional right turn lane from Beach Boulevard eastbound to Parental Home Road are also included in the $3.8 million improvement project, according to FDOT.  FDOT says drivers can expect single lane closures periodically throughout the week between 8 pm and 6:30 am.  FDOT says pedestrian detours will be in place in case of any sidewalk closures, and JTA bus stops may be temporarily relocated during construction.  According to FDOT, Florida Safety Contractors, Inc. is expected to finish this project early next year. 
  • If you’re a frequent East Arlington driver, you might notice a slight shift to your drive over the weekend. According to the Florida Department of Transportation, detours will be in place for McCormick Road and Fort Caroline Road between Friday, February 1 at 7 pm and Monday, February 4 at 5 am. FDOT says the detours are necessary so crews can safely finish some drainage work included in the Wonderwood Drainage Improvements project.  FDOT says McCormick Road eastbound traffic will be detoured right on St. Johns Bluff Road, then left on Monument Road to McCormick. Westbound drivers will turn left on Monument, then right on St. Johns Bluff to McCormick.  Fort Caroline Road westbound traffic will turn left on McCormick, then right on Monument, and then take another right onto St. Johns Bluff.  FDOT says there will be signs and message boards directing traffic through the detour.  According to FDOT, J.B. Coxwell Contracting Inc. is expected to complete the nearly $8 million project this summer. 
  • Expect a nightly detour on Jacksonville’s Northside, while the Florida Department of Transportation completes utility work for the Airport Road and I-95 interchange improvement project.  FDOT says from Sunday, January 13 to Thursday, January 17, between 10 pm and 5:30 am, drivers on I-95 northbound who need to get to Airport Road westbound will continue heading north on I-95 to the Pecan Park Road exit. From there, drivers will be directed from Pecan Park Road, then west to I-95 southbound, and down to Airport Road.  The $11 million project extends from Airport Center Drive to west of Duval Road, FDOT says.  According to FDOT, the project’s expected to be completed this December, and it includes widening of off-ramps, road resurfacing, drainage improvements, sidewalk construction and new signage. 
  • A 15-year-old has been arrested after allegedly stealing a skateboard from a vehicle parked at the Tinseltown movie theater on Jacksonville’s Southside.  According to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, several witnesses approached the movie theater manager about a group of suspicious young people rummaging through vehicles in the parking lot Monday night.    JSO says an off-duty officer began driving through the parking lot and made contact with two people from the group. The officer said they began walking towards a black Toyota which was parked on the far west end of the parking lot. When the officer approached the vehicle and group of at least four people, they all fled, except for a woman sitting inside the vehicle.  JSO says the officer noticed a skateboard on the ground next to the vehicle, and confirmed it was stolen out of a vehicle in the parking lot.  JSO says a second officer was called to help locate the suspect. While the backup officer was driving on Southside Boulevard, he spotted the suspect running through a Dunkin’ Donuts parking lot. JSO says the officer caught up to the 15-year-old suspect and arrested him on scene. According to the arrest report, the suspect denied any involvement.   JSO says the stolen skateboard was returned to its owner. 
  • The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office is warning everyone, especially women, to be aware of your surroundings, lock your vehicle doors, and don’t leave your valuables unattended.  SJC deputies issued this warning after multiple vehicle burglaries were reported at an area gym Monday morning.   Our partner Action News Jax says the windows of three vehicles were shattered at Orangetheory Fitness on County Road 210. According to Action News Jax, among the items stolen from the vehicles were three purses, a dozen credit cards, and an iPhone.     SJC deputies are calling this type of crime, “The Felony Lane Gang” tactic, in which gang members travel the country and target places with more women and a better likelihood of finding purses left in vehicles. Commonly targeted places include gyms, parks, daycare centers, funeral homes, churches, cemeteries, and sporting events, deputies say.  According to the SJSO, gang members check for unlocked vehicles or punch in the windows of vehicles that are locked and search for driver licenses, checks and debit cards, among other things. Gang members then recruit females to conduct fraudulent transactions by mimicking the appearance of the stolen identity victim, investigators say. 
  • Westside Jacksonville drivers who regularly take the Ortega River Bridge to get between Avondale and Ortega will not be able to access the Bridge until late next week, according to the Florida Department of Transportation.   As part of the Ortega River Drawbridge (SR-211) rehabilitation project, FDOT says the closure is necessary for crews to complete some electrical work, and will take place from Tuesday, December 4, to Friday, December 14. FDOT says a detour will be in place. Motorists heading southbound on SR-211 will be redirected to San Juan Avenue, and then to US-17 (Roosevelt Boulevard) south. Northbound motorists will detour to Grand Avenue, and continue north on Ortega Boulevard to Verona Avenue, and then to US-17 north.  Marine traffic will not be impacted during this time, FDOT says.  According to FDOT, automated signs are already in place to alert motorists and pedestrians about the closure.   FDOT says Astron General Contracting Co. Inc. is scheduled to complete the $1.7 million rehabilitation project by early 2019.
  • Arielle Wysocki

    Traffic Anchor

    Arielle Wysocki is a Traffic Anchor and Producer for WOKV.

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  • In a shocking video that may be difficult for some to watch, a WSOC-TV viewer captured footage of hundreds of birds scattered across the ground near the entrance of the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina, after flying into the side of the building. >> Read more trending news  Hollie Cameron's disturbing cellphone video shows dozens of birds lying on the ground outside the building and captures other birds crashing into the large windows. WSOC reporter Gina Esposito spoke with the Carolina Waterfowl Rescue, who said their rehab team responded to the NASCAR Hall of Fame around 11 p.m. and treated hundreds of birds. They said a total of 310 birds hit the windows of the building. Roughly one-third of those birds were dead when they arrived, and another third was seriously injured. The rest appeared to be stunned but will be OK, the organization said. >> Watch the clip here (WARNING: Some viewers may find the video below disturbing. Viewer discretion is advised.) In the video, Cameron watched as a bird crashed into the window and then fell to the ground, joining dozens of others. Cameron told WSOC that she was working in the area when she started recording on her phone around 9 p.m. You can hear her talking with a security guard who claims the phenomenon had been going on for about an hour. 'Oh my God, look at them all,' Cameron says in the video. 'There's something wrong with them. This is not OK.' Carolina Waterfowl Rescue posted more video on Facebook of the birds at their facility. About 100 of the surviving birds are being treated for broken wings and fractures. The rescue group said the birds are chimney swifts and that the colony lives in a roost. They think something disturbed the colony Tuesday night, causing the birds to fly into the windows at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Carolina Waterfowl Rescue officials told WSOC that this was not a naturally occurring event and the birds' migration could not have been a factor because the swifts only migrate during the day. They plan to investigate more on Wednesday. CMPD reportedly responded to the scene to begin cleaning up the birds. Carolina Waterfowl Rescue said rehabbing the injured birds is expensive, and they desperately need volunteers since the birds will need to be hand-fed. Visit their Facebook page for more details on how you can help.
  • Plan to drive through times of scattered showers today ahead of a cool front that will bring drier, more refreshing air to end the week.  Action News Jax Meteorologist Garrett Bedenbaugh says some rain may be heavy at times with a few rumbles of thunder.  Overall rainfall totals are not expected to be great, but the rainfall is needed.  By Thursday morning you’ll begin to feel a change with drier air and high temperatures only in the upper 70’s.  Friday morning lows may fall into the upper 50’s in some neighborhoods, and high temperatures will only be in the upper 70’s.  The weekend is looking a little warmer and wetter at times with a few showers on Saturday and scattered showers on Sunday. 
  • Four separate shootings over a 24-hour period in Jacksonville has left at least six people wounded and, so far, no arrests have been announced by police.  Early this morning a man was shot on W. 17th Street, near RV Daniels Elementary School.  He was taken to a local hospital with a single gunshot wound to the leg. JSO had no suspect description and was asking for tips to Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS.  Just after 10 pm on Tuesday, two young men between the ages of 17 and 20 were shot while sitting in a vehicle on Timmerman Lane. Both shooting victims had non-life-threatening injuries. JSO had no evidence to confirm if this was a drive-by shooting.  Around 5:20 pm on Tuesday, police were called to a shooting on Orton Street, where two men were treated and transported to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. No suspect information was given at the scene by detectives.  On Miss Muffet Lane on the westside just after 6 pm on Tuesday, police responded to reports of shots fired. An off-duty officer was called about a gunshot wound victim at Park West ER. He was taken to Orange Park Medical Center in critical condition.  According to JSO, two groups of people in two separate cars that left the area were being questioned by detectives.  
  • A Pennsylvania mom is in critical condition after police said she killed her children and husband, then shot herself, Philadelphia police said. >> Read more trending news  Here are the latest updates: Update 5:49 a.m. EDT Oct. 16: Authorities have identified the woman accused of killing her children and husband late Monday in Philadelphia's Tacony neighborhood, multiple news outlets are reporting. According to WPVI-TV, Damyrra Jones Alcindor, 28, also shot herself, police said. As she was rushed to a nearby hospital, she reportedly told officials she did not want to be resuscitated. Philadelphia police Homicide Capt. Jason Smith said Alcindor admitted to fatally shooting her two daughters, ages 10 months and 4 years, as well as their father, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported Tuesday afternoon. Although police did not release the victims' names, a family member identified them as Max Alcindor, 38; Maxilla, 4; and Damaya, 10 months, WCAU-TV reported. Investigators said Alcindor, who legally bought the handgun earlier Monday, is facing murder charges in the case, according to WCAU. Original report: According to KYW-TV and the Philadelphia Inquirer, the deadly shooting occurred just before 10 p.m. Monday at a home in Philadelphia's Tacony neighborhood. Police said the 29-year-old woman fatally shot her two daughters, ages 10 months and 4 years, as well as their 35-year-old father. All three victims suffered gunshot wounds to the head, authorities said. When police arrived at the Hegerman Street home, they discovered the woman outside 'lying on top of a gun,' the Inquirer reported. Authorities said the woman, who apparently shot herself, was taken to a nearby hospital. Philadelphia police have not released the names of the woman or the victims, the news outlets reported. Read more here or here.
  • Authorities in Indiana said a baby is alive and well after someone discovered the child inside a plastic bag near a fence in Seymour. >> Read more trending news  According to the Tribune and WAVE-TV, police responded to a call about the infant just before 4 p.m. Tuesday. A resident, who had been walking a dog off South Jackson Park Drive, found the child about 60 feet away from the street, investigators said. Crews rushed the baby to a nearby hospital, the news outlets reported. Doctors said the child is healthy, according to WAVE. Seymour police have not yet made any arrests in connection with the incident, the Tribune reported. Read more here or here.

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