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Latest from Arielle Wysocki

    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.
  • A 36-year-old man has been arrested in Nassau County after deputies say he stabbed a woman in the head with a fork, during an argument over a baked potato.  According to the arrest report we’ve obtained from the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office, deputies were dispatched to a residence on Susi Lane around 11:30 pm on Sunday, after receiving a call that a person had been stabbed. When deputies arrived, they made contact with the victim, who had multiple stab wounds and blood on both sides of her head, according to the arrest report.  The arrest report says after the victim gave deputies consent to search the home, deputies found Kenneth Crumpton Jr. inside the residence. Crumpton told deputies that he threw a fork at the victim during a dispute over a potato, and that Crumpton thought the fork “glanced off her head,” according to the arrest report.  Crumpton was arrested and charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, according to deputies. 
  • It will hopefully make your drive through Downtown St. Augustine a little more enjoyable, without the hassle of sitting in traffic. The Florida Department of Transportation is installing an Advanced Notification System for the Bridge of Lions, to alert drivers ahead of time when the Bridge is raised up. FDOT says the system will be activated this week and will provide advanced warning for drivers when the Bridge is raised, giving motorists the option to choose an alternate route to avoid a major delay.  As part of the $95,000 project, FDOT has installed flashing signals in five locations in St. Augustine: May Street westbound, east of San Marco Avenue US 1 southbound, north of Castillo  US 1 northbound, south of King Street  State Road A1A northbound, south of State Road 312  A1A Beach Boulevard westbound, east of State Road A1A FDOT says the signals will be activated using fiber optic and wireless communication when the Bridge of Lions is raised.  Once the Bridge operator presses the button to lower the Bridge, the flashing lights will turn off. 
  • The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office is asking for your help identifying the suspects who burglarized more than a dozen vehicles in the Deerfield Preserve and Treaty Oaks neighborhoods Monday night. Surveillance images provided by SJSO show three to four men dressed in hoodies, pants, and gloves, checking vehicle door handles. Deputies say the suspects appeared to pass over vehicles that had locked doors, while burglarizing ones that were unlocked. SJSO says the dark SUV the suspects were driving at the time has been identified as a stolen 2013 blue Jeep Grand Cherokee with Florida tag GNQA60, from Volusia County.  Deputies say a second vehicle, described as a 2017 white Honda Accord with the Florida tag CEYE86, was also stolen out of the Deerfield Preserve neighborhood.  Anyone with information about the suspects or stolen vehicles is asked to contact law enforcement. 
  • Arielle Wysocki

    Traffic Anchor

    Arielle Wysocki is a Traffic Anchor and Producer for WOKV.

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  • Just a month after City of St. Augustine Beach leaders passed bans on the sale and distribution of plastic straws, plastic bags, and Styrofoam, it all may need to be rolled back. That's as a Florida appeals court has struck down a similar ordinance in Coral Gables. The court found that their ban violated a state law that stops local governments from regulating Styrofoam.  Attorney Jane West, who pushed for the St. Augustine Beach bans, tells our partner Action News Jax, that after the city passed the measures, they received a letter from the Florida Retail Federation threatening to sue.  'Now that they're armed with this very strong opinion in their favor, the city can't take the legal risk of getting sued and then having to pay all the attorney's fees in defending what is probably going to be a losing case,' says West.  She and other residents believe it'll likely be up to families and local businesses to cut down on their use of these materials on their own. The ban was set to take effect on January 1st, 2020. St. Augustine Beach Mayor Undine George released the following statement about this court decision: “I don’t believe the appellate decision reflects the majority opinion of Fl communities. Even our governor has expressed strong support for local communities’ right to regulate Styrofoam and single use plastics; we are the ones who see and feel their impact. Hopefully, local businesses will listen to the voice of the people and transition away from Styrofoam and single use plastics. Consumers want to patronize businesses who share their desire to protect our environment from harmful pollutants.”
  • The Jacksonville Beach Police Department is turning to the community for any information after a man was fatally shot outside his home. Police have now identified the victim as 28-year-old Jake Hall. Neighbors tell us he was a father of three kids.  Investigators say at this time, there's no clear motive or any information on a possible suspect. That's why they're asking neighbors within a 6 block radius of 17th Avenue North and 2nd Street North to check their doorbell cameras and security cameras for anything that might be of interest to police. They say the shooting happened around 9:40 PM, Thursday evening.  The police department says shootings for the community are rare. According to their stats, the last shooting was in August 2018.
  • The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office has released an extremely clear surveillance photo of two armed robbery suspects that they're working to identify. Police say they're accused of robbing the Circle K on St. Johns Bluff Road, Thursday night, just before 11:00 PM. Police are asking anyone with information about either suspect to contact the sheriff's office at (904) 630-0500 or Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-8477.
  • The plane that crashed in Tennessee on Thursday while carrying retired NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., his family and two pilots bounced at least twice before stopping and catching fire, according to investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board. >> Read more trending news  Officials said the incident happened as the Cessna Citation was landing at Elizabethton Municipal Airport at 3:40 p.m. An NBC Sports spokesperson said in a statement that Earnhardt, his wife Amy, his 15-month-old daughter Isla and two pilots were safe after the crash.  Update 2:35 p.m. EDT Aug. 16: Investigators will spend at least two days collecting evidence from the scene of the crash, Ralph Hicks, a senior investigator with NTSB, told reporters Friday. Authorities have reviewed surveillance footage from near the crash site which showed the plane bounced at least twice before coming down hard on one of the landing gears, Hicks said. 'You can actually see the right main landing gear collapsing in the video,' he said. 'The airplane continued down the runway off to the end, through a fence, and it came to stop ... on Highway 91.' Hicks said the crash site was about 1,000 feet past the end of the runway. The plane had taken off about 20 minutes before the crash from Statesville, North Carolina, Hicks said. The aircraft was not equipped with a data recorder, though Hicks said other instruments recorded some data. Officials are also analyzing a cockpit voice recorder. Authorities continue to investigate the cause of the crash. Update 2 p.m. EDT Aug. 16: Authorities are providing an update Friday on the investigation into Thursday's plane crash. Update 1:50 p.m. EDT Aug. 16: Officials with the Federal Aviation Administration said no injuries were reported as a result of the crash, although the Cessna 680A aircraft was destroyed. The Earnhardt family and the pilots were the only passengers listed on board when the crash happened. Authorities are expected to provide more updates on the incident at 2 p.m. news conference Friday. Update 11:50 a.m. EDT Aug. 16: Officials with the National Transportation Safety Board are scheduled to hold news conference Friday afternoon to update the public on the investigation into Thursday's crash.  Update 9:25 a.m. EDT Aug. 16: Earnhardt's sister, Kelley Earnhardt Miller, thanked God, supporters and medical staff early Friday in a Twitter post after Earnhardt and his family survived a fiery plane crash in Tennessee. 'Finally laying down for the night and want to say thank you to God, the angels among us, our pilots, first responders, medical staff, our NASCAR family and everyone that has reached out in whatever way to support us all,' Earnhardt Miller wrote in a post around 12:30 a.m. Friday. A nurse who witnessed the crash told WSOC-TV her instincts kicked in Thursday when she saw the jet skid off the runway. '(The) first thing that went through my mind was, 'Lord, I hope there was nobody in the plane that's still in the plane,' because it was completely engulfed,' she told WSOC-TV. She added that as she tried to help, the plane, it was smoking out the back and then, all of a sudden, it caught on fire.' An NBC Sports spokesperson said Thursday that Earnhardt was taken to a hospital but released a short while later. Authorities are investigating the cause of the accident. Update 9 a.m. Aug. 16: Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board were in Elizabethton on Friday morning, WJHL reported. Agency officials said Thursday that two NTSB officials were being sent to investigate the incident. Federal Aviation Administration officials were also expected to be on the scene Friday, WJHL reported. Original report: Retired NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his wife Amy Reimann were aboard a private jet when it crashed at the Elizabethton Airport, in Tennessee.  Carter County Sheriff Dexter Lunceford told WJHL that Dale Earnhardt Jr. was taken to an area hospital and his injuries are described as cuts and abrasions.  Lunceford also said that his wife and child were onboard as well as the family dog. The pilot and one other passenger was also onboard. Earnhardt Jr. sister, Kelley, tweeted that everyone involved survived the crash. 'We're incredibly grateful that Dale, his wife Amy, daughter Isla, and the two pilots are safe following today's accident,' NBC Sports said in a statement. 'After being discharged from the hospital, we communicated with Dale and his team, and we're all in agreement that he should take this weekend off to be with his family. 'We look forward to having him back in the booth next month at Darlington.' According to WJHL, emergency crews responded to the crash involving the Cessna Citation Latitude business jet that ran off the end of the runway Thursday afternoon. It's not clear if the plane was departing or arriving. Earnhardt retired as a full-time racer in 2017 and has been working as an analyst for NBC. He is part of the scheduled broadcast team for Saturday night's Cup Series event in Bristol, Tennessee.The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • It's an exciting day for the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park! The zoo held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for their new sloth exhibit. WOKV told you back in July, when the zoo brought in two Hoffman’s two-toed sloths named Teddy and Grizzly.  The zoo says the exhibit is part of the rainforest habitat as guests walk into the ‘Land of the Crocodiles.’ Despite sloths typically being solitary, the zoo has said Teddy and Grizzly share a strong bond.

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