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    Cat lovers on the First Coast could soon have a new unique place to hang out-- work is underway to bring a 'cat cafe' to St. Augustine.  Angeli Rodriguez says she plans to open the Witty Whisker Cat Cafe later this year and right now, she's working to find the perfect space.  'And we're working with the Planning and Zoning Commission in St. Augustine to work around and make sure we're following all the rules and regulations and getting all the proper permits to get this to happen,' explains Rodriguez.  She describes a 'cat cafe' as a new concept to help cats get adopted.  'It's a way of being able to see cats' personalities. Because usually when you go into a cat shelter, they're stuck in little cages and they're, you know, very traumatized and sad, and usually sitting in their own litter boxes. You can't really tell what kind of personality they have,' says Rodriguez.  But she says in a 'cat cafe', you have an open area where the cats are free to interact with each other and with people.  'You have your cafe on one side and then you have to go through a set of double doors before you get into the cat area. So you can go into the cafe initially to purchase your drinks and cookies, brownies, and whatever it is that you want to eat, and then you pay a small fee to go into the cat side,' says Rodriguez.  Rodriguez says by opening up this cafe in the St. Augustine area, they hope to see support from tourists that come to the area, general foot traffic, and students at nearby Flagler College.  She hopes to be able to set up a partnership with a local rescue to make this a reality.  If you're interested in learning more about the Witty Whisker Cat Cafe, you can click HERE. Rodriguez tells us they're in their fundraising stages right now and would appreciate any support to bring this concept to St. Augustine.
  • The St. Augustine Police Department is trying to figure out who is behind graffiti put up at more than two dozen locations in the Davis Shores area. Police did not disclose what the graffiti said or looked like but did say the ones they spotted in at least 30 different locations were related.  The St. Augustine Police Department did not have any kind of suspect information, but they are asking anyone with information to give them a call.
  • It’s going to be hot again today with high temperatures in the mid-90’s for the Jacksonville area, upper 90’s inland. Feels like temps remain in the triple digits under mostly sunny conditions as the rain stays away today. Action News Jax Meteorologist Garrett Bedenbaugh says is tracking widely scattered inland showers or thunderstorms on Thursday with slightly cooler temps. Moisture picks up Friday through the weekend when we’ll see scattered showers and storms, with some areas of heavy rain.
  • The back-to-school season is quickly approaching, and JCPenney plans to hire as many as 115 seasonal associates throughout the greater Jacksonville area for a variety of store positions. Available customer service and support positions include cashier, replenishment specialist, SEPHORA inside JCPenney beauty consultant and more. JCPenney offers seasonal associates a full associate discount up to 25 percent, as well as flexible holiday scheduling. Additionally, JCPenney is seeking experienced stylists to be part of the Company’s industry-leading salon program. A premier commission plan enables incoming stylists with robust client books to set their own hours and pricing, while enjoying some of the highest commissions of any salon chain. Highly experienced stylists can also take advantage of flexible scheduling with no booth rental fees. JCPenney salon stylists enjoy perks such as paid artistic training, health benefits for full-time stylists, paid time off and 401K eligibility.   Interested locals at all skill levels are encouraged to apply in store using the JCPenney Applicant Kiosk, or online by visiting https://jobs.jcp.com and searching for “seasonal” jobs in their market. Those candidates hired as seasonal associates have the opportunity to be hired as permanent associates, as needed on a store-by-store basis. STAY UPDATED: Download the Action News Jax app for live updates on breaking stories  
  • As investigations continue into a fatal incident involving a Jacksonville Transportation Authority bus in the Mayport Village-area, documents are shedding new light on the operator JTA says was behind the wheel.  WOKV first told you Monday, that JTA moved to fire that driver, citing violations of their Operator Work Rules. JTA then further disclosed the specific violations early Tuesday.  Now, WOKV has obtained the driver's personnel file, revealing he's actually been fired before. JTA says it was for ‘conduct unbecoming.’  According to that file, the driver had been terminated for an incident that occurred on December 20, 2018. A JTA notice of personnel policy violation/record of conversation form shows the driver was accused of nearly running over a supervisor's foot. The document says the supervisor had wanted to talk with him about running early, but claims he became combative, and eventually drove off. The supervisor says if she hadn't moved, her foot would have been run over.  Other documents in the file show the violation leading to his termination was later reduced after the union filed a grievance, leading to a suspension instead. That allowed the driver to return back to work on January 22, 2019.  The file also shows some of the other issues he's been written up for.  That includes an April 2013 incident, where he was accused of a preventable accident involving a bicyclist. A JTA accident review form claims the driver made a left turn, but failed to see a bicyclist in the crosswalk. The form says he struck the bike and ran it over, without stopping.  The personnel file also shows seven complaints riders made against him in the past two years, but only two were validated. That included one complaint about his behavior, another about improper procedure when dropping off a passenger.  WOKV is choosing not to release the now-former bus driver's name, as he is currently not charged with criminal offenses.
  • The final roadblocks to a new JEA Downtown headquarters were overcome Tuesday, as JEA’s Board of Directors approved the lease agreement with Ryan Companies, and the Jacksonville City Council approved the sale of the land for the project. But there is a new question that’s now hanging over the project, as JEA carries out its strategic planning process- will the utility follow through? The process of putting up a new headquarters has been a long time in the making, but is needed, according to JEA. The utility says this new building will not only be a more proper size for their staff- and therefore more efficient to run- but that maintaining the current, aging facility is becoming very costly. Ryan Companies beat several others with their proposal to build the new HQ on West Adams Street, near the Duval County Courthouse. They were formally selected by the JEA Board in April, which authorized lease negotiations to begin. Today’s action by the Board approved that lease. “When it comes to the building itself, we want to make sure that this isn’t a Ryan stamp, that it’s a JEA stamp. We don’t want to bring our design preferences, we want to make suggestions, bring in our great experience, but ultimately let JEA have the project that they want, as opposed to making sure we have a signature on a project that we developed,” says Ryan Companies’ Southeast Regional President Doug Dieck. GALLERY:Ryan Companies’ JEA HQ proposal Speaking one-on-one with WOKV, Dieck says the lease negotiation process has been thorough, but has led to a deal that is good for both sides. He says there hasn’t been anything unexpected through that process, but they have made some changes from the initial proposal, in order to accommodate JEA’s specific needs. There have been some design changes, for example,  although the new renderings are not yet available. Another change was adding in a contingency at JEA’s request, to let them opt out of the project overall.  JEA is currently engaged in strategic planning, as they face a future in a challenged industry that includes declining sales as a result of energy efficiencies. On Tuesday, the Board voted to move forward with planning a scenario that could include raising rates and making some big cost cuts over the next ten years, possibly including hundreds of layoffs. Another cost cutting measure that was raised was scrapping plans for a new HQ in Downtown, and instead renting some space on the Southside. That strategic planning process is still ongoing, so Dieck says they were happy to provide JEA a 90-day opt-out option to help, when JEA asked for it. “We said, if that’s what you need, it’s no problem. So, it was a surprise, but it really was no problem, and if it helps them run their business well, it’s something we’re happy to do,” he says. If JEA invokes the opt-out, they would have to reimburse Ryan Companies for costs incurred up to that point. Despite that question looming, Dieck says JEA wants them to keep going forward. “What they’ve told us is full steam ahead,” he says. The City of Jacksonville currently owns the land that Ryan Companies wants to build the new headquarters on. The Downtown Investment Authority previously recommended approving the company’s proposed purchase of the land, for $2.6 million. Tuesday night, the Jacksonville City Council followed along with that, clearing the final major hurdle for this project. There is still a 90-day due diligence period to close on the land, and information presented to the Council confirmed that if JEA opts out, there would be enough time for Ryan Companies to pull from the land deal as well. Dieck says if they do happen to close on the land early, and then JEA opts out, JEA would be responsible for reimbursing Ryan Companies for the cost of the land purchase. Dieck says Ryan Companies expects to be able to get shovels in the ground in the first quarter of 2020, with construction completed in the final quarter of 2021. The building would house close to 800 employees under the current design, and Dieck wants to make sure they have the best work environment possible. “I want them [JEA employees] to be thinking ‘Wow, incredible, I can’t wait to engage, let’s get going, what a great place to work’,” Dieck says. JEA says they do not believe they will have to increase customer rates in order to fund this project. During Tuesday’s Board meeting, JEA said they are not forecasting a rate hike through the next fiscal year at all. 
  • The Atlantic Beach Police Department is warning about a new scam phone call making the rounds. Police say the caller will claim that one of your loved ones has been in an accident and is in the hospital. The caller will then put your 'loved one' on the phone, but they warn you that they may sound a little different because of a broken nose. This 'loved one' will then ask you to wire money.  Police warn this entire thing is a scam and not to send any money.  Investigators say sometimes the scam involves a jail, instead of a hospital, so be on alert.
  • JEA is road mapping how to get past the charter, statute, and other constraints that they say are impacting their ability to innovate as a company. While they explore that, they’re moving ahead with planning for some drastic cuts, in order to meet the industry challenges they will face in the next decade. For months, JEA has been working with experts and consultants on strategic planning for the future. The picture that’s been painted is grim, not only for them, but the industry more broadly. JEA says changing energy policy, resulting energy efficiency and declining sales, and emerging technologies are just a few of the things that have fundamentally changed how consumers are using water and electric services, and how JEA provides them. The Senior Leadership Team and Board have now been publicly discussing what to do in the face of those challenges. “Now is the time for change for JEA. Confront new challenges boldly and head on, and as a utility, we do have the opportunity to prosper. We can start figuring out how to grow and remain relevant and become the center of our customer’s energy and water utility experience,” says JEA’s Managing Director and CEO Aaron Zahn. The Board voted today to move forward with putting together a plan for a scenario that would mean hundreds of layoffs, scrapping a new Downtown headquarters, reducing capital investments, and more in the next decade. This vote does not mean these changes are guaranteed to take place, but Zahn and his team will finalize a plan for what the short- and long-term implementation would involve, to present to the Board next month. The Board made that vote reluctantly, with the caveat that they want to lean more about how to pursue a different path toward innovation. That later path is a challenging one in its own right, though, because JEA says they face roadblocks in the law and charter. Three scenarios for the future WOKV first told you last month, when JEA outlined what they call the “status quo” response. Under that projection, if JEA continues to operate in the status quo, it would mean electric rates would have to climb 52% by 2030, with water rates up 16% in the same time frame. This scenario could actually see even steeper changes, since JEA says many of their top customers, including the Navy Public Works Center, Anheuser Busch, Publix, and others, have publicly stated goals to increase sustainability. During Tuesday’s Board meeting, the Senior Leadership Team presented two more scenarios- the “traditional” response and the “non-traditional” path.  The “traditional” response puts JEA on a path for planning toward an “organized decline”. JEA says the only tools available to them- given the current constraints in statue, charter, and related rules- are to manage with cost reduction and rate increases. In order to reduce the impact on customer rates, JEA theorizes maximizing cost cuts through a roughly 30% reduction in JEA’s headcount, which means getting rid of 574 full-time equivalent employees by 2030, including cutting down their Senior Leadership Team.  'Those headcount reductions are not without significant consequences for our customers. With fewer employees, customers will experience a substantial reduction in service, degradation in reliability, environmental impacts, and less community engagement,” says JEA President and COO Melissa Dykes. They would also throw out plans for a new Downtown headquarters building, and instead move to rented space on the Southside, while also reducing capital investments. Even with those cost-cutting measures, JEA says they would not make up the entire cash gap, so a 26% hike in energy utility rates is projected by 2030, or a 13% hike if coupled with no city contribution once the existing agreement expires. Water rates would not have to increase. The third scenario, or “non-traditional” path, is the one that offers the most optimism, but its own challenges, according to JEA. JEA says this option will increase their value now and in the future, by embracing emerging technology, incentivizing employees to drive the utility forward, identifying innovative investments, and improving the customer experience. Dykes says they’ve been able to launch some small revenue generating ventures, but bigger ones have met regulatory roadblocks. Zahn says truly embracing this option means changing the law, JEA’s charter, and related areas, in order to be able to diversify and implement creative profit generating initiatives. But that also means aligning external stakeholders to cooperate in approving those changes. The decision JEA’s Board made their distaste for both the “status quo” and “traditional” paths clear. “I reject that the ‘traditional’ utility response is the right response,” says Board Member Alan Howard. But they gave Zahn what he asked for, in terms of the next steps. “I ask that you instruct staff to finalize a ‘traditional’ utility response, in the event that we don’t have an opportunity to grow change. Second, I ask that you consider allowing us the opportunity to look at our constraints and consider charter changes, so that we can finalize a plan and bring it back to you in the future,” Zahn asked, and the Board approved. Zahn says JEA has exhausted the tools they have in the status quo, so he will come back with an implementation plan for a “traditional” response next month, while also providing more insight on how to potentially change some of the regulatory friction points. “At this point, as a Board Member, I’m willing to do whatever is necessary to make sure that JEA moves to a healthier road, because this is our community, and the impact that it’s going to have is on the people that we serve,” says Board Vice Chair Frederick Newbill. The leadership made it clear that human impact has continually been on the front of their minds. “This was a terrible process to go through. It’s a very human process. It’s one that recognizes the realities of the challenges that we’re facing, but especially when you start touching your team members, it’s a very painful process, even to paint a scenario that looks like this one,” Dykes says. Howard says he knows they may not be able to change limits set in the Florida Constitution, but he believes they can effectively lobby state and local government to create some of the changes they need, in order to commit to the ‘non-traditional’ path of innovation.
  • The FDOT has announced that the clearing stages have started in northwest Jacksonville, to prepare for the upcoming construction. The construction on the Jacksonville National Cemetery access road will be adding a new 3.4 mile two-lane road connecting Lannie Road and Arnold Road, at the Ethel Road intersection.  Also included in this project are bike lanes on the new road, ponds for drainage, and a new bridge over Seaton Creek to improve transportation options for visitors.  This $12.8 million project is expected to be finished in the Fall of 2021 by Anderson Columbia Contractors, Inc. and ownership of the road will then be transferred to the City of Jacksonville.
  • The Jacksonville Transportation Authority says a driver who was fired following a deadly weekend incident in the Mayport Village area violated several policies.  WOKV first reported Monday the bus operator, who had been with JTA for 12 years, was fired for violating JTA Operator Work Rules.  JTA has provided more specific violations including that the driver failed to confirm the doors were closed before allowing the bus to move, as well as failure to be alert for any condition that may cause injury or damage.  The driver also failed to follow Standard Operating Procedure, and displayed conduct unbecoming a JTM Operator.  JSO is still investigating the circumstances surrounding Saturday’s incident that resulted in Jeanie Rozar’s death. Our news partner Action News Jax confirmed she died of injuries sustained after she became entangled in the bus and was hit by it.  JTA is not commenting on any specific details about the incident until JSO has completed its investigation.  JTA told Action News Jax that the model of bus involved in the incident is older and does not have sensors in the doors to alert the bus driver if something is stuck. JTA’s newer model buses do have those sensors.  A memorial was set up across from the bus stop where the incident happened. 

The Latest News Headlines

  • The Democratic presidential primary debates began Wednesday with 10 candidates going head-to-head in Miami as the 2020 presidential election season got underway. >>Jamie Dupree reports: Democrats hold first 2020 debate Wednesday’s debate, the first of a two-night event, featured 10 candidates. They are:  Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey  Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts  Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke of Texas  Former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii  Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota  Former Housing Secretary Julián Castro  New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington  Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio  Livestream: Live updates: See you Thursday 11:15 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: The second part of the debate takes place Thursday in Miami -- same place, same time (9 p.m. ET). Read the transcript 11:05 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: If you want to read a transcript of tonight’s debate, check it out at The Washington Post.   Closing statements 10:49 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: Closing statements have begun. Foreign policy 10:47 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: Ryan is explaining why it is important to stay engaged in the war against the Taliban. Gabbard says we are not going to beat the Taliban and need to get out of the Middle East before more people are killed.   “What’s the greatest geo-political threat to the United States,” Chuck Todd asks? The answers are China, climate change, nuclear weapons and “Donald Trump.”  LGBTQ and people of color 10:35 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: Gabbard is asked about her apology to the LGBTQ community. She said she grew up in a conservative home and her view have changed over the years. Klobuchar is asked about what she has done for people of color. She points to a career she says has been about “economic opportunity.”   The problem seems to be Mitch 10:20 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: What to do about Sen. Mitch McConnell, the debaters are asked? Win the Senate, some of the debaters say. Warren is asked if she has a plan to deal with McConnell. She says, “I do.” The audience give her a cheer. De Blasio brings up his son who is black, and says he has had to talk to him about dealing with the justice system in America. Gun control discussion continues 10:15 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: Ryan says school kids are traumatized in school and that most school shootings are committed by kids who students at that school. Mental health care for kids is needed. O’Rourke said he talked to kids who have survived shootings, and that they have the ability to sway the gun control debate. Gun control issues 10:08 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: Sound problem is fixed and Warren is asked about school shootings and gun violence. Warren says the hardest part of campaign is tough questions from kids about guns. Gun issues are a national health emergency, Warren says. She says universal background checks are important.  Booker is questioned about his “buy back” program. He tells the story of hearing gun shots in his neighborhood.  Cut the mic 10:03 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: The microphones from the moderators of the first hour of the debate were not turned off and the audience – there and at home – are hearing them chat. More immigration 10 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: Klobuchar is asked if she agrees with a statement from Castro that it shouldn’t be a crime to cross the border. She said she’d look at his proposal, but seemed not to think it was the way to go.  Ryan says he agrees with Castro’s plan. Booker is asked what he’d do as president on day one. He suggests investing in Latin American countries to alleviate the problems driving people here.   Inslee says on day one he would release everyone being held for coming into the country illegally.  Immigration talk 9:51 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: Castro is asked how he would you address the immigration crisis? He mentioned the photo that went viral earlier Wednesday of a father and daughter who drowned while trying to come into the United States. He said the photo should “Piss us off”. He says the U.S. needs a Marshall Plan for Central American countries. De Blasio again talks over someone who is speaking and says that immigrants are not taking jobs from American citizens. Trump tweets 9:49 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: President Trump has tweeted his opinion of the debate: Healthcare talk continues 9:39 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: Booker continues the healthcare debate, saying he is for Medicare for all, but seems to suggest he would keep private insurance. At least for a time. Warren says insurance cheats the average person. “It’s time for us to make families come first.” Inslee says he thinks private companies should be prohibited from denying reproductive healthcare.  Klobuchar reminds everyone that the three women on stage fought hard for a women’s right to choose. Health is the topic 9:30 p.m. June 26, 2019: Klobuchar addresses Trump plan to lower pharmaceutical prices. “That’s what we call at home “All foam and no beer.” She’s not seeing it. Warren says is for Medicare for all. “Healthcare is a basic human right,” she said. O’Rourke says he supports healthcare for all. His plan would allow people to keep their private plans, though. De Blasio shouts out private insurance doesn’t work. 9:25 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: The questions and answers are going fast. Here is what has happened: Ryan is asked about jobs and says he is not seeing what Trump promised with jobs. Ryan said family members who have had to “unbolt a machine from a factory floor” and ship it out of the country. Castro is asked about equal pay for men and women. He would work to pass the Equal Rights Amendment, he says. Gabbard is asked about the economy but about her military experience instead. She did say she would spend tax dollars on helping working class families. de Blasio says the party has to be strong and bold and progressive. “There’s plenty of money in this country, it’s just in the wrong hands.”   Delaney says he would double the earned income tax credit. “I’m very different from everybody else here on stage,” Delaney said.  Booker says the economy isn’t working for all 9:13 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: Booker says this economy “is not working for black and brown communities,” but won’t single out corporations he says are too big. O’Rourke answers, in part, in Spanish 9:10 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: O’Rourke is asked about taxing corporations. He answers first in English, then in Spanish. But he doesn’t answer the question. He has another shot at it, but still doesn’t really answer if he would tax corporations at 70 percent. Klobuchar on college 9:08 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: Klobuchar says she doesn’t support subsidizing college for kids from wealthy families. She also says Donald Trump “just sits in the White House and gloats” over college debt. Warren goes first 9:03 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: Warren gets the first question. “What do you say to those who think significant change can be dangerous.” She says the economy is not doing great for someone who is trying to get a prescription filled. “It’s corruption” Warren says, when the rich are doing better, but the middle class is not. A historic moment 8:59 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: When the debate begins tonight, it will be the first time in U.S. history that more than one woman candidate will be on the presidential debate stage.  Moderators are getting ready 8:57 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: Lester Holt, Chuck Todd, Savannah Guthrie, Rachel Maddow and José Diaz-Balart will moderate the debates from the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami. Picture time 8:54 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: The candidates have come out for a group photo. Checking facts 8:48 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: The Associated Press will be fact-checking statements made at the debate. The structure of the debate  8:40 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: The two-hour debate will be made up of five segments separated by four commercial breaks. The rules 8:33 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: The rules for the debate were announced last week. There will be no opening statements tonight, but candidates will be allowed a closing statement. Candidates will have 60 seconds to answer questions and 30 seconds to respond to follow-ups.   Who would have made it had the bar been higher? 8:20 p.m. June 26, 2019: From Mary Astor of the New York Times: The nine candidates who would have made it: Biden, Booker, Buttigieg, Castro, Harris, Klobuchar, O'Rourke, Sanders and Warren. Warren is ready 8:06 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: Tweeted from Warren minutes ago: What questions are asked 8 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: From Time’s Up, this tweet about what questions are asked during debates: Warren is top polling candidate tonight 7:40 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: Warren is the only candidate who is polling in double digits of those debating tonight. The lowest polling candidate tonight is Ryan at 0.6 percent support. Warren is at 12.6 percent support in the Real Clear Politics average of polls. Booker says “love”  – Bingo! 7:15 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: As you get ready to watch tonight’s debate, you may be looking for ways to make what can be dry, a little more fun. Check out The New York Times Democratic Debate Bingo card here. Hear the phase and mark off your box! Two hours away now 7 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: The debate starts in about two hours.  Candidates visit detention center 6:55 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar visited a center in Homestead, Florida, prior to Wednesday’s debate. The center, near Miami, houses undocumented migrant children. Many other Democratic candidates have said they intend to visit the for-profit detention center that holds around 2,300 children from the ages of 13 to 17. Live updates begin 6:50 p.m. ET June 26, 2019: Welcome to live updates of the first primary debate of the 2020 presidential election.
  • A California man is accused of getting upset after a woman at a family birthday party rejected him, following her from the party and shooting her 10-month-old daughter in the head, police officials said Sunday.  Marcos Antonio Echartea, 23, is charged with three counts of attempted murder in the shooting of Fayth Percy, Fresno police Chief Jerry Dyer announced at a news conference. Echartea was booked into the Fresno County Jail.  County court records show Echartea is also charged with three counts of assault with a firearm, three counts of shooting at an occupied motor vehicle and possession of a firearm by a felon. “It should shock the conscience of every person in Fresno to know that we have a 10-month-old baby lying in the hospital fighting for her life,” the chief said, according to ABC30 in Fresno.  Dyer, who was also updating the media on two recent homicide cases within the city, called the shooting of Fayth the “most disturbing” of the three incidents.  “Bullets do not have eyes,” Dyer said. “When these gangsters or violent criminals fire rounds indiscriminately, sometimes those rounds hit unintended targets. And that’s the consequences of firing a round into a vehicle.” The police chief said a 911 call came in at 4:05 a.m. Sunday from a man who said he was rushing a baby who had been shot to a hospital. Fresno police officers met the man along the way and began to render first aid to the infant.  Paramedics took Fayth to the hospital, where she underwent surgery to remove bullet fragments from her head, Dyer said. She was listed in critical, but stable condition. Dyer said investigators learned Fayth was at the party with her 18-year-old mother, Deziree Menagh, when Menagh ran into Echartea, whom she had met just once about a week before the party. Menagh was inside the home, which was near her own house.  “While (Echartea) was inside the residence with her, he attempted to grab her hand. She pulled away,” Dyer said.  >> Read more trending news Menagh went outside and told family and friends what happened. Echartea soon followed her outside. While out on the porch, he tried to force Menagh to sit on his lap, the chief said.  Menagh again pulled away and went inside to get her daughter so they could leave the party. She and Fayth got into a car belonging to a male friend, who drove away. The driver made a U-turn and was parking at an intersection several houses down from the party when he and Menagh noticed Echartea walking quickly toward them, Dyer said.  “At some point when he got close, he pulled out a handgun and fired three rounds into the driver’s side window, which was up,” Dyer said. “One of those rounds struck baby Fayth on the side of the head as she was being held by her mother.” Watch the Fresno Police Department’s news conference on the shooting below.  Dyer said the glass of the window slowed down the bullet’s velocity, allowing Fayth to survive the initial impact of the shooting.  “Had the window been down, we may be talking about the murder of a 10-month-old child in our city today,” he said.  Dyer said it was unclear Sunday why Menagh and her friend had parked near the scene of the party but reiterated that Menagh lived nearby. He said she and her friend may have parked to wait for Echartea to leave the area so she could safely go home.  Detectives who went to the house where the party took place found Echartea there and took him into custody.  “When our detectives brought him downtown, he had no remorse,” Dyer said, according to ABC30. “He had just shot a 10-month-old baby and didn’t even seem to care, or it didn't faze him.” Dyer said Echartea was also wanted in connection with a shooting that took place May 27 less than five miles from the scene of Sunday’s shooting. In that incident, Echartea is accused of firing several shots into a home.  That shooting was also over a woman, the chief said.  “The residence is occupied by Echartea’s ex-girlfriend’s boyfriend,” Dyer said.  One of the bullets fired that night penetrated the wall of the home and nearly struck a 1-year-old infant.  “That bullet landed approximately one foot from where the baby was,” the chief said.  Echartea is charged in that case with assault with a firearm, possession of a firearm by a felon, discharging a firearm at an inhabited dwelling, discharging a firearm with gross negligence, assault with a semiautomatic firearm and shooting at another person from a moving vehicle, according to Fresno County court records.   “(It is) very apparent that Marcos Echartea has no regard for human life, even a baby,” the chief said. “We have every reason to believe that Marcos Echartea knew that baby Fayth was in that vehicle when he fired three rounds into that vehicle earlier this morning.”  Dyer said police officials and investigators are praying that Fayth not only survives her injuries but also makes a full recovery. He said he spent time at the hospital with Menagh and the baby’s father, Bennie Percy, 27, before the news conference.  “I know the parents are broken. They’re hurting,” Dyer said. “We held hands at the hospital and prayed over the baby. We’re asking that everyone in this community come together and pray for baby Fayth for a complete recovery.”
  • Cat lovers on the First Coast could soon have a new unique place to hang out-- work is underway to bring a 'cat cafe' to St. Augustine.  Angeli Rodriguez says she plans to open the Witty Whisker Cat Cafe later this year and right now, she's working to find the perfect space.  'And we're working with the Planning and Zoning Commission in St. Augustine to work around and make sure we're following all the rules and regulations and getting all the proper permits to get this to happen,' explains Rodriguez.  She describes a 'cat cafe' as a new concept to help cats get adopted.  'It's a way of being able to see cats' personalities. Because usually when you go into a cat shelter, they're stuck in little cages and they're, you know, very traumatized and sad, and usually sitting in their own litter boxes. You can't really tell what kind of personality they have,' says Rodriguez.  But she says in a 'cat cafe', you have an open area where the cats are free to interact with each other and with people.  'You have your cafe on one side and then you have to go through a set of double doors before you get into the cat area. So you can go into the cafe initially to purchase your drinks and cookies, brownies, and whatever it is that you want to eat, and then you pay a small fee to go into the cat side,' says Rodriguez.  Rodriguez says by opening up this cafe in the St. Augustine area, they hope to see support from tourists that come to the area, general foot traffic, and students at nearby Flagler College.  She hopes to be able to set up a partnership with a local rescue to make this a reality.  If you're interested in learning more about the Witty Whisker Cat Cafe, you can click HERE. Rodriguez tells us they're in their fundraising stages right now and would appreciate any support to bring this concept to St. Augustine.
  • When is Amazon's Prime Day Sale 2019?Amazon has announced that its popular Prime Day will start on Monday, July 15, at 3 p.m. EST, and continue through Tuesday, July 16. >> Read more trending news Prime Day is an annual sales event for Amazon, the world’s third largest retailer, that offers more than one million deals worldwide. Prime Day has regularly been the busiest day of sales for the online retailer, surpassing even Black Friday sales totals. Here’s what we know now about Prime Day 2019: When does it start? The sale starts at 3 p.m. ET July 15 and continues through July 16.  How do I shop the sale? The sale is aimed at Amazon’s Prime members. Prime membership is $12.99 a month. With the membership comes Prime Video benefits and free two-day shipping on many items. If you don’t want to become a member and pay monthly fees for the extra benefits, but you want to participate in the sale, Amazon offers a 30-day free trial membership. What’s so special about the sale? What can you get? Deals on Prime Day often include deep cuts on electronics, home goods, laptops and phones. What are some big deals this year? Amazon hasn’t released its list of deals yet, but if you just can’t wait until July 15, here are a few deals available for pre-order: Chefman TurboFry airfryer for $79.99  Kygo Life A9/600 over-ear Bluetooth headphones for $229.00  Funko Pop! Animation: Spongebob Squarepants - Spongebob & Plankton with fun song Letters for $11.99  Proscenic M7 robot vacuum cleaner for $459.99  Journey Girls 18' doll - Kyla for $34.99  Funko Pop! Deluxe: Star Wars - Millennium Falcon with Han Solo for $64.99  Toshiba 43LF421U19 43-inch 1080p Full HD Smart LED TV for $179.99 In the run-up to Prime Day, Amazon will post previews of deals to come. You can monitor the ones you like and be notified when they go live so you never miss a deal. Is Amazon the only one doing a summer sale? No, other retailers are joining in the July sales fun. Target has announced it’s summer sale for the same days. Here’s the information they tweeted: Walmart has also run a special summer sale – usually on the same days as Amazon’s Prime sale – for the past few years. Currently, Walmart is running a sale that includes Apple Watches for $199, and a TCL 32-inch Roku TV for $118. Check back here for more information on summer deals from Amazon, Walmart, Target and other retailers.
  • The first Democratic primary debate will take place over two nights this week in Miami with the largest field of presidential candidates in American history. >>Democratic debate live updates: What time, channel, how to watch the first debate; livestream Ten candidates will appear on the debate stage on Wednesday and a second 10 will take part in the second half of the debate on Thursday. The debate will see several firsts as the 2020 presidential election season gets underway. Here’s a look at some numbers from the debate: Ages There is a 32-year age difference between the youngest and oldest candidates (both women) on stage Wednesday in Miami. Here are the ages of candidates participating in the first half of the debate. Sen. Cory Booker - 50Sen. Elizabeth Warren - 70Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke - 46Former Rep. John Delaney - 56Rep. Tulsi Gabbard - 38Sen. Amy Klobuchar - 59Former Housing Secretary Julián Castro - 44New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio - 58Gov. Jay Inslee - 68Rep. Tim Ryan - 45 >> Jamie Dupree: Warren leads Democrats into first night of 2020 debates Money Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, has the largest war chest so far among the 20 Democratic candidates who will debate this week. According to Sanders' campaign finance information, his campaign raised more than $20 million through March 31, the end of the first reporting period. Former Vice President Joe Biden has not released the amount of money he has raised in his race for the Oval Office. He joined the race after the deadline to file campaign finance material for the first reporting period. Sanders and Biden will be debating on Thursday. Moderators Five people will be moderating the debate – two women and three men. Time The debate will last two hours. Candidates have 60 seconds to answer the questions posed by moderators. They will have 30 seconds for a rebuttal. National polls In the latest Monmouth poll – conducted June 12-17 – Biden has 32%, Warren 15%, Sanders 14%, Kamala Harris 8% and Pete Buttigieg 5%. Odds The over/under bet on the number of mentions of the word “Trump” is 20.5, according to sportsbettingdime.com. An over/under bet is a bet on whether the outcome of an event will be above or below a number a bookmaker comes up with prior to the event. History According to Rasmussen Reports, “Since 1972, every non-incumbent major party presidential nominee has appeared in a primary debate … .”  

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