ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day
73°
Partly Cloudy
H 93° L 77°
  • cloudy-day
    73°
    Current Conditions
    Partly Cloudy. H 93° L 77°
  • cloudy-day
    89°
    Afternoon
    Partly Cloudy. H 93° L 77°
  • cloudy-day
    87°
    Evening
    Partly Cloudy. H 91° L 77°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest top stories

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

Local
“Keeper of the Seas” the future USS Wichita will soon call Naval Station Mayport home
Close

“Keeper of the Seas” the future USS Wichita will soon call Naval Station Mayport home

“Keeper of the Seas” the future USS Wichita will soon call Naval Station Mayport home
Photo Credit: Stephanie Brown

“Keeper of the Seas” the future USS Wichita will soon call Naval Station Mayport home

In the first commissioning ceremony to happen at Naval Station Mayport since 2006, the future USS Wichita will formally enter Navy service this Saturday.

It marks continued growth for Naval Station Mayport- the ship is the fifth Littoral Combat Ship to call Mayport home so far, and the base is expecting 16 overall by 2023. But as the Sailors settle in to their new home, they’re also keeping a strong connection with the city the ship is named for.

GALLERY: Future USS Wichita

Commander Nathan Rowan, the future USS Wichita’s Commanding Officer, has served on five ships at Mayport, including as the Executive Officer on the USS Philippean Sea. He says his 70-man crew has been challenged in learning the systems and technology, and dealing with the evolving design of mission elements of the ship, but they’ve been rising to the occasion and are excited to be the commissioning crew.

“It’s great, it’s a unique experience. We’re the first to embark a ship, bring it to life, figure out all the cool things the ship can do. The learning curve for us is very steep, however, we get to be the first to do a lot of cool things on board, so it’s been a wonderful experience,” Rowan says.


Unique to this ship, Rowan says when he took command, the vast majority of the crew had already served on an LCS. He says that experience made their work so far much easier, and continues to be something they prioritize, as those Sailors move to new assignments.

“The resident knowledge is being passed down from those Sailors who are getting ready to leave, to those Sailors that are now embarking. So our level of readiness has been sustainable,” he says.

Rowan says he is proud of the camaraderie and care among the ship’s Sailors, which is magnified by the small size of the group, compared to other ships. At just 70 Sailors, he says they all roll up their sleeves and do what needs to be done, right down to everyone being accountable for doing their own dishes. The ship’s technology- which relies heavily on cameras to watch areas that would otherwise traditionally be manned- aids them daily, and sometimes the small size even gives them an advantage. Rowan says they all enjoyed a Thanksgiving meal with recipes that you may not see on another ship, because they get to take some more liberties, since there are fewer mouths to feed.


For many of the Sailors who serve on the future USS Wichita, their assignment was a bit of luck.

“The fact that I’ll be able to be stationed on the ship representing the city that I was born and raised in, it’s a good honor and privilege,” says Operations Specialist Isaac Davis.

The future USS Wichita is the third ship to be named for the Kansas city, and natives like Davis say that makes being part of the commissioning crew even more special.

“The ship and the Sailors will definitely do the city proud,” he says.

Chief Information Systems Technician Brian Tanner, another Wichita native, has served in the Navy close to 15 years. He’s been a plank owner for a shore command, but never for a ship. It’s an honor he says is right up there with making Chief.

“I leave my mark, leave a piece of me, and I always take a piece of her with me,” Tanner says.

The ship shows that connection as well. A cabinet on board is filled with Wichita-related memorabilia that they proudly display, including a ball and bat signed by Wichita’s minor league team, fire helmet signed by a fire station in Wichita, books written and donated by the ship’s sponsor, and more. Even the ship’s motto, “Keeper of the Seas”, is a play on the “Keeper of the Plains”, which is a well-known statue in Wichita.


A commitment to honoring Wichita doesn’t mean their new City is being left behind.

Rowan says they look for opportunities for the crew to be in the Jacksonville community together, like volunteering at events or building under Habitat for Humanity. Many of the Sailors’ families have also been living in the city for several months, in anticipation of the commissioning and homeporting.

“It does something not only for the base, but also for the community- which is very important- and the economy here in Florida,” Rowan says.

Just a few years ago, Mayport was at a historically low level of ships, with just 13, because of the decommissioning of the guided missile frigates. The peak in the 1980s saw more than 30 ships in the basin. The Navy moved the USS Iwo Jima, USS New York, and USS Fort McHenry to Mayport in order to boost the level back up, and the base has been designated as the East Coast homeport for the LCS ships, specifically housing the Freedom variant of the ship.

The future USS Wichita is the third ship officially added at Mayport in just the last month and a half, along with the USS Sioux City- another LCS- and the guided missile destroyer USS Thomas Hudner. At least two more ships are slated for this year, the LCS’s USS Billings in August and USS Indianapolis in November.

GALLERY: USS Thomas Hudner

For the future USS Wichita, their goal is training and development. The ship will continue operations later this month testing systems and doing other work off which the Navy can learn what on the ship works well and what may need improvement. They’re specifically designated for mine countermeasures, and Rowan says there are experts on board this very minute working on the design of that mission package.

In addition to providing lessons learned for the Navy, in the Mayport basin, they’ll serve as a training platform for Sailors on other LCSs.


The future #USSWichita is being commissioned this weekend at Naval Station Mayport. I’m speaking with Sailors and the ship’s CO.

Posted by Stephanie Brown, News 104.5 WOKV on Thursday, January 10, 2019

Read More

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 … .”  

The Latest News Videos