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    Tropical Storm Bertha has formed near the coast of South Carolina this morning.  Heavy rainfall will be the biggest threat, along with tropical storm force winds along portions of the South Carolina coast.  Action News Jax Chief Meteorologist Mike Buresh says there will be no local impacts from Bertha, which was an area of low pressure that brought much-needed rain on Tuesday.  LISTEN TO MIKE BURESH UPDATE BERTHA
  • A driver is dead after crashing into a utility pole during a high-speed police chase on Jacksonville's westside Tuesday night.   The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office says just before 6:30 pm, officers noticed a vehicle driving recklessly through a parking lot near Lem Turner Road and I-95, almost hitting a pedestrian.  JSO attempted to conduct a traffic stop on the vehicle, but the driver failed to stop and fled south on I-95 and continued onto I-10 westbound in the emergency lane.  The driver then lost control of the vehicle, went off the road and hit a utility pole near Chaffee Road. The driver, who has not been identified, died at the scene. 
  • Jacksonville small business owners have another opportunity for help with rent and mortgage payments. The Jacksonville City Council passed a bill creating a $9 million relief grant program.  Grants of $2,000 would be available to 4,500 small local businesses. In order to qualify the business would need to have fewer than 100 employees and be able to demonstrate a loss of 25% of more in revenue as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.  Another resolution approved by City Council would help families struggling to afford basic needs. $5 million in CARES Act funds would be available to local families. A report from the United Way of Northeast Florida found one out of every 3 people couldn’t meet their bills before the pandemic; COVID-19 has only amplified that problem. 
  • The soaking start to this week has triggered the start to NE Florida’s wet season.  Action News Jax Chief Meteorologist Mike Buresh is tracking more rounds of heavy rain today. “Midday and afternoon showers and storms should pick up with a little bit of heating. There still won’t be a whole lot of sun today but enough sun and enough dry periods to get hotter than yesterday, into the 80’s. And we may even manage a strong storm or two if we can get enough sunshine”, said Buresh.  The area saw between 1 and 3 inches of rain on Tuesday, locally more rain near and south of I-10, the area that had been the driest.  A summer-like weather pattern continues through the weekend, with hot, humid conditions and heavy afternoon/evening shower and storms.  Buresh says a weak area of low pressure near Florida is not likely to become tropical before moving ashore in the Carolina’s later today or tonight. He says there is a slight chance it could become a tropical depression but doesn’t change the local forecast.  LISTEN TO THE MIKE BURESH WEATHER PODCAST HERE 
  • NASA and SpaceX are proceeding toward a historic launch to the International Space Station from Kennedy Space Center at 4:33 p.m. today. The Falcon 9 rocket will carry astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley on their mission to the space station.   Action News Jax Chief Meteorologist Mike Buresh lists the best places in the Jacksonville area that will allow the best viewing opportunities of the launch, if skies are clear: Palm Valley intracoastal bridge: It has a sidewalk and the bridge is nice and tall with parking below on either side  Any of our beautiful beaches  Lookout tower at Guana Reserve in St Johns County  Downtown Jacksonville skyscrapers  Buresh said to make sure you look toward the south/southeast when viewing the launch.  LISTEN TO THE MIKE BURESH WEATHER PODCAST FOR THE LAUNCH FORECAST
  • Chad. F. Wolf, the Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security came to Jacksonville on Tuesday to visit Fire Station 1. Wolf talked about the SAFER Grant, a grant created to make sure money is available for fire stations and volunteer fire stations to make sure they have enough people trained and available to serve communities.  QUICK FACTS:  SAFER Grant stands for Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response.  The goal of SAFER Grants is to enhance the local fire departments’ ability to do their jobs safely.  This a partnership between local, state, federal government to help first responders. However, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry and Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department still must apply for the SAFER Grant. JFRD Chief Keith Powers said Curry approved the application and it was submitted Tuesday morning.  “This visit symbolizes a first, to building a robust firefighting community,” Wolf said.  SAFER Grant for 2020, will not only be used to hire new JFRD firefighters, but will also be used to retain current firefighters Rightwards and those that have been laid off.
  • It’s uncertain if students will be back inside their classes in the fall. This week, parents in Duval County are able to pick up their students belongings that have been left inside the school since spring break.  Because of COVID-19, students have not been back in the classroom -- instead they’ve had to transition to online classes.  On Tuesday, teachers and faculty waited outside in the rain as students picked up their items.  Emily Ellis and her mother Jodi stopped by Fletcher High School.  “I needed my volunteer hours that I left in the pottery room. Trying not to lose it and then, what do you know, spring break happened and I wasn’t able to come back,” Ellis said.  For now, the future of heading back in the fall looks uncertain for teachers, parents, and students.  The Florida Education Association, the state’s largest teachers’ union, is meeting this week to look at how to re-open schools.  It will be forming two committees.  One group will be focused on Pre-K through 12th and another focused on colleges and higher education.  The next meeting is on Friday.  While Ellis is finishing up her senior year, she said she would like to see schools open up for her younger classmates in the fall.  She wasn’t a fan of online learning.  “I struggled through this online thing. Like, there’s a reason why I go to a physical high school and so I really want schools to take it a little easy on kids who had some problems in these last few quarters,” Ellis said.  Ellis said if students do return in fall, she’s hoping there will be stricter sanitation measures in place, masks and smaller class sizes in order to stop the spread of coronavirus.  Duval County will be having pickup times throughout the week.  It’s important to check with your child’s school to find out what day and time you can pick up their items.
  • With the weather looking up, SpaceX and NASA officials vowed Tuesday to keep crew safety the top priority for the nation's first astronaut launch to orbit in nearly a decade. Veteran NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken were set to make history Wednesday afternoon, riding SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon capsule to the International Space Station on a test flight. SpaceX was on the cusp of becoming the first private company to put astronauts in orbit, something achieved by just three countries — Russia, the U.S. and China. On the eve of the launch, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said from Kennedy Space Center that both the space agency and SpaceX have been diligent about making sure everyone in the launch loop knows they're free to halt the countdown if there's a concern. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are expected at Kennedy for the planned 4:33 p.m. liftoff, but “our highest priority” will remain the astronauts' safety, according to Bridenstine. Bridenstine said he texted the two astronauts Monday and told them, “`If you want me to stop this thing for any reason, say so. I will stop it in a heartbeat if you want me to.' They both came back and they said, ‘We’re go for launch.' ” Hans Koenigsmann, a SpaceX vice president, said Monday evening that he and other company workers have imagined themselves in the astronauts' shoes on launch day — “or their helmets.” “That changes the equation pretty dramatically,' he said. SpaceX has been launching cargo capsules to the space station since 2012. “It's a huge step, obviously, going from cargo ... to launching two people that are dads as we call them and have families, kids, wives.,' Koenigsmann added. NASA will have input throughout the countdown, but in the end, it will be SpaceX giving the final go — with NASA's concurrence. “SpaceX is controlling the vehicle, there’s no fluff about that,” Norm Knight, a NASA flight operations manager, said Monday. The odds of acceptable launch weather improved Tuesday to 60%. But that didn't factor in conditions along the Dragon’s route to orbit. SpaceX needs relatively calm waves and wind up the U.S. and Canadian seaboard and across the North Atlantic to Ireland, in case astronauts Hurley and Behnken need to make an emergency splashdown. If SpaceX does not launch during Wednesday's split-second window, the next try would be Saturday. Liftoff is set for 4:33 p.m. EDT. The last time astronauts launched from Florida was on NASA's final space shuttle flight in July 2011. Hurley was the pilot of that mission. NASA hired SpaceX and Boeing in 2014 to transport astronauts to the space station, after commercial cargo shipments had taken off. Development of SpaceX's Dragon and Boeing's Starliner capsules took longer than expected, however, and the U.S. has been paying Russia to launch NASA astronauts in the interim. ___ The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.
  • The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is asking for victims to come forward after they made an arrest of a man on May 8. Tyler De La Cruz, 30, was arrested on four counts of extortion and three counts of sexual battery.  According to the arrest report, JSO was notified by St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office on May 7 that Cruz was extorting and sexually battering a suspect over the course of five years. The victim told police that she and Cruz talked on social media in 2015 and she sent nude photos to Cruz and they did have one consensual sexual encounter. However, she did not want to continue the relationship. The victim told police that Cruz then demanded $1,000 from her or else he would send the photos to her family. She paid him and didn’t hear from him again until this past February. Cruz then contacted the victim and between February and May 4, 2020, he demanded an additional $4,500. The arrest report shows he also demanded oral sex in addition to the money or else he would expose the photos.  On May 4, the report states Cruz demanded $1,500 from the victim. She only gave him $200 because that’s all she had. On May 6, she notified St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office. On May 8, Cruz allegedly contacted the victim saying that she needed to bring the rest of the money if she “wanted to avoid people getting hurt or heartbroken”. He gave a location where she could meet him, and he was instead met by police and was subsequently arrested. Police say that they believe there may be other victims. Anyone with any information is asked to contact JSO at 904-630-0500.
  • Commissioners from St. Johns County voted this morning to officially ask Elon Musk and the Tesla Company to move to St. Johns County. Earlier this month, Elon Musk was tweeting about how the stay-at home restrictions in Alameda County, California were “facist” and robbed people from their freedom of going back to work. Since then, several cities and states have reached out to Tesla saying they are more than welcome to relocate the car-making plant. That now includes St. Johns County. 'Tesla, Inc., is hereby respectfully and enthusiastically invited to consider St. Johns County, Florida, as a potential destination in the relocation of its headquarters or any future programs,' the resolution states. The resolution also states several facts about St. Johns County, listing why it would be a good place to relocate the headquarters. “St. Johns County, while we have experienced a devastating virus, we are still open for business and we have got to employ our residents so they can put food on the table,” Commissioner Jimmy Johns said. This vote was a followup to a discussion by the commissioners on May 19.  Johns spoke to WOKV this afternoon about the process moving forward. He said they don’t have a timeline or a specific location in mind because they want to leave as many options on the table as possible. He said there are a lot of reasons why Tesla would be a good fit for the county, especially considering Musk has other businesses operating in the state of Florida. Johns said from the county’s perspective, it would be good to bring a major employer to the area outside of tourism. “Nothing wrong with tourism, but we need to have a counter balance so that when one business entity is affected by the economy another one is not so much affected,” Johns said. It would also help with the amount of people living in St. Johns County and working in another county, Johns said. He said by bringing in Tesla, it would cut down on the amount of people commuting elsewhere every day. “It sells itself,” Johns said about St. Johns County. “The people are genuinely happy that live here and work here.”

The Latest News Headlines

  • A 9-year-old Philadelphia boy has died after suffering a gunshot wound to the face, authorities said. According to WPVI-TV, the shooting occurred shortly before 9:30 p.m. Tuesday at a North 20th Street home. Officers found the boy in a bedroom and took him to a nearby hospital, where he died, Philadelphia police said. Investigators are trying to determine whether the boy or someone else fired the fatal shot, according to KYW-TV. Other people, including at least one adult family member, were in the home at the time of the shooting, WPVI reported. 'There's evidence to believe that there might be some negligence involved in this,' Philadelphia police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said, according to KYW. Police have not arrested anyone in connection with the case, but the investigation is ongoing, the news outlets reported. No further information was immediately available. Read more here or here.
  • Tropical Storm Bertha has formed near the coast of South Carolina this morning.  Heavy rainfall will be the biggest threat, along with tropical storm force winds along portions of the South Carolina coast.  Action News Jax Chief Meteorologist Mike Buresh says there will be no local impacts from Bertha, which was an area of low pressure that brought much-needed rain on Tuesday.  LISTEN TO MIKE BURESH UPDATE BERTHA
  • More than 5.6 million people worldwide – including more than 1.6 million in the United States – have been infected with the new coronavirus, and the number of deaths from the outbreak continues to rise. While efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak continue, states have begun to shift their focus toward reopening their economies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking cases in the U.S. here. Live updates for Wednesday, May 27, continue below:  National Women’s Soccer League to resume play in June Update 8:55 a.m. EDT May 27: Officials with the National Women’s Soccer League announced Wednesday that the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup will begin next month, marking a return to play for the league’s nine teams. The 25-game tournament will kick off June 27 at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman, Utah. Officials said the games will be played without spectators. “As our country begins to safely reopen and adjust to our collective new reality, and with the enthusiastic support of our players, owners, as well as our new and current commercial partners, the NWSL is thrilled to bring professional soccer back to the United States,” NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird said in a statement. Officials said the tournament in June will be the league’s first competition since the 2019 NWSL Championship, in which the North Carolina Courage defeated the Chicago Red Stars to be named champions for the second consecutive year. Global deaths near 351K, total cases soar past 5.6M Update 7:47 a.m. EDT May 27: The global death toll attributed to the novel coronavirus reached 350,876 early Wednesday, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally. In the four months since the virus was first identified in Wuhan, China, it has infected at least 5,614,458 people worldwide. Meanwhile, 13 nations now have total infection counts higher than China’s 84,103.  The 10 nations with the highest number of infections recorded to date are as follows: • The United States has reported 1,681,418 cases, resulting in 98,929 deaths. • Brazil has recorded 391,222 cases, resulting in 24,512 deaths. • Russia has confirmed 370,680 cases, resulting in 3,968 deaths. • The United Kingdom has reported 266,599 cases, resulting in 37,130 deaths. • Spain has confirmed 236,259 cases, resulting in 27,117 deaths. • Italy has reported 230,555 cases, resulting in 32,955 deaths. • France has confirmed 182,847 cases, resulting in 28,533 deaths. • Germany has reported 181,293 cases, resulting in 8,386 deaths. • Turkey has recorded 158,762 cases, resulting in 4,397 deaths • India has recorded 151,876 cases, resulting in 4,346 deaths. Google plans to reopen some offices in July as coronavirus fears linger Update 7:29 a.m. EDT May 27: Specifics were sparse, but Google CEO Sundar Pichai told employees Tuesday that the company plans to reopen “more buildings in more cities” starting July 6, CNN reported. Employees at the unspecified locations will return, but only about 10% building occupancy will be allowed in the beginning, ramping up to 30% capacity by September, the network reported. “We’ll have rigorous health and safety measures in place to ensure social distancing and sanitization guidelines are followed, so the office will look and feel different than when you left” Pichai wrote in a blog post, adding, “Our goal is to be fair in the way we allocate time in the office, while limiting the number of people who come in, consistent with safety protocols.' New CDC guidance reveals COVID-19 antibody tests fail about half the time Update 7:02 a.m. EDT May 27: Antibody tests intended to detect if subjects have been infected previously with the novel coronavirus might provide accurate results only half the time, according to the latest U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance. According to the new intelligence, “Antibodies in some persons can be detected within the first week of illness onset,” but the results are not consistently accurate enough to base important policy decisions on their outcomes. “(Antibody) test results should not be used to make decisions about grouping persons residing in or being admitted to congregate settings, such as schools, dormitories, or correctional facilities ... (Antibody) test results should not be used to make decisions about returning persons to the workplace,” the CDC warned. Lawmakers urge suspension of Trump’s July 4 military parade amid pandemic Update 6:09 a.m. EDT May 27: Calling the scheduled event a “vanity project,” members of Congress representing the capital region petitioned the defense and interior departments Tuesday to suspend plans for U.S. President Donald Trump’s second annual July 4 military parade, The Washington Post reported. Muriel E. Bowser, mayor of the District of Columbia, is preparing to reopen portions of the nation’s capital, while both Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan have already relaxed some social distancing policies, yet stay-at-home orders remain in place in all three areas. “Given the current COVID-19 crisis, we believe such an event would needlessly risk the health and safety of thousands of Americans,' they wrote in the letter to the department chiefs. “Further, this event would come at the cost of millions of taxpayer dollars while we are facing an unprecedented economic downturn due to the pandemic.” Read the lawmakers’ complete letter to the defense and interior departments. “The American people have shown tremendous courage and spirit in the fight against this global pandemic just as our forefathers did in the fight to secure our independence, and both deserve celebration on America’s birthday this year,” White House spokesman Judd Deere wrote in an email to the Post. Worldwide coronavirus deaths top 350K Update 4:46 a.m. EDT May 27: The global death toll attributed to the novel coronavirus reached 350,752 early Wednesday, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally. The United States – with nearly 1.7 million cases, resulting in 98,929 deaths to date – remains the nation with the highest number of infections and virus-related deaths. Brazil now reports the second-highest number of cases worldwide with 391,222, while the United Kingdom’s 37,130 virus-related deaths rank as second highest globally. Trump gives NC governor 1 week to decide if RNC stays in Charlotte amid coronavirus concerns Update 3:27 a.m. EDT May 27: North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper on Tuesday dismissed President Donald Trump’s tweets threatening to move the Republican National Convention from Charlotte. “I’m not surprised by anything I see on Twitter,” Cooper said. “It’s OK for political conventions to be political, but pandemic response cannot be.” According to WSOC-TV, the governor said state health officials will continue to work with convention organizers to draft guidelines that will ensure the event can be conducted safely during the coronavirus pandemic. In a series of tweets Monday morning, the president threatened to pull the event out of North Carolina if Cooper doesn’t immediately sign off on allowing a full-capacity gathering in August, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Coronavirus has infected more than 62K US health care workers, CDC reports Update 2:10 a.m. EDT May 27: An estimated 62,344 health care professionals in the United States have contracted the novel coronavirus to date, resulting in at least 291 deaths, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed. The latest figures represent a nearly seven-fold increase in less than six weeks. According to CNN, the CDC last highlighted the number of cases among health care workers April 15, revealing a total of 9,282 cases at that time. US coronavirus cases approach 1.7M, deaths near 99K Update 12:40 a.m. EDT May 27: The number of novel coronavirus cases in the United States surged toward 1.7 million early Wednesday across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. According to a Johns Hopkins University tally, there are at least 1,681,212 confirmed U.S. cases of the virus, which have resulted in at least 98,916 deaths.  The hardest-hit states remain New York with 363,836 cases and 29,302 deaths and New Jersey with 155,764 cases and 11,194 deaths. Massachusetts, with 93,693 cases, has the third-highest number of deaths with 6,473, while Illinois has the third-highest number of cases with 113,195. Only 16 states and territories have confirmed fewer than 6,000 cases each. Five other states have now confirmed at least 52,000 novel coronavirus cases each, including: • California: 99,684 cases, resulting in 3,823 deaths • Pennsylvania: 72,778 cases, resulting in 5,163 deaths • Texas: 57,230 cases, resulting in 1,546 deaths • Michigan: 55,104 cases, resulting in 5,266 deaths • Florida: 52,255 cases, resulting in 2,259 deaths Meanwhile, Maryland, Georgia and Connecticut each has confirmed at least 41,000 cases; Virginia, Louisiana, Ohio and Indiana each has confirmed at least 32,000 cases; Colorado, North Carolina, Minnesota, Tennessee and Washington each has confirmed at least 20,000 cases, followed by Iowa with 17,703 and Arizona with 16,864; Wisconsin and Alabama each has confirmed at least 15,000 cases, followed by Rhode Island with 14,210 and Mississippi with 13,731; Nebraska and Missouri each has confirmed at least 12,000 cases, followed by South Carolina with 10,416; Kansas and Delaware each has confirmed at least 9,000 cases; Kentucky, Utah, the District of Columbia and Nevada each has confirmed at least 8,000 cases, followed by New Mexico with 7,130; Arkansas and Oklahoma each has confirmed at least 6,000 cases. Click here to see CNN’s state-by-state breakdown. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • Authorities in Oklahoma found a child's body in the Verdigris River in Wagoner County late Tuesday. According to KOKI-TV, Muskogee County authorities said people along the river reported seeing the body. Emergency teams from Wagoner and Muskogee counties searched the river and found the body overnight. Tulsa police are going to Muskogee on Wednesday morning to see whether the body, which has not been identified, is connected to the recent disappearance of two toddlers near Mingo Valley Creek. Crews have been searching for Miracle Lashay Crook, 3, and Tony Demone Crook, 2, who were last seen by their mother, Donisha Willis, on Friday, police said. Willis was later arrested and charged with child endangerment. Read more here. – Visit Fox23.com for the latest on this developing story.
  • A driver is dead after crashing into a utility pole during a high-speed police chase on Jacksonville's westside Tuesday night.   The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office says just before 6:30 pm, officers noticed a vehicle driving recklessly through a parking lot near Lem Turner Road and I-95, almost hitting a pedestrian.  JSO attempted to conduct a traffic stop on the vehicle, but the driver failed to stop and fled south on I-95 and continued onto I-10 westbound in the emergency lane.  The driver then lost control of the vehicle, went off the road and hit a utility pole near Chaffee Road. The driver, who has not been identified, died at the scene. 

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