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Local News

    The City of St. Augustine is considering some big changes to make the historic downtown area safer late at night, and a little bit cleaner overall.  The proposal includes increasing the police presence, adding street-cleaning crews, updating the alcohol ordinance, improving the urban design and creating hubs for ride share drivers to drop off and pick up passengers. This all comes after a spike in crime between 11:30 p.m. and 4 a.m. According to the City of St. Augustine, there 107 calls for service during those hours from 2007 to 2010 and 137 calls for service from 2010 to 2013. Last year alone there were 233 calls for service. The City says in 2010 the hour bars were forced to close changed to 2 a.m. If you’d like to offer your opinions on the potential changes, there’s a public workshop to discuss the change Wednesday at City Hall from 2 to 5 p.m.
  • The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is asking for the public's help identifying a suspect they say committed a burglary involving a battery in Arlington. According to police, their investigation has revealed that a suspect entered a victim's home overnight while she was asleep. Police say the suspect woke up the victim, threatened and battered her, and then took some of her belongings.  If you have information on who this individual is, you're urged to contact the sheriff's office at (904) 630-0500 or Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.
  • Volunteers aren't stopping their search for missing firefighters Brian McCluney and Justin Walker. Pilots flew over the Carolinas Friday looking for any sign of them. 'We're still going. There's been absolutely no reason for us to stop this search until we get those boys home,' Walker's uncle, Jim Futch, said. 'We're still looking for our kids, we're still in this.' McCluney's fire chief at Station 31 isn't giving up hope either. 'Pray, pray for that miracle. It's not impossible. It's happened in the past. One more won't hurt,' Patrick Gouin said. STORY CONTINUES BELOW FOR MORE ON THIS STORY SEE RELATED CONTENT :    Dozens of firefighters help search for two men who went missing while fishing  'This is a bread crumb they threw overboard': Missing firefighter's tackle bag found by boater Photos: Local firefighters to continue search for two missing boaters  'We're not giving up until these guys are found:' Search to continue for missing firefighters   Missing boater's wife helps search by air as rescue efforts continue off Florida coast  Missing firefighters: 180 volunteers searching off Jacksonville's coast  Discovery of missing firefighter's tackle-bag helps steer search Wife of missing Jacksonville firefighter joins search for husband, friend Volunteers in Georgia join efforts to find firefighters lost at sea as search expands How to help in the search for missing firefighters lost at sea off Florida Coast Volunteer boater recounts covering hundreds of miles in search for missing firefighters Pilot searching for firefighters lost at sea says this is some of the hardest flying he's done Local doctors discuss what it takes to survive at sea as search continues for missing firefighters 'People have lasted longer than 4 days at sea' Family, friends, neighbors don't give up on search Search for missing firefighters Brian McCluney, Justin Walker suspended at sunset Florida pilot won't give up looking for missing firefighters even after Coast Guard suspends search ‘Unfortunately our best wasn't good enough,' S.C. volunteers finish up search for firefighters Family of missing firefighter raising donations to continue searches He said Saturday will be especially hard at the station. McCluney was scheduled to report for duty. 'He was one of a kind. Everybody loved him, and you couldn't find one person on this job that would say a bad word about him,' Gouin said. 'By the time he left, you were always a better person after spending time with him.' As Walker's family is asking for more volunteer pilots and spotters to search north into Virginia, a restaurant in Jacksonville is hosting a Bring Them Home benefit. James Willard of Willard's BBQ said he spent the last few days on the water searching. CONTENT CONTINUES BELOW:  STAY UPDATED: Download the Action News Jax app for live updates on this breaking story He says with the pair's lifesaving skills, he thinks it's too early to stop. 'I can't imagine what they're going through. We're going to help bring them home,' he said. He's inviting people to Station 32 on Lenox Avenue from 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday. He's selling chicken dinner plates for $20 and accepting donations. All funds will go toward the search and the families. CONTENT CONTINUES BELOW:  TRENDING:   Two Jacksonville women arrested in connection to an Amber Alert involving an Orange Park boy Florida pilot won't give up looking for missing firefighters even after Coast Guard suspends search Jacksonville homeowner shoots woman lurking inside house Photos: Women arrested in Flashdancers undercover operation in Jacksonville JSO: Man fatally stabbed on Kingston St.; Witnesses says female suspect fled the area Gouin said support like Saturday's benefit has been helping firefighters get through the days, and McCluney's family is just as grateful. 'They're just a beautiful family,' he said. 'It's a bad deal. We're still hoping for the best.' Walker's uncle said they're working with Justin's motorcycle club to collect donations to fund the searches. That includes gas for planes.  JFRD said its still collecting donations on JFRD.com, all proceeds will go toward the firefighters' families.
  • Getting to the bottom of a huge sinkhole in Clay County is a bigger challenge than crews originally thought. The massive hole is impacting traffic and homes in Keystone Heights. Tabby Castro has been without running water for three days. 'I don't care if you don't fix the road, fix my pump,' explained Castro.  Ever since a sinkhole, measuring 60 feet across, opened near her home on Auburn Avenue in Keystone Heights she's been dealing with this. CONTENT CONTINUES BELOW:  TRENDING:   Two Jacksonville women arrested in connection to an Amber Alert involving an Orange Park boy Florida pilot won't give up looking for missing firefighters even after Coast Guard suspends search Jacksonville homeowner shoots woman lurking inside house Photos: Women arrested in Flashdancers undercover operation in Jacksonville JSO: Man fatally stabbed on Kingston St.; Witnesses says female suspect fled the area 'We have to go and buy cases of water to drink and to shower and brush our teeth,' Castro said.  She says the nightmare began when her neighbors had a crew came out to install new underground pumps for a well in the front yard. 'Those poor people. They had a 3-year-old and had to leave,' said Castro.  Sky Action News Jax flew over the hole to give you this aerial view. A Clay County public safety spokesperson told Action News Jax they believe the cause of it is human interference. 'When they first started digging it was a 3-foot hole then it expanded,' said Castro. Clay County Sheriff's Office posted a tweet Wednesday saying 'As the sinkhole is expected to expand, the public is asked to avoid the area.' CONTENT CONTINUES BELOW:  STAY UPDATED: Download the Action News Jax app for live updates on this breaking story A Clay County Public Safety spokesperson told Action News Jax before they can determine everything is safe, they need Clay Electric to remove the power pole in the hole.  But a Clay Electric spokesperson says the pole does not present any danger, so they have no plans to remove it. 'Don't leave people hanging and not tell what's going on,' Castro added. While some neighbors worry the hole may creep closer to their homes Castro just wants her life to return to normal.
  • The Baker County Sheriff's Office is announcing an arrest, following an incident Thursday were a young child was found unresponsive in a hot car. According to the sheriff's office, the 3-year-old boy's mother is now being charged with child neglect. Deputies say 23-year-old Katie Davis failed to provide the toddler with proper care and supervision.  Investigators say the boy's father had been at work all night and went to bed at approximately 7:00 AM, Thursday morning. They say that Davis also went back to sleep around that same time with the child, despite having slept some the night before.  Investigators say when Davis woke up around 1:30 PM, she realized the boy was no longer in the bed. We're told that she then discovered him inside the couple's car outside, where some of his toys had been kept.  Deputies say Davis and her husband were able to get him out by smashing one of the windows and unlocking the doors.  The boy was airlifted to Wolfson Children's Hospital in Jacksonville, Thursday afternoon. Deputies said Friday he's recovering and stable.
  • The City of Jacksonville’s Planning and Development Department is reviewing a parking deviation proposal for a new development in the Shoppes of Avondale. Residents have spoken out against this deviation proposal and asked the city to address the larger parking issue before approving any deviations. CONTENT CONTINUES BELOW:  TRENDING:   Two Jacksonville women arrested in connection to an Amber Alert involving an Orange Park boy Florida pilot won't give up looking for missing firefighters even after Coast Guard suspends search Jacksonville homeowner shoots woman lurking inside house Photos: Women arrested in Flashdancers undercover operation in Jacksonville JSO: Man fatally stabbed on Kingston St.; Witnesses says female suspect fled the area The city has already approved three neighboring vacant spaces in the Shoppes of Avondale to be demolished and rebuilt for Southern Grounds. This will be the third location for Southern Grounds in Duval County. The company is proposing a 163-seat restaurant in their 8,700 square-foot building, which will have floor space of about 7,000 square feet. They said some of the space will be dedicated to their retail center. Because of the existing parking deficit in the Shoppes, the Riverside Avondale Preservation has asked to reduce their plan to 128 seats. A representative spoke at the deviation hearing Friday and said they support Southern Grounds coming to their community but are now asking for regulation from the city. “A lot of the concerns are not fact-checked right now,” Karie Kovacocy said. “They see that there’s 8,000 square feet of a building. But we are actually a smaller footprint than what’s already there.” Kovacocy is an Avondale resident and the architect for the new Southern Grounds development. The proposed deviation seeks to reduce the minimum number of off-street parking spaces from 24 to zero, as well as reduce the minimum require off-street loading spaces from one to zero. Neighbors said they support new development but strongly argue against the deviation proposal. “What our issue is, we have a traffic and parking congestion problem,” Avondale resident Glen Mcclary said. “It’s not Southern Grounds that is ultimately creating it. But what I really want to see is a unified effort between the city, the shops, the merchants and the people in order to find a solution to the traffic congestion issue.” The Planning and Development Department will make a decision on this deviant application at a later date. STAY UPDATED: Download the Action News Jax app for live updates on this breaking story
  • Two weeks after WOKV reported that Jacksonville city leaders were looking to up the sakes for the fan experience around the annual Florida-Georgia game, Mayor Lenny Curry and other dignitaries on Friday announced the inaugural Bold City Bash.  The big weekend will begin with an exhibition baseball game between the Gators and Bulldogs at the Baseball Grounds on Friday, November 1st.  Following the exhibition game, country music star Brett Young and other special guests will perform, followed by fireworks. Tickets for both the game and concert/fireworks will cost $15 and go on sale September 3rd.  “It’s always good to have a little anticipation and mystery, so there will be two more acts announced in the weeks ahead”, said Mayor Curry.  There will also be events on the Flex Field at TIAA Bank Field before the football game on Saturday, November 2nd.  “Duval’s Bold City Bash is a signature addition to the Florida-Georgia game and will encompass an entire week of festivities”, said Bill McConnell, General Manager of SMG.  “It will energize Downtown and it will make the Sports Complex the place to be to celebrate the Florida-Georgia tradition before gameday”.  WOKV reported on August 8th that the Mayor’s budget request proposed spending hundreds of thousands of dollars more than prior years, to create a destination in the heart of the Sports Complex. “All the way from RV City, through the [Daily’s Place] Flex Field, in to the parking lots next to the stadium, out to APR [A. Philip Randolph Blvd.], and incorporating the Baseball Grounds and some of the different things on APR, including private businesses that are in the food and entertainment business, to try to connect them all together in a way that offers that whole area of the Sports and Entertainment District as a location for multiple events,” said Jacksonville’s Chief Administrative Officer Brian Hughes. Hughes said the intention is to activate this area for several days leading up to the game for both family-friendly activities and nightlife, with everything from live music to street vendors. WOKV started asking about the enhanced fan experience, after seeing a boost in a special events subfund in Mayor Curry’s proposed $1.4 billion budget. While the City plans to do the same annual events it hosts every year, like the Hall of Fame luncheon, they’re proposing budgeting several hundred thousand dollars more than last year in order to execute this vision. The budget proposal includes an addition over last year of more than $440,000 for miscellaneous Florida/Georgia expenses relating to event services and $75,000 in equipment rentals corresponding with the increase in services, among other areas. The exact price tag for the Bold City Bash was not yet available.  Fans will be encouraged to ‘activate’ during The Block Party along Adams Street and A. Philip Randolph Blvd. Live entertainment, food trucks, a beer garden and free giveaways will be part of the fanfare experience.  Per the game contract, all parties are currently in the first negotiation window, which goes up until a few days prior to this year’s game. The final game under this current contract is in 2021, but Brian Hughes says all parties are having productive talks, and he hopes to be able to work out a deal that extends the game in Jacksonville for many years to come. “We anticipate getting to the finish line,” he says. The last contract extension was for five years and gave the teams a combined $2.75 million in payments and incentives over the course of the contract, including annual guaranteed payments, travel expenses, and more. There are limited direct revenue opportunities for the City, like through the operation of concessions and Daily’s Place. The direct costs to the City, meanwhile, have continued to climb over the years, with this new enhanced fan experience being the latest element- since Hughes says it is intended that this be an annual event. In addition to the price of running the stadium operations, the cost of tickets for the game has increased, and the City is obligated under the contract to buy 1,000 each year. The City is reimbursing the Greater Jacksonville Agricultural Fair $80,000 this year relating to costs they will incur because they agreed to delay the opening of the Fair by a week to avoid a conflict with the game. Additionally, the City is paying the Jags nearly $380,000 to acknowledge revenue the team is losing because of the impact of the temporary seating construction on their available tickets to sell for their game the weekend prior to FL/GA. The cost of constructing temporary bleachers at TIAA Bank Field to meet the contractual seating obligation for the game is a little more than $2.4 million this year, with the Jaguars reimbursing about $310,000 relating to the construction in the Club Levels. That number varies some year to year, and could see an increase soon, as the contract with the current vendor expires and negotiations are ongoing in relation to an extension. Hughes says the cost of the event is well worth it, considering the impact on the city. “Jacksonville gets a lot of benefit from it. The economic impacts are real, we fill hotel rooms, we have people going to dinner for multiple nights while they’re here, we have people going out to the beach, we have people enjoying our public spaces around Jacksonville, in addition to having game day,” he says. And it’s also about the tradition. “Both UGA and the University of Florida have deep alumni networks here. It’s become a great tradition for a neutral site game, it’s one of the most famous neutral site games and rivalries in college football, and has been for decades,” he says. Now is the time the City wants to build on that tradition, not only through the enhanced fan experience, but the possible permanent changes for the Sports Complex. The Administration is in the process of putting the finishing touches on an economic development agreement that will reflect around $233.3 million in City incentives for the $450 million development of Lot J at the stadium in to a mixed-use site with entertainment, office, hotel, and residential space. While that deal is still pending approval by the Downtown Investment Authority and the City Council, another project that is moving forward is the removal of the Hart Bridge ramps by the stadium. All of this will mean construction likely affecting the next couple of games after the 2019 one, but Hughes says it will be worth the hassle. “Ultimately, a couple of years on the other side of it, I think people will be amazed at how well both Jaguars games and other events in that area and the Florida/Georgia tradition will kind of fit together down there very well,” he says. The Mayor’s budget proposal- and the included funding for this enhanced fan experience complex- is still pending the vetting and approval of the Jacksonville City Council. A final vote will take place ahead of the start of the Fiscal Year October 1st.
  • UPDATE: The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office says it has made an arrest, following a deadly stabbing on the Westside Thursday night. According to JSO, multiple witnesses came forward to help identify 31-year-old Kimberly Davis as a suspect.   Police say they’ve also since determined that Davis and the 33-year-old victim knew each other and that this was not a stranger-related incident. ORIGINAL STORY: A man has died as a result of a stabbing on Jacksonville’s westside.  Jacksonville Police say they received a 911 call on Thursday night from a person who said that his friend had just been stabbed on Kingston Street, off Commonwealth.  He told police they were driving the victim to UF Health on the northside. A short while later another 911 call came in about a crash at 8th Street and Davis.  Three people were inside the car, one person had a stab wound to the chest.  He was rushed to the hospital where he later died.  Two people who were in the car told police the suspect was an unidentified black woman who fled the scene in a dark colored car.  JSO is asking anyone who may have information about the stabbing to contact them at (904) 630-0500 or Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS. 
  • The active search for Brian McCluney and Justin Walker by the Coast Guard and Jacksonville Fire and Rescue has come to an end after the men went missing a week ago off the Space Coast during a boating trip. Randy Wyse, the President of the Jacksonville Association of Firefighters says it has been a hard week. We were hoping for a better outcome. Wyse says the community and volunteers have been phenomenal with the search and fundraiser. More than $150,000 has been raised and Wyse says the money is growing every hour but now the expenses are starting to come in. We promised we would cover fuel for boats and planes. Volunteers are being asked to bring their reimbursement receipts to the Command Post. Once the money gets situated, the money left over will go to the family members of McCluney and Walker. Wyse tells WOKV they will not be involved or funding any private searches, but the families can do whatever they wish with the money. Click here, if you wish to donate. 

The Latest News Headlines

  • Officials are investigating after an explicit video was shared “inadvertently and unknowingly” from a Mississippi teacher’s phone, authorities said. >> Read more trending news  According to a statement from Horn Lake police, the department received information regarding the video Wednesday.  DeSoto County Schools are conducting an investigation into the video, which reportedly showed explicit content of a teacher in the district. Police said if there was a “criminal element regarding the release of the video,” Horn Lake officers will then initiate a full investigation. School officials have not identified the teacher who was seen in the video, and the contents of the video have not been released at this time. The school district did confirm to WHBQ that the teacher involved is no longer an employee there. Again, officials told WHBQ that the video was shared without the teacher’s knowledge.
  • The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is asking for the public's help identifying a suspect they say committed a burglary involving a battery in Arlington. According to police, their investigation has revealed that a suspect entered a victim's home overnight while she was asleep. Police say the suspect woke up the victim, threatened and battered her, and then took some of her belongings.  If you have information on who this individual is, you're urged to contact the sheriff's office at (904) 630-0500 or Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.
  • In a series of tweets Friday, President Donald Trump announced new retaliatory tariffs against China, bumping up taxes by 5 percentage points.  >> MORE: China, Trump ratchet up tensions with new tariffs >> Read more trending news  Here’s a look at trade tariffs and what they do. What is a tariff? A tariff is a tax on imports or exports that increases their prices. Tariffs are used by governments to make foreign products less attractive to consumers in order to protect domestic industries from competition. Money collected under a tariff is called a duty or customs duty. What types of tariffs are there?There are two types of tariffs – an ad valorem tariff and a specific tariff. An ad valorem tariff is a tariff that is a fixed percentage of the value of an imported good. If the price of the imported good goes up, the ad valorem tariff goes up. If it goes down, the tariff goes down. For instance, if a company exports an item to the United States costing $50 and the ad valorem tariff on that product is 20 percent, the company would have to pay the tariff -- $10 in this case -- to export the product to the U.S. If the price of the item goes up to $75, the company will have to pay a tariff of $15 to sell the item in the US. A specific tariff is a fixed amount of money placed on the item no matter the cost. Say there is a $20 specific tariff on that $50 item. The company exporting the item to the US would have to pay $20 to sell the item in the U.S. If the item goes up in cost to $75, the company will still have to pay $20 to export the item. Why should I care if the US government puts a tariff on items? The manufacturer pays for that, right? Sure, manufacturers pay the tariff upfront, but the cost of the tariff will be passed along to the consumer. Or, if the cost of the tariff is too high for those exporting goods, then they stop exporting goods. Tariffs affect the cost of goods you buy, and the U.S. buys many more products than it sells. So, why slap tariffs on goods if it will hurt the US consumer? The theory is that as goods made by people outside the U.S. get more expensive, manufacturers within the country will either increase their production of the product or other companies will begin to produce the product, thus strengthening the U.S. economy.
  • The Baker County Sheriff's Office is announcing an arrest, following an incident Thursday were a young child was found unresponsive in a hot car. According to the sheriff's office, the 3-year-old boy's mother is now being charged with child neglect. Deputies say 23-year-old Katie Davis failed to provide the toddler with proper care and supervision.  Investigators say the boy's father had been at work all night and went to bed at approximately 7:00 AM, Thursday morning. They say that Davis also went back to sleep around that same time with the child, despite having slept some the night before.  Investigators say when Davis woke up around 1:30 PM, she realized the boy was no longer in the bed. We're told that she then discovered him inside the couple's car outside, where some of his toys had been kept.  Deputies say Davis and her husband were able to get him out by smashing one of the windows and unlocking the doors.  The boy was airlifted to Wolfson Children's Hospital in Jacksonville, Thursday afternoon. Deputies said Friday he's recovering and stable.
  • According to many polls, Americans – especially those who say they are Democrats -- are not that fond of the Electoral College. Neither are many of the Democratic candidates for president. >> Read more trending news  With just over 14 months until the 2020 presidential election, a movement to change the way electoral votes are awarded and who will be elected president has gained some steam. The National Popular Vote Compact (NPV), which has its roots in the most contested presidential election in U.S. history, sets in state law a policy that awards all a state’s electoral votes to the candidate who wins the national popular vote. Under the Electoral College system used today, 48 states have a “winner-take-all” system that awards all the state’s electoral votes to the person who gets a majority of votes in that state. The Electoral College does not take into consideration that national popular vote. Sixteen states, along with the District of Columbia, have passed the NPV agreement. They are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Rhode Island. While legislation has been passed in the 16 states and the District of Columbia, the agreement would not go into effect until states with a collective 270 electoral votes — the number needed to win the presidency — agree to join. Currently, the District of Columbia and the 16 states in the agreement hold a combined total of 196 electoral votes, meaning the pact would need enough new state members to get 74 electoral votes.Supporters say the system would give the person who got the most votes country-wide the presidency he or she deserves. Opponents say states would be forced to hand over electoral votes to a candidate who did not win that state. For instance, in the 2016 election, a state such as Florida, in which President Donald Trump earned more votes, would have had to pledge its 29 electoral votes to Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton, who won the national popular vote in the 2016 election. The Electoral College of today was established by the Twelfth Amendment to the Constitution which replaced the method for electing the president and vice president provided in Article II, Section 1, Clause 3. Under the system, when voters cast a ballot for president, they are actually choosing members of the Electoral College, called electors, who are pledged to that presidential candidate. Following the election for president, electors then meet to choose the president. Electors almost always vote for their state’s popular vote winner, and some states have laws requiring them to do so. However, electors are not bound by federal law to vote for a specific candidate – for instance, the one who won the popular vote in their state. In 29 states and the District of Columbia, electors are bound by state law or by a pledge they sign to vote for the candidate who won the popular vote of the state they represent. Five men have won the presidency in the Electoral College while not winning the country’s popular vote: John Quincy Adams in 1824, Rutherford B. Hayes in 1876, Benjamin Harrison in 1888, George W. Bush in 2000 and Donald Trump in 2016. The National Popular Vote campaign goes back to Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore's loss to Bush in 2000, according to The Associated Press. Gore won the popular vote but lost the election over a vote count in Florida.

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