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Latest from Rich Jones

    A wildfire is burning in the Yellow Bluff area of Jacksonville’s Northside. Here is the latest information: Saturday 5/25, 7:05 PM: Containment of this fire has been boosted to 60%. The Florida Forest Service in Jacksonville says there are only minimal smoke impacts right now to the highway. Saturday 5/25, 1:10 PM: A small fire is being tended to west of I-95, around where the Yellow Bluff Fire is burning to the east of the highway. Saturday 5/25, 10:15 AM: This fire has burned a little more than 600 acres, and the Florida Forest Service in Jacksonville says containment is 55%. Friday 5/24 9:51 PM: The Yellow Bluff Fire is now said to be 50% contained according to City of Jacksonville’s Emergency Preparedness Division and EOC. At last update, it was only 30% contained. Friday 5/24, 2:10PM: The Yellow Bluff Fire is now 600 acres and still 30% contained, according to the Florida Forest Service in Jacksonville. FFS Jacksonville says they are working to build a box around the fire, with I-95 on the west, US 17 on the east, a dozer line on the south, and a wet line on the north. Until those lines are complete and the fire has burned all fuel within the boundaries, there will continue to be smoke and ash affecting the area. Only one lane of I-95 NB a few miles north of Pecan Park remains closed. All other NB and SB lanes of I-95 are open. Friday 5/24, 12PM: The Florida Forest Service in Jacksonville is calling in more resources to help contain the Yellow Bluff Fire Friday 5/24, 10:30AM: Two lanes of I-95 northbound and all lanes of I-95 southbound are now open. Friday 5/24, 10:30AM: All lanes of I-95 southbound are now open, northbound lanes remain closed. Friday 5/24, 7AM: As a wildfire continues to burn near the Duval-Nassau county line, I-95 has been closed in both directions, between  I-295 in northern Duval County to SR-200 in Yulee.  The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office says your detour for I-95 northbound is I-295 east to U.S. 17/Main Street or I-295 west to Lem Turner or New Kings Road.  For I-95 southbound, the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office suggests SR-200 to U.S. 17. The Florida Forest Service says the Yellowbluff Fire is now more than 450 acres in size and, as of Friday morning, 30% contained.
  • Nearly one week after a teenager was shot outside the football stadium at Terry Parker High School, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has announced an arrest.  JSO named the suspect on Twitter as 19-year-old Arthur Jones III, who they describe as a documented gang member. Police say during their investigation into the shooting, several individuals were interviewed, leading them to identify Jones as their suspect. Police say they were notified Wednesday night that Jones was taken into custody by Camden County deputies following a traffic stop. We’re told that Jones was detained in Georgia on an attempted murder warrant. He has since been transported to the Duval County jail. The 16-year-old shooting victim in last Friday night’s shooting was a student at Raines High School.  He was last listed in critical, but stable condition.  The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office’s chief of investigations said the teen was walking through the parking lot minutes before the game ended on Friday night.  A group of guys came up to him, then witnesses described hearing one gunshot. The sound sent football players to the ground as the 16-year-old collapsed near the ticket booth. “Preliminary investigation indicates the victim was targeted by the suspect. Investigators have strong leads and the possibility of gang involvement does exist,” JSO Chief T.K. Waters said. The shooting happened nine months after a deadly shooting outside a Raines-Lee High School football game in August. DCPS says they will be reviewing security measures for games this summer.
  • Fire danger remains very high today with the possibility of a few quick-hitting showers. But widespread rainfall is not expected for at least the next week to ten days, and winds out of the east today will likely blow smoke from wildfires to the west.  Action News Jax Chief Meteorologist Mike Buresh says it won't be as hot overall today, but the heat returns Friday through Memorial Day, with temps soaring to near 100 degrees.  PHOTOS: Brush fire burns north of Jacksonville International Airport  Fire crews are working to put out a 150 acre wildfire off Yellow Bluff Road and U.S. 17 that is only 25% contained. The Florida Forest Service says  the fire burned from U.S. 17 west to I-95 but equipment could not access the north and south edges in the marsh. A helicopter is expected to drop water on the fire Thursday, and the Forest Service says they will use a heavy bulldozer to work in fire lines off U.S. 17.  Action News Jax Meteorologist Garrett Bedenbaugh says winds will be blowing from the east today, meaning winds will push smoke across the Interstate. The Florida Highway Patrol says they are actively monitoring conditions in the area and will shut down I-95 if they need to. If that happens, FHP says your best way around the shutdown would be U.S. 17.  Listen to News 104.5 WOKV for First Alert Traffic updates.
  • As a woman recovers from serious injuries after being run over while sunbathing in Fernandina Beach, a man has been charged with fleeing the scene of a crash.  Gregory Green was booked in to the Nassau County Jail early Wednesday on a felony count.  Witnesses led police to his home after Tuesday’s crash near Seaside Park.  A 53-year-old woman from Ohio was run over by a Jeep at 1:39 p.m. and witnesses heard her screams for help, according to an arrest report. Investigators say after speaking with at least three witnesses, they were able to identify the vehicle by the tag. When officers arrived to the home where the vehicle was registered, which was less than a mile away, they learned that the owner had parked his vehicle in the garage next door.  Police say the man refused to talk to police for more than an hour, but eventually agreed to come outside.  According to the arrest report, Green said he was told by a woman that he had run over a boy, which he denied, and then he left the scene.  Green was booked in to the Nassau County Jail on $50,000 bond.  
  • A 16-year-old who was jogging in the bike lane on A1A near Mickler’s Landing was critically injured, and later died at the hospital.  He was hit by a truck before sunrise, Wednesday.  The crash happened just before 6 a.m. Florida Highway Patrol say the truck was going south in the bike land and, for unknown reasons, began to drift toward the pedestrian when he was hit.  The 16-year-old was taken to UF Health Jacksonville with critical injuries.  The driver stayed on scene and was described as being very cooperative with the investigation, according to FHP.   Charges were pending. 
  • A St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office Deputy was unhurt when a suspect driving a stolen car rammed into the cruiser. The suspect, a woman, ran from the scene at I-95 and County Road 210 late on Tuesday.  According to the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, three people who were inside the car were detained for questioning.  The driver bailed on foot, and the Sheriff’s Office warned people living in the area to keep their cars locked and keys removed as the suspect was likely going to be looking for transportation out of the area.  Just after 11pm, Deputies scaled back the search effort but said they would continue to have several deputies in the area.  
  • A man in his 40’s is dead in a deputy-involved shooting in Clay County early today.  The scene is on Stagecoach Drive just off Tanglewood Boulevard, near Blanding.  The Clay County Sheriff’s Office says it received a call about a domestic disturbance at a home. The woman who called for help described that the man as violent, saying he was in a fit of rage.  The woman was able to leave the house, but a child was still inside with the man.  As deputies arrived and made contact with the man, they saw he had a gun and pointed it in the direction of three deputies.  They opened fire, killing the man.  None of the Clay County Sheriffs deputies suffered physical injuries.   It’s not believed the man fired any shots, according to Clay County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Chris Padgett.  The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has taken the lead as this investigation continues into the shooting.  People living in the area are likely to see investigators around the home throughout the morning.   The Sheriff’s Office has identified the deputies involved as Brandon Senters, Jacob Adams and Michael Tapawan. They are on paid administrative leave.
  • A Jacksonville man who was arrested for submitting false claims for FEMA benefits after three recent storms has reached a plea agreement that could put him in prison for decades. Lepoleon Spikes was arrested in the fall of 2018 on allegations of defrauding FEMA of tens of thousands of dollars in disaster assistance.  Prosecutors said Spikes applied for disaster assistance in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Matthew, as well as Tropical Storm Debby.  The US Attorney’s Office says the total payout was $57,689.19.   As part of a plea agreement, Spikes will have to pay that precise amount in restitution to the federal government. He also faces up to 20 years in prison. A sentencing date has not been set. 
  • The annual Jazz Festival in Downtown Jacksonville is going to force the closure of several streets beginning Wednesday.  Parking meters will be bagged and no street parking will be allowed from through Memorial Day on Monday.   The free event will feature music at three venues, and legendary singer Gladys Knight headlines festivities on Sunday night on the Swingin’ Stage near the Courthouse.  Weather is going to be very hot through the weekend with ‘feel-like’ temps approaching 100.  PODCAST: Action News Jax Chief Meteorologist Mike Buresh tracks dry, hot stretch of weather. Festivities begin Thursday evening with a piano competition at the Florida Theater.  Stages will be set up in Hemming Park and the Duval County Courthouse.  SCHEDULE:  See a full schedule of events here. 
  • Imagine seeing a black bear on your morning walk around the neighborhood. That image was a reality in the Fleming Island area today, as a bear was spotted along Hibernia Road.  The Clay County Sheriff’s Office was assisting Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and asked that anyone who spots the bear to contact the authorities right away.  FWC spokesperson Karen Parker says if you come across a bear, do not approach it, and don’t feed it.  Call the FWC at 888-404-3922.  
  • Rich Jones

    Host of Jacksonville's Morning News

    Rich Jones has been News Director of WOKV AM/FM since October 2006. Since joining the team, WOKV News has been recognized by the Associated Press as the most awarded radio news team in the state of Florida including awards for Best Newscast, Best Reporting, Best Public Affairs Coverage, and Best News Series, among others.

    Rich has been involved in many organizations and causes on the First Coast. He has twice been captain of WOKV's team at the Heart Walk, and has raised funds for the American Heart Association. 

    Rich is “the face” of WOKV in the community and is the Master of Ceremonies for many philanthropic causes such as the Annual WOKV Careathon, a day-long benefit for the Child Cancer Fund of NE Florida, which raises hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.

    Rich enjoys spending his time away from the studio with his wife, daughters and son as well as watching sports and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

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The Latest News Headlines

  • It's underway all summer. The Blue Star Museums 2019 program has kicked off, allowing the nation's active-duty military personnel and their families, including National Guard and Reserve, to visit participating museums free of charge.  The 2019 program officially started on Saturday, May 18th, which is Armed Forces Day, and will run through Labor Day on Monday, September, 2nd.  Locally, military families will be able to visit the following museums free of charge:  Jacksonville  -Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens  -Mandarin Museum & Historical Society  -MOCA Jacksonville  -Ritz Theatre & LaVilla Museum  Jacksonville Beach  -Beaches Museum  St. Augustine  -Lightner Museum  -St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum  To find museums outside of Northeast Florida, click HERE. The Blue Star Museums program is a collaboration among the National Endowment for Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and participating museums.
  • A judge sentenced the man who admitted to killing a Wisconsin couple last year before holding their 13-year-old daughter captive for three months to life in prison without the possibility of supervised release. >> Read more trending news Jake Thomas Patterson, 21, appeared before a Barron County judge for sentencing in the killing of James and Denise Closs and the kidnapping of their daughter, Jayme, according to the Duluth News Tribune. He pleaded guilty in March to two counts of intentional homicide for gunning down James Closs, 56, and Denise Closs, 46, in the early morning hours of Oct. 15. He also pleaded guilty to one count of kidnapping for abducting Jayme. >> Man pleads guilty to kidnapping Wisconsin teen Jayme Closs, killing her parents Update 4:30 p.m. EDT May 24: A judge sentenced Patterson to life in prison without the possibility of parole for each of the intentional homicide charges to which Patterson pleaded guilty. The judge also gave Patterson the maximum sentence -- 40 years -- for kidnapping Jayme. Update 4:20 p.m. EDT May 24: In a brief, tearful statement in court, Patterson said he “would do like, absolutely anything to take back what I did.” “I would die,” he said. “I would.” Patterson’s attorneys asked a judge to sentence him to life in prison without the possibility of parole until 2072 for the killings of James and Denise Closs. The sentencing hearing is ongoing. Update 3:30 p.m. EDT May 24: In a statement read by an attorney Friday in court, Jayme said Patterson took many things from her but that, “He can never take my spirit away.” “He thought he could make me like him, but he was wrong,” she said. “He can’t stop me from being happy and moving forward with my life. I will go on to do great things in my life, and he will not. Jake Patterson will never have any power over me.” Chris Gramstrup, an attorney representing Jayme, read the victim impact statement in court. “He stole my parents from me,” Jayme said in the statement. “He stole almost everything I loved from me. For 88 days, he tried to steal me, and he didn’t care who he hurt or who he killed to do that. He should stay locked up forever.” Prosecutors said Jayme and her mother heard Patterson shoot and kill James Closs as they huddled together in a bathtub. Denise Closs called 911 as Patterson tried to batter down the bathroom door. Once he broke down the door, he wrestled the phone from Denise Closs and ordered her to tape Jayme’s mouth, hands and feet, prosecutors said. He told authorities that he thought she was doing a bad job, so he put down his shotgun to do it himself. Once Jayme was restrained, authorities said he picked up his shotgun again and, with Jayme feet from her mother, shot Denise Closs in the head. He then dragged Jayme to his car, threw her in the trunk and drove her to his home, where she was held captive for 88 days. Through Gramstrup, Jayme said her parents “did all they could to make me happy and protect me.” “He took them away from me forever,” Jayme said. “I felt safe in my home and I love my room and all of my belongings. He took all of that too. I don’t want to even see my home or my stuff because of the memory of that night. My parents and my home were the most important things in my life.” She said that since her escape in January, “It’s too hard for me to go out in public.” “I get scared and I get anxious,” she said. Prosecutors said Jayme escaped from Patterson’s home Jan. 10 after he left her alone. Original report: Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald said members of Jayme’s family are expected to give statements at Friday’s hearing, MPR News reported. The court proceeding is expected to last several hours, according to CNN. Under Wisconsin law, Patterson will face a mandatory life sentence for each of the homicide convictions, the Duluth News Tribune reported. The main question for Friday will be whether Patterson will eventually be eligible for parole, according to the newspaper. >> Who is Jake Thomas Patterson? Suspect in Jayme Closs kidnapping identified Authorities said Patterson admitted to targeting Jayme after seeing her get on a school bus while he was driving home from work one day. He told investigators he did not know the Closses before the attack. Jayme told authorities she woke early on the morning of Oct. 15 when the family dog started barking. She woke her parents and then hid with her mother in a bathroom. Investigators said Patterson shot and killed James Closs before he found Jayme and Denise Closs in the bathroom. >> Jayme Closs kidnapping: Suspect charged in Closs murders, bail set at $5 million Jayme said Patterson killed her mother before dragging her to his car and driving her to what would turn out to be his home in Douglas County. He was arrested after Jayme escaped Jan. 10 from his home and flagged down a woman walking her dog. >> Jayme Closs to be given $25K reward after she saved herself from accused kidnapper Jayme told investigators Patterson made her hide under the bed in his bedroom for as many as 12 hours at a time without food, water or bathroom breaks. She escaped after Patterson left her alone in the home 88 days after he first abducted her. Jayme is living with her aunt and uncle, the Stevens Point Journal reported.
  • The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is actively investigating on the Westside, after a man called 911, claiming he had just shot someone attempting to break into his home. Police say this happened on North Dover Cliff Drive in the Pilgrims Trace neighborhood.  When officers arrived, they say they found a man dead in a nearby roadway. He has not yet been identified, but he's described by JSO as a black male between 30 and 40-years-old.  The investigation is still in its early states, but JSO says it does not appear that the two knew each other. We're told the homeowner is being cooperative with investigation.  Police are asking anyone with information on what happened to come forward.
  • House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said he was OK on Friday after he appeared to nearly faint during a news conference in New York City. >> Read more trending news Nadler, D-N.Y., was appearing Friday at a news conference about plans to expand the city’s use of speed cameras in school zones when New York Mayor Bill de Blasio appeared to notice he looked pale, WABC-TV reported. Video from the news conference showed Nadler looking ill and weak as the mayor asked him if he wanted some water.  The New York Daily News reported that paramedics called a code blue emergency after Nadler appeared to suffer from a brief dizzy spell. He was given water and an orange and later taken by ambulance to Lenox Hill Hospital, according to the Daily News. “Appreciate everyone’s concern,” Nadler said in a statement posted later Friday on Twitter. “Was very warm in the room this morning, was obviously dehydrated and felt a bit ill. Glad to receive fluids and am feeling much better. Thank you for your thoughts.”
  • A Colorado man arrested in Utah earlier this year for threatening to “kill as many girls as (he saw)” has been sentenced to serve up to five years in prison, despite prosecutors’ recommendation that he serve probation.  Christopher Wayne Cleary, 27, of Denver, pleaded guilty to a charge of attempt to make a terroristic threat as part of a plea deal with Utah County prosecutors, according to The Deseret News. Cleary, who was arrested in Provo in January, was already on probation in Colorado on two previous convictions of stalking women, the newspaper reported.  Cleary expressed remorse over his words. “I’m just sorry for what happened,” Cleary told the court, according to the News.  Prosecutors in Utah negotiated a plea deal with Cleary for a third-degree felony charge instead of the second-degree felony with which he was initially charged, the News reported. In exchange for his plea -- which would let them secure a felony conviction -- they agreed to recommend no jail time. The plea bargain was aimed at helping Colorado authorities send Cleary to prison for violating his probation in the stalking cases, the News reported.  >> Related story: Man upset over not having girlfriend accused of mass shooting threat to girls Fourth District Judge Christine Johnson on Thursday declined to take the state up on its recommendation, citing her uncertainty of whether Cleary would serve any jail time for probation violation in Colorado, the newspaper said. “I don’t want to be in the position of guessing what Colorado is going to do,” Johnson said during Cleary’s sentencing hearing.  Cleary was arrested Jan. 19, the same day multiple women’s marches were being held in Utah and throughout the country, based on an alarming Facebook post he wrote the night before, the News said. In the post, he bemoaned his lack of romantic prospects and, like several mass shooters who have targeted women, blamed the opposite sex for his plight. “All I wanted was a girlfriend,” Cleary wrote, according to a police affidavit obtained by The Denver Post. “All I wanted was to be loved, yet no one cares about me. I’m 27 years old and I’ve never had a girlfriend before, and I’m still a virgin. This is why I’m planning on shooting up a public place soon and being the next mass shooter ‘cause I’m ready to die and all the girls the turned me down is going to make it right by killing as many girls as I see.” Another post stated, “There’s nothing more dangerous than (a) man ready to die,” the Post reported.  Cleary’s threats alarmed state and federal authorities in Colorado and neighboring Utah, where they traced his cellphone the following day. He was arrested at a McDonald’s in Provo and charged with making a terroristic threat.  Following his arrest, Cleary told investigators he was “upset and not thinking clearly” when he wrote the Facebook posts. According to the Post, he deleted the threats after other people called him and threatened him. Court records obtained by multiple newspapers paint a disturbing portrait of Cleary, who was accused of stalking and harassment by at least eight women and girls dating back at least seven years. The News reported that Cleary was also accused of threatening to bomb a grocery store in 2013 and threatened to commit a mass shooting at a mental health facility in 2016.  >> Read more trending news An 18-year-old Arvada woman called police on New Year’s Eve 2015 and reported that Cleary, with whom she’d been chatting on Facebook, began harassing her online and over the phone after she declined to go on a date with him. According to the Post, the woman told detectives he would use aliases, including one alias on Facebook named John Coleman. “I’ve been watching you,” the person claiming to be Coleman wrote to her on Facebook. “Soon here, you’ll be lying in your deathbed.” During that investigation, Arvada detectives found details of a previous criminal investigation in which Cleary told another woman who spurned his advances she should kill herself, the Post reported. He also posted her name and phone number in an online sex ad, offering her services for $20, court records show. In a prior misdemeanor harassment case from earlier in 2015, Cleary was convicted after talking a woman into posing naked for him and then posting the picture to a fake Facebook page in her name, the newspaper reported.  A harassment case from Denver found Cleary accused of writing threatening messages to a 17-year-old girl, including a message that said, “I own multipul (sic) guns. I can have u dead in a second. One day I’ma snap and kill everyone,” according to court documents. A second Denver case involved a 19-year-old woman who said she lived with Cleary in a hotel room for two weeks, during which time he choked her and urinated on her, the court documents said.  Cleary was convicted in October 2016 on two counts of stalking and harassment involving two of the three alleged victims in Arvada, the Post said. He was sentenced to two years of probation.  Cleary was arrested in yet another stalking case less than a year later. A 43-year-old Lakewood woman who had dated him called 911 Aug. 5, 2017, to report Cleary was stalking her. He was arrested outside the woman’s house. According to the Post, Cleary told investigators the woman was the only person who loved him and he was lonely without her. The woman told police she and Cleary had a sexual relationship -- contradicting Cleary’s claim earlier this year that he was a virgin. The victim told police Cleary, who began stalking her when she broke off the relationship, had called her 45 times that day, threatening her and telling her he hoped she would die.  “I am going to burn your house down,” Cleary told her, according to court records. “I am going to send people to your house to kill you.” Cleary also posted her phone number and address on Craigslist “soliciting sexual acts and rape,” according to a probable cause statement in the case. The woman said she’d received multiple phone calls from strangers due to the ad. The woman told police she lost 20 pounds and began having nightmares and anxiety attacks because of the stalking, the Post reported.  Cleary pleaded guilty to charges of felony stalking and making threats, the newspaper said. A judge in Jefferson County sentenced him last May to three years of probation.  Despite having violated his probation on the Arvada cases, he was not jailed following his guilty plea in the case involving the Lakewood woman, the Post reported. Pam Russell, a spokeswoman for the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office, said Cleary’s mental health played a part in his sentencing in that case, as well as in his 2016 stalking conviction, which was handled in Adult Mental Health Court.  “The courts decided to let his mental health issues be a big component of his treatment,” Russell told the Post.  Cleary’s defense attorney in the most recent case, Dustin Parmley, said this week that his client’s violent words are related to his mental illness, which he was reportedly diagnosed with at age 10. Cleary told investigators he takes medication for an impulse control disorder.  Parmley said Cleary’s words have never turned to action. Investigators found no evidence that Cleary had weapons or attempted to obtain any, the Post said.  The newspaper reported that four of the criminal investigations into Cleary ended without charges filed against him.  Cleary will serve his time in Utah before being transferred to Colorado to face probation violation charges there, the News reported. An official with the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole told the paper his earliest hearing could take place as soon as September. The News said the board could potentially set a release date at that time, or members could decide to keep him in prison. Cleary could serve the entire five years of his sentence before being returned to Colorado. 

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