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Latest from Rich Jones

    We’re getting some beneficial rain but it comes with the threat of strong and possibly severe thunderstorms early this week.  This morning started off with heavy downpours through NE Florida during the peak of rush hour.  It caused a number of problems and delays on the roads.  PODCAST:  Garrett Bedenbaugh tracks rounds of thunderstorms Action News Jax Meteorologist Garrett Bedenbaugh will be tracking a warm front that could trigger stronger storms north of I-10 and into SE Georgia this afternoon.  “The primary threats for today look to be just some heavy downpours at times in the afternoon and early evening hours, again if we get more sunshine, and a damaging wind gust as well as some hail with any of those thunderstorms.  But widespread rainfall over the next two days, 1-2’’ of rain before it’s all said and done”, said Bedenbaugh.  We'll see a line of storms move through the area on Tuesday late in the morning and into the early afternoon.  We could see damaging wind gusts and some hail.  Expect the peak threat to be between Noon and 5pm Tuesday.   Be sure to check in several times for updates on the potential for severe weather, and when the storms arrive, be listening for severe weather center coverage on News 104.5 WOKV.    
  • We have had a stretch of dry days, combined with a January freeze, which puts NE Florida at greater risk of wildfires.   WATCH:  First Alert Wildfire Special  WOKV and Action News Jax partnered with the Florida Forest Service and local emergency management leaders to address steps being taken early in the spring to prevent  a repeat of the 2017 fire season, which started in Bryceville on March 22nd.  A private property owner was burning books when the fire quickly got out of control.  Then, in early April, lighting started a fire that eventually grew into the hundreds of thousands of acres, and was commonly referred to as the West Mims Fire.  The Florida Forest Service has been actively conducting prescribed burns in the NE Florida area before the typical wildfire season begins.  We explored these prescribed burns, and how county leaders are preparing their communities ahead of the 2018 wildfire season. 
  • Jaguars LB Paul Posluszny has announced his retirement after 11 NFL seasons.  In a letter to fans posted on Jaguars.com, Posluszy says he is no longer able to adhere to the unwavering standard of excellence that professional football demands.  Posluszny spent seven years in Jacksonville, and thanked fans for their dedicated support.  He also thanked Jaguars Owner Shad Khan and former Owner Wayne Weaver, who originally signed Posluszny.  “During my seven years as a Jaguars player, I’ve always pursued success and winning football games, while preparing and training with the highest standards of competition, passion and perseverance.  It has been an honor to represent my family, my teammates, and the people of Jacksonville”, Posluszny said.  Posluszy credited Coach Doug Marrone and Tom Coughlin for the most challenging off-season program and training camp of his career, which led to the successful 2017 season and a trip to the AFC Championship.   “The city of Jacksonville and the devoted fans of the Jaguars are simply amazing”, Posluszny said. 
  • Six months after Hurricane Irma ravaged our area with flooding rain, storm surge, and tornadoes, a final report has been issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA).  One of the noteworthy findings was four direct deaths in Florida. Two occurred in Duval County, where a 59-year-old male and a 54-year-old female drowned due to fresh water flooding when their tent was submerged in water in the woods. Of the 80 indirect deaths in Florida, a combination of falls during preparations for Irma’s approach, vehicle accidents, carbon monoxide  poisoning from generators, chainsaw accidents, and electrocutions were mainly to blame. READ THE FULL REPORT HERE The event that brought the most attention was in Broward County, where 14 people died as a result of a power outage and overheating in a nursing home. In north Florida, heavy rain and rivers that reached major or record flood stage caused significant flooding in the Jacksonville area. Flood waters rushed into the city’s streets and reached up to 5 ft deep in some locations. The flooding in Jacksonville was record-breaking in some locations, and overall Irma was responsible for one of the worst flooding events in the city’s 225+ year history.  Action News Jax Chief Meteorologist Mike Buresh recaps the 2017 Hurricane Season, including Irma’s impacts. 
  • Jaguars WR Allen Robinson reportedly will be leaving Jacksonville.   The NFL Network and ESPN are reporting Robinson is expected to sign with the Chicago Bears when free agency opens Wednesday.  Robinson missed most of the 2017 season after suffering a torn ACL in Week 1. In early March, the Jaguars declined to use the franchise tag on Robinson.   Jacksonville drafted Robinson in the second-round of the 2014 NFL Draft.  He has recorded 202 receptions for 2,848 yards and 22 touchdowns in 43 games. 
  • Two suspects in an armed robbery at Spin City Sweepstakes are dead after they were shot by an armed security guard.  Jacksonville Police were called around 11:30pm Sunday to the business on Beach Blvd. just east of Southside Blvd.  Upon arrival, police found two people suffering from gunshot wounds.  One died at the scene and the other died while being treated at a local hospital.  According to JSO, three suspects entered the sweepstakes business armed with guns.  During the robbery, an armed security guard who is employed by the business shot two of the suspects as they fled out the door.  A third suspect was able to escape in a dark-colored SUV.  JSO says it is reviewing video surveillance from Spin City Sweepstakes to provide a full description of the event. 
  • Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry’s vision of removing the Hart Bridge ramp into downtown could receive a significant boost due to $12.5 million in funding tucked in the Florida budget.  Senator Aaron Bean filed a bill that funds the project.  It’s known as the Talleyrand Connector, part of a larger freight initiative to improve freight access in Northeast Florida by improving freight connectivity to and from the Interstate 95 system. “I appreciate the 12.5 million appropriation for Jacksonville.  It would not be possible without the support of Chairman Bradley, Speaker Corcoran, Representative Cummings and Senator Bean”, Curry said to Action News Jax Anchor John Bachman on Thursday.  Mayor Curry first introduced the idea in November 2016 when he asked Duval-area state lawmakers for $50 million to tear down the Hart Bridge ramp elevated over Bay Street.   Curry argued that the ramp is not just a problem because of its age, but because of its design as well. The Mayor says he’s planning to go to Washington D.C. next week to lobby for a federal grant that could total $25 million.  That would leave just over $13 million for the city of Jacksonville to fund. 
  • Five months after a girl reported a kidnapping and rape, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office has made an arrest.  We discovered the arrest of Eric Felton Jr. on Tuesday, he's charged with sexual battery and violation of parole.   According to court records, Felton Jr. is tied to the October 9th kidnapping of a girl.  Police say the suspect forced the girl inside a car on W. 45th Street after he threw a cell phone out of the car window to get her attention.  The girl says she was driven to an unknown location in the downtown area, possibly near FSCJ, and was later released.   Felton is not eligible for bond, and faces arraignment later this month. Felton is a registered sex offender, and according to FDLE, was arrested by police in Kings, New York in 2012.    
  • The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office has announced the arrest of a long-time civilian employee for the personal use of supply orders.  70-year-old William Winstead, the JSO Facilities Manager, was arrested last night following a tip that was received by the integrity unit last week.   “Mr. Winstead was potentially using blanket orders that we use to purchase supplies for the agency for personal use”, said Undersheriff Pat Ivey.  The blanket orders were being used to renovate a personal residence and to build a deck.  Items like wood, nails, screws, and tools were purchased.   “By them pulling the records they were able to verify that the employee had used the blanket orders for personal use”, Ivey said.  Winstead was charged with a felony of organized fraud of property of less than $20,000.  Winstead chose to resign from the agency upon his arrest. Investigators have gone back to October of 2017, but they are digging deeper into Winstead’s blanket orders given his years of service.  Charges could change depending on what they find, according to Undersheriff Ivey.  This is the second JSO employee arrested in 2018; there were 10 arrested in 2017. 
  • WOKV Consumer Warrior Clark Howard says the proposed tariffs on aluminum and steel could lead to additional costs on the things you buy.  Clark says he has always believed that companies and countries should produce what they are best at.   “The danger when you say we’re not good at something so we’re going to punish other people that are good at it, is you don’t know how they’re going to respond”, Clark said on Wednesday.  Download the latest Clark Howard podcast here  Clark says the President has spoken in strong terms about putting in these taxes, and as they are implemented over time they may be softened.  “The danger is that people in the world that are our friends are more likely to become our adversaries as we start to put up roadblocks to them selling things to us under free trade”, Clark said.  Get the latest deals from Clark Howard here Clark says the most efficient provider for a product or service eventually emerges.  
  • 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

  • While the calendar may say it is spring, another winter storm threatened the East Coast on Wednesday, prompting the federal government to close down offices in the Washington, D.C. area, and canceling public events for President Donald Trump at the White House. While there was little snow on the ground as the sun came up on Wednesday, forecasters were warning of big snow totals from the nation’s capital, up the I-95 corridor through Pennsylvania and New Jersey. But as the morning commute continued, there was little evidence in some spots of that storm. “Total accumulation so far 1” of Salt,” tweeted Rep. Billy Long (R-MO), as he documented empty streets on his commute to the U.S. Capitol, as lawmakers from the heartland subtly mocked the snow scare. Sure makes the morning commute easier when schools are out and the Federal Government is closed. #Saltmagedon pic.twitter.com/oAJHSKFkb4 — Billy Long (@auctnr1) March 21, 2018 The view from my office this morning. So much for all the snow hype. pic.twitter.com/W03qpMvmBQ — Senator John Thune (@SenJohnThune) March 21, 2018 The biggest snowfall totals seemed to be to north of the Washington area, up near the Mason-Dixon line along the Maryland and Pennsylvania border, where as much as two feet of snow could fall. But federal officials did not take any chances, as they closed government offices on Wednesday. Despite the weather threat, Congress was in session today, though some committees had scrapped hearings set for Wednesday morning, worried about the snow. Both the House and Senate were still going to be in session, as lawmakers were trying to finish a giant funding bill, facing a Friday night shutdown deadline. At the White House, it was a snow day as well – even without any snow on the ground in the morning – as the President erred on the side of caution, and canceled two events, including a Cabinet meeting. One thing the winter storm could not shut down was the President’s Twitter feed, as Mr. Trump was up early this morning, registering his frustration with the Special Counsel probe into Russian interference in the 2016 elections, and noting his displeasure at the outcome of a case about illegal immigrants in the federal court system.
  • A suspect in the deadly package bombings in Austin, Texas, is dead, law enforcement sources told the Austin American-Statesman. >> READ MORE: Trump says 'it's not easy to find' culprit in first public comment on Austin bombings | 'Hold your leaders accountable': Chance the Rapper tweets about Austin bombings | Photos: Austin police investigate explosions | For investigators, a race to decode hidden message in Austin bombings | Map shows location of 4 Austin bombs | Austin explosions: 2 men hurt in fourth blast this month | Officials increase reward to $115,000 for information on Austin bombings | Man held in SXSW threat ruled out as bomb suspect, police say | Austin package explosions: 3 blasts appear connected, claim 2 lives, police say | The Roots' SXSW show canceled after bomb threat; man arrested | Austin package bombings: Friends remember victims Draylen Mason, Anthony House| MORE
  • Two parents from Lakawanna County, Pennsylvania, have been arrested after police said that the they left their two children home alone while the mother traveled to Florida. The investigation started when police were alerted to a case of children who had been left alone for weeks. When they visited the home, they found a 10- and 11-year-old alone, in a home that had food, boxes, pills and trash on the floor, WNEP reported. >> Read more trending news  Police said that Nicole Sciortino told them that she was not far away, but then admitted that she was in Florida. She then told the authorities that the children’s father Vincent Licciardello was watching the children.  >>Read: Police: Florida couple left child living alone in trailer for months He told police he dropped them off at Sciortino’s home on March 5 and he would stop by over the following days to give the children food, WNEP reported. Sciortino told police that she didn’t know that it was against the law to leave the children home alone. Both she and Licciardello were arrested, charged with endangering the welfare of children and are free on $10,000 unsecured bail. The children are staying with friends of the family, placed there by children and youth services, WNEP reported.
  • Police have shut down parts of downtown Pflugerville, an Austin suburb, due to a report of a suspicious package, the city’s police chief said early Wednesday. It is not yet known whether the incident is related to the Austin bombings. The news came the day after investigators linked a fifth bomb blast at a FedEx ground delivery facility northeast of San Antonio to the deadly package bombs in Austin. A sixth blast at a south Austin Goodwill store was not related to the bombings, investigators said. >> READ MORE: Trump says 'it's not easy to find' culprit in first public comment on Austin bombings | 'Hold your leaders accountable': Chance the Rapper tweets about Austin bombings | Photos: Austin police investigate explosions | For investigators, a race to decode hidden message in Austin bombings | Map shows location of 4 Austin bombs | Austin explosions: 2 men hurt in fourth blast this month | Officials increase reward to $115,000 for information on Austin bombings | Man held in SXSW threat ruled out as bomb suspect, police say | Austin package explosions: 3 blasts appear connected, claim 2 lives, police say | The Roots' SXSW show canceled after bomb threat; man arrested | Austin package bombings: Friends remember victims Draylen Mason, Anthony House | MORE
  • At just 10 years old, Savannah Green made her first trip to Haiti and became friends with children at the Cabaret Orphanage. Savannah is now 12, and she has been to Haiti three times. She said she was inspired to take the trips at such a young age after her dad read her a book. “It’s about an 18-year-old girl named Katie Davis who moved to Uganda to become a missionary and she really inspired me to go to Haiti,” Savannah said. She said every time she makes the trip, they bring gifts to the kids. “They're so kind. They have so little, but they share everything they have,” she said. After this trip, Savannah said she wanted to find a way to help the children even more. She reached out to footwear company Cobian Footwear on Instagram asking if they could help her raise money for the orphanage. “The lady wrote back immediately and said, ‘It’s awesome. Let’s get started,’” Savannah said. Fifty percent of proceeds from anyone who buys flip flops from the company in March and uses the code “HAITI” will go to the orphanage and trips to it. Savannah said she plans to keep going back and building stronger relationships with the children, who have become her family.

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