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Latest from Robert Alonso

    The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is looking for your help to solve a double shooting that's claimed the life of one of the victims.  35-year-old Hakeem Rashad Busch was identified by JSO this morning as the man whose body was found Sunday evening outside a home on the 1800 block of Newbolt Court.   The other victim - a woman - hasn't been identified and her condition isn't clear at this point, but we do know she was transported to a local hospital for treatment.   Neighbors tell our partner Action News Jax that they heard around 12 to 15 shots in the area and that a black Chevrolet Camaro sped off just before JSO arrived on scene.   It's not clear what relationship might exist between Busch and the other victim.   Anyone with information is asked to call JSO at 904-630-0500 or email JSOCrimeTips@jaxsheriff.org. Those who wish to remain anonymous and possibly qualify for a cash reward can call Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS (8477).
  • The unofficial start to summer is here.  Memorial Day can certainly be somber, especially for military folks. But if your holiday plans include a bit of water fun, make sure your boat is safe and ready to go.  Coast Guard officials like Lt. Chris Booth are urging you to keep your life-jackets on and have some kind of locating beacon on board if your holiday plans include getting on the water.   'Those types of things go a long way in helping us process search and rescue cases,' Booth added.   Booth is also warning you to be careful about drinking if you're out on the water and to not be afraid to ask the USCG for a safety check of your boat before going out on the water.   If your holiday plans involve a long-distance road trip, expect a lot of people to join you. AAA is projecting 39 million Americans to do a long-distance trip this Memorial Day weekend. That's their largest since 2005.
  • Jacksonville police have made an arrest in a cold case from over 40 years ago.  Johnie Lewis Miller is now in custody for the May 1974 murder of Freddie Farah.   Bobby Farah - Freddie's son - and other family members were alongside Sheriff Mike Williams.   'We're relieved,' Bobby Farah added. 'I mean, some of us never thought we'd see this day.'   Police say Farah was shot and killed during the robbery of his Kings Road convenience store.  Miller was found in New Orleans working as a street performer.
  • Jacksonville police asked for your help over a week ago to find him. Now the Sheriff's Office says they've caught the man responsible for five burglaries at businesses on Timuquana Road and Blanding Boulevard. 37-year-old Christopher P. Bullard was identified as the suspect after multiple tips came in from the public, according to detectives. Detectives believe he broke into the Blanding Food Mart and the Timuquana Food Store three times between February and April and also burglarized the same Metro PCS store twice.  He's now in custody on $250,000 bond at Duval County Jail.
  • It's not official yet, but the St. Johns Sheriff's Office is preparing for the worst in the case of a missing swimmer. The county's Medical Examiner has taken possession of a body which washed up this morning on Vilano Beach. Commander Chuck Mulligan tells us beach runners going through the area around 7:45 this morning found the body and called for help. 'The body was found several miles north of the inlet where Skyler Taylor disappeared on Sunday,' Mulligan added. Search crews had been looking for Taylor ever since, but those efforts were suspended just before the body was found. It's not clear at this point if the body is of Taylor, though Mulligan does say the condition is consistent with being in the water for a few days and the Sheriff's Office has no other missing person reports in the area. Due to the body's condition, Mulligan tells us the Medical Examiner will need some time to determine the identity.
  • The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office wants your help to find a panhandler who tried to rob a Five Guys restaurant in Mandarin earlier this week. It happened around 8 a.m. Sunday at the location on San Jose Boulevard near Crown Point Road. Officers say a black man in the parking lot walked into the store and demanded money from employees. According to the JSO incident report, the man walked in behind a female employee and told another female employee when she asked him to leave that he would only when he got 'the money'. The report also notes that the suspect chased both women at one point, but then left after seeing security cameras in the office area. JSO says the suspect - who appeared to be unarmed - left in an early 2000's model silver Honda Accord heading north on San Jose without any money from the restaurant. The bearded suspect stands around 6 feet tall and weighs between 200 and 220 pounds with short black hair and a dark complexion. He was wearing a dark T-shirt, dark shorts and white high-top sneakers. Anyone with information is asked to call JSO at 904-630-0500 or email JSOCrimeTips@jaxsheriff.org. Those who wish to remain anonymous and possibly qualify for a cash reward can call Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS (8477).
  • Federal government officials are speaking out at this time about the conviction earlier today of former Jacksonville Congresswoman Corrine Brown on 18 of 22 counts in her federal fraud trial. See the full statement below from the Jacksonville office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. See the full statement below from the Department of Justice's Middle District of Florida office.
  • It's going to light up a dark part of Fleming Island. Construction begins today to brighten up nearly three miles of US 17 between County Road 220 and Creighton Road with automated LED street lights. Florida Department of Transportation spokeswoman Mary Justino says it's a stretch of road where they've received lots of complaints from drivers that it's too dark once the sun sets. 'People who drive on 17 in Fleming Island are going to notice large equipment coming in,' Justino added. '[Construction crews are] going to start near Eagle Harbor and work their way north towards the Doctors' Lake Bridge.' 158 new lights sitting atop 40-foot high aluminum poles and 15-foot long bracketed arm extensions will alternate side-to-side down US 17, each placed around 12 feet from the road shoulder. The lights alone are costing the state around $1.5 million dollars and all of them should be ready to go in about 10 to 12 months depending on weather, according to Justino. FDOT also tells us the lights should illuminate the nearby Black Creek Bike Trail at night once they're ready to go. No lane closures are planned at any point, but drivers are warned to be cautious and aware of workers nearby, especially if they see barriers in place along the shoulder. Justino says FDOT is currently researching a similar idea for parts of US 17 south of CR 220, especially those which have seen an increase in accidents recently.
  • The mother of a 15-month-old boy and her boyfriend are now locked up at Duval County Jail in connection to his death earlier this year.  The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office announced this morning the arrests of 29-year-olds Lori Hopper and Andre Keller on a manslaughter and murder charge, respectively, in the death of Isaiah Keller.   JSO Homicide Lt. Steve Golloher says the toddler died at Wolfson Children's Hospital last January 22nd, but it took some time for detectives to determine how the boy actually died.   'We've received the medical examiner's report indicating that they ruled it a homicide,' Golloher added. 'The death was caused by asphyxia.'   Detectives originally did not suspect foul play in the boy's death because there were no obvious signs of it, even after investigating the hotel room at the Diamond Inn on Ramona Blvd. where he and his family were staying at the time of his death.   Golloher also told reporters Andre Keller is not the boy's biological dad, even though he is listed as the dad on his birth certificate.   According to JSO, Andre told police the boy wouldn't respond after they laid him down in bed with a bottle and that's when he and Hopper took him to the emergency room.   Three of Keller's biological children - ages 9, 8 and 4 - were also living in the hotel room with Keller, Hopper and Isaiah. They're now in DCF custody after JSO discovered drugs in the room.   Two of them told police they saw Keller tie Isaiah up when he started crying, a story that Hopper also corroborated later on.   Detectives say video evidence shows Hopper and Keller both waited for some time to get help after finding the boy unconscious.
  • A 49-year-old Vero Beach man is dead after troopers think he fell off the Mickler O'Connell Bridge in St. Augustine early this morning.  It happened around 1:20 a.m. near the eastbound lanes of the bridge, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.   Troopers think Glenn Totemeier was riding a bicycle when he crossed over two travel lanes, entered the right shoulder and hit the concrete barrier wall, causing him to fall over the edge.   He died at the scene.   No other vehicles or people were involved, according to the crash report. It also notes Totemeier wasn't wearing a helmet.   An autopsy is pending to determine if alcohol or drugs were a factor.
  • Robert Alonso

    Morning Reporter

    Robert Alonso is the Morning Reporter and backup News Anchor for Jacksonville's Morning News.  

    He joined WOKV in March 2016 after spending 4 years as a news reporter/backup news anchor for WNDB in Daytona Beach.  

    Other news outlets/stations Robert has been a part of are WSJS in Winston-Salem (North Carolina), Metro Networks (Miami, FL) and WFTL in Fort Lauderdale (FL), where he started after getting his degree in Broadcast Journalism from Florida International University.  

    Robert also has experience in sports radio, working for a year as a talk show producer for SiriusXM's College Sports Nation channel in Washington, DC.  

    Other sports companies/stations Robert has worked at include the Carolina Panthers (gameday producer/on-air talent for Spanish radio), IMG College (studio host for the radio broadcasts of the universities of Akron, Vanderbilt, Arkansas and Oregon), WQAM (Miami) and WFLL (Fort Lauderdale).  

    Robert is married to the former Traci Isley, the best Southern redhead in the world. No kids yet... unless you want to count Moqui, their Jack Russell mix. (She does.)

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The Latest News Headlines

  • A Louisiana woman with a history of identity theft faces 10 years in prison after she was convicted Wednesday of stealing another woman’s background to land an executive position with a six-figure salary. Cindy T. White, 41, of Slidell, was found guilty of identity theft over $1,000, according to a news release from the office of 22nd Judicial District Attorney Warren Montgomery. It took jurors just 15 minutes to find White guilty of the charges.  Montgomery said in the news release that White used information stolen from another woman’s LinkedIn profile to beef up her resume in September 2015, when she applied for an executive-level position with Diversified Foods & Seasonings. NOLA.com reported that the company, based in Covington, was founded by the late entrepreneur Al Copeland. White also used the other woman’s Social Security number and driver’s license number when applying for the job, the news release said.  She was initially hired as a human resources manager, a position with a $95,000 annual salary, Montgomery said. Five months later, she was promoted to senior human resources director, a job with a $105,000 salary.  >> Read more trending news Company officials became suspicious a few months later when they noticed that White had trouble with duties that she should have been able to perform based on her alleged educational background. Her resume listed a bachelor’s degree from Tulane University and a master’s degree from Hebrew University in Jerusalem. “That’s not this person,” prosecutor Casey Dieck said in court, pointing at White. “This person stole the victim’s hard work and used it to get a six-figure salary and benefits to boot.” Officials at Diversified Foods & Seasonings also noticed that White delegated a large number of tasks assigned to her, Montgomery said in the news release. They took a closer look at her personnel file and found discrepancies in it.  Company officials called the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office in April 2016.  Investigators determined that White lifted her educational background directly from the LinkedIn profile of a woman with a similar name, Montgomery said. They also discovered that she obtained the woman’s driver’s license and Social Security numbers from an unnamed online site.  A look at White’s real background revealed that this was not the first time she had stolen someone’s identity, the news release said.  White, a former Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office employee, was arrested in New Orleans in 1997 on suspicion of theft, forgery and malfeasance in office after she was accused of stealing a co-worker’s identity and emptying the woman’s bank account. She was caught when she was spotted in surveillance photos and identified, the news release said. She pleaded guilty that September to two counts of forgery and received probation.  Her probation was terminated in 1999 when the court was sent information that White had died, Montgomery said.  White also had a 1998 conviction in Jefferson Parish for attempted theft of goods.  Prosecutors argued that White, who admitted to St. Tammany Parish investigators that she used the victim’s identity to get the job, fraudulently collected $56,209 during the seven months she worked at Diversified Foods & Seasonings. Her defense attorney argued that she earned the salary she received.  Dieck denied the defense claim, Montgomery said in the news release.  “We have here a defendant who admits to stealing to cover up the fact that she’s a convicted thief,” the prosecutor said. 
  • Swedish DJ Avicii was found dead Friday in Oman, his publicist confirmed. He was 28. >> Read more trending news
  • A Pennsylvania teacher was suspended last week after he cooked breakfast for his students as they took state assessments. LancasterOnline reported that Kyle Byler, an eighth-grade teacher at Hand Middle School, was suspended without pay and warned that he would be fired for “causing a distraction” while his students took the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment, or PSSAs.  Byler told local media that he brought an electric griddle to school the morning of April 10 and cooked each of his students a whole-grain pancake to eat while they took their exams. An assistant principal walked in and questioned why he was making the children breakfast. >> Read more trending news The teacher, who many parents consider the “eighth-grade dad” at the school, was called into a meeting with administrators within 24 hours and told he would be fired, LancasterOnline reported.  Byler said in an interview Monday that he did not understand what he did wrong. The state education department does not have a rule against serving food during the PSSAs. Pennsylvania Department of Education spokeswoman Nicole Reigelman told LancasterOnline, however, that “those activities would likely interfere with ‘actively monitoring’ the assessment, which is a key task.” Byler said the pancakes did not deter the students.  “At no point was it any distraction for any of the students,” Byler said. “They worked their butts off.” A student told the news site that the assistant principal was the only distraction. “The moment she walked in, everybody turned,” Alizea Rodriguez told LancasterOnline. “She was the distraction. Not pancakes. Not Byler.” Rodriguez and other students were distraught when Byler was not in class the next day. Many of those students showed up at a Tuesday night school board meeting, at which Byler expected to learn his fate.  School district officials dismissed the claim that he was to be fired Tuesday, saying that there was never a dismissal action on the meeting agenda and that a teacher cannot be fired without the board approving a written notice setting a hearing in the matter. None of that had taken place. “Nor will it occur in this situation, as the personnel matter has been resolved with the employee, who is scheduled to return to work,” School District of Lancaster officials said in a statement.  The district statement said that free breakfast and lunch are offered to all students every day, including testing days.  “Moreover, the Pennsylvania Department of Education strictly requires that teachers who proctor PSSA testing focus their full attention on monitoring students during the test,” the statement read. “All teachers serving as PSSA test proctors receive specific training on testing protocol. Had permission been sought by a teacher to cook in the classroom during PSSA testing and serve food to the students, the response would have been that such activities would distract the teacher from the required duties as a test proctor.” LancasterOnline reported that about 100 concerned residents, including both parents and teachers, turned out at Tuesday’s board meeting to support Byler.  “It takes a village to raise children,” mother of two Crystle Martinez said. “He’s part of that village.” Students and teachers were not Byler’s only fans. Officials at Holiday Inn Express sought to gift him and his students a one-touch pancake machine -- like those on the breakfast bars in Holiday Inn Express hotels -- and enough pancake batter to get them through the remainder of the school year.  “As a hotel brand that knows how important an energizing breakfast is to being ‘THE READIEST’ for the day ahead, Holiday Inn Express salutes Byler for taking the initiative and making pancakes for his students,” said Lauren Schuster, manager of PR firm Weber Shandwick.  “The brand welcomes this teacher back to school, and hopes he and his students enjoy their very own one-touch pancake machine as much as Holiday Inn Express guests do,” read a statement from the company.  It was not clear if the school district would allow Byler to put the pancake machine in his classroom. 
  • The Jacksonville Jaguars “State of the Franchise” was packed with new information about the fan experience, stadium, Downtown development and more. 1. New season, new look- The Jags have unveiled their new uniforms, which are designed to honor tradition. The two-tone helmets are gone, in favor of a shine-finished traditional look, and the numbering is more simple and modern. The uniforms also have features, like increased ventilation around sweat areas, which are aimed at giving the team a competitive advantage.  GALLERY: New uniforms for the Jacksonville Jaguars For the first time, the team has teal pants- and teal will now be the “Color Rush” uniform, instead of the gold ones the Jags have been using in prior years. Teal is also the alternate uniform, and expected to be worn several times over the season.  2. Cheaper concession options- Concession “classics” will now be only $5 at the stadium. These include hot dogs, nachos, pretzels, fries, and soft drinks. Fans will also still be allowed to bring in food, in accordance with the team’s policy and the NFL’s clear bag rule.  3. Your dog can now cheer for the cats- Among the changes inside of the stadium, the Jags are building a dog daycare/park in partnership with Pet Paradise. This will be on the South End Zone fan deck, will have a water feature, and will only be open on gamedays. Dogs will be pre-screened to ensure they are up to date on shots and have the right temperament for this environment. Fans will be able to see the action inside of the park, but only trained staff will be in with the dogs themselves.  4. Expect a crowd- Tarps will NOT be back at EverBank Field, meaning there are about 3,500 additional tickets being sold every game. There are also a handful of new premium seating options the team rolled out, which they say have already been snatched up. The Jags are also projecting their highest season ticket renewal rate and new season ticket sales, since they started tracking that in 2004.  5. Honoring the military- The team emphasized that veterans and members of the military are not only important to the City of Jacksonville, but to the Jags themselves. The Jags have the highest concentration of veterans in market, compared to other NFL markets. To celebrate that, the North End Zone fan deck is being rebranded in partnership with the veteran-owned business Grunt Style. In addition to creating a competition area for fans and a “hometown pride” area, this is also where the team will celebrate a veteran of the game and veteran business owner of the game, and ring the fourth quarter bell.  6. London will keep calling- The Jags are proud of being the team that has played the most London games of any other in the NFL. They said that game is valuable strategically and in terms of revenue, and they will work on protecting their position. Meanwhile, the UK fan club continues to grow, now standing at more than 86,000 members.  The Jags play the Eagles in London on October 28th at 9:30AM.  7. TIAA Bank going beyond the stadium- We got our first look at the new signage we’ll see at the stadium, as EverBank Field becomes “TIAA Bank Field” before the next football season, but TIAA Bank also announced a pledge to help the community.  The Jaguars and EverBank- which is becoming TIAA Bank- are launching the One Team. One Home. Initiative. They’re partnering to contribute $1 million in the next five years to help build and repair homes in Northeast Florida. This will be a collaboration with Habitat for Humanity affiliates, as well as volunteers and Jags players. EverBank is also pledging additional money to build and repair 100 homes in Florida where TIAA has an existing presence.  8. Lynyrd Skynyrd planning a big homecoming- The band will bring their farewell tour to EverBank Field on September 2nd. They’ll be joined by Kid Rock, Jason Aldean, and others, in a day-long event that also includes food trucks and games.  9. Sports Complex development- The team is still negotiating a redevelopment of the Jacksonville Shipyards, but they’re now expanding on that by pitching a $2.5 billion redevelopment in the Sports Complex. The first step is expected to be Lot J- which could see three mixed-use buildings and a “live arena”. To compensate for the loss in parking, a 3,000 space parking garage would go up where there’s currently a retention pond.  The team says this would be a public/private partnership, but they don’t have an estimate yet on what they would ask for from the City.  GALLERY:Shipyards redevelopment If the Hart Bridge ramps are taken down- which is something the City is currently pursuing- the Jags and their partner The Cornish Companies would seek to continue developing, with a high-end hotel, convention center, upgraded marina and more along the River.  10. A big schedule faces the team in 2018- Technically, this came out after the State of the Franchise, but in the spirit of all this Jags news, it’s also worth mentioning that the team’s schedule is out! Let us know what you think of the announcements on Facebook:
  • The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is investigating after a reported robbery at the Publix at 10500 San Jose Boulevard, right next to Target. According to the incident report obtained by WOKV, the suspect entered the grocery just after 8 pm on Thursday and made his way to the customer service counter.  The suspect reportedly said 'You are not going to like me very much,' before handing over a note. What exactly that note said is redacted in the report, but it appears he asked for $6,000 and made a comment about an explosive device.  Once the Publix employee handed over all the money in the register, the suspect is described as having left the store in a 'calm manner' with a gallon of milk.  The manager decided to evacuate the store, due to the threat made in the redacted note. However, a police search of the store did not reveal anything suspicious.  The suspect is described as being a white male, about 6'1'' tall, 160 pounds, and was wearing a red shirt with a black vest jacket, and black jean shorts at the time of the robbery.  If found, he's likely to be charged with armed robbery and threatening to throw/place/project a destructive device.

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