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    With the Federal Reserve cutting its key interest rate by a quarter-point for the second time this year, WOKV's Consumer Warrior Clark Howard is breaking down the impacts you can expect to see. Howard says there will likely be some positive effects for you.  'Auto loans, credit cards, home equity lines of credit, anything like that-- generally, when the Federal Reserve acts, the rates on those kinds of products drop,' says Howard.  But he warns mortgage rates will likely have the opposite response.  'People [who] are willing to lend you money for 15 or 30 years, worry that the Federal Reserve is not serious about inflation anymore, and that's why those rates would climb,' explains Howard. As for whether there will be any more rate cuts this year, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell admits the board is split on how to proceed going forward.
  • With a rise in Florida children and teens being charged with making school-related threats, the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice is launching a new awareness campaign. The DJJ says the 'It's No Joke' campaign is about discouraging kids and teens from making school threats by making it clear that they can be arrested and charged with a felony.  'We want young people in Florida to understand that, in today’s environment, every threat is taken very seriously and, even if made in jest, can lead to devastating consequences. There is nothing funny about threatening a school, and there is nothing funny about being charged with a felony. We want young people to think twice before casually threatening violence in their schools,' says DJJ Secretary Simone Marstiller in a statement.  The DJJ says it hopes that this campaign educates kids and parents that even threat made online, including on social media, can lead to a felony charge.  New numbers from the DJJ show a rise in the number of Florida youth being charged with school threat-related offenses over the past three years:  Fiscal Year 2016-2017: 629 children and teens were charged with school threat-related offenses  Fiscal Year 2017-2018: 687 children and teens were charged with school threat-related offenses  Fiscal Year 2018-2019: 779 children and teens were charged with school threat-related offenses The DJJ says it wants students, parents, and teachers to continue to report any and all threats they see or hear.
  • Ahead of the holiday season, UPS has announced it plans to hire more than 1,200 people in the Jacksonville-area. We're told the positions are a combination of seasonal and permanent jobs and include the following:  670 package handlers  235 delivery and tractor-trailer drivers  325 driver helpers UPS says oftentimes these seasonal roles can led to a career with the company, with about 35% of people hired for seasonal package handler jobs in the past four years staying on with the company after the holidays.  Nationwide, UPS is looking to hire 100,000 seasonal jobs to help with the busy holiday shipping season. “We expect another record peak season this year, with daily package deliveries nearly doubling compared to our average of 20 million per day. In order to make that happen, once again we’re recruiting more than 100,000 people for some of the country’s best seasonal jobs,” says Jim Barber, COO, in a statement. Locally, UPS is hiring at the following two locations: 4420 Imeson Road, Jacksonville, FL 32220 12400 Presidents Court, Jacksonville FL, 32219 Tractor-trailer and package car driver jobs start at $21.00 per hour, while pay for package handlers and driver helpers starts at $14.00 per hour. If you’re interested in applying, UPS says you have to apply online at UPSjobs.com.
  • The State Attorney's Office says a custodian at Clay High School in Green Cove Springs has been arrested on a criminal complaint charging him with attempted production of child pornography, after investigators say he filmed students in the girls' locker room.  According to the criminal complaint, 42-year-old Jason Goff is accused of filming students in the locker room sometime between mid to late August.  Investigators say two students reported finding a possible camera in a locked locker on August 22nd. When school administrators opened it up, they reported finding a cellphone that had been taped to the inside wall with the camera lens pointing out through a hole, aimed at the changing area.  The criminal complaint says a forensic review of the phone turned up images and videos of high school girls changing. Investigators says at the end of one of videos, the phone camera pans down to show Goff's photo ID badge. Additionally, the complaint says the phone also contained 'selfie' photos of Goff.  If ultimately convicted, Goff faces a minimum mandatory penalty of 15 years and up to 30 years in federal prison and a potential life term of supervise release.
  • Beginning Monday, NAS Jacksonville is warning neighbors there will likely be an increase in aircraft activity and noise due to training operations. NAS Jax says carrier-based jet fighters and other types of aircraft will be conducting training out of the base from September 15 through September 25. We're told this training is in support of aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) operations.  If you have any noise complaints, you can send them to NASJAX_NOISE_COMPLAINTS@NAVY.MIL.
  • The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office says a 22-year-old suspect is being charged with murder, after police say he was responsible for a carjacking on the Southside that ended with the victim dying.  According to police, a witness spotted the suspect, identified by JSO as Johnathan Green, jump into a victim's vehicle in a parking lot off of Beach Boulevard, near Southside Boulevard, just after 7:00 AM on August 23rd.  Police say the witness told them that the victim then jumped into the passenger seat and was hanging partially outside of the vehicle, when Green allegedly accelerated, causing the victim to be thrown out of the truck. JSO says that victim was taken to the hospital, but later died from his injuries on August 29th.  As for Green, police say he was arrested in the area on August 23rd and was charged at that time with carjacking and giving a false name to law enforcement. However, with the victim's death, we're told Green is also now being charged with murder/during certain felonies.
  • The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is asking for the community's help identifying three suspects they say are responsible for a strong arm robbery on Normandy Boulevard. Police say a 69-year-old victim was approached by two of the suspects who asked to call their mom, claiming they couldn't find her. As the victim tried to help them, police say a third suspect approached and snatched the phone out of the victim's hand.  We're told all three took off running across Normandy Boulevard into an adjacent neighborhood.  If you have any information on who these individuals are, you're urged to contact JSO at (904) 630-0500 or Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.
  • A day after a woman was found dead in a Westside apartment, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office has arrested her son for her murder.  According to JSO, they were called to the apartment off of 103rd Street on Wednesday for a well-being check request. Police say when they arrived the suspect, 42-year-old Jacob Chavers, told police that the victim, 72-year-old Faye Hay, was in the hospital.  After that, police say Chavers was seen fleeing the apartment. Officers then discovered Hay's body inside.  During the investigation, a witness told police that Chavers attacked Hay several times with a hammer and then continued to live in the apartment with her body inside.  Police later tracked down Chavers using a police K-9. We're told Chavers did sustain a dog bite while trying to escape.  Chavers is now being charged with murder.
  • At least 14 people are facing charges, after the Clay County Sheriff's Office says they broke up a 'very bold' drug operation in Middleburg.  According to detectives, a month-long investigation revealed that suspects were selling narcotics from a Boost Mobile phone store during normal business hours, allowing customers to trade money and even property for the drugs.  'It was pretty shocking. The boldness of this operation.... I expressed to someone, it was almost like comparing it to a Black Friday event. Before the store would open, people would congregate outside. They would wait in line. If the store was a minute over the normal operation time, they would knock on front doors and back doors,' said Lt. Domenic Panicia, with the Organized Crime Narcotics Unit with CCSO.  At this time, the sheriff's office does not believe any management or owners are tied to this operation. They're also making it clear that while Boost Mobile is where this crime occurred, there's nothing tying Boost Mobile as a corporation to the actions of these individuals.  As for how this investigation started, we're told it was a tip from the community.  'It started by, you know what, a member of our community saying, hey, something just ain't right here. Maybe, they frequented the store and the service wasn't up to par or something wasn't right. And that's exactly how it started,' said Panicia.  The sheriff's office hopes this bust sends a message to the county.  'You know I have a boss [Sheriff Darryl Daniels] that his philosophy is that we're going to make it uncomfortable for not only the drug dealers, but the drug users in this community. I want to take it even a step farther. I want to make it not uncomfortable, I want to make it miserable for drug users, drug dealers. I want 'em gone. You know, we preach it all the time that 'you got options.' It's not just a cliche thing we say, we really mean it,' said Panicia.  We're told investigators are still following up on leads in this case, so additional individuals could be facing charges. WATCH: The Clay County Sheriff’s Office holds press conference on Middleburg drug bust
  • September 15, 1 PM: Action News Jax Chief Meteorologist Mike Buresh says Tropical Storm Humberto is continuing to turn away from Florida as it gains strength. September 14th, 11 AM: Tropical Depression #9 has strengthened into Tropical Storm Humberto, with the storm’s track shifting even more east. Action News Jax Chief Meteorologist Mike Buresh says local impacts still look to be rough seas and surf, dangerous rip currents, and a breeze at the beaches. No inland impacts are expected. September 13th, 8 PM: Action News Jax Chief Meteorologist Mike Buresh says with the tropical depression continuing to track east, he’s not expecting any local impacts inland. However, the beaches will see rough seas and surf, as well as dangerous rip currents. September 13th, 5 PM: Action News Jax Chief Meteorologist Mike Buresh says this system has been upgraded to a tropical depression as it continues moving near the Bahamas. He says the overall forecast track continues to shift east with few impacts for Northeast Florida, despite the system intensifying through early next week. However, he warns there will be dangerous surf at our beaches. September 13th, 2 PM: Action News Jax Meteorologist Garrett Bedenbaugh says the latest advisory on potential tropical cyclone nine shows no real changes in its projected path, however, he says the system is getting more organized. September 13th, 11AM: The forecast track for what is expected to become Humberto continues its push to the east. Action News Jax Chief Meteorologist Mike Buresh says at this time there are few significant impacts expected for Northeast Florida this weekend. Mike says there is a dangerous rip current risk at area beaches though through the weekend.    September 13, 8 AM:  The forecast track of what is expected to become Humberto this weekend has brought a Tropical Storm Watch for parts of E. Central Florida and a Tropical Storm Warning for the central and norther Bahamas.  Action News Jax Chief Meteorologist Mike Buresh says, at the very least we can expect rough seas and surf at our area beaches and a high rip current risk with gusty breezes.  If the disturbance stays a little east, that would be about all the impacts with only some rain until the system passes by our area.  However, if it takes a more southern route into Florida then it would be much wetter for our local area.  It is not likely that this disturbance will be able to intensify strongly before reaching Florida.   INDEPTH:  Talking the Tropics with Mike Buresh  September 12, 5 AM:  A tropical wave in the southeast Bahamas is quite disorganized now but threatens to bring soaking rain to NE Florida late this weekend, and maybe more.  Action News Jax Chief Meteorologist Mike Buresh says the disturbance is not likely to become a major storm before hitting Florida.  “There’s quite a wide array of possibilities here, anywhere from the eastern Gulf to the east coast of Florida”, Buresh said.  The upshot for Jacksonville and NE Florida more than likely is significant rainfall.  “The potential for a half foot or more of rain from Saturday to Monday. It won’t be raining all the time”, Buresh said.  TALKING THE TROPICS:  Mike Buresh tracks tropical disturbance near the Bahamas Most of Dorian’s rains were along and east of I-95 so inland areas can take that kind of rain. However, other areas could see flooding through the late weekend and early in the week.  If this system can organize into a named storm it would be Humberto, but it’s still early and a lot will change in the forecast so keep listening to 104.5 FM for updates through the end of the week and throughout the weekend. 
  • Sarah Thompson

    Sarah Thompson is the Afternoon Producer and Evening Anchor for WOKV and has been with the team since October 2013. She's a University of Florida graduate and a Jacksonville-native.

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  • As the city prepares to demolish the Jacksonville Landing, a team is working to salvage some of the items inside. The biggest item Annie Murphy and her team at Eco Relics have salvaged so far from the building is the bar top from Hooters. It's for sale at their shop on Stockton Street.  'We're all about keeping stuff out of landfills, that's our mission,' Murphy said.  They expect to salvage up to 160 items from the iconic landmark before it is torn down, from doors and windows to artwork and lighting.  'It is really cool to see people recognizing certain things, longtime Jacksonville residents,' Murphy said.  She said they were able to salvage some items inside the buildings along the river earlier this month. They can't access the rest of the building until the last tenant moves out in October.  A city spokesperson said over the next couple of weeks, the contractor will be stripping out items not attached to the building structure and then heavy equipment will begin the demolition.  It's expected to be complete by June 2020.  Murphy said the pieces of Jacksonville history her team pulls from the building will be for sale as they're salvaged.
  • A North Carolina sheriff stands accused of urging the murder of a former deputy who had a recording of him using racially offensive language, authorities say. Granville County Sheriff Brindell Wilkins was indicted Monday on two counts of felony obstruction of justice, according to court records. Wilkins is accused of trying to get another man to kill former Deputy Joshua Freeman, who he believed was going to expose his racist talk. >> Read more trending news  Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman, who is prosecuting the case, said Wilkins' Aug. 12, 2014, phone conversation with the 'well-known' man who threatened Joshua Freeman's life was caught on tape, according to The News & Observer in Raleigh. Lorrin Freeman and Joshua Freeman are not related. Joshua Freeman worked for the Sheriff's Office from November 2011 to August 2014 but was let go in the days leading up to Wilkins' alleged crimes, WRAL in Raleigh reported. Wilkins, who was reelected in 2018 for a third four-year term, is accused of advising the unnamed man to kill Joshua Freeman, 'whom the defendant knew to have expressed his intention to soon publicly reveal a purported audio recording of the sheriff using racially offensive language to authorities in Raleigh,' the indictment states. The court records do not detail what Wilkins is alleged to have said, or what ultimately happened to the recording of his words. The indictment against the sheriff alleges Wilkins encouraged the man to 'take care of it' and said, 'The only way you gonna stop him is kill him.' According to the indictment, Wilkins counseled the would-be gunman on how to kill Joshua Freeman in a way to avoid getting caught. He offered two tips, according to the document: Get rid of the murder weapon and keep quiet. 'You ain't got the weapon, you ain't got nothing to go on,' Wilkins allegedly told the man, the court records allege. 'The only way we find out these murder things is people talk. You can't tell nobody nothin', not a thing.' Wilkins and the individual discussed a time in which to kill Joshua Freeman and a location that would ensure it would be Wilkins' own Granville County Sheriff's Office investigators who would get the case, the indictment says. Wilkins assured the man he would not tell investigators of his prior knowledge of the crime. The indictment accuses Wilkins of failing to prevent harm to Joshua Freeman or warn him of the 'credible threat' to his life. It alleges the sheriff also failed to seize the gun the other man planned to use, despite the person showing him the weapon at one point. 'The defendant failed to properly execute his duties because of his personal animosity towards Joshua Freeman,' the indictment states. Joshua Freeman was never harmed, though the indictment offers no indication why the alleged plot failed. Wilkins went before a magistrate Monday and was released on $20,000 unsecured bond. Court records show he was ordered to have no contact with anyone named in the indictment. He was also ordered to surrender his passport, if he has one. Read the indictment against Granville County Sheriff Brindell Wilkins below.  Brindell Wilkins Indictment by National Content Desk on Scribd 'No one is above the law,' Lorrin Freeman said Monday, according to WRAL. 'It is always painful when someone who has the public trust faces these types of allegations for voters who put them in that place. 'Any time you have someone who is sworn to uphold the public trust, to protect their community, to investigate and report crimes, allegedly engage in this type of conduct, it is something that needs to be brought to justice, and so we will continue to follow the evidence in this case.' Several followers of Wilkins' public Facebook page offered support in the wake of the indictment. 'You will always have our support,' one woman wrote. 'Praying for you and your family.' 'Our friendship goes back 30 years or more and you have always been a great friend to me,' another woman wrote. 'You were there for me many times. I believe in you and you have my support, always.' Lorrin Freeman said Wake County is handling the case because Mike Waters, her counterpart in Granville County, could potentially become an important witness at trial. Waters, who addressed the case in a statement on his office's Facebook page, wrote to Lorrin Freeman in November to ask her to look into the case. Watch Wake County DA Lorrin Freeman discuss the case below, courtesy of the News & Observer. WRAL reported that Joshua Freeman, who Waters represented in 2014 while in private practice, gave the future prosecutor the tape recording of Wilkins' conversation with the man who talked of killing the former deputy. It was not clear Friday how Freeman obtained the recording. Waters said he immediately turned the tape over to the FBI. The Washington Post reported that Waters met with North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation agents about the recording in January 2017, but nothing happened. 'Quite frankly, it did not get to the top of their investigative list,' Lorrin Freeman told WRAL about SBI agents. Waters gave the recording to a different SBI agent in October 2018, but still, no investigation was initiated, the Post reported. That is when Waters turned to Lorrin Freeman to initiate a probe into the sheriff. She agreed. 'I have reviewed this recording,' Lorrin Freeman wrote to SBI agents, according to the Post. 'It contains a conversation between two individuals, one of whom appears to be the Granville County sheriff, about a former deputy sheriff and culminates in a discussion about committing a homicide.' In his Facebook statement, Waters expressed frustration at the amount of time it took to get an investigation going. 'At all times since (turning over the recording), I have provided assistance to investigators, and once Ms. Freeman opened a criminal investigation, have urged that this matter be given investigative priority,' Waters wrote. 'I understand it is a matter of great importance to the people of Granville County, and it has been a point of frustration that the investigative process has not been more expeditious.' He wrote that any allegations of wrongdoing by law enforcement are troubling, particularly when they involve a sheriff elected by the community. 'Over the next few months, my office will continue to lend assistance to the ongoing investigation as requested, while we continue to do our daily work of protecting victims, prosecuting those who violate the law and seeing that justice is administered,' Waters said. WRAL reported Lorrin Freeman said she worked to obtain obstruction charges against Wilkins because obstruction would be easier to prove in the five-year old case than solicitation of murder or conspiracy. The Granville County Board of Commissioners met Tuesday to discuss the indictment, but County Attorney Jim Wrenn said the board has no authority to remove Wilkins, an elected official, from office as his criminal case winds its way through the court system, WRAL reported. Lorrin Freeman confirmed that fact to the News & Observer. 'Technically, he can continue to serve if he chooses, until convicted,' Freeman told the newspaper. Spectrum News' Charlotte bureau reported that Wilkins has indicated he will not step down. Wrenn said he is considering trying to get Wilkins out of office through the courts but wants to hear the recording himself before making that decision. Gerry Cohen, former special counsel to the North Carolina General Assembly, said state law has a provision allowing a judge to suspend a sheriff and allow a county commission to appoint a temporary replacement pending the outcome of a criminal case. 'The statute is there to allow removal of sheriff,' Cohen told Spectrum News. 'One of six causes is, in fact, conviction of felony. Others are some of the things in his indictment, like willful misconduct, corruption, willful neglect or refusal to perform duties of his office. Some of them match the charges in his indictment.' The News & Observer reported that the probe into Wilkins' alleged actions against Joshua Freeman has led to investigations of the Granville County Sheriff's Office's accounting practices, as well as the operations of its drug unit. Freeman was a member of the drug unit when he was with the agency. 'Part of this investigation has centered on why this sort of conversation would have occurred, what the underlying motivation would have been,' Lorrin Freeman said Tuesday, according to the newspaper. 'Additional information has come to light regarding operations and accounting practices of the Granville County narcotics interdiction team.' Those investigations remain ongoing.
  • President Donald Trump called reports that a U.S. intelligence official filed a whistleblower complaint against him last month 'a ridiculous story' while speaking Friday to reporters in the Oval Office. >> Read more trending news  According to the Washington Post, the president made an unspecified 'promise' to an unidentified foreign leader that concerned the intelligence official. The official filed a complaint Aug. 12, two anonymous former U.S. officials told the newspaper, though lawmakers said Thursday they had yet to see the complaint. The intelligence community's inspector general, Michael Atkinson, appeared before the House Intelligence Committee behind closed doors Thursday but declined, under administration orders, to reveal the substance of the complaint. Update 7:40 p.m. EDT Sept. 20: Former Vice President Joe Biden has released a statement on the whistleblower's complaint against President Trump. In it, Biden describes Trump's alleged behavior as 'abhorrent' and calls on him to release a full transcript of the call 'so that the American people can be judged for themselves.' The entire statement reads: Update 4:40 p.m. EDT Sept 20: The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the son of Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter. The Journal reported Trump asked Zelensky to work with Rudy Giuliani to determine whether Biden 'worked to shield from investigation a Ukrainian gas company with ties to his son, Hunter Biden.'  Trump made the request about eight times during a phone call in July, according to the Journal. Trump was asked Friday if be brought up Biden in the call with Zelenskiy, and he answered, 'It doesn't matter what I discussed.' But then he used the moment to urge the media 'to look into' Biden's background with Ukraine. Trump and Zelenskiy are to meet on the sidelines of the United Nations next week. Update 1 p.m. EDT Sept. 20: President Donald Trump told reporters Friday that the person behind the complaint filed against him was a 'partisan whistleblower' who 'shouldn't even have information,' though he added that he did not know the person's identity. 'I don't even know exactly who you're talking about,' Trump said. 'I don't know the identity of the whistleblower. I just hear it's a partisan person, meaning it comes out from another party.' Trump said Friday that he's spoken with several world leaders and that his conversations with them were 'always appropriate.' Details surrounding the complaint remained unclear Friday afternoon, though The Washington Post and The New York Times reported at least some of the allegations centered on Ukraine. Both newspapers cited unidentified sources. Asked if he knew if the whistleblower's complaint centered on a July 25 phone call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, the president responded 'I really don't know' but continued to insist any phone call he made with a head of state was 'perfectly fine and respectful.' Update 9:50 p.m. EDT Sept. 19: The whistleblower complaint against Donald Trump centers around Ukraine, two anonymous sources confirmed to The Washington Post Thursday evening. The New York Times and ABC News are also citing anonymous sources, saying the complaint involves Ukraine. It's not clear exactly how Ukraine fits into the allegations. However, Trump spoke on the phone with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky two and a half weeks before the complaint was filed, the Post reported. That call was already under investigation by House Democrats, who are looking into whether Trump and his attorney, Rudy Giuliani, tried to manipulate the Ukrainian government into helping with Trump's re-election campaign, according to The Post. Update 1:45 p.m. EDT Sept. 19:  The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee suggested Thursday that lawmakers could ask a judge to compel White House officials to share with Congress a whistleblower complaint allegedly filed last month against Trump. The complaint was filed Aug. 12 and involved an undisclosed 'promise' made by the president to an unidentified foreign leader, CNN reported Atkinson declined to share details of the complaint during a closed meeting of the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday, citing a lack of authorization. 'We do know that the Department of Justice has been involved in the decision to withhold that information from Congress,' Schiff told reporters Thursday. 'We do not know -- because we cannot get an answer to the question -- about whether the White House is also involved in preventing this information from coming to Congress.' He said lawmakers had yet to see the complaint by Thursday afternoon. 'We do not know whether press reports are accurate or inaccurate about the contents of the complaint,' he said. Earlier Thursday, the president denied having done anything inappropriate. Update 1 p.m. EDT Sept. 19: Trump on Thursday denied any wrongdoing after reports claimed a whistleblower had come forward with a complaint about the president making an unspecified promise to a foreign leader. 'Another Fake News story out there - it never ends!' Trump wrote Thursday in a tweet. 'Virtually anytime I speak on the phone to a foreign leader, I understand that there may be many people listening from various U.S. agencies, not to mention those from the other country itself. 'Knowing all of this, is anybody dumb enough to believe that I would say something inappropriate with a foreign leader while on such a potentially 'heavily populated' call. I would only do what is right anyway, and only do good for the USA!' Original report: The promise occurred during a phone conversation with the leader, one source told the Post. Details about the alleged pledge and the leader's identity was not immediately available. Although Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community's inspector general, believed that the whistleblower complaint warranted 'urgent concern,' acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire so far has declined to provide information about the communication to the House Intelligence Committee, the Post reported. A closed hearing with Atkinson is slated for Thursday, the committee said. Maguire is expected to testify publicly Sept. 26, according to the committee's chairman, U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • A Massachusetts man in his 70s has died after contracting Eastern equine encephalitis, or EEE, state health officials said Friday. >> Read more trending news  Authorities said the man was a resident of Freetown, a town about 50 miles south of Boston, according to WFXT. 'Our most sincere sympathy, thoughts and prayers go out to the victim, to their family and their loved ones,' town officials said in a news release. The man was identified as having the 10th confirmed human case of EEE in the state. Officials said eight other cases of EEE have been confirmed in animals, including seven horses and a goat. The man's death was the second reported in the state from EEE. At least two other EEE-related deaths have been reported in recent weeks in Rhode Island and Michigan. 'We continue to emphasize the need for people to protect themselves from mosquito bites,' Massachusetts Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel said Friday in a news release. “The unusually warm weather expected this weekend will increase outdoor activity among people and mosquitoes. It is absolutely essential that people take steps to avoid being bitten by a mosquito.” Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said several cases of EEE are reported each year, most often in states along the Gulf Coast. The mosquito-borne virus is rare, but serious, and can affect people of all ages, Massachusetts health officials said. Boston25News.com contributed to this report.
  • Here is a look at what impeachment is and why it doesn’t necessarily mean removal from office. How does impeachment work? Impeachment was established by the framers of the Constitution as a way to accuse a president of a crime and to hold a trial to determine if he is guilty of that crime. The Constitution lays out two specific actions, treason and bribery, that could lead to impeachment and removal of a president from office. The system also allows for a broader category to accuse a president of crime, although that category is more vague. A president can also be charged with and found guilty of “high crimes and misdemeanors.” What exactly constitutes high crimes and misdemeanors is not defined in the Constitution, making impeachment on that basis more difficult. By design, it is not easy to get rid of a president. Here are the steps in the process for impeaching a president: First, an impeachment resolution must be introduced by a member of the House of Representatives. The speaker of the House must then direct the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary (or a special committee) to hold a hearing on the resolution to decide whether to put the measure to a vote by the full chamber and when to hold such a vote. A simple majority of the Judiciary Committee must approve the resolution. If the Judiciary Committee approves the resolution, it moves to a full vote on the House floor. If a simple majority of the those present and voting in the House approve an article of impeachment, then the president is impeached. The procedure then moves to the Senate where a “trial” is held to determine if the president committed a crime. There is no set procedure for the trial. How it is conducted would be set by the Senate leadership. Members of the House serve as “managers” in the Senate trial. Managers serve a similar role as prosecutors do in a criminal trial, they present evidence during the procedure. The president would have counsel to represent him at the Senate process. The chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court presides over the trial. Senators listen to the evidence presented, including closing arguments from each side and retire to deliberate. Senators then reconvene and vote on whether the president is guilty or not guilty of the crimes he is accused of. It takes a two-thirds vote of the Senate to convict. If the president is found guilty, he is removed from office and the vice president is sworn-in as president. The hearing in the Senate, along with a charge in the House that the president has committed a crime is not a legal one. No penalty, other than removal from office, is brought against a president in an impeachment hearing. Impeachment trials have been held twice in the country’s history -- for President Andrew Johnson and for President Bill Clinton -- and both ended in acquittals: meaning the presidents were impeached by the House, but not convicted and removed from office by the Senate. One vote kept Johnson from being convicted of firing the secretary of war in 1868, which went against a tenure act. In 1999, the Senate was 22 votes shy of convicting Clinton of perjury and obstruction of justice stemming from a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against him by Paula Jones.

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