ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day
86°
Mostly Cloudy
H 92° L 76°
  • cloudy-day
    86°
    Current Conditions
    Mostly Cloudy. H 92° L 76°
  • cloudy-day
    83°
    Evening
    Mostly Cloudy. H 92° L 76°
  • cloudy-day
    77°
    Morning
    Partly Cloudy. H 92° L 76°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest top stories

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

Latest from Stephanie Brown

    One of the development groups behind a plan to build a Convention Center at the Jacksonville Shipyards site, is now putting forward a proposal for “Riverwalk Place”, less than a mile down the street. GALLERY: “Riverwalk Place” in Downtown Jacksonville Jacksonville’s Downtown Investment Authority solicited bids to build a Convention Center, hotel, and parking garage at the site of the old Courthouse and City Hall Annex. Three proposals were returned, including one from Rimrock Devlin DeBartolo Jacksonville, LLC. That group is, in turn, a partnership between Rimrock Devlin Development and DeBartolo Development, LLC.  Despite offering that plan, RDD then partnered with Iguana Investments Florida- which is a development group backed by Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan- to propose a Convention Center and hotel for the Shipyards site instead. The DIA previously selected Iguana as the master developer for that site, and Iguana is pitching this Convention Center project as the first phase of the overall redevelopment.  GALLERY: Convention Center proposed for Jacksonville Shipyards “We believe the Shipyards is the optimal location for the Convention Center and hotel because of its riverfront location, ability to expand if needed, and synergies gained from its proximity to the existing sports venues and other development activities planned in the immediate aftermath, says DeBartolo Development President and Chief Operating Officer Edward Kobel.  Now, RDD is offering alternate plans for the old Courthouse/Annex site, where the DIA initially imagined the Convention Center potentially being constructed.  “Our alternative development proposal for the Old Courthouse property will serve as a perfect complement and will provide downtown with much needed uses and facilities that will help strengthen the connectivity between the downtown core and sports complex area,” Kobel says.  “Riverwalk Place” is a “mixed-use 24 x 7 lifestyle community”, according to RDD. It includes a 10,000 square foot multi-restaurant venue along the St. Johns River. Along Bay Street, there would be a five-story, 347-unit luxury multi-family apartment complex; nine-story, 150-room limited service hotel; and six-and-a-half story, 468-space parking garage.  “We believe our interwoven plans for the Old Courthouse and Shipyards will help accomplish this goal and we are thrilled to take this next step in pursuing this vision,” says Rimrock Devlin Development’s Wallace Devlin.  RDD believes these proposals together will be an impetus for riverfront development in Downtown, and could also serve to transform the Downtown core overall.  RDD delivered this proposal to the DIA today. It’s not yet clear how the DIA will receive this proposal, as it still has active bids for a Convention Center and hotel at the old Courthouse/Annex site.  These project proposals come as several projects are underway to try to revitalize the area. GALLERY: Shad Khan’s plan for the Jacksonville Shipyards WOKV has brought you an in-depth look at the City’s proposal to take down the Hart Bridge ramps, to further accommodate riverfront development. Khan’s group continues to negotiate the Shipyards redevelopment, and has a greater $2.5 billion redevelopment vision for the Shipyards and Sports Complex combined. The Laura Street Trio is also undergoing redevelopment, Berkman Plaza II was recently sold, and The District is underway on the Southbank.
  • Jacksonville’s Sheriff and Mayor have increasingly been promoting “intelligence-led” police policies, and the proposed new Real-Time Crime Center is being offered as a platform to bring that strategy to the next level. We first told you when Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry put forward his $1.2 billion City budget proposal, that it included funding for a Real-Time Crime Center. Details were initially scarce on what exactly that program would look like, though.  A preliminary investigation by WOKV started to shed some light, but we’ve now obtained the full proposal for this pilot program, to paint a clearer picture.  Program goals  The proposal shows the heart of this project is bringing together existing public safety systems- like the gunshot detection system ShotSpotter and JSO’s Computer Aided Dispatch- and feeding them in to a single system, which can be efficiently viewed and filtered. That system is called CommandCentral Aware.  Motorola Solutions first proposed this program in April, and the letter they sent to the City shows the pilot is built around four key concepts- breaking down data silos by aggregating data in to a single platform, deriving intelligence in real time by providing first responders with situational information, maximizing technology investments by leveraging City investments, and streamlining workflows through an adaptable platform.  With data aggregation, the unified CommandCentral Aware platform- which is the cornerstone of the RTCC- is fed by any number of streams of information. That data can then be mapped around the event taking place, giving a comprehensive look at what is known about the history of crime at a scene, available resources near the area, information from emergency dispatches, and more.  This plays in to the second goal, of providing real time intelligence to first responders. The analysts using this system would be able to feed all of the unified data they get to the emergency responders heading to a scene, giving them a more comprehensive idea of what type of situation they are walking in to. This could increase their safety, and that of people in the area of a crime, according to the proposal.  Some of the data comes from sources the City has already invested in, which speaks to the third goal. The City of Jacksonville and Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office already have the ShotSpotter system, which alerts police when gunshots are detected. JSO has previously indicated this could also work in coordination with their use of the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network, although there is no direct mention of that in the pilot program proposal.  Finally, on streamlining workflow, the system has the ability to add more features and adapt to workflows already in effect, according to the proposal letter.  The pilot proposal pitches this as a “next generation public safety solution” for an intelligence-driven police approach. That approach is something that Curry and Sheriff Mike Williams have promoted, as they have brought more of these intelligence-driven systems online.  CommandCentral Aware is also envisioned as a force multiplier, by integrating systems and, therefore, more effectively using existing staff and resources. Additionally, it’s believed this would let police continue to shift from reactionary responses to a more proactive position, by tracking trends.  Features  To feed CommandCentral Aware, a specialized video surveillance system is being provided at 15 sites for the duration of this pilot. The program proposal says these sites were prioritized by the City. While WOKV has obtained a list of the sites, we are withholding naming the locations, at the request of JSO.  “The goal of this center is to provide a safe environment for our community by adding some technology in helping us reduce crime,” says a statement from JSO.  The video system specifically runs a program that lets analysts filter by time, object size, color, and similar criteria to find relevant video. Video is analyzed and sorted as it’s ingested, so that when the analyst searches for something, relevant objects and backgrounds are pulled up. The analyst can then select their object of interest, and the system will call back to the original video. The search function allows you to look for a specific object, or search by general traits or similar descriptions. This can be used to potentially isolate people or vehicles matching suspect descriptions, as an example.  The pilot program proposal says private, business surveillance can also be integrated in to the system, if police are given access. WOKV has previously reported that Curry is also aiming to revamp the City’s security camera network, and that could potentially feed in to this platform in the future, as well.  Additionally, the program details say this pilot serves as a framework for future growth, which could mean additional cameras, more video integration, enhanced data analytics, and community engagement tools.  Budget and next steps  The “Proof of Concept” agreement for this program, obtained by WOKV, shows Motorola Solutions first proposed the use of this “Intelligence-Led Public Safety solution” to the City in early April. At the time, it was pitched as a six-month pilot program. Instead, the City has committed to a three-month pilot. JSO says they determined that would be enough time to decide whether they wanted to pursue this program full time.  “JSO has done an extensive search and explored many systems from different cities and the Motorola platform is the best fit for our city,” says a statement from JSO to WOKV.  Once the CommandCentral Aware program is up and running, the countdown on the pilot begins. The “Proof of Concept” agreement was signed on July 23rd, and the proposal estimates six to eight weeks to implement the pilot.  The pilot program is no cost to the City, specifically for the equipment. There are a range of IT costs to support the system, though, as well as some desk space and minor furniture needs. JSO says the initial year budget is $1.625 million, plus $283,523 in salaries for four safety analysts. The Mayor’s budget proposal shows those costs are spread across several IT subfunds, as well as in JSO’s budget.  If the City decides to continue past the pilot phase, they would have to buy the equipment from Motorola Solutions. JSO says their budget request for this upcoming fiscal year already includes the assumed purchase of that equipment.  JSO is already working on standing up the no-cost pilot, and- if Curry’s budget is approved- could move to what they consider “phase one”, which is adding workstations and cameras after the pilot. If that is successful, “phase two” would follow, which would be an additional cameras expansion and software support. Phase two would start next fiscal year and last two to five years, according to a statement from JSO to WOKV.  Jacksonville’s City Council Finance Committee is reviewing JSO’s portion of the Mayor’s budget proposal on Thursday, and it’s expected the RTCC will be a part of that discussion. This is part of several weeks of budget hearings, which leads to the full City Council approving a budget before the start of the next fiscal year, October 1st.  JSO declined an interview or further comment until the budget is approved.  WOKV will be monitoring this meeting, and will continue to work through the proposed City budget, to determine how your tax dollars are being spent.
  • Just a couple of weeks before two now-suspended Jacksonville City Council members were slated to face a jury on federal charges, including fraud and money laundering, the trial has been pushed off. There was a joint motion by the government and Katrina Brown and Reggie Brown to continue the trial. It had been slated for September 4th, but is now scheduled for February 4th.  The defendants were jointly named in a 38-count federal indictment, relating to Katrina Brown’s family BBQ sauce business. The indictment says Katrina Brown did not disclose that the business was failing, and instead she and Reggie Brown used shell businesses to draw down on a federally-backed loan for the business, for work that was never done.  Katrina Brown is also charged with using fraudulent information to try to secure bank loans for the business, and Reggie Brown is also charged with not filing a tax return one year and not disclosing money he received from this alleged scheme to the IRS.  Both defendants deny any wrongdoing.  Both Democratic City Council members were suspended from the governing body, following the indictment. Governor Rick Scott has appointed Ju’Coby Pittman and Terrance Freeman are their replacements, and both have since been sworn in.
  • The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office is searching for a man who robbed an Arlington gas station at gunpoint. Police responded to the Shell Gas Station on Merrill Road, near Townsend, after a man threatened the store clerk and demanded money. The suspect then ran off westbound on Merrill.  JSO says nobody was injured. A small amount of money was found nearby, but police say the suspect is still on the loose.  The only suspect description at this point is that the man was wearing a black mask, gloves, and dark clothing, and he was holding a silver handgun.
  • The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department says a man has been rescued from a bucket truck and taken to the hospital. It happened near the Scottish Inn, off Philips near I-95. JSO says the man accidentally touched a power line with his pole saw. JSO says the man was taken to the hospital with critical injuries, but he was able to talk to those around him as he was transported.
  • Your Downtown Jacksonville drive could look much different in a few years, with the City of Jacksonville hoping that’s a key step in changing the makeup of Downtown overall.  It was close to two years ago that the idea of taking down the Hart Bridge ramps in Downtown was first put forward by Mayor Lenny Curry. Since then, Jaguars owner Shad Khan and his development team have promoted the concept, as something that’s vital to their redevelopment efforts at the Jacksonville Shipyards and Sports Complex.  WOKV has now obtained a copy of the City’s BUILD 2018 federal grant application, which gives new insight on exactly why the City sees this move as so valuable. We’ve also obtained a new map of the proposed project, providing insight on the change you can expect for your drive, if the funding lines up.  Overview  The City’s grant application puts the project’s total cost at $37,462,500. The Florida Department of Transportation has made $12.5 million available for the City, as a matching grant. Curry is proposing the City borrow its $12.5 million share- a plan that still has to be approved by the City Council. That leaves $12,462,500 in funding that still needs to be secured, and this grant is asking for that from the US Department of Transportation.  This BUILD grant application comes after the City fell short on a previous bid for $25 million in federal funding. Since that time, they’ve been able to drop the price tag on the overall project, so that the gap is around $12.5 million instead, and still includes a contingency.  Curry’s Chief of Staff Brian Hughes tells WOKV they expect to find out if they receive this new grant funding by the end of October. While he says they’re “optimistic” that will come through, the project is designed in phases, so that they can continue moving forward regardless.  The grant application says the project is expected to be done and open to traffic by mid-November 2021.  Economic impact  Khan and his development team have made it clear in recent project proposals that taking down the Hart Expressway ramps is necessary for future development. They recently pitched a $2.5 billion vision for the Sports Complex and Shipyards area, but say removing the ramps is an important step toward achieving that.  The BUILD grant application explains why.  The elevated Hart Expressway lanes in Downtown were designed to quickly bring people in and out of the heart of Downtown. When this three-quarter mile stretch was built decades ago, the Shipyards was active. The expressway was designed to get people past that industrialized area, and it was elevated in order to get over gantry cranes used at the site. The express route further served as a quick and easy way people could expand to live in new suburbs, while still working in Downtown.  While the elevated lanes served their purpose for their time, they now bypass not only the Sports Complex and Shipyards, but the neighborhoods there. Keeping people on the elevated lanes on this route- quickly going in and out of the core, with no way to stop along Bay Street- therefore means vehicle traffic and foot traffic alike are diverted from any businesses that may want to set up along the 85 acres of property that can be developed along the St. Johns River.  “People are not only going into downtown to work and be entertained but are moving closer to the urban core. This structure has become an impediment to progress in Jacksonville,” the grant application says.  The City says poorly placed infrastructure like this has obstructed Downtown development in recent years, with this project specifically also serving to separate the Riverfront from the property on the other side of the elevated roadway.  “The elevated bypass expressway is a remnant of an old planning vision for infrastructure, when highways were designed to provide commuters the ability to avoid urban cores. This planning philosophy resulted in urban areas all over the country being split in half. One side saw upward mobility and the other side was literally walled off from prosperity,” the grant application says.  The City says, in the area now, the elevated lanes only serve as a barrier.  “The challenge today for Jacksonville is that the elevated expressway destroyed all possibility of urban renewal and investment on the eastern end of the north bank of the St. Johns River, one of the city’s best natural transportation and amenity assets. The elevated Hart Bridge Expressway creates not only a physical barrier to development, but a practical and psychological barrier as well by forcing traffic to completely bypass the former old shipyards, the Sports and Entertainment Complex, and approximately one-third of the downtown footprint,” the grant application says.  The belief is that bringing the Hart Bridge traffic down on to Bay Street by the stadium will create more foot traffic, meaning restaurants, shops, and similar businesses would have the customer base needed to survive.  “The city owned land continues to lack development and thus, any meaningful productivity. This project will reverse this stagnation and quite literally pave the way for a more progressive and vibrant city,” the grant application says.  Investment in the area  The City and Khan have partnered in recent years to push redevelopment in this area.  They partnered to build an amphitheater- Daily’s Place- at the site of TIAA Bank Field, which hosts concerts and other events, in addition to being activated for game day experiences. That deal also included big improvements to the stadium itself, including upgraded Club Level seating.  Khan was chosen by Jacksonville’s Downtown Investment Authority to redevelop the vacant Shipyards site with hotels, apartments, restaurants, retail, and more.  GALLERY: Shad Khan’s vision for the Jacksonville Shipyards Those negotiations were recently granted an extended timeline, which could allow them to continue for a couple of years, although the Jags have said they don’t plan to wait that long to work on their next project, which is the development of Lot J. This is an existing parking lot at the stadium, which the team wants to change in to an entertainment space, while also adding hotel rooms, office space, and a parking garage.  A potential first phase of the Shipyards development itself could be a Convention Center and hotel. While the DIA solicited bids for building those at the site of the old County Courthouse and City Hall Annex, Khan’s team put forward a competing proposal to instead have those built on the Shipyards property, as the first phase of the redevelopment. The DIA has not yet commented on the proposal.  GALLERY:Iguana Investments’ plan for a Shipyards Convention Center/Hotel Between Lot J, the Shipyards, and a greater vision for the Sports Complex, Khan believes the development could be worth some $2.5 billion in all. They will be seeking City partnership along the way, including with this project, saying that it is vital to their vision.  “This $37.5 million project will fund less than one mile of transportation improvements while inducing $2.5 billion in private sector investment into the urban core of Jacksonville,” the grant application says.  That’s far from the only redevelopment effort in Downtown as well- the Birkman Plaza II was recently sold, the Laura Street Trio is undergoing a large-scale revitalization, The District is moving forward on the Southbank, and many other smaller projects are in motion. The City believes this is a turning point for Downtown, and this project is the key to unlocking the potential.  Project proposal  It all leads to the question of what exactly the changes would look like.  WOKV has obtained the most recent map of the proposed project. This is subject to change, as design efforts continue, but the City says it’s a good representation of what they’re hoping to achieve.  The ramps from the Hart Bridge to MLK and Liberty Street on the east side of the stadium will remain intact, and traffic will flow on to those ramps to head to the bridge the same as well. The ramps that currently carry traffic to “Downtown”- or Duval and Adams streets- are the ones that would instead now go down to grade at Bay Street. A new signalized four-way intersection would be created at the intersection of Gator Bowl Blvd and Bay Street, where the road now just turns around the stadium.  “This will reverse the decades-long negative effects of historic federal highway planning that bifurcated the city’s most valuable land,” the grant application says.  The capacity on Bay Street would be increased, with at least three lanes heading in each direction- instead of a total of five lanes- and some additional turn lanes. The map indicates there will be medians added to the road, although we’re told the plan is to still use reversible lanes, like the ones currently in place, where the direction of the lane can be changed, depending on the traffic flow needed for a certain event or time.  The portion of the ramps that drop traffic off on Duval and Adams, and pick traffic up off Forsyth and Monroe, will remain standing. Around Georgia Street, which is between the stadium lots and A. Philip Randolph Blvd, drivers heading west on Bay Street would then have a choice to make. They can continue on Bay Street, in which case they will continue on the lanes in a similar manner as they are now, or they can connect back up to the existing ramps, and get dropped off closer to the Downtown core. The ramps pick back up just east of APR, near Intuition. The City is currently not planning to remove the portion of those ramps at the western end of Bay Street, because there is no immediate push for development there- where we have the Duval County Jail, Maxwell House, and more- so the ramps are not the same obstruction that they are closer to the stadium. Traffic from west of the ramps, heading east, can either pick up at the ramps as they are now- which would carry them to Bay Street instead of the Hart Bridge- or drive down Bay Street directly.  Safety and other features  In addition to getting rid of an “eyesore”, this project would also improve safety, according to the grant application. They would use traffic calming measures- like raised medians and curbs- to increase bike and pedestrian usability, among other things. The project map shows several areas of new or upgraded sidewalk and some bike lanes.  The speed limit in the area would be 35 miles per hour. The City hopes that the reduced speed- compared to the elevated lanes- along with the other proposed improvements, would make the area much safer for walking and riding a bike, in addition to driving.  WOKV previously told you the Jacksonville Transportation Authority is seeking federal funding, with partners, to build a transportation corridor in Downtown- including Bay Street- which could include driverless shuttles. This BUILD grant applications says taking down the Hart Bridge ramps could serve to create an active corridor for pedestrians, bicycles, vehicles, and ride sharing services.  Additionally, the grant application says the Hart Bridge Expressway has “reached its useful life”. Life cycles costs are expected to drop with a newer road structure, especially one that’s planned to better meet current and future needs.  Aside from the roadway infrastructure, the grant application also says the City would install broadband conduits, to allow future providers to better serve low-income neighborhoods in that area. Old lights would be swapped for new LED lights, which are expected to have a longer lifespan and lower maintenance costs.  There is also consideration given to environmental concerns. The grant application says there are plans for mitigating flooding and maintaining weather resiliency overall.  Next steps  The Finance Committee, and then the full City Council, still need to sign on to the Mayor’s funding plan for the City’s $12.5 million contribution to this project. That final vote will take place as part of the overall City budget approval process, which will be completed before the start of the next fiscal year on October 1st.  The Hart Bridge funding specifically is part of the City’s Capital Improvement Program, which is vetted alongside the overall $1.2 billion City budget proposal.  WOKV continues to go in depth on the Mayor’s budget and spending plans for the City, to track how your tax dollars may be spent. Stay with us as we continue to gather more information.
  • There is now an $11,000 reward being offered for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for the fatal shooting of 7-year-old Heydi Rivas-Villanueva on Jacksonville’s Westside. This comes as the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office releases new surveillance footage of two men and several cars believed to be involved. Heydi was sitting in a car with her dad in a parking lot on 103rd Street Saturday evening, while her mother was in a store. JSO says two men seen in the surveillance footage walked to an adjacent parking lot, about 70 feet away, and got in some kind of argument with at least one person in a dark sedan. It appears that a dark Kia next to that sedan was also involved. It’s unclear how many people were in each of those two cars.  During the argument, JSO says gunfire erupted between the parties. Sheriff Mike Williams says their preliminary investigation has shown more than a dozen shots were fired, and one of them hit Heydi in the head, while she was sitting in the car. Police say Heydi and her family were not targeted or involved in any way. Instead, she was caught in the crossfire.  A Good Samaritan took Heydi and her father to the hospital, but the girl died as a result of the gunshot.  “A terrible evening. A combination of sadness and anger, than I know the entire community is feeling,” says Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry.  The two people caught on surveillance footage fled to a green Nissan Altima, that appears to be an early to mid-2000s model. JSO believes that vehicle has a bullet hole in its windshield.  As of JSO’s mid-Sunday news conference, Crime Stoppers of Northeast Florida says seven tips had been called in. Williams says that information has given them good leads, which they continue to investigate. Later Sunday, JSO released the additional surveillance video, in the hope that someone would recognize those involved.  “At the end of the day, we have to have partnerships with the community to solve cases like this. We absolutely have to,” Williams says.  Crime Stoppers of Northeast Florida Executive Director Wyllie Hodges is emphasizing that any tip called in to them is completely anonymous. He took it further, to say anyone with information is obligated to come forward with it.  “If the criminals out there knew that, every time they commit a crime, that our phones are gunna start ringing- I assure you that would be a deterrent to crime,” Hodges says.  To be eligible for the $11,000 reward, your tip must be called in to Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS. You can also submit information to JSO directly at 904-630-0500, but that does not allow you to be eligible for the reward.  State Attorney Melissa Nelson says felony murder will be the foundation of charges they bring forward in this case. Florida law allows suspects to be held accountable for a murder committed while they were engaging in a felony crime, even if they did not commit the murder itself.
  • The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department has made changes to its application for blasting permit, after some miscommunication lead first responders to be caught off guard by last weekend’s implosion of a Florida Power & Light plant on the Northside. The blasting permit for that Cedar Bay plant project was signed by all the required parties, but at that time, the exact date of the event had not been established. Emails obtained by WOKV showed that a representative of the contractor emailed the date a few days ahead of the event, but the recipient of that email didn’t realize that was intended to serve as the formal notification, so the date was not communicated to others within JSO and JFRD.  After being flooded with calls about the implosion, emergency responders told us they had been unaware of the event. JFRD since clarified that they had been aware the demolition was to take place, but not exactly when, because of that apparent miscommunication on the formal date and time notification.  The contractor says they notified adjacent property owners.  The new permit now has three “General Requirements” that were not previously listed. The first is that an implosion or large outside demolition needs a ten-day notification period. Second, it specifies that the blasting company is the one who must notify surrounding homes and businesses. Third, it says consideration should be taken for the size of the demolition, time of day, and other factors.  There are some additions at the signature lines as well. At the JSO and Jax Fire Prevention Division lines, there is now a note saying signature requires notification of the JSO Chief of Homeland Security Division and JFRD Chief of Operations, respectively.  A JFRD Spokesperson says the intent of this is to make the notification responsibilities of the contractors and companies involved clearer. JFRD found no wrongdoing on the part of the employee who did not realize the contractor’s email served as official date and time notification.
  • The Jacksonville Beach Police Corporal shot twice in an exchange of gunfire with a suspect is now out of the hospital, less than a day after the string of incidents transpired.  Jacksonville Beach Police say 16-year veteran Corporal Bill Eierman was working a nearby crash scene, when he heard gunfire and ran to the area.  27-year-old Jovan Sisljagic allegedly shot at an officer in a vehicle and then fled on foot. Police say that initial officer following, and then heard more gunfire. Eierman had encountered Sisljagic around Beach and 3rd Street, and they allegedly shot at each other. Eierman was hit twice, while the suspect was hit three times. Sisljgic was released from the hospital within hours, and has been booked on two counts of attempted murder. He remains in jail, following his first appearance in front of a judge today.  Eierman was released from the hospital late Thursday afternoon and is expected to make a full recovery.  It’s still unclear why Sisljagic fired at the officer.  The Police Chief is thanking the community for their support, while asking Eierman and his family be given privacy.
  • The Duval County Health Department is warning you to protect yourself against mosquitoes, after several sentinel chicken flocks tested positive for West Nile Virus. Sentinel chickens are flocks in various areas of the City, which have their blood checked for mosquito-borne diseases. Health officials say these new test results mean the risk of transmission of West Nile to humans is now increased in Duval County. To protect yourself, the Health Department wants you to “Drain and Cover”.  Drain any standing water from around your home to prevent mosquitoes from multiplying. This could include garbage cans, pool covers, or even small toys. You should discard old tires, pots, or anything that may be around your yard, which could collect water. You should also maintain swimming pools in good condition, tarp boats and vehicles from rain, and keep bird baths and pet water bowls clean.  You’re also encouraged to cover your skin with clothing or repellant to protect yourself from bites. Mosquito repellent should contain DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, or IR3535. Be cautious, with some repellants not suitable for children- on infants, you should use mosquito netting.  Health officials also encourage you to cover doors and windows with screens, so that mosquitoes can’t get in to your home.  The Duval County Health Department says they, along with Jacksonville’s Mosquito Control Division, continue surveillance and prevention efforts. The CDC says most people infected with West Nile do not show symptoms. About 1 in 5 people will develop and fever or other symptoms, and about 1 in 150 people will develop a serious illness, which could include central nervous system effects like encephalitis and meningitis. There is no vaccine or specific antiviral treatment, but the CDC says over-the-counter  pain relievers can be used for the minor symptoms. This comes a few weeks after sentinel chickens tested positive for West Nile in Keystone Heights in Clay County. Testing since then has not found any further positive samples. Share this post on Facebook to warn your friends and neighbors:
  • Stephanie Brown

    Assistant News Director

    Stephanie Brown is the WOKV Assistant Director of News and Afternoon Reporter. She guides the direction of WOKV’s news content, frequently contributes to social and digital platforms, and is a leading voice on-air. Stephanie has been with the team full-time since May 2012, which is when she graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in telecommunication and political science. When she’s not enterprising story ideas or digging in to an investigation, she’s likely cooking or enjoying downtime with her dog.

    Read More

The Latest News Headlines

  • Musicians, fans and friends of Aretha Franklin, the “Queen of Soul,” are honoring her legacy after news of her death Thursday. Franklin’s publicist said she died at her home in Detroit, according to The Associated Press. She was 76. >> Read more trending news  Fans are remembering Franklin’s singular presence, stage command and legendary performances. >>Related: Aretha Franklin dies at 76 Franklin’s family issued an official statement to The Hollywood Reporter: “In one of the darkest moments of our lives, we are not able to find the appropriate words to express the pain in our heart. We have lost the matriarch and rock of our family. The love she had for her children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and cousins knew no bounds.  “We have been deeply touched by the incredible outpouring of love and support we have received from close friends, supporters and fans all around the world. Thank you for your compassion and prayers. We have felt your love for Aretha and it brings us comfort to know that her legacy will live on. As we grieve, we ask that you respect our privacy during this difficult time.” Family members confirmed Monday to WDIV-TV that Franklin, 76, was “gravely ill,” after a report from entertainment site Showbiz411 claimed she was being surrounded by friends and family in Detroit. >>Photos: Aretha Franklin through the years Franklin canceled several concerts this year due to health issues, Fox13Memphis reported. According to The Associated Press, “she was ordered by her doctor to stay off the road and rest up.” She performed in her hometown of Detroit in June 2017, the Detroit Free Press reported. She ended the concert with an appeal for those in the crown to, “Please keep me in your prayers,” according to the newspaper. She last performed in November at Elton John’s AIDS Foundation gala in New York City, the News reported. >>Related: The best Aretha Franklin songs: A timeline Franklin was born March 25, 1942, in Memphis, Tennessee. Her family moved to Detroit when she was young, according to Fox13Memphis. Franklin started singing when she was young, with encouragement from her mother, Barbara, and her father, the Rev. C.L. Franklin. She started out singing gospel but launched a career in secular music after she turned 18. She rose to fame after signing in 1967 with Atlantic Records. Franklin’s career, spanning six decades, has spawned hits including “Respect,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” and “Chain of Fools.” She’s considered one of the best-selling artists of all time, selling more than 75 million albums worldwide. Franklin was inducted in 1987 to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. She’s earned 18 Grammy Awards and a Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work. In 2005, then-President George W. Bush described Franklin as “a woman of achievement, deep character and a loving heart.”
  • One of the development groups behind a plan to build a Convention Center at the Jacksonville Shipyards site, is now putting forward a proposal for “Riverwalk Place”, less than a mile down the street. GALLERY: “Riverwalk Place” in Downtown Jacksonville Jacksonville’s Downtown Investment Authority solicited bids to build a Convention Center, hotel, and parking garage at the site of the old Courthouse and City Hall Annex. Three proposals were returned, including one from Rimrock Devlin DeBartolo Jacksonville, LLC. That group is, in turn, a partnership between Rimrock Devlin Development and DeBartolo Development, LLC.  Despite offering that plan, RDD then partnered with Iguana Investments Florida- which is a development group backed by Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan- to propose a Convention Center and hotel for the Shipyards site instead. The DIA previously selected Iguana as the master developer for that site, and Iguana is pitching this Convention Center project as the first phase of the overall redevelopment.  GALLERY: Convention Center proposed for Jacksonville Shipyards “We believe the Shipyards is the optimal location for the Convention Center and hotel because of its riverfront location, ability to expand if needed, and synergies gained from its proximity to the existing sports venues and other development activities planned in the immediate aftermath, says DeBartolo Development President and Chief Operating Officer Edward Kobel.  Now, RDD is offering alternate plans for the old Courthouse/Annex site, where the DIA initially imagined the Convention Center potentially being constructed.  “Our alternative development proposal for the Old Courthouse property will serve as a perfect complement and will provide downtown with much needed uses and facilities that will help strengthen the connectivity between the downtown core and sports complex area,” Kobel says.  “Riverwalk Place” is a “mixed-use 24 x 7 lifestyle community”, according to RDD. It includes a 10,000 square foot multi-restaurant venue along the St. Johns River. Along Bay Street, there would be a five-story, 347-unit luxury multi-family apartment complex; nine-story, 150-room limited service hotel; and six-and-a-half story, 468-space parking garage.  “We believe our interwoven plans for the Old Courthouse and Shipyards will help accomplish this goal and we are thrilled to take this next step in pursuing this vision,” says Rimrock Devlin Development’s Wallace Devlin.  RDD believes these proposals together will be an impetus for riverfront development in Downtown, and could also serve to transform the Downtown core overall.  RDD delivered this proposal to the DIA today. It’s not yet clear how the DIA will receive this proposal, as it still has active bids for a Convention Center and hotel at the old Courthouse/Annex site.  These project proposals come as several projects are underway to try to revitalize the area. GALLERY: Shad Khan’s plan for the Jacksonville Shipyards WOKV has brought you an in-depth look at the City’s proposal to take down the Hart Bridge ramps, to further accommodate riverfront development. Khan’s group continues to negotiate the Shipyards redevelopment, and has a greater $2.5 billion redevelopment vision for the Shipyards and Sports Complex combined. The Laura Street Trio is also undergoing redevelopment, Berkman Plaza II was recently sold, and The District is underway on the Southbank.
  • Drain your property of standing water.  The Nassau County Health Department is seeing an increase in West Nile Virus activity in chickens that are used to test for mosquito-borne illness.   There's also been an outbreak of Eastern Equine Encephalitis reported in emus.  According to the Health Department, human infections with EEEV and WNV are asymptomatic or may result in a nonspecific flu-like syndrome with fever and headache.   So far in 2018, there have been four cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis infection in horses in Nassau, and one outbreak of EEEV reported in emus. Ten sentinel chickens have tested positive for EEEV, and 17 have tested positive for WNV.  Nassau County health officials urge you to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes and to take precautions to help limit your exposure:  -Drain water from garbage cans, house gutters, buckets, pool covers, coolers, toys, flower pots or any other containers where sprinkler or rain water has collected. -Discard old tires, drums, bottles, cans, pots and pans, broken appliances and other items that aren't being used. -Empty and clean birdbaths and pet's water bowls at least once or twice a week. -Protect boats and vehicles from rain with tarps that don’t accumulate water. -Maintain swimming pools in good condition and appropriately chlorinated. Empty plastic swimming pools when not in use.  You are also encouraged to cover your skin with repellent and/or clothing.  Repellents with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, and IR3535 are effective.
  • Aretha Franklin is the Queen of Soul, and while her rendition of the national anthem was soulful before Thursday’s NFL game between Detroit and Minnesota, some critics believed the song was too long. Those naysayers were drowned out by Franklin's fans, who said they needed to show a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T. >> Read more trending stories Franklin wore her trademark fur coat and a Detroit beanie to signify her hometown. She sat down at a piano and belted out a 4-minute, 35-second version of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Her version brought the house down at Detroit's Ford Field, and her performance quickly went viral. For reference, the average length of the last ten Super Bowl national anthems has been just under two minutes. Twitter had a field day with the song’s length, and so did the game’s broadcaster, CBS. The network put up a graphic that showed not only the time of possession by the Lions and Vikings, but also by Franklin. But Franklin’s legion of fans responded in kind, defending the song’s length. “That was a gospel version of the #NationalAnthem,” tweeted John Miller (@jfreemon63) “It's called seasoning folks. Prep takes longer ... but it tastes better.”
  • Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee was among the passengers on board an American Airlines plane that was quarantined in Nashville early Thursday. That plane has since “been cleared” and the passengers allowed to leave, according to WZTV. Here are the latest updates: Update 9:10 a.m. EDT Aug. 16: Huckabee thanked American Airlines employees for their professionalism  in a tweet Thursday morning. “Kudos to @AmericanAir pilot and crew -- handled medical issue on red eye from LAX to Nashville very professionally,” Huckabee wrote. “We were held for a while as medical personnel made sure the person wasn’t Gwyneth Paltrow from Contagion. Seriously, hope the lady is okay -- taken on gurney.” Airport officials said in a statement released to The Tennessean Thursday morning that American Airlines Flight 1289 was quarantined as a precaution because of fears that a passenger’s recent illness might still be contagious. The plane has since been cleared and all passengers released, according to multiple reports. Officials did not identify the illness. Update 8:40 a.m. EDT Aug. 16: Nashville International Airport spokesperson Shannon Sumrall said in a statement released to The Tennessean that passengers were held Thursday morning on American Airlines Flight 1289 as a precaution because of a passenger’s recent illness. Sumrall told the newspaper that a physician “medically cleared” the passenger ahead of the flight, but that the passenger did not have paperwork to confirm his or her health. “(The passenger) was talking bout the recent illness and other passengers on board became worried of exposure,” Sumrall told The Tennessean. “For safety, passengers were held by BNA (Nashville International Airport) Police until contact was made with the physician to confirm clearance, which it was.” Officials did not identify the illness. Update 7:52 a.m. EDT Aug. 16: The American Airlines passenger who appeared to be ill “has been cleared,” WZTV reports. The passengers are now off the plane, the station said. Original report: Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is on board an American Airlines plane that has been quarantined in Nashville, WZTV reports. Flight 1289, which traveled from Los Angeles to Nashville overnight, was detained at Nashville International Airport after a passenger appeared to be sick, an American Airlines spokeswoman told the news station. >> Read more trending news  Huckabee tweeted about the incident early Thursday. “5 hr red eye flight on @AmericanAir Nashville from LA. On ground for 40 min and now told someone on board is sick & we are being towed to other gate and quarantined until all checked out. Can’t get up to go to bathroom or get off plane. It’s the Russians! I just know it!” he wrote just after 6:30 a.m. EDT Thursday. “1 hr after landing got to far away gate where @AmericanAir will hopefully get us off this plane! Medical [personnel] at gate. Hope it’s not because I got that straw in CA,” he added. According to WZTV, “the plane was taken to a remote portion of the airport where emergency personnel were waiting for the plane.” Those on board were instructed to stay put as a Vanderbilt Hospital doctor examined the patient. Read more here.

The Latest News Videos