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Latest from Steven Ponson

    Jacksonville Police are investigating a robbery that turned into a chase and crash on Jacksonville’s southside Friday. Police say at 5AM, they were responding to a robbery on Old Kings Road and Baymeadows Road, when a responding officer saw a suspect vehicle. JSO says the vehicle fled and police chased after them. Eventually, the two men and two women crashed at the Pinebrook Apartments into another vehicle and all four ran away. JSO says they were all found and taken into custody and there are no suspects on the run.  At this time its unknown what led up to the original robbery. JSO says the victim wasn’t injured during the incident.
  • Update:  Jacksonville Police say the man who was trapped underneath a mobile home in the Mandarin area Tuesday afternoon has died. Police say he was part of a crew working to move the home on Plummer Grant Road, near Old St. Augustine, when it collapsed crushing the man. Police are still investigating what happened, but we’re told it appears accidental and there is no foul play suspected at this time.  Original story: The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department said crews are on Plummer Grant Road in Mandarin working a mobile home collapse. JFRD said one person was trapped in the collapsed mobile home and taken to the hospital with critical injuries.
  • Clay County Animal Services is now using facial recognition technology to help reunite you with your pet if they go missing. They are partnering with Findingrover.com which uses facial recognition technology through photos of your missing pet to find a match. Annaleasa Winter with the county says the technology has a 98% accuracy rate because it uses 130 scan points including things like fur color, snout length and space between the eyes.  “If your pet goes missing, it should just be a matter of moments before you can be reunited.” Winter says. Its free to sign up and Winter says the information will remain private. When you sign up you’ll be asked to upload a forward-facing photo and Winter says that is key. “And there can’t be any obstructions like a cage or anything like that.” Winter says. She says you’ll be asked a few questions about your pet and you’ll be asked to provide your name and address. The benefits of this new partnership don’t just end at helping to reunite pets with their owners, Winter says you can find a pet you’d like to adopt or help other people find theirs if are looking. Also, the program helps to save taxpayers money and is beneficial for the animals too at the shelter. “By clearing out these lost pets quickly, it saves room and funding for animals that don’t have homes.” Winter says. If you’d like to sign up, you can go to findingrover.com to get started.
  • Jacksonville Police are investigating two different shootings from Tuesday night. Police say, in the earlier shooting, a 17-year-old boy was driven to UF Health, from an unknown place, with a gunshot wound to his backside. At this time its unclear what led up to this shooting. In a separate shooting, police say a man in his late 30’s was shot multiple times in the chest at a laundromat on Herlong Road at the corner of Fouraker Road on Jacksonville's Westside. JSO says there was some sort of conversation outside the business between the suspect and the victim but didn’t elaborate on if that conversation led up to the shooting. Police tell us no one is in custody, but they do have some leads in this case.  No suspect description was given for either shooting.
  • Jacksonville Police are investigating a shooting on the city’s northwest side where a man was shot in the neck. Police say they found the man off New Kings Road on Mattox Avenue last Sunday night. He was taken to a hospital and is expected to survive.  At this time, police say its unclear what led up to the shooting which happened outside a home. If you have any information on the incident you’re asked to call JSO at 904-630-0500 or you can email them at JSOCrimeTips@jaxsheriff.org.
  • Jacksonville University is about to become the first school in the state of Florida to launch a degree program to prevent medical errors. According to a 2018 Johns Hopkins study medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the U.S. Dr. Teri Chenot says medical errors are becoming an epidemic in the medical community.  “Communication, as long as I’ve been in this, is, it continues to be an ongoing issue.” Dr. Chenot says. She tells us the first class will focus on simulation, ethics, team training and some of the curriculum includes health law, regulatory issues, heath organizations and regulatory organizations that have oversight.  The school says the new program is designed for working professionals and the program launches this month.
  • Jacksonville Jaguars Owner Shad Khan is keeping his leadership intact for the 2020 season.  Khan says he met with GM Dave Caldwell and Head Coach Doug Marrone over the past few days to hear their plans to compete for a postseason berth after a 6-10 season. And he spoke with numerous players on Monday.  Khan says his decision to keep Marrone and Caldwell has nothing to do with Sunday 38-20 win over the Colts, but everything to do with his positive meetings since the game.   “...my belief that this is not the time to consider an overhaul of our organization”, Khan said in a statement. He did call the 2019 season unacceptable, specifically the second-half collapse.   Khan said that following the AFC Championship Game season in 2017 he made a four-year commitment to the collective leadership of the football operations, and he made one change by firing Tom Coughlin as Executive Vice President of Football Operations.  That position will not be filled in 2020, meaning Caldwell and Marrone will report directly to Khan. Tuesday we got a peak at how Caldwell and Marrone plan to turn the franchise around. During a press conference Caldwell says he wants to resign Defensive End Yannick Ngakoue. “I would say that’s priority number one, to make sure that he comes back to Jacksonville and he’s a Jacksonville Jaguar.” Caldwell said. Meanwhile, as far as coaches go, Marrone said no decisions have been made, but they are being evaluated. “there are points that we’ve laid out, or I have laid out, to Shad, and Tony and obviously Dave, of where I think we need to go.” Marrone said. Here is Shad Khan’s full statement: I have met on several occasions over the past few days with Dave Caldwell, Doug Marrone and their staffs to fully understand their plans to reverse our course and compete for a postseason berth in 2020. In addition, I held numerous one-on-one meetings with players on Monday and thoroughly appreciated their candor and thoughtful views – some expected, some not – on the season behind us and where we go from here.    While our discussions will remain confidential, the decision I am making to keep our staff intact for 2020 has nothing to do with our victory on Sunday and everything to do with my positive meetings with Dave, Doug, the coordinators and our players, as well as my belief that this is not the time to consider an overhaul of our organization.   The 2019 season was unacceptable and I’ve made my dissatisfaction clear. While many unusual circumstances influenced our season, none can fully explain or defend our second-half collapse with first place in the division within reach on Week 9. At the same time, there were positive developments and contributions that should not be overlooked.    We came out of our AFC Championship Game season of 2017 by making a four-year commitment to the collective leadership of our football operations. Only two seasons have passed and one change from that leadership team has already been made. I want to see what we produce under a new organizational structure in 2020. Goals have been established. Accountability will be paramount.   As part of our new framework, the position of Executive Vice President of Football Operations will not be filled in 2020. Dave and Doug will each continue to report directly to me, as they have since mid-December. Our work begins immediately. We have a lot of draft capital in our favor to help us achieve our goals for 2020, and beyond.   Finally, I was struck and impressed, but not surprised, by the strong showing of our fans Sunday at TIAA Bank Field. The euphoria and passion was genuine and appreciated by everyone with our team, and that goes double for me. My sincere thanks to everyone. It was a moment that underlines the fact that nothing beats having a winning football team. It’s my obligation to deliver one to Jacksonville in 2020.
  • The JEA Board will hold a special meeting tomorrow at 9 a.m after comments today from Mayor Lenny Curry. Curry called on the chair of the Board to call a meeting to end the utility’s strategic review and take the possible sale of JEA off the table. The City says the public has lost faith in the process and removing the option is the right thing to do. “I never said I supported a privatization or recapitalization,” Curry says. “I said it’s part of the options that ought to be discussed. What I am saying conclusively right now, is that this needs to be pulled, it needs to be stopped and JEA needs to get back to doing their business.” Following those comments from Curry this morning, Board Chair April Green called for the special meeting that will be held in the JEA Tower at 21 W. Church Street. The meeting is open to the public and will be streamed live. Last week WOKV reported when the utility voted to put then CEO Aaron Zhan on administrative leave while lawyers negotiate his exit.  Chief Operating Officer Melissa Dykes has been named interim CEO.
  • Next year you'll get the chance to vote on a proposed measure that, if approved, would increase minimum wage in Florida. The Florida Supreme Court approved the language Thursday for a proposed constitutional amendment that would gradually increase minimum wage in the state to $15 an hour by 2026.  The proposed amendment says initially minimum wage would go up from $8.46 an hour to $10 an hour in September 2021.  If it passes, minimum wage would go up one dollar every year annually after 2021 until it reached $15 an hour in 2026. The proposed constitutional amendment needs to be approved by 60% of voters.  
  • The Clay County Sheriff’s Office is out with a new warning on scammers trying to take your money. Wednesday, deputies alerted us to scammers calling people within the county saying they are with the sheriff’s office and there is a warrant out for their arrest. The scammers then go on and threaten to throw the caller in jail if they don’t pay up via a cryptocurrency.  “If they have a warrant for their arrest we might call them and let them know about it, but we would never request anything.” Says Deputy Ronnie Freshour with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office. At this point, deputies say only one person has been scammed and it’s unclear where the call originates from. If you think you’ve been a victim you’re urged to call the sheriff’s office at 904-264-6512.
  • Steven Ponson

    Reporter

    Steven Ponson is the morning reporter for Jacksonville’s Morning News. He has been with Cox Media Group since the summer of 2015, and been living in Florida for over 20 years. Steven is an alumni of the University of Central Florida where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Radio and Television and a minor in Sociology. It’s a dream come for him to work in the radio business and has a family legacy in Florida radio. When he is away from WOKV, he likes to spend time with family and friends and is an avid football and hockey fan.

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The Latest News Headlines

  • Search crews have found the body of a Montana teen who vanished on New Year’s Day, deputies said. According to USA Today, 16-year-old Selena Not Afraid was found dead near an Interstate 90 rest area Monday morning, weeks after she disappeared while traveling from Billings to Hardin after a New Year’s Eve party. Investigators do not suspect foul play, the Big Horn County Sheriff’s Office said. In an FBI notice, authorities said the girl “left a disabled vehicle and walked into a field adjacent to the rest area” about 2 p.m. Jan. 1. She was “not dressed for the weather conditions,” authorities said. Not Afraid’s disappearance sparked a multiagency search involving hundreds of people, the Billings Gazette reported. Read more here or here.
  • Officials have euthanized a mountain lion that attacked a toddler on a trail at a California park, Orange County officials said. According to CNN and the Desert Sun, the attack happened after 4 p.m. local time Monday as a family visited Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park. “The mountain lion came out of somewhere and grabbed the 3-year-old by the neck and dragged him a short distance,” Capt. Tony Bommarito of the Orange County Fire Authority told the Desert Sun. The child’s father then sprang into action, hurling a backpack at the mountain lion, Bommarito said. The animal set the boy free and went for the backpack before climbing a tree, the outlets reported. After the family fled to safety, the boy was treated at a hospital, authorities said. Orange County deputies said the boy is “OK,” the Desert Sun reported. Officials euthanized the cougar with permission from the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife, the outlets reported. Read more here or here.
  • A man has been arrested for causing a crash that killed a local father in September 2018.  Florida Highway Patrol and Nassau County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested 32-year-old Brian Holtkamp on Friday.  Troopers posted a photo of Holtkamp as he was put into a the back of a patrol car.  He’s charged with DUI manslaughter. FHP says Holtkamp was driving north on U.S. 17 north of Bruney Road in Yulee, when he drove into the other lane and collided head-on with another vehicle.The passenger in that car, 37-year-old Justin Cribb, died. He left behind a 13-year-old son.  Cribb’s mother told Action News Jax his family misses him terribly.  The driver was seriously hurt in the crash.   According to FHP, Holtkamp tested positive for drugs, including meth. Action News Jax confirmed that he has prior arrests for charges including driving under the influence, burglary and grand theft.
  • With chilly temperatures this morning in the 30’s, inland communities are under a freeze warning until 10 am.   Action News Jax Meteorologist Corey Simma says temperatures this afternoon only climb to the upper 40's to near 50 degrees. And it will be breezy so it feels colder. Expect a widespread freeze on Wednesday morning, and a hard freeze well inland, with another day in the 50's. Then a gradual warming trend will arrive to end the week.  Friday’s high temperature will be in the low 70’s but with widely scattered afternoon showers.
  • A suspect is still on the loose after shooting at a house and killing a 10-year-old Memphis, Tennessee, boy playing outside Sunday. That 10-year-old was identified as Jadon Knox. WHBQ spoke to Jadon’s aunt, Twanda, who said the family wants justice. “Jadon was the life of our family. Very, very funny. He loves to keep everyone laughing,” Twanda said. A friend of Jadon’s said they were sitting on a front porch when someone pulled in front of the house and began firing. “This is murder. You killed him. You took his life. He was only 10. His life had not even started,” said Twanda. This investigation is still ongoing. If you have any information about this shooting, call Memphis police at 528-CASH. A GoFundMe has been started to help the family with Jadon’s funeral arrangements, according to the GoFundMe page. If you would like to donate, click here. A candlelight vigil will be held Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at Josephine and Carnes.

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