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    The St. Johns County School District says the all clear has been given at Switzerland Point Middle School following an earlier bomb threat.  The district says the school was evacuated after a threatening message was found on one of the walls inside a restroom Wednesday morning. While deputies were working to determine if the threat was credible or not, deputies say the school was evacuated and students waited outside as the sheriff’s office investigated the threat. The district says during the evacuation students were safe and being cared for.  Yesterday, the sheriff’s office investigated a bomb threat at Bartram Trail High School. Students were sent home for the day following the threat. The sheriff’s office says they have responded to 20-30 school threats since the parkland school shooting on February 14th. “We have to treat each and every one of these as though they are real, and we certainly do that, and we’ll continue to do that.” St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office Commander Chuck Mulligan says. Mulligan says all the recent threats put a strain on the sheriff’s office’s resources as deputies have to investigate every one, and eventually those costs are past along to county tax payers. “We would ask parents to have conversations with their children, and to explain to them that this is not a positive thing for our communities as a whole, because, quite frankly, many people are on edge, and again it does have a cost factor to them the parents.” Mulligan says.  St. Johns County Schools Superintendent Tim Forson is vowing disciplinary action against anyone behind the recent threats. 
  • He wants to make Jacksonville the “Home of the Jag-Wire”.  Jacksonville-based developer Chase Properties, Inc. is unveiling its vision for an aerial-cable gondola commuter system that would connect Downtown’s Southbank and Northbank, with another line on the Northbank running to EverBank Field and Daily’s Place.  “It’s not something that’s pie in the sky, it’s a reality. I think that’s the prettiest river in the world that we could span it with, and so it makes a lot of sense,” says Chase Properties Principal Michael Balanky.  Balanky says the first critical component for sustaining this gondola system would be a new convention center on the Northbank, which is something the Downtown Investment Authority is currently exploring for the site of the old courthouse. Balanky says the convention center would make this system financially viable, as there would likely not be enough demand purely from locals.  On the Southbank, he believes a natural connection would be somewhere near The District, which is a development being pursued near the Duval County Public Schools building. Balanky says he’s involved in the development of Kings Avenue Station, at 1202 Kings Ave- which is close to that site and could serve as a possible landing point- although they’re still researching what the best points would be. The eventual locations for the gondolas would also depend on who else comes to the table for the project. Balanky expects there will be a lot of interest from private entities, but he wants this to be a public/private partnership.  “An iconic development like we’re talking about with this gondola could put Jacksonville on the map. It will give us a lot of exposure, it will be a big attraction when people are trying to decide where they want to go to a convention- this thing will be something people talk about,” he says.  He has no immediate plans to bring this proposal to the DIA or City Council, but is starting to pursue meetings with possible stakeholders, including the Mayor’s Office and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Until it’s clear who may partner and how long it could take to bring in a convention center, Balanky says he won’t have a clear timeline on the gondola project, but he hopes it could realistically be within three years.  Part of the question over whether the Kings Avenue Station site would be suitable for the gondolas, is what exactly the development will be. Balanky says he has the right to develop retail/commercial, but is hoping to also add residential on the site. The overall vision is a 28 story, 300 unit residential, office, and retail project. He’s working with the Jacksonville Transportation Authority- from whom he has a long term lease for the site- to try to amend the lease. JTA declined to comment for this story because the Kings Avenue Station lease is under litigation. In addition to being a “novel” and “iconic” feature to bring to Downtown, Balanky says the gondola system could carry 3,000-5,000 people an hour- serving as a solid transportation system. He also believes the cost of the mull buildout would be “a fraction” of what other systems- like light rail- could cost.  He previously put forward this idea in 2007, but says it fell to the back burner because of economic factors. He believes now is the right time to spark the discussion once again The Mayor’s Office says they’re not aware of this proposal, and offered no comment at this time on whether the Mayor would support the proposal because he’s out of the office this week.
  • It’s a day to be weather aware along the First Coast.  Action News Jax Meteorologist Garrett Bedenbaugh says storms will be developing in front of a cold front and will reach Northeast Florida between noon and 5pm this afternoon.  “We’ll be seeing the potential for some damaging wind gusts, so 40 to 50 and even 60 miles per hour. Also, some hail associated with these thunderstorms, that’s a potential as well. An isolated tornado threat, that’s on the low end, but not Zero.” Garrett says Any tornado would be a quick spin-up according to Garrett. Podcast: Garrett Benenbaugh tracks the arrival of potential severe storms in Northeast Florida. Garrett says the general line of storms will move from the Northwest to the Southeast with individual cells moving to the Northeast at 30 to 40 MPH. Storms are expected to push off the coast this afternoon. Other than the storms expected today, it will be a warm Tuesday with highs topping out at 83 this afternoon. After the cold front moves though the area, Garrett says we’ll see our temperatures drop into the lower 50’s tonight.  Make sure you check in several times throughout the day as we update the potential severe weather, and when storms arrive, listen to severe weather coverage on News 104.5 WOKV.
  • Florida Governor Rick Scott signed legislation to help fight the opioid epidemic in Florida. The Governor signed HB 21 at the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office in Bradenton. The Governor says the bill will help limit the chance for addiction and slow down the spread of opioids. “The most important thing we can do is stop the addition in the beginning”, Scott said before signing the bill.   The bill puts new restrictions on prescriptions, limiting them to 3 days, but could be as high as 7 days if prescribed by a doctor.  It also calls for $53.5 million dollars in state and federal grant funding for treatment programs and to update the state’s prescription database. According to the bill the largest chunk of the $53.5 million, more than $27 million, will go to the Department of Children and Families. More than $14.6 will go to DCF for community based services and $5 million will go to supplying first responders with drugs that counteract the effects of opioids. The remaining $6.9 million will go towards improving the states prescription database and treating opioid abuse in the criminal justice system.  HB 21 will also increase the penalties for people and doctors who are caught with unnecessary opioids, going from a 3rd degree felony to a 2nd degree felony. The bill also creates a new 3rd degree felony for possessing and using an encapsulating machine.  The bill was unanimously approved by the Florida House and Senate and will go into effect July 1st this year.
  • Two arrests have been announced by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office as a result of investigations by the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.  39-year-old Lanard Daise was arrested on February 20th for a series of charges including possession of photographs involving sexual performance by a child.  According to an affidavit for arrest warrant, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children CyberTips in late 2016 discovered email messages containing information was that was believed to be child pornography images.  On April 12, 2017 an arrest warrant was executed at a home in the Grand Park area on Jacksonville’s northwest side.  A forensic examination report showed three of seven devices examined contained child pornography material involving toddler-aged children.  Daise was subsequently arrested.   In a separate investigation, a Jacksonville woman was arrested for 10 charges of possession of child pornography.  An investigation by the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force identified 93 files of child pornography on devices that were traced back to 65-year-old Deborah Wood.  According to an affidavit for arrest warrant, police seized electronic devices from Wood’s westside home in March of 2017.  She was arrested last Wednesday, February 21st.  The warrant says the victims in the images and videos appear to be between 3 and 10-years old.  Wood is being held on more than $2 million bond in the Duval County Jail. 
  • Update: The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office says the reported missing man, Steven Haramia, has been found safe. Deputies say he is home and with his family.  Original Story: The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office is asking for your help in trying to find Steven Christofer Haramia who deputies say left his residence early Saturday morning, possibly around 3am. Deputies say Haramia has several medical conditions which require continued medication. The sheriff’s office says Haramia was last seen wearing a white t-shirt and a camouflage jacket, with black Nike shoes. Deputies describe him as 5’9, 155 lbs, with black hair and brown eyes.  The sheriff’s office said they were searching for Haramia Sunday with their helicopter near the Heritage Park community in St. Augustine.  Deputies say if you know where Haramia is you can call the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office at 904-824-8304.
  • A slight shift in traffic on I-95 south of the Fuller Warren Bridge has taken place, and is part of a larger project that will impact traffic every day. FDOT says the plan is to eventually shift traffic on the Fuller Warren Bridge beginning at the Park Street ramp all the way past the San Marco Boulevard exit.  FDOT says drivers heading south will see lanes shift to the inside and that shift will create a work zone for construction crews to start expansion work on the Fuller Warren as part of the Your 10&95 project. We told you about this shift back in November, and due to weather and other circumstances, its been pushed back multiple times due to weather and other factors.  FDOT says, as part of the project, construction crews will be adding another lane on I-95 in both directions on the Fuller Warren as well as a Shared Use Path. The path will be available for people walking or riding their bike from Riverside to San Marco, or vice versa. FDOT is urging drivers to use caution through this area, for your safty, as well as the construction crews safty. The Your 10&95 project is projected to be compleated by the summer of 2020.
  • The Clay County Sheriff’s Office is going through evidence after their Internet Crimes Against Children Unit served a search warrant in Orange Park this morning. The Sheriff’s Office says the warrant was served at a home on Newport Dr. with the help of Orange Park Police and the Department of Homeland Security.  We are working with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office to learn more information about the search and to see if any arrests have been made.
  • JSO says they are looking for a murder suspect they consider to be armed and dangerous, and they need your help finding them. JSO says they are looking for Donovan Smith and police describe him as a Black man, 5’11 and 165 pounds.  JSO is asking anyone with information on Smith’s location to call them at 904-630-0500.  You can remain anonymous and receive a possible reward of up to $3,000 by contacting Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.
  • For the second time in about five months, a Westside bank has been robbed. JSO says a man walked in to the TD Bank on San Juan Ave near Roosevelt and implied he had a weapon in his jacket. He demanded money from the teller, who complied with an unspecified amount of cash. The suspect then fled on foot. The suspect is described as a white man in his late 20s to early 30s, who’s 6’ and 180-200 lbs. He was wearing sunglasses, a dark hooded sweatshirt, dark pants, and white shoes. One customer was in the bank, along with employees. Nobody was hurt. This same bank was the subject of a robbery back in October. JSO says it’s too early to say if there’s any connection between these two incidents. If you have any information about this robbery or suspect, you’re asked to contact JSO at JSOCrimeTips@jaxsheriff.org or 904-630-0500. You can also submit an anonymous tip an be eligible for a possible reward by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS. 
  • Steven Ponson


    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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  • A Mill Creek, Washington, man is facing charges after a treehouse was found in the Snoqualmie National Forest with child pornography hanging on the walls inside. >> Watch the news report here KIRO-TV first reported on the discovery off the middle fork of the Snoqualmie River in February. The unauthorized treehouse was reported by an employee of the Department of Natural Resources, according to court documents. A DNR worker took a couple of the photographs off the wall to show law enforcement and called the King County Sheriff's Office. The DNR employee took a detective to the treehouse, which was described in court documents as 'an elaborate tree house that resembled a fairy or gingerbread house.' The treehouse was about 8 feet off the ground with a porch surrounding it. >> On KIRO7.com: Treehouse filled with child porn found near North Bend Investigators say that inside the treehouse they found photographs of naked young girls framed on the walls. There was also a bed, food, supplies, a book and an electronic keyboard. They found an envelope with more pornographic images. The King County Sheriff's Office handed the case over to the FBI to investigate. The FBI sent KIRO-TV new photos of the house on Monday. The FBI searched the cabin in April 2017 and collected items to test for fingerprints and DNA to find out who built the cabin. They took construction photos, smoking material, bedding, glasses, photos of girls, bags of batteries and glass from the photograph frames. They sent the items to the FBI laboratory in Quantico. Federal investigators said they also talked to a Search and Rescue volunteer who said he had seen an SUV near the cabin on multiple occasions, and he had the license plate information. Investigators tracked down the owner of the vehicle and watched him. >> Read more trending news  Investigators said they took a swab from the handle of his motorcycle and later got a paper drinking cup he discarded. Those items were also sent to the lab in Quantico. According to court documents, the items tested at Quantico positively identified the 56-year-old Mill Creek man. Court records show Daniel Wood, of Mill Creek, has been charged with two counts of child pornography possession. FBI agents searched Woods condominium in Mill Creek in February and collected his computers, Amazon Fire, SD cards, Polaroid tablet, VHS tapes and video recorder.
  • Family, friends and the Sacramento community are demanding answers in the death of an unarmed black man killed by police in his own backyard Sunday night, holding nothing but a cellphone in his hand. Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn told Fox40 that officers fired on Stephon Alonzo “Zoe” Clark a total of 20 times. Clark, 23, died at the scene, leaving behind two young sons.  Hahn was on hand Tuesday night at a City Council meeting, where several residents of the community protested the officer-involved shooting.  “To hell with Sac PD,” resident Rebecca Person said, according to the news station. “I’m sick of them always murdering black youth.” “What is the police’s job to do? To shoot people that are unarmed in their own backyard?” another resident, Robert Copeland, asked.  Fox40 reported that the Sacramento Police Department is under fire for its morphing story of what Clark was carrying.  “They put one story out that he may have been armed. They put out another that he had a toolbar, whatever that is,” Tanya Faison, a member of the Sacramento chapter of Black Lives Matter, told the news station. “Then they put out that he had a wrench and then they put out that he just had a cellphone.  “They need to get it together.” The two officers involved in the shooting are being criticized for waiting five minutes, until additional officers came to the scene, to handcuff Clark and begin rendering first aid. Department officials are also facing criticism for not promptly informing Clark’s family, including the grandparents and siblings he lived with, that he was the one gunned down in their yard.  Fox40 reported that Clark’s family called 911 for help after hearing gunshots right outside their window.  Sequita Thompson, Clark’s grandmother, told the Sacramento Bee that she was sitting in her dining room when she heard the shots. “The only thing that I heard was, ‘pow, pow, pow, pow,’ and I got to the ground,” Thompson told the newspaper.  Thompson described crawling to where her 7-year-old granddaughter slept on a couch in an adjacent den, where she got the girl onto the floor. She then made her way to her husband, who uses a wheelchair, and he dialed 911.  Thompson said neither she nor her husband heard officers issue any commands prior to firing the fatal gunshots.  The grieving grandmother told the Bee that investigators interviewed her for hours about what she heard, but never told her it was her grandson who had been killed. She finally looked out a window and saw his body. “I opened that curtain and he was dead. I started screaming,” Thompson said.  Hahn said he and his investigators initially had no idea Clark was related to the homeowners.  “We found out they were related because the family told us so,” the chief told Fox40. Hahn said in a news release Monday that officers were called to the family’s neighborhood around 9:15 p.m. Sunday on a report of a man breaking several car windows. The suspect was described as a thin man, just over 6 feet in height and wearing a black hoodie and dark pants. The caller said the man was hiding in a backyard. Dispatchers sent officers to the scene, where the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department also had a helicopter searching for the suspect from the air, the news release said. About 12 minutes after the 911 call was made, the crew in the helicopter told officers on the ground they saw the alleged suspect in a backyard, where he picked up what looked like a toolbar and broke the sliding glass door of the home before running south toward the front of the house.  That house was next door to the Thompsons’ home. The officers on the ground, directed to his location by the helicopter crew, confronted Clark as he came up along the side of his grandparents’ home, the news release said. When they ordered him to show his hands, he fled to the backyard, officials said.  “Officers pursued the suspect and located him in the backyard of the residence,” the news release said. “The suspect turned and advanced towards the officers while holding an object which was extended in front of him.” Believing the object was a gun, the officers opened fire, the news release said. Clark was struck multiple times, though the exact number of gunshot wounds was not immediately known. A follow-up news release issued later Monday stated that no weapon was found near Clark’s body. “After an exhaustive search, scene investigators did not locate any firearms,” the news release stated. “The only item found near the suspect was a cellphone.” Homicide investigators and crime scene technicians said they found three vehicles with damage they believe Clark caused, as well as the shattered sliding glass door that the helicopter crew said they witnessed him break, the news release said.  The only items investigators found that could have been the toolbar described by the helicopter crew included a cinder block and a piece of aluminum that may have come from a gutter. Both were found near the broken sliding glass door, the Bee reported.  Both officers involved in the shooting have been placed on administrative leave, the newspaper said. One of the officers has eight years of law enforcement experience, half of it with the Sacramento department.  The other officer has six years total experience, two of those in Sacramento.  Sacramento city policy requires any body-camera footage of an officer-involved shooting to be made public within 30 days, the Bee reported.  Hahn said he plans to release the officers’ body camera footage, as well as footage from a camera aboard the helicopter, after it has been shared with Clark’s family, Fox40 reported. He anticipated having the footage released by week’s end.  The Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office, the city attorney’s office and the city’s Office of Public Safety Accountability are investigating the shooting, as is the department’s homicide and internal affairs units.  The Bee reported that Clark was at least the 17th person to die in confrontations with law enforcement in Sacramento County in the past two years. Besides the young father, three others were unarmed. 
  • A Middletown woman told police that because there was a warrant out for her arrest, she was afraid to report the death of her mother. Police were called Monday morning to a residence in the 3200 block of Goldman Avenue on a report of a dead body. There, police found an 88-year-old woman dead in her bedroom. MORE: What a West Chester man told the judge before being sentenced on child porn charges The woman’s daughter, who also lives in the house, told police she found her mother dead in her bed Thursday —four days earlier — but she didn’t contact police. The “only reason” she reported her mother’s death is because her daughter, who also lives in the home, asked about her grandmother and found her dead, according to the police report. >> Read more trending news  The woman had a warrant for her arrest for failure to appear on traffic charges through Middletown Municipal Court, the report said. MORE: Grand jury to consider murder charge against Butler County babysitter Police also contacted another daughter of the dead woman and she told them she hadn’t seen her mother since Thanksgiving. Another daughter told police she last saw her mother a couple of months ago, and she was planning to take her mother to see a doctor this week. The Butler County Coroner’s Office was contacted and took possession of the woman’s body.
  • Andy Savage resigned Tuesday as a pastor of Highpoint Church in Memphis weeks after he admitted that, as a youth pastor in Houston in 1998, he had a “sexual incident” with a high school student. >> Read more trending news Savage got a standing ovation from his congregants in January when he admitted to the encounter with Jules Woodson. He was a 22-year-old youth pastor at the time. Woodson was 17. >> Related: Pastor confesses to ‘sexual incident’ with Houston teen who calls his congregation’s response ‘disgusting’ In a statement released Tuesday, Savage said that since January, he’s “come to understand Jule’s vantage point better, and to appreciate the courage it took for her to speak up.” “When Jules cried out for justice, I carelessly turned the topic to my own story of moral change, as if getting my own life in order should help to make up for what she went through and continues to go through,” he said. He admitted that his relationship with Jules was “not only immoral, but meets the definition of abuse of power, since I was her youth pastor,” and said that he thought he had taken steps to make up for the situation when he resigned from his position and moved to Memphis. “Those steps seemed significant at the time,” he said. “Only through my recent time of reflection have I realized that more should have been done.” >> Related: Tennessee megachurch pastor accused of sexual assault Highpoint Church officials released the following statement after Savage’s resignation: Cantey Hanger’s independent investigation of Andy Savage’s ministry has been completed and the findings communicated to the elders and trustees of Highpoint Church by lead investigator Scott Fredricks. While the investigation found no other instances of abuse in Andy’s ministry, the leadership team at Highpoint Church agrees that Andy’s resignation is appropriate, given the reasons stated in his resignation statement. Highpoint leadership has come to recognize that it was defensive rather than empathetic in its initial reaction to Ms. Jules Woodson’s communication concerning the abuse she experienced, and humbly commits to develop a deeper understanding of an appropriate, more compassionate response to victims of abuse. Highpoint Church remains committed to ensuring that it protects families and children involved in its ministries to the highest standard. Accordingly, as announced earlier, Highpoint Church has asked MinistrySafe to conduct an assessment of Highpoint’s current training, policies, screening practices, and supervision in ministries serving minors at Highpoint Church, then help us implement any needed enhancements. That work will begin soon. In the meantime, our child safety policies can be found online here. We urge anyone with suspicions of child abuse to make a report to the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services or local law enforcement.  Rare.us and the Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.
  • Police continue to investigate a series of deadly bombings in Austin after authorities said the suspect, identified as Mark Anthony Conditt, 23, killed himself early Wednesday. >> READ MORE: Who is Mark Anthony Conditt, the suspected Austin bomber? | Trump says 'it's not easy to find' culprit in first public comment on Austin bombings | 'Hold your leaders accountable': Chance the Rapper tweets about Austin bombings | Photos: Austin police investigate explosions | For investigators, a race to decode hidden message in Austin bombings | Map shows location of 4 Austin bombs | Austin explosions: 2 men hurt in fourth blast this month | Officials increase reward to $115,000 for information on Austin bombings | Man held in SXSW threat ruled out as bomb suspect, police say | Austin package explosions: 3 blasts appear connected, claim 2 lives, police say | The Roots' SXSW show canceled after bomb threat; man arrested | Austin package bombings: Friends remember victims Draylen Mason, Anthony House| MORE

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