FBI agents left Duval teachers union office with credit card statements, computers, photos show
A day after FBI and IRS agents raided the Jacksonville office of Duval Teachers United, there are still a lot more questions than answers about what federal crime the agencies were investigating, and who in particular is the target.
Deegan faces panel of local journalists in televised event; Davis attends separate untelevised event with parents
The Mayoral Candidate Forum is happening Wednesday night at 7 p.m. at the WJXT-4 studios. Kent Justice along with journalists from First Coast News, WJCT and the Florida Times Union will ask questions to one of the two candidates, Democrat Donna Deegan. Both candidates, Deegan and Republican Daniel Davis were invited months ago. Deegan accepted, Davis declined.
$379 million of proposed gas-tax revenue would fund Skyway extension
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – More than one-third of the money raised from the proposed 6-cent hike in Jacksonville’s gas tax would be used to expand the Skyway -- the underutilized automated downtown transportation system. At the time there was an outcry from people not wanting to see local tax dollars spent on the system. AdTommy Hazouri, who the mayor at the time, wasn’t even keen on the project, then called the ASE -- the Automated Skyway Express. I think it’s an expensive means of transportation for Jacksonville, but it’s with us. Now, despite millions that would go to fund Skyway expansion, Hazouri said the city is still keeping that promise to taxpayers.
Report: Federal grand jury subpoenas witnesses in probe of JEA
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A federal grand jury will soon hear from witnesses in the investigation of JEA’s efforts to sell the city-owned utility to a private entity, according to a report by the Florida Times-Union. Columnist Nate Monroe cites several sources that numerous grand jury subpoenas have been issued. Attorneys Office has been looking into JEA and the issues surrounding the leadership team and their involvement in the sales plan. Among the findings of a months-long investigation by a special Jacksonville City Council committee was that the effort to sell JEA “ran afoul through Aaron Zahn’s greed.”AdFederal prosecutors do not comment on current investigations. There’s no official word when the grand jury will take up the matter or how long this investigation could take.
Report: St. Johns County’s approved Amazon facility could open next year
ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – An Amazon last-mile distribution center approved by the St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners in September could open by the 2021 holiday season, according to a report from the Florida Times-Union. News4Jax news partner the Jacksonville Daily Record reported in September that the center would create 350 jobs. A representative for the applicant told commissioners at a Sept. 15 meeting that the facility will employ 150 full-time workers and about 200 distribution drivers. Wages will be an “industry leading pay at $15 per hour,” he said. A report from the Florida Times-Union on Saturday included an interview with the county’s deputy administrator for economic development, who said Amazon hopes to have the St. Johns County facility ready for operations for next year’s holiday season.
COVID-19 in courtrooms prompts Duval County to halt trials this week
Attorney Regina Wright says almost immediately after jury selection Tuesday state prosecutors told her a fingerprint examiner with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office tested positive for COVID-19. Wright said on Wednesday she was informed her client Channing Crowley also tested positive for the virus. A second criminal trial was delayed Tuesday after three jurors were seated next to another juror who believed he was exposed to COVID-19, records show. A third and separate trial set to begin this week was delayed, also, after attorneys say their client, Anthony Graves, tested positive for COVID-19. There were 2,986 filed felony cases at the beginning of that week in Duval County.
Duval County judge resigns from vote-counting board after yard sign, donations controversy
Senior County Judge Brent Shore resigned from the Duval County Canvassing Board on Thursday, News4Jax confirmed. Judicial rules bar judges from political donations of any kind, and canvassing board rules bar members from displaying a candidate’s campaign signs. And I would expect that from my fellow members of the canvassing board,” Boylan said. The canvassing board has been at the center of a recent controversy that has captured statewide attention. News4Jax called the Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission to ask if a complaint has been filed against Judge Shore.
Jacksonville seeks $150K from GOP convention host committee
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville city officials are seeking reimbursement for more than $150,000 in expenses for law enforcement costs, consulting fees and other funds spent preparing to host the National Republican Convention that never took place in their city. City officials told the Florida Times-Union that they have been assured by the 2020 Jacksonville Host Committee that it will be repaid. Jacksonville had been selected to host Trump and other Republicans in late August after a disagreement over social distancing with North Carolina’s Democratic governor prompted the party to scale back festivities in Charlotte. Jacksonville officials, including Mayor Lenny Curry, had openly sought to host the event. In a report to the Federal Election Commission, the host committee did not show any payments to the city, the Times-Union reported.
JEA plan to raise powerlines over river raises eyebrows
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Another costly plan by the JEA is coming under fire after Florida Times-Union reporter Christopher Hong reported the city-owned utility is looking at plans to raise high-voltage power lines crossing the St John’s River to allow bigger ships to access the port of Jacksonville. Hong also reported there is confusion as to who suggested the projected and if it is actually needed. The new JEA management team was not aware of any request by the Army Corps to raise the power lines and it has not been discussed at any recent board meetings. The project was being discussed by the former management of JEA. JEA issued a statement after plans for the project became public Tuesday:
Jacksonville City Council votes down proposed tax hike, approves JaxPort funding
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. The Jacksonville City council voted down a proposed tax hike and approved more than $70 million for JaxPort funding Tuesday night. Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry reacted to the eventful City Council meeting on social media. Lenny Curry (@lennycurry) July 29, 2020The mayors proposed budget still has to be debated and given final approval by the City Council. I appreciate the City Council unanimously supporting my funding of @jaxport tonight. Lenny Curry (@lennycurry) July 29, 2020The dredging project began in 2018 and will take several more years to complete.
Report: Duval Schools investigating ‘transphobic’ social media posts connected to teacher
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Duval County Public Schools is investigating derogatory social media posts that are reportedly connected to a teacher at Sandalwood High School. “I will NOT refer to you with female pronouns,” Caggiano wrote to a transgender student in a 2019 email obtained by the Times-Union. On Friday, a Duval Schools spokesman confirmed to News4Jax that the district is looking into Caggiano’s social media posts. Duval County Public Schools should complete its investigation thoroughly and swiftly - and it should be the end of Mr. Caggiano’s public teaching career. Following his time in the Navy, Caggiano was a teacher at Ribault Middle School and Twin Lakes Academy Middle for seven years.
Police look for new evidence in 1968 disappearance of Jax Beach boy
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Local police are partnering with a special task force in hopes of uncovering new evidence in the missing persons case of a 3-year-old boy who disappeared in 1968. The Florida Times-Union calls the search for Jonathan “Jon Jon" Hagans the oldest missing persons case in the state. The little boy went missing while on a family trip with his family to Jacksonville beach on June 11, 1968. Recently, the police agency's Special Victims Unit welcomed to the force Jon Jon, a bloodhound puppy named after the missing boy. Investigators initially thought Jon Jon drowned.
Judge sides with Duval County school board in armed employee lawsuit
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A judge ruled Monday that the Duval County School Board can employ school safety assistants, dealing a major setback to a lawsuit filed by parents seeking to keep armed employees out of Jacksonville schools. DOCUMENTS: Read a copy of the lawsuitThe hearing on the School Board's motion to dismiss the lawsuit capped months of legal back-and-forth over the legality of school safety assistants. The two sides have clashed over whether these assistants are exempt from state law barring anyone besides law enforcement from carrying firearms on campus. "The judge upheld that the program does comply with existing Florida law, though we did make clear that the law is ambiguous and is open to interpretation," Boyd said. While the School Board has filed a motion for sanctions in the case, Dees said he was unlikely to grant that motion.
New e-sports arena set to open in Jacksonville
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Florida is getting a new e-sports arena. The Florida Times-Union reports that ACE Arena is scheduled to open next month in Jacksonville. It will have more than 120 gaming systems, four training/party rooms, a video projection wall and a lounge. Owners say the 22,500-square-foot (2090-square-meter) center will be the largest dedicated e-sports facility in Florida. ACE Arena will host a local e-sports league for kids, as well as adult and corporate leagues.