Channel 4 news anchor Tom Wills shares his special memories of Mary Baer and John Gaughan
I'd like to share with you a couple of my John and Mary memories. I want to start with some of the very first comments that former news anchor Deborah Gianoulis and I made about Mary 30 years ago--and we stand by them today. "Mary Baer has fit into our newsroom from the first day she got here. It seems like she's been here all along."
Another spectacular December Saturday
Last Saturday, the afternoon high temperature reached 83° tying the previous record. Today, Saturday, we once again will be rapidly warming into the 80s with a decent shot of tying (again) the old record of 83°. Interestingly, that old record was just a few years ago, 2016. That was the same year Hurricane Matthew raced, just off the beaches, up the Coast.
Army Corps beginning $500,000 study of erosion on St. Johns County beaches
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Nearly four years after Hurricane Irma and five years after Hurricane Matthew, Congress has allocated $500,000 to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to begin a study of erosion along North Ponte Vedra Beach. Over the last decade, the St. Johns County coastline has been eaten away by those two hurricanes as well as other passing storms and nor’easters. David Ruderman with the Jacksonville District of the Army Corps said they now have the money to start a coastal storm risk management study. “I think it’s about a 2½-mile stretch.”AdThe coastal survey could take up to three years to complete and won’t cost any more than $3 million -- that cost to be split between the Jacksonville District and St. Johns County. Once the cost agreement is signed by both St. Johns County and the Army Corps, the study will get underway.
Jacksonville Beach Pier construction moving along slowly
JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – Jacksonville Beach’s most iconic and visited landmark is closer to reopening, but it’s a slow, painstaking process that’s expected to take at least another year and a half. Construction has resumed on the Jacksonville Beach Fishier Pier, which sustained extensive damage and lost a quarter of its length during Hurricanes Matthew and Irma in 2016 and 2017, respectively. RELATED: Why did construction on Jacksonville Beach Pier stop? | Jacksonville Beach Pier construction to start in fall | Rebuilding of Jacksonville Beach Pier set to begin in NovemberThe new parts of the pier are supposed to be bigger and more durable, which is no small feat, according to the contractors, who gave News4Jax a tour of their progress. While the pier project is funded by Jacksonville taxpayers, an insurance policy is helping defray some of the cost.
How will Isaias impact Jacksonville area?
Plus, Tropical Storm Isaias taking a track well to the east of Jacksonville, our impacts will remain minimal. Yet, Isaias will impact our Southern coastal counties and along the St. Johns River in Clay and Putnam counties the most. The nearest approach will be about 100 miles off area beaches and will be there around 8-10 am. If there is to be some impact, it will be between 6 a.m. until noon. Maximum beach winds from Jacksonville beach northward will remain just barely at tropical storm force -- 40 mph.
Mandarin pier, boat ramp destroyed by hurricane finally reopen
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The city has finished rebuilding the boat ramp and fishing pier off Mandarin Road that was destroyed by Hurricane Matthew in October 2016 and it is now reopened to the public. The new dock and pier were rebuilt to withstand the effects of a hurricane. "It was totally destroyed by the hurricanes so without rebuilding it, this facility would have been closed. In addition to these repairs, the dock now sits 2 feet higher. The city says it's the largest fishing pier and dock on the St. Johns River.
Jacksonville man sentenced to 21 months for fake disaster aid claims
CNNJACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Jacksonville man was sentenced to 21 months in federal prison for providing false information to the Federal Emergency Management Agency in order to receive disaster assistance, the office of U.S. Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announced Wednesday. Lepoleon Spikes, 47, was also ordered to pay more than $57,789 in restitution after pleading guilty to wire fraud. According to federal prosecutors, Spikes submitted applications to receive disaster aid from FEMA after Tropical Storm Debby in 2012, Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and Hurricane Irma in 2017. He falsely claimed that his house in Jacksonville was damaged, causing him to relocate, prosecutors said. The case is part of the Disaster Fraud Task Force, created in September 2017.
Florida avoids direct hit, but Dorian will cause damage
Getty ImagesTALLAHASSEE, Fla. - People along Florida's East Coast were told Tuesday to continue heeding local warnings as Hurricane Dorian remained a life-threatening storm, even if it is no longer forecast for a Florida landfall. The much-watched cone of probability showed the storm forecast to remain off the state's East Coast as it headed north toward the Carolinas. Still, the storm remained a strong hurricane with Category 2 winds of 110 mph, and Dorian is expected to inflict significant damage before getting north of Florida late Wednesday. Getty Images Two men observe a squall caused by Hurricane Dorian looming in the Atlantic Ocean on Sept. 3, 2019, in Ormond Beach, Florida. Matthew also went up the East Coast without making landfall but caused heavy damage in many areas.
Naval Station Mayport sends ships to sea ahead of Hurricane Irma
MAYPORT, Fla. – The U.S. Navy will be sending ships from Naval Station Mayport out to sea ahead of Hurricane Irma. It's the biggest sortie of ships from Mayport ahead of a hurricane since 1999. In September of that year, the carrier JFK and 12 other ships left the base ahead of Hurricane Floyd. At sea is a better place for them to be," said Steve Millican, emergency manager for Naval Station Mayport. Plans are also in the works at Naval Station Mayport to make sure that all personnel and base resources are safe as Irma approaches.
Nearly a year after Hurricane Matthew, parts of Jax still need repair
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It has been nearly a year since Hurricane Matthew devastated parts of northeast Florida and local governments are still waiting for federal reimbursements. In San Marco, Riverside Park’s bulkhead took a hard hit from the storm. “People out in the evening sit here with cameras or just watch the sunset,” San Marco resident Sam Mitchell said. Nobody is ever out here.”“I just kind of avoided the area since the fence went up,” San Marco resident Brandon Estes said. “It’s totally inaccessible,” Mandarin resident Clint Waltrip said.
FEMA extends deadline for flood insurance claims following Hurricane Matthew
ATLANTA – The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced on Tuesday that people affected by Hurricane Matthew now have more time to finalize their proof of loss flood insurance claims. FEMA issued an additional extension for National Flood Insurance Program policyholders in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. An NFIP proof of loss form includes detailed estimates with necessary documents supporting the cost to replace or repair the damaged property. An insurance adjuster may assist the policyholders in preparing their proof of loss form as specified in the policyholders standard flood insurance policy. For additional questions, policyholders may contact their insurance company, or the NFIP customer care center at 800-621-3362, option 2.
Fundraisers aim to reopen Huguenot Park
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Two months after Hurricane Matthew hit Jacksonville, there is a renewed push to reopen Huguenot Park. The Sandollar Restaurant on Heckscher Drive is hosting three fundraisers aimed at helping make that happen. The goal is to reopen Huguenot Park exactly as it was. That's why people come from everywhere," said Dick Rosborough, who lives near Huguenot Park. To help bring people back to the park, the Sandollar Restaurant on Heckscher Drive will be hosting fundraisers all weekend.
Debris pickup continues in Nassau County
YULEE, Fla. – The Nassau County Public Works Department believes the first phase of the debris pickup along county maintained roads will be complete on Friday, November 11th. Nassau County will begin a second pass on November 14th. If you feel that your debris was missed in the collection process, contact Nassau County Engineering Services at (904) 530-6225 or Road and Bridge at (904) 530-6175. • Separate the yard debris such as limbs, leaves and logs from construction/demolition debris. Updates concerning debris pickup will be communicated through the County's news website, www.thecountyinsider.com, and the County's Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/nassaucountyfl.
U.S. Geological Survey photos show Hurricane Matthew beach impact
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – U.S. Geological Survey aerial photographs shows Hurricane Matthew cut a new inlet between the Atlantic Ocean and the Matanzas River, outside of St. Augustine. The aerial photography of Florida’s East Coast before and after Hurricane Matthew drive home the damage. In some low-lying areas, Matthew cut islands in half, completely wiping the beach away and creating new inlets. St. Johns County has sent the state of Florida a preliminary estimate that $120 million worth of beach and dune sand was lost during the hurricane. The U.S. Geological Survey is still gathering data on Hurricane Matthew to help coastal areas become more resilient.
Matthew's wrath continues with storm surge flooding
But even as the eye of the storm moved north toward the South Carolina coast about 2 a.m. Saturday, storm surge flooding continues in Florida and Georgia. The bad news is that Matthew (though a weaker storm) could touch the coast near Charleston, South Carolina, on Saturday morning. The combination of a dangerous storm surge, the tide, and large and destructive waves will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline. But, as you know, water is a hurricane’s greatest punch, and we’ve had plenty of it, both from storm surge, and from the sheer amount of rain that has fallen. Winds are switching to the northwest, and additional storm surge is going to be pushed down the creek.