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WJCT First Read: Thursday, August 29, 2013

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Welcome to WJCT First Read, your daily weekday morning round-up of stories from the First Coast, around Florida, and across the country. We'll also preview some of WJCT's upcoming news programming.

Two Jacksonville libraries still slated to close: Members of the Jacksonville City Council Finance Committee omitted discussion of funding for library branches in Maxville and Brentwood during budget talks. Four other branches originally slated to close will remain open.

Review of Jax Public Defender requested, office hires counsel: State Attorney Angela Corey has asked for a special prosecutor to review allegations of professional misconduct and records tampering in Jacksonville Public Defender Matt Shirk's office. Meanwhile, Rogers Towers Law Firm and a strategist with the Dalton Agency will be working for the office on an independent review. (Florida Times-Union)

Defense begins in Elkins baby killing trial: The prosecution rested its case Wednesday in the trial of an 18-year-old De'Marquise Elkins, accused of shooting 13-month-old Antonio Santiago. (News4Jax) 

Jax Councilwoman calls for specifics in downtown plan: At a workshop last night, Jacksonville City Council Member Lori Boyer told the board of the Downtown Investment Authority she will not approve a new plan for downtown redevelopment without specifics. (Jacksonville Business Journal)

Florida leads in cash home sales: The Sunshine State led the nation last month in cash-only home sales with 66 percent of homes purchased with cash, according to new data. (Orlando Sentinel)

Our Kevin Meerschaert (@KMeerschaertJax) will be at today's budget hearing, where they will review the budget for the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

Today at 9 a.m. on First Coast Connect, we'll get analysis on the situation in Syria with University of North Florida foreign policy expert and former U.S. Security Council member Nancy Soderberg.

You can get all the latest headlines online at WJCTNews.org, on our Facebook page, and on Twitter @WJCTJax.