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First Read: Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Public Defender Matt Shirk, WJXR The Bargain Channel, and the Overland Bridge are all in the headlines today. 

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.

Today's Weather
In Jacksonville there will be scattered showers, mainly after 3 p.m. Skies will be mostly cloudy, with a high near 59 degrees. Chance of precipitation is 30 percent. Tonight isolated showers before midnight. Mostly cloudy skies, with a low around 52 degrees and a 20 percent chance of rain.

At the Beaches there will be scattered showers, mainly after 1 p.m. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 59 degrees. Chance of precipitation is 30 percent. Tonight there will be scattered showers, mainly before 10 p.m. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 52 degrees, and a 30 percent chance of precipitation. (National Weather Service)

Grand jury calls for Public Defender Matt Shirk's resignation; Shirk says he will not resign
The special grand jury to investigate allegations that Shirk kept and drank alcohol at his office in a city-owned building and acted inappropriately with his staff members decided not to indict Shirk on criminal charges because "it would not be a prudent expenditure of public funds to proceed on such a case." The grand jury instead called for Shirk to resign his position. Shirk told News4Jax that he would not resign his position. (News4Jax)

The Bargain Channel is selling its final deals
WJXR 92.1 FM, home to the call-in radio shopping show The Bargain Channel, has announced that it has been sold to new owners that are changing the stations format tonight, New Year's Eve. (WJCT)

More traffic pattern changes coming soon on I-95 as Overland Bridge project continues
The project, which reaches from the Fuller Warren Bridge to Emerson Road, is expected to be finished by 2016. The northbound lanes of I-95 are going to be redirected in the early summer of 2015 to the newly built lanes to allow for demolition of the existing ones. (News4Jax)

Historic water works building in St. Augustine nearing could be renovated in near future
The St. Augustine Waterworks Pumping Station was placed on the National Register of Historic Places earlier this year. This month the Florida Historic Commission added it a short list of potential projects that may receive state funds. (WJCT)

Lots of choices in Jacksonville for ringing in the new year
Festivities will be held all over the First Coast to celebrate 2015, including the fireworks show on the St. Johns River. (The Florida Times-Union and News4Jax)

WJCT First Read will be taking a break for the New Years holiday. We'll be back Monday, January 5, 2015.

You can get all the latest headlines online at, on our Facebook page, and on Twitter @WJCTJax. You can follow Ray Hollister on Twitter @RayHollister.

Ray Hollister can be reached at, 904-358-6341 or on Twitter at @rayhollister.