First Read: Thursday, January 8, 2015

Jan 8, 2015

A former city employee that was forced to quit, Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches, and two high profile robberies are 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 skies will be sunny, with a high near 44 degrees. Wind chill values as low as 19 degrees. Tonight should be mostly cloudy, with a low around 35 degrees. 

At the Beaches it will be mostly sunny, with a high near 48 degrees. Wind chill values are expected to be as low as 21 degrees. Tonight's sky will be mostly cloudy, and there will be a 20 percent chance of rain. The low temperature for the night will be around 39 degrees. (National Weather Service)

Jimmy John's faces lawsuit from former employees for overtime pay. Three former employees, including one from Jacksonville, allege that the sub sandwich chain does not pay its assistant store managers overtime because it is incorrectly categorizing the employees as executives. (WJCT)

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is searching for the suspect in yesterday's bank robbery at the SunTrust in Springfield. According to the sheriffs office, a 5-foot-7 black man with salt-and-pepper hair robbed the SunTrust Bank branch at N. Main and 17th Street. He fled the scene in a white pickup truck with tinted windows (WJCT)

Brother and sister earn back-to-back safety patrol awards. Timothy Sinclair earned the Regional AAA School Safety Patroller of the Year award in 2013; his younger sister, Timiah Sinclair, earned it in 2014. It is the first time that a brother and sister have won the title in consecutive years. (The Florida Times-Union)

Former city employee received a letter of recommendation from Mayor Brown after being pressured to quit. Lori Mason, was told in 2013 that she could either quit or she would be fired from her job as the city’s executive staffing and policy liaison over an incident involving her hiring an employee before the job was officially announced. Even though her actions violated city law, and she was subsequently asked to resign, the Mayor praised her in the letter and the city's Chief Administrative Officer Karen Bowling also sent a glowing recommendation letter. City Council President Clay Yarborough was concerned by the letters, since they seemed to indicate that the full truth of the situation had not been shared with the council. (The Florida Times-Union)

Columbia County sisters are being held without bond in shooting death of their brother; parents' bond set at $20,000. The 15- and 11-year-old sisters accused of killing their 16-year-old brother may be tried as adults before a grand jury for an indictment on first-degree murder charges. Their parents have been charged with child neglect causing great bodily harm, and have been ordered to have no contact with their children without DCF supervision. (News4Jax)

Man dressed in drag allegedly robbed watches from St. Augustine outlet mall. According to witnesses, the suspect, described as a 6-foot to 6-foot-2 black man with a long brown wig, four gold teeth and a spider-web tattoo on his upper chest and neck, asked to see two Movado watches worth almost $7,000. He then grabbed the watches and ran out of the store. (News4Jax)

JEA offers tips to keep heating bill low as temperatures drop. Keeping chimney flues closed, replacing bad window seals and gradually increasing the thermostat 1 to 2 degrees at a time can all help keep energy costs down as Jacksonville residents face lower temperatures. (WJCT via News4Jax)

Today on First Coast Connect, Pastors H.B. Charles, Jr. and Michael Clifford join Melissa Ross to share how they are merging their two churches to help bridge the racial divide. 

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