St. Johns County

Ryan Benk / WJCT News

St. Johns County’s new compressed natural gas fueling station filled up its first tank after two years of planning.

A Miami-based natural gas company is hoping it’s just the first step in its expansion into Northeast Florida, despite environmentalists’ concerns.


Anastasia Mosquito Control

With the Zika virus on many Floridians’ minds, it’s easy to forget the other mosquito-borne viruses present in the state.

However, troupes of chickens are standing guard throughout St. Johns County as the first line of defense against the blood-sucking parasites. Backyard chickens are a source of eggs for many Northeast Florida residents, but for the state’s mosquito prevention programs, they serve a very different purpose. 

Wikimedia Commons

This summer, the St. Johns County School District is working to get community members outside by opening up additional sports facilities to the public. 

Tropical Storm Colin is expected to affect the First Coast most heavily Monday night and into Tuesday morning. But its effects are expected to arrive much sooner, says St. Johns County Emergency Management Director Linda Stoughton. 

"We could start to see rain come across around 2, 3 o'clock in the afternoon. This is mostly going to be a nighttime event, so if people need to run out very quickly and get supplies, this would be the absolute time to do it," she says.

MORE | For the latest on Tropical Storm Colin

Lee Woodruff

New York Times bestselling author and CBS This Morning contributor Lee Woodruff was thrust into the position of caregiver after her husband, Bob Woodruff, was injured by a roadside bomb while reporting from Iraq for ABC's World News Tonight.

Lee cared for Bob on his long road to recovery from a traumatic brain injury, experiencing the impact that taking care of a loved one can have on a family, marriage and her own health.

Tex Texin / Flickr

Florida’s crime rate continues to drop. Florida Department of Law Enforcement data show a 2.2 percent decrease between the first half of last year and the first half of this year.

And the drop in crime was much larger in a couple of Northeast Florida counties. 


We begin the hour by talking about the election going on in St. Johns County today to decide whether to approve a 10-year, half-cent sales take hike to benefit public schools. If voters approve the sales tax, the revenues would be used to build four new schools, and fix up or expand most schools across the county.

 


Early Voting In St. Johns County To Begin Saturday

Oct 23, 2015

  A week of early voting begins Saturday on a referendum for a half-cent sales tax hike to fund St. Johns County schools.

School district leaders say the tax increase is needed to build new schools to ease current and prevent future overcrowding and improve technology and security for students. 

The district is expected to grow by 15,813 students over the next 10 years. District leaders said that means 20 schools will be needed. They said 2,689 homes were permitted in the county in 2014.

St. Johns County Sheriff's Office

The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office is using a new way to put public safety information in front of residents.

Federal dollars are funding six safety kiosks in busy areas around the county.

 


big rig at JAXPORT
JAXPORT

It’s a good time to be a job seeker in Northeast Florida—especially if you live in St. Johns County. That was the report given Tuesday morning at the Florida Cabinet meeting in St. Augustine.

Sandy Auriene Sullivan / Flickr

The St. Johns Cultural Council is presenting a new photo exhibition this month highlighting changes in St. Augustine throughout its history.

The exhibition is called Snapshot St. Augustine. The photos are on display in the Rotunda Gallery in the St. Johns County Administration Building.

During an appearance on WJCT's "First Coast Connect," photographer Ken Barrett talked about his work.

St. Johns County Veterans' Outpatient Clinic
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

A Department of Veterans' Affairs medical clinic in St. Johns County will be the focus of a congressional hearing Thursday.

District 6 Congressman Ron DeSantis is holding the hearing to explore why it’s taken so long to move the county’s VA clinic.

St. Johns County Veterans Council Chairman Bill Dudley says he’s been in near-constant contact with DeSantis’s office as the county has negotiated with the federal Veterans Administration.

Anna Hamilton / WJCT News

The St. Johns County Commission will soon consider a developer’s application to build 115 new homes in the northern part of the county.

The county’s Planning and Zoning Board is recommending denial of the application after nearby residents voiced their opposition last week.

Mary Farr and Scott Campbell are neighbors in the Fatio Grant community, tucked between horse pastures and piney woods in northern St. Johns County. Farr says living here gives her a perfectly rural lifestyle.

St. Johns County

St. Johns County is distributing new, much larger recycling carts starting Monday.

The upgrade is aimed at getting more people to recycle.

Advanced Disposal, an integrated environmental services company, is upgrading St. Johns County customers to 95-gallon recycling carts for their curbside recycling service at no additional cost.

St. Johns County spokesman Michael Ray says this is part of Florida’s effort to reach its recycling goal of 75 percent. This goal was set by the state in 2008.

Hutson headshot
Florida House of Representatives

Republicans easily won a trio of Northeast Florida legislative seats Tuesday during special elections triggered by the resignation last year of former Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, to become president of Florida State University.

County Health Rankings & Roadmaps / http://www.countyhealthrankings.org/

For the fourth year in a row, St. Johns County was ranked the healthiest county in Florida, according to a new report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin. Other counties in the region face challenges to keeping residents healthy.

Northeast Florida’s Union County was ranked the state’s least-healthy, while nearby Duval County moved up two spots to 43rd in the state.

house under construction
chapstickaddict via Flickr

A former St. Johns County inspector has pleaded guilty to extortion. The man faces up to 20 years in federal prison.

Sixty-four-year-old Will Rogers of St. Augustine pleaded guilty on Monday to the charge he extorted money while working as a construction inspector for St. Johns County. That's according to a news release from U.S. Attorney A. Lee Bentley III, whose office prosecuted the case. 

waterworks building
City of St. Augustine

A historic St. Augustine building is a step closer to getting a major renovation after state officials signaled this month it’s a strong grant candidate. The former water pumping station was essential to the city’s growth at the turn of the last century.

For five years, the former waterworks building turned garden club has sat empty, bolstered against the weather and time with scaffolding.

St. Augustine Planning and Building Director John Birchim says the octagon-shaped structure supplied water to residents and tourists during Henry Flagler’s hotel boom starting in 1897.

The New York Times

The family of Michelle O'Connell, who was found dead in the home she shared with a St. Johns deputy in 2010, wants an expanded probe into her shooting.

Our partners, News4Jax

The term oceanfront has become a lot more literal for those who have shoreline houses in South Ponte
Vedra.

Several days of high winds and tides washed away sections of beachfront back yards, exposing wires running deep underground.

In an emergency meeting Thursday morning, the St. Johns County Commission declared a local state of emergency in certain areas of South Ponte Vedra and Summer Haven.

“That area of our coast line has experienced an unusual amount of erosion due to high winds and tide,” said St. Johns County Communications Manager Michael Ryan.

News4Jax

The death this weekend of 15-year-old Haley Smith on Kenton Morrison Road is the second fatal hit-and-run accident in St. Johns County in as many weeks.

43-year-old Randy Miller was struck and killed Nov. 8 as he rode his bicycle on State Road 16.

Hit-and-run accidents often leave victims’ friends and family yearning for closure, including an answer to the question of why the offending driver didn’t stay at the scene or report their actions.

Judy Woodruff, the Jacksonville City Council, and state highways are in the headlines today.

An estimated $7.5 million worth of pure cocaine was found on St. Johns County beaches after heavy storms on Friday. The St. Johns County Sheriff's Office says the cocaine came from South America, and was wrapped in brick form for delivery to buyers.

F-DOT

 St. Johns County residents can hear next month the latest information about the proposal to extend State Route - 9B from I-95 to the St. Johns Parkway.

The first two legs of 9B will run from I-295 to I-95 in Duval County.

According to Florida Department of Transportation (F-DOT) reports, there has been a need for a limited access highway in the area since the mid-70’s.

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