Water mold killing off popular Christmas trees

MIDDLEBURG, Fla. -- It might soon cost you more to deck the halls.
This year, a water mold is attacking and in some cases killing off a popular Christmas tree.

The Fraser Fir is native to mountainous regions like North Carolina and Oregon.

But at some tree farms, it is not exactly the most wonderful time of year.

The firs are turning from green to brown because of a water mold called phytophtora.

Heavy rains during the growing season have caused the mold to flourish and spread quickly.

It's a threat because it kills the tree's root system, which keeps water from being absorbed.

Jeff Pollard is a North Carolina-based Christmas tree farmer, who told NBC News he might lose a quarter of his crop.

"Didn't expect it to be quite this severe this fast," he said.
The Christmas tree industry stands to lose several million dollars because of the loss in crop.

Community Sponsors

Are you interested in promoting your business to local customers?

Middleburg man sentenced for receiving child porn

MIDDLEBURG, Fla. -- A Middleburg man was sentenced Monday to five years in federal prison on child pornography charges, authorities said.

Robert Hohman, 65, was indicted Oct. 18 on a felony charge of receipt of child pornography after pleading guilty to the offense Aug. 6, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Prosecutors said an investigation launched in December 2010 found that Hohman was using an internet message board to distribute large volumes of child pornography.

During an interview with FBI agents, Hohman confessed to using the forum, prosecutors said. He also allegedly admitted to downloading child pornography for many years.

Prosecutors said during a search of Hohman's home computer, FBI agents found dozens of videos and hundreds of images of children as young as toddlers being sexually abused by adults.

Police: Convicted felon arrested in Dunkin' Donuts robbery

MIDDLEBURG, Fla. -- A convicted felon was arrested Sunday afternoon for allegedly robbing a Dunkin' Donuts at gunpoint.

Eric Bryan Correia, 33, is charged with Robbery-Armed Firearm/Other Deadly Weapon, Aggravated Assault with Intent to Commit a Felony and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon, according to a Clay County Sheriff's Office arrest report.

Correia allegedly backed a 2006 Chrysler PT Cruiser up to Dunkin' Donuts/Subway at 1543 Blanding Boulevard around 7:15 a.m. Sunday. According to the arrest report, he was wearing clear gloves, black exercise-type pants, a black hoodie and a black ski mask.

He then pointed a silver handgun at employees behind the counter, most of whom fled. One employee took money out of the cash register, put it on the counter and backed away.

Funeral set for Superhero Logan

ORANGE PARK, Fla. -- Everyone on the First Coast is invited to show their support for the family of a young super hero who captured our hearts.
    
Five-year-old Logan Channel lost his battle with cancer this week.
    
His funeral will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon at Hibernia Baptist Church.
    

Community Sponsors

Are you interested in promoting your business to local customers?

Police: Burglar targets movie kiosk renters

MIDDLEBURG, Fla. -- The Clay County Sheriff's Office is investigating a vehicle burglary in which a woman's phone and wallet were taken out of her car while she using a Redbox movie kiosk.

According to a release from CCSO, the woman and her fiance went to the Redbox outside of the Walmart located at 2570 County Road 220 on October 13. The car, which was pulled up next to the curb, was turned off and the keys were taken out and the vehicle was unlocked.

The male suspect allegedly entered the unlocked car and took the woman's cell phone and wallet, which contained credit cards. He was wearing a beige shirt, black cap and blue jeans.

The man then walked past the couple to enter the store, according to the release. He was likely driving a gold-colored sedan and was seen with a woman with her hair pulled back in a bun.

FCN Investigates: What exactly are you paying for at the pump?

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- We are just weeks from the busy Thanksgiving travel season.

But, before you fill up for your trip the On Your Side team has three things you'll want to know before you hit the road. It's part of a First Coast News investigation.

At the gas station, every cent counts.

"I get pretty much what my car gives me," said Michael Bryce, as he filled up the car. "I get around $20 half a tank, $40 for a full tank, $5 for an eighth of a tank."

If you feel like something just isn't right, you might be on to something.

It is Anthony Davis' job to find out

He's one of the petroleum inspectors with the Florida Department of Agriculture.

"We want to make sure that consumers are getting what they're paying for," Davis said.

FCN's David Williams joined him at the Chevron station on New Kings Road for an inspection. Inspections are done at least every 12-14 months, says Davis.

Superintendent defends 'Dare to Think'

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. -- Superintendent Charlie Van Zant is speaking out in defense of the Dare to Think Conference that kicked off yesterday.

It's a program that focuses on history and civics in the classroom.

Last week -- the Clay County school board voted to file an ethics complaint regarding Van Zant's co-sponsorship of the conference -- calling it a private, partisan, and political event.

Van Zant sent a statement today saying;

"Encouraging our students and our children to love, respect, cherish and value America isn't a partisan issue.

"It is informed patriotism. I want everyone to know I will always stand up and be willing to advocate for that in our community!"

Click here to read the entire statement.