On Your Side: Shutdown worries and mystery green water

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Thursday, the On Your Side team answered an array of questions you sent in and found the solutions.

Ray Green, 59, of Middleburg, said he has served 20 years in the United States Air Force, all over the world. He depends on Veterans benefits and Social Security payments. But, with the government shutdown, he says he is worried.

"If I don't get paid, I can lose my house, car, truck, boat. Everything," Green said frankly.

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Local federal workers feeling effects of shutdown

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- On Monday, when many of the federal employees left their Jacksonville offices, many walked out without a relatively important document: a GSA form SF50, a notification of personnel action.

"It is very essential," said Marie, which is not her real name. "It allows us to apply for unemployment and other benefits indicating that we are not currently employed."

We spoke with several federal employees who wanted to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation.

"We received furlough letters about midnight September 30. That was electronically sent to us," said one worker.

The problem is it happened after they had left for the day, the close of business. The notice is still on their computer, but during a work  furlough there is no access to the building, much less the computer.

Fresh start for Middleburg family battling health problems

MIDDLEBURG, Fla. -- Tired of seeing their children constantly sick, one Middleburg family turned to the public for help.

Misty and Josh O'Connor's home tested positive for mold. They believe the place was making the entire family sick but they didn't have the means to move out. Thanks to donations from friends, church members and complete strangers, today they have a new start.

Misty O'Connor gave First Coast News a tour of her new mobile home from the outside. Still being set up, the trailer was donated to the family along with about $9,000.

"I can't begin to express my gratitude to everybody that has helped us," said Josh O'Connor.

St. Vincent's medical center opens in Clay County

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. -- A St. Vincent's Medical Center opened its doors to patients in Clay County Tuesday morning.

The center opened at about 7 a.m. and included 64 private inpatient rooms. The rooms are said to expand to 250 beds, enabling the hospital to accommodate the area's growing population. A neighboring 50,000 sq. ft. medical office building that is scheduled to open by the end of the year will have different physician groups.

"St. Vincent's Clay County has been a dream for many years. Today that dream officially became a reality," said St. Vincent's Clay County President Blain Claypool. "We are honored to bring high-quality care closer to home for the families who live in Clay County."

The opening of the medical center and office building will bring an economic impact on the county that is expected to be more than $50 million a year, making it Clay County's largest one-time investment.

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CCSO urges awareness of counterfeit bills

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. -- The Clay County Sheriff's Office is trying to increase the public's awareness about counterfeit money being circulated in the community.

On Saturday, the Kangaroo Express at 4486 County Road 218W reported that it had in its possession a counterfeit $100 bill. The bill was ripped, did not have a ribbon or a hologram and did not change color when marked by a counterfeit detection pen, according to a CCSO incident report.

CCSO Detective Bill Roberts shows in a public service announcement tips that citizens and businesspeople should be aware of when handling money.

For example, on a $20 bill, Roberts says a hologram of President Andrew Jackson's face would be visible on the right lower portion of the bill. Also, on the left side of the bill, a strip that says "USA 20" would be visible.

Mortgage reduction for underwater homeowners

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Life is good for John and Sharon Fisher, but they would be first to tell you that it would be better if they had a break on their mortgage.

"We have a very high interest rate," said Fisher, "but we've never missed a payment, we've never been late."

The Fishers are retired, on a fixed income, and they say sometimes the $1,200 a month payment becomes a struggle.

"We love our home," said Fisher, "We can't sell it and we don't want to sell it."   

They can't sell because when the economy tanked, foreclosures went up and home values went down.

"We've lost almost $100,000 in the place," he said. 

The Fishers are hoping the state's newest program will help; they've  applied to the Florida's Principal Reduction Program.

Clay detective receives Medal of Heroism

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Clay County Sheriff's Office Det. Gary Lavaron was given the Medal of Heroism by Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday for his efforts to save fellow officers during a February 2012 meth lab investigation in which Det. David White was killed.

Lavaron shot the suspect who fatally shot White in the head and also shot Det. Matt Hanlin, according to a release from the Scott's office. He also gave medical assistance to Hanlin.