News

Family wants USDA to repair damaged roof

BALDWIN, Fla. -- Two days of rain and the Swenson family's Baldwin home is not the same.

"Back in December, this tree fell on the house," said Virginia Sapp.

Sapp lives with her aging parents and said for months, they've been trying to get resolution to a roof problem.

"My mom and dad still have a mortgage on the house," said Sapp.

Sapp said when a tree limb crashed into the roof, it left two gaping holes and the recent rains are making it worse.

"My mom started crying," said Sapp, "when the roof caved in yesterday."

The family has several tarps covering the damaged area but it is not enough. Now, the ceilings in both of their bedrooms have caved in.

"It is starting to leak in the windows," she said.

They're now using pots, pans, a toy chest, whatever is available to avoid water damage from the leaking roof to their carpet-covered floors.

Civil Rights activist remembers meeting with King in St. Augustine

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- Maude Burroughs Jackson holds community meetings her in Middleburg home and she keeps Christmas decorations up all year long.

"If people were so good at Christmas time, why don't we keep that spirit all year," she said.

In 1960, she started college at Florida Memorial College in St. Augustine, just as the Civil Rights Movement was heating up.

"If it had been a violent movement I would not have been a part of it," she recalled.

But Jackson remembers the night marches she walked in were dangerous.

"It was so violent there. The atmosphere was so evil," she shook her head. "There were people on top of the buildings throwing bricks and bottles and anything they could find at you."

"That was the clans and the people who were fighting against what we were fighting for."

Jackson recalls meeting in homes and offices with Dr. Martin Luther King and other marchers.

Cyber security expert says JEA not alone for 'Denial of Service' attack

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- At the JEA downtown payment center, customers were surprised to learn the utility's website was the target of a cyber attack.

"I wasn't aware of that," said Lacrecia Anderson. "It is scary."

The JEA computer network was hit with a "denial of service" attack; the FBI has been notified.

"We are making sure that none of our customers' information is jeopardized or compromised," said JEA spokeswoman Gerri Boyce.

Dr. Walter Eaton of Florida State College at Jacksonville is a cyber security expert.

"A denial of service on JEA could be nothing more than a test," said Eaton, "a test to see if we could have a 'denial of service' to all utilities in the United States."

Resident worries about 'dangerous' Mallard Road

MIDDLEBURG, Fla. -- James Gill, 70, a retired railroad worker and longtime resident of Clay County, is concerned about the condition of Mallard Road.

"You can see where the erosion is washing the bank on the side of the road," said Gill.

It is a two-lane road used by all types of vehicles, including school buses and the road shoulders, in some areas, are extremely narrow.

"There's no side rails there, no banks, no shoulders," said Gill.

Gill said his concern are the buses and their precious cargo.

"I don't want to see a bus load of kids dead in that creek. It is just waiting to happen," said Gill. "It is just an accident waiting to happen."

Gill has lived in the community 35 years. He said he's not trying to be an alarmist. He said he's looking out for the other guy.

"I just don't want to see something happen," he said.

VA wants veteran to pay back his benefits

ORANGE PARK, Fla. -- Heather Levesque has been Jamie Levesque's wife, friend and companion for years and now she is fighting for his military benefits.

"We got a letter on January 22 that said in a month we are going to lose our benefits," she said.

Jamie Levesque receives $1,000 a month in disability income. 

Veterans Affairs is threatening to withhold it for a year to reimburse Uncle Sam for what was given to Levesque in 2008.

"We will lose our home because this is the only income that Jamie has," said Heather. "He has been unemployed for approximately two years."

In 2008, Levesque was given an honorable discharge and was paid $19,000, before taxes, as a separation benefit.

"Now the military says you owe us the money," said his wife.

The VA said the separation benefit was an over payment and Levesque's mental disorder is not service connected.

Florida has money for first-time home buyers

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi announced that money is available to first-time home buyers for help with down payments.

Another $25 million will go toward housing counseling, legal aid programs and the state court system to help with a backlog of foreclosure cases.

On top of that $60 million, Florida has another $200 million from the settlement that state lawmakers will decide how to spend.

House Speaker Will Weatherford promises the cash will be set aside for housing-related needs and not for special member projects.

Florida has already received $3.6 billion in mortgage relief, mainly for principal reductions.

Duval teacher among 3 arrested on Clay drug charges

MIDDLEBURG, Fla. -- A search warrant served on a home in the 1900 block of Calusa Trail on Wednesday resulted in three people being arrested on drug charges, including a Duval County Public Schools teacher.

The resident of the home, Robert Alan Davis, 25, was arrested after the Clay County Sheriff's Office Strategic Response Division served the warrant. Davis was charged with possession of a controlled substance without a valid prescription, possession of less than 20 grams of cannabis and possession/use of drug paraphernalia.