News

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.

Tree service owner charged in teen's fatal fall

MIDDLEBURG, Fla. -- The owner of a tree service has been charged in the August death of a teenage boy who was working for him.

Jonathan Harves Wilkes, 37, has been charged with Aggravated Manslaughter of a Child, according to an arrest report from the Clay County Sheriff's Office.

Blake Bryant, 14, of Palatka fell from a 71-foot tree after he accidentally cut through his
safety harness while working for John Wilkes Tree Service in Middleburg.

Wilkes turned himself into CCSO on Monday at 1:40 p.m. He had an active warrant out for his arrest, which was issued on Sept. 19.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit, Bryant's normal duties included moving limbs and branches and his family had no idea that he was climbing trees.

Real ways to help you find a job and other resources

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Shawntray from the Westside asked the On Your Side team a question.

He said he recently lost his job as a security guard because he was sick and can't find work. Shawntray said he lost his home and he's afraid he'll lose his car. He wants help.

Shawntray, here is what you do:

1) Get your hands on a phone in the area of Northeast Florida and dial the United Way's 211. It is a referral source that will refer you to places for emergency financial assistance, food, shelter and clothing and a lot of other service.

2) Call the company that you make car payments and explain your situation. Ask if some payments can be deferred.

3) Go to a place like WorkSource Florida. They have offices across the region They will help you or anyone looking for work Find a job. Call 904-356-JOBS for more information.

Man wanted for lewd molestation

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. -- The Clay County Sheriff's Office needs the public's help locating a man wanted on lewd molestation charges.

Officers say Nicholas Von Williams, 33, is accused of lewd molestation of a disabled adult.

Williams is described as being 6-feet-2-inches tall and weighs about 200 pounds, according to the the Clay County Sheriff's Office.

Williams last known address is on 2nd Avenue in Thomasville, Ga.

Anyone who has any information about the whereabouts of this suspect is asked to contact the Clay County Sheriff's Office at 904-264-6512.

Clay Electric customers' rates are going to rise

KEYSTONE HEIGHTS, Fla. -- We are hearing from upset Clay Electric customers who's rates are set to rise.

Clay Electric's website says starting October 4 bills will go up 3.5 percent. This is in addition to an extra $3 in their 'customer charge.'

According to company spokesperson, Wayne Mattox, if customers use 850 kilowat hours a month they currently pay $94.75.

On October 4 the same amount of usage will be $99.03 a month.

Why the rate hike? 

Mattox points to the economy with declining sales and money in the last few years. Mattox said the rates are rising because more people are not moving to the area or starting businesses there.