News

Allied Veterans customer glad to see state crackdown

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Peggy Johnson, self-employed, was a regular at the Allied Veterans internet cafes.

"The most I have ever won is $600 about two months ago," said Johnson. "Ask me how much I have lost."

Johnson said it was called a sweepstakes cafe, but there is no doubt what it was.

"It is gambling, money for money," said Johnson, "You have to place cash on the card and that's what you get back."

Johnson said sometimes she would play the machines from when the doors of the business opened until they were closed. She said and there were consequences.

"It causes problems with your family, all your loved ones, everybody," she said. "It just destroys your life because you are constantly looking for that big hit."

Looking for the big hit she said cost her at least $50,000 over six years.

Stolen identity, a Baker County man wants his good name back

MACCLENNY, Fla. -- Meet Chris Milton, the real Chris Milton who lives hundreds of miles from Upstate New York.

"I have never been to New York," said Milton. 

Milton grew up and lives in Baker County; he has been a few places, Buffalo, New York is not one of them, but his name surfaced there.

"It is not a good feeling," said Milton," you try to live a good life and abide by the law, now I have a criminal record."

In November 2012, his wife's purse was stolen while in Baker County, they reported it to the Sheriff's Office; In December he received collection notices from a hospital in Buffalo, New York for $18,000.

"That kind of send up a red flag," said Milton, a big red flag.

Then Milton discovered that the Buffalo police had arrested the person using his name on drug charges.

"I never had a speeding ticket, citation or anything," said Milton.

Stormy weather is time for an insurance checkup

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It only takes a few seconds for your home to become the target of a fallen tree. If you've never experienced it, the destruction can be devastating.

"I've only seen hail twice in my life," said Charmin Williams.

If it is not wind damage it could be hail damage. Williams' Baldwin home was pelted by hail. 

"It was pretty solid," she said. "Marble size, but no damage."

Storm damage can also result from rising water; so much rain it floods your home.

Having insurance will give you protection and help restore your loss, but make sure it is the right coverage or you will hear those famous words, "that's not covered."

Here's what you need to know:

-Damage from rising water is covered by a flood insurance policy, not a standard insurance plan.

Missing Adult Day: A reminder of the unaccounted

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- According to the Justice Coalition, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office receives thousands of missing reports each year. While most of them are resolved, some become an open case.

"You just don't think it can happen to you," said Carol Payne.

January 3, 2013 was the last time anyone saw Payne's brother.

"Sometimes you think you're gonna wake up," she said, "and realize it is not real."

Her brother James Tracy Wilson, 56, might be driving a blue/gray four door Buick Lacrosse.

"The police are saying probably we'll find his car because it will run out of gas and he didn't have any money," said Payne. "That didn't happen."

Payne said her brother had a routine and never drifted from it.

"His bed wasn't made and the windows weren't open that's when I called my brother and they called the police," said Payne.

Second Harvest feeds the hungry and needs donations

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- What do you do when your pantry is empty and there's no money in the bank? It is a reality many First Coast families are facing. In 2012, Second Harvest Food Bank experienced a dramatic increase in food distribution.

"I think it is a blessing that this agency is here," said Donna Hill.

Hill, 53, was the breadwinner in her family of three until she became disabled.

"I got very sick," said Hill. "I am still trying to cope with it." 

And then she was terminated from her job in December 2012.

"I am the breadwinner on a lot less money," she said, "but still the breadwinner."

FDH: Rabies alert issued for Ortega

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Ortega area of Jacksonville was issued a rabies alert by the Florida Department of Health Tuesday.

A rabid bat was discovered in Ortega, triggering the alert, which is in effect through May 6. This is the first rabies alert in Duval County this year.

The boundaries for the alert are on the south by Lancelot and Water Oak Lane, on the north by St. Johns Avenue at Herschel Street, on the west by Lakeshore Boulevard at Fremont Street, and east at the St. Johns River.

FHD said pet owners should maintain control of their pets at all times, and be certain that each has received current rabies immunization shots from a licensed veterinarian.

Stray animals should be reported to the City of Jacksonville Animal Care and Protective Services at 630-2489.

For further information or to report animal bites, contact Rabies Control at 253-1280.

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.