News

St. Augustine Shipyard Project Planned


ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- A major marina project is planned in St. Augustine. It is the St. Augustine Shipyard Project on the site of the former DESCO and Luhrs boat manufacturing site off of U.S. 1.

The site sat empty for years.

Bob Million is a co-owner and developer of the property.

"It's a unique site," he said. "You wouldn't be able to duplicate this anywhere in the area."

About a year ago, Million and a business partner bought it in a bankruptcy auction with plans to unlock its potential and turn it into a marine oriented merchant community.

He pointed to the large and former boat manufacturing building, "This building will actually be removed in its entirety and be reconstructed in this same airspace. It will be used for dry boat storage.

Goliath grouper are making a comeback


ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. -- A fish with a big name appears to be making a comeback in Florida's waters.

Goliath grouper can weigh up to 800 pounds, and the "gee whiz" factor is huge. The giants were nearly fished to extinction, but the question is: is there enough of the fish to stop the current harvesting ban? The answer depends who you ask.

This weekend, Joe Kistel of Jacksonville was diving 12 miles off Ponte Vedra Beach, and he said, "I ended up coming face to face with a roughly 6 – 7 foot Goliath grouper, 200-300 pounds."

He shot video of the big fella on an artificial reef.

"You look off to the right, and you see this big face staring at you! At first it makes you kind of gulp a little bit, but they don't bother you. It's a neat thing to see," Kistel smiled.

Divers and fisherman in north Florida say in recent years, they're encountering more Goliath grouper.

Five suspects busted with fake travelers cheques


ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- Five suspects are facing charges for allegedly possessing and using counterfeit checks at a local mall.

Deputies with the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office responded to the St. Augustine Premium Outlet Mall Monday afternoon, after several business reported receiving counterfeit American Express travelers checks, according to a release from the SJSO.

Two females suspects were located by deputies in the area, while a third female suspect was seen leaving with two men in an SUV, the release detailed. A short time later, the SUV and suspects were located at a World Golf Village convenience store. Deputies and detectives allegedly found over $900 in cash from the suspects and recovered at least $1,000 in suspected counterfeit checks.

Witness: Mystery man rescues woman at beach


ST. AUGUSTINE BEACH, Fla. -- Lifeguards performed dozens of rescues over the weekend on St. Johns County beaches but one rescue was done by a man who probably was not a lifeguard.

Ken Beckstrom, who witnessed the rescue, called it phenomenal.

Beckstrom and his wife were walking along St. Augustine Beach Saturday around dusk when they saw a commotion.

"We saw there were a few people in the water and one very far out," he recalled.

Beckstrom said a woman was about 100 yards off the coast, screaming.

"She was hollering, 'help me, help me,'" Beckstom noted.

And that's when one young man broke away from the surf and swam all the way out to her.

"Finally we saw the two of them together and he had her and worked their way back in, in what seemed like a long time," Beckstrom said.

Archaeological treasure unearthed in St. Augustine


ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – Archaeologists are excited about rock at the Mission of Nombre de Dios is St. Augustine.

They're working on a dig to know more about what is believed to be the first stone church in St. Augustine and possibly in Florida.

Just feet away from the Great Cross in St. Augustine, stone foundations of walls are visible on the dig site.

The church was built in 1677 by the Spanish. No one really knows what it looked like.

Linda Chandler, a University of Florida Archaeology Tech, explained all the excitement boils down to construction materials.

In a time when most other buildings in the area were made of wood, the crew is finding these church walls and foundation were made of tabby (which is a manmade construction material made of natural ingredients) and of coquina (stone) that the Castillo de San Marcos fort would eventually be made of.

Farm to Family aims to helps farmers and food deserts


ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. -- The Family to Farm produce truck serves as a mobile farmer's market.

On its first day on the streets of St. Johns County, hundreds of people bought fresh produce. By the end of the day, some items were even sold out.

"It formed into something that is really good for the community and for local farmers," Ben Wells said. He is one of the local St. Johns County farmers who grows food for and stocks the Farm to Family truck.

Here's the idea: Local farmers fill the truck with their fresh produce, and Malea Guiriba and her team take the truck to specified stops – many of which are food deserts in St. Johns County.

"The food desert is a place that is typically low income and has less access, so you don't have access to a grocery store within a ten mile radius," Guiriba explained.

War monument rededicated in St. Augustine


ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- A war monument was re-dedicated in St. Augustine Monday.

It is no longer overshadowed by electrical boxes.

From the free trolley rides for those going to the ceremony to memorial music with bagpipes, people from all over St. Augustine dedicated their services in order to rededicate a war monument.

"I come down here and touch it every now and then," Jan Rowley said as she brushed a finger over her uncle's name.

The monument bears his name, Warren Sigman, who was a WWII navy fighter pilot.

"He was leading the strike mission in Japan. They had three targets and he was shot down after the first target," Rowley said. He was only 11 years older than she was, so he was more like a big brother to her.