News

2 bike crashes in 2 days near same intersection

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- Two bicycle crashes took place in two days, near the same intersection in St. Augustine.

Katie Kendall was working at a dry cleaners on the corner of U.S. 1 and Wildwood Drive last week. She could see emergency vehicles at the intersection, and then a customer told her what was happening.

"They said 'it looked like there's a bike crumpled up in the middle of the road, and I was just like, 'awful!' That's because I ride my bike here every day," Katie noted.

Thursday, a Florida Highway Patrol report said a cyclist tried to cross at the intersection but he had a red light. A car, which had a green light, hit the cyclist, the report stated.

One day later, just about 200 feet north of the same intersection at Deltona Boulevard, a trooper's report indicated a cyclist tried to cross U.S. 1 in the path of cars, and a car hit the cyclist.

Heart of the Game: Motivating from the sidelines

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- Sam Williar suits up for every practice and game at St. Joseph's in St. Augustine.

"Being on the football team is great," he said.

Williar has Asperger Syndrome. It's a high functioning form of autism.  That's not something that's stopping Williar.

Though he doesn't get much time on the field, Williar spends his time on the sidelines cheering on his teammates, and motivating them.

"He does contribute a lot with his character and his demeanor," said Thompson Hinman, who's the starting quarterback at St. Joseph's and Williar's best friend on the team.

"I will say the team is better because of Sam Williar. He makes everyone around him better," said Hinman.

Williar, along with his parents, said being part of the football team, and being so accepted, is helping him in every other part of his life.

"I feel like I made some progress," Williar said.

Police: 2 teens injured in crash were racing

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. -- 2 16-year-old Bartram Trail High School students are injured after a Wednesday crash on Longleaf Pine Parkway.
    
According to the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office preliminary investigation, the driver of the Toyota pickup truck was racing another vehicle at the time of the crash.
    
One teen has life-threatening injuries. Charges are pending.

More money for tourism, more marketing

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- A production crew shot a commercial on the streets of St. Augustine Wednesday.

It's the local part of a statewide effort to boost tourism, an industry that employs thousands of people in St. Johns County.

This particular commercial promotes St. Johns County and St. Augustine. It will play on television stations across the state as well as on the web.

The commercial's production included cameras, horses and a conquistador.

That conquistador was played by Chad Light of St. Augustine.

"A lot of us here are involved in the tourism industry and we're involved marketing our history as well as the attraction," Light said during a break Wednesday.

While not shooting commercials, Light works as the Director of Living History the Colonial Quarter Museum in St. Augustine. He is one of the 11,000 people who work in the tourism industry in St. Johns County.

St. Augustine to consider alcohol on carriage rides

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- The St. Augustine City Commission is expected to consider a few issues Monday night that would impact the historic business district.

The St. Augustine Record reports that City Manager John Regan plans on proposing $2.7 million in downtown improvements.

The improvements would be isolated to Spanish, Treasury, Orange and Hypolita Streets.

Regan told the newspaper the plan is being driven by support from the St. Augustine business community.

He said the intent is to create a network of reborn, attractive commercial businesses near the downtown parking garage.

Some proposed changes would include storm water drainage, new sidewalks, new street lights and turning Spanish St. into a one-way northbound.

According to the Record, the city would use a $753,000 federal grant and pay $750,000.

High tide forces St. Johns beaches to close

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. -- It was definitely not a beach day Wednesday.

The tide was so high around noon that St. Johns County closed the beaches in the southern part of the county to vehicular traffic.

The remnants of Tropical Storm Karen have twisted and turned, creating a nor'easter for the First Coast. Slap that nor'easter up against an impending new moon, and it creates one really, really high tide.

Billy Zeits is the director of St. Johns County beaches. "So that didn't leave a whole lot of beach for vehicles. But the beach is still open for pedestrians," he said.

Wednesday's high tide washed right up on some of the beach access roads like the one at Mary Street near Crescent Beach. Water was halfway up the post which held the speed limit sign on the beach.

"We have maybe 3-5 closures a year to vehicles. We try to make them as short as possible," Zeits explained. "We anticipate we'll be back open by midday Friday."

St. Augustine breaks even from Mumford and Sons

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- The City of St. Augustine announced how much money the Mumford and Sons Gentlemen of the Road tour made for the city.

According to figures released this afternoon, the city spent $533,966 and made $526,390. That means the city was $7,576 in the red.

The shuttle program was the most expensive part of the concert weekend for the city, but the St. Augustine City Manager John Regan said it also generated the most revenue.

On Wednesday afternoon, he said he was happy with the figures.

"Oh that's great. In our world, that's essentially break even," Regan said, "To be able to pay all of our bills and have an event like Mumford and Sons, we hit our goal."

"We still have $14,000 - $15,000 that we're still discussing with AC Entertainment (concert promoter and producer), but we thought it was important to go ahead and get out our very confidant revenue and expense tally," he said.