News

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.

Murder charges dropped against 98-year-old woman

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - A 98-year-old Jacksonville woman no longer faces second-degree murder charges in the shooting of her nephew. 

The Florida Times-Union reports the state filed a notice Oct. 1 announcing the 2011 murder charge was dropped against Amanda Stevenson. She was found incompetent to stand trial in July 2012.

The newspaper reports Stevenson had remained in the St. Johns County Jail until May 20, when the Department of Children and Families took charge of her. She's since been civilly committed.

Since she's no longer being prosecuted, her retirement benefits have been restored. The newspaper reports she could now be placed in a secure long-term facility rather than a state-run facility.

Closed St. Augustine fort invaded by tourists

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- A group of tourists didn't let the government shutdown or the gate at the Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine stop them Monday. 

A group of people went over the gate and walked around inside the fort, wanting to see the National Monument that was closed due to the government shutdown.

St. Augustine Police say it happened around 3:30 p.m. Monday.

According to Kim Mayo with the National Park Service, 13 adults and 2 children entered the fort.  She said they made it all the way inside and nearly to the top area.

She said it was not an organized event.

According to Mayo, the trespassers faced a fine of $150, but they all admitted wrongdoing and the tourists left with verbal warnings.

The Government is in its eighth day of a partial shutdown.