News

St. Augustine revokes 7-Eleven's building permit


ID=21827643ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- A controversial plan to allow a 7-Eleven to be built at the entrance of historic downtown St. Augustine took a twist Thursday with residents fighting the plan and winning a battle at city hall.

The city commission reversed course, siding with residents who appealed a decision made last fall approving a 12 gas pump store to be built at the corner of San Marco Avenue and May Road.

The commission's decision to yank 7-Eleven's construction permit following six hours of testimony was unanimous.

Residents cited concerns about more traffic and the city's landscape being scarred. They also argued the design standards for the building were being compromised.

Flagler College undergoes extensive restoration


ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- A massive historic preservation project is underway at Flagler College in St. Augustine.

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Restoration work started this month on the entire exterior of Ponce de Leon Hall, the main building on campus. It was Henry Flagler's first hotel in Florida, built in 1888.

Nearly the entire building is hidden behind scaffolding in the courtyard.

"It's a lot of work. It's a major undertaking," Flagler College President Dr. William Abare nodded Tuesday. He said this is just the beginning of the biggest restoration project the campus has ever seen.

Repeated flooding in St. Augustine prompts business decision


ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- Repeated flooding on one street in St. Augustine has a local business owner choosing to set up a second location on higher ground.

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High Tide Art Gallery is on the corner of Cordova Street and Hypolita in downtown St. Augustine.

Cordova is one of the streets that typically floods when St. Augustine gets a lot of rain.

Aimee Banion owns the art gallery. She keeps sand bags by the door to protect her merchandise from any rising water.

St. Augustine woman fabricates attack story: deputies


ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- A St. Johns County woman is facing charges after deputies say the 34-year-old made up a story about being attacked and strangled with a dog leash.

Heather Alene Johnson was booked into the St. Johns County Jail on Friday and charged with making a false report.




Johnson reportedly told deputies in June that she was violently attacked with a dog leash and box cutter at her residence off of Lobelia Road.

Investigators believe she made up the story to avoid a meeting with her probation officer.

Johnson has since posted bond and awaits her next court appearance.

Time capsule found during St. Augustine restoration


ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- Restoration crews in St. Augustine stumbled upon a time capsule placed in the Basilica nearly five decades ago.

Workers found the cardboard box on Wednesday as they dismantled an altar as part of the cathedral's nearly $4 million restoration project.

Everything from newspapers to two medallions of Pope Paul VI was found in the time capsule.

"It was not a surprise to find a time capsule in the altar of sacrifice. It is a tradition to leave a time capsule in the main altar during a restoration" said Brian Baker, whose company is overseeing the renovation.

It is estimated that coins found in the box are worth a few thousand dollars.

A new time capsule will be placed in the altar once restoration is complete.

Father Thomas Willis says he will work with all parties involved to decide what items to place in the new time capsule.

"Drag queen" sought in watch store robbery


ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- A man dressed as a woman is being sought in connection with a watch robbery that occurred at the St. Augustine Premium Outlets on Sunday.

Deputies report the apparent "drag queen" walked into the Movado store around 6 p.m. and ran out with two watches worth a total of $7,000.

The suspect is described as standing between 6' and 6'2" tall, having at least four gold teeth and wearing a wig and a dress.

The SJCSO released photos from the store's security camera on Wednesday.

No one was reportedly injured during the robbery.

The wanted man was last seen getting into a vehicle with at least two other subjects and fleeing the outlets.

Anyone with any information on the robbery is asked to the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office at (904) 209-2148.

Proposed St. Augustine hotels exceed height limits


ID=21412975ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- Going up? Hotels in St. Augustine may be getting taller.

Two hotels are proposed along the stretch of U.S. 1 between State Road 16 and Castillo Drive. They have just jumped the first hurdle to exceed the height limits in St. Augustine.

The Ponce Hotel is proposed for the former Bozard Ford site.

Mark Knight – a consultant for the Ponce Hotel developer, Vik Patel – said the five-story hotel with the architectural details on top would stand at 65 feet. That's 15 feet higher than the allowed height in St. Augustine.