News

Sailboat drifted into Bridge of Lions


ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- A 50 foot sailboat drifted into St. Augustine's Bridge of Lions early Thursday morning.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Lauren Jorgenson said it appeared someone tampered with the boat. The sails were unfurled, allowing the wind to blow the boat from its mooring ball, dragging its anchor.

The Coast Guard sent a boat to search for a possible, unconfirmed man overboard in case someone was on the sailboat.

St John's County Sheriff's Department sent a helicopter to aid in the search.

Does St. Augustine need more horse drawn carriages?


ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- Are there enough horse drawn carriages in St. Augustine?

That's the question facing city leaders and tourism experts.

As it stands now, only half of the available permits for carriages have been issued by the City of St. Augustine. There is a debate over whether there needs to be more permits issued.

Roosevelt – or Rosee – Upshaw has been driving horse drawn carriages a long time in St. Augustine.

He chuckled, "I'll round it off at 30 years!"

Upshaw, with his feathered hat, is a staple on the streets of St. Augustine, just like the horses and carriages.

City to address St. Augustine Beach parking issues


ST. AUGUSTINE BEACH, Fla. -- Another First Coast Beach is inundated by cars and traffic.

Now that summertime is here, St. Augustine Beach is getting really full, really fast… and so is the parking lot right next to the pier.

St. Augustine Beach and St. Johns County leaders are trying to come up with solutions to the parking problem. St. Augustine Beach city commissioners will address the issue Monday night.

Monday afternoon, Michael Feagle of St. Augustine Beach couldn't find a parking space at the lot by the St. Augustine Beach pier, so he created his own spot.

He smiled and nodded, "Oh I pulled up on the curb!"

Locals aren't the only one roaming the parking lot looking for a space.

Irma Salgado is visiting from Texas and said, "Well, we were lucky because somebody did move out and we were able to get in. If not, we would not have found another parking space."

Five teens rescued from rip current


ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- Five teens were rescued from a rip current in St. Augustine with the help of a life-guard, a deputy and a surfer.

The five teen girls, all 16-years-old, were caught in a rip current Wednesday afternoon when the life-guard on duty called in a rescue in progress. A nearby deputy with the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office also responded, according to a police report from the SJSO.

The teens were about 100 yards off shore and were being swept out to sea when the deputy arrived on scene and entered the water.

The life guard was able to tow one of the teens to shore on her Life Guard Buoy. The four other teens were towed back to shore on a surfboard given up by a Good Samaritan surfer in the water. The deputy provided the surfer with a body board he borrowed from another beach goer, as the victims were towed back to shore.

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.