News

Nation's Oldest City sees increase in younger tourists


ID=30441451ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – Businesses in the nation's oldest city are realizing they need to lure in younger tourists.

According to a recent tourism survey, tourists don't want the same old things they used to on vacation.

That means places like St. Johns County – which thrives on tourism – are having to take shake things up in order to keep seeing the money-spending guests.

A St. Johns County survey from the first half of 2015 shows a slight increase in the guests who are labeled Millennials and Generations X'er's. It also shows a decline in the number of baby boomers, according to Glenn Hastings with the county's tourist development council.

SJCSO investigating EZ Money pawn shop in St. Augustine


ID=30162631ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- The St. Johns County Sheriff's Office has served a search warrant at EZ Money pawn shop after a lengthy investigation.

The raid started Tuesday morning at the pawn shop on U.S. 1 in St. Augustine.

Deputies are looking for alleged stolen property and are going through every single item in the pawn shop. According to SJCSO, deputies could be there for two days and the mobile command center is on site.

Deputies will load whatever is seen as necessary as part of the investigation into a trailer that was brought to the store.

Charlotte's Web marijuana could be grown in St. Johns County


ST. AUGUSTINE — The official variety of Charlotte's Web, a strain of marijuana that's used to help treat seizures in children with epilepsy and patients with severe muscle spasms or cancer, is expected to be grown in St. Johns County if a local nursery is awarded one of a limited number of licenses by the Florida Department of Health.

Loop's Nursery & Greenhouses has its headquarters off Old Middleburg Road in Jacksonville, but its main production facility is off Race Track Road in St. Johns County.

"And that's where we'll be producing Charlotte's Web," said David Loop, president of Loop's Nursery, which has been around for about 66 years.

Woman has severe burns after fire in her mobile home


ST. AUGUSTINE — An elderly woman living in a mobile home park was left with severe burns and smoke inhalation, according to authorities.

Maintenance workers rescued the woman from the burning trailer at 245 Wildwood Drive in the Moultrie Oaks mobile home park, officials said.

According to a neighbor, the community is very close. "She was in a wheelchair," he said of the victim. "Lived by herself."

"Three people busted through the door and got her out," Dean Stowell said, another neighbor. "Two of the maintenance workers and somebody else."

Another neighbor, a retired firefighter, said he grabbed a garden hose and started spraying the home. He was trying to protect the house next door, he said.

Stowell said that he heard the woman had burns over 40 percent of her body.

Sand building up in Matanzas Inlet


ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — Sand is slowly filling in portions of the Matanzas Inlet.

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That's according to water officials and people who live or play around the inlet.

So much sand has built up by the inlet, Jerry Dixon with the St. Augustine Port, Waterway, and Beach District said, "The inlet has deteriorated drastically over the last 5 years."

"Something's going on," Bill O'Neill said. He fishes on the bridge over the Matanzas Inlet. He noticed the sand building up in the inlet too.

One of the sandbars just East of the bridge has grown so much that some people call it "the island." It is visible even during high tide.

Bridge of Lions getting two new lions


ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- The Bridge of Lions is receiving a new pair of statutes on Anastasia Island.

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The two lion statutes are the largest single, private donation to St. Augustine in honor of the city's 450th Anniversary. The gift comes from Wolfgang and Miki Schau.

"With the lions, we want to express our love to the city of St. Augustine as we express our love to each other. More details about this love story may be disclosed during the unveiling," Wolfgang said.

St. Johns County School Board passes tax hike


ID=29548179ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla -- St. Johns County is one of fastest growing counties in Florida and hundreds of families are moving there because of the public schools.

On Tuesday, the St. Johns County School Board unanimously passed a measure to support sending a half cent sales tax increase to build more schools before the county commission.

"We specifically moved back to St. Johns County for the schools," said Kristin Thomas.

Thomas grew up in St. Augustine and now has children. Like others, she moved to St. Johns County from out of state so that her children can attend top rated schools.