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Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Jacksonville mayor push to save funding for Enterprise Florida

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is pushing to help families who could lose job opportunities because of cuts to Enterprise Florida.

Lawmakers voted to strip the funding to the state’s economic development arm.

Scott met with Jacksonville leaders Wednesday afternoon, including Mayor Lenny Curry.

They discussed several topics, like jobs, the economy and even health care.

Here at the round table discussion with @FLGovScott and @lennycurry. @ActionNewsJax— Larry Spruill Jr (@LarryANjax) March 29, 2017

TRENDING: Nearly 50 dachshunds rescued, looking for forever homes

Scott talked about the recent Florida House vote to eliminate Enterprise Florida.

Scott said that company helps to bring millions of jobs to the Sunshine State every year.

Scott said the agency is important to the people of Florida because it helps boost the local economy and supports Florida’s military and defense communities.

Both Governor Scott and Mayor Curry said they disagree with the decision by state lawmakers.

“Members of the Duval Delegation, we agree on a lot of issues, we agree on most issues, we disagree on this issue. I think it’s a big disagreement, it’s a(n) important one that can have a negative impact on the people of Jacksonville,” Curry said.

LOCAL NEWS: Man uses baseball bat to free 2-month-old left in hot car at Jacksonville Lowe's

“What I ask everybody is, be active, talk to your House and Senate members, right here in North Florida,” Scott said.

Scott said the Florida Senate hasn’t voted on this topic just yet. 

Credit card skimmer found inside St. Johns County gas pump

The Pilot station on heavily traveled County Road 210 is where deputies discovered a credit card skimmer attached to a pump.

The sole purpose of that skimmer is to steal money from unsuspecting drivers.

Commander Chuck Mulligan with the St.Johns County Sheriff’s Office tells Action News Jax, “That skimmer had been placed inside the fuel pump, not outside. That tells us that these individuals have garnered some sort of a counterfeit key or they’ve stolen some keys to access some of these pumps.”

TRENDING: Nearly 50 dachshunds rescued, looking for forever homes

According to deputies, two vehicles pulled up to pumps 6 and 7 around 2:30 p.m. Monday.

Deputies say surveillance footage that has not been released shows the cars awkwardly positioned and the people inside acting odd.

Mulligan says, “At some point in time, however, the fuel pump alarm went off to the clerk inside, who realized that pump was going down.”

Police say both vehicles quickly packed up and sped away.

Drivers say a skimming incident in the area causes concern.

LOCAL NEWS: Man uses baseball bat to free 2-month-old left in hot car at Jacksonville Lowe's

“I pass through here at least twice a day and by using your card, you never can tell. You have skimmers on the pumps and you don’t know,” said driver Tonny Hayes.

The Sheriff’s Office is warning drivers to remain vigilant as they look for the skimming suspects.

Deputies say skimming is nearly impossible to prevent so they suggest keeping a close eye on your credit card statements.

'Blue Lives Matter' flag taken down after neighbor reportedly complains it's 'racist'

There’s an empty spot on a St. Johns County home where a "Blue Lives Matter" flag has flown for years.

According to the homeowner, the flag was placed there to show support for family and others in law enforcement.

Jeff Gaddie, the homeowner’s father tells Action News Jax, “She did take it down because she doesn’t want to be perceived as breaking the laws or anything.”

'Blue Lives Matter' flag has been removed from this SJC home. Homeowner was asked to take it down after neighbor complaint @ActionNewsJax— Beth Rousseau (@BethANJax) March 29, 2017

TRENDING: Nearly 50 dachshunds rescued, looking for forever homes

When we spoke to Gaddie last week, he explained that his daughter’s request to display the flag was denied after a neighbor complained that it was racist.

“I mean that’s just what they told her and that’s what they reacted off of,” Gaddie said.

First Coast Association Management, the company that enforces the HOA’s rules, denied the allegation in a post on their website.

The online statement outlines the Association’s policy that only allows American and military flags.

“I’m not  totally sure that it’s all the HOA board members involved as much as it is the management company. It may be a lack of communication between the two,” Gaddie said.

We wanted to hear from the company so we went to their office: They didn’t answer the door. There was also no answer when we tried to contact them by phone.

Homeowner tells me this is the flag a neighbor called 'racist' @ActionNewsJax— Beth Rousseau (@BethANJax) March 29, 2017

LOCAL NEWS: Man uses baseball bat to free 2-month-old left in hot car at Jacksonville Lowe's

The homeowner has started this online petition.

Gaddie said this fight is far from over.

“She’s trying to do it the right way where she fights back, appeals it, and tries to get it approved,” Gaddie said.

Florida Gov. announces license-free fishing for Saturday and Sunday

This weekend, Floridians and visitors will be able to fish in fresh waters this weekend without a license.

Gov. Rick Scott announced on Wednesday that the license-free fishing days would be Saturday and Sunday.

According to a release from Gov. Scott's office, all bag limits, seasons and size restrictions still apply.

TRENDING: Nearly 50 dachshunds rescued, looking for forever homes

“This weekend’s license-free fishing days are a great chance for families and visitors to enjoy the spring weather and experience the many fishing sites Florida is well known for. Florida is proud to be the Fishing Capital of the World, and I encourage everyone to take advantage of the license-free days this weekend,” Scott said in a release.

For fishing tips and regulation information from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, click here.

LOCAL NEWS: Man uses baseball bat to free 2-month-old left in hot car at Jacksonville Lowe's

Senators Demand Answers About Possible Probe Of HHS Secretary Price

Nine senators are pushing U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to reveal what he knows about a reported investigation into Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price’s stock trades that a top federal prosecutor might have begun before being fired by the Trump administration this month.

In a letter Wednesday, six senators — five Democrats plus Vermont independent Bernie Sanders — called on Sessions to assure them that any investigation of Price — or others connected to the Trump administration — would be “allowed to continue unimpeded.” Three Democratic senators sent a different letter a day earlier, asking Sessions to “provide greater clarity” about why Manhattan’s former U.S. attorney, Preet Bharara, was fired and whether any investigation of Price was a factor in Bharara’s removal.

ProPublica, a nonprofit news organization, reported March 17 that Price was being investigated by the U.S. attorney’s office for his stock trades, though it did not specify which trades Bharara was investigating before his dismissal. The website attributed its report to an unnamed person familiar with the U.S. attorney’s office, and neither the Justice Department nor other news media organizations have confirmed its existence.

If an investigation had begun, it would be derail. But investigations of federal officials are always sensitive cases, said Donald Langevoort, a securities law professor at Georgetown University.

“The higher up the food chain you go, the more prominent the person is, the more confident you better be that you have the evidence you can present to a jury,” he said. “But I think any attempt to quash an investigation would backfire considerably.”

Price, a prominent Republican congressman until he joined Trump’s Cabinet this year, was questioned extensively at his confirmation hearings about stock purchases he made in health care, pharmaceutical and medical device companies while serving on the House of Representatives’ health subcommittee.

The activity raised conflict-of-interest concerns for some members of Congress because Price’s trades overlapped with his sponsorship of bills, advocacy or votes on issues related to those companies or their industries.

The Democrats  called attention to Price’s investment in a small Australian biotech firm, Innate Immunotherapeutics, which Price testified he learned about from another congressman, Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.), Innate’s largest shareholder.

Price bought most of his shares at discounted prices in two private stock placements in 2016 offered to a small number of sophisticated investors — many with personal or professional ties to Collins.

Congressional Democrats slammed Price at his hearings for buying shares at advantageous prices not available to all investors. Some questioned whether Price had violated insider trading laws or the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act, which bans members of Congress from trading on stocks using information they received in carrying out their official duties.

“Despite the many unanswered questions that remained, Republicans rushed Price’s nomination through the Senate without waiting for answers,” six senators said in Wednesday’s letter.

When he was confirmed Feb. 10, Price agreed to divest his stock holdings within 90 days of  taking his post. An HHS spokesperson said Price has completed those divestitures but declined to provide further information.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) was the only senator who signed both letters to Sessions.

Other names on Wednesday’s letter were Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.).

Tuesday’s letter was also signed by Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Jeffrey Merkley (D-Ore.).

Sessions’ office confirmed it had received Tuesday’s letter from the senators but declined to comment on either one. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan also had no comment.

Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a national health policy news service. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

250-acre fire that claimed 3 Southeast Georgia homes 80 percent contained

Three homes were lost as Brantley County firefighters worked to put out a prescribed burn that grew to a 250-acre wildfire on Tuesday.

The fire, reported at a home on Foxwood and Britt Still roads in Nahunta, was 80 percent contained as of late Tuesday night.

Georgia Forestry Service said no more homes are currently threatened.

Photos: 3 homes lost in 250-acre wildfire in Brantley County

@ActionNewsJax 250 acres/75% contained; 25 homes were evacuated/45 structures threatened/2 damaged/1 destroyed; 7 outbuildings destroyed— GAForestryCommission (@GaTrees) March 29, 2017

TRENDING: Shop at Harbor Freight? Settlement could mean money for you

“Three homes have been burned, seven out buildings, and a boat and a RV,” said Leland Bass, with Georgia Forestry Commission. 

Two dogs and several pigs were saved.

The fire melted cars and scattered burnt rubble all over the ground. It’s a scene James Johns saw firsthand.

“It was right there at the corner and it was coming quick,” Johns said. 

Action News Jax First Alert chief meteorologist Mike Buresh said the wildfire season doesn’t peak until April and Tuesday’s fire makes the second one in our viewing area, in less than a week. Buresh said the dry conditions and low humidity is not helping.

PHOTOS: Family shares photos of beloved Jacksonville music teacher who was killed

“It looks like an active wildfire season, this is nearing, our wildfire season, it’s very dangerous for wildfires, they can spread quickly,” said Buresh. 

Brantley County Emergency Management thanked Nahunta, Hoboken, Hortense, Calvary and Waynesville VFD'S, Charlton County Fire, Brantley Sheriff's Office, Brantley EMS, Hoboken PD, Nahunta PD, GA Forestry, GEMA, and Red Cross for the their efforts to protect lives and property.

Crews in Nassau County say they will be mopping up hot spots in a fire that burned nearly 700 acres in Bryceville last week. 

.@skyjax1 heading to wildfire in Brantley County, evacuations ordered, outbuildings on fire. Watch @ActionNewsJax at 5 for local fire danger— Paige Kelton (@PaigeANjax) March 28, 2017 BREAKING:Forestry service says 3 homes lost in Brantley County wildfire. @skyjax1 heading to scene. @ActionNewsJax— Paige Kelton (@PaigeANjax) March 28, 2017 Heading to wildfire in Brantley County. Reports of 150 acres burning right now. @ActionNewsJax— Larry Spruill Jr (@LarryANjax) March 28, 2017 3 homes destroyed in Brantley County wildfire. @ActionNewsJax— Larry Spruill Jr (@LarryANjax) March 28, 2017 Just spoke with @MikeFirstAlert. He says conditions are right for wild fires in our area. @ActionNewsJax— Larry Spruill Jr (@LarryANjax) March 28, 2017 FACEBOOK LIVE: Crews respond to 150-acre wildfire in Brantley County, Ga.:— ActionNewsJax (@ActionNewsJax) March 28, 2017 Update on Brantley County Fire. @ActionNewsJax— Larry Spruill Jr (@LarryANjax) March 28, 2017 Just got to wildfire scene of Brantley County. @ActionNewsJax— Larry Spruill Jr (@LarryANjax) March 28, 2017 #BrantleyCountyFire @actionnewsjax— Larry Spruill Jr (@LarryANjax) March 28, 2017 I'm told this started as a prescribed burn that got out of hand. @ActionNewsJax— Larry Spruill Jr (@LarryANjax) March 28, 2017 Firefighters are on scene. #BrantleyCountyFire @ActionNewsJax— Larry Spruill Jr (@LarryANjax) March 28, 2017 Fire crews just rescued these two dogs from fire. @ActionNewsJax— Larry Spruill Jr (@LarryANjax) March 28, 2017 Several firefighter crews are fighting the fire as we speak. A helicopter is flying above pouring water. @ActionNewsJax— Larry Spruill Jr (@LarryANjax) March 28, 2017

Man uses baseball bat to free 2-month-old left in hot car at Jacksonville Lowe's

A Jacksonville woman was arrested after police said a man used a baseball bat to free a 2-month-old from a hot car, police said.

Police were called to Lowes at 12901 Atlantic Blvd. on Tuesday after reports of an infant left in a hot car.

Police said a man noticed a group of people crowded around a car and saw a child inside crying and sweating profusely.

The man used a baseball bat to break a window and got the baby out of the car, police said.

The man said he ran inside the store to help cool off the infant, who was covered in sweat.

The woman accused of leaving the infant in the car, Zoya Thomas, told police she was in the store for five minutes to check on paint colors. 

Woman facing child neglect charge after man used baseball bat to free 2-month-old from hot car in #Jacksonville— Brittney Donovan (@brittneydonovan) March 29, 2017

She said the baby was sleeping and she did not want to disturb her.

Surveillance video showed Thomas left the car at 12:49 p.m.

The man took the baby into the store at 1:07 p.m.

The temperature outside was 85 degrees and the car was parked in the middle of the parking lot in direct sunlight, police said.

Thomas was arrested for child neglect.

She told @JSOPIO baby was sleeping, so she went inside to look at paint colors. 2nd time in 3 days child left alone in car in Jacksonville— Brittney Donovan (@brittneydonovan) March 29, 2017

Judge upholds life sentences for 'Riverside Rapist': You created environment of 'fear of death'

A serial rapist will not get out of jail after a Duval County judge upheld seven life sentences for Robert Roberson.

His sentence was being reviewed because he was convicted as a teen for raping several women in Riverside in 1985.

Judge Angela Cox said that the court found that nothing other than a life sentence would protect the community from Roberson.

TRENDING: Nearly 50 dachshunds rescued, looking for forever homes

The judge told the now 46-year-old Roberson that his actions in 1985 revealed something much more sinister than simple immaturity.

"You created an environment where they had fear of death in addition to the act of sex. You threatened by words, you threatened death with a firearm, you threatened death by choking and hitting and biting," Cox said.

Roberson was known as the "Riverside Rapist," something women in the area say they remember well.

"We love the area, we felt very safe, but when that happened, we didn't. He took away our security," one woman said.

Another man told us he was 10 when Roberson committed his crimes and remembers his sister and mother fearing for their lives at that time.

The judge called Roberson's two-week crime spree occurring within 8 blocks of each other in Riverside violent.

LOCAL NEWS: Man uses baseball bat to free 2-month-old left in hot car at Jacksonville Lowe's

"You raped a woman who was breastfeeding her baby and required her baby to be on the bed while she was being violated," Cox said.

The reason for Roberson's resentencing: A Supreme Court ruling in 2010 that a life sentence for a teen not charged with murder is unconstitutional.

But despite Roberson's defense arguing that his horrific upbringing, witnessing violence and being a victim of violence, Roberson will still face multiple life sentences.

Cox said Roberson will be able to review his sentence in 10 years and Roberson has 30 days to appeal his new sentence.

3 storm chasers die in car crash while pursuing tornado

Three storm chasers were killed in a car crash Tuesday while pursuing a tornado in Spur, Texas.

>> Read more trending news

Authorities said the accident itself was not caused by severe weather.

According to CBS Dallas, Texas Department of Public Safety troopers said the storm chasers were driving toward a tornado and ran a stop sign.

“A black suburban was traveling north on FM 1081, when it disregarded a stop sign and collided with a jeep traveling west bound on FM 2794,” DPS Sgt. John Gonzalez told the news station.

Gonzalez said all three were pronounced dead at the scene. 

CBS Dallas reported there were two drivers and one passenger in the two vehicles.

Authorities identified the driver of the Suburban as Kelley Gene Williamson, 57, of Cassville, Mo. The Suburban's passenger was Randall Delane Yarnall, 55, also of Cassville. 

The Jeep's driver has been identified as Corbin Lee Jaeger, 25, of Peoria, Arizona.

According to authorities, Williamson was not wearing his seat belt and was ejected. Yarnall and Jaeger were wearing their seat belts.

Williamson and Yarnall were contractors for the Weather Channel, station officials said in a statement.

The two "were beloved members of the weather community. We are saddened by this loss and our deepest sympathies go out to the families and loved ones of all involved," officials with the Weather Channel said.

Lt. Bryan Witt of the DPS said the three were chasing a tornado in Dickens County, Texas.

There was a confirmed tornado reported about the same time, according to CNN Weather.

Spur is nearly 70 miles east of Lubbock, Texas.

Ford recalling 441,000 vehicles over engine fires, faulty door latches

Ford has issued a recall covering 441,000 2013 through 2015 model year vehicles over problems related to engine fires and faulty door latches.

The company is alerting 230,000 owners of four 2013 through 2015 models, including Fusion mid-size cars, Escape SUVs, Fiesta ST subcompacts and Transit Connect vans with 1.6-Liter turbocharged engines.

>> Read more trending news

The engines can overheat, causing a crack in the cylinder head, according to Ford. Oil could leak through the crack possibly catching fire, if it comes in contact with a hot surface.

Ford has reported 29 fires related to the problem, but no injuries, The Associated Press reported.   

The auto giant is also recalling another 211,000 2013 and 2014 model year vehicles as part of a previous recall over faulty door latches that cause doors to open while the car is being driven. The vehicles include the 2013 and 2014 Fusion and Lincoln MKZ, and the 2014 Fiesta.

>> Got a question about the news? See our explainers here

Ford will contact owners about the recalls and provide information on how to fix the problems.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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