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World Cup 2026 returns to North America; Jacksonville sports leaders consider options 

On the heels of the FIFA vote awarding North America the 2026 World Cup, leaders of the JAXSPORTS Council say they would love to host anything for the World Cup. 

The soccer showpiece will return to the U.S. for the first time since 1994 after gaining 134 votes.  The U.S. proposed staging 60 out of the 80 games in 2026.

“We would love to host anything for the World Cup. It’s so exciting that it will be played in the U.S. again”, said Alan Verlander, JAXSPORTS Council CEO. 

“There will be many details to follow over the coming months and the leadership in the city will certainly be involved in every step if Jacksonville becomes an option”, Verlander said.  

We told you in August 2017 that Jacksonville was one of forty-four cities across three nations that were being solicited for interest in hosting the 2026 FIFA World Cup. 

In October 2017, Jacksonville was eliminated from consideration.  However, cities that didn’t make the cut could still be considered for the International Broadcast Center, Team Base Camps, or other major events connected to the tournament. 

Jacksonville has previously hosted soccer matches featuring the U.S. Men’s and Women’s teams in recent years at TIAA Bank Field, formerly known as EverBank Field. 

Three dead, one critical following shooting at Town Center Parkway 

Three people are dead and a fourth person sustained critical injuries in a shooting near the St. Johns Town Center and UNF. 

Jacksonville Police were called just before 11pm to Town Center Parkway and found all of the victims in one car. 

“At this time we have four victims, three confirmed dead and one in critical condition at the hospital. It’s unknown what happened but an unknown vehicle pulled up next to the victims’ vehicle and the shooting began”, said JSO Lt. Craig Waldrip. 

No suspect information was offered by investigators on scene of the shooting. 

Police say they’re not sure of the victim’s ages but they appeared to be young black males.  It’s unclear if any were students. 

Investigators say the shooting appeared to be an isolated incident and was not the result of road rage. 

“It is unusual for this location however it could occur anywhere.  We’re not really quite sure what the background is on this yet”, said Lt. Waldrip. 

Witnesses to the shooting were being interviewed by JSO detectives through the overnight.  

An alert from UNF to students and staff says police do not believe this is connected to the university, and First Coast Crime Stoppers has a sign near the campus asking anyone with information to contact them. The university says police on campus will continue to operate in a heightened alert  as they always do after the shooting which happened right outside of the main entrance to the school.

As of this morning, First Coast Crime Stopper says they received 1 tip related to the shooting so far, and they are hopping more will come in through out the afternoon.

JSO says if you have any information to call them at 904-630-0500 or contact First Coast Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.

Hurricane Ready: Before the Storm 

Northeast Florida has experienced an uptick in tropical activity since 2016 after a decade of relative calm.  Hermine, Matthew, and Irma brought rain, wind, and storm surge at various levels of severity.  

And before the ‘official’ start of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season, Alberto drenched the Florida Panhandle communities. 

U.S. government forecasters expect an active Atlantic hurricane season.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast calls for 10 to 16 named storms, with five to nine hurricanes. One to four hurricanes could be "major" with sustained winds of at least 111 mph.

WATCH:  WOKV Hurricane Ready - Before the Storm 

News 104.5 WOKV and CBS 47/FOX 30 Action News Jax are committed to providing NE Florida residents with information necessary to be prepared for the next storm threat.  We pulled together emergency managers from Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau, and St. Johns County to share key preparedness details including new shelter plans and flood zones.  

Chief Meteorologist Mike Buresh and National Weather Service Meteorologist in Charge Scott Cordero led a panel discussion of the devastating impacts of Hurricane Irma, and the valuable lessons that were learned. 

On-demand parking service coming to St. Johns Town Center 

Finding a good parking spot at the St. Johns Town Center can be really aggravating at times.  So, a new service may just satisfy a need, especially during peak shopping seasons.  

Beginning on Friday, you can reserve a premium parking spot through the MyPark app.  It's $3 for the first two hours, and $3 for each additional hour. The initial launch will be just 17 parking spaces in some of the most congested areas of the Town Center:-Entrance by the Apple store-Entrance by Dillard’s-Entrance by Ted’s Montana Grill and near DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse

You will drive through a marked lane, tap ‘let me in’ on the app, and then drive forward to a mark where you’ll park.  It’s a parallel parking system that’s meant to eliminate the need to back into a space. 

You can learn more about the service here

Subtropical Storm Alberto has formed; local impacts to be heavy rain, rip currents 

Subtropical Storm Alberto has formed in the Caribbean and is continuing to move through the Gulf of Mexico through the weekend.  Local impacts are expected to be felt by Sunday and Monday with times of heavy downpours.  

Action News Jax Chief Meteorologist Mike Buresh says the center of the storm is expected to have land impact anywhere from the Panhandle to New Orleans, so there will be no direct local impact.

Subtropical means that the system is not warm all the way through its core. Buresh says it is expected to transition to a Tropical Storm over the next couple of days. 

“It’s just semantics, it’s just naming, and this development doesn’t at all change the local forecast as we head through the holiday weekend for Jacksonville and NE Florida”, Buresh said. 

PODCAST:  Mike Buresh details day-by-day weather impacts

“There will be a tremendous surge of tropical moisture northward across the area and that will add to some rain”, Buresh said. 

Saturday looks like the driest day of the weekend.  By Sunday we feel impacts of tropical moisture, in part from what’s likely to be Alberto over the Gulf of Mexico. 

INDEPTH:  Talking the Tropics with Mike Buresh

Monday is looking dry to start the day, and then stormy by the afternoon.  Buresh says we stay wet into next week, and some isolated areas could see upwards of 10 inches of rain by the end of next week.  

 

St. Augustine water taxi launches shuttle service

If you’re planning to visit Downtown St. Augustine this weekend and don’t want to deal with traffic or parking, there’s a new option.

St. Augustine WAXI- a water taxi that normally runs service by reservation- is testing out a Saturday shuttle. The service runs between the Vilano Pier and Municipal Marina, from 11AM to 6:15PM, from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. 

“Come on down to the Vilano Pier and catch a ride Downtown to enjoy Downtown,” says St. Augustine WAXI owner and operator Captain Tony Fornier. 

Fornier says they have been operating as a reservation-based water taxi for about two years, but decided to test out the non-reservation shuttle route for a few reasons. He says people living in Vilano wanted an easier way to get Downtown, and he says the City also wants to see if this is a viable transportation option. 

“Aid with the mobility issues here in St. Augustine,” he says. 

While he says the City is interested in testing this option, there is no City funding going toward the service. 

Currently, the water taxi can hold six people. Fornier says, if demand warrants, he has the ability to bring in a second vessel. 

“We’re hoping that, with this shuttle program, a lot of people will realize that the need is there for transportation between the Vilano Pier and Downtown,” he says. 

While they are currently planning to run through Labor Day, he says he’s also open to other busy seasons like with music festivals or Nights of Lights. 

The service costs $8 per person one way, or $14 per person round trip. The business also continues to operate as a reservation-based water taxi Sunday through Friday at the same rate. Drop offs are at various water front restaurants and marinas. You can make a reservation by calling or texting 904-923-WAXI, or booking online.

Jags owner on new NFL Anthem policy: We want respect for our nation and flag

The NFL has issued a new policy requiring all personnel on the field- players and staff alike- to stand for the National Anthem, with the stated goal of showing respect for the flag and the National Anthem.

Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan says the new policy brings everyone closer on the same ideals.

“We all want the same thing- respect for our nation and the flag, the focus on our game and a pledge to advancing social justice that will be absolute and stand the test of time,” says a statement from Khan.

The new policy says anyone who is unwilling to stand during the Anthem can remain off the field, like in the locker room. If anyone on the field does not stand for the National Anthem and show respect for the flag, then the team will be fined. The policy further says each club can develop their own rules for how they address any player or staff who does not abide by these rules.

The Commissioner will also impose “appropriate discipline” for league personnel who do not stand and show respect.

“The policy adopted today was approved in concert with the NFL’s ongoing commitment to local communities and our country- one that is extraordinary in its scope, resources, and alignment with our players. We are dedicated to continuing our collaboration with players to advance the goals of justice and fairness in all corners of our society,” says a statement from the NFL.

Khan was previously named to the NFL’s player-owner committee on social justice. That committee was tasked to support programs and initiatives that promote opportunity, especially in education, economic development, community and police relations, and the criminal justice system. Khan himself drew a lot of attention when he stood arm-in-arm with players- some of who were kneeling- ahead of the team’s game in London this past season.

“It was unfortunate that on-field protests created a false perception among many that thousands of NFL players were unpatriotic. This is not and was never the case,” says the statement from the NFL.

The NFL Players Association says this new policy was not in consultation with them and contradicts what they have previously been told.

“NFL players have shown their patriotism through their social activism, their community service, in support of our military and law enforcement and yes, through their protects to raise awareness about the issues they care about,” says a statement from the NFLPA.

The NFL believes this change will bring the attention back to what’s happening on the field, and not the sidelines.

“We believe today’s decision will keep our focus on the game and the extraordinary athletes who play it- and on our fans who enjoy it,” says the NFL’s statement.

The League further says they will continue to work with players to drive progress around issues of social justice.

What do you think of the new rules? Weigh in on Facebook:

Kitten rescued from under the Fuller Warren Bridge

Jacksonville firefighters have rescued a kitten from under the Fuller Warren Bridge.

Jacksonville Association of Firefighters Local 122 President Randy Wyse says the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department and Animal Care teamed up for the rescue. Wyse says someone saw the cat, but it would run away when firefighters tried to get it, so they set a trap last night. They took the trap down this morning, with the kitten inside, he says.

Semi, box truck involved in deadly crash in Nassau County

One person is dead, following a crash involving a semi-truck and box truck.

All lanes  of I-95 NB were blocked at State Road 200 for the investigation. About seven hours after the initial closure, all lanes re-opened.

The Florida Highway Patrol says the box truck driver was heading southbound, when he lost control, hit the median guardrail, and crossed in to northbound traffic. The crash report says he then collided with the semi, which was heading northbound.

The driver of the box truck suffered serious injuries, and the drive of the semi was pronounced dead on the scene.

The deceased driver is a 54-year-old from Plant City, but his identity is being withheld pending notification to his family.

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