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Jacksonville officer involved in crash on Blanding Boulevard

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is responding to a reported officer-involved crash at Blanding and Cedar Hills boulevards.

JSO said those injured in the crash have minor injuries.

Action News Jax has a crew headed to the scene. Watch CBS47 Action News Jax at 11 and refresh this page for the latest information.

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St. Augustine family's minivan hit by lightning while driving on I-4

Mother Nature is unpredictable and a St. Augustine family had an unimaginable close encounter with her strength.

Tina Lewis received the biggest jolt of her life when lightning hit her family's van and two other cars on I-4 near Lakeland last month.

“It was an instantaneous flash of light and thunder,” said Tina Lewis. “My husband realized we have no power steering, we couldn’t brake and we had no acceleration. We had nothing."

Lewis’ husband Chris was driving. He said the odds were in their favor and miraculously nobody was injured.

“What are the odds to get struck by lightning?” he said.

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All three cars were zapped and one of them took the brunt of the hit.

Lewis told us the vehicle that was immediately next to them had a hole in the roof where the antenna was and the entire back window was shattered by the strike.

The family’s Honda Odyssey shared 93,000 miles by a family of five.

Now, the only keepsake they have of the car is the 8th seat that they took out before the incident occurred.

Recently, their minivan was claimed as a total loss. From the exterior, the van appears to be fine, but the family say the lightning surge fried the electronics.

“If you looked at a picture of our van from the outside there is no burn marks there,” said Chris Lewis.

For Tina, she’s glad her husband didn’t crack under pressure.

“First off, I married the right guy. You never know what’s going to happen under pressure until it happens. He remained remarkably calm.”

Missing child alert canceled for 16-year-old from South Florida

A missing child alert for a 16-year-old from South Florida has been canceled.

The alert was issued after Breanna Graham was last seen on Monday on Redish Circle in Clewiston, Fla. 

She was belived to be headed to the Tampa area with 30-year-old Brandon Sheldon in a white 1992 Ford F-150 with a burgundy stripe with Florida tag GZNP47.

Graham is described as 5 feet 1 inch tall and weighs 130 pounds.

Missing child alert for 16-year-old Breanna Graham last seen in Clewiston, Fla. May be with Brandon Sheldon pic.twitter.com/PWNWa3mEPz— ActionNewsJax (@ActionNewsJax) August 9, 2016

St. Augustine man arrested in cyber sex sting

A local man is in jail after he was nabbed in a cyber sex sting 

Rolando Gago, 48, of St. Augustine is facing several charges after being arrested when he thought he was meeting a child for sex after sharing messages in an online chat room.

"What he believed to be sex with a young girl but in fact what he found was a 6-foot-6 inch detective," said Cmdr. Chuck Mulligan of the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office.

Action News Jax found out Gago used to be a sales associate at a local Toyota dealership, but left more than a year and a half ago. He was also on probation for public assistance fraud in 2015. He's being held on a $30,000 bond. 

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Brunswick barbers chase suspect after being robbed

A local barber said he had to fight back against a robber.

Ronald Green, owner of Unique Styles Barber Shop, said Trenton McDaniel came into his shop on Saturday and pointed a gun at him demanding money.

Green complied and handed over the money, but he and another barber then went after McDaniel.

"When he heard us coming out the door, he heard and went back like this here and the gun just fired," Green said.

He said the other barber fired back and the chase continued.

Police also were looking for McDaniel.

McDaniel was arrested a short time later after he was found hiding under an abandoned home.

Barber said he got his stolen money back.

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Popular resort claims to be Zika-free

Weddings are a time to join together and celebrate love. Planning a romantic honeymoon comes with it, but with the Zika virus spreading rapidly, some couples are worried.

“I have been getting several calls from clients, especially young women saying 'Hey Scott, is it still safe to go?'" Scott Lara, manager at Air Sea Travel, said.

Action News Jax's Erica Bennett is among those concerned about the virus.

She and her fiancé T.J. have been planning for months and are headed to the Caribbean like a lot of people.

She did some research on various resorts and found something that aims to comfort couples.

According to an online notice, all of Sandals properties -- from Antigua to Jamaica to The Bahamas -- are Zika-free.

“Sandals and other land-based vacations that are saying 'We can guarantee there won't be a problem.' There's no guarantee. You just don't know. Things change on a daily basis,” Lara said.

That's why Centers for Disease Control is keeping Americans updated.

All county health departments in Florida are offering free Zika virus assessment and testing to pregnant women.

Sandals said it’s fogging its resorts twice a day and offering free bug repellent to guests, among other things.

Erica said it's good enough for her, but each couple should judge for themselves.

‘I have a daughter who's 31, who's in that age, and I definitely want my grandchild healthy,” Lara said.

The good news is that if you're not in childbearing age and not too concerned about the Zika virus, you may be able to call and get a discounted rate or special on a Caribbean vacation. 

Leaders say impending sale of Eureka Gardens may be putting safety at risk

There are concerns that Global Ministries Foundation is lagging behind on needed security and repairs at Eureka Gardens because it is in the middle of trying to sell the property.

Those are the claims from local and federal leaders, who called a news conference Tuesday to address the concerns.

The crime scene tape from Monday’s shooting is gone but evidence of the violence still remains.

Seven people were shot outside Eureka Gardens. Two people are still hospitalized with life-threatening wounds and another five are recovering from injuries. Police say the three shooters remain on the run.

Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida invited local leaders as well as a representative from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to attend the news conference.

“Those are not the conditions that Americans should be living in,” said Nelson.

Action News Jax reported last month that GMF is now selling two Jacksonville properties, including Eureka Gardens. GMF is also the focus of a HUD inspector-general investigation.

Councilmen Garrett Dennis and Tommy Hazouri expressed concerns that GMF may be putting its responsibilities at the property on the back burner.

“You can't blame Global Ministries for the shootings, but you can blame them for not having the proper security out there,” said Hazouri.

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“On the onset of hearing the properties were for sale, was if they're going to just take a back seat and let the sale process happen and not continue fixing them, cleaning, managing the property,” said Dennis.

HUD representative Lauryn Alleva flew in from Washington to be at the news conference. She said despite the impending sale, HUD is not easing up on GMF.

“Not just this owner but any other owner that is abusing the privilege of assisting our tenants. We will enforce,” said Alleva.

A possible deal for the property is in the works. Neither HUD nor the city know who the buyer may be, but Mayor Lenny Curry’s chief of staff, Kerri Stewart, said they’re keeping an eye on it.

Stewart said the city will want to look at their financial capabilities and whether they have experience rehabilitating a distressed property.

Alleva admitted that since GMF purchased its properties, HUD has strengthened the requirements needed to be approved for Section 8 housing payments.

“We were a little bit too lax, in our opinion, at the time GMF took these assets over. We're not afraid to admit that we want to be more stringent,” said Alleva.

GMF owns 42 properties nationwide; 17 are in Florida.

Alleva also said that it’s uncommon for one property owner to have so many problems and be under so much scrutiny.

“I think from my experience, and I've been in multi-family housing for about 10 years, it's not common. Especially within our portfolio, this is not something we run into,” said Alleva.

Since Monday’s shooting, HUD has required that GMF have a separate security assessment done on the property.

Alleva said HUD is also now visiting Eureka Gardens once a week to ensure that needed repairs have been made.

Man shot during reported robbery near Jacksonville University

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is investigating after a man was shot during a possible robbery attempt in Arlington on Tuesday afternoon.

Officers said the robbery happened at Eagle Pointe Apartments, 3120 Tall Pine Lane.

The man who was shot was taken to Memorial Hospital by witnesses. Police said he is in stable condition.

Police said the suspect, a man wearing all black, ran away from the area and was not able to be located.

Anyone who has any information is asked to contact JSO at (904) 630-0500 or CrimeStoppers at 1 (866) 845-TIPS.

#JSO is working a robbery with a person shot injuries in the 3100 block of W. Tall Pine Ln. #JAX #Jacksonville— Jax Sheriff's Office (@JSOPIO) August 9, 2016 At least 2 shell casings in the parking lot of Eagle Pointe Apartments @ActionNewsJax pic.twitter.com/rdcJViaGBa— Danielle Avitable (@DanielleANjax) August 9, 2016

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Crews recover El Faro voyage data recorder from ocean floor

Crews have recovered El Faro's voyage data recorder after a 10-month-long effort.

The recorder was recovered from the ocean floor late Monday evening, according to the National Transportation and Safety Board.

Officials hope the recorder will reveal information about the final hours of El Faro's voyage before it sank during Hurricane Joaquin in October 2015 with 33 crew members on board.

#NTSB says #ELFaro 's data recorder has been recovered from the ocean floor. @ActionNewsJax pic.twitter.com/pf5DmUz1ED— Jacqueline Fell (@jackiefell) August 9, 2016

TOTE Maritime released a statement about the finding:

TOTE wishes to thank the crew of the research vessel Apache and the team from the NTSB for their persistence and success in finding the El Faro's VDR. We hope that the information contained will help with the goal to learn everything possible about the loss of our crew and vessel. We look forward to the NTSB report and welcome safety related recommendations that benefit our seafarers; there is no more important legacy for our employees and their families.

Changes made to Duval County student code of conduct for 2016-17 school year

Changes have been made to the Duval County School Board’s student code of conduct for the upcoming school year.

The school board approved the new code of conduct, which is documented in a 40-page developmental responsiveness plan. It will take effect this fall.

The school district acknowledged that it needed to do something about fighting in schools and began revising the code of conduct.

Related Link: DCPS developmental responsiveness plan 2016-2017

Students can now be sent to Alternative to Out-Of-School Suspension (ATOSS) centers for dozens of different infractions instead of being punished with out-of-school suspension.

It also changes how the district deals with fighting on school buses. Now one fight gets a student removed from the bus for 30 days and a second one means a seven-day out-of-school suspension.

Ultimately, the student could lose bus privileges for good; however, that is up to the district’s hearing office.

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