WUFT News

Tornado Damages Homes Near Ocala Monday

By on April 21st, 2015 | Last updated: April 21, 2015 at 12:41 pm
Local | Leave a comment

April 21, 2015: Morning News In 90

By on April 21st, 2015 | Last updated: April 21, 2015 at 11:00 am

David Jolley produced this update.

News in 90 | Leave a comment

UF Club Baseball Hosts Home Run Derby, Alumni Weekend

By on April 21st, 2015 | Last updated: April 21, 2015 at 10:25 am

The weekend may have ended in disappointment for the University of Florida club baseball team, but it wasn’t a complete loss. 

April 17 kicked off the club’s alumni weekend with a home run derby featuring both Gator alumni and current UF club baseball players.

The Gators fell 5-3 in 10 innings to the University of Central Florida Knights during the April 19 series finale, likely ending their hopes of playing in the postseason.

The derby was determined by the team’s current players. UF junior Zack Zaversnik, 20, defeated junior Patrick Pinak, 20, in the final round with two home runs. Pinak hit one.

“You won’t find a better group of guys to play baseball with,” Pinak said. “Even though our season ended early, it’s pretty awesome knowing we’re all going to be friends for years to come.”

While the Gators’ regular season schedule is complete, the Knights have two games remaining against Florida International University, which they are expected to win.

 

Sports | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Waived Fees Help Drivers Save Money On Traffic Citations

By on April 21st, 2015 | Last updated: April 21, 2015 at 3:30 pm

Florida drivers had the opportunity Saturday April 18 to pay off overdue citations without breaking the bank.

The Alachua County Clerk of Court hosted a promotion called Operation Green Light, a promotion put together by different clerks around Florida to entice people to pay traffic citations and get their driver’s licenses reinstated, said Alachua County Clerk of Court and Comptroller J.K. “Buddy” Irby.

The Clerk’s office partnered with collection bureaus over the state and convinced them to waive fees for the day, saving violators 30 to 40 percent, Irby said. Counties all over the state of Florida participated in the promotion, including Duval, Polk, Broward, Lee and Collier County. Palm Beach County and Broward County hosted their events November 8 and February 13, respectively.

The Alachua County Clerk of Court, located at 201 East University Ave., remained closed Saturday, April 18 during Operation Green Light. Assistant Clerk of Court Edward Stiles said that it would be too expensive to remain open for the promotion.

The Alachua County Clerk of Court, located at 201 East University Ave., remained closed Saturday, April 18 during Operation Green Light. Assistant Clerk of Court Edward Stiles said that it would be too expensive to remain open for the promotion. Kathryn Williams / WUFT News

“If someone in the state of Florida doesn’t pay their citation within 120 days, we turn it over to a collection agency,” said Edward Stiles, Assistant Clerk of Courts. “The collection agency can add a surcharge for their services to collect the fee.”

It’s a two-step process, Stiles said. If someone had, for example, a $100 ticket, and it was not paid, their license would be suspended and then the fine would go to the collection agency. The fine would then be $135. They additional $35 is what is being waived.

Though the Clerk’s office was not open Saturday, postcards were sent out with 1-800 numbers and websites for participants to work through the collection agencies.

Irby said Florida clerks reported that over a million people in Florida are driving with suspended licenses.

According to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle data, in 2013 there were over 15.4 million licensed drivers in the state of Florida and 3.9 million traffic tickets were issued. Ten percent of those tickets were due to invalid licensing.

Out of the closest surrounding counties to Alachua – Bradford, Gilchrist, Putnam, Levy and Marion – Alachua has the third highest number of licensed drivers as a percent of their population, behind Marion and Levy Counties, according to 2014 FHSMV and Census data.

“Here in Alachua County, we have almost 9,500 drivers who have a suspended drivers license and that is a great concern because not only are they driving illegally but if they get stopped again, it’s only going to get worse,” Irby said. “So we want them to pay their citation, drive legally and get everything up to date.”

In Gainesville, Attorney Christian A. Straile, Gainesville and Ocala Criminal and Traffic Defense Lawyer, sees people dealing with traffic citations weekly, usually involving speeding and careless driving.

“All ages, all races, all sexes,” Straile said. “Traffic has no bounds.” Straile, however, said the Operation Green Light was a bit misleading.

“It sounds great, but what if you’re an individual with several tickets?”

Straile said the problem is that people could pay their citation, and later be mailed a notice of suspension. The citation could still lead to additional points being added to someone’s driving record and too many of a certain type of suspension could lead to a habitual offense.

A habitual offender accumulates a certain number of convictions described in the 2014 Florida Statues within a 5-year period of time.

Additional traffic violations can also causes increases in insurance, sometimes over $1,000 per year, according to Straile.

“These are the things that your government doesn’t tell you about,” Straile said. “They’re trying to get these tickets off the books.”

Straile said it is important for Alachua County residents, and especially anyone who participated in Operation Green Light, to remember to update their address, which can be done at flhsmv.gov, in case they are sent any notices of suspension or further fines.

He also said a person has 60 days after they paid their citation on the 18th to ask for a modification, which may adjust the penalties they faced for their violation.

“Anytime you’re cited for anything, you should seek consultation,” Staile said.

Edward Stiles hoped that, if anything, drivers will be more cautious of their actions on the road.

“Most people get citations because they ran a red light, or they had an accident, they hit somebody, and you know…carelessness,” Stiles said.  “That split second that somebody doesn’t pay attention can ruin a life.”

Florida | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

No Immediate Fix for SW 62nd Boulevard Road Conditions

By and on April 21st, 2015 | Last updated: April 21, 2015 at 2:55 pm

Commuters who use SW 62nd Boulevard to travel between SW 20th Avenue and Newberry Road won’t see progress on road repairs until July 2016.

The city of Gainesville is waiting until a project development and environment study is completed for renovations to start on the road, said Chip Skinner, a Gainesville Public Works spokesman.

Skinner said the city cannot begin work on the $45.2 million project, which will turn SW 62nd Boulevard from a two-lane road to a four-lane road, until after July 2016. Once the budget is approved, construction will begin.

The study will show potential environmental risks of the construction and how traffic from Interstate-75 will be relieved, he said. It was funded and commissioned separately to confirm the construction as a more permanent solution to constant repairs.

Many areas of the road are suffering from “alligator cracking,” which results when rainwater seeps into existing cracks and worsens them, he said.  Potholes are also a common sight while driving along the road.

Alachua County Public Works crews are routinely deployed to patch up these minor road blemishes. Even with continual repairs, the road’s condition is still below average, Skinner said.

The SW 62nd Boulevard extension will better facilitate movement for drivers through the Gainesville metropolitan area, Skinner said. Along with the expansion of the Butler Plaza shopping center, the improved roadway will allow for easier movement along more crowded areas in the west of the city. ​

Local | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

April 20, 2015: Afternoon News In 90

By on April 20th, 2015 | Last updated: April 20, 2015 at 2:13 pm

Amanda Jackson produced this update. 

News in 90 | Leave a comment

In The News: Texas Gov. Supports Florida, Tebow to Return to NFL, UF Hopes for $20 Million, Cold Case Needs Help

By on April 20th, 2015 | Last updated: April 20, 2015 at 1:39 pm
In the News | Leave a comment

UF Football Player Arrested After Armed Robbery, Released On $150,000-Bond

By and on April 20th, 2015 | Last updated: April 22, 2015 at 11:08 am
UF football player JC Jackson was arrested yesterday for his involvement in an armed Robbery on Saturday.  He is currently in the ASO jail on a $150,000 bond.

University of Florida football player J.C. Jackson was arrested Monday for his involvement in an armed robbery on Saturday. He was released from the Alachua County Jail on Tuesday. Photo provided by Gainesville Police Department

UPDATE, April 22 11:00 a.m.: University of Florida football player J.C. Jackson was released on $150,000-bond at 4:25 p.m. on Tuesday, according to a spokesperson for the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office Department of the Jail.

UPDATE, April 21 11:50 a.m.: A University of Florida football player was arrested Monday after turning himself in for his involvement in an armed robbery, Gainesville Police Department’s Public Information Officer Benjamin Tobias wrote in an email.

According to the police report, redshirt freshman J.C. Jackson contacted the victim Saturday afternoon asking if he wanted to hang out and smoke marijuana.  Jackson had been to the victim’s home before on other occasions and was recognized immediately by the resident.

The report stated that when the resident opened the door to Jackson, two black males, who were unknown to the resident, followed him into the apartment. Jackson left almost immediately. One of the two men pulled out a handgun, pointed it at the resident and two visitors and forced them to lay on the ground.

According to the report, the two men took $382 from the victims’ pockets along with two game consoles and the resident’s marijuana. Jackson was positively identified by all three victims and is currently being held in the ASO jail.

Coach McElwain released a statement yesterday saying, “We are aware of the news… We don’t condone any of his actions… It is being handled accordingly.”

Local | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

UF Football Player Arrested, FAMU Hazing Trial Continues, Search For Missing Boy, Medical Marijuana Decisions

By on April 20th, 2015 | Last updated: April 20, 2015 at 10:53 am
In the News | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

April 20, 2015: Morning News In 90

By and on April 20th, 2015 | Last updated: April 20, 2015 at 10:43 am

 

Briana Erickson produced this update.

News in 90 | Leave a comment

Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments