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  • UPDATE: The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office says Nathan Garmany has been found safe. They’re thanking everyone for their help. ORIGINAL STORY: The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is asking for the community's help finding 17-year-old Nathan Garmany.  Police say he was reported missing by family members after walking off during Monday's Martin Luther King Jr. Parade in downtown Jacksonville. We're told that he was last seen near the intersection of Church and Pearl Streets.  Police say Garmany has Autism and due to the circumstances involved, they're asking you to come forward if you've seen him.  He's described as a black male, 5'5'' tall and weighing 90 pounds, with brown eyes and black hair. He was last seen wearing a brown leather jacket, dark jeans, a tan hat, and red/black shoes.  If you've seen him or know where he is, you're asked to call the sheriff's office at (904) 630-0500.
  • The original party bike is wheeling its way to Jacksonville, giving Action News Jax an inside look at operations ahead of the soft launch. Talk about designated drivers: Pedal Pub offers a 16-passenger ride as a mobile bar during its tour of different bars or breweries.  Their policy is B.Y.O.B., meaning bring your own booze. Passengers must bring their own alcohol, as long as it’s already sealed. They can not bring open containers onto the bike or from another bar. It must be opened and enjoyed on the bike.  “You can bring beer, wine, hard seltzer, you just can’t bring glass,” Theresa Pontieri said. “Other than that, it’s whatever your drink of choice is really.'  Pontieri is the co-founder and owner of Pedal Pub Jacksonville. She and her partner, a Jacksonville native, said they want to be involved in the revitalization of Downtown.  “We’ve all been in Florida for a really long time and we thought with all the growth and all of the businesses trying to really put Jacksonville on the map, this will be a perfect place for it,” Pontieri said.  They will have three tours: a Springfield Brewery Tour, a Downtown Jacksonville District tour and Riverside tour. Once football season begins, they said they will also have a tailgate tour.  Each tour is two hours long, with a couple stops at bars or breweries in the neighborhood. Passengers are given a Pedal Pub wristband to get discounted drinks. However, drinks cannot leave the bar.  According to a City of Jacksonville ordinance, open container restrictions on alcoholic beverages contained in Sections 154.107 and 154.108 are waived during Entertainment District Activity Periods. This allows people to have an open container during selected sporting events and tailgates, along with festivals.  Because the Pedal Pub is not considered an automobile, Pontieri said they have reached an agreement with the city.  “We’ve been working really closely with the City of Jacksonville to get around the open container issues,” Pontieri said. “They have been awesome working with us. So we have a special agreement with them. So riders can drink when they’re on our bikes.”  In other major cities, other drivers have run into these bikes and injured passengers. Therefore, each driver and tour guide must complete a driving certification program. They said each passenger must also agree to a set of rules for their safety ahead of the tour.  The soft launch is scheduled for February 1. Find more information here: https://www.pedalpub.com/jacksonville-fl/
  • Dozens of volunteers were hard at work with paint rollers Monday. They were transforming families’ homes on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Some were students -- while others were members of the community who heard about the project and wanted to help.  “This is going to make our neighborhood shine and brighten it up,” Doretha Tompkins said.  Tompkins has lived in the Riverview community in Northwest Jacksonville for 33 years. She said her home and many others on 4th Avenue really needed the help.  “All of the people we chose and selected are senior citizens,” she said. “They’re on fixed incomes and they could not afford to get their homes painted.”  AmeriCorps members were among up to 50 volunteers who transformed eight homes in the neighborhood.  The Northwest Jacksonville CDC was one group behind the project. Riverview is one of 19 neighborhoods they focus on.  “When neighborhoods start tipping, if we don’t fix up the homes that are here, it kind of feeds the decline,” Paul Tutwiler said. “Those homes that we’re not doing, we expect the other homeowners to start fixing up themselves.”  Volunteer Jaiden Sessions, a Paxon High School senior, said Martin Luther King Jr. Day was the perfect time to give back.  “We are celebrating the life of someone who influenced a lot of people to come together -- of different races, different ages, different generations,” she said.  Tompkins said it’s a blessing that will inspire their community for years to come.  “I can’t find enough adjectives to express in words how much this means to us,” she said. “It just falls right in to the things Martin Luther King believed in. Helping others, caring about other people and to make all of us equal.”
  • Jacksonville City Council President Scott Wilson is announcing the creation of a new special council committee to investigate JEA and the attempted sale.  'There are still many questions to be asked, information that must be learned. The public has a right to know exactly what happened, why it happened, how it happened, and who was involved. That is why I am forming a special council committee to investigate every aspect, turn over every rock, look behind every curtain, and bring all that we do not know and what we deserve to know into daylight for everyone to see,' says Wilson.  The special council committee will be made up of three council members: Rory Diamond, Priestly Jackson, and Randy DeFoor. Wilson says Diamond will chair this committee.  'Let me make something else very clear, we will uncover and hold accountable anybody who had anything to do with trying to take advantage of our city and the JEA ratepayers, whether it's lobbyists, investment bankers, lawyers, bankers, or employees. We will fight to recover the loss of wasted money and repair the damage this has done to our reputation and the community's trust. For any senior executive found to have been involved in wrongdoing, we will urge immediate termination, for cause,' says Wilson.  He says the mission of this committee is a public report.  Wilson is hopeful the committee will be able to put together a report within 90 to 120 days, but committee chair Diamond is already expressing concerns with the timeline.  The first meeting will come in the next two weeks. Following Wilson’s announcement, JEA released the following statement: We appreciate City Council President Wilson’s decision to move forward with the investigation and JEA looks forward to working side-by-side with him and his colleagues to provide any and all information pertinent to their review. Additionally, Interim CEO Melissa Dykes will be adding a discussion item to the JEA Board meeting agenda next Tuesday, January 28th that will seek to ensure that any future conversation concerning structural changes in the operations of JEA which require legislative consideration, are done in cooperation with the City Council and community. We are looking to set a course where JEA leaders work collaboratively with the City Council and Administration. CEO Dykes has already said there will not be any privatization effort during her tenure but requiring future JEA leaders to work step-by-step with the City Council, Administration and community stakeholders will be another measure to increase transparency. Additionally, CEO Dykes will be holding town hall meetings in every City Council district in the coming weeks to seek community input and rebuild community trust through open public meetings. WATCH: Jacksonville City Council President Scott Wilson announces creation of special council committee to investigate JEA and the attempted sale
  • Police in Fayetteville, North Carolina, said a woman and a 1-month-old baby are safe after a man broke into a home and forced them into a car at gunpoint, according to WTVD. The man is in custody, according to police. The home invasion and kidnapping happened Monday at 1:12 a.m. Update 12:32 p.m. EST Jan 20: According to police, Wani Thomas broke into the home early Monday and forced Jasmine Livermore and the baby boy, Nathaniel Thomas, into a vehicle, WSOC-TV reported. Authorities said Livermore and the child were found safe around 8 a.m., the television station reported. In a Facebook post, Fayetteville police said Wani Thomas was in custody and would be processed at the Cumberland County Detention Center. Original report: Police in Fayetteville, North Carolina, said a man broke into a home and forced a woman and a 1-month-old boy into a car at gunpoint, according to WTVD. The home invasion and kidnapping happened Monday at 1:12 a.m. Wani Thomas broke into a home on Tangerine Drive and forced Jasmine Livermore and the baby boy, Nathaniel Thomas, into a vehicle, police said. Authorities are currently searching for all three. Thomas is considered armed and dangerous and last seen wearing a brown jacket with blue jeans. Livermore, 20, was last seen wearing gray pants, a brown shirt and a camouflage jacket. Anyone with information should call Fayetteville police at (910) 676-2597 or Cumberland County Crimestoppers at (910) 483-8477.

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