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Jacksonville police capture 3 escaped teen inmates

Jacksonville police have captured three teen inmates who escaped a week ago from a youth detention facility on the city s Northside. Investigators tracking down leads led officers to take back into custody Luther Franklyn Davis, 16, Derek Marquise Browley, also 16, and Justin A. Silva, 15, the Jacksonville Sheriff s Office tweeted out Saturday morning. The teenagers were located together shortly after 10 a.m. on South Old Kings Road, according to the Sheriff s Office.

Police have said the three had escaped about 11:30 p.m. June 18 from the Jacksonville Youth Academy after overpowering a guard. It was the fourth escape in as many months from a state juvenile justice facility in Northeast Florida. The Sheriff s Office previously provided the following account of the escape. Davis asked a guard if he could use the bathroom. Silva called another security guard to the locked door of the room he shared with Browley. Silva is accused of punching a guard in the mouth as he opened the door to talk to Silva. Silva and Browley are accused of then grabbing the guard s keys from the door and running out of the room as Davis fled the bathroom.

The guard who had been punched and two others tried to stop the fleeing teens, but their portable radios fell to the floor during the attempt. The teenagers are accused of scooping up the radios and throwing them at one guard s face, causing an eye to bleed and swell. The guards grappled with the teens, but they used the key to unlock an outside door, then jumped a fence and took off on foot, police said. Another guard had a cut lip from being punched, according to the Sheriff s Office . Browley was in Jacksonville s juvenile facility on three 2017 charges carjacking and burglary in January, and auto theft in April, according to the sheriff s office. Silva s charges include grand theft and violation of probation, while Davis s include auto burglary, auto theft and burglary, both from other jurisdictions, according to Juvenile Justice.

Eleven teens were involved in the four escapes, including eight from a St. Johns County detention center. All of the facilities involved are operated by an organization called G4S Youth Services. After the three Jacksonville teens escaped, the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice said in a statement it takes incidents at its programs very seriously to ensure the safety of both youth and staff.

Juvenile Justice will continue to work with law enforcement, as well as conducting our own investigation of this incident, to confirm that all policies and procedures were followed, the statement said. If policies and procedures were not followed, G4S Youth Services will be held accountable, Juvenile Justice officials said. The Jacksonville Youth Academy is one of 54 facilities for teens under state Department of Juvenile Justice control. Eleven operate in an 18-county Northeast Florida region. It is listed as a structured, non-secure treatment program for up to 24 boys ages 14 to 18 with mental health and behavioral health services, according to the department s website. The average length of stay is three to nine months; the teens ordered there by a judge complete a substance-abuse program.

The academy is run under state contract by G4S Youth Services, which provides what it calls resdential-based juvenile services in Florida, Texas and Tennessee. Formerly a subsidiary of the global security company G4S, the company was sold in April for $56.5 million to BHSB Holdings, a Tampa-based provider of health care services. G4S also operates the Hastings Youth Academy, which saw three inmate escapes between March and May at the facility just west of Florida 207, according to the St. Johns County Sheriff s Office. The sheriff s office had to add a portable observation tower and portable floodlights May 18 after two teens escaped. That escape occurred only weeks after four others escaped. Two of those same boys briefly escaped in March. All were caught.

Teresa Stepzinski: (904) 359-4075

A restock and recharge along the pipeline’s path

FAIRBANKS I left my home here to begin a hike along the Trans-Alaska pipeline in late April. Returning in June, I am stunned by the green of it all. It s like winter to summer in one day.

I ve been in Alaska s second-largest city for a few days now, resupplying for the trip north as I hike with my dog on the path of the Trans-Alaska pipeline. Three hundred fifty miles down, 450 to go. Walking with my friend Bob Gillis, we left the gravel road that parallels the pipeline in the hamlet of Moose Creek, just north of Eielson Air Force Base. In a driving rain that didn t let up all day, Bob and I reached his car after seven miles of hiking. We happily got in and cranked up the heater. After lunch in North Pole, he drove me home. Because I did not get permission from the many people whose land the pipeline right-of-way crosses in North Pole and Fairbanks, I will resume my hike at the pipeline tourist viewpoint in Fox. Since my many detours from the pipe to the highway in the past month have my official walking distance at 356 miles compared to the pipeline s 350 miles from Valdez, I feel OK about skipping the 20 miles of private land.

Stopping at one s home with its comfy bed and sunny deck is a hazard during a trip like this. My last hiking day with Bob was wet and quite buggy. While in town, I ve played softball in the evening heat with my Northern Shrikes, sat in the sunny bleachers for a Alaska Goldpanners game and watched mom and dad nuthatch feed their chicks in a birdhouse visible from the deck. I ve also purchased a ton of food and arranged it in 11 cardboard boxes. Friends will deliver those boxes via the Elliott and Dalton highways in the days and weeks to come. In conversations here, friends have asked me the differences I ve noticed since I walked the line 20 years ago. Here are some obvious ones:

Spruce bark beetles, creatures about the size of a grain of rice, killed a good number of white spruce in the upper Copper River Valley in the late 1990s. Their larvae girdled the trees from within, beneath the bark. Walking through there in 1997 was like walking through a graveyard of gray trees. The beetles only attacked mature spruce, though. The trees no taller than me at the time survived the beetles. They are now healthy and 40 feet tall.

Tamaracks, delicate-looking conifers with needles that turn orange and fall off in autumn, were in a similar troubled state in 1997. The wormlike larvae of the larch sawfly stripped almost all the adult trees of their needles in the mid to late 1990s. Deprived of their solar panels for several summers, most of the adult trees died. Like the spruce, tamaracks have come back in a big way, with healthy young trees now lining the border of the pipeline road through swampy sections of the Interior. And, as researchers have found in permafrost areas all over Alaska, the ground surface is subsiding. This is a hard thing for me to visualize, but a pipeline security officer who has a homestead near Glennallen stopped me one day and pointed it out. He said he remembered the gravel road next to the pipeline was a seven-foot hill he needed to climb 30 years ago. Now the road is level with the surrounding terrain. The frozen ground beneath it has probably thawed over the 40 years since the road s construction, which is consistent with most permafrost areas in Alaska that are reacting to warmer air temperatures.

Since the late 1970s, the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute has provided this column free in cooperation with the UAF research community. Ned Rozell is a science writer for the Geophysical Institute. This summer, he is hiking the path of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline from Valdez to Prudhoe Bay. He also did the trip 20 years ago.

State shutdown would affect every man, woman and child in Alaska — including the dead

If lawmakers fail to pass a budget by July 1, forget about pull tabs, cigarettes, death certificates and ferry service

Forget about the ferries. Reschedule your wedding. Don t think about pull tabs. Alaska s impending government shutdown will have a tsunami of effects across the state, government leaders said on Thursday, with implications for every man, woman and child in the state.

This is unprecedented. This has never happened in the history of Alaska that we ve had to face this kind of shutdown, said Gov. Bill Walker in a brief press conference with reporters. If the Alaska Legislature fails to pass a state budget by July 1 and come up with the money to pay for that budget, state services will all but end and Alaska will be plunged into a constitutional crisis.

Walker and the state s 18 department leaders released their preliminary tally of shutdown effects Thursday, and the governor has convened an extraordinary incident command panel one normally used in natural disasters to cope with the shutdown. Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth will head the panel, befitting for a moment that may be a political disaster. Alaska s Constitution gives the Alaska Legislature all authority on appropriations, but if the Legislature fails to appropriate any money in the fiscal year that begins July 1, it will be violating other portions of the constitution that require the Legislature to provide for the promotion and protection of public health and the public welfare.

In his talk with reporters, Walker said that if a shutdown happens, we will follow the constitution, which only allows us to make expenditures on life, health safety issues. The Department of Law, Walker said, is defining exactly what that means on a department-by-department basis. According to a memo dated June 8, the department is dividing state programs into three tiers, with Tier I representing programs like correctional facilities, state-operated nursing homes and medical facilities, law enforcement and emergency and disaster response that should not be shut down for even the shortest amount of time.

Tier II programs, such as federal public assistance programs, unemployment benefits, and timely payments of bonded indebtedness, may only be delayed a short amount of time, if at all, according to the memo.

Tier III programs may be constitutionally or federally mandated. They may not require 24-hour or even weekly operations to fulfill, but could become urgent if a shutdown were to continue for too long.

The state s principal departments offered preliminary notices Thursday about what a shutdown will mean:


  • According to Minta Montalbo, spokeswoman for the Alaska Department of Administration, the state will immediately incur about $152 million in costs because employment contracts require state employees to be compensated for their accrued leave. Exempt employees have another $30 million in leave accrued, but paying those costs is at the will of the employee.
  • The Department of Administration also operates the state s motor vehicle offices. In the event of a shutdown, DMV offices may close, which means that drivers may be unable to register vehicles or get new driver s licenses.
  • Businesses that contract with the state may go unpaid or see their payments delayed.
  • Crime victims receiving aid from the Violent Crimes Compensation Board may see payments delayed.
  • Alaska s public radio and television stations may not receive grants on time.

Commerce, Community and Economic Development

  • If the Department of Commerce shuts down, new businesses may not be able to get their state licenses, preventing them from operating legally.
  • The state s banking regulators would be laid off, and so would liquor and marijuana inspectors. Marijuana licenses, due for renewal July 1, could go unrenewed, shutting down that nascent industry.
  • State-backed loans to commercial fishermen may stop, and state support for fish marketing may end.
  • Small rural communities could suffer if the state s bulk fuel purchase program ends, and those communities would also stop getting help for sewer and water issues.


  • The state s prison system would continue to operate, but specialized services including chaplains, drug treatment, vocational training and education might not be available.

Education and Early Development

  • Early learning and Head Start programs could shut down.
  • Teacher certification may stop.
  • The Alaska State Council on the Arts, the Professional Teaching Practices Commission, the Alaska State Library, the Alaska State Archives, the Alaska State Museum, and the Sheldon Jackson Museum would close.
  • Summer food programs for children likely would continue, as would federally mandated school reporting standards.

Environmental Conservation

  • Spill prevention and response will stay on alert.
  • Air quality advisories, drinking water inspections and disease prevention duties would continue.
  • There likely would be no new licenses for food service businesses, including restaurants. There probably also would be no new air quality or wastewater permits for businesses, even if those businesses are required to have such permits.
  • Restaurant inspections would stop.
  • Cruise ship inspections would stop.
  • The processing of loans for sewer and water projects would stop.

Fish and Game

  • The shutdown of Fish and Game during the summer salmon season would lead to the curtailment or even closure of many of the state s commercial and sport fisheries.
  • Hunting and fishing permits could not be issued, and regulated hunts may close down.
  • State shooting ranges would close.
  • Habitat permits will go unissued.

Health and Social Services

  • According to the department, many critical public health services will continue, albeit in limited form.
  • With the division of vital statistics shut down, there would be no one to issue birth, marriage or death certificates.
  • The licensing of health care facilities could stop.
  • Inspections of nursing homes and hospitals, except in rare cases, would stop.

Labor and Workforce Development

  • According to the department, The failure to pass a budget would have significant impacts on the department s ability to perform important responsibilities, including resolution of labor disputes and elections, workers compensation adjudications and appeals, and resolution of wage and hour violations.
  • Required mechanical inspections may not take place.
  • The vocational training center in Seward would shut down.
  • The state would stop collecting data on unemployment, population and other recordkeeping critical to government operations.


  • All nonessential attorneys and Department of Law staff will be laid off.
  • Attorney General Lindemuth said in a statement, There will be many contracts that are not paid or are otherwise breached, which may result in penalties and interest. There will be statutes that are not being fulfilled that will create additional legal liability. It will require additional efforts by the Department of Law after a shutdown is over to unwind all of legal matters that had to be halted or delayed while a shutdown was occurring.

Military and Veterans Affairs

  • According to information from the DMVA, the National Guard will stay on duty, but civilian support staff will be laid off in the event of a shutdown.
  • Veterans Affairs staff will be laid off.
  • According to the department, During the course of a shutdown, DHS&EM will likely have to cease disaster mitigation and preparation activities and would no longer process recovery grants for individuals and communities.

Natural Resources

  • Firefighters would likely continue to fight wildfires, and the Alaska Volcano Observatory would stay on duty, the department said by email.
  • State parks would remain open, but anything requiring a ranger or on-site staff would close down. There would be no park maintenance, including emptying of public restrooms.
  • The state recorder s office, which is required to register real estate transactions, would close. Alaskans may not be able to buy or sell real estate legally.
  • Anything requiring a DNR permit likely would be unavailable, including land purchases and timber sales.

Public Safety

  • According to an email from the department, the Alaska State Troopers and Alaska Wildlife Troopers would continue to fully enforce Alaska s laws and respond to emergency calls. However, it is not fully known how a reduction in support services would affect some services provided by DPS.
  • The state crime lab may be unable to process cases as quickly, slowing prosecution and investigation.
  • Processing of concealed handgun permits, security guard licensing and the state s sex offender registry could be slowed.


  • The Department of Revenue oversees pull tabs and tobacco, and according to an email sent by the department, In the event of a prolonged shutdown, the division will be unable to issue cigarette tax stamps or pull tabs and those items could not legally be sold.
  • Permanent Fund dividend application processing will stop.
  • All new and active child support casework likely will cease, the department says.
  • New tax licenses for mining, fishing, alcohol, tobacco and gaming will not be issued.
  • Current investigations into suspected PFD and Tax fraud would be suspended, the department said.

Transportation / Public Facilities

  • In a shutdown, the Alaska Marine Highway System would either completely stop operating or be critically short-staffed, officials said.
  • Construction projects will stop statewide, and contractors will not be paid.
  • The Whittier Tunnel will close.
  • The Department of Weights and Measures, which regulates gas station pumps and grocery scales, will stop operating.
  • The state s airports will see their hours cut back, and the office that handles airport leasing will close. If a lease expires, no one will be able to renew it.

University of Alaska

  • The University of Alaska has not explained the effects of a shutdown on its operations.


  • The state court system will continue to operate, but functions may be limited.


  • The Alaska Legislature and its staff will be largely unaffected by a shutdown.

Contact reporter James Brooks at


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