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Health
5:56 pm
Fri March 27, 2015

Report: St. Johns County Healthiest In Florida; Duval Improves

St. Johns County was ranked the healthiest county in Florida while Duval County moved up two spots to 43rd
Credit County Health Rankings & Roadmaps / http://www.countyhealthrankings.org/

For the fourth year in a row, St. Johns County was ranked the healthiest county in Florida, according to a new report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin. Other counties in the region face challenges to keeping residents healthy.

Northeast Florida’s Union County was ranked the state’s least-healthy, while nearby Duval County moved up two spots to 43rd in the state.

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Business
5:31 pm
Fri March 27, 2015

Business Brief: Why Men Should Care About Gender Diversity In Leadership

Credit Kompentenzzentrum Frau und Beruf via Flickr

At today's Generation W Women’s Leadership Conference, WJCT Business Analyst John Burr moderated a panel discussion about women in business leadership.

In this Business Brief, he tells News Director Jessica Palombo how the experience changed his view of what it means to be a feminist, what men should do to encourage equality at work and what it means for a business' bottom lines. 

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Arts & Culture
5:23 pm
Fri March 27, 2015

St. Augustine Symposium Invites 'Criticism'

Rushad Egglesfon shares a time when a patron came up to him after a show and said, 'Young man, you play with vigor.'
Shannon LeDuke WJCT

Dozens of St. Augustine locals came together last night to attend The St. Augustine Symposium, a local speaker series created by Micah Gilliam.

Gilliam and his wife Lauren moved to St. Augustine so Lauren could pursue glass blowing. The two also play in a few bands together. 

“One of his friends is more independently minded, autodidactic, person who talked a lot about the olden days of symposium guys in togas sitting around and debating the great ideas of the day and Micah really loved that idea,” Lauren Gilliam said.

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Closing The Loop
4:09 pm
Fri March 27, 2015

Closing The Loop: Kelly Norman

Kelly Norman
Credit Warren Miller

Kelly Norman and her husband Bob Gerard have taught English and theater at Baker County High School in Macclenny for 30 years. Kelly and Bob aren't just the best drama teachers in the area. They're the only drama teachers for miles around. Kelly was just 21 when she started teaching English at Baker, the high school she'd graduated from only a few years earlier. There was no theater program then.

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One Spark Creator Academy
3:26 pm
Fri March 27, 2015

One Spark Creator Campfire Chats: Eliminate 'No' From Your Vocabulary

Al Emerick, director of the One Spark Creator Academy
Credit One Spark

The One Spark crowdfunding festival returns to Jacksonville in less than two weeks. Before then, a training program called One Spark Creators Academy is helping aspiring creators get their ideas market-ready. 

In this week's Campfire Chat, Creator Academy Director Al Emerick encourages potential entrepreneurs to eliminate the word "no" from their vocabulary. 

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Education
2:22 pm
Fri March 27, 2015

Duval School Board Approves Performance Pay, Raises For Teachers

Nikolai Vitti during the press conference
Credit Saphara Harrell

Jacksonville teachers will now be paid based on student performance after an agreement between the Duval County School Board and the Duval Teachers United union. It's an effort to comply with a new state law.

The agreement requires all teachers hired after 2009 to be paid based on performance, while teachers hired before then will have the option to continue getting paid based on seniority.

Duval Teachers United President Terrie Brady says teachers are relieved to have an agreement after four years of negotiation.

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Politics
2:04 pm
Fri March 27, 2015

St. Johns County Special Election Early Voting Begins Saturday

The ballot drop box at the St. Johns County Supervisor of Elections Office is open 24 hours a day
Credit Google Maps

More than 7,500 St. Johns County residents have already voted by mail in special elections there. Early voting begins Saturday and runs until the day before Easter.

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Politics
12:58 pm
Fri March 27, 2015

Lawmakers Back New Specialty Tags, Higher Requirements

Specialty license plates for colleges and universities are currently exempt from the minimum sales requirement
Credit Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles / FLHSMV.gov

Lawmakers took steps Thursday that could cancel a fifth of the specialty license plates available in Florida but also advanced 26 more designs for motorists to pre-order.

House and Senate committees backed higher thresholds for plates to qualify to be produced and for the current 122 tags to remain on the road.

At the same time, the Senate Transportation and House Economic Affairs committees moved a wide range of tags toward pre-sale for Panhellenic organizations, non-profits, environmental endeavors and professional sports teams.

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Law & Order
6:58 pm
Thu March 26, 2015

Juvenile Murderer's Sentence Reconsidered; Victim's Daughter Weighs Forgiveness

Rebecca Falcon's mugshot from her 1997 arrest
Credit Bay County, Florida

Hundreds of people serving life in prison for crimes they committed as teenagers could get a chance at a reduced sentence, after a Florida Supreme Court ruling this month.

The court considered the case of Rebecca Falcon, who was convicted in the shooting death of a Panama City Beach cab driver when she was 15.

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Deemable Tech
6:10 pm
Thu March 26, 2015

Ask Deemable Tech: How Do You Defrag Your Hard Drive In Windows 8.1?

Credit Lance Fisher / Flickr

Neila asks, "How do defrag a computer running Windows 8.1? I can't figure out how to do it on my new laptop."

For those of us who have been using personal computers for the past 20 or so years, defragmenting your hard drive used to just be part of life. When you defrag a hard drive, you're basically re-organizing the data on it so that it will run faster and more efficiently. 

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Community
5:46 pm
Thu March 26, 2015

Jacksonville Crime Prevention Organization Gets Support From Sheriff's Office

Operation Save Our Sons Director Bishop John Guns speaks at the press conference
Credit Peter Haden / WJCT News

Jacksonville police are giving hundreds of thousands of dollars they seized during arrests to community groups on the First Coast. The City Council unanimously approved the measure Wednesday.

One organization already announced how it will use the money: to teach young men how to manage conflict before it escalates.

There were seventeen shootings in Jacksonville last week. Operation Save Our Sons Director Bishop John Guns says his organization is dedicated to turning that around. 

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First Coast Connect Recap
5:01 pm
Thu March 26, 2015

FCC Recap: Jacksonville Cultural Leaders Launch 'Year Of The River'

Credit Cultural Fusion

Several Jacksonville organizations are celebrating the St. Johns River through art.

The "Year of the River" is an ongoing initiative, and many arts and culture groups — including WJCT — are taking part.

Cultural Fusion is celebrating the St. Johns River all throughout 2015 as the "cultural current of our city" with an entire year of programming by more than 50 cultural and environmental institutions.

In an interview on "First Coast Connect," Hope McMath, director of the Cummer Museum, discussed some of the museums contributions to the project.

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Politics
2:39 pm
Thu March 26, 2015

Judge Voids Existing Jacksonville Police, Fire Pension Plan

Judge Beverly rules negotiations violated Florida's Sunshine Law
Credit Google Maps Street View

As city leaders wrangle over a new agreement for retired police and firefighters, a judge has ruled the existing 30-year plan was negotiated in violation of Florida's Sunshine Law.

Judge Thomas Beverly signed the order Tuesday voiding the current 30-year agreement approved by City Council in 2001.

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Education
12:39 pm
Thu March 26, 2015

Jacksonville High School Students Attending Construction Career Days

A view of the heavy equipment at Construction Career Days.
Credit Cyd Hoskinson / WJCT News

More than 500 high school students from several Northeast Florida counties will spend today at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center learning about road and bridge construction from people who actually do that work. This is the second year the Florida Department of Transportation has sponsored Construction Career Days.

Ron Tittle with the Florida DOT says it’s a way for kids who are interested in building roads and bridges to find out more about the industry. They even get to operate heavy equipment like excavators, bobcats and backhoes.

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Sports
12:06 pm
Thu March 26, 2015

Former NFL Star Jason Peter Tells Riveting Tale of Addiction in 'Hero of the Underground'

Former NFL first-round draft pick Jason Peter is the author of the NYT bestseller 'Hero of the Underground.'
Credit FSCJ / Facebook

He was a college football star at the University of Nebraska.

Then Jason Peter went on to become an NFL first-round draft pick, playing defensive end for the Carolina Panthers for four seasons.

Peter was also an addict, though, and it all started with painkillers to treat injuries he suffered on the field.

"I remember the first time I was given some pills, maybe four or six of them," he said on First Coast Connect. "And I liked the way they made me feel."

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