News

Cyd Hoskinson / WJCT

While public schools across the country are struggling to find enough qualified teachers to fill classroom vacancies, Duval County is actively recruiting non-educators and promising to help them become elementary school teachers through a new initiative called “Ready, Set, Teach!”

VIDEO: Exploring NE Florida's Dutton Island Park & Preserve

39 minutes ago
Sean Lahav / University of North Florida's Environmental Center

WJCT presents a collaboration between the University of North Florida's Environmental Center and Public Trust Law on 19 short videos showcasing the city, state and national parks of the First Coast, produced by Sean Lahav, a project leader in the environmental leadership program.

Dutton Island Park & Preserve, Dutton Island Drive

With residential neighborhoods along its edges, Dutton Island Preserve offers an escape into nature in west Atlantic Beach.

National Fair Housing Alliance

Jacksonville city attorneys have been granted a deadline extension as they grapple with the details of a settlement allowing for a Springfield apartment complex for the disabled and chronically homeless.

The U.S. Justice Department found the city violated disability and fair housing laws when it rejected the permit for the complex sought by nonprofit Ability Housing.

A new national survey finds disability prejudice is the most common form of housing discrimination.


City of Jacksonville

The Jacksonville City Council passed Mayor Lenny Curry’s pension-reform plan Monday.

Though some members admit it isn't a silver bullet for all of the city’s funding problems, all agree it is the best plan they’ve seen because it includes a dedicated funding source — a half-cent sales tax that will cover pension costs after it was set to end in 2030.

In Curry’s closing remarks at the special council meeting, he issued a warning.

Allen County Public Library / Flickr

Rep. Tracie Davis, D-Jacksonville, once ran against Mike Hogan for Duval Elections Supervisor. While Hogan won, the two are at odds over Davis’ bill offering voters an additional option for early voting.

Davis is Duval’s former Deputy Supervisor of Elections and worked for the office in varying roles for 14 years. Her bill would allow voters to drop off mail-in ballots at any early voting site in their county. Currently, Duval voters can only mail them in or take them to the elections office downtown.


Monday on “First Coast Connect” we spoke with Save Guana Now co-founders Nicole Crosby and Gary Coulliette, who are fighting against a development next to the Guana Preserve named The Outpost. We heard about Thursday’s OneJax Humanitarian Awards with Executive Director Nancy Bronner and Audrey Moran, Senior Vice President with Baptist Health who will emcee the event. This month’s First Coast Success featured Florida Blue’s Darnell Smith. We heard about Dining Out for Life with North Florida AIDS Network Executive Director Donna Fuchs and spokesman Action News Traffic Derrick Odom. Cole Pepper talked about the week’s sports news. 


Ryan Benk / WJCT News

With two weeks left in the legislative session, some Jacksonville elder care providers are rallying supporters against a Senate-proposed change to how nursing homes are funded.


Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

Duval School board members are preparing to weed out district-funded programs that are not serving students as intended.

Of 37 programs and organizations scrutinized, 14 received a score of questionable. One was rated unacceptable and 22 were rated as worth funding.


Friday on our weekly “First Coast Connect” Media Roundtable, we featured Florida Times-Union reporter Sebastian Kitchen, Folio Weekly editor Claire Goforth and WJCT reporter Ryan Benk. We also spoke with Dylan Read, lifestyle director of Shearwater, about Earth Day events Saturday in St. Johns County. HandsOn Jacksonville CEO LeAnn Daddario told us about next Sunday’s Celebrate GOOD Festival and artist Lana Shuttleworth talked about her exhibit being unveiled Friday night at the Space Gallery. 


Duval County Public Schools

Duval County School Board member Scott Shine said at a special board meeting Friday, he believes Superintendent Nikolai Vitti might stay with the district if board members tell him they want him to.

Shine said this as Vitti moves forward with negotiating a contract to become superintendent of the newly formed Detroit Public Schools Community District.  

Bonnie Zerr / WJCT

On this episode of Redux, downtown investment is back in the spotlight. This time, Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan is at the helm.

Then, Earth Day is this weekend and its purpose is to demonstrate support for environmental protection. But no matter where you stand on the issue, residents of St. Augustine have a very practical reason to care — especially if you live anywhere near the shore.

We also bring you an update on the medical marijuana policy debate going on right now in Tallahassee, as well as a piece about ballet in Lavilla and one about what’s coming soon to Springfield.  


Kevan Westenbarger / Flickr

A former Duval County School Board member and current state representative is co-sponsoring legislation that some school board members and the superintendent oppose.

Jacksonville Rep. Jason Fischer’s “Schools-of-Hope” bill would encourage private charter companies to replace struggling neighborhood schools.

Facebook group: Uber Jacksonville

Update 4/21: This story has been updated to include Schellenberg's reaction to Crescimbeni's bill.  

After four years of fierce debate, Florida lawmakers this week passed state regulations for ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft.

If Gov. Rick Scott signs the measure, all local regulations for the app-based transportation companies would be void.

One Jacksonville city councilman said the new law has him determined to level the playing field by deregulating traditional taxicabs, while another is hailing it as a victory.

FSCJ / Florida State College at Jacksonville

Florida State College at Jacksonville is taking steps to make sure no students are going hungry.

The college recently opened a student food pantry on its South Campus on Beach Boulevard.

Thursday on “First Coast Connect” we heard about Earth Day Marches for Science in Jacksonville, St. Augustine and hundreds of other cities around the world with Bonnie Hendrix and Boa White, Women’s March, Jacksonville Chapter, co-captains; University of Florida Health-Jacksonville’s Dr. Marie Crandall; and the director of the Bryan-Gooding Planetarium at the Museum of Science and History Eddie Whisler. We also heard an interview with best-selling author Elizabeth Gilbert and Theatre Jacksonville executive director Sarah Boone. K9 United founder Debbie Johnson and Executive Director Eric Heineman talked about their organization and a Saturday fundraiser. 

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