5:33 pm
Mon April 27, 2015

Save Our Sons Summit Struggles To Change 'Culture Of Death And Violence'

Bishop John Guns (center) leads hundreds of male students from area high schools in prayer at the Operation Save Our Sons Summit at Edward Waters College Friday, April 24, 2015.
Credit Peter Haden / WJCT News

Hundreds of Jacksonville high school students gathered at Edward Waters College Friday for the third annual Operation Save Our Sons Summit. The day’s events reinforced why the Summit was started in the first place: to challenge young men to think differently.

Changing the culture

Read more
First Coast Connect
4:42 pm
Mon April 27, 2015

Minimum Wage Debate Grows in Jacksonville, Nationally

Protesters in New York City rally to raise the minimum wage.
Credit The All-Nite Images / Flickr

Nationwide, Democrats have made raising the minimum wage a rallying cry.

Recently, the minimum wage debate has become an issue in the city's mayor's race.

Last week Mayor Alvin Brown joined a local restaurant owner to say he supports an increase in the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.

Brown said he'll work with state lawmakers to get an increase to the state's minimum wage which is $8.05 an hour.

Bills to raise the wage have gone nowhere in Tallahassee so far.

Read more
3:26 pm
Mon April 27, 2015

Uber Bill Parked In The Florida House

Ridesharing services like Lyft, Uber and Sidecar offer an alternative to traditional cab and limousine services.
Credit Daniel X. O'Neil / Flickr

Proposals to create new insurance requirements for app-based transportation services like Uber and Lyft appear to be idling as the legislative session nears the end.

The House and Senate have moved forward with bills that have differences, including about whether local governments should be prevented from regulating the services. The House bill includes what is known as "pre-emption" of local regulation.

Read more
11:18 pm
Sun April 26, 2015

Weather Service Confirms Tornado Hit San Marco Saturday

This photo was taken in San Marco Square around the time of the storm.
Credit Austin Luffman via News4Jax

The National Weather Service has confirmed it was an EF-1 tornado with winds of 104 mph that left a path of destruction across San Marco and the Southside over the weekend.

The tornado developed along the eastern shore of the St. Johns River and moved east-southeast for 3.45 miles, weather officials said. Numerous trees and power lines were knocked down. There was substantial roof damage to several businesses near Philips Highway.

Read more
4:17 pm
Fri April 24, 2015

Sheriff, Mental-Health Providers Seek To Improve Inmate Care

Sheriff John Rutherford talks about mental health services in Jacksonville prisons April 24, at the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge.
Credit Jessica Palombo / WJCT News

Jacksonville’s mental-health providers are brainstorming how to better serve prison and jail inmates despite small budgets.

Mental health providers and law-enforcement officers met Thursday and Friday to talk about the intersection of mental illness and criminal justice. The two-day event was meant to help identify gaps in service and how to bridge them.

Christine Cauffield is Executive Director at Lutheran Services Florida Health Systems. She says low funding is a persistent barrier.

Read more
3:20 pm
Fri April 24, 2015

Brown Calls For Minimum Wage Increase

Democratic Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown joined the owner of an Avondale restaurant Friday to voice support for increasing the minimum wage.

Ian Chase owns Fox Restaurant. Chase and Brown told reporters they support raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, saying it would lead to thousands of new jobs in Florida.

Read more
2:51 pm
Fri April 24, 2015

Gulliford Announces New Solution To Pension Problem

Bill Gulliford reverses course and announces a proposal to fix the Police and Fire Pension Fund that would agree to not make changes to employee's pensions for seven years.
Credit City of Jacksonville

A new plan is on the table to solve the City of Jacksonville’s $1.6 billion pension woes.

Jacksonville City Councilman Bill Gulliford announced his proposal for Police and Fire Pension Reform at City Hall Thursday.

The plan calls for many of the same pension benefits as one the City Council rejected last month. But in Gulliford's version, the city would agree not to make further changes to employees' pensions for seven years. Gulliford previously opposed this measure but said times are desperate.

Read more
1:59 pm
Fri April 24, 2015

Boaters Urged To Watch For Manatees

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit boat is ready to take off from the Metro Park pier in downtown Jacksonville.
Credit Jessica Palombo / WJCT News

Law enforcement and wildlife officials are reminding boaters to watch out for manatees. A run-in with one of the endangered animals could result in a $25,000 fine.

As the temperature rises in Northeast Florida, so does the level of danger for slow-moving manatees who live in rivers. Sergeant Patricia Grant from the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Marine Unit says boaters have been doing a good job recently of observing speed limits.

Read more
6:44 pm
Thu April 23, 2015

Jacksonville, St. Augustine Dancers To Appear On 'America's Ballroom Challenge'

Dancers Peter and Alexandra Perzhu have won U.S. and world dance championships. They appear on Friday's premiere episode of "America's Ballroom Challenge."
Credit Arthur Murray Dance Center of St. Augustine via Facebook

Ballroom dancers from the Jacksonville area will be appearing in the PBS competition show “America’s Ballroom Challenge,” premiering at 9 p.m. Friday on WJCT public television.

4:25 pm
Thu April 23, 2015

Hemming Park To Receive $100,000 Grant From Southwest Airlines

Hemming Park has become a popular place to eat lunch and hang out in downtown Jacksonville.
Credit Peter Haden / WJCT

A major U.S. airline is giving $100,000 to promote a public space in downtown Jacksonville.

Southwest Airlines chose Hemming Park as one of six public spaces nationwide to receive the grant as part of the 2015 Heart of the Community Program — a partnership between the airline and the Project for Public Spaces.

Hemming Park director Vince Cavin says he’ll seek input from the public on how to use the money.

Read more
3:07 pm
Thu April 23, 2015

Sweep Of Florida Gas Stations Finds Skimmers At Pumps

Eighty-one gas stations around the state of Florida were found to have credit card skimmers installed on the gas pumps.
Credit News4Jax

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Florida consumers filling up at the gas pump may have had their credit card information stolen.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam said Thursday that a sweep of roughly 6,100 gas stations in the last few weeks led to the discovery of "skimmers" in 81 locations. The devices enable someone to illegally obtain credit card and debit card information.

The devices were found inside gas station pumps stretching from Miami-Dade County all the way to Florida's Panhandle.

Read more
3:01 pm
Thu April 23, 2015

Florida Senate Passes Plan To Shore Up Local Pensions

State Rep. Janet Adkins lead a workshop in January to examine pension problems. (left to right) Florida League of Cities Director Legislative Affairs Scott Dudley, State Rep. Lake Ray (R-Jacksonville), State Rep. Janet Adkins (R-Fernandina)
Credit Peter Haden / WJCT

The Senate unanimously approved legislation Wednesday revamping how local pensions for police officers and firefighters are funded, bringing closer to resolution a long-running debate over the retirement plans.

The bill (SB 172), which now heads to the House, cleared the upper chamber 36-0 after less than 10 minutes of debate. It relies on a deal struck between cities and unions last year &mdash one that cities have backed away from after the re-election of Gov. Rick Scott in November.

Read more
10:38 am
Thu April 23, 2015

Mayor Brown Orders Review Of Anti-Discrimination Policies

Brown made the announcement in a video released by his reelection campaign.
Credit Alvin Brown for Mayor

Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown announced Thursday  he's ordering a review of laws to prevent discrimination in the city. 

In a video released through his reelection campaign, Brown says he's ordering the city's Office of General Counsel to conduct the review in order to guarantee discrimination doesn't exist in Jacksonville and take action to prevent it. 

Read more
Arts & Culture
5:28 pm
Wed April 22, 2015

CoRK Displays Haikus // At Gallery Opening // As Visual Art

George Cornwell creates screenprints the poets' haikus.
Shannon LeDuke WJCT News

What is a haiku? 
It's a Japanese poem, 
with seventeen beats.

The first verse has five, 
the second verse gets seven 
and the third has five.

At first, the poems 
described nature and beauty 
with vivid language.

Many poets still 
communicate artistry. 
Others just make beats.

At CoRK they will hang 
haikus from artists in Jax 
screen printed on white. 

"It is a very 
simple piece of poetry," 
the host, Keith Marks, said. 

Read more
3:09 pm
Wed April 22, 2015

Florida Senate Tables Bill Allowing Adoption Agencies To Reject Gay Parents

Credit Elvert Barnes / Flickr

After nearly two hours of debate, a Senate committee Monday voted to table a controversial House bill that would allow private adoption agencies to refuse to place children with same-sex couples.

Read more