Jessica Palombo

News Director

News Director Jessica Palombo came to WJCT after years of reporting on state government for Florida Public Radio in Tallahassee. Among her accolades are a statewide Society of Professional Journalists award for Best Government Reporting and a regional Edward R. Murrow award for Best Continuing Coverage.

Jessica is no stranger to the River City or WJCT: She grew up in Jacksonville and freelanced at the station as a legislative reporter before going to Tallahassee. She also interned at NPR's "Weekends at All Things Considered" in Washington, D.C., helping produce two hours of national news and feature stories each week.

Jessica has a master's degree in broadcast and digital journalism from Syracuse University and a bachelor's in journalism from the University of Florida. Her writing has appeared in publications including Jacksonville Magazine, Skirt! Magazine, and The Gainesville Sun.

Follow Jessica Palombo on Twitter: @JessicaPubRadio

Massey
Peter Haden / WJCT News

The Jacksonville Symphony announced its new president and CEO today. Just months after conductor and music director Courtney Lewis came on board, the symphony has chosen former Orchestra Iowa chief executive Robert Massey to lead the organization.

"He and I share a vision for the future of the Jacksonville Symphony, a future founded in reaching new levels of artistic excellence, strengthening our cultural citizenship and broadening our reach in and outside of this community," Massey said Thursday. 

handgun
Robert Nelson / Flickr

Florida has had the second-highest number of school shootings among all states since the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting two years ago. A study by a pro-gun-control group records nearly 100 shootings on campuses nationwide.

The report from the group Everytown For Our Safety counts any time a gun was discharged on a school campus, including assaults, murders and suicides.

Nichos / Wikipedia

The Jacksonville City Council has passed a pension reform package in an effort to reduce the city’s deficit of more than $1.6 billion. Three council members voted against the bill, while 16 voted for it despite many of them expressing reservations.

Just after the vote Tuesday evening, council member Bill Gulliford said the measure goes a small way toward reducing debt, but the council still has its work cut out for it going forward.

Denise Cox / WJCT

  UPDATE: 5:13 p.m. News4Jax reports the protesters are marching on the Hart Bridge and are blocking westbound lanes. 

A handful of people who blocked Interstate 95 in Jacksonville Monday morning say they’re planning a second demonstration this evening but would not provide the location. The group’s morning-rush-hour protest near Emerson Street delayed commuters by up to an hour.  

The activists call themselves the Kemetic Empire. Their leader, Diallo-Sekou Seabrooks, says the group will keep blocking traffic until law enforcement policies change.

Florida Department of Health

A mobile flu shot clinic is offering Clay County residents two chances to get vaccinated this month. That’s just after state health officials say the winter flu season has gotten off to an early start. The Florida Health Department reports widespread flu activity across the state with the highest infection levels in children.

The free shots will be available at the following locations and times listed below. 

After a Florida Supreme Court ruling today, the public will be able to view documents that led a judge to declare the state’s congressional districts unconstitutional. The court ordered the unsealing of a Republican strategist’s records cited as key evidence in this year’s redistricting trial.

A Florida lawmaker is warning the state’s highway guardrails may be unsafe. Hazard concerns and a lawsuit verdict have caused at least 13 other states to halt installation of a metal guardrail also used in Florida.

The Florida governor’s race could not be any closer between Gov. Rick Scott and former Gov. Charlie Crist. Today’s poll results from Quinnipiac University show the Republican and Democrat each with 42 percent support from likely voters.

More than 92,000 petitions arrived at Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s office today urging the governor to announce his plan for fighting climate change. The petitions also call for Scott to cut carbon emissions and invest in solar power, actions that would help the state comply with the federal government's proposed Clean Power Plan

Florida State University has selected Sen. John Thrasher (R-St. Augustine) as its next president. Many on the FSU Board of Trustees say Thrasher is a proven fundraiser who loves the university.

Thrasher is also chairman of Gov. Rick Scott’s reelection campaign, a post the FSU trustees have asked him to resign immediately. Thrasher’s legislative connections and ability to raise money are what board members cited again and again Tuesday before voting for him 11-to-2.

Florida plans to go statewide with a water-quality program that lets polluters partially off the hook if they buy credits for extra cleanup others have already done. The credit-selling program has critics in Jacksonville, the city where it started.

A few years back, the polluted St. Johns River became the test case for the voluntary water-quality credit program. The theory, state regulators say, was to foster regional cooperation by adding an economic incentive for water cleanup.

Bill Funk, the consultant hired to head the search for Florida State University's next president, has resigned, according to FSU spokespeople. 

Ed Burr, chair of the Presidential Search Advisory Committee, released this statement Monday afternoon:

Florida Hispanic elected officials are calling on the state’s congressional delegates to urge passage of a Voting Rights Act amendment. They are pushing for a fix after the U.S. Supreme Court last year struck down parts of the act meant to protect minority voters.  

A Tallahassee lawmaker and a South Florida mayor are planning to ask Florida Gov. Rick Scott to stop the expansion of a Miami nuclear power plant. Scott and his cabinet will hear from Florida Power and Light Tuesday about its plans to add reactors to its Turkey Point plant.

Florida’s craft beer brewers have been pushing for years to remove a law keeping them from selling containers of a certain size. But a Senate bill that does away with that restriction also adds a different rule brewers say would hurt their booming business.

Following a national trend, the number of craft breweries in Tallahassee is expected to double in the near future. In a warehouse six blocks from the Florida Capitol, Gabe Grass is about to open the third microbrewery within a mile radius.

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