Ryan Benk

REPORTER / HOST "Indie Endeavour"

Ryan Benk comes to WJCT from Tallahassee, where he worked as a news researcher and reporter for NPR affiliate WFSU. Originally from Miami, he graduated with a bachelor's in English literature from Florida State University. During his time in Tallahassee, Ryan also worked as a policy and research analyst for legislative-research firm LobbyTools before returning to public radio at WJCT.

Ryan also edited fiction and poetry for Miami-Dade College's Miambiance magazine, and he produced a short film titled "The Writer."

When he’s not tracking down news, Ryan likes watching films, writing fiction and poetry, and exploring Florida's natural beauty.

Ryan is also the host of "Indie Endeavor."

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.

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.


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.

Mark Foley / The Florida House

A Miami state Senator apologized Wednesday for using racist and sexist language to describe a number of his colleagues, including Sen. Audrey Gibson, D-Jacksonville.


Iguana Investments

Jacksonville’s Downtown Investment Authority moved forward with a plan to redevelop 70 acres of riverfront property downtown.

Officials gave the green light Tuesday to a proposal by Jaguars owner Shad Khan’s investment firm Iguana Investments.


condoms
emtyage via Flickr

The rate of syphilis infection has risen 130 percent in Duval County over the past three years to the highest infection rate the county has seen in two decades. Rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea are also on the rise.

Andrews, E. Benjamin. History of the United States, volume V. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York. 1912. / Wikimedia Commons

In 1492, Christopher Columbus sailed the ocean blue but he never set foot in North America.

Now, carbon copy replicas of his fleet of ships will do what Columbus didn’t — make landfall in the New World. The ships will be in Saint Marys, Georgia, more than 500 years after the explorer first set sail from Spain.


Ryan Benk / WJCT News

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson made his first trip to Jacksonville for a tour of the troubled Eureka Garden housing complex Tuesday.

He met with residents and local officials, laying out his plans to reform the public housing system.


Pixabay / Creative Commons

Florida’s smoking rate is at an all-time low, and state officials attribute the precipitous drop to aggressive anti-smoking campaigns. But some North Florida counties are struggling to keep pace with statewide success.


FSCJ

Thirty four years ago, Jacksonville police arrested Springfield resident Ottis Toole for arson. In the months that followed, Toole confessed to being one half of a murderous duo responsible for more than 100 brutal slayings across the Southeast.

Though Toole’s involvement in some crimes was confirmed, others were called into question as the years wore on.

Now, the mystery surrounding one of the city’s most notorious serial killers is being adapted as a stage play after a Jacksonville professor turned it into a novel.  The “Stalking Ottis Toole: A Southern Gothic” runs through Sunday at Florida State College at Jacksonville.


Ryan Benk / WJCT News

Jacksonville City Council members got their first look at Mayor Lenny Curry’s pension reform plan Thursday.

Curry’s been tight-lipped about just how his half-cent sales tax and other reform measures would save the city money.


River Garden Senior Services

Florida Senate budget chiefs Wednesday greenlit a spending plan that includes a new formula for reimbursing nursing homes.

Opponents say the proposal would cut Medicaid dollars for top performing homes, while proponents argue it’ll result in a more equitable distribution of state funds.


Ryan Benk / WJCT News

For the fourth time since the start of the legislative session, Governor Rick Scott held a roundtable Tuesday in Jacksonville defending the state’s business-incentive program.

This time the two-term Republican governor focused on the intersection of employment and education, joining Mayor Lenny Curry and leaders from the city’s largest college and university.


Ryan Benk / WJCT News

Jacksonville marked the start of National Crime Victims’ Week Monday at City Hall, while Mayor Lenny Curry and State Attorney Melissa Nelson are traveling to Colorado researching new gun-tracking software.


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