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WJCT First Read: Thursday, September 12, 2013

Welcome to WJCT First Read, your daily weekday morning round-up of stories from the First Coast, around Florida, and across the country. We'll also preview some of WJCT's upcoming news programming.Gov. brings tax tour to Jax, announces new jobs for city: Governor Rick Scott was at the University of North Florida to talk about the Affordable Care Act and his plan to cut $500 million in taxes. He also announced Johnson & Johnson's Vistakon contact lense manufacturing facility in Jacksonville will add 100 jobs over the next three years. 

Group hopes brightened skyline will draw visitors, businesses: Illuminate Jax is scheduled to present their vision of an LED-lit Jacksonville skyline to the Downtown Council of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce next week.

St. Augustine bracing for swell of visitors for folk-rock fest: The country's oldest city is making final preparations for the arrival of an estimated 25,000 visitors for this weekend's Gentlemen of the Road festival, curated and headlined by folk hitmakers Mumford & Sons.

Pension plan has had mixed results: The proposal by the Jacksonville Civic Council for the city to borrow money to fund the city's pension plan has been used in other cities across the country with good and bad outcomes. (Florida Times-Union)

Shirk emails show office in turmoil: Documents and emails released by the Jacksonville Public Defenders Office show Matthew Shirk forwarded an email from one fired female employee to his wife and testy exchanges with former office investigator Al Kelly. (News4Jax)

Jacksonville, other state projects left out of U.S. House bill: Of four projects in Florida that need federal funding and approval to move forward, the Water Resources Development Act introduced Wednesday by the U.S. House Transportation Committee names only one. (Jacksonville Business Journal)

Questions on Benghazi remain for FL GOP: Florida junior U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Ander Crenshaw are among those in the GOP still looking for answers one year after theattack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya that claimed the life of Ambassador Chris Stevens. (Sunshine State News)

Quran burning pastor faces felony charge: Florida pastor Terry Jones was arrested on felony charges of unlawfully transporting explosive fuel while on his way to a park with a grill filled with kerosene soaked Qurans. (The Guardian)

Scott calls off gator hunt event: Governor Rick Scott has canceled a private alligator hunting trip he had scheduled as a campaign fundraiser. (Reuters)

No charges expected in Zimmerman fight: Following the inability of police to extract video from an iPad damaged during the scuffle, there are no immediate plans to file charges against George Zimmerman or his estranged wife following Monday's incident. (ABC News)

Today on First Coast Connect, we'll welcome Jacksonville Civic Council Chairman Steve Halverson for a discussion on their proposed pension solution for Jacksonville. Also, we'll get a weekend preview from Jacksonville Magazine's Kerry Speckman.

You can get all the latest headlines online at, on our Facebook page, and on Twitter @WJCTJax.

Patrick Donges served as WJCT's Digital Content Editor from August 2013 - August 2014.