News

AroundMe / aroundmeapp.com

Are you doing some traveling this Spring? You may want to make sure you have your smart phone handy.

As Jax Computer Chic Elizabeth Pampalone told us in this week's Tech Tuesday segment on First Coast Connect, there are many new apps that can help to make your trip easier. If you're feeling adventurous, there are also some that help you explore new areas.

State lawmakers in Tallahassee are fast-tracking through the Legislature a proposal that would essentially eliminate permanent alimony in Florida, and also, presume most child custody arrangements begin with a 50-50 timesharing arrangement.

Senate Bill 718 does set guidelines for alimony based on the length of marriages. But permanent alimony would be virtually done away with, and instead would only last for a certain period of time, which would vary based on the circumstances of the divorce.

Embraer

Hundreds of local and state officials gathered today for the ribbon cutting of Brazil-based Embraer’s aircraft assembly facility at Jacksonville International Airport.

The A-29 Super Tucanos will be used by the U-S Air Force in Afghanistan.

The aircraft will be used to conduct advanced flight training, aerial reconnaissance and light air support operations.

Norma Lopez Molina/Orlando Magazine

Well-known personal injury lawyer John Morgan, of the Lake Mary-based law firm Morgan & Morgan, has joined the campaign to legalize marijuana for medical use in the Sunshine State.

F-DOT

 St. Johns County residents can hear next month the latest information about the proposal to extend State Route - 9B from I-95 to the St. Johns Parkway.

The first two legs of 9B will run from I-295 to I-95 in Duval County.

According to Florida Department of Transportation (F-DOT) reports, there has been a need for a limited access highway in the area since the mid-70’s.

You opted for that little bag of Baked Lays at lunch instead of the full-fat version, and felt virtuous. It's the healthier choice, right?

Not necessarily.  Some foods may LOOK healthy, but understanding how food products are made and reading labels closely (one hint: the less ingredients, the better) is key to understanding what's truly good for you.

Florida Times-Union

Three Florida teams have made it to college basketball's Sweet 16. 

The University of Florida made it to their third consecutive Sweet 16 appearance for the first time in school history, but no one could have guessed that the Gators would be sharing that stage with a first-time NCAA tournament team from their own backyard.

Bob Self/Florida Times-Union

It's been a little more than a year since billionaire Shahid Khan purchased the Jacksonville Jaguars for $770 million.

The purchase made the Pakistani-born businessman the first NFL team owner of an ethnic minority, and an instant celebrity here in Jacksonville. It also thrust him into the national spotlight with a profile on CBS's 60 Minutes, and a cover story in Forbes naming him the "new face of the American dream."

Kevin Meerschaert

    Business leaders and elected officials from across Northeast Florida gathered today for an economic summit hosted by Jax Chamber.

Much of the discussion was about how the counties can work together to maintain a strong business climate.

Officials from six area counties talked about the budget problems they had to face the past few years, but all say things are now starting to turn around.

One of the main issues was transportation and the need to work together to get major projects funded and built.

Jaxport

    Korea-based Hanjin shipping will not be building a terminal at Jaxport.

    Port officials say it was a mutual decision based on changes in the world economy.

Instead of building a terminal, Hanjin will be part of an alliance of Asian shipping lines using Jaxport on a rotating basis.

Through this agreement, a total of fifteen carriers with service between the East Coast and Asia will do business in Jacksonville.

They were the notorious slave ships ferrying Africans from their homeland into bondage on U.S. shores.

The Middle Passage, or the route the slave ships took, brought more than 10 million people to America who would become slaves. Two million more died in the ocean crossing. 

The Middle Passage Project is now working to place historic markers around the Florida coast, at ports where the slave ships docked. Future sites of remembrance include Amelia Island and St. Augustine.

Kevin Meerschaert

Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown has signed into law legislation to reinvest 11-million dollars for economic projects.

Nine-million will be allocated for development in the downtown area.

The other two million will be used for projects elsewhere in the city.

The money comes from savings after refinancing bonds.

Brown says the dollars will be used to encourage private investment in Jacksonville.

Bob Self/Florida Times-Union

The once gray storefront of Chamblin's Uptown bookstore in downtown is getting a splash of color thanks to local artist Shaun Thurston - a process captured in this article by the Florida Times-Union.

NASA

According to the American Geophysical Union

Voyager 1, launched 35 years ago, has left the solar system. 

However NASA says its not quite yet out of the neighborhood.

NASA has a nice web site where you can see photos and track where the Voyager space crafts are now. 

Creator Series: The Dandelion House

Mar 20, 2013
Rachel Rippey / Dandelion House

Each week, WJCT's Rebecca Farmer highlights one of the creators participating in Jacksonville's One Spark Festival.

Rachel Rippey creator of The Dandelion House and has always been interested in mentally disabled individuals.

When she was in high school, Rippey says she "would always go to their lunch table and check on them to make sure they had everything the needed”.

    About 400 people last night (Tuesday) attended the latest meeting of the Jax 2025 initiative.  The meeting focused on determining what the goals should be to measure the  success of the initiative.

       

During previous meetings participants discussed what kind of city they wanted Jacksonville to be in 2025 and what Jacksonville needs to focus on to achieve those  goals.

Excel23

JEA customers can expect their next bill to be a little bit lower.

    The JEA Board Tuesday

approved a fuel credit at its monthly meeting.

    JEA Executive Director Paul McElroy says the savings come from a lower than expected cost in natural gas.

The one-time credit will work out to about 35-dollars for the average residential customer. Commercial customers a likely to see about a 2-thousand dollar credit.

Michael Isam

  A bracelet was all it took to bring two strangers from different ends of the country together on Saturday, according to a story from the St. Augustine Record.

Peggy Cornacchio of Massachusetts wore the bracelet as a child to honor a U.S. prisoner of war fighting in Vietnam (similar bracelets were worn by many during the war), even though she had never met the man whose name her bracelet bore: Navy pilot Giles Norrington. 

State of Florida

A State Senate Committee unanimously passed a bill today that would shut down internet gaming centers in Florida.

Supporters say the legislation closes a loophole in state law that allows illegal gambling to take place.

        

The Florida-Times Union

They're the pastors of a growing, biracial Jacksonville church. But Mike and Connie Smith are also garnering attention for a provocative study they recently published looking at the high rates of homicide in African-American communities.

It's a long, detailed piece - one the Florida Times-Union initially declined

Kevin Meerschaert

Former Jaguars and current New York Giants Head Coach Tom Coughlin paid a visit Wolfson Childrens Hospital Friday.

Coughlin visited patients and toured the soon to be completed teen recreation room paid for by his charity the Jay Fund.

The Jay fund was founded in honor of Jay McGillis, who played for Coughlin when he was Head Coach at Boston College and passed away from cancer.

Despite leaving the Jaguars after the 2002 season, Coughlin still has strong ties to the area.

The Jay Fund is based in Jacksonville.

David Luckin

If you attended this year’s Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance you witnessed art in the motor trade, and the examples on display were extraordinary. Check out some of the best in our slide show, and next year see the art in person.

Justin Cormack



    State Senator John Thrasher says he expects a bill to ban Internet cafes in Florida

will sail through to passage.

Thrasher had introduced a bill that would have placed a moratorium on new cafes, but on the heels of the Allied Veterans of the World arrests he says the legislature should take stronger action.

Thrasher’s moratorium bill is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Gaming Committee on Monday. He expects a move to close all the cafes will be discussed at that meeting.  

Creator Series- 96 Seasons

Mar 14, 2013
Book Cover
Jessie Wilson

This week in the Creator Series, we spoke with poet Jesse Wilson about his One Spark project 96 Seasons. Wilson is from Jacksonville and writes of local VOID Magazine and is very involved in the community.

Wilson hopes his book of poems can inspire people to explore the magic of Jacksonville. He says he hopes his display at One Spark includes photos that can help draw the reader in and give them a visual representation of the city.

How Do Internet Cafes Work?

Mar 14, 2013
Florida Times-Union

A sweepstakes café must have 3 things to be illegal: price, chance, and consideration. Consideration means that they buy directly into the game as you would when buying a lottery ticket. With an internet café, the patrons are buying internet “time” instead. They use the time to redeem points and “cash out” at the end of their session.

Kevin Meerschaert

    Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford says the arrests of Fraternal Order of Police President Nelson Cuba and Vice-President Robbie Freitas shows no one in his department is above the law.

 Rutherford told reporters on Wednesday about the two officers’ roles in the Allied Veterans of the World conspiracy.

Law enforcement officials say Cuba and Freitas received more than 500-thousand dollars through a shell corporation during an 18-month period.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement has released more information about what they're calling Operation Reveal The Deal: 

Black smoke rose over the Vatican this morning.. a signal that the cardinals' conclave in Rome has not yet chosen a new pope.

The new pontiff will replace retiring Pope Benedict the 16th, and lead 1.2 billion Catholics around the  world.

He’ll also face deep divisions within the church and a scandal-plagued Vatican hierarchy.

Kevin Meerschaert

The Jacksonville City Council has approved legislation authorizing a  long delayed plan to overhaul the old Federal Courthouse to house the State Attorney’s office.

Funding for the 26-million dollar project was always part of the 350-million dollar Courthouse project, but ran into design delays.

The original developer was dropped and the project was rebid but none of the new bids came in under budget.

Channel 4 News/WJXT

Fraternal Order of Police President Nelson Cuba is among the local figures arrested as part of a multi-state gambling investigation into the Allied Veterans of the World and its internet cafes.

Cuba and his second-in-command, Robbie Freitas have reportedly been arrested on racketeering charges. Three executives with Allied Veterans were also arrested including the head of the organization, Jerry Bass, executive Mike Davis, and attorney Kelly Mathis.

According to Federal documents, the charges stem from an investigation into how much money Allied Veterans gave to charity. The organization claimed their facilities were fundraising centers,  but the investigators say they were Internet casinos operating in violation of Florida’s gambling laws. While Allied Veterans said it was donating 70% or more of its proceeds to charity, authorities say they really only gave about 2% of  profits to veterans’ causes.

The investigation is being conducted by the IRS and the United States Secret Service, with help from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and several local agencies in the state including the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

They received search warrants for 51 Allied Veterans properties in Florida including 8 in Duval County, 2 in Nassau County and 1 each in Flagler, Clay, Putnam and St. Johns counties.

The local chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police issued a statement saying that the arrests of its top leaders were related to the mens’ private business and unrelated to their duties with the F-O-P.

Pages