Murphy Stidham

Murphy Stidham / WJCT News

Visitors to Jacksonville's Cummer Museum of Art may notice a new installation on the front lawn.  The pop-up public art piece is the creation of a Riverside artist who has plans for more.

The tall, aluminum sculpture comes from the studio of Dolf James, about a mile from the museum. The studio is spray-painted on the outside and filled with towering metal scraps on the inside.

Murphy Stidham / WJCT News

Former Jacksonville Mayor John Delaney endorsed Republican Lenny Curry for mayor Wednesday. Delaney, a Republican, also attacked Democratic Mayor Alvin Brown saying Brown lacks leadership and called Brown’s budget proposals “as mythical as a fairytale.”

Delaney said, “We have a candidate in Lenny Curry who brings a freshness, a sunniness, business acumen, and a perspective that this city needs.”

“I have absolute confidence that we have a leader in Lenny,” he said.

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Republican Party of Duval County

Tonight, Jacksonville mayoral candidate Lenny Curry is holding a rally called #UniteJax. Several Republican candidates for local office are uniting around a call to fix Jacksonville’s issues.

Two headliners of the Curry rally are state officials and Republican Party heavyweights. Curry says Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam and Attorney General Pam Bondi will help him Unite Jacksonville around his message.

Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT

Organic farmers have received a federal grant that’s expected to help low-income Floridians access healthier food. It’s also anticipated to increase farmers’ revenue by more than $2 million.


Two farmers’ markets in Jacksonville are going to join in the Fresh Access Bucks program, which allows food stamps to be used to buy fresh produce. That’s because of a grant awarded to an association of organic growers.

Google Maps Street View

A water-saving technology company is suing the city of Jacksonville and the Jacksonville Electric Authority for $75 million. The company, Fluid Dynamics, says its reputation was damaged, and it lost business.

A few years back, Fluid Dynamics installed its conservation system called Precision Flow at eight apartment complexes in Jacksonville. Though the city and JEA were aware of the installation, the company alleges Jacksonville suddenly removed its systems in 2012.

Murphy Stidham / WJCT News

Builders broke ground today on the St. Augustine Aquarium, opening soon near Interstate 95. By the end of June, owners Shawn and Kathy Hiester plan to open a zip line course and snorkel adventure on the property.

Sean Hiester says the snorkel tank will hold 80,000 gallons of water and a variety of marine life.

“The undersea world is truly magical, and I’ve had the opportunity to experience that through SCUBA diving over the years," he said. "My wife isn’t able to SCUBA dive. It was her idea to bring the sea world to the people who can’t dive.”

On today’s "First Coast Connect," Melissa Ross interviewed incumbent Democratic Mayor Alvin Brown and Republican challenger Lenny Curry about their advance to a May runoff.

Brown was the top vote getter, with about 77,000 votes more than Lenny Curry in the unitary first election. For the next two months, he says he has a strategy.

"I am looking forward to discussing the issues on how to put Jacksonville first," Brown said. "I am going to fight for every vote."

Sheila Spivey

Generation W Profiles is a series highlighting influential women.

Sheila Spivey is the director of the University of North Florida’s Women’s Center.

Spivey says she started out as a college student trying to figure out how she could utilize her educational experience in a way that help people. She says she wanted to give back to the community so she started volunteering at a rape crisis center and from there she became more involved in women’s issues and women’s rights.

Debra Walton

Generation W Profiles is a series highlighting influential women.

Debra Walton is the Chief Content Officer for the Financial and Risk Business at Thomson Reuters.

Walton says there are a number of things that women can do and should do that can really help their success. She says the first thing is to be confident, "And to not pigeon hole yourself into thinking that you are at a disadvantage from where you come from."

Alyse Nelson

Generation W Profiles is a series highlighting influential women. 

Alyse Nelson, president and CEO of Vital Voices Global partnership, says, she does not have a job or a career, she has a cause.

“I have a passion, I have something that helps me get up every day in the morning and makes me want to make the world a better place,” she says.

Dr. Kathryn Peyton

Generation W Profiles is a series highlighting influential women.

Dr. Kathryn Pearson Peyton is a breast imaging radiologist who has founded and been the chief medical officer for the non-profit organization, Mammosphere, which is a technology company that stores and exchanges mammograms in the cloud.

Murphy Stidham / WJCT

Lawmakers were called upon in Jacksonville today to close the Florida health care coverage gap. The health advocacy group Florida CHAIN made a stop on its statewide tour.

Local leaders and health care advocates gathered today at the Urban League downtown. They spoke behind a display of more than 70 photos stretched from one side of the room to the other. The photos were of Floridians who don’t have healthcare coverage. Florida CHAIN Advocacy Director Athena Smith Ford says this traveling photo exhibit has a purpose.

Evans headshot
Marty Evans

Generation W Profiles is a series highlighting influential women.

Marty Evans has been serving on the boards of publicly traded companies for more than 30 years.

Evans says, “My title is rear admiral, U.S. Navy, retired. Today, I’m serving as a director of several companies including Weight Watchers International, which is a wonderful company that helps people improve their lives by dealing with the food issues. And I’m also the director of a company, the North Highland Company in Atlanta.

Allen headshot

The only woman running in the Jacksonville mayor’s race is Omega Allen, who is running with no party affiliation. Allen joined Melissa Ross on today’s episode of “First Coast Connect.”

Pam Paul

Generation W Profiles is a series highlighting influential women. 

Pam Paul is co-chair of the New Town Success Zone. Paul also wants to get more women elected to Jacksonville City Council.

Paul moved to Jacksonville in 1959 and  almost immediately got involved in volunteer activities. She says she went on a tour of Northwest Jacksonville, and it resonated with her that maybe someday she could get involved with helping rehabilitate neighborhoods, and in particularly help children.

Alachua County / Flickr

A Duval County elementary school is offering students the chance to grow the fruits and vegetables they’ll eat in the cafeteria. New Berlin Elementary School in Northeast Jacksonville is one of eight schools nationwide to begin a pilot of the gardening program. It’s a partnership with Duval Schools’ foodservice provider, Chartwells, and the National Gardening Association.

Jacksonville Film and Television Office

Jacksonville officials are asking the state Legislature to double a tax credit they hope will bring more film productions to Northeast Florida. The state offers a 5 percent credit to producers to film in so-called "underutilized regions" including North Florida. That's on top of a 20 percent base incentive for filming in the state. 

North Florida School of Special Education

Jacksonville's next food truck is sprouting up from roots planted at school. All the food served at Berry Good Farms On the Go will be grown by students at the North Florida School of Special Education. 

Berry Good Farms Director of Transition Ellen Hiser says, "It all started with 200 blueberry bushes."

A few years ago, local parents and people from the community began planting rows on the school's campus.