Saphara Harrell

Saphara Harrell / WJCT News

Republican Mike Williams is Jacksonville’s new sheriff. He edged out Democrat Ken Jefferson with over 51 percent of the vote Tuesday. Williams says he looks forward to working with the new City Council and Mayor-elect Lenny Curry.

Williams said, “I pledge to the citizens of this community that our financial affairs will be transparent and to you I pledge my complete cooperation as we work to restore the city’s priority to public safety. And hold ourselves, all of us, accountable to our taxpayers.”

Saphara Harrell / WJCT News

The nonprofit Riverside Avondale Preservation has made it its mission to maintain and enhance the historic area just south of downtown Jacksonville. Executive Director Carmen Godwin says the group is responsible for one of the largest historic districts in the nation.

“Riverside Avondale Preservation started over 40 years ago because there were demolitions all throughout the historic district, so all these beautiful historic homes were coming down and so they wanted to save them," Godwin said.

Saphara Harrell / WJCT News

The City of Jacksonville has $50 million more than previously believed, according to a recent audit. Jacksonville City Councilwoman Lori Boyer says the newly freed-up money is the result of more than a decade’s worth of accounting errors.

Wednesday at City Hall, Boyer said more than $500 million had been incorrectly accounted for.

But she says the funds were not spent inappropriately.  

Houston Chronicle

The oldest choir in the English-speaking world is visiting St. Augustine tonight.

The Canterbury Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys is the oldest choir in the English-speaking world. It is composed of male professional singers and boys aged 9 to 13. They are on a nine-stop tour through the United States. David Searles is the man responsible for bringing them to St. Augustine. As a former member of the choir, Searles says it's hard to describe because there's nothing like it in America.

Glamour Magazine

A former Jacksonville high schooler has been chosen as one of Glamour Magazine’s  “Top 10 College Women of 2015.” Lily Herman is trying to help high school students with the college-admissions process.

Lily Herman, a Bolles School graduate, has been chosen as one of Glamour Magazine’s  “Top 10 College Women of 2015.” She's in good company, past winners include Diane Sawyer and Martha Stewart.

Saphara Harrell / WJCT News

In WJCT’s “Rediscovering Jax” series, we’re taking a look at the stories behind familiar places.

Hemming Park has been called “the heart of downtown,” and the nonprofit Friends of Hemming Park have made it their goal to revitalize it. Just as the One Spark festival is opening for voting, the group’s Operations Director Damien Lamar Robinson, is walking through the center of the square next to the fountain.

Jacksonville Arboretum And Gardens /

In WJCT's "Rediscovering Jax" series, we're taking a look at the stories behind familiar places. In Jacksonville's Northside lies the Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens.

Our tour guide is Gale Beveridge. She’s on the board of directors for the arboretum. She said the arboretum began in 2004 when citizens leased the property from the City.

“It’s a good size piece of land right here in the midst of the city, so you can get away from the hustle and bustle without having to go very far," said Beveridge.

Saphara Harrell

Jacksonville teachers will now be paid based on student performance after an agreement between the Duval County School Board and the Duval Teachers United union. It's an effort to comply with a new state law.

The agreement requires all teachers hired after 2009 to be paid based on performance, while teachers hired before then will have the option to continue getting paid based on seniority.

Duval Teachers United President Terrie Brady says teachers are relieved to have an agreement after four years of negotiation.

Mandarin Museum

In WJCT's "Rediscovering Jax" series, we're taking a look at the stories behind familiar places.  Nestled along the St. Johns River in Mandarin is the Walter Jones Historical Park.

Mandarin Museum and Historical Society Vice President Karen Roumillat is the great-granddaughter of the park's namesake, Walter Jones. She was also our tour guide on a recent stroll down the park's paths. 

Jacksonville voters will choose between Democratic incumbent Mayor Alvin Brown and Republican Lenny Curry in the May runoff election. With mail-in votes remaining to be counted, Brown took 42.9 percent of the vote and Curry took 38.4 percent in Tuesday's first unitary election. 

Republican Bill Bishop and unaffiliated mayoral candidate Omega Allen were eliminated from the race, with 16.6 percent and 2.1 percent of the vote respectively.

Credit Ken Jefferson for Sheriff / Mike Williams for Sheriff / Ray Hollister

In the race for Jacksonville sheriff, Republican Mike Williams will face off against Democrat Ken Jefferson in the May General Election. Williams narrowly edged out fellow Republican Jimmy Holderfield in Tuesday’s first election, taking 22.2 percent of the vote. Jefferson led with 36.6 percent. 

Williams says he’s excited to be able to get to the heart of the issues next time around.


It’s unclear whether a Jacksonville police officer shot a burglary suspect on the Northside yesterday.

Police say a shootout began after two males, one a juvenile, broke into a home near Brentwood Elementary School. Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Director Tom Hackney says Officer Matthew Krueger began shooting when gunfire broke out near the house. The 17-year-old suspect was shot in the shoulder.

Hackney says it’s unclear who shot him because the homeowner was also shooting at the suspect.

Early voting is underway in Duval County for the Mar. 24 citywide unitary election, and although voters are concerned about issues affecting Jacksonville, many voters are still unfamiliar with the candidates running for office.

A new poll from UNF’s Public Opinion Research Laboratory shows that crime tops the list of concerns among likely voters in Duval County.

Following that voters care about education and the local economy.

The poll also shows strong voter support for expanding Jacksonville’s Human Rights Ordinance.

FreshMinistries /

A nonprofit that's trying to bring more farming to Jacksonville's urban core is hoping to create jobs as well.

Jacksonville-based FreshMinistries plans to bring aquaponics to Downtown. That's a combination of aquaculture, or raising fish in tanks, with hydroponics, growing plants in water. The system doesn't require much space and can be built in a parking lot or small backyard.

FreshMinistries Urban Operations Director Bobby Lee says the project should help spur economic development by teaching people how to farm their own vegetables and fish.

Michael Rivera / Wikimedia Commons

When Florida lawmakers return for session tomorrow, one issue they’ll wrestle with is local pension reform. Here in Jacksonville, pension debt is more than 40 percent unfunded. University of North Florida Professor Michael Hallett says part of the city’s problem stems from a state-imposed cap on local tax increases.

“The Police and Fire Pension Fund debt in Jacksonville is in part driven by a longer standing failure to pay into the Police and Fire Pension Fund at the levels that were agreed to contractually,” Hallett said. 

The Blue Sky Foundation

A tennis clinic for Wounded Warriors, Veterans and their families is coming to Jacksonville University next month.

Thanking our Troops Through Tennis or T3, is a national non-profit organization that brings free tennis clinics to military bases. At the end of March it will be hosting it's first off-base event at Jacksonville University.

Tomorrow is special election day in Jacksonville’s Florida House District 13. A former incumbent Democratic representative is seeking to regain his seat after paperwork errors disqualified him from last year’s election.

Democrat Reggie Fullwood has raised more than 20 times the amount of money as his opponent, Republican Lawrence “Jeff” Jefferson, has.

Fullwood amassed more than $170,000 during his campaign for re-election. Jefferson has raised just over $7,000, according to campaign finance reports.

Saphara Harrell / WJCT

This year's Jacksonville Jazz Festival poster had its unveiling at the Florida Theatre today, along with some of the artists that will be performing at the festival.

Russ Wilson is the artist who created the poster. He was chosen out of three artists who submitted sketches.

"I've always liked the guitar Jazz stuff and I like the old suits and the old, vintage feel of things and a lot of my artwork has that going on. I like neon signs. I like the old period feel of jazz from the '40s and '50s. So I just pulled a lot together and that's what I came up with," says Wilson.

UF Health North is a new medical facility opening on Feb. 17 on Jacksonville’s Northside.

The design of the building is very modern, more like a hotel than a hospital. Natural light filters inside through terrarium-like rock gardens, and there are outdoor terraces where patients and families can get fresh air while waiting.

"We're going away from the institutional white-washing to a very welcoming atmosphere," says Mike Marzoug, operations manager for the UF Health North project.

William Grootonk / Flickr

A Jacksonville man was robbed at gunpoint while depositing money at an ATM a few weeks ago.

This incident is one of seven robberies that have happened around town in the past month, according to JSO.

Our partners at News4Jax talked to Sylvester Burton, the man who was robbed. He said the robber got away with about $500. Burton works late, and went to the ATM around 1 a.m.

Florida House of Representatives Website

Problems with mental-health services will be the subject of a public workshop in Jacksonville tomorrow. Several lawmakers representing Duval County will attend the forum at City Hall starting at 1 p.m. Duval County Legislative Delegation Coordinator Paula Shoup says Rep. Janet Adkins (R-Fernandina Beach) is hosting the event to see if there is new legislation needed.

Saphara Harrell

A national School Choice Week celebration kicked off in Jacksonville today at the Florida Theatre. School Choice Week involves events across the U.S., all touting alternatives to public school.

National School Choice Week President Andrew Campanella emceed the event. He says every 26 seconds a child drops out of school , and he believes the statistic highlights the need for more school choices.