Sydney Boles

Newsletter Editor/Community Engagement Editor

Sydney is WJCT's Newsletter and Engagement Editor, and she's joining WJCT News from Ohio Valley ReSource, a collaborative of NPR stations covering Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia; where she was a producer and reporter, covering economic issues in the Appalachian coalfields.

Sydney is from upstate New York and received a Masters of Journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. 

Her bylines include NPR, the Ohio Valley ReSource, Rolling Stone Magazine, and Southerly Magazine.  

Sydney Boles can be reached via email at sboles@wjct.org, or on Twitter at @sydneyboles.

Ways to Connect

A new study says on average someone would have to earn $24.90 per hour to rent a modest two-bedroom home on no more than 30% of their pay. That's far more than the federal minimum wage.
RICH PEDRONCELLI / AP

The Jacksonville Chapter of the NAACP is calling for an investigation into how the city distributed rent relief money during the pandemic. 

News Service of Florida

Gov. Ron DeSantishas issued an executive order prohibiting school districts from imposing mask-wearing requirements for students less than two weeks before the start of the new school year. 

SKY LEBRON / WJCT NEWS

Amid the wave of coronavirus infections, Duval County Public Schools (DCPS) said Wednesday that at least 1,400 students have enrolled in optional virtual learning ahead of the August 10th start to the new school year. 

Orange Park Medical Center

As the coronavirus surge continues in Northeast Florida, hospitals in Clay County  — where the vaccination rate is just 33%  — are getting slammed. 

Photo of students in class wearing masks
LM Otero / Associated Press

Classes begin in less than two weeks in Duval County amid rapid shifts in the coronavirus pandemic and the response from local, state and federal governments. 

St. Augustine's City Hall is pictured during Nights of Lights.
BILL BORTZFIELD / WJCT NEWS

Beginning in October, St. Johns County will add an additional 1-cent tax to overnight stays in hotels, bringing the so-called “bed tax” there from 4- to 5-cents. 

Sydney Boles / WJCT News

More than a decade after the Federal Aviation Authority granted a spaceflight permit to Jacksonville’s Cecil Airport and Spaceport, the commercial airport is unveiling a traffic control center that’s better capable of handling horizontal-launch flight into suborbit. 

Former Jacksonville attorney Earl Johnson Jr. is pictured Thursday at James Weldon Johnson Park.
Sydney Boles / WJCT News

Former Jacksonville attorney Earl Johnson Jr. is arguing in a lawsuit filed Thursday that Confederate monuments on public land, and maintained by public funding, are unconstitutional government endorsements of white supremacy. 

In this Feb. 8, 2021, file photo, Florida seniors have their temperatures taken before receiving the second dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at Jackson Health System in Miami.
Marta Lavindier / Associated Press

Health officials in eight southeast Georgia counties are sounding the alarm as new cases of COVID-19 are skyrocketing. 

UF Health Jacksonville

With COVID-19 cases spiking in Northeast Florida, local doctors say the patients filling up their hospitals are almost all unvaccinated. 

ABILITY HOUSING

Jacksonville has a shortage of about 36,000 low-income rental units, according to a new report from the nonprofit group 904WARD looking at how race intersects with housing in Duval County.  

SKY LEBRON / WJCT NEWS

With as many as 30,000 students attending charter schools and private schools or being home-schooled in Duval County, the local school board is considering hiring a contractor to help entice students back to traditional public schools. 

Sydney Boles / WJCT News

More than 1-in-4 students in Jacksonville schools has what’s considered a high level of trauma, according to state data. 

Adam Pratt

Tropical Storm Elsa leaves behind one death and damage to homes and businesses in Jacksonville after passing through Northeast Florida Wednesday. The storm also spawned confirmed and suspected tornadoes.

Courtesy Amy Donofrio

Attorneys are considering a settlement in the case of a Duval County Public Schools teacher who is suing the district over alleged retaliation centering on a Black Lives Matter flag. 

YUI MOK / AP

COVID-19 Case counts and hospitalization numbers had been declining in Duval County, but in recent weeks those rates have been trending in the wrong direction. 

Sydney Boles / WJCT News

Some teachers in Duval County are speaking out against a recent change to Florida’s education rules that they say will whitewash the teaching of American history. 

This July 2020 photo shows a potential COVID-19 vaccine developed by Moderna and the National Institutes of Health.
Hans Pennink / Associated Press

Sen. Rick Scott, R-FL, and Rep. John Rutherford, R-FL4, are leading an effort to ban so-called vaccine passports at airports. 

Fireworks are pictured being launched from the Acosta Bridge in Downtown Jacksonville on Nov. 30, 2019.
BILL BORTZFIELD / WJCT News

The July 4th holiday weekend is looking like a rainy one in Northeast Florida, as the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network forecasts several rounds of thunderstorms through Monday. 

 

But the city of Jacksonville told WJCT News that Sunday evening’s fireworks displays will happen rain or shine.

 

Here's where the festivities will be happening in Jacksonville and all along the First Coast:

DCPS
Cyd Hoskinson / WJCT News

Duval County Public Schools (DCPS) Superintendent Diana Greene has nominated a new executive director for the district’s police department. 

woman takes out trash
Advanced Disposal Services

Jacksonville-area residents from Orange Park to Murray Hill are reporting yard waste and recycling is piling up on curbs as a labor shortage in the waste industry is impacting trash pickup across the First Coast. 

Jacksonville’s next election for City Council seats isn’t until 2023, but the race is already heating up. 

Democrat Joshua Hicks announced Monday he’s running in City Council’s 3rd District, which is bordered on the west and east roughly by Kernan Boulevard and the Intracoastal Waterway. The seat is currently held by Republican Aaron Bowman. 

The only candidate currently running for Florida’s District 6 State Senate seat has received multiple notices from the Florida Department of State over her failure to file campaign finance documents. 

Florida Supreme Court exterior
Via Jacksonville Daily Record

A ruling from the Florida Supreme Court puts limits on how legal aid clinics can use their funds, potentially restricting the aid available to low-income Floridians who need representation in civil court. 

JSO patrol vehicle in a parking lot
News4Jax

The Fourth Judicial Circuit State Attorney’s Office and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office have agreed to build an adult civil citation program to keep low-level offenders out of the criminal justice system. 

RPI Report

Some three months after a barge ran aground off the Jacksonville coast, spilling thousands of tons of a coal waste product, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection has released its report on the environmental damage. 

This screengrab from video shows a past Orange Crush festival event
Orange Crush / via Facebook

The Jacksonville chapter of the NAACP says the move by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office to request jail beds in surrounding counties be made available in advance of this weekend’s Orange Crush festival is “discriminatory and unprecedented.” 

Barge Bridgeport Response

Marine salvage crews are continuing to work on a 400-foot-long cargo ship carrying coal ash that ran aground near Jacksonville in March. 

Wikimedia Commons

A park on Clay County’s Fleming Island is being named to commemorate the crash of a Navy warplane and honor the lives lost on Fleming Island 70-years-ago this week. 

Orange Crush Festival

The Orange Crush music festival has been billed as a Jacksonville Beaches event, but mayors in Atlantic, Neptune and Jacksonville beaches say their cities have not issued any event permits related to the festival.

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