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

Melanin Market
Melanin Market

Jacksonville's largest outdoor marketplace showcasing Black-owned businesses, arts, and culture is back this Saturday, February 27. 

News4Jax

A new coronavirus vaccination site is opening in Jacksonville at Edward Waters College. The Historically Black College will distribute about 200 doses of the Moderna vaccine per day and will prioritize residents of the New Town neighborhood where the school is located. 

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

The St. Augustine City Commission voted Tuesday to begin allowing public gatherings starting this spring. Events are slated to include arts shows, athletic events and music festivals. 

News4Jax

The Jacksonville City Council plans to hold a public meeting Thursday to discuss access to nutritious food in the New Town neighborhood. 

The meeting comes following reporting from WJCT news partner The Florida Times-Union, which revealed the lengths that residents of the northside neighborhood must go to reach a grocery store. 

National Humane Society

A bill in a Tallahassee house committee would increase penalties for leaving dogs tethered and unattended in Florida. 

File photo of Mayor Lenny Curry.
Sydney Boles / WJCT News

The city of Jacksonville has received $28.9 million from the Federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program to go towards rent and utility payments for struggling families. 

A volunteer at a drive through coronavirus testing site.
Walmart

The Biden Administration announced Friday it would partner with Florida to open four new community vaccination centers, one of which will be in Jacksonville.

File photo of a food distribution event.
LYNNE SLADKY / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Between March and November of 2020, the nonprofit food distribution organization Farm Share handed out more than a hundred-million pounds of food across the Sunshine State.

Firefighters pose at a previous year's "Fight for Air Challenge" event
American Lung Association

On March 27, roughly 40 firefighters are set to climb the stairs of Jacksonville’s TIAA Bank Field to raise awareness about cancer among firefighters. 

File photo of a food distribution event.
LYNNE SLADKY / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Multiple food nonprofits are distributing free produce and non-perishables in the Jacksonville area this week for people experiencing food insecurity.

Jacksonville Jaguars / Via Jacksonville Daily Record

The Jacksonville Downtown Investment Authority voted unanimously Wednesday to approve environmental exploration on land next to Metropolitan park by Jaguars owner Shad Khan’s development company, Iguana Investments.

The tent city in Jacksonville's LaVilla neighborhood near Downtown is pictured on Tuesday.
Sydney Boles / WJCT News

The city of Jacksonville has successfully relocated 48 people from a Downtown tent city into temporary shelters following the announcement of a major rehousing initiative, but a Downtown encampment remains.

A person receives a vaccine shot in this file photo.
LYNNE SLADKY / ASSOCIATED PRESS

African Americans make up 29% of the population in Duval County, but just 14% of vaccinations, according to the latest numbers from the state’s Department of Health (DOH). 

That’s an improvement from two weeks ago, when African Americans made up 11% of vaccine recipients. 

The Bee Friends Farm store is opening in Murray Hill in late February.
Bee Friends Farm

The Jacksonville-based Bee Friends Farm is expanding, with a new brick-and-mortar store opening later this month. 

Girls Inc. Participants
Girls Inc.

Amber Ferrell, 17, is a varsity cheerleader, a member of the National Honors Society, and among the top in her class at Jacksonville’s William M. Raines High School. She attributes her achievements to her own hard work, of course, but also to an afterschool program called Girls, Inc. 

UF Health Campus
UF Health Jacksonville

The CEO of UF Health Jacksonville said Thursday it may be a few weeks before his hospital  receives more doses of coronavirus vaccines. 

BILL BORTZFIELD / WJCT NEWS

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry announced Thursday a $26.8 million investment towards phasing out septic tanks in three Northside neighborhoods. It’s on top of a $30 million investment made in 2016, and still far short of estimates of the project’s total cost. 

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

With new vaccine sites opening and information evolving, here’s a current rundown of where shots are available throughout the First Coast along with how to make an appointment.

City Council members met to discuss hate speech in city hall after a Jacksonville resident flashed what can be interpreted as a hate symbol in a recent council meeting.
Sydney Boles / WJCT News

Jacksonville City Council members are holding a series of conversations after a speaker at a recent council meeting flashed a hand gesture that is associated with white supremacists. 

Gov. Ron DeSantis announces vaccine distribution partnership with Walmart
Sydney Boles / WJCT News

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis visited Jacksonville Tuesday to announce a new coronavirus vaccine partnership with Walmart pharmacies. 

A Tesla Model S (foreground) and Tesla Model 3 are pictured charging at the Cummer Museum parking lot on Riverside Ave. in this 2018 file photo.
BILL BORTZFIELD / WJCT NEWS

A set of bills filed in the Florida legislature would implement a flat tax on the purchase of electric vehicles. The revenue from that tax would fund new electric vehicle charging stations around the state and address the drop in tax collected from gasoline sales.

outside of an unemployment office with a "now hiring" sign, and a woman who is about to open the door, she has a mask on.
Lynne Sladky / Associated Press

Newly released data shows that 69,140 Floridians filed initial unemployment claims during the last week of January, more than 12 times as many as the same time last year. 

The data, released weekly by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, is a reminder that although the economy is recovering from the worst of the coronavirus recession, many Florida residents continue to struggle. 

WJCT News

A bill ending requirements that governments and agencies place public notices in local Florida newspapers passed out of a Tallahassee civil justice and property rights subcommittee this week. 

Winn-Dixie
DROBER24 / Wikimedia Commons

Jacksonville-based Southeastern Grocers, parent company to Winn-Dixie, Harveys Supermarket, and other supermarket chains, is set to offer coronavirus vaccines across Florida on Feb. 11. 

Council member Brenda Priestly Jackson urged community members to trust the COVID-19 vaccine.
Sydney Boles / WJCT News

The city of Jacksonville will distribute coronavirus vaccine shots on a first-come-first serve basis Friday and Saturday at the Northside’s Clanzel T. Brown Senior Center. 

A Jacksonville homeless encampment on Jefferson St. is pictured.
Sydney Boles / WJCT News

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry announced Wednesday a new initiative to help the Downtown homeless population.

A Jacksonville homeless encampment on Jefferson St. is pictured.
Sydney Boles / WJCT News

Residents of a Downtown Jacksonville homeless encampment continue to worry about the future of their makeshift community after a report that the city may ask them to move. 

Chamber of Commerce Unveils 2021 Legislative Agenda
Chamber of Commerce

The Florida Chamber of Commerce announced Tuesday that preventing frivolous lawsuits related to COVID-19 is at the top of its priority list as the state’s 2021 legislative session approaches. Also high on the list: investing in Florida tourism promotion and bolstering the state’s infrastructure to meet the needs of a growing population. 

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis
Gov. Ron DeSantis Transition Team

African Americans are 1.4 times as likely to contract the coronavirus as their white counterparts, and 2.8 times as likely to die from it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But despite this, Blacks are being vaccinated at lower rates than whites. A recent decision by Governor Ron DeSantis to increase the number of vaccine sites at Publix pharmacies might further that disparity.

Jacksonville Daily Record

Progressive political groups plan to protest at the Duval County Courthouse Saturday at 1:30 p.m. in Downtown Jacksonville at 501 W. Adams St. over a controversial bill currently under consideration in the Florida Legislature.

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