Taylor Johnson

Taylor Johnson has been practicing on-air journalism since the fifth grade, bringing over 10 years of experience to WJCT as a Summer Intern. Growing up in Lakeland, Florida, she followed her passion for production to the University of North Florida where she is currently double majoring in production and journalism. Taylor will graduate with her bachelor's degrees in December.

While attending the University of North Florida, Taylor volunteers with the UNF news station, Spinnaker Television. In her time at Spinnaker, she has anchored for the weekday news show, produced her own entertainment show, and currently holds the position for the director of programming.

News4Jax

  Mayor Lenny Curry and the Jacksonville Sports Council announced Wednesday afternoon the U.S. Naval Academy’s 2016 home game against Notre Dame will take place next year at EverBank Field.

In even years, when the Navy is the home team, the Notre Dame football game is moved to a neutral site due to large crowds. Next year, the Navy will host the Fighting Irish at EverBank Field.

As thunder boomed in the stadium, Chairman of the Jacksonville Sports Council Carl Cannon made the announcement.

Michael Casey / Flickr

The Beaches Branch Library located in Neptune Beach is getting some renovations in the near future.

A meeting about the planned library improvements is scheduled for Monday at 6 p.m.

The meeting is at the Beaches Branch Library on Third Street, blocks away from downtown Neptune Beach. City officials will be giving a presentation about upcoming changes to the library.

The library was partially renovated last year. But the city terminated the contractor and is now seeking a new one.

CDC

A new law went into effect Wednesday that allows Florida pharmacies to give more types of vaccines to customers.

Pharmacies were previously allowed to administer vaccines only against viruses like the flu.


shark on board ship
OCEARCH

A great white shark named Mary Lee was recorded off the coast of Jacksonville last week.

Ocean researchers who are part of an organization called OCEARCH, are following her and other great whites to learn their traveling patterns.


athriftymrs.com / Flickr

The American Publishers Association has designated June as audiobook month. The Jacksonville Public Library is celebrating the month by touting its free audiobook delivery service. The library offers so-called “talking books” and magazines to city residents who are blind or living with physical disabilities.

Susan Mason is blind and says she’s been reading books on tape since she was 5-years-old. Mason says the library’s delivery service keeps her up-to-date with the latest titles.

Stig Nygaard / Flickr

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, will be in Jacksonville on Monday protesting against SeaWorld.

The protest will take the form of an interactive exhibit on a downtown street corner.


Jacksonville University

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has vetoed $2 million that would have been used at Jacksonville University this year.

Scott signed the state budget into law Tuesday.

The money would have supported a university jobs program focusing on the science, technology, engineering and math fields.  


News4Jax

Florida Governor Rick Scott vetoed $1.2 million that would have gone to Jacksonville's Sulzbacher Center.

Center President and CEO Cindy Funkhouser says the funds would have been used to create permanent homes for homeless women and children.

“This has been extremely disappointing, but you know, we’ve certainly had disappointments before and we will persevere and we will building this permanent housing for women and children, with or without the help of Florida,” said Funkhouser.

HMS Ferries Inc.

Updated Tuesday, June 23:

Gov. Rick Scott has vetoed $1 million for the St. Johns River Ferry

The Mayport Ferry would have spent the money on badly needed renovations.


Gregory Todaro / WJCT News

Jacksonville residents trying to beat the heat this summer may be interested in trying some of the state’s best ice cream. Users of the Foursquare app have rated Jacksonville ice cream shop Dreamette the best in Florida.


News4Jax

Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill on Tuesday giving millions of dollars to the parents of a Jacksonville boy who was crushed by a falling tree limb.

Fifteen-year-old Aubrey Stewart suffered the injury four years ago after several complaints over dangerous trees went unheeded.

Stewart family lawyer Steve Pajcic says the city of Jacksonville will be paying more than $3 million to his clients.

“Even just eating, going to the bathroom, getting out of bed, putting on his clothes — everything is a struggle,” said Pajcic.

Taylor Johnson / WJCT News

Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown launched his teen summer-jobs program at the City’s downtown library on Monday.

Duval County students will receive job training and work experience through the program.

Mayor Brown talked to a huge room full of teenagers Monday morning.

“This is your launching pad. This is your opportunity to build on a strong foundation that you already have,” said Brown.

The Summer Jobs Program provides at least minimum-wage jobs to teenagers with the aim of developing young leaders and keeping juveniles out of the criminal justice system.

St. Johns River Taxi

The operator of Downtown Jacksonville’s St. John’s River Taxi is waiting for a decision that could determine whether it remains in business.

The City Council is considering a deal that could use taxpayer money to keep the boats afloat.

The water taxis in Downtown Jacksonville allow riders to travel to sports games, concerts and events near the St. Johns River. They also connect cultural centers, like MOSH, the Riverside Arts Market and Metropolitan Park.

Taylor Johnson / WJCT News

The Florida Country Superfest music festival is this weekend in Downtown Jacksonville.

On Saturday and Sunday, Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban and Zac Brown Band along with seven other artists and bands will take the stage at EverBank Field.

Thousands of visitors are expected to travel to Jacksonville from outside the region for the event.

With so many people gathering in the same place, Leonard Propper with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office says the city will be ready.

“The parking lot is open earlier. There’s a lot of tailgating going on,” said Propper.

Rick Scott
The Office of Governor Rick Scott

In Jacksonville Friday, Florida Governor Rick Scott says he’ll make sure that UF Health Jax stays open.

“I’m optimistic, you know. We’re in the session, and I’ll continue to work with the House and the Senate to make sure the right thing happens. And I’ll make sure that we keep all critical services running,” said Scott.

Cheryl / Flickr

Northeast Florida hospitals are offering new moms more information on breast-feeding, thanks to state grants.

The program is part of Florida’s Healthiest Weight Initiative aimed at fighting obesity.

Graphic: Business Wire

Starting Monday, Advanced Disposal is offering a free service to properly dispose of old, torn or faded American flags.

The company has several drop-off locations across Northeast Florida.

Advanced Disposal is accepting old American flags at its seven Northeast Florida sites.

Advanced Disposal Chief Marketing Officer Mary O’Brien says the company interacts with millions of customers every week.

St. Johns County

St. Johns County is distributing new, much larger recycling carts starting Monday.

The upgrade is aimed at getting more people to recycle.

Advanced Disposal, an integrated environmental services company, is upgrading St. Johns County customers to 95-gallon recycling carts for their curbside recycling service at no additional cost.

St. Johns County spokesman Michael Ray says this is part of Florida’s effort to reach its recycling goal of 75 percent. This goal was set by the state in 2008.

Jamie Bianchini

Jamie Bianchini invited more than 1,000 strangers to ride on the world’s first open-invitation, intercultural expedition around the world.

His eight-year, 80-country journey is shared in his book “A Bicycle Built for Two-Billion.”

Jacksonville locals can meet him and hear about his journey around the U.S. Thursday evening.

After a series of ill-fated events in his life, he says he hatched a crazy plan: go for a ride around the world on a tandem bicycle by himself, inviting everyone he met to join him.

City of Jacksonville

The City of Jacksonville has been selected as one of the first 25 communities by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to participate in a new program called the Veterans Economic Communities Initiative.

The Veterans Economic Communities Initiative is aimed at helping those who have served in the military find jobs through meetings and an employment website with listings from over 250 companies.

Retired U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Victor Guillory is Director of the Jacksonville Military affairs and Veterans Department.

Federal Trade Commission

The Federal Trade Commission and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi filed a lawsuit against four cancer charities and their operators for conning donors more than $187 million.

The charities include Cancer Fund of America, Cancer Support Services, Children’s Cancer Fund of America and the Breast Cancer Society.

JHill on golf cart
Taylor Johnson / WJCT News

A new service is offering historical and cultural tours of downtown Jacksonville.

On Friday, founder Sherry JHill narrated from the front seat of a street-legal golf cart the history and culture passing by.

She’s calling these rides Zip Tours.

JHill says today’s tour is the result of a serendipitous meeting during One Spark with the carts’ owner, Bill Guerrant. 

“And within 30 days, we’ve launched a rolling history tour in downtown. And I am just so happy that we were able to put this together,” says JHill.  

Jessica Palombo / WJCT News

The creative sector’s economic impact in Northeast Florida is more than $2 billion dollars a year. That figure comes from a study by the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville.  It shows 27,000 people are working in creative fields in the seven-county area.

From 2010 to 2013, creative-industry jobs grew 6 percent. Sound engineering showed the most growth, up 32 percent. And the profession employing the most people is photography, with more than 3,200 working in the field.