First Read: Thursday, July 24, 2014

Jul 24, 2014

Congressional districts, Michael Dunn and English bulldogs are in the headlines today.

Welcome to WJCT First Read, your daily weekday morning round-up of stories from the First Coast, around Florida, and across the country. We'll also preview some of WJCT's upcoming news programming.

Hearing scheduled on congressional map: A Florida judge is holding a hearing this morning to decide what steps to take following a decision that the state's congressional districts were drawn illegally and whether to redraw them now or after Election Day. (AP via WJCT)

State to perform Buckman Bridge safety review: Following a fatal accident on the span last week, FDOT engineers will review the Buckman Bridge to make sure it is safe for today’s vehicles and traffic conditions. (WJCT)

Michael Dunn letters released: The State Attorney's Office has released two letters Michael Dunn wrote to his daughter last year from jail, before his convictions for attempted second-degree murder and shooting into a vehicle and mistrial on the murder charge in the shooting death of Jordan Davis. (News4Jax)

Former Duval exceptional education exec gets promotion: Mason Davis, who has spent the last two years serving as executive director of the Duval County Public Schools Exceptional Student Education (ESE) Department will be promoted to assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction. (WJCT)

Water taxis will not be operational in time for Carrie Underwood concert: Jacksonville's two new water taxis are undergoing U.S. Coast Guard certification process, which could run into August or even early September, and will not be available for Saturday's soccer match and Carrie Underwood concert at EverBank Field. (Florida Times-Union)

Protestors ask for answers in Jax Beach shooting: Family and friends of Zachariah Tipton, who was fatally shot at Nippers Beach Grille in Jacksonville Beach nearly a month ago, protested and asked for answers in what officials are calling an ongoing investigation. (Action News Jax)

Man accused in puppy mill suit claims innocence: Anthony Roque, named along with his son as being part of a Jacksonville-based English bulldog puppy mill, says he was surprised by the suit and claims he is not running a puppy mill. (First Coast News)

UNF journalism students crowdfunding for One Spark Berlin trip: Five seniors in the University of North Florida's journalism program are looking to raise $9,000 to cover One Spark Berlin in September. (Jacksonville Business Journal)

Today on First Coast Connect, the Jacksonville Transportation Authority has plans to overhaul bus transit in the city. We'll hear more from JTA CEO Nat Ford and Vice President of Long Range Planning and System Development Brad Thoburn.

You can get all the latest headlines online at WJCTNews.org, on our Facebook page, and on Twitter @WJCTJax. You can follow Patrick Donges on Twitter at @patrickhdonges.