First Read: Thusday, May 1, 2014

May 1, 2014

Lenny Curry, Escambia County Jail, and Jameis Winston 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.

Lenny Curry to step down as state GOP chair for possible Jax mayoral run: Days after Peter Rummell identified him as the candidate he would support in next year's mayoral race, Florida Republican Party chair Lenny Curry will reportedly step down from that post today. (Florida Times-Union)

Jacksonville police increase patrols in high crime areas: The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office will increase patrols in areas of the city due to a recent increase in shootings and violent crime. (News4Jax)

Four teachers honored with Gladys Prior Awards: One Jacksonville elementary school teacher and three high school teachers are the recipients of the 2014 Gladys Prior Awards for Career Teaching Excellence. (WJCT)

Sweet Pete's owners enter agreement for downtown move: Sweet Pete's candy shop, along with three other food businesses, will occupy the Seminole Club building across from Jacksonville City Hall in a new agreement. (Jacksonville Business Journal)

Up to 150 injured, two dead in Pensacola jail explosion: A gas explosion at Escambia County's central booking and detention center on Wednesday night killed two inmates and injured between 100 and 150 others. (CNN/AP)

State of emergency declared in panhandle: Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency on Wednesday for 26 panhandle and northern counties dealing with torrential rain and flooding. (WCTV)

Panhandle flood wipes out highway, draws Ivan comparisons: Severe flooding in and around Pensacola and the panhandle washed out a portion of Scenic Highway. Flooding in the region is being compared to the damage caused by Hurricane Ivan in 2004. (Pensacola News Journal/Los Angeles Times)

School grading bill called unfair: A Florida House bill that would change the way schools are graded for performance passed Wednesday afternoon amid opposition from Democratic lawmakers who said it was unfair with the upcoming implementation of Florida Standards, also known as Common Core. (The Florida Current)

"Zombie" amendment proposed for concealed weapons bill: Miami Sen. Dwight Bullard has filed an amendment to a controversial bill that would allow people to carry concealed weapons without a permit during mandatory evacuations adding language referring to a "zombie apocalypse." (Orlando Sentinel)

Winston cited for seafood theft: Heisman winning Florida State University quarterback Jameis Winston was issued a citation for leaving a Publix supermarket without paying for crab legs. (Fansided)

Today on First Coast Connect, we'll look at the results of a new Florida League of Women Voters study looking at school choice and charter schools with Angela DeMonbreun, president of the League of Women Voters of the First Coast, Bernadette Miron, member of the league's study committee, and Jacksonville Public Education Fund President Trey Csar. Karen Feagins will fill in today for Melissa Ross.

First Read will be taking Friday (5/2) off this week. Tune to WJCT-FM and check in at for the latest news from WJCT and NPR.

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