City of Jacksonville

A recently completed Jacksonville Task Force report finds the city’s government needs to be more transparent to better serve community needs.

Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT

Tuesday’s First Coast Connect featured guest host Charlene Shirk.

A recently completed Jacksonville Task Force on Open Government report states the city’s government needs to be more transparent. We spoke with task force co-chairs Hank Coxe and Sherry McGill (01:06).   

The Jacksonville Landing

Wednesday on First Coast Connect we heard the latest about the battle over The Jacksonville Landing with Florida Times-Union reporter David Bauerlein and Daily Record reporter David Cawton (01:09).


Monday on First Coast Connect we spoke with local civil rights activists Ben Frazier and Wells Todd about the NAACP Legal Defense Fund investigating how Jacksonville police hand out tickets for jaywalking (01:00).

We spoke with Jacksonville’s Director of Neighborhoods Stephanie Burch and Director of Blight Initiatives Denise Lee on the upcoming Neighborhood and Community Summit (30:26).

We heard about the upcoming A Night at Roy’s to raise funds for the Monique Burr Foundation with Program Director Stacy Pendarvis (38:18).

Cole Pepper talked about a busy week for the Jaguars and the latest regarding the Armada (46:00).

Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT

Tuesday on First Coast Connect we heard about the city of Jacksonville’s Civil Rights History Task Force with authors and civil rights activists Tim Gilmore and Rodney Hurst (01:05).

Moveable Feast featured Suzi Renehan of Uncanny Biscotti (26:58).

Director of the Warrior Care Network Alex Balbir told us about the latest treatments to help veterans suffering from PTSD (33:24).  

Katie Provow and Katie Delaney told us about some recent changes at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre’s Farmers Market (46:00).               

Tuesday on First Coast Connect we spoke with former CSX CEO Michael Ward who is co-chair of a Jacksonville Civic Council committee looking into the possible sale of JEA (01:06).

Renay Daigle from Daigle Creative and Delores Barr Weaver told us about the Connectable Campaign (32:03).

John November, Executive Director and General Counsel for The Public Trust Environmental Legal Institute of Florida, talked about Tuesday’s Jacksonville Tree Symposium (46:00).

Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT

Monday on First Coast Connect, we spoke with local attorney Mike Freed about the city of Jacksonville filing a lawsuit against major drug manufacturers over the opioid crisis (01:06).

We were joined by Board President Chris Schwing to discuss this year’s Jacksonville Women’s Leadership Forum (29:21).

Players by the Sea creative Marketing Manager Bradley Akers and Director Kris Jackson talked about their New Voices program (46:00).    


Thursday on First Coast Connect we spoke with Northside Coalition of Jacksonville members Ben Frazier and Wells Todd about their upcoming rally calling for the removal of Confederate monuments from public places on the First Coast (01:14).  

We were also joined by Sharika Cunningham, assistant director of Stompdown, which is coming to the Florida Theatre Saturday (46:00). 

Friday on First Coast Connect our weekly Media Roundtable featured Florida Times-Union reporter Dan Scanlan, WJCT business analyst John Burr and Beaches Leader columnist Jon McGowan. 

CIty of Jacksonville

Garden City Elementary School Park on Jacksonville’s Northside got a makeover this month that’s largely due to a $95,000 grant from Mercedes-Benz USA.

  Today on “First Coast Connect,” we took a look at Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry’s proposed budget with Nate Monroe from the Florida Times-Union, Claire Goforth, editor of Folio Weekly, and A.G. Gancarski (01:03) from Florida Politics. Dr. Shahriar Nabizadeh (22:19) told us what he believes ails the health care system as Washington lawmakers continue to debate repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. We heard about this weekend’s celebrity basketball game to help homeless students from Florida Blue’s Darnell Smith (38:39). Eco Relics co-founder Annie Murphy, Jenni Edwards with Norsk Tiny Houses and Sarah Boren (45:23), director of policy and programs with U.S. Green Building Council of Florida, talked about the first LEED-certified tiny home being built in Jacksonville. 


Ryan Benk / WJCT News

After years of falling into disrepair, a Jacksonville island park in the middle of the St. Johns River is showing signs of improvement.

Exchange Club Island’s namesake service club is hoping planned upgrades will make it a pristine, wild attraction in the heart of downtown.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry
Shannon LeDuke / WJCT

Mayor Lenny Curry is proposing six weeks of paid parental leave for all city employees. The proposal would apply to both men and women following the birth or adoption of a child.

City of Jacksonville

At least 6,000 Duval County children will get free swimming lessons this summer if a bill introduced Wednesday is approved by the Jacksonville City Council.

The University of North Florida will face a major change next year, after its longest serving president announced his retirement last week.

Lindsay Kilbride / WJCT News

A coalition of Jacksonville business owners gathered Tuesday outside of City Hall to express opposition to the proposed LGBT-inclusive Human Right Ordinance.

Small business owner and former Jacksonville City Council President Ginger Soud held a press conference announcing the formation of the small business coalition opposing the HRO and expressed her disapproval for the HRO.

Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News


Although it’s been 52 years since Jacksonville has seen a hurricane, city officials don't want residents to have a false sense of security.

Director of Duval County Emergency Management Steve Woodard was giving a tour of emergency headquarters downtown Wednesday, the first day of hurricane season.


Funding for Jacksonville’s Hemming Park is up in the air.

The Jacksonville City Council approved $100,000 on Tuesday to park operators Friends of Hemming Park to cover operation costs through the next couple months.

Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News


Jacksonville City Councilman Tommy Hazouri says he wants to increase the transparency of city contracts. He says the public should be able to follow what happens after the city awards a contractor a project.

Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams and Mayor Lenny Curry say security will increase at Thursday night’s nationally televised Jaguars game, following attacks on Paris last week.

Williams says fans can expect to notice more officers, but that’s about it.

“We’re going to hold off on specifics,” Williams said. “I mean it’s additional officers, it’s additional pieces of equipment, that type of thing. But again, it’s just kind of a ramp-up — if you will — of the things that we normally do at the games, just more of it.”

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Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry is asking for the immediate resignation of JEA board member Lisa Strange Weatherby.

Emails from the mayor's office show Weatherby refused to meet with Curry amidst his probe of JEA.

Rockefeller Foundation

The city of Jacksonville plans to participate in the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities program.

Mayor Lenny Curry plans to finalize the distinction applied for by former Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown.

The Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities initiative is an effort to identify cities that show great resilience in the face of economic, social and environmental catastrophes, but may need some extra help to keep it up.

Curry’s spokesman Bill Spann says the new mayor is fully committed to the project.

Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

Today at City Hall, committees on a range of topics presented their suggestions to Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry.

Curry convened the committees during his transition to becoming mayor.  

Nine transition committees made recommendations to Mayor Curry Thursday.  

Curry said, “Look I’m just grateful that busy people, smart people spent a lot of time, a lot of hours, a lot of manpower evaluating things, looking at how to solve some of the problems that we’ve inherited, but also looking forward.”

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry
Shannon LeDuke / WJCT

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry presented his budget proposals to the City Council Monday morning.

Curry told City Council, “I stand here willing to give the sheriff the resources that he and his people need to make sure that Jacksonville is a safe city.”

He says his top priority of safety is reflected in his proposed budget. He wants to add 40 police officers and 40 community service officers to the force. Sheriff Mike Williams says community service officers would free up police officers to fight crime.

Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

As Lenny Curry prepares to transition into the role of Jacksonville mayor, he has subcommittees at work collecting data.

Monday morning’s Prevention, Intervention and At-Risk Youth meeting focused on programs under the banner of the Jacksonville Journey, started under former Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton.

Jacksonville Issues Air Quality Advisory Because Of Nearby Forest Fires

Jun 12, 2015

The city of Jacksonville’s Environmental Quality Division issued an air-quality advisory, as particulate matter clogged the air Friday.

Smoke from forest fires in southeast Duval County is contributing to elevated particulate matter concentrations.

Florida Forest Service said a lightning strike on Wednesday sparked a fire that is causing heavy smoke in between the University of North Florida and Mayo Clinic. The San Pablo fire was about 15 football fields large and 75 percent contained.

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.

Jacksonville City Hall, St. James Building
Ray Hollister / WJCT News

In addition to electing a new mayor, sheriff and several city council members, Duval County voters also approved two referenda amending Jacksonville’s charter.

The first affects the city’s attorney or general counsel.

Not only does it list specific qualifications for the position, it also dilutes the mayor’s control of the office by giving the City Council the power to fire an attorney.

Rick Mullaney, Director of the Public Policy Institute at Jacksonville University, says the change could help eliminate the perception of favoritism.

Jessica Palombo / WJCT News

Fifty special streetlights equipped with sensors and cameras will be installed in Jacksonville this summer as part of a pilot program unveiled Thursday at City Hall.

Jacksonville is the second city in the world after San Diego to try the LED lights connected to software created by GE.

Now the city is talking with GE to determine the best locations for the LED street lamps. The lamps are a gift during the six-month pilot. Mayor Alvin Brown says, he’s hoping the technology will save the city money in the long run.

A First Coast company is considering expanding its Northside manufacturing operations with a financial boost from the City of Jacksonville.

The Safariland Group wants to expand its manufacturing plant near the Jacksonville International Airport. Plans call for investing more than a $1 million for upgrades and hiring up to 30 people by the end of the year.

Kristen Sell, a spokeswoman for the city said, “They’ve been a local company here for many many years.”