First Coast

News affecting Duval, Baker, Nassau, St. Johns or Clay counties.

Councilman Ron Salem speaking to firefighters and JSO officers ahead of his election.
Ron Salem's City Council Facebook page

The Jacksonville City Council began the budget process for the upcoming fiscal year Thursday, with the Finance Committee meeting for its first of seven scheduled budget hearings. 


Jacksonville hospitals are preparing for more COVID-19 cases, with some requesting ventilators.

Swisher's manufacturing plant at 459 E. 16th Street in Jacksonville is pictured.

Swisher, the Jacksonville-based company best known for its Swisher Sweets cigars, has announced a new initiative to fund experiential and emerging brands in adult lifestyle product categories.

Sydney Boles / WJCT News

Gov. Ron DeSantis was in Downtown Jacksonville Thursday touting Regeneron, an antibody treatment for those infected with the coronavirus. 

For rent sign

A new analysis released Thursday forecasts that housing in Jacksonville will continue to get less affordable through the end of the year.

St. Simons Pier closures illustration
Glynn County

The St. Simons Pier is getting a makeover that is resulting in some closures.

Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams

A federal judge has refused to toss out a legal challenge to a controversial new law that creates a host of crimes and enhances existing penalties for protests that turn violent or block traffic. Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams is one of the defendants that had asked that the case be thrown out.

The former Stein Mart at Ortega Park appears headed for demolition.
Jacksonville Daily Record

As landlords find new uses for the six closed Stein Mart stores in Jacksonville, the owner of Ortega Park wants to demolish the one in its Westside shopping center.

USS Orleck
Jacksonville Historic Naval Ship Association (JHNSA)

Jacksonville is set to welcome the USS Orleck, a naval museum ship that while in service was awarded 18 battle stars, enough to make it the most decorated post-World War II ship ever built.

People gather outside a bus marked "Wellness on Wheels"
Jacksonville Transportation Authority

The Florida Black Expo, an annual event celebrating black-owned businesses on the First Coast, is being postponed from this month to October because of the rise in coronavirus cases. 

Jack Spottswood / State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory

Jacksonville’s historic Old Stanton Highschool Downtown could become a mixed-use facility and community cultural center, if a nonprofit is successful in raising $10 million. The effort includes a virtual fundraiser Wednesday evening, on the birthday of one of the school’s most famous alumni, John Rosamond Johnson. 

W.B., a 1-year-old boy with a rare genetic disorder called CHARGE syndrome, has spent much of his young life in Jacksonville-area hospitals. His doctors said that without treatment at a specialty clinic run by the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, he would likely suffer developmental delays and other medical problems, but the state of Florida denied that treatment. 

Reports: Jay-Z Invests In Jacksonville-Based Fanatics

Aug 11, 2021

Fanatics raised $325 million in additional capital, including an investment by a high-profile celebrity, as the Jacksonville-based merchandising company seeks to expand into new businesses such as sports gambling, several major financial news outlets reported Aug. 10.

City Council Designates Porter House Mansion, 112 E. Forsyth Landmarks

Aug 11, 2021
Jacksonville Daily Record

The City Council designated the Porter House Mansion in Downtown Jacksonville’s North Core and a building at 112 E. Forsyth St. near the Florida Theatre as local landmarks.

Florida Coastal Another Step Toward Closure As Emergency Motion Denied

Aug 11, 2021
Florida Coastal School of Law
Jacksonville Daily Record

U.S. District Judge Marcia Morales Howard denied Florida Coastal School of Law’s emergency motion for a restraining order that would have temporarily restored the school’s access to the Title IV federal student loan program.

Cars line up outside the Central Outreach Wellness Center on the Northside of Pittsburgh Monday, March 16, 2020, for drive-by testing for COVID-19.
Gene J. Puskar / Associated Press

St. Johns County is launching a new COVID-19 testing site next week that will be open every day.

Heather Prediletto

Masks were not on the agenda when the St. Johns County School Board met Tuesday, but after hearing from more than 100 concerned parents and community members on both sides of the masking debate over a period of six hours, the board reiterated its position: Masks are optional, which is in line with state rules. 

File photo of students returning to school during the coronavirus pandemic.
Rick Bowmer / Associated Press

Duval County Public Schools have plans in place to ensure students will be able to continue learning, even if they’re quarantined for an extended period of time due to exposure to the coronavirus.

Pope Francis puts on a face mask as he attends an inter-religious ceremony on Oct. 20, 2020.
Gregorio Borgia / ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Diocese of St. Augustine, which runs 40 Catholic schools in Northeast and North Central Florida, has reinstituted its mask mandate for the beginning of the school year. 

Republic Services

The Clay County Board of Commissioners announced curbside recycling collections will be temporarily suspended in all unincorporated areas of Clay County and the city of Keystone Heights starting August 16.

Marta Lavandier / ASSOCIATED PRESS

The city of Jacksonville announced legislation that would fund three new COVID testing sites across the city, with two additional new sites to be operated by the Department of Health in Duval County. 

About 4,700 Duval County Students Opt Out Of Masks

Aug 10, 2021
A teacher and his students wear masks in a Texas class room on Dec. 3, 2020.

Most Florida students are heading back to school Tuesday, and many teachers say they’re ready to return to the classroom and eager to continue face-to-face teaching. But some teachers say the stress looming over COVID-19 is worse than a year ago.

Early Learning Coalition

Studies show that the best time to instill a child’s love for reading is before kindergarten, when their most rapid period of brain growth occurs.


Parents in St. Johns County are planning a protest before the School Board meeting Tuesday morning, when they plan to ask local officials to require masks in the classroom. Other parents who oppose masks are expected to counter-protest. 

Armistead Returns as UF Health Jacksonville CEO

Aug 9, 2021
Jacksonville Daily Record

Former UF Health Jacksonville CEO Russell Armistead again will lead the hospital, effective Monday, Aug. 9.


The St. Johns County School Board is asking a federal appeals court to again consider a years-long battle about whether a transgender male student should have been allowed to use boys’ bathrooms.

Sydney Boles / WJCT News

A Jacksonville middle schooler has been in the national news for her advocacy on masks in schools.  

Duval County Property Appraiser Jerry Holland Now Home; Wife Hospitalized With COVID-19

Aug 9, 2021

Duval County Property Appraiser Jerry Holland said he was back home as of Sunday morning after being hospitalized with COVID-19.

sample Blue Angels license plate with planes on it
Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles

The Naval Air Station Pensacola-based Blue Angels flight exhibition team are cleared for takeoff on a new specialty license plate that’s been delivered to tax collector offices and license plate agencies statewide.

Parents, Students Sound Off About Masks to Clay County School Board

Aug 6, 2021

Several parents and a student stood in front of the Clay County School Board on Thursday to explain why they are either for or against students wearing masks this school year.