First Coast

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

Icon or Punchline? Design of Downtown 'Jax' Sculpture Splits Opinions

Aug 6, 2021
City of Jacksonville

Inspired by the St. Johns River, the looping design of a proposed 151-foot statue that spells "Jax" or "derp" or maybe something else or perhaps nothing all — depending on your perspective — has divided public opinion as surely as the river splits Jacksonville.

Baptist Health

Pediatric care in Jacksonville is under pressure amid a regional surge in COVID-19 cases.

The Florida Channel

As the state broke its COVID-19 hospitalization record for the third day in the row with 12,408, Gov. Ron DeSantis made clear he’s not a fan of the idea of hospitals’ requiring staff to get vaccinated. 

COVID-19 Surge Prompts Visitor Restrictions At Ascension St. Vincent's Area Hospitals.

Aug 5, 2021
Ascension St. Vincent's Riverside Hospital is pictured.
Bob Self / The Florida Times-Union

Because of the ongoing COVID-19 surge, Ascension St. Vincent's announced restricted visitation at its three Jacksonville-area hospitals.

From left to right: Kevin Hyde, UNF Board of Trustees chair; Sydney Kitson, Florida State University System Board of Governors chair; UNF President David Szymanski; Marshall M. Criser, Florida State University System chancellor

David Szymanski is stepping down as president of the University of North Florida to lead the school’s new healthcare training program, UNF MedNexus, which means the public university in Jacksonville will need to find a new leader.

Mat Nemeth, Republican for Sheriff

Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Chief Mat Nemeth is the first Republican to announce he’s running for sheriff in 2023.


Concerned parents are pushing the St. Johns County School Board to adopt stricter mask rules days after Duval County school officials instituted an opt-out policy. 

Downtown Jacksonville Omni Hotel To Become A Marriott

Aug 5, 2021
Jacksonville Daily Record

It appears that the Omni Jacksonville Hotel will become part of the Marriott brand later this year.

City Approves Permit For $21M VyStar Downtown Jacksonville Garage

Aug 5, 2021
Via Jacksonville Daily Record

VyStar Credit Union is a step closer to breaking ground on its planned parking garage at 28 W. Forsyth St. Downtown.

Via News4Jax

Mayor Lenny Curry says he won’t pursue COVID-19 mitigation strategies like mask and vaccine mandates or lockdowns and is instead going all-in on encouraging residents to get vaccinated.

Members of the Duval Schools Pandemic Solutions Team rally for a mask mandate ahead of Tuesday night's Duval County Public Schools Board meeting.
Marla Bryant / Duval Schools Pandemic Solutions Team

Some Jacksonville parents and healthcare professionals are pushing for a city-wide mask mandate as the number of COVID-19 cases surges locally and across the country due to the spread of the highly contagious delta variant.

Jacksonville District 9 City Councilman Garrett Dennis

With Jacksonville COVID-19 cases surging, District 9 City Councilman Garrett Dennis is calling for the city to resume publicly funding coronavirus testing.


The e-bike craze has arrived in St. Augustine.

JEA's headquarters building is seen in the distance behind the Main Street Bridge.

JEA is hosting a community COVID-19 vaccination event Thursday, Aug. 5, to honor a local medical expert who was killed in a personal watercraft accident last month.

LM Otero / Associated Press

Parents in Duval County Public Schools now must send kids to school in masks unless they opt out, after the School Board voted Tuesday night. 

Downtown Vision, Inc.

The in-person First Wednesday Art Walk is scheduled to return to the streets of Downtown Jacksonville on October 6 following a hiatus during the pandemic.

Bestbet, which operates cardrooms and simulcast wagering in Jacksonville and Orange Park, announced Wednesday it is requiring all employees to be vaccinated to guard against the delta variant of coronavirus. 

Courtesy Amy Donofrio

The Duval County Public Schools board has approved a settlement in the case of Amy Donofrio, a Riverside High School teacher who sued the district over allegations of racial bias and retaliation. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which represented Donofrio in her lawsuit, said she has been terminated and will not return to the classroom this school year. 

Sydney Boles / WJCT News

In a late-night vote Tuesday after hours of debate, the Duval County School Board changed guidelines around masks in schools. 

Courtesy of the Roman Catholic Diocese of St. Augustine

The Diocese of St. Augustine, which contains 40 Catholic schools in Northeast Florida, rescinded its mask mandate just days after announcing it due to an executive order from Gov. Ron DeSantis.

JEA is warning customers to be on the lookout for scammers.
Bill Bortzfield / WJCT News

JEA told WJCT News it has seen an uptick in scammers' targeting JEA customers at the start of the month.

An aerial view shows the Condado tourist zone and the Condado Lagoon in San Juan, Puerto Rico
Ricardo Arduengo / Associated Press

Nonstop service is expanding at Jacksonville International Airport.


The St. Johns County School Board approved a new dress code policy Tuesday after months of debate and a parent survey this summer.

Todd Dowd closes his eyes as he receives the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, Thursday, May 13, 2021, at a mobile vaccination site at the Greater Bethel Church in Miami.

A University of Florida medical communications expert said the local “Get The Facts Jax” pro-vaccination campaign may only be effective at reaching some groups.

Sydney Boles / WJCT News

A week before the kickoff of Jacksonville’s second pandemic school year, Duval County Public Schools (DCPS) Superintendent Diana L. Greene fielded questions that are sure to be on many parents’ minds. 

Baptist Medical Center Beaches in Jacksonville Beach is pictured.
Via Jacksonville Daily Record

Baptist Health in Jacksonville announced Tuesday it is joining a growing list of organizations that will require full vaccinations for its employees.


The used car market in Jacksonville continued its upward spike in June with prices up 39.8%, according to iSeeCars, which said that translates into an average increase of $8,473 over the same period last year.

UF Health Jacksonville

Linda R. Edwards will serve as dean of the UF College of Medicine-Jacksonville for a one-year term, and the university will launch a national search to replace Leon L. Haley, Jr., according to a UF Health news release.

JAA Board Approves Resuming Jacksonville International Airport Expansion Design Work

Aug 3, 2021
Via Jacksonville Daily Record

The Jacksonville Aviation Authority board agreed Aug. 2 to reappropriate $3 million to resume design work on Jacksonville International Airport’s Concourse B expansion that was postponed last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

A new study says on average someone would have to earn $24.90 per hour to rent a modest two-bedroom home on no more than 30% of their pay. That's far more than the federal minimum wage.

The Jacksonville Chapter of the NAACP is calling for an investigation into how the city distributed rent relief money during the pandemic.