Jacksonville

Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT

A military history museum has been cleared to move into the National Guard Armory downtown after a dispute about the building’s future, but there is still a chance for an arts center to also be part of the redevelopment.

The Jacksonville City Council Finance Committee on Tuesday approved an agreement with the Sons of Confederate Veterans Kirby-Smith Camp to renovate the armory for the museum.

They would pay for all renovations and lease the building for $1 per year. A coalition of arts nonprofits are also vying to turn the space into an arts center.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office says an 18-year-old student is safe after she was robbed by two armed assailants on her way to school this morning.

Jacksonville Historical Society

Although the city of Jacksonville has begun foreclosure procedures on the Bostwick Building downtown, officials don’t expect that to happen with other empty buildings downtown. They’re looking at other ways to spur downtown redevelopment.

Downtown advocates said the Bostwick situation is unique because the Bostwick family was looking to demolish the historic building and a potential buyer had come forward.

Foreclosure proceedings are difficult and time consuming.

Mayor Alvin Brown said he wants to work with building owners and developers on other projects.

Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT

Jacksonville officials are urging Jaguars fans to show their support during Thursday’s nationally televised game against the Houston Texans.

Carolyn Woods, Tony Sleiman, and midazolam hydrochloride are in the headlines today.

The Jacksonville Historical Society

The fate of the former bank building at the corner of Ocean and Bay Streets, known as the Bostwick Building, will come before the Jacksonville City Council this week.

Jordan Davis, Aundra Wallace, 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.

Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT

City leaders hope a new partnership will help Northeast Florida play a bigger role in the global economy.
Jacksonville is joining the Global Cities Initiative’s new Exchange Network.

Jacksonville is one of eight communities in the initial exchange network and the only one that has a major port business.

The network will later expand to include more U.S. cities and others around the world.

Mayor Alvin Brown said there are valuable benefits to the partnership.

Welcome To Rockville / Instagram

Proposed changes to Jacksonville’s noise ordinance could mean the end of big-time rock concerts at downtown Metropolitan Park.

Alvin Brown, Rayne Perrywinkle, and Rick Scott are in the headlines today.

City of Jacksonville

Among the policy challenges faced by city legislators, perhaps the one most closely tied to the economic prosperity of Jacksonville is pension reform.

Ryan Baxter / Flickr

An effort is underway by some members of Jacksonville’s entertainment industry for lawmakers to put more money into the state’s film incentive program.

In 2010, the legislature approved nearly $300 million in tax credits to lure more productions to the state.

Just three years later, most of that money is said to be either gone or spoken for, leaving Florida unable to compete with other states.

62-year-old Dean Phillippi works as a part-time actor in Jacksonville. He’d like to get more work here, but he says the state makes that difficult.

Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT

Recent cuts in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, is likely to create shortages at local food banks.

George Zimmerman, the death penalty, and Jeb Bush are in the headlines today.

City of Jacksonville

Jacksonville may sell naming rights to the Baseball Grounds and Veterans Arena, a move city officials say  could bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Jacksonville Sports and Entertainment Director Alan Verlander says many facilities across the country have naming rights deal and he believes many companies and brands would be interested in Jacksonville.

The possibility came up when the sites opened in 2003. The issue came up last week at a City Council meeting.

Former Jacksonville Jaguars majority owners Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver are number 17 on The Chronicle of Philanthropy's top 50 charitable donors of 2012 with $83.7 million donated.

NOAA

Members of Jacksonville’s Filipino community are continuing relief efforts following last week's devastating typhoon with a fundraising event tonight.

It was one week ago today that Typhoon Haiyan swept across the Philippines, flattening buildings and killing more than 3,000 people. Most who survived the storm found themselves without food, water, or shelter.

Rosabel Hill with the organization We Filipino, Inc. says there has been an outpouring of concern by residents of the First Coast.

Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT

City veterans now have more services available to them at Jacksonville City Hall.

A passenger rail service called All Aboard Florida, is trying to become America's first private carrier in decades. It recently finished the last deal needed to secure a route between Orlando and Miami. The service is scheduled to begin carrying travelers in 2015 — connecting the two cities in a car-competitive 3 hours.

Michael Cavendish

Clients at a Jacksonville food bank now also have an opportunity to borrow or keep prize-winning works of literature.

The Downtown Ecumenical Services Council, or DESC, has partnered with the Ocean Street Book Club to distribute books to the working poor. DESC is an emergency services ministry founded in 1981 that provides assistance in the downtown area five days a week.

Michael Cavendish is the founder of the book club, a not for profit organization that distributes books to charities and agencies in downtown Jacksonville.

Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT

The city's official tourism agency is encouraging local business leaders and trade groups to bring their conventions to the city.

The "Bring It Home" initiative kicked off Wednesday at Visit Jacksonville’s annual meeting.

Visit Jacksonville President and CEO Paul Astelford said most of the local residents in leadership positions are members of groups that hold annual conventions, and that they could have some influence in bringing those convention dollars to Jacksonville.

Astelford said Visit Jacksonville can help if those leaders ask.

Overeaters Anonymous

Compulsive overeating and food addiction is a national concern and an increasingly local problem, impacting the lives of thousands in our community.

As obesity and weight-related disease reaches epidemic levels in the United States, the group Overeaters Anonymous is sending a message: there is a solution.

The North Florida chapter of Overeaters Anonymous is sponsoring a convention in downtown Jacksonville this weekend. OA spokeswomen "Kimberly," "Ethel," and "Isabel" joined Melissa Ross for a preview.
 

EverBank Field, One Spark, and cold weather are in the headlines today.

AndrewAvitus / WikiMedia Commons

The Jacksonville City Council has approved $63 million in improvements at EverBank Field.

Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT

A deal has been reached to ensure an early voting location will remain at the Gateway Town Center despite the relocation of the city's election center.

Local officials Tuesday announced that the lease agreement for a tax collector's branch at the center has been extended until March 30, 2021, at the same rent level as the previous agreement.

The location will be used as a customer service and community center that will offer voter registration and education and early voting.

A recent article on Bloomberg's website cites beautiful beaches, iconic bridges and affordable housing as reasons to live in Jacksonville. Also noted are the city's historic neighborhoods and burgeoning sports scene.

Tex Texin / Flickr

With about seven weeks left in 2013, Jacksonville has seen as many murders as were committed in the city in 2011, and only 18 fewer than all of last year.

Visit Jacksonville

Visit Jacksonville, the city's official travel and tourism agency, is holding its annual meeting this week.

The event, billed as "Destination Celebration" and  scheduled to begin at noon on Wednesday, Nov. 13, at the Prime Osborn Convention Center, is designed to show off the city as a growing tourist attraction.

Meanwhile, Visit Jacksonville’s new CEO, Paul Astleford, is asking residents for their direct feedback about the challenges the city faces in becoming a tourism magnet for people looking to vacation in Florida.

The Clinton Foundation has chosen Northeast Florida as the next location to launch its Clinton Health Matters Initiative, a community transformation model focused on improving the health and well-being of all Americans.

Jacksonville follows Houston, Central Arkansas, and California’s Coachella Valley as the next city to get the benefits of this project.

Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT

Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan urged the Jacksonville City Council on Thursday to approve a $63 million plan for improvements at Everbank Field.

The improvements include what are being called the "world's largest" scoreboards in each end zone and a water feature.

Khan said the improvements will make Everbank Field a, "world-class kind of attraction that will draw economic power to Jacksonville."

"That's the big mission, having a sustainable long-term franchise that also does good for Jacksonville," he said.

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