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.

U.S. military family members arrive at Jacksonville International Airport in this file photo.

AAA, the Auto Group, is predicting a record-breaking 43.6 million American road trips this holiday weekend. If the prediction holds true, it would be a 5% jump from the previous July 4th weekend record set in 2019.

A recent survey conducted by AAA said Floridians are still reluctant to travel, almost one year into the coronavirus pandemic.

The top three reasons people gave for avoiding travel are: fear of getting sick, fear of the coronavirus variants and the number of COVID-19 cases.

AAA says more than 68% of Floridians canceled travel plans in 2020.

Bill Bortzfield / WJCT News

Carnival Cruise Line is canceling all cruises from Jacksonville through February 28 along with cruises from all U.S. homeports through January 31.

The Carnival Ecstasy is pictured docked at the JAXPORT Cruise Terminal in March.

Carnival Cruise Line is canceling most U.S. sailings through the end of this year following word that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has extended its "no sail" order.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis
The Florida Channel

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is extending his 14-day isolation period for people coming from New York to another coronavirus hotspot - New Orleans. 

Cruise Ship in Tampa, bottom half covered up by some trees
Tamara Lush / Associated Press

After the U.S. State Department released a statement Monday urging elderly travelers or those with pre-existing health conditions to not board cruises amid the COVID-19 outbreak, travel advisor Rosemary Reifsneider began getting calls.

Bill Bortzfield / WJCT News

The American Automobile Association is predicting 5.9 million Floridians will be traveling this holiday season.


Gas prices are up 49 cents in Florida as compared to a year ago, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA).

Wikimedia Commons

If you’ll be hitting the road this Thanksgiving you’ll have plenty of company, with an estimated 2.6 million Floridians expected to travel 50 miles or more.

new driver's license front
Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles

Colorful high-tech driver's licenses and state identification cards, designed for added security and to cut down on fake IDs, will start rolling out across Florida this month.

But unless it's time to update a card because of an expiration date or a name or address change, there's no need to rush out for a new ID.

In the works since 2014, the new design will become available Aug. 21 at a driver's license office in Volusia County's Orange City.

John Burr

As diplomatic relations improve between Cuba and the U.S., more and more people are traveling to the island nation.  Among them is WJCT business analyst John Burr, who traveled there recently with a group from his church. 

Jacksonville Named Among Top Summer Destinations

Jun 10, 2016, creative commons

What does Jacksonville have in common with Dominica; Havana, Cuba; Las Vegas; or Austin, Texas?

  Media Roundtable Week in Review

We discuss the week's biggest news stories with our roundtable of local journalists: Andrew Pantazi, Florida Times-Union reporter; Fred Matthews, Examiner blogger; Claire Goforth, Folio Weekly editor; and Tim Gibbons, Jacksonville Business Journal editor.

Topics include the results of Tuesday's presidential primaries, where Northeast Florida counties rank in a study of the healthiest counties in America, and more.

Artist Shinique Smith

Police and federal law enforcement agencies were in the midst a manhunt this morning for the gunman they say is responsible for killing nine people in a Charleston, South Carolina church Wednesday night in what police described as a hate crime. The suspect opened fire on a bible study group at the historic black Emanuel AME Church on Calhoun street, the oldest AME Church in the South, killing eight people. Two other people were rushed to the hospital where one died. This tragedy once again puts race issues in the national spotlight. We speak with Dr.

TSA: Remember Special Rules For Four-Legged Travelers

May 21, 2015
Gregory Todaro / WJCT

Anyone who’s flown on an airplane in the past decade has the airport security rules memorized: Don’t leave your bag unattended. Take off your shoes when you pass through metal detectors. And leave weapons at home.

But what about rules for furry travel companions?

The Transportation Security Administration has special rules for flyers with small pets.

Jekyll Island Club Hotel

If you’re dying to get away this summer, maybe for a just-the-girls getaway weekend, there are some great options right in our area that are close by and chock full of tempting amenities.

ILRC of Northeast Florida

Imagine Mad Men-era stewardesses serving cocktails as you dancing to retro music before being whisked away to a surprise dinner destination by plane, boat or limo!

Virgin Galactic / YouTube

Virgin Galactic recently completed their third powered test flight of SpaceShipTwo, a “space plane” that will give everyday people the opportunity to experience the realms of outer space.

Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT

As Jacksonville International Airport prepares for the busy Thanksgiving travel season, a new screening program should make it easier for some passengers to get through security.

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.

Jay Solomon

Have you traveled somewhere with expectations of what you would find only to discover that you were off base? First Coast Connect contributor Jay Solomon has just returned from a trip like that, and has these thoughts.

Raised with newsreels, many of my memories of contemporary history are colored grey. So, my expectations were of Soviet era drab as my wife Joanie and I landed in St. Petersburg, Russia, earlier this Fall. The city's tired old airport definitely supported that notion

Andrew Catellier / Flickr

Ric asks, "I’m taking a trip to Costa Rica soon, and I need a simple phone to use while I’m there. I know very little about cell phones. What sort of phone should I buy for international travel, and what do I need to know to make sure it will work before the trip?"

Finding the right phone for international travel can get complicated and expensive in a hurry. Whatever you do, don't just take your normal phone to Central America and start racking up roaming charges. They start at ridiculous and go up from there. If your phone even works there, that is.

SunPass Now Available In Rest Area Vending Machines

Aug 13, 2013

Those planning a trip on Florida's major highways have a new way to sign up for the state's electronic toll system.

SunPass can now be purchased at the vending machines at three Official Florida Welcome Centers and an Interstate 4 rest area.

According to a release from Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise, the turnpike is offering SunPass transponders in vending machines through a partnership with VISIT FLORIDA, the state's official tourism marketing corporation.

SunPass is currently available for sale in vending machines at the following locations:

Paris Tourist

The Connexion, an English-language French newspaper, is reporting that Paris tourist chiefs plan to "start being nice to our tourists."

According to the story, city officials are trying to rid the city of its reputation for "being rude, overbearing, unpleasant and aggressive – not to mention a little prone to conning tourists."

Sweet Surprise For Family Biking Across Iceland For WJCT

Jul 1, 2013
Shacter family

Ten days into their bike tour across Iceland supporting WJCT, the Shacter family had already ridden 255 miles with many more to go.

Depending on weather and distance between campsites, David, Melody, Jac, Zach and his girlfriend Rachelle, have averaged between 21 to 43 miles a day to complete their 800 mile trek.

But the family is doing more than just pedaling.

Zach Shacter and his girlfriend Rachelle celebrated Iceland’s National Day  in a memorable way, documenting it on their tumblr.

Shacter Family

Bags and bikes packed and ready to go - the Shacter family is setting off to bike across Iceland to raise money for WJCT.

The family, David, Melody, Jac, Zach and his girlfriend Rachelle, will ride over 800 miles over the span of a month. 

Melody Shacter will be spending her 54th birthday on the trip. 

“I never dreamed I would spend it riding a bike and sleeping on the ground in a tent,” said Melody. “Having kids stretches you in ways you can never imagine!”

AroundMe /

Are you doing some traveling this Spring? You may want to make sure you have your smart phone handy.

As Jax Computer Chic Elizabeth Pampalone told us in this week's Tech Tuesday segment on First Coast Connect, there are many new apps that can help to make your trip easier. If you're feeling adventurous, there are also some that help you explore new areas.