City Money Shuffle
Remember last fall when Mayor Alvin Brown’s office was working to balance the budget and ended up turning off streetlights and cutting back on mowing on city property? Now, the mayor’s office has been able to find about $1.5 million from last year’s budget and has resumed those projects and added some more. The mayor also wants to reimburse Sheriff’s Office employees for educational costs.
In addition, Brown is proposing almost $500,000 to boost economic development in Northwest Jacksonville and near Jacksonville International Airport.
Weinstein Waves Goodbye
Mike Weinstein is leaving State Attorney Angela Corey’s Office March 15. Weinstein served in the Florida House and made unsuccessful bids for the state Senate and mayor of Jacksonville. He told The Florida Times-Union that he promised Corey he'd stay for her first term; now that she's been re-elected, it's time to move on. Weinstein was the State Attorney’s Office executive director. As an assistant state attorney, he focused on economic crimes. He was executive director for former State Attorney Ed Austin in the 1980s. He also served as Jacksonville Economic Development Commission's executive director, president of Jacksonville Super Bowl Host Committee and president of Take Stock in Children. He said he hasn’t determined if he will run for office.
Pell Grant Petition
Randy Durden is angry with FSCJ officials. He and other students received a bill demanding repayment of Pell grants. After posting the issue on iPetition.com (bit.ly/FSCJpetition), some 450 people have signed the complaint about the college’s demand for payment. Durden, enrolled in FSCJ’s culinary program, said the letter asked for $1,600; he thinks the school should repay the government the $4.2 million, not the students.
What Big Teeth You Have!
Just when we thought it was OK to swim in the ocean, Ocearch found a 2,000-pound, 14-and-a-half-foot great white shark, which they tagged and released near the mouth of the St. Johns River on March 3. Researchers named the shark Lydia and said it was the first great white ever caught, studied and released in the Southeastern United States. The catch occurred during a two-week expedition in early March to study and tag great whites. Earlier this year, two others came close to our coast, the 16-foot, 3,500-pound Mary Lee and the 14-foot, 2,300-pound Genie. The non-profit organization, ocearch.org, tracks sharks to study their breeding and birthing habits.
All Wet, Make That Dry
Jacksonville will no longer vie to host the 2016 Olympic swimming trials — competing cities have much larger arenas. The city has determined that it would lose some 3,000 seats with the addition of a temporary pool, dropping the number available to spectators to 12,000. Other competitors, like Indianapolis and San Antonio, boast domes considerably bigger — which accommodate more paying customers. “There are things like venue size that are out of our control,” Alan Verlander, executive director of Jacksonville sports and entertainment, told The Florida Times-Union.
Remembering Dale Regan
Episcopal School of Jacksonville marked the one-year anniversary of the shooting death of its leader, with the unveiling of the Dale D. Regan Plaza around the school’s great oak. Students, teachers and staff gathered March 6 for the unveiling of a 12,000-square-foot deck. The plaza was designed to protect the root system of the oak tree, which campus officials believe is 100 years or older. In the past year, more than $300,000 was donated to the Dale D. Regan memorial fund at the private school.