When it came time to select Folio Weekly’s Person of the Year, we asked our friends on Facebook and Twitter for their ideas. Skipping over several who nominated themselves (we’re sure you’re all deserving), here are some of the responses.
Shad Khan: Several people nominated the owner of the Jaguars and the most famous moustache in town. We weren’t surprised, given that he creamed the competition in our 2012 Best of Jax survey in three categories: Best Thing to Happen to Northeast Florida in 2012, Local Hero and Best Local News Story of 2012 (bit.ly/BestOfJax2012). He was the “Face of the American Dream” on Forbes magazine’s September cover and was profiled on “60 Minutes” in October. Now, he just has to figure out the winning strategy for the Jaguars.
Antonio Allegretti: He has long advocated for downtown Jacksonville as a business owner and JAX Chamber director of downtown engagement. In 2003, he started the First Wednesday Art Walk that has drawn thousands of people to stroll downtown. Now, he’s a member of the newly created Downtown Investment Authority. And he was one of the featured essayists in our Thankful issue ?(bit.ly/Allegretti).
Elton Rivas: He’s an entrepreneur who started CoWork Jax (coworkjax.com), which rents office space in a communal setting. He and fellow innovators Dennis Eusebio and Varick Rosete hatched the idea of One Spark (beonespark.com) to invite creators, artists, entrepreneurs and innovators from around the world to showcase their projects in Jacksonville, scheduled for April 17-21. Attendees will vote for their favorite projects, and creators receive a corresponding percentage of the $250,000 fund (a contestant earning 10 percent of the vote would receive $25,000). Rivas was featured on our cover in September (bit.ly/EltonRivas). Look for One Spark statues to pop up around town, and attend one of the town hall meetings to learn more. The next one is 6-8 p.m. Jan. 31 at The Florida Theatre (128 E. Forsyth St., Downtown). RSVP here: bit.ly/OneSparkTownHall.
Celestia Mobley: As the general manager and executive chef of The Potter’s House Soul Food Bistro (5310 Lenox Ave., Ste. 1, Westside, 394-0860), she has gained a loyal following. She opened Cleota’s Southern American Cuisine (2111 University Blvd. N., Arlington, 800-2102) in May 2011 with Brenda Cain Titus and continues to broaden her audience of devotees with her Southern fried chicken, shrimp and grits and a host of scrumptious sides.
Jim Alabiso: The competitive open water swimmer wants to raise awareness about the St. Johns River and the issues that threaten its health. In July 2011, he swam 3.5 miles from Fleming Island Marina at Doctors Lake to County Dock at Walter Jones Historical Park in Mandarin. His organization, jumpingfish.net, holds rebel swims and paddle events around downtown.
Warren Jones: He’s the city councilmember who introduced the human rights ordinance amendment to protect sexual orientation. In his nomination, James Eddy thanked Jones “for putting his neck on the line for bill 296.” In her nomination, Keri Kidder also lauded Denise Lee along with Jones for being the only two councilmembers who voted yes on the inclusive bill that also protected gender identity and expression. “They BOTH deserve the award for standing brave as allies and enduring the hostility of many for their support of equality for all people in the city of Jacksonville.” You can read more about the quest to pass this bill in our cover story on page 11.
Mike Field: The community activist who co-founded Jax Truckies, Jax Cash Mob and Jax Pop Up History is involved in many downtown groups and organizations, including Parking Day, TransForm Jax and The Florida Times-Union editorial board. How he has enough energy for his day job boggles the mind. Folio Weekly’s Bite-Sized columnist Caron Streibich (page 35) is one of several people who nominated Field, calling him “a young person mover and shaker — making Jacksonville better and cooler, one thing at a time.” She might be a bit biased — Field is her boyfriend — but we’d have to agree.
Mike Rosenberger: As the founder of Dick’s Wings, he’s seen the growth of his chain to 20 restaurants. In her nomination, Camille Taylor wrote, “He is a kind, generous man who takes care of his employees.”
Marissa Alexander: In May, she was sentenced to a state-mandated prison term of 20 years despite her claim she had no choice but to stand her ground against an abusive husband. Now, she has become a symbol of the disparities in the Stand Your Ground law and how it’s applied.
Peter Bragan Sr.: The beloved owner of the Jacksonville Suns died in July. He was an icon who befriended everyone who stopped to chat at his permanent seat on the mezzanine level behind home plate, where he’d ring the famous victory bell for home runs and wins. He affectionately called everyone “buddy.”
Miss Carrie Johnson: “She’s 76 years young and is widely known as St. Augustine’s trike-riding freelance Ambassador of Good Will, who knows everyone, their children and their grandchildren,” Peter Guinta wrote in The St. Augustine Record last year. She took a job as laundress for St. Francis House in 2011, but her duties expanded to “unofficial mother.” In her nomination, Amy Hendrickson called her “a local St. Augustine legend. She was part of the civil rights movement, and she’s our favorite grandma in the Ancient City. If you don’t know Miss Carrie, you’re not a local. :) Just sayin’.”
Who would you have picked for Folio Weekly’s Person of the Year? Who do you think will make news in 2013? Send us your ideas, and we’ll publish them.