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THE FLOG

Mayor Alvin Brown is making an urgent plea asking for Jacksonville residents to help ease the crowding problem at Animal Care and Protective Services by adopting one of the 90 dogs crowding the facility.

“It’s taken a lot of hard work for this city to reach a no-kill status and we want to make sure we keep it that way,” the mayor said in a press release Feb. 19.

Division Chief Scott Trebatoski said with 50 to 100 dogs entering the facility each day, the shelter is becoming too crowded. The current adoption fee through the end of the month is $14 for any dog or cat, which includes spaying or neutering, rabies vaccinations and microchips. It does not include the $20 city licensing fee.

ACPS is located at 2020 Forest St. Regular adoption hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The shelter can be contacted on Facebook or Twitter.   More

THE FLOG

Mayo Clinic Jacksonville has received a five-year $7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to continue its study into the genetic causes of Parkinson’s disease. The clinic’s Udall Center of Excellence in Parkinson’s disease has received funding for research since 1999. In recent years, that funding has dropped to about $500,000 a year, said Dennis Dickson, a neuropathologist and the center’s director. Unlike a yearly grant, the current grant is guaranteed for five years. Mayo researchers have identified 10 genes connected to Parkinson’s or related neurodegenerative diseases.   More

Flog

Tennis Courts at Clanzel T. Brown Park will be refurbished and renovated as part of the USTA’s Davis Cup Legacy program. The City of Jacksonville and the USTA are each kicking in $21,000 for the $42,000 in renovations.

The Legacy program is designed to leave a permanent tennis legacy in the communities hosting Davis Cup events in the United States. Work will begin soon for the project that will convert and refurbish some courts for 10 and under tennis and youth tennis.

The United States defeated Brazil 3-2 in Davis Cup matches Feb. 1-Feb. 3 and advances to face Serbia in April.

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THE FLOG

Gay marriage legal on southern tip of Florida as four counties all agree gay marriage ban violates U.S. Constitution. Marriages on hold awaiting appeals.

Broward County Circuit Judge Dale Cohen ruled Monday that Florida's ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional. The following day, on Tuesday, Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Diana Lewis threw out the gay marriage ban there.  In the past 21 days, four South Florida judges have ruled the ban a violation of the rights of gay residents to equal protection under the 14th Amendment of the U.S Constituion — in Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward and now Palm Beach. The rulings in all four circuits are stayed pending  appeal by Florida State Attorney General Pam Bondi

Florida voters amended the state constitutino in 2008 and made gay marriage illegal.  

On Wednesday, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguements in six gay marriage cases from Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee, the Associated Press reports today. Each case relates to statewide marriage bans. The Herald reported Monday that the organization Freedom to Marry says LGBT advocates have won more than 30 times in federal, state and appeals courts since June 2013 when the U.S. Supreme Court tossed part of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act in ruling in favor of Edith Windsor, a lesbian widow from New York.

Judge Cohen cited Windsor in his Monday ruling, the Herald reports. 

The Florida Supreme Court delivered a ruling on gay marriage. If the circuit rulings hold, it woudn't legalize gay marriage throughout the state, just in the circuits that have legalized it. A Florida Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage is still sometime down the line.   More

THE FLOG

A survivor named Miley will lead Mutt March, Jacksonville Humane Society’s fundraiser walk at the Jacksonville Landing from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. March 2.

Miley collapsed and nearly died of respiratory distress from a walk at the JHS. JHS set a goal of raising $100,000 to care for shelter pets at the Mutt March.

“Miley is the perfect dog to represent JHS at Mutt March. She and so many others like her have overcome medical obstacles to bring great joy to their adoptive families. That wouldn’t be possible without the funds raised at Mutt March,” said Denise Deisler, JHS executive director, according to a press release from the JHS. “We are depending on Mutt March to raise enough money to care for the thousands of pets who rely on JHS for medical care and shelter each year.”

The 2-mile Mutt March fun walk and festival will have entertainment, activities for kids and pets, a silent auction and vendors with walking along St. Johns River.

Last year’s top fundraiser, JHS board member Lis’e Everly will walk Miley and lead hundreds of other dogs and their families in Mutt March.

“I am walking with Miley in the Mutt March to ensure JHS has the funds needed to care for all of the pets waiting for families with which to share their love,” Everly said. “Dogs like Miley stand by us offering us unconditional love, greeting us with enthusiasm and making us smile through the saddest of tears.”

To register for Mutt March, visit jaxhumane.org/muttmarch.   More

THE FLOG

 

The Jacksonville Suns and the contractors on the repair and repainting of the Mathews Bridge have reached an agreement to make it easier for fans to get to the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville for Suns games.

The bridge will remain open both ways until 10:30 p.m. on the first six Friday night games: April 5, April 26,  May 10, May 24, June 14 and June 21.

The Mathews will also remain open for opening night on April 4 and on Memorial Day weekend and the Southern Leaguer All-Star Game on July 17.

The $22.7 million repair and repainting program on the Mathews Bridge, which began in September 2011, is scheduled for completion later this summer or early fall, said Mike Goldman, a spokesman for the Florida Department of Transportation.

The Jacksonville Suns are the Double-A Affiliate of the Miami Marlins and are members of the Southern League of Professional Baseball Clubs.

 

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THE FLOG

If you see a gaggle of law enforcement officers along Wells Road in Orange Park on Wednesday afternoon it is not an actual emergency, it’s only a drill. Some 65 people from the Clay County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team, the Orange Park Police and Fire Departments, Clay County Fire Rescue and Everest University staff and students are working together on a training exercise. The college students will be acting out scenarios such as an active shooter on campus to a hostage situation, and the officers and first responders will be honing their skills for an actual emergency. Remember, it is only a drill.

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FLOG

A new poll by the University of North Florida showed that about 70 percent of those questioned still approve or strongly approve of Mayor Alvin Brown’s performance. In a similar poll taken last year, 75 percent of those polled approved of the mayor’s performance. In the same poll, 48 percent of those polled approve of the job the Jacksonville City Council is doing.

Those polled showed 40 percent were taking a wait-and-see attitude on newly hired Duval County Superintendent of Schools Nikolai Vitti. About 40 percent had no opinion of the new superintendent. A majority of residents, 58 percent, supported the city adding sexual orientation to its human rights ordinance.

The poll was taken between Feb. 4 and Feb. 12 and included 917 Duval County residents. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.23 percent.   More

Jacksonville is receiving $450,000 from the 2012-2013 Florida Defense Support Task Force Grants, Gov. Rick Scott announced Monday.

The grants are part of $2.6 million awarded to 10 project across the state “to protect military installations and grow jobs and opportunities across the state,” the governor said

In Jacksonville, the funds will go for the construction of an explosive ordinance disposal bunker at Jacksonville Air National Guard Base and establishing a maritime research center at Mayport Naval Station.

A grant of $100,000 will to the Florida 8 (a) Alliance in Jacksonville to assist veteran-owned and defense industry small business across Florida.

“These investments are critical to supporting military jobs and further establishing Jacksonville as a major hub for aircraft basing,” the governor said.

Mayor Alvin Brown thanked the governor, saying, “This is a remarkable opportunity not only to strengthen our part of national security, but promote jobs and economic development at the local and state levels.”

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FLOG

JaxPort’s Board of Directors have voted unanimously to inform the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that it wants to dredge the harbor to no less than 47 feet deep to keep the port competitive.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had recommended Monday that the St. Johns River shipping channel be dredged from its current 40-foot depth to 45 feet deep. Port members, however, said recommended depth is not deep enough for the port to service larger cargo ships from Asia.

The JaxPort board members said they think the 47-feet depth is needed to keep Jacksonville competitive to other East Cost ports.

The federal government will pay 75 percent of the cost to dredge up to 45 feet. Anything deeper than that depth could be paid for with state, federal, local or private funds.

There were no cost figures discussed at Monday’s meeting. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will release the draft results of its harbor deepening study in May.

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