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THE FLOG

Mayor Alvin Brown has unveiled a proposed 2014 city budget that contains $60 million in cuts and layoffs.

The $952.9 million budget includes $181.3 million in pension and retirement obligations and the mayor urged the City Council to approve the pension reform plan he negotiated with city police and fire unions.

The City Council has until Oct. 1, but it wants to see what a committee appointed by the mayor to explain the pension situation recommends.

The mayor also said he would veto any budget that contains a tax increase.

The 400-page budget is available online at www.myjaxbudget.com under the resources link. You can also read or watch the mayor’s budget address at the same website.   More

THE FLOG

Every radio station’s greatest challenge is reaching listeners.

Since its inception more than two decades ago, that challenge has been more pronounced at the University of North Florida. Limited to online streaming radio and simulcasts on cable channels for most of its existence, the college radio station succeeded in training communications students but not in reaching the majority of UNF students.

After more than two decades, UNF is closer than ever to reaching those students as well as broadcasting over the air and potentially reaching thousands of Jacksonville residents who live near the Southside campus.

The Federal Communications Commission issued the university a permit to construct a low-power FM transmitter Feb. 6, and Spinnaker Radio will be able to broadcast on 95.5 FM via a 100-watt signal, extending the station’s reach to off-campus listeners at a distance of about 3.5 miles in every direction on a clear day.

“Before, people had to be logged in on their computers to listen,” Spinnaker Radio station manager Scott Young said. “Now, all people will have to do is turn on the radio and enjoy the show.”

UNF has 30 days, from Feb. 6, to pick call letters with Spinnaker Radio staff making recommendations that will ultimately go to UNF President John Delaney's desk. The station’s call letters that once had been used unofficially on campus — WOSP — belong to the Ohio State University.

The 3.5-mile radius that the station may now serve on a clear day would reach north to about Atlantic Boulevard, south to Baymeadows Road, east to San Pablo Boulevard and west to the edge of Tinseltown on Southside Boulevard.

Originally known as the University of North Florida Broadcasting Association — a UNF club — when station manager Todd Hardie started it in 1993, the station endured, despite a lack of over-the-air broadcast. Known as Osprey Radio for most of its existence, the …   More

THE FLOG

Last night, the roughly 7 percent of undecided Florida voters were “treated” to the second of three gubernatorial debates between former Gov. Charlie “The Tanned One” Crist and current Gov. Rick Scott, best known for his previous work as Harry Potter villain Voldemort. In typical Florida fashion, this debate featured what could have possibly been the most awkward start to a debate in the history of debates, which is pretty hard to do considering that debates are to awkwardness what baseball is to spitting. As many of you are by now aware, Rick Scott held up the start of the debate for several minutes by refusing to take the stage in protest of Charlie Crist having a fan under his podium in what is now being termed #fangate (because everyone’s so clever; FWIW, #fantrum is much better). 

Scott’s campaign contended that Crist broke the rule that there were to be “no electronic devices” at the debate. While technically correct, as pointed out by the moderator, this was a bold move for someone who would have a hard time convincing a court that he is not a Disney animatron (LOL, j/k — we all know Scott isn’t an animatron; he’s obviously a reptilian). Perhaps Scott thought that the fan would unjustly help Crist appear cool and collected, or maybe the current gov wanted to throw Crist off his game by taking away his ever-present binky. Truth be told, Scott was probably just bitter because he wasn’t allowed to take onto the stage his own electric device of choice — a laser death ray.

As Scott continued to hold out, for about six minutes, a confused panel of moderators (including Times-Union editor Frank Denton) and a befuddled Crist were left on the Broward College stage wondering what the hell to do. The moderators were about to bust into their vaudeville routines, while Crist was considering running back and forth between the two podiums debating himself, which probably …   More

FLOG

University of North Florida President John Delaney announced April 12 that “The Power of Transformation” fundraising campaign exceeded its goal of $110 million and raised more than $130 million.

Funds raised during the campaign that started in 2009 will be used for student scholarships, graduate fellowships, faculty support, academic enhancements, capital project and Transformational Learning Opportunities.

More than 16,000 students attend the University of North Florida.

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THE FLOG

Johnnie Mae Chappell was shot and killed in March 1964 on the side of a Jacksonville road. The 35-year-old African-American mother of 10 was looking for her wallet as four white men drove past. One of them aimed a gun out the window and fired. Her family still seeks justice fifty years later. In a radio feature that debuted on the podcast Criminal yesterday, Lauren Spohrer told the story of the Civil Rights-era murder, and it’s worth a listen. Spohrer is a native of Jacksonville. She learned about Chappell's killing growing up here, as her eyes were opened to as some of the city's dark and painful history. Her father, Robert Spohrer, represents the Chappell family pro bono, and he spoke often about the case and the legal hurdles that make prosecution difficult.

In the story on Criminal, "Can't Rock This Boat," Spohrer interviewed her father, Chappell's youngest son Shelton, and the former JSO detective Lee Cody, 84, who cracked the case with his partner Donald Coleman. Cody and Chappell have tried for 20 years to convince the state of Florida to reopen the case. Robert Spohrer explained that the law limits the state's ability to do that.

"It doens't make a whole lot of sense. We know that 50 years ago there are men out there who 50 years ago were involved in a brutal murder. They confessed to their participation in that murder. and yet the state of Florida, for a number of reasons, cannot and will not bring them back to a courtroom. And that's the most frustrating thing for me, is to try and sit and talk to Shelton and his brothers and sisters and explain how that can be," Robert Spohrer said. 

Spohrer also interviewed me, as I wrote a cover story about this case in 2006. (It appeared in both Folio Weekly and Orlando Weekly.) Spohrer remembered the story, and so do I. I interviewed the man who fired the gun that killed Mrs. Chappell, and the only one of the four men in the car that night who was tried. Like all the men, J.W. Rich was …   More

THE FLOG

The iconic blue Main Street Bridge will be closed the night of March 29 for the filming of a music video by rapper Rick Ross and his song, “Box Chevy.”

Jeffrey Harper, executive producer of Miami-based Dre Films, said the bridge will be operated on a hold and release basis from 8 p.m. March 29 through 5:30 a.m. March 30.

“We don’t want to inconvenience the citizens of Jacksonville,” he said, explaining that during breaks in the shooting, traffic will be let through.

The permit for the filming the video for the sexually explicit song was issued by the Florida Department of Transportation since it controls the bridge. The permit said boat traffic would not be affected.

Melissa Bujeda, a spokeswoman for the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, said the production company will have to pay five off-duty officers and supervisor to handle traffic control on the bridge.

Harper said the producers chose Jacksonville because it is mentioned in Ross’ song. In addition to filming on the bridge, they are also filming at The Florida Theater, because both are iconic in Jacksonville. He expects the video to cost about $30,000.   More

THE FLOG

First there were skinny jeans. Then came the jegging. American Eagle Outfitters recently upped the tight denim ante with jeans that don’t shrink in the wash, eliminate worry about plumber’s crack, and will never give you a wedgie: Skinny Skinny Jeans.

Jacksonville native and 2007 Douglas Anderson School of the Arts graduate Jillian Rorrer, now an actress based in New York City, debuted the new product for an American Eagle April Fool’s Day promotional video.  Rorrer modeled the “jeans,” which were actually nothing more than body paint (and some well-placed underwear), before hidden cameras and unsuspecting customers in a New Jersey American Eagle store in March.

“Every kind of reaction happened. There were some people that were really annoyed by it, and then there were people who believed it,” Rorrer said. “There were these two cute little blonde girls who were like, ‘yeah, maybe I’ll try it!’”

Rorrer also sported the airy denim look April 1 on NBC’s “Today" show, as cohost Savannah Guthrie interviewed American Eagle marketing executives about the “cheeky” prank.

Rorrer said she lost nearly 70 pounds and began a healthy lifestyle regimen while in high school at Douglas Anderson, which helped prepare her for her painted-on performance and sparked an avid interest in nutrition and fitness.

“I realized that food is not just something that I kind of care about, it’s something that I really care about. My whole life, I’ve loved food!” Rorrer said. “For so long I misunderstood what real food was and I was ashamed to love food.”

Now, in addition to acting and working several part-time jobs in New York, Rorrer co-operates funfitfoodies.com, a diet and healthy lifestyle blog. Rorrer says she hopes her fast-paced, driven lifestyle and acting education will help her land a dream role on a cable drama series.

 

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy   More

THE FLOG

Brian W. Taylor, former chief operating officer and chief commercial officer for ocean shipping line Horizon Lines, has been unanimously chosen by the Jacksonville Port Authority Board as its top choice for new chief executive officer.

The board directed that contract negotiations begin immediately with Taylor. Details on his potential contract were not released.

For about 30 years, Taylor led Horizon Lines, the nation’s largest ocean shipping and integrated logistics company and most recently was vice president of sales and operations for New Breed Logistics in High Point, N.C.

In April, the Board’s last unanimous selection, Juan Kuryla, backed out after deciding to stay in Miami, where he was deputy port director. The Board had offered him a salary of $300,000.

The Board has been scrambling to find a new CEO after Paul Anderson resigned last December to become CEO in Tampa. Roy Schleicher, who has been serving as interim CEO, was also a finalist for the post. JaxPort is seeking to have its harbor deepened from 40 feet to 47 feet, while competing with other East Coast ports.

Taylor, who lives in Charlotte, N.C., holds a Master of Business Administration in Economics and Financial Management from Concordia University in Montreal.

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THE FLOG

A quartet of superheroes, Superman, Spiderman, Batman and Robin, dropped in this week on some real-life superheroes — youngsters facing health challenges at Nemours Children’s Clinic.

Delighted children watched as the superheroes dropped in with ropes and buckets to clean the windows on the 11-story tower on the Southbank of the St. Johns River on Monday and Tuesday.

Employees from City Wide Maintenance of Jacksonville donned the capes at the request of clinic staff and took time during their lunch hour to meet and greet the children.

Who says superheroes don’t do windows?

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THE FLOG

Dixie Egg Company of Jacksonville has donated 86,400 eggs to the Second Harvest North Florida food bank to help put food on the tables of the hungry for the Easter season.

“We are thrilled to donate much-needed proteins to the Second Harvest Food Bank just in time for the Easter holiday.” said Jacques Klempf of Dixie Eggs.

“This is an amazing blessing for us at this time of year,” said Bruce Ganger, executive director of Second Harvest. “Eggs are excellent sources of nutrition and proteins for those who are hungry and for those who have food allergies and dietary restrictions. This is the perfect gift at the perfect time.”

The donation equals 7,200 dozen eggs.

  More

 
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