Billy Cosby, one of America's favorite father-figures, embodied the theme of Jacksonville's two-day education summit, "Increasing Parental Involvement."
The 75-year-old comedian and education activist spoke to a full house at The Florida Theatre Feb. 28 on behalf of Mayor Alvin Brown. Action News co-anchor Mark Spain hosted the event, which began with a drum line competition between four Duval County Public Schools — an idea from Cosby.
“Nothing bothers me more than hearing, ‘We don't have good schools in Jacksonville,’” Spain said before introducing Cosby.
Sporting sweatpants and a "Learn 2 Earn" T-shirt, Cosby began his lecture by teasing the mayor and poking fun at the Jacksonville Jaguars' past season, comparing them both to well-known cities that are "on the Weather Channel."
“Now they know your pro football team,” Cosby said. “Other cities love your pro football team.”
Then Cosby took the audience back to his childhood with stories of growing up poor and the old-fashioned days of parenting, when some parents took a more physical approach. The golden three-word rule he used to survive childhood? “Don't talk back.”
“In the South you don’t get beatings, you get whoopings,” Cosby joked.
Cosby said he strongly believes improving the quality of the nation’s education begins with parents. He ended with one last call-to-action to the people to fix Jacksonville’s education system.
“Nobody is coming,” Cosby said. “Only you.”
St. Augustine-based social media agency Make Me Social recently added some fins to its clientele.
The 12-employee operation, founded in 2009 by Chief Strategic Officer Josh Jordan, now represents artists with Jimmy Buffett’s record label, Mailboat Records, including reggae artist Mishka and Hawaiian ukulele musician Jake Shimabukuro.
The company uses data analytics software to figure out how and when to best target social media audiences for optimal interaction.
“We were able to help get Mishka to number one on iTunes for reggae charts, figure out how to get audiences engaged and excited about the album, then do branding on social media channels,” Jordan said.
And they’re utilizing a lot of social media channels. Jordan, 37, said the company uses Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, Vimeo, Reddit and more to promote its clients, which also include media giant Hearst Publishing and financial services firm Morgan Stanley.
“Everybody’s sitting … with a vending machine in their hands. They’ve got these cell phones, they’re tweeting, they’re Facebooking, they’re taking pictures, they’re recording video – and it’s a huge opportunity for brands to engage,” said Jordan.
Make Me Social has satellite offices in Baltimore, Los Angeles and New York, and Jordan said he hopes the company will continue to bridge the gap between offline and online engagement for a range of clients.
The University of North Florida’s Women’s Center and Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice are staging a mock rape trial at 7 p.m. April 10.
Assistant State Attorney Terence Martin said the goal is to educate students on the process of going to trial and to show them how the system works in Jacksonville.
The mock trial is designed to teach students what to expect from the first responding officer, inform students on victim advocates that are available to them and show the victim that the process can work, Martin said.
UNF students will act out fictional roles about one woman’s story of her alleged sexual violation, according to a press release from the university. The mock trial will be staged at the Andrew A. Robinson Jr. Theater, Building 14A, and the event is free and open to the public.
The trial will look at a date rape scenario, something the students can relate to, said Martin, who is also division chief of the Special Assault Division for the 4th Judicial Court.
Last semester at UNF, a student falsified a police report by reporting that she was sexually assaulted on Aug. 21 in the UNF Wellness Complex. After it became clear that the report was false, the student was prosecuted, Martin said.
Martin will lead the defense team with Aaron Feuer, assistant state attorney in the 4th Judicial Circuit assigned to the domestic violence unit.
Coreylyn Crawford, assistant state attorney in the 4th Judicial Circuit assigned to the domestic violence unit, and Anna Hixon, assistant state attorney in the 4th Judicial Circuit, will lead the prosecution team, according to the press release.
The students will play the roles of the victim, accused perpetrator, prosecution, defense, jury and crime lab teams, Martin said.
Adding to the realistic depiction of the trial, the jury will be randomly selected from the audience, according to the press release. The trial also will include forensic scientist, Marcella …
The unfolding scandal revolving around Allied Veterans' Internet cafes that has ensnared Nelson Cuba of the FOP and caused Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll to resign is staggering. Arguably, it is the worst scandal in Jacksonville's political scene since consolidation. And we can expect more consequences. A few questions:
• Knowing what we know now, how was it that Sheriff John Rutherford allowed these Internet cafes to stay open, year after year, amidst the FDLE investigation?
• How was it that Nelson Cuba was allowed to stay at FOP, as an advocate for peace officers? Was there no worry of lost credibility?
• Is Jennifer Carroll's political career over?
• How will this affect Rick Scott as governor?
• Finally, what does this say about how easy it is to take privatized gambling profits and funnel them to shady ends?
There are those who would like to see more legalized gambling locally. We have poker rooms, lotteries and casinos within a few hours drive. What has been proven, and will be proven, in the sordid case of Nelson Cuba and the Allied Veterans, is that any time serious money flows, serious corruption follows.
The big losers in this case, obviously, are Cuba, Carroll and Rutherford, who will probably not be a factor in any elections going forward.
The big winner — so far, at least — Alvin Brown, whose opposition from Cuba over police pensions burnishes his outsider status. Brown's tenure as mayor hasn't been exactly thrilling to his young supporters, but if he is clear of any taint from this scandal, his reelection is almost assured.
Aren't these interesting times?
Authorities announced the arrest of four men in connection with the theft and transfer of a .38-caliber revolver used in the February 2012 slaying of Clay County Sheriff’s Detective David White.
During the investigation of White’s murder, investigators tracked the firearm used and found it had been stolen in Jacksonville in May 2011. Investigators from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms allege Robert Apple II, 22, of Orange Park stole the weapon.
Authorities allege it was passed through the hands of Christopher Henderson, 22, and Curtis Dingler, 22, both of Middleburg, and Jack Lemond, 36, of Orange Park. Investigators allege that all the men knew the weapon was stolen.
They charge that Lemond provided the weapon to Ted Tilley, a convicted felon, who used the weapon on White and Detective Matthew Hanlin. White was fatally shot and Hanlin was wounded. Tilley also was shot and killed.
The four men are being held in the Clay County Jail on a charge of dealing in stolen property.
Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan unveiled new logos and a rebranding effort tailored to reflect three distinct and powerful attributes that will describe the team on and off the field _ “proud, bold and committed.”
“To be a success in business or life, you have to stand for something and hold yourself accountable to the principles you believe in,” Khan said.
“From this day, the Jacksonville Jaguars will live a brand mission of being proud, bold and committed in everything we do. Our new logo and campaign theme are the first initiatives of what will be many examples of bringing this philosophy to life,” Khan said in a news release.
The new identity keeps the Jaguars' traditional colors of black, teal and goal while offering a fiercer looking and truer depiction of a Jaguar.
The Jaguars will introduce a shield featuring a bold graphic treatment of the nickname “Jags.”
The new logos will be rolled out throughout the 2013 season as part of the team’s “Stand United” theme.
“Stand United is about the community and theme coming together and a way of life that anyone who loves the Jaguars and Jacksonville can personally understand and appreciate,” Khan said.
One Spark needs help — and lots of it. About 800 volunteers are needed to support on-the-ground operations during the April 17-21 event, which is billed as the world’s first crowd-funded festival.
“We are looking for volunteers with a shared passion for Jacksonville, especially downtown, and the desire to make One Spark a great experience for attendees,” said One Spark Volunteer Services Manager Meredith O’Malley Johnson.
A volunteer open house is scheduled 5:30-7:30 p.m. Feb. 28 at the Main Library, 303 Laura Street in downtown Jacksonville. One Spark team members will pass out volunteer information and answer questions.
Volunteers must be at least 18 years old and take a one-hour training session before the festival. Volunteers must agree to work at least one four-hour shift during the festival week. Visit BeOneSpark.com for more information.
UPDATE FEB. 14
The Downtown Investment Authority will continue studying the idea of having a nonprofit foundation to run events at Hemming Plaza. On Feb. 13, Jim Bailey, publisher of the Financial News & Daily Record and chairman of the Hemming Plaza Committee of the Downtown Investment Authority, proposed the creation of a private foundation to take over administration and programming of the downtown park. The organization would be called H.A.R.T - an acronym for the Hemming Arts Recreation Team, after Isaiah Hart, the founder of Jacksonville, who deeded the land for the park to the city. Other DIA board members said more research is needed before such a committee could be formed. Board Chairman Donald Harris said the DIA was still in the fact-finding stage. Bailey’s proposal was to have 10 board members contribute $5,000 each to establish and form a non-profit to run the park.
The Hemming Plaza Committee of the Downtown Investment Authority is proposing the creation of a private foundation to take over administration and programming of the downtown park. Jim Bailey, chairman of the committee and publisher of the Financial News & Daily Record, outlined the proposal Tuesday. The organization would be called H.A.R.T - an acronym for the Hemming Arts Recreation Team, after Isaiah Hart, the founder of Jacksonville, who deeded the land for the park to the city. If approved by the Downtown Investment Authority, the non-profit foundation would be supported entirely by private contributions and its mission would be “to enhance Hemming Plaza through events, collaboration with local businesses and volunteerism.”
Two Clay County lawmakers are filing a bill that will make public-owned stadiums with professional franchises eligible for a $2 million a year sales tax rebate for the next 30 years, the Times-Union reported. If the bill passes, the city-owned Everbank Field, the home of the Jaguars, would be eligible for a total of $4 million a year based on the new rebate and a rebate the stadium received in 1995. Rep. Travis Cummings, R-Orange Park, and Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, will sponsor the bill.
The North Florida Transportation Planning Organization is in the early stages of developing a regional bicycle and pedestrian plan. The organization is asking for help in gathering information reflecting the current levels of bicycling and walking for residents living in Northeast Florida, attitudes about cycling and walking and opinions about barriers that currently exist. Community input is invaluable. Click here to go to the survey. The survey will be open until Jan. 31.
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