Oceanway Girls Charged for Fight
A 14-year-old former Oceanway Middle School student and two of her classmates have been charged with misdemeanor battery in an off-campus fight in March, according to the State Attorney’s Office. The main suspect in the attack is accused of hitting a fellow student multiple times. The other two girls, ages 14 and 15, were accused of luring the girl to the fight and then videotaping the attack. The State Attorney’s Office said the assault did not cause a skull fracture to the victim’s head, which her attorney had told media. The main suspect was placed in another school after initially being banned from all Duval County Public Schools.
MRIs Without Sedation
Seven-year-old Christian Welch needed an MRI after his mother, Melody Welch, noticed that one leg appeared to be longer than the other. Christian was sent to a mobile adult MRI unit, but the scan ended when the youngster couldn't hold still. A scan with sedation was rescheduled at Wolfson Children’s Hospital. Before that happened, though, Child Life Specialist Laura Merriem McCalvin called to offer Welch the hospital’s new “MR-I Am Ready,” which uses information about the procedure and diversion techniques to help young patients to be still. Because of the program, Christian was able to hold still for the 90-minute exam. The boy, whose prognosis is good, was diagnosed with hemihypertrophy, defined as the enlargement of one side of the body or part of one side. The idea began when Salvatore Goodwin, chief of pediatric anesthesiology at Wolfson Children’s Hospital and Nemours Children’s Clinic, suggested it to avoid the cost of general anesthesia and sedation.
A New Place for Downtown Homeless
The Jacksonville Day Resource Center, a one-year pilot project sought by Mayor Alvin Brown, opened its doors July 1. The center will provide showers, food, laundry and computer and phone access to the Downtown area's homeless population. ACON Construction donated $130,000 of in-kind labor and materials and VRLK Architects did the design work. Wells Fargo contributed $70,000, and the city of Jacksonville committed $120,000 in Community Development Block Grant funding.
Lighting the Lions
The city of St. Augustine is running a test illumination of the Bridge of Lions and seeks to raise enough money to keep it lit every evening. Wiring for the lighting was installed during the bridge’s $80 million restoration concluded in 2010, but the city needs another $300,000 to complete the lighting project. City Commissioner Don Crichlow told the St. Augustine Record the illumination would “make it a significant landmark” at night. The city paid Jacksonville architectural firm RS&H — the same firm that designed lighting for Jacksonville’s bridges for the Super Bowl in 2005 — about $15,000 to design lighting for the bridge.
Did His Hand Get Tired?
Gov. Rick Scott has been busy signing bills passed by the Legislature, putting his name on 47 pieces of legislation. On June 28, Scott signed a National Rifle Association-backed bill designed to prevent mentally ill people from getting guns. Scott said that though he's always supported the Second Amendment, he believes “reasonable parameters on firearms purchases” are necessary. He also approved a bill giving Floridians a right to speak at public hearings of governing boards and signed legislation exempting the public record disclosure of the names of children and spouses of former sworn or civilian law enforcement personnel.
Ethics Complaint Filed Against Mayor
A private investigator has filed an ethics complaint with the Florida Commission on Ethics, accusing Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown of failing to properly report gifts. David Hodges, who runs Fine Tooth Investigations of Orange Park, submitted with his complaint a copy of a Times-Union story about Brown’s travel expenses being paid by donors. In the June 25 story, the T-U reported the city reimbursed about $8,700 to donors who paid for some of the expenses related to 14 mayoral trips. State law requires that any gift the mayor receives worth more than $100 must be reported quarterly. Because of an earlier ruling by City General Counsel Cindy Laquidara, Brown had considered the donations as gifts to the city, not to him. Commission spokesperson Kerrie Stillman said it may takes months for the commission to consider the case.
Cannons of History
Important events in the Oldest City’s history are being commemorated this year. On June 30, the failed cannon siege of British General James Oglethorpe, whose troops fired from Anastasia Island at Castillo de San Marcos, was re-enacted. Once again, the British lost. In the original attack, Oglethorpe’s cannon balls bounced off the coquina structure over a 38-day period. At the celebration, retired U.S. Army Col. Rik Erkelens officially unveiled three 1,000-pound cast-iron replica cannons commissioned by the St. Augustine 450th Military Commemoration in cooperation with the Veterans Council of St. Johns County, St. Augustine British Club and North Davis Shores Neighborhood Association.
A New Board for Delaney
University of North Florida President John Delaney has joined the board of both Jacksonville Bancorp and its subsidiary, The Jacksonville Bank, the company announced in a news release. Delaney, former Jacksonville mayor, is also a director of Jacksonville-based The Main Street America Group, an insurance company. The Jacksonville Bank, with $521 million in assets, has eight local branches.