Scrubbing Police Reports
To cut down on identity theft and the release of private information, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office will no longer provide police reports for the media directly from the streets. Now, the media will have to request a copy of a police report, which will be released after it's been reviewed for removal of information that's exempt from the state’s public records law. In the past, reporters could wade through a stack of police reports to see if any had news value. In a news release, Undersheriff Dwain Senterfitt said the department remains committed to transparency and other departments are using the same policy.
Clay Schools Suit Settled
The lawsuit filed by Clay County School Superintendent Charlie Van Zant Jr. against the Clay County School Board has been settled, but the outcome remains secret. Despite spending $24,260 in county money in legal fees, Van Zant and the board members, all of who are elected, agreed not to publicly talk about the issue, The Florida Times-Union reported. The legal battle began when the board rewrote a job description for the career and technical education director instead of taking Van Zant’s recommendation on the job's requirements.
Fighting for the Streets
The fight over an ordinance limiting street performers in downtown Fernandina Beach has been postponed until the City Commission meets June 4. At a May 7 meeting, the Commission deferred putting an ordinance on second reading. City Attorney Tammi Bach told the News-Leader commissioners have several alternatives to consider, including limiting the number of permits and where performers, street artists and vendors are allowed. Some businesses have complained about the performers; others say they shouldn't be restricted.
New Digs for Nassau County Sheriff's Officers
State lawmakers have approved $500,000 in seed money, to be combined with $10 million in county funding to build a new Nassau County Sheriff’s Office building. State Rep. Janet Adkins and State Sen. Aaron Bean, both Republicans, convinced fellow Legislators to OK the funds. In the past decade, the current building has had roof failure, mold and rodent infestation.
Extending the Heritage Trail
The Department of the Interior has added St. Johns County to the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor. The corridor, established by federal legislation in 2006, is one of 49 National Heritage Areas promoting the living culture of an African-American population. The Gullah Geechee are descendants of enslaved Africans brought to South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida. The trail spans coastal communities from Wilmington, N.C., to St. Augustine. Freedom Road Trail (freedomroadtrail.org), a black-owned St. Augustine firm, did much of the work on the project.