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THE FLOG

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?   More

FLOG

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.   More

THE FLOG

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.

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THE FLOG

Folio Weekly Editor Denise M. Reagan is going Downtown.

After 18 months of advocating for Downtown Jacksonville and the arts through her columns, Reagan has taken a job as communications manager at the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville.

Reagan joined Folio Weekly in July 2012. She focused on increasing the publication’s credibility through tight editing, story choice and distinguishing between news and opinion. She launched the popular Specktator blog by Kerry Speckman (winner of Best of Jax Best Blog), the Bite-sized column by Caron Streibich and the controversial but entertaining Crime City column by Wes Denham.

She helped design and launch a completely revamped folioweekly.com in January 2013, increasing the publication’s reach and readership. The new site includes all of the content from weekly printed issues plus stories, blogs, photo galleries and videos available only online.

Reagan gained a following for her weekly Editor’s Notes, covering timely community issues, politics and the arts; she won an award from the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies for column writing during her first year.

Her use of social media greatly increased Folio Weekly’s Facebook fans and Twitter followers, engaging them in conversations that often ended up in the printed issues.

Her last day at Folio Weekly is Dec. 6. Her first day at MOCA is Dec. 9. Her last Editor’s Note will appear Dec. 11.    More

THE FLOG

UPDATE: As a result of this story, the schoolteacher referenced in this story has been dismissed from the jury.

Richard David Smith III is a name familiar to Folio Weekly readers, who saw his byline on almost a weekly basis a few years back. Last week, he came very close to serving on the latest Trial of the Century of the Week — the Michael Dunn retrial that tops our local news every evening. But it didn’t quite happen.

Smith spent three days at the courthouse for jury screening, a process he describes as “very long” and filled with “odd questions” from “too many lawyers trying to be comedians,” making “a lot of jokes about budget cuts.”

Some of those japes came from Angela Corey, who seems intent on improving her public image with this case. Folks on hand were treated to cornball quips like “I might break into song,” a joke she made while being told to hold the mic by the judge.

Many of the questions, Smith says, had to do with “race and gun ownership” — a trend reflected in the composition of the jury, many of whom have guns. It seemed to him — and to me — that the sweet spot in jury selection, those agreeable to prosecution and defense, led to a preponderance of gun owners with children. Given the fact that 10 of the 12 jurors are white, clearly there were factors other than race that came into play.

“I think the defense wanted white males, particularly gun owners,” he says. “I couldn’t quite figure out what the prosecution was looking for other than minorities and/or people with children.”

During the jury selection process, Smith asked for and received a private sidebar. When he divulged that he had written for Folio Weekly in the past, he says, “Angela Corey expressed great sensitivity to things that had been written about her there.” [Editor’s note: Ha.]

“She said, ‘you know …   More

THE FLOG

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.

  More

THE FLOG

 

Most people have at least heard of and may have listened to the informative, engaging TED Talks. A 1984 conference that began in California really took off six years later and has been held annually ever since. The talks have become more and more popular after being broadcasted online for free. TED Talks are held to a max of 18 minutes, giving viewers a fun, fast way to learn while also being thought-provoking and inspiring. 

TED stands for "Technology, Entertainment, and Design" but has widened that scope since 1984 by exploring, connecting, and educating on any "idea worth spreading," which is the TED slogan.  

Last October, Jacksonville hosted its first TEDx (the "x" indicating an "independently organized event),“Collective Genius.” TEDxRiverside/Avondale hosted nine speakers, four recorded TED talks and four entertainment performances. Jeff Spear, TEDxJacksonville media liaison and partnership relations director, said “the event was very successful and completely sold out.”

On Oct. 26, TEDxJacksonville's evolved and expanded event theme will be "Connecting Currents." The theme refers not only to the St. Johns River, the location of the event, but also the connections between Jacksonville's history, culture and people.  

The organizers are accepting applications from those who would like to speak or perform. Spear said speakers must have great ideas that are worth sharing but must also be able "to make the presentation of their lives." As anyone who has watched TED Talks knows, the "E" for entertainment is always emphasized. Those who want to speak or perform (as well as those who want to suggest speakers andperformers) are encouraged to apply early, although the official deadline is June 30.

TED Talks require not only engaging performers and speakers but also a responsive audience. Those, who wish to attend this year’s event must complete an application, …   More

THE FLOG

The University of North Florida’s student newspaper, the Spinnaker, is considering a move from a weekly tabloid to a glossy magazine published monthly.

Spinnaker Editor in Chief Jacob Harn said May 15 that student leaders have had internal discussions with Media Adviser John Timpe and university administrators, and the business office is evaluating how the move would affect revenue.

The Spinnaker also wants to hear from students, faculty, staff and alumni through a survey made available this week. The early response in discussions has been positive, Harn said.

“We’re keeping our eyes open in a digital age and focusing on the website for daily coverage,” Harn said of the plans.

The tentative plan for publishing a magazine would call for 10 monthly issues — including two double issues — beginning in Fall 2013.

“People can expect more investigative news pieces and longer and more in-depth feature pieces,” if the student publication makes the change, Harn said.

The Spinnaker plans to print three more issues in its current tabloid format — once each in June, July and August.

Timpe said the students’ enthusiasm has been a driving force in giving them a chance to make the change for the fall semester.

“It’s enthused not only the print staff, but also the TV, radio and digital staff here. There have been a lot of lively discussions,” Timpe said.

Timpe sees an opportunity for students to experiment where other traditional media might not have the initiative.

“Media operations of all sizes are still trying to figure out the future and to some degree the present,” he said. “That’s one of the benefits of working with a college media outlet. They’re full of students ready to try something new.”

The Spinnaker currently publishes a weekly run of 4,000 issues. Timpe said the monthly run would likely be 10,000 to 12,000 issues, …   More

THE FLOG

I don't know art, but I know what I like. And I think I like George Zimmerman's latest painting.

It is absolutely brilliant, on an artistic level. The yellow ink on a red backdrop -- evocative of the Chinese flag in its bold use of what in America are condiment colors. The primitivist rendering of the subject, the eyes frozen without soul, the Katherine Harris bangs,the gaudy necklace like a Kool Moe Dee gold chain; this painting lays it all bare like a chicken plucked and slaughtered. 

 

Forget who painted it. If it were Basquiat, you'd feel differently. The style, reminiscent of the brilliant painter and iconoclast, Lee Harvey. Bold strokes used in bold ways to make bold statements.

 

And the quote up top? Perfectly understated. Sort of, well, at odds with the Zimmerman public persona -- a Travis Bickel figure who fights with trolls on Twitter and creates bizarre publicity stunts and claims that Sean Hannity is the last honest man in national journalism.

He plays a buffoon on TV. But what if he is working us all?

Angela Corey is not a popular politician, though she is effective. She plays hardball, and she doesn't lose. Which is part of the reason she alone among local political figures would merit being the subject of a painting at all, never mind one of this quality and thematic resonance.

I have, of course, some unsourced theories on Zimmerman's paintings. One of them being that there might be no better way for him to launder money than by creating a dummy market for some awful paintings -- like that first one he did, allegedly plagiarized, that still netted $100k.

Brilliant! Never occurred to Aileen Wuornos, Casey Anthony, or Ted Bundy to bring it like that. George Zimmerman's first painting: a dummy shell, intended to establish a market price for anything with his imprimatur. A price for the celebrity that comes with shooting a teenage boy in cold blood because he was getting pummelled by that boy, whom he stalked in …   More

THE FLOG

Earlier today, and only 13 days after his deadline (he could be a Folio Weekly writer!), Dr. Dr. Herbert M. Barber Jr. — the Jacksonville Port Task Force consultant whose rather … shall we say … colorful views on poor people, environmentalists, integration and Barack Obama being a terrorist are contained in a 2012 book he wrote that nobody in the city bothered to Google before signing on the dotted line — finally turned the draft report that was due Feb. 13. (In keeping with his anachronistic sensibilities, it seems, he only filed a hard copy and not a digital one; the city has promised to email me a copy of the report as soon as it’s digitized, probably tomorrow see below.) 

The city responded with a very polite “thanks and by the way your services are no longer needed”: 

“In accordance with Section 8 of the Contract and Section 3.23 of RFP, the City has elected to terminate the Contract for convenience. Accordingly, this letter shall serve as the City’s written notice of termination to Xicon. The Contract shall be deemed terminated effective immediately upon receipt of this notice.” 

Don’t be worrying about Dr. Dr. Barber, you guys. Dude’s still gonna get paid. Per the notice: “The City is hereby relieved of all further obligations other than payment for the amount of services actually performed to the date of termination. … Please provide the City with an invoice within 30 days of this notice for services completely up to the date of this notice of termination. The City greatly appreciates your cooperation on this matter.” 

Because Dr. Dr. Barber’s work was mostly completely by the time the city found out about his book (from me, natch) — his final report was due March 2, and he was to present to the task force March 11 — he can (and probably will, since he only hates government money when less deserving people get it) …   More