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The Flog

“This court is aware that the majority of voters oppose same-sex marriage, but it is our country’s proud history to protect the rights of the individual, the rights of the unpopular and the rights of the powerless, even at the cost of offending the majority. Whether it’s the NRA protecting our right to bear arms when the City of Chicago attempted to ban handguns within its city limits; or when Nazi supremacists won the right to march in Skokie, Illinois a predominantly Jewish neighborhood; or when a black woman wanted to marry a white man in Virginia; or when black children wanted to go to an all-white school, the Constitution guarantees and protects ALL of its citizens from government interference in those rights. All laws passed whether by the legislature or by popular support must pass the scrutiny of the United States Constitution, to do otherwise diminishes the Constitution to just a historical piece of paper.” 

And so marks the beginning of the end of Florida’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex couples from marrying. Right now, Circuit Judge Luis M. Garcia’s (a Jeb Bush appointee, by the way) ruling applies only to Monroe County — that is, the Keys, and marriages there will begin July 22, barring a stay — but there are two other quite-similar lawsuits currently making their way through state and federal court, and were I a betting man I’d wager this question is dead and settled by year’s end.  

The only real question, in fact, is whether Attorney General Pam Bondi — last seen telling the world that allowing two individuals who love each other to marry will cause “significant public harm” — will bother to appeal.

Pam Bondi will appeal. (Of course she did. It’s an election year.)

I’ll have more to say on this later, but for now, you can peep the decision here. 

In the meantime, if you’re still wondering why this stuff …   More

THE FLOG

The craft beer industry is asking the Legislature to approve the sale of a new size of growlers, which are reusable containers for taking home draft beer.

According to the bill’s summary, it is currently legal for craft beer makers to sell 32-ounce and 128-ounce bottles of beer. Beer makers want to make 64 ounces a legal size as well. They say it is a better size for most consumers, holding about four pints.

The 64-ounce growler is the industry standard and is readily available and much cheaper to acquire than 128-ounce and 32-ounce bottles, beer company officials said.

The name “growler” is believed to have originated in the early 20th century due to the rumbling noise made by the carbon dioxide that rattled the lid of beer pails.

The legislation was up before the Senate Regulated Industries Committee on March 14 and has also been referred to three other committees.

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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

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

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.

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