The Jacksonville Suns and the contractors on the repair and repainting of the Mathews Bridge have reached an agreement to make it easier for fans to get to the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville for Suns games.
The bridge will remain open both ways until 10:30 p.m. on the first six Friday night games: April 5, April 26, May 10, May 24, June 14 and June 21.
The Mathews will also remain open for opening night on April 4 and on Memorial Day weekend and the Southern Leaguer All-Star Game on July 17.
The $22.7 million repair and repainting program on the Mathews Bridge, which began in September 2011, is scheduled for completion later this summer or early fall, said Mike Goldman, a spokesman for the Florida Department of Transportation.
The Jacksonville Suns are the Double-A Affiliate of the Miami Marlins and are members of the Southern League of Professional Baseball Clubs.
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 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.
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?
Law enforcement agents and prosecutors have announced multiple conspiracy, money laundering and racketeering charges against 57 people who were involved with Internet café operator Allied Veterans of the World. Law enforcement officials said the operation masqueraded as a charity with less than 2 percent of the profits going to veterans.
They said this is just the first wave of arrests, and more charges are possible. The roles of Jacksonville Fraternal Order of Police President Nelson Cuba and FOP Vice President Robbie Freitas, were not revealed at a multi-agency news conference in Orlando.
Officials also would not discuss what involvement former Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll had in the case. She resigned March 12, a day after being questioned by investigators.
Jacksonville attorney Kelly Mathis, who represented Allied Veterans, was called one of the masterminds of the $300 million racketeering scheme. Investigators claimed he received about $7 million.
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.
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.
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.
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?
Pedestrians, bicyclists and traffic fatalities in Jacksonville are increasing dramatically, prompting the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, Florida Highway Patrol and Florida Department of Transportation to start a new safety campaign, “Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow. Safety Doesn’t Happen by Accident.”
The campaign is asking motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists to be more aware of each other and be more alert.
“We’ve got a serious problem in Jacksonville,” said Duval County Sheriff John Rutherford, who spoke at a news conference March 1 with Transportation Secretary Greg Evans and Maj. Anthony Allen of the FHP.
Traffic fatalities in Jacksonville have increased 34 percent, up from 103 in 2011 to 138 in 2012. Motor vehicle versus pedestrian fatalities increased to 32 in 2012, up from 23 in 2011, and motor vehicle versus bicyclist deaths increased to nine, compared with 5 the previous year.
The $100,000 campaign, funded by the Florida Department of Transportation, will include radio and television advertising, billboards and brochures.