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Muscled Out of the Marijuana Biz

Gainesville nurseryman Alan Shapiro just wants to grow some pot. Low-THC marijuana meant for medical purposes, that is. But his nursery, San Felasco Nurseries Inc., may be shut out of the business despite receiving the highest score from the Florida Department of Health in Northeast Florida.

A three-person Department of Health panel was formed to grade nurseries around the state and award five nurseries — one in each region — licenses to grow the so-called Charlotte's Web. San Felasco, also known as Grandiflora, received the highest score out of any in the region, and Shapiro thought his nursery would be awarded one of the licenses. San Felasco, however, received a letter from the DOH, claiming it had been disqualified because an employee had failed his or her level-two background check.

Shapiro disputes that claim, saying there was a "discrepancy" in the background check in question, and the DOH did not give him an opportunity to correct the discrepancy. Further, in his petition, he claims the discrepancy does not constitute a disqualifying offense, and even if it did, the employee's record was expunged, eliminating it as a disqualifying offense.

The offense: A 2004 misdemeanor charge for possession of a depressant, stimulants, hallucinogenics or steroids, according to the petition, not a severe-enough offense, according to Florida statute.

According to DOH's rules, each nursery applicant was required to provide a level-2 background check, which checks a person's arrest and criminal record with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, for all its owners and managers. Until that and other requirements were met, no nursery was to be scored, according to the rules.

San Felasco, however, was scored, and received the highest score in the region, 3.975, beating second-place Chestnut Hill by nearly .2 points.

That implies, Shapiro argued in his petition, that the department "had concluded that all owners and managers for San Felasco …   More


The image is crudely rendered and Islamaphobic with an elbow to the ribs and ha, ha, ha. As an attempt at humor, whoever superimposed the head of Jacksonville Fire & Rescue Department firefighter paramedic Jeffrey Abboud onto an image of a man dressed in a military jacket, with a full beard encircling his face and his head wrapped in a black scarf, certainly failed. In the image, it appears that Abboud is holding a human skull topped with a Santa Claus hat, with a cartoon thought bubble above it that reads, "Jingle BOMBS Jingle BOMBS!!!"

The reference is to comedian Jeff Dunham and his skeletal ventriloquist dummy, "Achmed the Dead Terrorist."

Jacksonville's Fire & Rescue Department turned over the main computer at its Myrtle Avenue fire station to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office on Saturday, after firefighters discovered someone had replaced the computer's screensaver with the image of Abboud — who is of Hispanic descent — doctored to look like a terrorist.

JFRD spokesperson Tom Francis said JSO IT investigators will determine who posted the image and when it was discovered and reported. He said that the department's compliance division, in charge of upholding department standards, will also open an investigation.

The slur is timely in its fear-mongering, coming after the Paris bombings and the massacre in San Bernardino put Americans on edge, and bombastic presidential candidate and evergreen blowhard Donald Trump played to the worst in us by saying he'll make Muslims in the country carry IDs and then ban any more from entering.

It's ugly. In Philadelphia, a pig's head was thrown at a mosque. A shop owner in Queens was beaten. Someone threw a large rock through the dining room window of the home of a Muslim family who'd recently moved to Plano, Texas.

Here in Jacksonville, Francis said it is a mistake to see anything systemic or endemic to the fire department in the screensaver. "We do not condone this kind of …   More


Northeast Florida POWER METER

POWER DOWN: City Leaders' Resistance to Anything the Jaguars Want

Not surprisingly to anyone paying attention, a little more than two years after agreeing to chip in more than $40 million on upgrades to the city-owned stadium based on proposals by the NFL franchise the Jacksonville Jaguars, the city council unanimously approved a plan to chip in $45 million for upgrades to the city-owned stadium based on proposals by the NFL franchise the Jacksonville Jaguars.  

NEXT: High School High Alert >>>   More



The Jaguars did it again, losing a winnable must-win game to a bottom-feeder team. They fall to a dismal 4-8, buttressing something I read before the game:

According to a chart put out by Nate Silver’s, Coach Bradley was (after “only” seven losses) the second most-likely coach in the NFL to get axed at the end of the year.

First most-likely? Chip Kelly, who has presided over the freefall of the Philadelphia Eagles.

After Sunday's shootout, a 42 to 39 loss to a last-place team that hadn't won at home in more than a year, Genial Gus might be in what Ludacris would call the Number One Spot.

On the list, at least.

Are the statistics folks right on this one? Hard to make an empirical argument for a team with a .333 winning percentage, especially since this season is the third one in the Three Year Plan.

If that plan were proceeding as one would have hoped, the Jags would be in the mix in the AFC South, which is set up as well as it’s been in a while for a flawed team like Jacksonville to make the leap.

Instead, mistakes and mismatches, as well as another brutal performance by Kicker Jason Myers, sealed loss No. 8, and gradually eroding the narrative The Jaguars Are Playing Meaningful Games After Halloween For a Change.

Mismatches came to the fore, predictably, in the first half. The Jaguars, vulnerable to the depredations of tight ends for years, got eaten up again like those poor bastards in the Donner Party who didn't make the final cut [pun intended]. Two TE TDs put Bradley's Bunch down by eight in the second quarter.

Same as it ever was. However, something magical happened.

The Jaguars twice handed the ball near the goal line to, of all people, TJ Yeldon. And danged if miracles, beyond those worked at The Church of Eleven22, didn’t come true. Yeldon made it into the end zone.

The two-point conversion failed, but the rare Yeldon score had Jags fans throughout the nation lurching to …   More


Northeast Florida Power Meter

UP: Fortifying Defenses Against “Bathroom Bill”

At the Duval Democratic Party’s Blue Gala on Monday, Nov. 30, Houston Mayor Annise Parker had a dire warning for proponents of expanding protections for Jacksonville’s LGBT community, referring to her recent battles in her home state, telling those in attendance that, “a lie repeated and repeated and repeated sounds like the truth.” The third-term, openly gay mayor of one of the nation’s most populous cities told Gala-goers that they should take on the “stupid comments” of those hell-bent on using tactics that took down her own city’s ordinance: propagating fear through absurd tales of men posing as transgender women in order to prey on vulnerable people in bathrooms.

NEXT: “Gate”-way Drug  >>>   More


Northeast Florida Power Meter


On Dec. 3, roughly two weeks after racist and anti-gay leaflets were distributed in many of the city’s urban areas — purportedly by a North Carolina chapter of the KKK (seriously) — AND two weeks after a man used anti-LGBT rhetoric while threatening to bomb an upcoming meeting (don’t worry, he was just drunk), Edward Waters College will host the second of three Jacksonville-Mayor-Lenny-Curry-initiated community conversations to discuss whether a comprehensive Human Rights Ordinance protecting the LGBT community from discrimination is needed.

Next: No Dance with Mary Jane >>>   More

Folio Digital


Rather than pro sports teams, or bustling nightlife, it could be argued that the true measure of any thriving urban cultural hub is the amount of upstart literary magazines — in various stages of production — that are being created. While Alt-weeklies (like Folio Weekly) have traditionally filled thier editorial ranks with artists, poets, and musicians -- allowing them an outlet to lend their idiosyncratic perspectives and shed light on issues that only independent publications can cover -- often, it's a city's myriad lit mag scene that will serve as a landing ground for large numbers of completed (and half-completed) works, bursts of inspiration, and pieces just hell-bent on provocation, all created by artists of various backgrounds in various mediums.

In this regard, the talented folks at Perversion Magazine, which was featured in Tim Gilmore’s regular Let There Be Lit column just a few months back, are serving the Northeast Florida arts community well. Based in Jacksonville, the magazine, which falls somewhere between a lit mag and an art book, publishes art, prose, poetry, fashion, and photography from artists and writers around the world. The issue that hits the streets on Dec. 12 will be the magazine’s fourth.

And the timing couldn’t be better. With the third issue of another local lit mag, Bridge Eight, currently in the works, the Jax by Jax literary event getting underway in Riverside this weekend, and our crew here at Folio Weekly heading into the fiction “laboratory” with Perversion (stay tuned for this one), it seems the 904 has never before let there be this much lit.

Check out the trailer for Perversion’s Black and White Issue below (we said they were talented).


Or click here




The Black and White Issue from Perversion Magazine on Vimeo.   More



Either Folio Weekly is experiencing “the change” or it’s getting hot, hot, hot in the Bold City! In less than two weeks, Jacksonville has been graced with the presence of not one, but two, Republican presidential candidates. On Saturday, Oct. 24, Donald J. Trump descended, Voldemort-like, on a moist crowd at The Landing; on Monday, Nov. 2, John Ellis “Jeb”/“don’t-call-me-Dubya’s-mini-me” Bush slithered in and out of the air-conditioned enclave of Kaman Aerospace on the Northside.

It’s often said that like begets like, but the Grand Ol’ Party could not have spawned two more outwardly different candidates. From skin tone – Trump’s tangerine-tinted mug is the envy of Oompa Loompas everywhere, while Jeb! rocks a lighter shade of pale that is all the rage among WASPs – to speaking style – Trump blathers on in semi-coherent gotcha phrases guaranteed to whip his mouth-breathing supporters into a lather while Jeb! speaks in complete sentences that neither escalate nor diminish in pitch regardless of what he’s talking about; their personality brands could not be more different.

Make no mistake, fair voters — for politicians, personality is a brand. And the more powerful the politician, the more manufactured the personality. Which means presidential candidates’ public personas are about as authentic as a Doritos marketing campaign. In spite of both campaigns’ efforts to show how unequivocally different Bushx3 and Trump-a-brain-dump are, they are actually as similar as anyone paying attention would expect. Before you recoil in horror, “But, FW, they seem so different on the news!” let’s peel this onion, shall we? Here is some pre-masticated food for thought:

1. Box Checking. Both Trump and Bush are white, male, Christian American Baby Boomers from exceptionally privileged families who have spawned multiple children and have an …   More


The Power Meter


Being an ex-mayor ain’t quite as glamorous as being an ex-President. Former Mayor Alvin Brown is being scrutinized for a highly unusual move in which he apparently skirted protocol, signing off on no interest loans for Global Ministries – the “non-profit” group coming under fire for the poor living conditions in their federally subsidized housing complexes in Atlanta, Orlando, Memphis and elsewhere – to purchase Eureka Gardens on Jacksonville’s Westside. According to WJCT, Mark Hendrickson, the financial adviser for the Jacksonville Housing Finance Authority, Brown was advised not to approve the purchase.


Folio Digital


Morris Communications – owners of a diversified group of publications including daily newspapers The Augusta Chronicle, The St. Augustine Record, and The Florida Times-Union – is coming under fire for what a staffer at one of their dailies allegedly called a “xenophic editorial position” that “was mandated to run in Morris Communications newspapers across the chain.”

On his website, media critic Jim Romenesko posted an email allegedly provided by the staffer on Thursday, October 14. The email is credited to Robert Gilbert, vice president of audience at Morris Publishing Group/Morris Communications, to editors at all twelve MPG media outlets, and says the following (no emphasis added):

"Mr. Morris asks that each MPG newspaper run the attached editorial on American responsibility toward Mideast migrants/refugees. You should run it as your own editorial (not a column or op-ed), or produce your own editorial BUT MAINTAINING THE SAME POSITION. The editorial is for immediate release."

The Augusta Chronicle, ran an editorial on September 22, 2015 credited to the publication's editorial staff, which states the following:

"The Obama administration's plan to admit 85,000 refugees during the next year, and nearly 100,000 in 2017, is a self-destructive act born of dangerously deluded notions of compassion."

The editorial also notes that since the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011, the U.S. has given the country $4 billion in aid, the most of any nation, and goes on to warn that refugees may be terrorists.

Three days later, on September 25, The Florida Times-Union, published an editorial credited to its editorial staff, which states the following:

"The Obama administration needs to resist its well-meaning but misguided and potentially dangerous attempt to speed up admittance of Syrian refugees. There are too many possibilities that even a few of these …   More