Learning

Florida Once Upon a Time… Prohibition, Rum-Runners and Shady Characters

Words by Ted Hunt   The 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibiting the manufacture, sale or transportation of intoxicating liquors was ratified in 1919 and went into effect in January of 1920. The often-called Prohibition Amendment, aimed at curbing alcohol consumption, forced the closing of hundreds of breweries and put an end to thousands of saloons across the nation. However, it had the unintended consequence of fueling a thriving, and illegal underground industry.     Despite the law, millions of Americans chose to drink anyway, so the demand for booze had to be satisfied through illegal means. There was …

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Tapping into Nature’s Liquid Gold

By Ted Hunt Florida is renowned for its picturesque beaches, tropical climate, theme parks and citrus industry. However, beneath this vacation paradise lies a lesser-known historical treasure — the early turpentine industry. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Florida played a major role in this booming industry, tapping into the liquid gold of its vast pine forests. The foundation of Florida’s turpentine industry lay in the abundant Longleaf Pine forests that covered much of the state. These majestic trees stood as tall sentinels, their trunks harboring a valuable resource known as gum resin/sap or crude turpentine. Turpentine was a …

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Teachers wanted: How politics has infiltrated Florida classrooms

Words by Mallory Pace   School is back in session for Florida students, but as the state faces another year with a short staff of teachers, both school and alarm bells are ringing.    Florida’s teacher shortage dates back to 2016 when the Florida Education Association first counted 2,400 open teaching positions. By 2021, that number more than doubled and continued to grow the next year with just over 6,000 “missing” teachers. Counties across the state are desperately seeking to lessen these numbers, including Duval County, which experienced its hardest hit last year. In July 2022, the county reported roughly …

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Behind the Minds of Florida Fin Fest 

Words by Carmen Macri    If there is one thing Jacksonville loves more than its beaches, it’s a free festival. So, it comes as no surprise that our charming coastal town has eagerly embraced the arrival of the free marine conservation festival, Fin Fest.   As we embark on the third year of Fin Fest, its fundamental mission remains unwavering: to harmoniously blend the worlds of ocean education and entertainment. The aim is to not only enrich our understanding of marine life but also illuminate the ways our daily routines influence these delicate ecosystems.   But before we delve too …

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Chat GPT: The Artificially Intelligent Friend You Never Knew You Needed!

By Carmen Macri and Open AI Chat GPT Chat GPT is an artificial intelligence (AI) technology that enables virtual agents to have natural conversations with users through text or voice. It is based on natural language processing and machine learning algorithms that allow the agent to understand user intent and autonomously generate relevant and meaningful responses. With Chat GPT, virtual agents can converse with users in a conversational style, providing accurate and personalized responses. This technology can be used to create virtual customer service agents, virtual sales agents, and virtual assistants.   I was always fascinated by the power of …

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Unforced Error

Unforced Error Diana Greene jumps the shark Words by Shelton Hull Quick history lesson: Jacksonville’s first Black mayor was Alvin Brown, whose political career was all but ruined with a single critical mistake: the role he played, behind the scenes, in helping to block passage of the city’s initial attempt to pass a Human Rights Ordinance designed to extend traditional anti-discrimination protections in housing, employment, etc. to the LGBTQIA+ community. It was a rare case of almost unanimous consent within the local power structure, something that usually only happens in matters related to football, turtles and, occasionally, public works.  The …

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Jacksonville: River City? Or Gotham City?

Jacksonville: River City? Or Gotham City? Words By Ambar Ramirez and Carmen Macri   Dubbed the murder capital of Florida, Jacksonville is no stranger to crime. In 2020, Jacksonville saw the highest homicide rate since 2003 with 177. But with a brief glimpse of hope in 2021 in which homicide rates dropped to 130, the city of Jacksonville may be getting a grip on violent crime. According to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office website, as of publication, there have only been 116 homicides reported. But with a few weeks left still left in the year, that number is expected to rise. …

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Being the Elite

Austan Goolsbee meets the World Affairs Council Words by Shelton Hull   The World Affairs Council’s new season has just begun, and we’re here to give you a quick preview.    The Council as we know it began in 1995, when it joined the larger network of World Affairs Councils of America, which now include over 90 chapters in 40 states. Its roots, though, go back a decade earlier. The list of speakers they’ve hosted have included world leaders, iconic journalists and pioneering figures in numerous industries and disciplines with an emphasis on media, foreign policy and military affairs.   …

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The Magnitude of the 26th Amendment

Words by Ariel Rademyer  Voting facilitates expression for the people. Serving as a vital and core attribute of the United States of America, selecting government officials is our nation’s blessing. We, the people, hold the power to make our voices heard on a larger scale. On July 1st, 1971, the United States Federal Government ratified the 26th amendment, granting the right for 18-year-olds to vote in elections. Voting allows for a change in communities; whether this alteration includes a different direction for the workforce departments or education, voters dictate their future. Particularly, 18-year-olds can elect candidates who implement beliefs prevalent …

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Weird Wild Stuff: Queen Elizabeth II Edition

The year’s weirdest and wildest news story so far was actually not so weird and wild, after all. It speaks to the perpetual perdurability of Queen Elizabeth II (April 21, 1926-September 8, 2022) that a 96 year-old woman who’d just beaten covid in February could die in September, and the entire world was shocked, legit. Lucky for us, the queen did all the prep-work, well in advance, allowing her loved the world at large to just sit back, relax, and play their part in the spectacle of her exit, stage-managed to the finest details.  “London Bridge Is Falling Down” was …

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