News

Gov. honors 3 local veterans turned teachers

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Three local teachers were honored Tuesday by Gov. Rick Scott during the Florida Cabinet meeting.

Scott gave the following three First Coast teachers the Shine Award:

-Kenneth McAllister, U.S. Air Force veteran and social studies and special education teacher at Clay County High School

-David Silverman, U.S. Marine Corps veteran and Adult Education teacher at Clay County Center for Adult & Community Education

-Jacqueline Williams, U.S. Navy veteran and government, economics and psychology teacher at A. Philip Randolph High School Academies of Technology in Jacksonville

Local parents relying on police to discipline kids

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Earlier this month, dash-cam video captured an example of what's becoming a national and local trend.

According to police, an Iowa son and father reportedly got into an argument over cigarettes.

The son stole his father's truck in retaliation and led officers on a high speed chase that ended with gunfire at Iowa State University.

Legally, like the father in this case, parents must call 911 on their own children.

But First Coast News has found examples where local parents are reporting less severe cases.

In some instances, the parents are even trying to get the officers to do the parenting for them.

"It's happening all the time," said Officer Alan Leavens with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

In Clay County, the sheriff's office has received nearly 100 calls about disobedient children since school started in August.

Proposal would allow adult stores in Clay County

ORANGE PARK, Fla. -- A call by a business person could mean adult stores could be on the way to Clay County. Some say it's a bad move, but others say in this economy, any business is good.

The County's economic development team is asking council members to look at drafting an ordinance that would let adult stores set up shop in certain area.

Right now, the proposal says the stores may be allowed in areas zoned "Heavy Industrial" and "Heavy Business".

It's drawing a mixed reaction.

"Business is business," said Ryan McIntyre. "What somebody wants to do with their money inside their house is their business."

Not everyone agrees. Amber Griffin is a mom of four. She said it's a step backward for the county.

"I think a lot of people move to Clay County like ourselves to get away from things that go on in Jacksonville," she said.

Golf tournament helps fight mental illness

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Rudolph Dunnam said for the first time in his 59 years, he knows what it means to have a life.

"Now I consider myself on the path for living," he said. 

Dunnam described it as the best days of his life.

"I have made a 130-degree turn from where I was mind-wise, physically-wise and mentally-wise," said Dunnam. 

He has finally learned to control his mental illness, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia; mental illness that made it difficult for him to even cope with his family.

The big change in his life began when he walked into the building of Northwest Behavioral Health Services.

"If they weren't there I believe I would have probably perished," he said.

Dunnam said now he functions well, he is more sociable, and he's rebuilding those family relationships that were devastated by his mental illness.

"I'm very grateful for them," said Dunnam 

Farming family joins agriculture with tourism

GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. -- A local family in Green Cove Springs has turned generations of farming into a tourist attraction.

It's an amazing way to join agriculture with tourism; it's the industry of Agritourism and after six generations of farming in her family, Kelly Mosley and her husband have found a way to get people closer to crops.

"It's really exciting for us. Generations ago, our family would farm and they were involved in agriculture because of survival and everything that they grew around the farm is what they needed to produce to survive," said Mosley.

Mosley's family still farms timber and raises beef cattle, but she wanted to expand. So she leased a farm in Green Cove Springs and made it a tourist attraction. 

FCN Investigates: What exactly are you paying for at the pump?

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- We are just weeks from the busy Thanksgiving travel season.

But, before you fill up for your trip the On Your Side team has three things you'll want to know before you hit the road. It's part of a First Coast News investigation.

At the gas station, every cent counts.

"I get pretty much what my car gives me," said Michael Bryce, as he filled up the car. "I get around $20 half a tank, $40 for a full tank, $5 for an eighth of a tank."

If you feel like something just isn't right, you might be on to something.

It is Anthony Davis' job to find out

He's one of the petroleum inspectors with the Florida Department of Agriculture.

"We want to make sure that consumers are getting what they're paying for," Davis said.

FCN's David Williams joined him at the Chevron station on New Kings Road for an inspection. Inspections are done at least every 12-14 months, says Davis.

Superintendent defends 'Dare to Think'

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. -- Superintendent Charlie Van Zant is speaking out in defense of the Dare to Think Conference that kicked off yesterday.

It's a program that focuses on history and civics in the classroom.

Last week -- the Clay County school board voted to file an ethics complaint regarding Van Zant's co-sponsorship of the conference -- calling it a private, partisan, and political event.

Van Zant sent a statement today saying;

"Encouraging our students and our children to love, respect, cherish and value America isn't a partisan issue.

"It is informed patriotism. I want everyone to know I will always stand up and be willing to advocate for that in our community!"

Click here to read the entire statement.