Ronald McDonald House Gets New Landscaped Courtyard

JACKSONVILLE, Fla - About 30 area landscapers worked for two days and donated the plants to create a beautiful new courtyard at the Ronald McDonald House in San Marco.

The charity project was sponsored by the Northeast Florida Nursery Growers and Landscapers Association.

"With kids and families coming from all over the world visiting the Ronald McDonald House, we thought it would be  a nice thing to do," said Chip Brickell of the NFNGLA. " A lot of the stuff was getting old. We designed a new look. We let some of the kids plant and they enjoyed it, and can go home and tell their friends they helped create a new healing garden for many people to enjoy in the future."

"This is truly a blessing," said director Joy Hardaker. "The families staying here try enjoy their time outdoors away from the hospital so we are thrilled this group chose this project. It will brigten the lives of all who spend their time here."

Many Duval County Voters Must Renew Their Absentee Ballot Requests

Many Duval County Voters Must Renew Their Absentee Ballot Requests


A change in Florida Election Laws means thousands of absentee voters in Duval County will no longer receive their absentee ballots until they make a new request to the Supervisor of Elections Office.

17,601 voters who requested an absentee ballot after May 28th and before November 3rd, 2010 must now make a new request to the Supervisor of Elections Office in order to receive an absentee ballot for the upcoming First Election on March 22nd, and the May 17th General Election.

This change is the result of a law signed by former Florida Governor Charlie Crist on May 28, 2010 which states that absentee ballot requests in any calendar year after May 28th would only be valid through the next General (Federal ) Election, which took place on November 2, 2010.

Male Ballet Dancer Gets Scholarship

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Florida Ballet Artistic Director Laurie Picinich-Byrd is passionate about her work.  She instructs 60 students ages 8 to 18 in the art of ballet.  Fifteen of those kids are boys.  "When I tell my colleagues at Boston Ballet or at the American Ballet Theatre that we have that high percentage of boys, they go, 'Oh, how did you do that in Jacksonville, Florida?'" said Picinich-Byrd.

Byrd said they do it by teaching the athleticism and strong male identity that's needed before the boys perform with the girls.  Eighteen-year-old Julian Rachal has been dancing since he was four years old.  The Douglas Anderson School of the Arts student has performed in the Nutcracker every year and is in the studio five days a week perfecting his craft. 

World’s Oldest Dolphin in Human Care Turns 58

World’s Oldest Dolphin in Human Care Turns 58

Nellie, the world’s oldest dolphin in human care, is approaching 58 years of age and will celebrate her birthday with Marineland staff and visitors. The public is invited to join the festivities at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 27, at Marineland’s Dolphin Conservation Center, now an affiliate of the Georgia Aquarium. The celebration will include a fish-and-ice cake made especially for the birthday girl, along with a round of “Happy Birthday” performed by all of her friends and fans. Cake more suitable to the tastes of her human party guests will follow. General admission rates apply.

FCN Investigates: COJ Spends to Spy, Won't Pay for Health Care

FCN Investigates: COJ Spends to Spy, Won't Pay for Health Care

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --  Medals and commendations line the walls of Rusty Butler's home, awards for saving lives and homes.
"When you go in, and find somebody and bring them out it's just, it's a good feeling, a good feeling," said Butler.

A Jacksonville firefighter for more than two decades, Butler had no choice but to retire in 1996. "At a real hard working fire, I would just, my face would turn red. Guys on rescue would check my blood pressure, and it would be sky high," said Butler. "And they would have a fit."

Butler was diagnosed with heart problems and high blood pressure. For years, his medication and doctor's appointments were paid for by the city of Jacksonville under a decades-old state statute called the Heart and Lung Bill, which protects Butler as well as other firefighters and police officers.

I-95 Traffic on the Southside Moving Again Following Several Crashes

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- After a series of crashes on the Southside, all lanes of Interstate 95 are once again open.

A crash just after 2 p.m. on I-95 northbound near Emerson Street had traffic down to one lane and a backup extending for miles, and that was followed by yet another crash in the same area heading southbound.

All lanes are again open in both directions.

Earlier today, the Main Street Bridge was closed in both directions for over an hour following a crash near the top of the span.

It reopened shortly before noon.

I-95 southbound at University Boulevard was blocked because of a jackknifed semi truck most of the morning as well.

There were no injuries reported from those crashes.

Bath Salts Containing MDPV

Bath Salts Containing MDPV

Attorney General Pam Bondi passed an emergency measure on January 25, 2011, banning the sale or use of “bath salts” in the State of Florida. The new ruling labels MDPV a Schedule I controlled substance. This allows law enforcement to arrest, prosecute, and incarcerate individuals who manufacture, distribute, sell or possess this dangerous drug. The emergency ruling is set to last for 90 days, during which Florida legislators will be working to pass a bill making the ban permanent.