Duval School Principal Pay Getting a Bump

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A pay plan for principals adopted four years ago in Duval County now has a source of funding: stimulus dollars.

The old pay schedule was based on years of service, but a revised formula would factor in grade level (elementary, middle or secondary), enrollment and the percentage of students on free or reduced lunch. Pay also would be based on years of experience with the district paying $600 for every year up to $12,000.

A high school principal would get $10,000, with elementary and middle school leaders getting $3,000. Each principal would be paid $2 for each student.

A dollar amount also has been attached to the percentage of students on free or reduced lunches. That varies from $125 to $250 for each percent.

The base pay for principals before the formula is $74,311.

High School Art Contest to Benefit Manatees

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The state is always concerned about the safety of the gentle giants of local waterways, and it is inviting school children across the state to join the effort.

During November's Manatee Awareness Month, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is inviting high school students to compete for the artwork that will adorn the 2011-2012 manatee decal.

Only five entries will be allowed per school, so teachers will have to be involved to coordinate each school's best artwork.

Home-schooled students are eligible to enter as well.

Decal sales help fund the state's manatee protection program, and they are available for a donation of at least $5 to the Save the Manatee Trust Fund.

All entries must be postmarked no later than Jan. 28, 2011. Complete rules and requirements are available online.

JEA Makes Wrong Disconnect at Tenant's Expense

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Haley Johnson is a guitar tech with the rock band, 38 Special.

But what happened to him is worse than a bad note, he said. "I walked into my place and it smelled like death and destruction," said Johnson.

Johnson lives in Tivoli apartments on Sunbeam Road. This week he came home from a road trip to a strong stench in his apartment.

"The most horrendous smell I can even imagine. It was just death and destruction and all my fish, everything I had was gone," he said.

The JEA had turned off his electricity and caused everything in his salt water tank to die, he said. "There was live coral, crab, star fish and living on its own."

And it caused the food in his refrigerator to spoil.

"It was the most incredible funk I ever smelled in my life; all my chicken, my son's food, it was all gone," said Johnson.

Jacksonville Fair Kicks Off

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The 2010 Greater Jacksonville Agricultural Fair kicked off today.

The fair runs through Nov. 14.

Recall on Highland's Teething Tablets

These teething tablets were recently recalled due to one of the ingredients, belladonna, not being a consistent amount in each bottle.  I had used these tablets for one of my kids until my pediatrician had told me not to do so.  She had informed me that belladonna is an opiate.  I stopped using them a long time ago, but now many have been recalled.  

I know as a mom of 3 kids, it's so hard when your baby is teething.  You just want to help take the pain away.  The natural way that I tried to help soothe my kids pain was by getting a washcloth wet and placing it in the freezer for a while.  Once the washcloth was good and frozen, I'd give it to the kids for them to gnaw on.  I think it served as a soothing agent AND a distraction.  

To find out specifically which bottles are included in the recall follow the link provided.

Fire Safety Investment has Taxpayers Spending $5 Million on Marine One

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department has a one-of-a-kind firefighting boat that cost taxpayers more than $5 million at a time when city hall has doubled garbage fees and increased property taxes.

Marine One is a new addition to JFRD's arsenal. It is state-of-the-art and capable of pushing 16,000 gallons of water a minute from five different water cannons the length of a football field.

The 70-foot vessel is equipped with side sonar to identify anything below water and forward looking infrared for night operations. It also is designed to handle biological threats. 

A Homeland Security grant that topped $4 million paid most of the bill. But the city also set aside $1.4 million, saved over the past three years, to match the federal dollars.

JSO Discusses Traffic Management, Parking Options, for Georgia-Florida

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Saturday will bring a mass of people to EverBank Field, in cars and on foot, and the sheriff's office said the best way to make sure you don't miss anything is to get there early.

According to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, all of the marked lots around the stadium are sold out for the Georgia-Florida game, which starts at 3:30 p.m.

There are still some options for parking within easy walking distance, but not nearly as many as there are people looking for parking spaces.

There are two garages on A. Philip Randolph that will open for business Saturday morning, but JSO Sgt. Leonard Propper said they will most likely be full by five hours before kickoff.

Two other options involve either a longer walk or a trolley ride on game day.