Mayor, officials' London trip costs taxpayers nearly $20,000 so far

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A First Coast News investigation shows the City of Jacksonville has spent nearly $20,000 on a week-long trip to Europe.

The investigation has also revealed that the cost will go up even higher once receipts from the trip are processed.

Right now, Mayor Alvin Brown, City Council President Bill Gulliford and Economic Development Chief Ted Carter are in London, England.

They are spending the week attending business meetings set up in part by Jaguars owner Shad Khan.

The game plan is to try and bring new, international business to the River City.

First Coast News has confirmed there are more than 20 different companies the city is meeting with. One of them is Deutsche Bank.

Leaders will also be attending the Jaguars game in London against the San Francisco 49ers at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.

First Coast News obtained multiple pages of travel documents from the city to conduct its investigation.

Scammers target JEA customers

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A phishing scam targeting JEA customers on the First Coast is on the rise this week.

According to JEA, scammers are calling people to say their service will be disconnected unless they purchase a Moneypak card. 

The phone caller then asks for the number for the card. 

There has been an increase in the last week in the scam calls, according to JEA. 

In an email to First Coast News a JEA spokesperson wrote:

JEA will notify customers should their service be at risk for disconnect for non pay via their bill, letter and automated call. JEA will take payments via website, phone, at the main office, tax collector office, Winn-Dixie or any of the JEA-approved stores found on

Anyone who receives a call is asked to report the incident to JEA. 

Promoting fitness by walking to school

SAN MARCO, Fla. -- It's a day that has gone on for 16 years all around the world: International Walk and Bike to School Day. More than 40 countries participate in the day promoting health and wellness for kids and parents.

Hendricks Avenue Elementary School has encouraged students to walk to school for more than a decade. Julia Miller and her daughter Campbell were one of several families walking or biking Wednesday morning.

"The fitness is so important and if you can show your children what it means to stay fit and how important it is, hopefully you're setting a great example," says mom Julia Miller.

The school's PTA Health and Wellness committee members see more benefits than that. Walking to school also has a positive impact on the environment. It helps reduce the amount of pollution from cars. It's also fun. Fourth grader Campbell sees it as a time to spend with her mom.

OYS Follow-up: Lawn care Co. offers to treat problem

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- An On Your Side follow-up. Diane from San Marco was unhappy with her lawncare company and wanted her grass re-sodded.

The company's General Manager said they would send someone out to her home later this week and they did. Friday morning, a crew discovered that she did have a chinch bug problem.

The company offered to treat it for free, but Diane refused.




Real ways to help you find a job and other resources

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Shawntray from the Westside asked the On Your Side team a question.

He said he recently lost his job as a security guard because he was sick and can't find work. Shawntray said he lost his home and he's afraid he'll lose his car. He wants help.

Shawntray, here is what you do:

1) Get your hands on a phone in the area of Northeast Florida and dial the United Way's 211. It is a referral source that will refer you to places for emergency financial assistance, food, shelter and clothing and a lot of other service.

2) Call the company that you make car payments and explain your situation. Ask if some payments can be deferred.

3) Go to a place like WorkSource Florida. They have offices across the region They will help you or anyone looking for work Find a job. Call 904-356-JOBS for more information.

Suspicious package found to be not harmful

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office responded to a report of a suspicious package around 10:15 Tuesday morning.

The focus of the department's investigation appeared to focus on the Southbank Riverwalk in front of the Lady St. Johns riverboat in San Marco.

According to JSO Public Information Officer Shannon Hartley, officers were dispatched to the area at 8:32 a.m. The Bomb Squad examined the package and determined there was nothing harmful in it.

A parking lot leading up to the riverboat boarding area was blocked off to all traffic.

A few people were standing outside a small cafe watching the activity.

Several squad cars responded along with a special tactical utility vehicle the department uses when responding to suspicious items or potential explosives.

Duval County Emergency Management officials also responded.

When is a 'lifetime warranty' lifetime?

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Attebery's grew up in a generation of handshakes and kept promises; they've lived in their Avondale home 50 years and they try to keep it in shape.

May 1982 they invested in a texture coating to protect the walls of their two story home and around the window sills.

But now the coating that was suppose to last indefinitely is cracking, it is peeling; coming apart.

"I have a thick file inside,' Shirley Attebery said. "Trying to resolve this."

They purchased the product and service from a Sears contractor back then and was impressed with the selling point or written promise.

"We were pleased when it was applied," Attebery said. 

The clause that sealed the deal was simple, "We'll guarantee your home's exterior against chipping, flaking and peeling... as long as you own your home."