Neighborhood networking site taking off in Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The first of its kind private social networking site for neighborhoods only is starting to take off in Jacksonville.

It is called, and it started last year in San Francisco.

Co-founder and CEO Nirav Tolia thought there should be an easier way for neighbors to connect.

He said, "Services like Facebook have shown us the value of connecting online with our friends and family. Why isn't there a service that helps us connect with people right out our front door?"

The idea behind is that neighbors can first connect online, then face to face.

Some neighborhoods have planned parties. Others help each other find lost pets, share contact information and even find a babysitter or orthodontist.

"We know that when neighbors start talking, good things happen," Tolia said.

San Marco Police Blotter - May 2013

No police reports at this time.

3 children found by police, ongoing investigation

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Sheriff's office is searching for the parents or guardians of three children -- all under 5-years-old -- who were found wandering the streets near San Marco.

According to a JSO press release issued at just before 8 p.m on Sunday, police responded to the 3200 block of San Diego Road in reference to the three children wandering around 4 p.m.

A citizen observed the children, called police, and stayed with them until police arrived.

At this time, police do not know who the children belong to. 

At this time, JSO believes the names and ages of the children are:

Work begins on San Marco Panera Bread restaurant

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Nearly 18 months after a Jacksonville developer announced that Panera Bread would return to San Marco as part of a new retail project, work is finally under way according to First Coast News' partner The Florida Times-Union. 

In recent weeks, construction crews have been seen doing some preliminary work at the 1440 Hendricks Ave. site, but with a building permit issued Thursday, work is expected to begin in earnest on a 4,000-square-foot shell building that Panera is expected to occupy. The permit also shows plans for a 1,200-square-foot patio.

In November 2011, developer Ed Ash told the Times-Union that Panera was slated for a new 4,000-square-foot building that would be built as part of his larger, 11,000-square-foot San Marco Train Station project located on Hendricks at the railroad crossing.

Road work coming close to a finish in San Marco

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The lions share of work in San Marco has been done.

Tough to tell by a quick drive by as the most visible part of the streetscape project is being worked on now.

On the surface, the mangled surface and dust clouds seem like something out of a movie. On the surface you may want to avoid the area.

But it seems in San Marco, what's on the surface, may be deceiving.

"We opened up when they decided to open this end of the street and then this end of the street," said Kimberly Clarke, who opened her salon in San Marco in the middle of the project.

And chairs stay full.

"San Marco is still open, and folks are walking around. My clients are walking around looking nice, so that adds to it."

The work is to make San Marco easier to navigate with a refurbished city square.

"It's just going to be a new vibe, younger people," Clarke said.

Hand grenade found in San Marco yard

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- One San Marco resident got quite the scare after an old hand grenade was found in their yard Monday morning.

A bomb squad team with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office responded to a home on the 900 block of Holly Lane Monday morning, after the grenade was discovered.

An area around the home was sealed off while the bomb squad investigated.

Oddly enough, this is the third instance of a hand grenade being found in San Marco. In 2010 an antique grenade was found in Brown Whatley Park and back in 2003 a home owner on San Marco Place found an old grenade in their lawn.

SWAT callout ends peacefully

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office SWAT team peacefully resolved a situation Monday night in which a mentally ill man barricaded himself inside his residence.

Police were dispatched to a residence in the 8100 block of San Jose Manor Drive East just after 6:30 p.m. Monday on initial reports of a disturbance between neighbors and one of them had a weapon, according to JSO Lt. Jimmy Judge.

As soon as police arrived, Antonio Chavez, 49, doused himself in gasoline and locked himself inside his apartment, according to a JSO report.

SWAT negotiators tried to get Chavez to come out for nearly seven hours before sending a robotic camera inside the apartment.

Chavez was intoxicated and passed out inside the apartment and officers were able to take him out peacefully.