Religious advocates question same sex marriage

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It is a new year and a new view on marriage. Last year, Florida defined marriage as the relationship between a man and a woman, but on January 6 a federal court ruling redefined marriage.

"When marriage loses its meaning, then it begins to mean nothing," said Dr. Richard Marks.

Marks, a religious-based marriage counselor, said his ministry is more focused on saving marriages from divorce, than on the issue of same-sex marriage.

"We are a marriage and family strengthening initiative," said Marks. "Fatherhood as well."

But Marks said even though he has avoided the heated debate on the issue, it is difficult to ignore the implications of same sex marriage.

Marks said faith based organizations are looking for ways to keep faith in the wedding ceremony. He gave another example of the implications of same sex marriage.

Local family wants city to clean up Memorial Cemetery

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Presha Family visits the graves of their loved ones at Memorial Cemetery, near Moncrief Road, and they're disgusted by its condition.


"It is terrible,it is terrible," said Evelyn Morris.

Morris' parents are buried in Memorial Cemetery; her father in 1958, her mother in 2003. It is one of the city's old African American cemeteries.

"It looks like somebody has sabotaged the graveyard," she said.

Local shelter gives away free Christmas trees

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- More than 100 local families received an early Christmas present on Wednesday.


An anonymous donor purchased real Christmas trees and handed them all over to Trinity Rescue Mission.

"It's someone who's been a longtime supporter of us. He wanted people to have a Christmas tree that could not afford one on their own," said Pastor Jim Kilpatrick.

The shelter decided to give all the trees away to area families in need this holiday season.

Tenants: We have a big mice problem in our apartment

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Darrell and Teri Sibley moved into Kings Ridge Apartments in April and they're ready to move out.


"There are some in the closet now," said Teri Sibley, "we put a trap out this morning and already caught three."

The Sibleys have a vermin problem that is out of control..

"In the past three months we have killed like 150, if not more," said Darrell Sibley.

His wife said the problem is so bad she is afraid to open the pantry door. We did and that's where we found three dead mice.

Looking back at Jacksonville's Race Riots

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- East Jacksonville has been the epicenter of two major events, first there was Hurricane Dora in 1964 and then the race riots in the later years.

A July 1971 edition of JET magazine asked, "What really caused the racial explosion in Jacksonville?" and pointed to several racial conflicts.

"It was like chaos," said Bruce Moye.

Moye, 53, grew up in the East Jacksonville community and remembers the riots. He said he was only 7-years-old.

"People were looting," he said. "I didn't know any better so I grabbed stuff and ran too."

He remembers the number of businesses that lined Florida Avenue from First Street to Bay Street; most of them are not longer there.

"All were not on fire," he said, "but all of them were tore up."

In fact the losses to the damage was placed at $440,000.

Inspector shutters local church before Thanksgiving

ID=19369095JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Pastor Aaron Burgin of Horn of Salvation Ministries opened the church's doors November 2013. He said he didn't have a problem until he painted the building, hung his signs and opened an emergency food bank.

On Thursday, the city's fire inspector issued the church a cease and desist order.

"I'm out of business," said Burgin. "There will be no services here."

Burgin said it also means there will be no Thanksgiving meals given out this year.

"Basically what we do at our food bank is shutdown," he said.

El Galeon will stay in Jacksonville longer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- You have more time to see a Spanish tall ship currently docked in Jacksonville.

El Galeon is visiting The River City for the first time.

The foundation which owns the ship has announced el Galeon will be open to tours in Jacksonville through Tuesday.

Active military and veterans can get a $5 discount Monday and Tuesday.

It will be open Sunday as well.

El Galeon is a replica of a galleon ship from Spain from the 1500's.

It is docked next to the Main Street Bridge, next to the Hyatt Hotel.

St. Augustine is the ship's North American homeport. El Galeon has been touring the eastern coastline of the United States for the last few months.

For more information, click here.