Mayor Brown Introduces Government Reform Proposal

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Mayor Alvin Brown is continuing his promise to reform how the city does business.  

Addressing the Jacksonville City Council this afternoon, the Jacksonville mayor outlined his three-part Government Reform Proposal.

The three parts focus on a government that is efficient, economically competitive and works better for its citizens, he said.

"I want to make government more effective and efficient," Brown began, saying the $60 million budget deficit this year may be smaller than next year's deficit.

His budget, "did not raise taxes or fees or tap into the city reserves," he said. Brown said it would take a "smarter, more cost-effective" government to be "more responsive for the good of our citizens."

Brown referred often to a common theme throughout his administration: public-private partnerships.

After Weather Delay, USS Roosevelt Returns to Mayport

MAYPORT, Fla. --  After a slight delay due to bad weather in the Atlantic, the USS Roosevelt  returned to Mayport this evening.

The ship was scheduled to return Sunday morning, but rough seas changed plans. The more than 300 sailors on board USS Roosevelt were on a 7-month deployment conducting
maritime security operations.

While on the mission, the ship traveled more than 39,000 nautical miles and operated throughout the Mediterranean with NATO ships conducting piracy operations in the Somali Basin.

Dozens of friends and family members packed Mayport as the ship made it to the pier by 5:30.

Athlete of the Week: Christian Dicks, Providence School

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Providence football coach Bobby Raulerson has some high praise for his running back Christian Dicks.  Raulerson recently called Dicks "the greatest athlete to come through this school."

Other athletes who have graduated from Providence School of Jacksonville include West Virginia linebacker Isaiah Bruce and current college basketball players Patric Young (Florida), Stacey Poole Jr. (Kentucky), Will Cummings (Temple), Wayne Martin (UCF), and JP Kuhlman (Davidson).

Dicks scored three touchdowns in the Stallions' 48-0 win over Bishop Snyder this past Friday.  Although he is a talented football player who has played a big part in the program's success the last few years, Christian's future is in a different sport.

Last week, Dicks signed a letter of intent to play baseball at the University of Florida.  He is an outfielder who batted over .400 and hit 8 home runs for the Stallions last season.

Mike Tetlow Remembered by Thousands as Inspirational Teacher

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. -- This week's Teacher of the Week is a tribute to a very special man.

Mike Tetlow taught in the Jacksonville area for more than 20 years.

The St. Paul's Catholic School teacher passed away this weekend. 

Tetlow was paralyzed in a car accident 18 years ago, but those who knew him said he never let limitations affect his teaching. Instead, he was an inspiration to his students.

"He has impacted thousands and thousands of students, both by his teaching and his humor," explained Krissy Thompson, the assistant principal at St. Paul's Catholic School. "But just by the inspiration that he's been and how he has taught and instilled in all students that there is no such thing as limitation. That you can do anything you set your mind to."

First Coast News received dozens of nominations to honor Tetlow as Teacher of the Week.

Fatal Crash on I-95 North After Car Flips Several Times

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. -- The Florida Highway Patrol is on the scene of a fatal accident that shut down Interstate 95 northbound in between U.S.1 and S.R. 206.

The crash happened around 2:15 a.m. and blocked northbound traffic entirely for more than 4 hours. All lanes have since been reopened.

According to a First Coast News source at the scene, it was a two-vehicle accident and one of those vehicles, a red truck, flipped several times before rolling off the interstate, ejecting two passengers.

The source tells us one male was pronounced dead at the scene and the other passenger was flown to Shands in critical condition.

The passenger of the other vehicle involved was not injured.

Coupons for Troops

JACKSONVILLE -  Here's a way you can support military families here at home and overseas with your active and expired coupons.

Troopons, the coupons for troops program, helps military members and their families stretch their dollars. Active coupons go to U.S. military bases.  Expired ones go to overseas bases and can be used for up to six months after they expire.

Send your active manufacturers coupons to 'Active Troopons,' P.O. Box 231, Whiting, Indiana, 46394.

Send your no more than 90 days expired coupons to 'Expired Troopons,' P.O. Box 430, Whiting, Indiana, 46394.








Ken's Top 10 Home Improvements that Add to Your Home's Value

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A home is still a sound investment, but just because you spend $20,000 on a home improvement project, doesn't mean your home will be worth $20,000 more.

Remodeling magazine has researched which home improvement projects have the biggest pay-off. Here are my top 10 ways to get the most from your home improvement project.

Number 10:

If you have enough room in the attic, turn it into a bedroom. The cost is about $42,000, but you will recoup 68 percent or $29,000.

Number Nine:

You've always wanted a master suite addition. In Jacksonville, it will cost about $90,000, but you'll recoup 65 percent or nearly $60,000.

Number Eight:

Replacing the vinyl siding on your home will cost $9,500, but you can recoup 66.6 percent or $6,300.

Number Seven:

Crash Involving JSO Cruiser Injures One

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A crash involving a JSO officer left the driver of another vehicle involved in the crash with neck and back injuries, according to Lt. Bill Leeper with the Florida Highway Patrol.

Troopers responded to the call just before 8 p.m. at the intersection of Blanding Blvd. and Collins Rd., and Leeper said the officer involved in the crash wasn't hurt.

One person went to Orange Park Medical Center from the scene, according to Jacksonville Fire and Rescue spokesman Tom Francis.

A man who was driving one of the wrecked vehicles told First Coast News that a female officer driving an unmarked JSO unit suddenly t-boned him as he crossed Collins.  He said he did not see the officer coming until she hit him.

Jacksonville Pays Lobbying Firm $120,000 to Fight for Funding

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --  Have you ever heard of Patton Boggs? 

The lobbying firm in Washington, D.C. calls the city of Jacksonville one of its clients, and so far this year, the city has paid $120,000 for Patton Boggs to lobby for everything from security funding to housing initiatives even the high speed rail.

Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown said a lobbyist is a priceless investment in moving Jacksonville forward. 

"I believe we have to have the best in Washington. It's very competitive. We are working a lot of critical issues, and I think it's very important for our city," said Brown.

Michael Binder, an assistant professor of political science at the University of North Florida, said Jacksonville is one of about 1,500 cities lobbying at the federal level.