Articles from Jacksonville - local

Earl M. Johnson Sr. helped lead consolidation push, but later had doubts

He could have been mayor. Most people told Earl Johnson that.Think of it: the first black mayor of Jacksonville, his adopted city, the city he fought in court as an NAACP attorney, pushing it to give up on racial segregation. The city where he met, in his family’s house, with Martin Luther King Jr. to plan civil-rights demonstrations in nearby St. Augustine.In the mid-1960s, Johnson knew that becoming mayor was a distinct possibility, especially if Jacksonville’s black […]

Helping a stranger: 'This world is not as broken as everybody says'

This is it, Nancy Jo Backman thought as she struggled in the current of the Ichetucknee River. This is how I am going to die.Exhausted and out of breath, she clung desperately to her rafting tube. She could barely kick her legs. She could give only weak cries for help. Her daughter and goddaughter were long gone, taken up by the current and swept merrily downstream as Backman fought and fought to get out of the weeds, slippery tree roots and and mud on the riverbanks.She […]

Ex-Clay teacher faces child pornography charge

A former Clay County teacher who federal investigators say used the screen name “Mr. Fireball” is charged with distributing child pornography over the internet to an undercover Orange Park police officer who posed as a 14-year-old.Christopher Shawn Potter, 49, of Jacksonville is accused of sending a video depicting a young child being sexually abused and one of himself performing a sexual act to the officer, according to a criminal complaint filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office. […]

Middle school volunteer arrested on child porn charges in Nassau County

A 40-year-old woman who volunteered at a middle school in Nassau County is facing child pornography charges after she was arrested Wednesday, according to the Sheriff’s Office.Ligia Roth of Windridge Road in Bryceville turned herself in Wednesday after an investigation that started in August, according to her arrest report.Investigators met with a minor who said he met Roth when she was volunteering at Callahan Middle School, according to the report. He told authorities they […]

Child dies after choking on toy at Jacksonville daycare center

A 1-year-old boy died Friday after he was rushed from a Jacksonville daycare facility the day before after choking on a toy, according to the Florida Department of Children and Families.Officers responded to Wolfson Children’s Hospital on Thursday about 3:30 p.m. in reference to a child-abuse call, according to a Sheriff’s Office incident report. The boy’s parents were not at the hospital, but a doctor told police he was in critical condition and suffering from major brain damage. […]

Mark Woods: Is this the right plan for downtown?

For everyone who has been waiting for big news about downtown Jacksonville, this was quite the week.The city took steps toward a new convention center and a revived Berkman II.This is where we start celebrating, right? Maybe break out the confetti, welcome the cranes, raise a glass to a city on the rise.Not so fast.To start with, there is the city’s price tag: $36 million of incentives for the Berkman development and — take a deep […]

Good News: Wells Fargo employees spread good will

Last Saturday was Wells Fargo’s Day of Service in Florida. Thousands of bank employees completed about 130 community service projects across the state.The company said it will announce over $400,000 in grants to Florida nonprofits as a result of the effort.The projects included feeding the homeless, cleaning up beaches and public parks, and environmental restoration. Locally, Wells Fargo volunteers assisted the Jacksonville Urban League with the […]

Man in wheelchair dies Thursday after getting hit by SUV in Clay County

A 57-year-old man in a wheelchair died after he was hit by a sport-utility vehicle in Clay County on Thursday night, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.The unidentified man from Orange Park was crossing Blanding Boulevard near Belmont Boulevard outside the crosswalk about 9:50 p.m. when 34-year-old William Lambe of Clearwater struck him with a Toyota Highlander, according to the Highway Patrol.The victim was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.Joe […]