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The Outings Project has officially made its way to the Jacksonville community.

The project, explained as “a global participative project, initiated by Julien de Casabianca, a French visual artist and filmmaker. Anyone in their own town can go to their museums, take pictures of portraits with their phones and set them free,” has officially introduced itself to Jacksonville and local art fanatics as well as art professionals who have recently moved to Jacksonville – are excited to be showcased.

This past Saturday, a small group of art fanatics involved with the project, put up six prints of figures found in paintings in the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens’ permanent collection on walls in downtown Jacksonville. By doing this, the project added another city to the list of those involved with the Outings Project, moving initiatives farther than they predicted would occur right now.

Another artist, Dolf James, who has been involved with other public art projects and was the driving force behind the creation of the CoRK Arts District in Riverside, has recently been made aware of the Outings Project and suggested it to Hope McMath, director of the Cummer, as a great project to take part in.

And it’s a great thing that James thought to mention it, as McMath stated that, “we have had an interest since our 50th anniversary in 2011, in putting our images outside the museum and onto the streets.” Previously, those at the museum had thought that pulling off something like this would be too time and cost consuming.

According to James, “the response has been just fantastic,” and as a result, they plan to add more copies of the museum’s artwork to the walls of downtown Jacksonville this weekend. If you are moving to Jacksonville and you are an artist, an art teacher, or even just an art fanatic – be sure to check out the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens and other Jacksonville art galleries that now allow the Outings Project or photo sharing of the art that is displayed.

This past weekend, a Summer Food Program geared towards giving free healthy lunches to children younger than 18 in the Jacksonville area was launched at Philip Randolph Heritage Park.

In fact, Joey Heymann, executive director of the Jacksonville Children’s Commission, went to the Jacksonville City Hall in an effort to request $500,000 in funding for the commission’s summer camp program, which has recently faced budget cuts by the city.

At the park, the program not only gave over 300 Jacksonville youth free meals, it also allowed them the opportunity to explore the one of the city’s firetrucks, dance to music from a DJ, and meet Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback David Garrard. This is not the first time the organization has had an event like this. In fact, this is the 21st year they have been helping give healthy lunches to youth in Jacksonville, and this past weekend marks over 438,000 meals served.

This year notably distinguishes itself from previous years. Instead of food only being available at one location, this year multiple venues have offered up their shop as a place where kids can find meals this summer while school is out. Specifically, over 200 Jacksonville churches, apartment complexes, libraries, schools and day-care centers will have food available until August 7th.

The Summer Food Service program comes in the wake of a huge population of kids not being able to receive their normal free breakfasts and lunches at school due to summer break.

According to Rev. Lee Harris, chairman of the commission’s board, “when school is out, that’s when a lot of children go hungry.”

This year, your local Jacksonville movers are happy to see that so many local children are receiving free meals. If you are new to the Jacksonville area and your child was receiving free meals at school and still needs meal assistance during the summer, check out the Jacksonville Children’s Commission website.

The taxpayers have spoken and they want downtown water taxis in Jacksonville.

It only makes sense that a city on the water would vie for a public means of transportation by boat. While the Jacksonville water taxis offer residents and tourists a unique take on the city, it has not been enough revenue in recent years to keep the company afloat.

In order to keep from going under water, Lakeshore Marine Services, the company that runs the taxis, has announced that it is looking for multiple public partnerships that will allow it to keep operating in the city of Jacksonville. So far, the Florida Times Union and the Jacksonville Jaguars have become “founding partners” and will donate money each year in order to help save the water taxis.

While this is a strong start towards keeping the tradition alive, much more funding is needed if Jacksonville plans on keeping the water taxis as a staple of the city. While taxpayers have made it known that they do not want the water taxis to go anywhere, their recent track record of actually utilizing the alternative means of transportation says otherwise.

Specifically, the company shared that the amount of riders aboard the taxi had significantly decreased since the start of the company on the water. In fact, the taxis had drawn half the amount of riders this year as it had years prior.

As a means of attracting more riders to the water taxis, the option of incorporating sunset cruises into the water taxi schedule has been pitched by the local community. While your local Jacksonville movers and the rest of the community certainly do not want to lose the water taxis, much more funding will be needed in order to keep them afloat.

Those of you planning on moving to Jacksonville, who have preexisting health conditions, BEWARE! Orange Park Medical Center in Jacksonville was recently named one of the most expensive hospitals in the nation, according to the Journal of Health Affairs. The Jacksonville hospital had the fourth highest mark-up over cost of services among the 20 Florida hospitals on the list, and was ranked 8th out of the 50 hospitals in the United States that charge the most for being treated there.

The medical center showed a 1,140 mark-up, which equals out to them charging $1,140 for every $100 in cost. This comes as no surprise in the wake of the 2014 report that revealed that Orange Park Medical Center was the most expensive hospital in the state of Florida, with the same mark-up percentage.

Not only that, but Florida came in second in the country for hospitals with the highest prices, which was based off of Medicare cost reports for the 2011-2012 fiscal year. In the wake of the recent news, Orange Park Medical Center has released a statement stating that the amount that each individual patient pays, varies on the different types of coverage that they have.

The medical center also went on the record stating that it offers little to no-cost care for those with no insurance coverage options. However, in 1997, when Governor Rick Scott was CEO of Columbia/HCA, the company was also accused of fraudulent Medicare billing that exceeded hundreds of millions of dollars. As a result, Scott resigned and Columbia/HCA agreed to pay the federal government over $600 million.

Looks as if the Jacksonville medical center will continue to have similar problems that they once faced back in 1997.

This past week, a supermarket closing has your local Jacksonville movers, along with the rest of the residents of the community, shocked over the recent announcement.

The store met its untimely closing when the police were called to the store in order to investigate other charges from Ameer Issa, who had gone to the store and made several charges with unauthorized purchases using EBT cards.

While the initial felony committed by Issa is what drew the police to the store, while they were there they ended up discovering major problems with the quality of the food inside the store. Specifically, it was uncovered that the way the raw meat were being handled was not at all proper, or in a way that was fit to sell to customers.

While state agencies have begun investigating the supermarket, most people are shocked by the closing of Lawtey Supermarket because it is the only supermarket in the town. Locals have mused that they “thought it was a robbery actually. We don’t get much excitement here in Lawtey.”

Once the agencies began investigating further, they discovered that the supermarket was using expired meat and repackaging it with new dates added to the package.

Mike Starling, a frequent customer of the store commented on the findings, expressing that, “when it first happened, the employees were talking about all kinds of stuff. Homeland Security, this, that and the other. So I didn’t really know, but to hear all of that, it’s very gross.”

Apparently, the discovery of the mishandling of the meat in the supermarket came as a shock to the new owners of the Lawtey Supermarket. The owners had just bought it two weeks prior to the incident occurring, and stated that they were currently trying to figure out what how to overcome this unforeseen obstacle.

A program aimed at keeping local kids out of trouble, has announced that it will be returning this upcoming summer to the Jacksonville community.

Not only is the Rec ‘N Roll completely free, but it will also help out the parents who are not able to take time off of work to watch their kids. Coaches will be in city parks offering guidance and supervision to kids, much like they were last year when the program first started.

When Rec ‘N Roll first started last year, it went on for eight weeks at 10 different parks throughout the Jacksonville area. Most of the parks were in areas with a high-crime rate and by the end of the summer program, crime had declined significantly.

According to Jacksonville mayor, Alvin Brown, “having the opportunity to invest in programs that would target at-risk youth, to ensure that they’re not getting into gangs or participating in criminal activity, I think that’s important.”

Moving forward with this upcoming summer, Rec ‘N Roll will grow from 10 to 18 parks around the city – seven of which are located in the Operation Ceasefire zone. One of the major funders for the program is attorney Steve Pajcic, who donated an upwards of $50,000 in order to help pay for the program.

The program this summer will run from June 15 until August 7, and this year they have included some additions to the agenda. Along with the normal itinerary, the mayor also announced that the Department of Justice would be adding a team to work on helping reduce Jacksonville youth crime.

A group of elementary school students surprised their local police offers with a token of their appreciation for just how hard they work to serve and protect their Jacksonville community.

Students from the Chimney Lakes Elementary School in Jacksonville put together a sweet treat for their police – they put together bags of candy for each officer. Each piece of candy in the bags were intentional – they all stand for something that will help protect the police in the line of fire. Each bag came fully equipped with a note labeled “Survival Kit for Police,” with each piece of candy having a specific meaning.

When taking a peek into the bag, you can expect to find a Starburst for a burst of energy, a Lifesaver in order to remind them of how many times they have been one, a Payday because the officers are not doing their job for the money, Hershey Kisses to remember the students’ love for them, gum so that everyone can stick together, a Tootsie Roll in order to help them roll with the punches, a peppermint patty to keep them cool, a Snickers that will allow them to keep their humor, and a Mounds bar for “the mounds of courage” the officers show on a daily basis.

Needless to say, the police were overjoyed with the elementary students’ thoughtful gifts to them. Other classes in the school have started to put together similar candy bags for other members of the Jacksonville community.

This past Friday, Jacksonville paid tribute to the soldiers who were aboard the USS Stark 28 years ago when it met its untimely death. The ceremony of remembrance was held at Naval Station Mayport, which included several members of the 1987 crew of Stark, along with family members of those who were aboard the ship that day.

In total, 37 soldiers died while on patrol in the Arabian Gulf when the ship was hit with two missiles. In lieu of all of the damage that inevitably occurred that day, the crew managed to save the ship. The USS Stark was officially retired in 1999, which is also when the first ceremony was held in its honor.

As a way of keeping the memory alive of the bravery that the crew from the Stark demonstrated that day, they have made sure to make the memorial a yearly tradition.

According to Bill Austin, of the Naval Station Mayport, “I think it’s very important to continue the tradition of honoring those shipmates that fell during that time. There was loss and we need to honor that loss and sacrifice and we do that every year here at Naval Station Mayport. We ring the bell for each sailor that was lost. It’s a very solemn ceremony but it’s a tribute that we will continue to do here and rightfully so.”

Serving as a panelist during “Spotlight on Innovation: Health Care” – a discussion organized by the law firm Gray Robinson, about technological innovations in health care in Jacksonville, University of Florida doctoral student Ed Buckley (set to complete his doctorate in health behavior) was looking for venture capital to support peerFit, his second health technology company. In addition to peerFit, he also founded Wellness2Go in 2007, a company that rewards people who engage in healthy activities.

While not much money was raised during One Spark 2013, Buckley made a contact that ultimately led to him receiving financial backing from Florida Blue’s Healthbox initiative, along with funding from Florida Blue and from the Florida Institute for Commercialization of Public Research. From that funding, Buckley, along with a group of UF graduates and students, launched peerFit – which gives members access to more than 100 boutique fitness studios in Florida, including about 25 studios in Jacksonville. As a matter of fact, insurance companies such as Florida Blue, have begun to recognize that finding innovative approaches to disease prevention may, in fact, be worth funding.

One of the main messages presented throughout the entire discussion and movement, is that technology will be necessary in order to advance health care and the way that doctors obtain information. Buckley wears a FitBit on his wrist that is able to track his activity; such as: steps taken each day, food intake, weight gains and sleep patterns. For iphone users, Apple has started an app that does essentially the same thing – tracks the number of steps taken along with various health indicators.

This past weekend, the One Spark festival had about 300,000 attendees, who cast 117,000 votes for many of the 537 creators who took part in the weeklong event. The competition for most money raised had many of the competitors getting excited – especially those who were selected to compete to show off their propositions for new projects to raise money for the charities they were representing – although only six out of 24 competitors could win.

While some found being selected to participate in the competition to be stressful, others had been preparing for quite some time for the event – at least that was the case for Patrick Breslen, owner of Optimal Bagging, an invention that allows “the fastest way to change the trash. Guaranteed.” The Jacksonville native had been working on his invention for the past five years, with some of his other friends.

While he definitely does not deny that winning the extra prize money would be beneficial, the overall exposure and feedback he received from festival attendees as well as connections made, were worth well more than the money.

According to Breslen, “to know that people like the product, that’s what we are here for. Not to win the money.”

Although, winning must have felt awfully nice, seeing as how his invention ended up winning.

While one winner said she plans to distribute her product to all the counties in Northeast Florida, Brelsen states that the winning money will be used to make moves to file patents and fly to see distributers.