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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.


In Parade magazine’s annual salary survey, Northeast Florida residents were featured regarding a look at what people earn in a variety of jobs. One of the Northeast Florida residents that was featured, included Jacksonville Presbyterian minister Cindy Benz. She shared that her job feels much less like work when you love what you do.

While Rev. Cindy Benz has been making the hour and 10 minute commute to the First Presbyterian Church of Lake City from her home in Mandarin since this past November, prior to that, she served as an interim pastor for 16 months and commuted to the First Presbyterian Church of Palatka.

Benz states that it can easily take a year – maybe even two – for a church to find a new pastor, so instead of packing and moving to a home closer to her church – she expects it to be like this for a while. However, she does not mind the commute and said that, “it’s fun for me, I get to move around. It suits my nature.”

When Benz saw the salary request survey from Parade magazine, she did not hesitate responding, even though it meant that the whole world would now know how much she made. In fact, she had no problem telling the magazine that she makes $51,125.

Benz states that, “I say, here’s what it is, and here’s what I tithe, which is over and above the traditional amount. I share this because I am grateful to be there and to serve, and because it is a joy and privilege to give.”


In Jacksonville this week, drivers with overdue traffic tickets hanging over their heads can get a break this weekend at Clerk of Courts offices throughout Northeast Florida. This will also allow overdue traffic ticket holders to pay their tickets, as well as court costs, fines, and fees without having to pay collection agency fees that often add up to a whopping 40 percent. Not only that, but people can also have their suspended licenses reinstated, once the bills have finally been paid (in full).

Duval, Baker, Clay, Columbia, Putnam, St. Johns, and Union county’s clerk of courts will also be open to accept payments on Saturday, April 18th, along with Bradford, Flagler, Nassau and St. Johns County’s offices on April 17th. In fact, most of the 67 county clerk of courts throughout the state of Florida are going to be participating in Operation Green Light.

According to Clay County Clerk Tara Green, Operation Green Light “brings relief to citizens who have incurred overdue fines and fees and helps them drive legally again.”

Yet another reason for those who are skilled at racking up tickets to move to Jacksonville, Duval County Clerk Ronnie Fussell stated that, “by opening on a Saturday, we’re making it convenient for those who need it.”

By waiving statutory collections surcharges, not only will the amount owed be significantly reduced, as long as the payment is made in full in cash, money order or credit card, it will restore a suspended license as long as there are no other issues along the way.


In an effort to keep costs down, United Airlines plans to layoff about 66 employees from Jacksonville International Airport. A spokeswoman, Luke Punzenberger, said that this was not an easy decision for the company – but it is a necessary one.

Punzenberger contested that, “this is to ensure our costs are competitive. A lot of our competitors have workforce agreements in these markets that allow them to operate at a more competitive rate than United. This change will enable us to be more cost competitive in markets like Jacksonville.”

The positions most affected include those below and above the wing; such as: baggage handlers, ramp workers, and customer service representatives. Most of the workers facing layoffs have already been made aware, and if eligible, have the option to relocate to another airport in another position.

While the reported layoffs are effective May 17-31, the airline has yet to even respond to the many questions concerning the airline layoffs. The most information they released was in January, when they announced that they were considering cutting up to 2,000 jobs at 28 airports – including Jacksonville International Airport – and planned to outsource the work to various contractors.

The move comes after United’s decision over a year ago, to outsource 600 plus jobs to 12 airports throughout the country. The incident last year mostly affected airports fulfilled by smaller United Express regional flights.

As of late, United was discussing the layoff situation with representatives of the affected workers, the International Association of Machinists, and Aerospace Workers.

If you are moving to Jacksonville and will be traveling by plane, the layoffs should not affect your flights and the prices should remain low as a result.


The continuous growth of Sea Breeze Food Service does not have plans to slow down any time soon; the company has plans to expand its Northwest Jacksonville facility by 16,000 square feet.

The company plans to invest roughly $3.8 million in the expansion, with the hopes of greatly increasing the need for extra space; including: dry and frozen storage, test kitchen, and meeting areas. Not only will the expansion add more physical room, it will also create an additional five jobs to the existing 74 workers the company has employed.

Before Sea Breeze can continue with their plan, the City council has to approve a request for $238,909 from the Northwest Jacksonville Economic Development Fund, for infrastructure and maintenance. The request would help for the expansion, as well as for projects like: connecting the building to the sewage system and repaving Keen Road.

According to Mayor Alvin Brown, “these grant funds will go toward helping them expand their operations and invest in Northwest Jacksonville, allowing them to bring more economic opportunity to this critical neighborhood.”

The company also has plans to request further federal funding in order to help pay for clean-up and remediation. So far, the development fund has allocated funds to two projects since its reactivation. Two of the projects they have already contributed to; include: $583, 587 to First Coast No More Homeless Pets to purchase and renovate property on Cassat Avenue, and $58,220 to the construction of a Church’s Fried Chicken.