Help homeless students through holidays

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- When you're a teenager and living in a homeless shelter, a lot goes through your mind.

"You don't want to tell your friends," said Sabon

But many of the teenagers we met who were living at the Sulzbacher Center homeless shelter made it clear than homelessness was not living in them.

These homeless students need help, like warm clothes and school supplies. That's where the First Coast News/I'm A Star HELPing Homeless Students initiative comes in.

Sabon, 17, is a a student at Englewood High.

"I'm doing fine, I have a 3.0 GPA," he said.

Black Friday shoppers, read the ads carefully

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Black Friday is a big day for retailers and for some shoppers it is the best day to find the best deals of the year.

But failing to read the ads carefully can turn a shoppers expectation into disappointment. 

November 22, the Friday before Black Friday 2013, shoppers were drawn to area Walmart stores by a promise to beat its competitor's Black Friday deals a week early.

Nicole Starling was at the Normandy Walmart store before 8 a.m.

"There were probably 10-to-15 of us standing around waiting for the manager," said Starling.

They went to the store, driven by Walmart's promotion which simply said Walmart would, "match select Black Friday offers from Target, Toys R Us and Best Buy one week early."

"It was suppose to be their pre Black Friday big sale," said Starling.

Starling and the others were disappointed when they couldn't get the store to match the prices on certain things.

New numbers show crime is down in Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- New numbers from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement show crime is going down in Duval County.

The Uniform Crime Report looked at crime in the first 6 months of 2013, and compared to the first 6 months of 2012.

In Jacksonville, the report showed a 15 percent decrease in murders, and a little more than a 6 percent decrease in aggravated assaults. 

Overall, violent crimes are down 1 percent. The number of rape victims are up, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said that's in part because of a re-classification.

Business owners in Jacksonville are hoping the general downward trend in crime could change the way some think about the city when it comes to crime.

"Every little bit helps," said Pat Middleton. He's been selling houses in Jacksonville for more than 30 years.

Middleton said his clients ask him about being safe in Jacksonville.

Sisters shot and killed inside Westside home

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is investigating a quadruple homicide on the Westside.

A neighbor in the 1100 block of Randolph Street called 911 after hearing what they said were gunshots around 10:50 p.m. Thursday.

Officers were dispatched, and upon their arrival they found four people with gunshot wounds inside the home. The home is one block off of Cassat Avenue in the Murray Hill area.

Three of the victims were pronounced dead on scene; two men and a woman.

Toxic site clean up at Bethune Cookman Elementary

JACKSONVILLE,Fla. -- Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary was a stronghold in Jacksonville's black community but for the past 12 years it has sat empty, falling apart, and sitting on a toxic site. 

Finally it is being transformed.

"I can say it," said Rhonda Addo. "At last it has been a long time coming."

Three weeks ago the dump trucks and other heavy equipment rolled onto the campus of the aging school to begin removing the toxic soil.

"The city has made good on the remediation they're cleaning up the land," said Addo.

Like several other locations on the Northwest quadrant of Jacksonville, the Bethune site was a dumping ground for contaminated incinerator ash from the 40s to the 60s.

The clean up is simple the crews are excavating and replacing two feet of dirt from affected areas.

Golf tournament helps fight mental illness

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Rudolph Dunnam said for the first time in his 59 years, he knows what it means to have a life.

"Now I consider myself on the path for living," he said. 

Dunnam described it as the best days of his life.

"I have made a 130-degree turn from where I was mind-wise, physically-wise and mentally-wise," said Dunnam. 

He has finally learned to control his mental illness, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia; mental illness that made it difficult for him to even cope with his family.

The big change in his life began when he walked into the building of Northwest Behavioral Health Services.

"If they weren't there I believe I would have probably perished," he said.

Dunnam said now he functions well, he is more sociable, and he's rebuilding those family relationships that were devastated by his mental illness.

"I'm very grateful for them," said Dunnam 

FCN Investigates: What exactly are you paying for at the pump?

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- We are just weeks from the busy Thanksgiving travel season.

But, before you fill up for your trip the On Your Side team has three things you'll want to know before you hit the road. It's part of a First Coast News investigation.

At the gas station, every cent counts.

"I get pretty much what my car gives me," said Michael Bryce, as he filled up the car. "I get around $20 half a tank, $40 for a full tank, $5 for an eighth of a tank."

If you feel like something just isn't right, you might be on to something.

It is Anthony Davis' job to find out

He's one of the petroleum inspectors with the Florida Department of Agriculture.

"We want to make sure that consumers are getting what they're paying for," Davis said.

FCN's David Williams joined him at the Chevron station on New Kings Road for an inspection. Inspections are done at least every 12-14 months, says Davis.