News

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.

Top 5 hottest jobs and how you can land one

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Are you looking for work? If you are, keep the following story handy.

Like many people, 37-year-old Ty Harris of Jacksonville, has been looking for work.

"Off an on for about a year," Harris explained.

He's been doing freelance work in client and project management, but is looking for something more permanent, which is why he came to a job fair Monday.

He said the job market is tough, which makes it harder to help his family of two children.

"I've gotten a lot of 'You're over qualified,'" Harris said of his year-long job search.

FCN's David Williams asked Harris "What if we told you, we know what the top 5 most in-demand jobs are in Jacksonville?"

To that, Harris responded "I would be impressed and I would inquire what would that be?"

Father ticketed for son's red light violation

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Gabriel Alexander lives in Baker County and drives a Cadillac. Gabriel Alexander II, his son, lives in Duval County and drives an Acura.

"I don't even drive the vehicle," said Alexander. 

So imagine his reaction when he received a notice of violation for the Acura running red light cameras. The notice was sent to his Baker County home.

"I barely know where that street is that the alleged citation occurred," he said. 

It happened May 28, 2013, 7:14 am. According to the Notice of Violation, the Acura ran the lights at the intersection of Southside Boulevard and Baymeadows Road.

"I tried to show the court that I was at work," said Alexander, "It wasn't me."

But because both father and son name's are on the vehicle registration, the elder Alexander's name is first, the father received the ticket.

"Physically, I was 50 or more miles away," he said. 

Man recovering after gunshot to torso

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- An argument that led to gunfire on the Westside sent one man to the hospital late Sunday night.

Patrol officers with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office responded to the 3000 block of

Dellwood Avenue in the Murray Hill area in response to reports of a person shot.

A victim was found with non-life threatening injuries to his lower torso and transported to an area hospital.

Officers determined some sort of a disagreement between two men had occurred. The men are possibly family members, according to JSO.

The suspect fled the scene and a description is not available at this time.

Anyone who has any information about this shooting is asked to contact the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office at 904-630-0500.

To remain anonymous and receive a possible reward up to $3,000, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.

Westside man found dead by roommate

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Detectives with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office responded to reports of a death late Sunday night.

A man was found dead in his room by a roommate around 11 p.m.

The roommate told police he had not seen or heard from his roommate all day and went to check on him.

Police said there was nothing suspicious about the death and at this point no foul play is suspected.

The cause of death is still under investigation.

The men lived in a home in the 1800 block of Van Wert Avenue in the Murray Hill area.