Local candidate swears off cash donations


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A newcomer to the local political scene is making a risky move in order to try and make a difference.

Jason Tetlak, a Democrat, is running for Jacksonville City Council in district 14, which represents the Riverside, Ortega and Avondale areas.

"I've just kind of decided I don't want to do things the way they've always been done. I want to do things the right way," he told First Coast News during an interview at Memorial Park on Thursday morning.

Tetlak said since moving to the area 15 years ago, he's been making a list of changes he'd like to see made in government.

Then, when Jacksonville failed to pass a comprehensive human rights ordinance, he said he knew he had to run for office.

"I think city hall needs a jolt of energy for somebody's not an insider," Tetlak said in a three minute campaign video online.

JFRD unit reportedly stolen from hospital


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A rescue unit belonging to the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department appears to have been stolen and taken for a ride early Saturday morning.

A security guard from St. Vincent's Hospital in Riverside told First Coast News the incident began at approximately 2:30 a.m. when paramedics were inside with a patient.

The unit was later discovered abandoned a few blocks away on St. Johns Avenue. It was then spotted parked at fire station #5 by a First Coast News crew.

A spokesman for the JFRD would not confirm if the theft took place, saying it would be the responsibility of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office to investigate.

FCN is working to get more information from the JSO.


Memorial Park due for renovations


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- An aging Memorial Park in Riverside will get some major upgrades thanks to a public-private partnership.

The Memorial Park Association is getting money from the city to match their contributions, and $400,000 is now available for park renovations. The Memorial Park Association recently raised $200,000 and the city is matching it thanks to a bill introduced by area Councilman Jim Love.

Tree removal at Memorial Park ignites concern


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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A well-attended boating event has yielded concerns among people in the Riverside neighborhood.

"All of a sudden there were two trucks out here cutting down this tree," said resident Alyce Adkins.

Adkins shared with First Coast News photos that she took of city crews tearing down a historic live oak near the waterfront. The photos show orange "X" marks spray painted onto the tree's bark.

Adkins said, "My first thought was they were going to have a boat race here in June, and this is one of the only places they could put stands."

Man fought off intruder during home invasion


JACKSONVILLE, Fla.-- A homeowner is in the hospital after being attacked during a home invasion. Sgt. CB Shivers with The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said the incident occurred around 2 a.m. Thursday morning in the 2500 block of Post Street in Riverside.

First Coast News talked to the neighbor who called 911. Willie Johnson said he just got home from work when he heard a man knocking on his neighbor's door. Johnson identified his neighbor as 63-year-old Henry Scott. He said the suspect asked Scott to use his restroom and Scott let him in. Johnson said he then heard screaming coming from next door and he called 911.

King Street Farmers Market on "indefinite hiatus"

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- What many say brought the community together, has been shut down.

The King Street Farmers Market used to be held every Wednesday in the parking lot of Intuition Ale Works. It's a chance for local vendors to meet clients and hopefully make money.

An inspector with the City of Jacksonville's Historic Preservation gave the market a Warning Notice of Violation. It read vendors did "have outside sales in a IL zoning district or use not included under permitted or permissible uses ... ." That means, selling goods outside without a permit.

The message behind San Marco, Riverside street art

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Street art has become quite the talk around town, and if you drive through San Marco and Riverside it's hard to miss.

"In Jacksonville a lot of people do things and ask for forgiveness later. So I gave the city a bunch of beautiful art and now I'm kind of asking for forgiveness," explains a local artist who calls himself "Keith Haring's Ghost".

He's speaking out about why he has painted city-owned property without asking for permission.

"This is the way they looked just absolutely destroyed gray box, gray spray paint all over it...I live not far from here and I pull through this area all the time and I'm like those are perfect canvasses," said the artist.

With a bandana covering his face, and wearing a hat and glasses in hopes of concealing his identity, "Keith Haring's Ghost" because he says he doesn't want this to be about him.