News

Get a free, sober ride home tonight

JACKSONVILLE, FLA-- We want you to get the new year started off safely so put this number in your phone, 885-286-9246.

855-286-9246 is the phone number to AAA's Tow-To-Go program.  You don't have to be a AAA member to use the service, it just gets you a safe, free ride home and saves you from driving intoxicated.

"New Year's Eve is the busiest night of the year for the Tow to Go program because so many motorists seem to be more inclined to use a designated driver but don't always have someone willing to be one in their own party during the biggest celebration of the year," said Gerry Gutowski, Sr. Vice President, Automotive Services, AAA–The Auto Club Group. "We prepare our call center teams and tow truck service providers for weeks in advance, so we can manage the increased call volume that's typical of this time of year."

Mathews Bridge back open after vehicle fire

Updated 5:11 p.m.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Mathews Bridge is open after a Friday afternoon vehicle fire.

According to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, the bridge was closed in both directions earlier.

Police investigating Arlington bank robbery

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office responded to a bank robbery mid-morning Monday.

The incident occurred at the Alive Credit Union in the 6100 block of Atlantic Boulevard in Arlington.

The robbery is under investigation. Stay with First Coast News for the latest on this developing story.

"It is absolutely not true"; Goodwill defends name

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- For the past several years, around the holidays, an email surfaces and questions the quality of the program at Goodwill Industries and the level of salaries.

"Our mission is to employ people," said Tracy Collins.

Collins is Vice President of Public Affairs for Goodwill industries of North Florida.

"Eighty-eight cents of every dollar that is raised through donations and sold in thrift stores goes to our community," she said.

But if you did an internet search on Goodwill you may find an email critical of the nonprofit and how its money is spent.

"These emails have been circulating since 2005," said Collins.

It claims Goodwill's CEO makes $2.3 million a year, Collins says not true.

"The person mentioned in the email does not exist in the Goodwill industries,"she said,"secondly the CEO salary is nowhere near 2.3 million dollars."

Foot Golf comes to Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Foot golf, a mixture of soccer and golf, has come to Jacksonville and is growing in popularity.

Glenn Connelly opened the course at Blue Cypress Golf Club on University Boulevard. It's 18 holes, outfitted specifically to handle soccer balls, built right into the 9 hole course.

"We don't take any more time than they do, so we play right along with them," Connelly said.

They started on December 8 and he says there have been no problems between the traditional and foot golfers.

"I didn't know how the older gentlemen would feel about it," said Kurt Johnson, a UNF student out playing with a couple friends. 

"It's something different, and a lot harder than it looks," he said.

It's a par 68 course, with par 3s, 4s and 5s. 

"We've taken two of the most beautiful sports in the world, golf and soccer, and married them," Connelly said.

Local high schools receive their new grades

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Nearly half of Florida's high schools are getting an A grade for the 2012-13 school year.

The grades released Wednesday by the Florida Department of Education show a slight increase in the number of A graded schools.

But the number of D and F rated schools also went up. There were eight high schools that received F grades as opposed to just three in 2012.

Duval Schools fall short in meeting class size

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Duval County schools made progress this year, but once again fell short of complying with mandated class size limits.

According to a head count conducted in October and analyzed by the Florida Department of Education, nearly 900 Duval County students are impacted by overcrowding.

The Florida Department of Education reported in Duval 1,075 classrooms, out of 21,000, exceed the class limit size.

In Florida, voters approved a class size amendment which states a maximum of 18 kids per pre-k classroom through the third grade, 22 students per class in grades four through eight and 25 students in grades nine through 12.

Duval County School Superintendent Nikolai Vitti says a year ago the district had 20% of classrooms out of compliance and now it is down to 5%.