Scot Ackerman, M.D., Announces Winners of “Good Deed” Contest

For the second year in a row, Scot Ackerman, M.D., sent the message that good deeds should be acknowledged and rewarded. His “Students Who Care” contest sponsored by First Coast Oncology (FCO) honored two local students for going above and beyond and giving back to their local community.

“Every day, good deeds go unnoticed and often unrewarded,” said Dr. Ackerman, Radiation Oncologist and Medical Director of First Coast Oncology. “I believe complimenting a job well done often prompts even more positive action. That’s why we began the contest in 2009.” Olivia Musselwhite of Jacksonville and Grant Randa of Fernandina Beach, FL were honored in 2009. Musselwhite was a Bolles student and Randa is home-schooled.

The response has been overwhelming and FCO would like to congratulate all entrants on their wonderful good deeds.  “We are fortunate to have such a large community of students who care,” said Dr. Ackerman.

Officer Involved in Early Morning Hit and Run

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Jacksonville Sheriff's officer is in the hospital after an early morning crash. The Florida Highway Patrol said he was involved in a hit-and-run.

Lt. Bill Leeper, spokesperson for FHP, said a JSO officer in his patrol car was southbound on 9A near the Merrill Road exit at around 5 a.m. today when a pick-up truck rear-ended his vehicle. Both drivers lost control and crossed over the median into the northbound lanes, the officer's car flipped several times. The patrol car then came to a rest on the shoulder of the northbound lane of 9A.

The other driver left the scene, driving the wrong way on 9A. That driver then crashed into a road barrier about a mile from the scene of the original crash, said Leeper.

The officer has been transported to Memorial Hospital with non-life threatening injuries; authorities said he was wearing his seat-belt.

135 Arrested in Prescription Drug Trafficking Investigation

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Forty-two people from the First Coast are among the 135 arrested in a multi-agency operation to eliminate drug trafficking.

For 14 weeks, agents throughout north Florida investigated prescription drug trafficking as part of Operation Growing Pains.

Phase one of the operation resulted in the 135 arrests and the dismantling of large-scale organizations.

The initial intent was to identify, disrupt and dismantle any such criminal enterprises.

According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), another phase is in the works to continue fighting the prescription drug problem.

"Clearly the increase in illegal use of pharmaceutical drugs is attacking many Florida communities," said FDLE Jacksonville Special Agent in Charge Dominick Pape.  "Only by a coordinated team approach like this can law enforcement continue to combat this ever increasing threat."

Raines 88, Terry Parker 61

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Raines Vikings defeated the Terry Parker Braves in boys varsity basketball, 88-61 on Wednesday night.

The Vikings DeAngelo Stephens-Bell led all scorers with 31 points. Raines is now 7-0 on the season.

Florida Holiday Travel to Increase 3.1% from 2009

Holiday travel in the state of Florida is projected to increase 3.1 percent this year from 2009, with more than 4.8 million Florida residents taking a trip of 50 miles or more away from home between Tuesday, Dec. 23 and Sunday, Jan. 2. Overall, travel in the U.S. is projected to increase 3.1 percent from last year, with more than 92.3 million projected travelers.

Get to Know the “Five P’s” of Cold Weather Safety

Florida Division of Emergency Management officials are again urging all residents and visitors throughout Florida to prepare for temperatures near or below the freezing mark tonight through Wednesday morning. The National Weather Service has issued a Hard Freeze Warning for all of North and Central Florida, and also for Glades, Hendry and Palm Beach counties.  A Freeze Warning has also been issued for the rest of South Florida. The entire state is under either a Wind Chill Advisory or Warning, depending on the location.
According to Division of Emergency Management Director David Halstead. “It is vital that all residents and visitors remember the “Five P’s” of cold weather safety: Protect People, Protect Plants, Protect Pets, Protect Exposed Pipes, and Practice Fire Safety.”

DCF Launches Mobile Application to Aid Children’s Legal Services

In an effort to use technology to streamline our business process, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) has custom built a mobile application for BlackBerries that allows Children’s Legal Services’ attorneys to update and access files from the courtroom.