FCATs Begin Today

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, or FCAT, will be held this week for students across the state.

Kathryn LeRoy, Chief Academic Officer with Duval County Public Schools said there are some simple steps that parents can take to make sure their children are at their best.

  • Get plenty of rest
  • Eat a healthy, filling breakfast
  • Take time to relax outside of school
  • Don't try to "cram" for the test
  • Do not go to school or take the test when feeling under the weather

"There are makeup days," explained LeRoy. 

She said parents should also try to give their children positive reinforcement throughout testing. 

Roofing Industry Questions A Roofing Solicitation

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Usually, the complaints about roofers are from consumers, but this time it is the roofing industry  complaining about a roofing promotion.

It is printed on an 8" x 11" sheet of paper and the words causing concern are: "2012-Roof Stimulus Plan."

Levi Matthews said he was a target of the so-called roofing stimulus plan.

"I'm not sure it is a good plan for the homeowner," he said.

Matthews said his roof is six years old and in great shape, so  the pitch sounded too good to be true.

"They were trying to pressure me to agree and said 'your insurance company would take care of it' and I said no," he said

Simpson Roofing and others in the industry are concerned about the flyer and its promises. 

It claims there's a 2012 Roof Stimulus plan. Roofers say if there is such a plan, it is news to them.

Warm Winter, Rain Bring Mosquito Conditions

JACKSONVILLE, FLa. -- In their home off Heckscher Drive, Don Pellegrini and his wife take in serene views of the St. Johns from behind a shield of mesh.

"They have been tremendously bad this year," Pellegrini said of the mosquitoes. "I don't know exactly where they're coming from."

Richard Smith with Jacksonville's mosquito control believes a flooding at a dredging spoil site across Heckscher Drive is to blame for the current problem.

Despite the unseasonably warm winter giving mosquitoes favorable breeding conditions, Smith said the city will wait to start widespread spraying until their normal time: mid-April.

That decision comes despite 20 cases of West Nile Virus in Duval County last year; one of the highest number of cases in the country.

"You have to worry about something like that," Pellegrini said.

In the meantime, the city is spraying problem areas like the Pellegrini's neighborhood.

Springfield Preservationist: City Municipal Code Restricts Owners

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Springfield is trying to restore its glory days one house at a time, but for some property owners, it is a slow and costly process that ends with the city condemning the property.

"There are a 140 condemned properties and it is a big problem," said Gloria DeVall.

DeVall is a contractor, home owner, and vice president of Save Our Springfield. She said the city's muncipal code hampers their efforts.

"We should be making it easier for people to work here and it is not," she said.

A bone of contention is the unlawful entry provision of the code.

When the city condemns a house, the owner needs city permission to enter his own property -- without it, the owner may be arrested.

"This has made it a lot more difficult to get into properties," said DeVall, "to look at them to determine what needs to be done."

Man Found Shot to Death in Springfield

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Detectives with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office are investigating a shooting death in Springfield.

Sgt. Lonnie Mills with JSO homicide said the shooting happened Sunday evening.

According to Sgt. Mills, police found a male dead inside a vehicle at the corner of Walnut and 4th Streets.

Mills said the victim was in the driver's seat, and the vehicle was in reverse.

He said the vehicle hit a fence at a home.

Mills said detectives aren't sure about the circumstances or the motive for the shooting.

He said detectives do not have a description of the suspect yet.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crimestoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.










High Schools Will Offer Algebra Boot Camp During Spring Break

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - If you've got a son or daughter that is struggling with algebra, here's a chance to catch up.

William M. Raines, Nathan B. Forrest and Atlantic Coast high schools are offering a boot camp for algebra I students during spring break next week.

The four-day learning session will include:

• Understand key algebra I concepts.
• Learning content that will give them a jump start on quadratic equations.
• Understanding how their mindset can impact their academic success.

Classes are scheduled to run from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday,  according to Duval County Public Schools Spokesperson Jill Johnson.

The schools require that students who take part attend all four days.  Students can be dropped off as early as 7:45 a.m. and must be picked up by 2:15 p.m. 

Free lunch and bus passes will be available, said Johnson.