School district to hold minority business certification workshop

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Minority Business Affairs Office of Duval County Public Schools will host a workshop on how to get certified as a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE).

The workshop will take place Tuesday, January 22 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Historic Springfield Community Learning Center located at 1601 North Main Street. The learning center is located on the second floor of Wells Fargo Bank.

A release from the school district said an MBE is defined as being a business that is at least 51 percent owned, operated and controlled on a daily basis by one or more American citizens who are:

A New Year means new laws for Florida drivers

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.- It is a new year in the Sunshine State and on Florida's roadways there are some new laws in effect.

To start, say you want to flash your headlights to warn other drivers about nearby police.

"Just to alert," said Kim Rolfe, of Jacksonville. "It's just a courtesy to let other driver's know 'Hey, you're about to pass a cop.'"

Before the new year, that was illegal in Florida.

"I did not know that that was illegal!" Rolfe shouted with a laugh. "I thought I was just doing something nice for my fellow drivers!"

As of January 1, 2013, it's now legal, after the state legislature cleared up the law.

"So, it could be a good law to aide in safety," William Lee, of St. Augustine, said Tuesday morning. "So, I think it's good."

If you're ever in an accident, there's another law you should know about. It's about the personal injury protection (PIP) portion of your Florida policy.

Police recover stolen van at abandoned home, searching for suspects

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville Sheriff's Officers recovered a stolen van at an abandoned Springfield home Wednesday after a patrol officer tried to pull the van over and the two men fled.

Officers recovered the van from an abandoned home located near West 8th and Pearl Streets.

Police at the scene told First Coast News the van was reported stolen from Jacksonville's Westside Wednesday morning.

A patrol officer riding near Springfield then saw a van matching the stolen vehicle's description.

When he activated his blue lights and tried to stop the van, which was being driven by two unidentified men, the van sped off.

The van stopped in an alleyway near an abandoned home and a vacant lot.  Police said neighbors told them the two men bailed out of the van and one of them went inside the abandoned home.

When police searched the home, however, they did not find anyone.

Black (Thursday) Friday: Shopping hours

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- As you plot your shopping for Thanksgiving night and Black Friday, here's a list of shopping hours at major retailers across the First Coast News.


Avenues Mall:
Closed Thanksgiving
Black Friday 12am - 9pm

Best Buy:
Closed Thanksgiving
Black Friday Open 12AM to 10PM

Closed Thanksgiving
Black Friday 12AM to 1PM

Orange Park Mall:
Closed Thanksgiving
Black Friday 12AM to 10PM

City surplus property being priced to move

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --The city is a big landowner with property not generating a dime for taxpayers, but soon that could change.

A proposal is being refined at Jacksonville City Hall to entertain bids from private companies to inventory, price and market city property that costs taxpayers money to maintain.

In Downtown alone, there are several parcels, including the former courthouse on river, that are not being used. The courthouse is assessed by the property appraiser as having a value of $19.5 million.

And according to numbers from Debbie Delgado, public communications officer for the mayor's office, electricity costs for the old courthouse were $35,609.22 for July 25-August 24 and $23,876.35 for August 24-Sept. 25.

The city estimates it has 2,600 pieces of property that are not on the tax rolls, with many of them potentially generating money if in private hands.

'Devilish' Dart defies Dodge's '73 name change decision

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The 2013 Dodge Dart is all about gas mileage and economical European sophistication. Higher-end models even feature a gee-whiz reconfigurable dashboard display.

The 2013 Dart is Dodge's first new car with strong dose of Fiat DNA.  It's based on the Alfa Romeo's Giulietta and marks a very different approach than the Darts built between 1960 and 1976.

Several 1970s era Darts were cruising Main Street last Saturday night in Springfield, including David Rapp's heavily customized 1973 Dart Sport.

Rapp, who lives in the Baymeadows area, is one of those Internet pioneers. He bought his Dart nine years ago on eBay when automotive sales on the 'Net were just beginning to gain traction.

Rapp says his Dodge was a basket case and he's been "throwing money at it every since." If you're looking for a classic all-original restoration, this isn't it but if you like head-turning screamers, then Rapp's creation will surely make you grin.

Crusin' Main St after the big game

SPRINGFIELD - Downtown Jacksonville will be packed with people Saturday night for the annual Georgia-Florida game.  After the game, some may be interested in going from the gridiron at Everbank Field to the gears on Main Street.

MORE: Local car shows, cruise-ins and automotive news at First Coast Gears