Homeowner: City penalizing me for neighbor's dead tree

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Benjamin Cole has lived on Brandywine Street for decades but said the last six months have been very difficult.

"I got physically sick yesterday and as you can see now I am still upset," he said.

Cole said he's upset because Jacksonville City Hall, in his eyes, has failed him again.

"I've been complaining for six months about them coming out to cut this tree down," he said.

Cole lives at 873. The city has a case history for 865 Brandywine. The history shows a city contract was issued on February 18 to cut down the dead tree,but the tree fell before they could do it.

Neighbor will have to sue neighbor for tree damage

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Benjamin Cole said a crashing sound woke him from his sleep early Monday morning.

"It was around four o' clock in the morning we heard something," said Cole, "it sounded like someone was running across the roof.

It wasn't. When Cole went out to check what woke him up, he found it was the crashing sound of his neighbor's tree.

"I've been reporting the problem to the city since November of last year," he said.

He was reporting the condition of the tree and the potential danger. The city's Municipal Code Compliance Division responded because the tree is on private property. If it was on public property, the city's Department of Public Works will remove it.

M.C.C.D. responded to his complaints; a code enforcement officer issued the property owner a citation. When nothing was done to minimize the risk, the city marked the tree for removal.

Northside armed carjacking leads JSO to JAX

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - An armed carjacking at Soutel Food Store Wednesday evening lead the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office to the Jacksonville International Airport.

The victim's car was taken at gunpoint at about 4 p.m. Police learned that the vehicle had a GPS tracker on it, and officers and the air unit used it to track the vehicle to the airport.

Airport police located three suspects from the car, including the alleged carjacker. According to JSO there was no danger to the public or the airport.

There are no injuries or property damage reported.

JSO is continuing to investigate the incident.

Community leaders address Christmas Day melee

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Community leaders united at the Regal River City Marketplace Stadium 14 on Friday morning to address a 600-person strong brawl Christmas Day that took place outside the theater.

Residents, young people, religious leaders, educators, organizational leaders and elected officials joined forces to address the Christmas Day "melee" at the Regal River City Marketplace Stadium 14, which was rushed by a group of juveniles and young adults allegedly trying to force their way into a movie. The group quickly moved outside, and grew in size to a massive 600.

Five people were arrested and several hundred young people were involved.

Community advocate Commissioner Cheryl A. Williams said in a press release, "what was reported to have occurred at Hollywood Theaters is not representative of our young people, our culture, nor our community."

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."

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%.