News

Nonprofit's mission is 'Enroll America' in Obamacare

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Affordable Health Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare is the law. If you're now uninsured, you must have health insurance by 2014. That said, the program's deadlines, the various plans and who is eligible have left many confused.

"There is a lot of people who don't understand what their options are," said Tony Penna.

Penna, a former insurance executive is with Enroll America, a privately funded nonprofit that is trying to spread the word about the Affordable Care Act.

"The biggest challenge is how many people in Duval, Clay Nassau and St. Johns who don't have insurance," said Penna, "There about 300,000 people."

Enroll America staffers are now knocking on doors, making calls to spread the word out.

"About 39 percent of the people in Florida who are eligible for insurance think that the law has been repealed," he said, "It has not been repealed."

Did Obamacare fail woman with pre-existing condition?

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Helen Ferguson, 66, has a lot of questions about the Affordable Care Act.

"I'm sorry but it bothers me," said Ferguson.

Ferguson has a pre-existing health condition; she's a heart patient and she's a dialysis patient.

While Medicare covers about 80 percent of her health care needs, her case worker told her she is the perfect candidate for supplemental health insurance policy under Obamacare.

Open enrollment under the Affordable Care Act began this month and one of its position statements is that no one will be denied coverage for a pre-existing condition.

"I called the number she gave me and was surprised," said Ferguson. 

The number took her to Florida Blue and Ferguson said when she tried to apply for coverage, supplemental plan F, she was told she does not qualify and why.

JAA: Passengers may not notice security increase at JAX

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Passengers at Jacksonville International Airport said they didn't notice a big increase in the number of police officers on Wednesday. David Olsen was flying home to Dallas and said he was surprised.

"To tell you the truth, yeah, I expected more police," he said.

The discovery of two suspicious packages shut the airport down for several hours Tuesday night. Zeljko Causevic, 39, was booked into the Duval County Jail at 1:30
a.m. Wednesday following an arrest by the JAX Airport Police.
Authorities say Causevic was arrested at JAX Airport after he allegedly
told security screeners he had a bomb in his backpack but they only
found an electronic scale and batteries.

Collapsed wall near ditch could pose problem for students

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Every day, the children attending Highlands Elementary travel along an uneven sidewalk on DePaul Drive.

"They run up and down this sidewalk all the time," said Troy Jacobs.

Jacobs doesn't have any children in the school, but he is concerned about their safety.

"It wouldn't take much for one to trip and fall over in there," he said.

Jacobs said over the weekend, one of the head walls that supports the crossing beneath the sidewalk collapsed, creating a potential danger for the kids.

Grace Gwaltney lives near the ditch and has watched the wall over the years slowly fail.

"The other side is starting to really slope and there are cracks," she said. "The other side is going to fall."

She's not an engineer, by any means, but she knows her community.

"I've been here since 1963 and it has never been like this," said Gwaltney.

Scott approves funding, improvements for JAXPORT

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Governor Rick Scott approved $14.8 million in bond funding for JAXPORT on Tuesday. 

The money will go towards Blount Island terminal improvements, wharf rehabilitation, tenant building improvements, rail improvements and drainage upgrades and repairs.

The approval was a portion of the $150 million that Gov. Scott and members of the Florida Cabinet approved to finance projects at Florida ports.

Port Everglades, PortMiami, Port Manatee and Port Panama City also received project funding approval. 

"This $150 million investment in Florida ports will strengthen Florida's role as a hub for global commerce. Florida's ports support international trade and domestic manufacturing, and create jobs for Florida families. With this investment, we will continue to position Florida as a leader in global trade and commerce," said Scott. 

In total, 16 projects will be funded under bond proceeds.

Playground near unsecured retention pond

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jasmine Valentin lives near Ken Road and 103rd street, close enough to realize that a playground feet from a retention pond is an accident waiting to happen.

"I've been complaining to the people around the neighborhood," said Valentin, "how can you have a retention pond next to the park with no fence."

Valentin has no children, but her maternal instincts are screaming at what she sees.

"It is crazy, it is irresponsible," she said. 

The pond is near McGirts Village, an uncompleted townhome community, that sits between busy its between busy 103rd and quiet Firetower streets; the playground sits less than than 50 feet from the retention pond.

"I've seen the results of this when nobody is paying attention to things like this," said Karen Ketchie.

Ketchie is a parent, a disaster management consultant, and an emergency room nurse.

Real ways to help you find a job and other resources

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Shawntray from the Westside asked the On Your Side team a question.

He said he recently lost his job as a security guard because he was sick and can't find work. Shawntray said he lost his home and he's afraid he'll lose his car. He wants help.

Shawntray, here is what you do:

1) Get your hands on a phone in the area of Northeast Florida and dial the United Way's 211. It is a referral source that will refer you to places for emergency financial assistance, food, shelter and clothing and a lot of other service.

2) Call the company that you make car payments and explain your situation. Ask if some payments can be deferred.

3) Go to a place like WorkSource Florida. They have offices across the region They will help you or anyone looking for work Find a job. Call 904-356-JOBS for more information.