News

Your guide to First Coast 4th of July celebrations

Firework displays and events scheduled to celebrate the 4th of July holiday across the First Coast. Here's a list of the festivities:

Columbia County celebrates 4th of July

Clay County celebrates the 4th of July

Fernandina Beach celebrates 4th of July

Flagler County celebrates 4th of July

Neighborhood networking site taking off in Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The first of its kind private social networking site for neighborhoods only is starting to take off in Jacksonville.

It is called nextdoor.com, and it started last year in San Francisco.

Co-founder and CEO Nirav Tolia thought there should be an easier way for neighbors to connect.

He said, "Services like Facebook have shown us the value of connecting online with our friends and family. Why isn't there a service that helps us connect with people right out our front door?"

The idea behind nextdoor.com is that neighbors can first connect online, then face to face.

Some neighborhoods have planned parties. Others help each other find lost pets, share contact information and even find a babysitter or orthodontist.

"We know that when neighbors start talking, good things happen," Tolia said.

Hot wedding has Northside couple sweating

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A big day for Darrin and Latressa Hanna turned out to be more than they bargained for.

The newlyweds said their June 8 wedding at the Clarion Hotel at the Jacksonville International Airport left them and their guests sweating out the ceremony and reception.

"Everybody was wiping away sweat ... the groom had a towel the best man was using to wipe him off," said Kim Hardage, who helped plan the big day for her cousin.

Latressa Hanna said the staff did what they could to make them comfortable, but she said fans could not replace air conditioning.

"It just put us in position where we have to have waters, have fans out during the ceremony and reception and people more focused on being so hot than on ceremony," said Hanna.

The groom said he works outdoors and can handle the heat, but for his wedding, he expected the air conditioning to work.

Dreams delayed because of homelessness

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- When you're a teenager, there are some things that are expected: your own bedroom, close friends and big dreams. 

"It has just been absolutely insane and you're supposed to stay positive," said Tabitha, "but sometimes it is just not possible."

Tabitha is 15 and she's homeless. It has been awhile since she has had a permanent address.

"Your home is a homeless shelter and you feel like you can't tell anybody that," she said.

Tabitha, her mom, sister and dad now live at the Sulzbacher Center. For a teenager who has always dreamed of becoming a dancer, her dream is being delayed by her living conditions. 

"When I first got here, they showed us the room. When they closed the door, I fell on the bed and cried," she said.

Sherwood residents want repair warranty honored

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --  It was a big project: rehab 54 homes in the Sherwood Forest subdivision. 

"Now the residents, most of them senior citizens are left holding the bag," said Eunice Barnum.

Barnum is one of those 54 residents selected for home improvement.

"They would come in and do roofing, plumbing, electrical, doors, windows," she said.

Barnum, 57, is also President of the Sherwood Forest Community Association and she said the homeowners are complaining about the work.

"It was shabby workmanship," she said.

The complaints are almost nine years after the project began. It started in 2004 and was led by Housing Partnership of Jacksonville, a nonprofit agency.

"A lot of the people are still having issues with their roofs," said Barnum, "The electrical in their home doesn't work and they're calling me concerning what they're going to do."

First for You: Fix my leaky roof!

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Sylvia McQuay has been watching the weather forecast with a lot of anxiety.

"I'm afraid with all this rain coming up all this week," she said. 

McQuay is afraid of the damage the rains may cause to her Sherwood Forest home.

There are large containers in her dining room and her family room, she said since March the roof has had a leak around the ducts/vents.

"I think it is a very big problem," she said.

In 1992 Sears installed a new air conditioning system in her Sherwood Forest home and the exposed duct system, but after 21 years the ducts started leaking.

In March 2013 McQuay hired D& K duct systems to replace the leaky ducts, the company made her a promise, verbally and in writing.

"He said I would have no more problem with my leaks," said McQuay," he would replace it with all new parts."

Foreclosures directly affect 1 in 10 children

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Meri West loves her North Jacksonville home and would hate to lose it.

"I love it I love it," she said, "Homes are real important to me."

But the house she purchased in 2010 is now in foreclosure. West lost her job and got behind on the mortgage.

"I moved around a lot when I was a kid, I am trying desperately not to do the same with my kids," she said. 

There are several homes in her Panama Park community in foreclosure. She said the past two years have been stressful.

"You're always in the back of your mind wondering what you're gonna do," said West.

What you're going to do, how do you tell the kids.

"I've not actually told my kids," she said, "I don't want to scare them."

West, 52, is the parent of two elementary school age boys.