Jacksonville is blessed with several historic neighborhoods notable for their history — and for the activism of their residents.
Riverside-Avondale, San Marco and Springfield come to mind as neighborhoods where committed residents are relentless in advocating for the quality of life of their surroundings.
Other neighborhoods in this large county, some with equally important histories, do not have residents with the expertise to advocate effectively.
In some cases residents struggle with poverty. In others, they may not have the will or the ability to work the levers of government.
That’s where the city’s Neighborhoods Department comes in. It oversees animal care, environmental quality, mosquito control, code compliance, consumer affairs and various other neighborhood services.
One of the key jobs of the department is to help neighborhoods develop the kind of effective action that is common in Riverside-Avondale, San Marco and Springfield.
The department is bringing back a community summit this Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Prime Osborn Convention Center.
The free summit will provide residents a chance to get their questions answered. It also will give city officials a chance to listen to concerns of residents.
Among the topics to be covered:
• Public safety.
• Running effective neighborhood meetings.
• Money-saving tips from JEA.
• Keeping your neighborhood clean.
• Code enforcement made simple.
• How to create a neighborhood association.
• Destroying myths about affordable housing.
For more information, go to the city’s website: tinyurl.com/y9lrgeqz
The 17 people who lost their lives in the horrific shooting at a Parkland high school two months ago should never be forgotten for both who they were and the outrage their deaths inspired.
In their memories, their fellow students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have created a heartfelt memorial, dedicating the latest issue of the school’s news magazine, the Eagle Eye, to the students and teachers who died Feb. 14.
“They really wanted to capture the essence of who each person was,” Eagle Eye adviser Melissa Falkowski told The Guardian.
And they have.
The special issue was released on the high school’s campus.
In it readers learned that Alyssa Alhadeff’s favorite sport was soccer and her laugh was contagious. That Nicholas Dwort, a member of the school’s swim team, was a natural storyteller and a role model for others.
And that Scott Biegel, a geography teacher and cross-country coach, lived a life of quiet heroism and selflessness.
The glossy magazine, filled with full-page photos of the 17, turned out to be just the memorial the student journalists had hoped.
“Today while reading this, I cried so hard that I had to walk out of class,” Stoneman Douglas student Lauren Hogg tweeted.
To view a copy of the special edition, go to the Eagle’s Eye website, eagleeye.news. It’s available for free or visitors can add a $10 donation to ensure student journalists continue their outstanding coverage.
Designing safe schools
New schools are being designed to make it difficult for mass shooters, reports The Wall Street Journal.
Since 1990 there have been 32 shootings in schools where at least three people were killed or injured.
Sparse landscaping and windows in front provide views of visitors. Visitors must be buzzed through to the main office. Once there, a government-issued ID card is scanned to alert school officials to people flagged for security.
Wide hallways make it harder to hide or avoid video detection.
Classroom doors have built-in windows, which allow those inside to observe hallway activity but would also allow shooters to look inside. Part of the lockdown procedures is for teachers to cover the windows.
In Florida, Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill that includes $400 million for improvements to school safety and mental health services following the Parkland school shooting.
Nationally, schools go through lockdown and active shooter drills.
The baby boomers grew up with nuclear war threats. This generation of students is living with threats much closer to home.