- 2014 - January - 29th -

City Notes

Governor stops by Metro Diner

Gov. Rick Scott stopped by The Metro Diner last week after making a budget-related announcement in Jacksonville. The governor spent time talking with the restaurant's customers.

Annual Wolfson Children's Hospital fundraiser is Saturday

Paul Wilson, a 55-Mile Ultra Marathoner, with his son, Luke, founded the Wolfson Children's Challenge (formerly called One to Grow On). Luke was born with spina bifida, which was repaired at Wolfson. The annual fundraiser for the hospital is Saturday at Bragan Field at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. Events include the 55-mile ultra marathon, 5-mile ultra relay and 1-mile at 10 a.m. There will also be visits from dogs with the hospital's auxiliary pet therapy program; an "Ask the Pharmacist" event; and appearances by Wolfie, the hospital's mascot, and Southpaw, mascot for the Jacksonville Suns.

UNF rated among the country's Top 75 Best Value Colleges

For the fourth consecutive year, the University of North Florida is among the nation's Top 75 "Best Value Colleges," according to The Princeton Review.

The 2014 list names 150 colleges — 75 public and 75 private — the education services company identifies as "Best Values" based on surveys of 2,000 undergraduate institutions in 2012-13 concerning academics, cost and financial aid rewards.

"We take great pride in being nationally recognized by some very elite organizations for delivering an exceptional education at an exceptional value," said UNF President John Delaney.

UNF was the only Northeast Florida institution to make the list and is among six Florida public universities in the state to be featured on the annual list. The others are the University of Florida, Florida State University, University of Central Florida, New College of Florida and University of South Florida.

Towler reappointed to community service commission

Susan Towler, of Jacksonville, was reappointed to the Florida Commission on Community Service by Gov. Rick Scott.

Towler is the vice president of the Florida Blue Foundation. Her term ends Sept. 14, 2016.

The governor announced three other reappointments and two appointments to the commission.

The appointments are subject to confirmation by the Florida Senate.

Children's Commission, symphony providing education experience for 4-year-olds

The Jacksonville Children's Commission and the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra will present two days of music education experiences for more than 100 4-year-olds from local early learning centers with "Mole Music," a mini-concert centered on a piece of literature.

There will be performances at 9:30 a.m. and 10:15 a.m. today and Thursday in the Children's Commission multipurpose room, 1095 A. Philip Randolph Blvd.

A string quartet will tell the story through music, and the children will be introduced to the musicians and their instruments.

The program combines an exposure to the arts and music along with literacy activities to create a fun and valuable learning experience for some of Jacksonville's youngest learners.

Using literacy strategies to increase each child's vocabulary, background knowledge, oral language and listening skills, the teachers have implemented the lesson plans with activities involving skills in rhyming, print awareness, letters, math and art all based on the Voluntary Pre-K state standards. The concert will end with the children playing cardboard instruments they created in their classrooms, in concert with the JSO quartet.

Need help with your taxes? Here's how to get it

Multiple Jacksonville Public Library locations will host tax preparation assistance, offered by the American Association of Retired Persons Foundation and the United Way of Northeast Florida's Real$ense.

Last year, more than 7,000 people received tax preparation assistance and filed 4,759 tax returns through the program.

Assistance will be offered at select libraries Feb. 1 through April 12, though the schedule will vary by location.

The schedule is:

• Main Library, 303 N. Laura St.: Saturdays 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Feb. 1-April 12. (No session March 15 due to the Gate River Run.)

• Beaches Regional Library, 600 Third St., Neptune Beach: Tuesdays, 1-4 p.m., and Wednesdays. 1-4:30 p.m., Feb. 4-April 9.

• Bradham Brooks Branch, 1755 Edgewood Ave. W.: Tuesdays, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Feb. 4, 11 and 18, March 4, 11 and 18, and April 1 and 8; Tuesdays, 2-5 p.m., Feb. 25 and March 25; and Thursdays, 2-6 p.m., Feb. 6-April 10.

• Pablo Creek Regional Library, 13295 Beach Blvd.: Thursdays, 2-6 p.m., Feb. 6-April 10.

• Regency Square Regional Library, 9900 Regency Square Blvd.: Tuesdays, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Feb. 4-April 9, and Saturdays, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Feb. 1-April 12.

• South Mandarin Regional Library, 12125 San Jose Blvd.: Tuesdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Feb. 4-April 8.

• Southeast Regional Library, 10599 Deerwood Park Blvd.: Wednesdays, 1-5 p.m., Feb. 5-April 9.

• University Park Library, 3435 University Blvd. N.: Saturdays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Feb. 1 and 8, and Saturdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Feb. 15-April 12.

• Webb Wesconnett Library, 6887 103rd St.: Fridays, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Feb. 7-28, and Fridays, noon to 4 p.m., March 7-April 11.

JU's MBA program makes Tier One list

Jacksonville University's Master of Business Administration program ranks No. 14 globally, making it a Tier One program in a newly released international list that analyzes "student value" as one of its main criteria.

The 2013 Winter MBA Rankings, released by the International Graduate Forum and published in the January 2014 CEO Magazine, examine the worth and effectiveness of MBA programs to potential students by evaluating factors including faculty quality, student-to-faculty ratio, diversity, student work experience, cost, accreditation and class size.

The IGF rankings examine business schools accredited by the international Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the longest-serving global accrediting body for business schools that offer undergraduate, master's and doctoral degrees in business and accounting. JU's Davis College of Business received AACSB accreditation in 2010, an honor earned by less than 5 percent of the world's business schools.

"What is most powerful about being ranked 14th in the world is that one of the main criteria for the CEO Magazine survey is value for the tuition dollar," said JU Business Dean Don Capener. "With tuition of $660 per credit hour, JU's value made it stand out among the finest business schools. The vast majority of our business students graduate with less than $10,000 of debt, and the entire JU MBA program, including fees and books, is less than $26,000. That compares to up to $60,000 for our major competitors, and more than $100,000 for most AACSB-level institutions."

FEMA grant used to hire 67 firefighters

The city and Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department have been awarded a $5.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and FEMA to hire 67 firefighters. FEMA, in partnership with the U.S. Fire Administration, will provide the funds from the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant program to fill the 67 vacancies for two years. They are positions that have been vacated because of attrition the past several years.

"With the valuable federal support, we can put additional trained, front-line firefighters on the job to protect residents and businesses in our community," said Mayor Alvin Brown.

Legislation to accept the funds must be approved by City Council.

Ritz announces spring line-up

The Ritz Theatre and Museum has announced its spring lineup for its Saturday Jazz Jamm series that begins Saturday. Jazz saxophonist Kirk Whalum will headline the first show, followed by guitarist and vocalist Nick Colionne on March 1. In addition to Colionne, composer and lyricist Rachelle Farrell will be featured.

The series concludes April 5 with jazz violist Ken Ford. Each concert features two performance times, at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.

For more information and tickets, visit ritzjacksonville.com.

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