Traffic calming devices can be ineffective

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --  First Coast News has been exposing local hotspots for speeding all this week in To Catch A Speeder on Good Morning Jacksonville.

First Coast News received complaints from viewers about speeding issues in two neighborhoods with traffic calming devices like speed humps.  One neighborhood is the Chapelgate subdivision in Mandarin.  The second is near the intersection of Terry and Dean Roads on the south side.

In Chapelgate, there are speed humps with speed limit signs that say 15 miles per hour.  The signs are yellow and black, meaning they are only a suggested speed for drivers.  Legally, the neighborhood speed limit is 30 miles per hour, which is posted on black and white speed limit signs.  One driver said the difference can be confusing.

"You don't really know what you're supposed to be doing if you don't know the difference," the driver told First Coast News reporter Jacob Long.

Community Sponsors

Are you interested in promoting your business to local customers?

Sales and construction of apartment complexes soar

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A bright spot in our local economy: Sales and construction of apartment complexes have been strong over the past couple of years.

You have probably seen the construction around town. New apartment complexes are popping up, slowing taking over empty plots of land. Broker Batey McGraw has been involved in a number of these local projects. 

"It was a rapid ascent from a bottom, back to a normal level again," he said.

The numbers show a sharp increase in building. In 2010, there were zero building permits for apartments. In 2011, there were 13 new permitted projects, totaling 372 units. Last year, a massive jump to 104 permits, which translated to 2,928 new apartment units.

State Farm eying changes that could involve Jacksonville operations center

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- State Farm, the country's biggest insurer, is eying changes in the way it does business and it could include reshuffling jobs at the company's local operations center.

Employees learned this week that State Farm is exploring where it places people to serve customers. The Jacksonville Operations Center in Baymeadows is a call and claim center that has been in the city since 1977.

State Farm would not provide details on how many people work in the Jacksonville center.

In a prepared statement the company said, "Today, we are continuing to use our Jacksonville Operations Center facility to support our work and serve customers. Our review is ongoing."

Michal Brower, State Farm spokesperson for Florida, added in the release that the company is looking to ensure employees are in the right places to provide the best services.

Man's window problem is a reminder to always keep your warranty

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- College professor Steven Stoll has a problem that is too big for the classroom; it is in his home.

"It bothers me that people don't care about the quality of their work," he said. "It is probably a five-minute repair.

Stoll had four windows installed in his home. Three of them are not working properly.

"The fourth one might be a problem because I never use it," he said.

The windows were installed about two years ago by Weatherwise, a company that does window replacements. 

"I was very happy," said Stoll. "They did it all in one day."

But now, two of the windows are not locking properly, and a third is locked tight.

"It came off the thing, so it is completely jammed," he said.

Stoll doesn't have his warranty, but said he's made several attempts to reach the company and can't.

Community Sponsors

Are you interested in promoting your business to local customers?

Man accused of stealing $23K worth of cell phones from employer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Police have arrested a manager of a cell phone store for allegedly stealing forty cell phones valued at more than $23,000, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

One of two owners of the AT&T store at 10131 San Jose Blvd. called the Sheriff's Office and told deputies one of his employees stole forty cell phones from the company over the past four months.

Police arrested Darren Pith, 34, and charged him with employee theft of $20,000-$99,000. 

The store owner said the suspect was transferred to manage the store at 13280 Old St. Augustine Rd. prior to them realizing he stole the phones from the other store.

Police say they interviewed Pith who told them he took the cell phones and sold them to a white male called Mike in the parking lot at Baymeadows Road and Old Kings Road. He told police he found Mike on Craig's list. Police say he wrote a statement admitting to taking the phones.

Brian Braddock introduced as new head football coach at Mandarin

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Mandarin High School has a new head coach.  It's former St. Augustine High School defensive coordinator Brian Braddock.

Braddock was introduced as the Mustangs new coach on Monday evening. He replaces Robert Dean who resigned at the end of this past season.

Two charged in fatal bonfire fight

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office has made two arrests in the bonfire fight that claimed the life of 19-year-old Ryan Scott Ford of St. Augustine.

Christopher Hoffman, 25, of Jacksonville was arrested Saturday and charged with manslaughter.

Robert Lloyd Cline II, 22, of Jacksonville was also arrested Saturday and charged with battery.

A JSO report says after several fights started at the bonfire in the woods at the 14500 block of Old St. Augustine Road, a witness observed Cline punching the victim.

The report also says witnesses saw Hoffman punching Ford several times until he fell to the ground.

Police say Cline admitted to punching the victim.

First Coast News tried to speak to him Sunday afternoon, but family members said they had no comment.

Ford was unconscious and taken to a nearby hospital, but later died from his injuries.