Jim Alabiso: 'I Just Take One Stroke at a Time'

Jim Alabiso: 'I Just Take One Stroke at a Time'

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --  Friends and family cheered as Jim Alabiso finished up a 3.5-mile swim across the St. Johns River.

"I think it's really great what he's doing," said his son James Alabiso.

Alabiso, a competitive open water swimmer, began his river journey in Fleming Island.  Two hours later, his white swim cap could be seen as he made his way into the dock at Walter Jones Historical Park in Mandarin.

"It was wonderful.  It was a lot choppier than I thought it would be, probably the windiest day that we've done this course," said Alabiso.

He was happy to make it to dry land after the long trip trailed by boats for safety.  It was on this same dock, five years ago, that Alabiso made a promise to himself.    

"At that point I said I'm gonna swim across this thing," he said.

But it ended up being more than just a solo swim.  Alabiso wants this to serve as a wake-up call to everyone.

Residents Upset City is not Removing Dangerous Trees

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Donna Perry is outraged that a damaged tree in front of her home on city property has not been removed 13 months after the city tagged it. "It's very aggravating."

The "Xs," usually orange in color, are on trees around the city. The city of Jacksonville uses them to indicate troubled trees that need repairs or that need to be removed.

Perry is angry that the tree in front of her home, which is on city property, has been tagged for removal way too long. "Somebody's going to get hurt.  And that's my main concern."

The Perry family is one of many waiting for the city to take action. According to a city spokeswoman, as of June 28, 725 trees either needed removal or repair. 

Some are wondering why these dangerous trees are still standing, while the city is removing trees that an expert tells us, were not dangerous or damaged on Hendricks Avenue in San Marco.



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Over Resident Protests, New Landfill Approved for the Westside

Over Resident Protests, New Landfill Approved for the Westside

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The traffic, the noise, the smell.

A lot of different reasons why Westside neighbors don't want a new landfill in their neighborhood. 

"I've lived there for 15 years. I don't want it. I don't know who in their right mind, just like I said in there, would want a landfill near their house," said Otis Road resident James Diamatta.

He was one of dozens of people in the neighborhood to speak out against the landfill, which he said will decrease his property value, and hurt the environment.

"Who wants to hear 60 dump trucks a day? On top of the traffic, on top of the fact I gotta work at night, it just don't add up," said Diamatta. 

The Council listened to more than an hour of public comment on the bill, which got heated a number of times.

Is City Taking Too Long to Remove Hazardous Trees?

Is City Taking Too Long to Remove Hazardous Trees?

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --  The city has 600 trees either waiting to be trimmed or removed and some say it is moving too slowly to to get rid of trees that could be dangerous.

We found one on Beauclerc Road, which has an orange "X" in the middle, but has been there so long it is fading.

Independent tree surgeon Gene Bushor said the mark is four months old. "That is too long," he said. "If it was marked there is a reason for it."

The tree is a hazard, he said. "It is dead, dangerous and can cause harm to somebody or something," he added.

Bushor wants to know why it takes the city months to act on a tree that could be dangerous. "Limbs are hanging over the road, broken limbs, no one is doing anything," said Bushor.

Jacksonville's Water Hogs Let Millions of Gallons Go Down the Drain

Jacksonville's Water Hogs Let Millions of Gallons Go Down the Drain

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The average family uses about 6,000 gallons of water a month.  Each person in the house uses 90 gallons a day, and if you think that's a lot, wait until you see how much the water hogs in the city consume.

"Certainly we do have a set of residential customers that use more than the typical customer here," said JEA spokeswoman Gerri Boyce.

Well, what's typical for families in Jacksonville?

Most households are using about 72,000 gallons of water a year.

The top water hog on our list uses 1,489,949 gallons a year. That's 124,000 gallons a month.

"This takes on a life of its own when you're looking at these type of numbers," she said.

Many of the highest water consumers in Jacksonville live in large homes and gated communities, and none of them agreed to talk on camera about their water usage.

Nearly 50 Warnings Issued so far in Jacksonville for Bad Watering

Nearly 50 Warnings Issued so far in Jacksonville for Bad Watering

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --  The city is no longer lenient with those violating water rules.

The city adopted an irrigation ordinance in 2008 in an effort to conserve water. But it wasn't until June 2010 that code enforcers began issuing tickets since the city wanted to give residents time to get accustomed to the rules.

Who's the Biggest Water Hog in Your Neighborhood? JEA Releases List of 50 Biggest Users

"Our rule emulates what the state is doing, to be consistent with the other counties around us and essentially statewide," said Vincent Seibold, chief of the Environmental Quality Division.