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Jacksonville International Airport sees gun rates triple, but no arrests since 2004 - 4/5/2014

By Andrew Pantazi, Fri, Apr 4, 2014
jacksonville.com

Each year, more and more Jacksonville International Airport passengers are stopped at security checkpoints with guns, a rate that tripled in just two years, jumping from 10 to 30.

Each time, airport police let the passengers go, fines in one hand and their guns in the other.

Jacksonville Aviation Authority police have not arrested any passengers stopped with guns in a decade because, interim airport Public Safety Director Lt. Mark Stevens said, all of them mistakenly brought the guns with them and had no criminal intent.

Despite the growing number of guns finding their way to security checkpoints, Jacksonville Aviation Authority executive director Steven Grossman said, his complex is safe. The security staff has almost doubled in the last five years, and he argued the airport is safer than ever.

Still, the State Attorney’s Office said if a crime has been committed, it always would review the case and potentially bring charges if police arrest the passengers.

In 2011, 10 passengers at the Jacksonville airport brought guns to the Transportation Security Administration checkpoint, whether in a carry-on or on their body. The next year, security stopped 19 people with guns. In 2013, security stopped 30 passengers with firearms.

Federal Transportation Security Administration officers cannot arrest armed passengers, but the agency does fine them up to $11,000 and up to $3,000 if the guns are not loaded. The officers turn over the guns to airport police with a criminal referral, but it’s up to police to decide whether to arrest the passengers.

In Jacksonville, police detain the passengers and interview them, but if they decide the passengers brought the guns to the checkpoint by accident, they return the weapons. Passengers can then properly store their firearms in checked baggage, store them in their cars or leave the weapons with friends. They are allowed to continue on their flights.

“Somebody who makes a mistake like that, is it really justified that they have an arrest on the record?” Grossman said. “That carries a lot of consequences. A lot of job applications ask if you’ve ever been arrested. Not if you’ve been convicted, just if you’ve been arrested. That seems like a pretty high penalty to pay. If we have reason, we will absolutely arrest somebody.”

The Orlando Sentinel reported last month that Orlando International Airport authorities arrest every passenger who brings a gun, with two exceptions out of 44 last year, according to the police. Orlando police Sergeant Roger Brennan did not return four phone calls, multiple phone messages and an e-mail asking for comment on his agency’s policy.

If it’s obvious the passenger wasn’t trying to sneak the gun past security, Jacksonville’s airport police director Stevens said he doesn’t see why the passenger needs to be arrested. He also wondered how effective Orlando’s policy is.

“Even though you’re physically arresting them, how many cases are you bringing to trial?” Stevens asked.

The Ninth Circuit State Attorney’s Office prosecutor and spokesman Richard I. Wallsh said most of the cases don’t end in a conviction. To convict a passenger, the prosecutors would need to prove the passenger knowingly brought the gun to the airport. Instead, many cases are not prosecuted, or the cases are resolved in a pre-trial diversion program that avoids a conviction.

“Even though people get arrested here, it is unusual that they would get a felony or misdemeanor conviction,” he said.

Just this week, a 49-year-old Ohio woman was arrested on felony charges of carrying a concealed weapon without a license at the Orlando airport in her carry-on bag. Julie Powell said she didn’t realize the gun was inside the suitcase, which she borrowed from her father.

Months after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Transportation Security Administration was formed, along with a ban against bringing guns to security checkpoints. The federal ban, though, only includes civil fines. It’s up to local law enforcement and local and state laws to decide if bringing guns to a security checkpoint is worthy of arrest.

Jacksonville’s airport policy of not arresting passengers is more normal than Orlando’s, according to David Borer, general counsel for the American Federation of Government Employees union that represents Transportation Safety Administration workers. He said he doesn’t accept the idea that passengers brought the guns on accident, and he wants them arrested.

“Fifty people a week show up with a gun at airports around the country. The majority of those guns are loaded,” Borer said. “… With officers assaulted and now killed, the law enforcement needs to do their job.”

He said the union has proposed creating its own law-enforcement agency capable of arresting passengers for violating state or federal law.

Donald Thomas, the local union president and a Transportation Security Administration screener in Orlando, said more guns show up because screeners and the technology are getting better at finding them and more people are carrying weapons in Florida. By the end of March, 1.4 million residents had concealed weapon permits in Florida.

“A lot of people in Florida have guns, and they forget it’s in the bags,” he said. “There are a lot of people who’ve got guns now who aren’t used to having them.”

Borer doubted a passenger could accidentally bring a gun. Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman Sari Koshetz said the agency takes it very seriously when passengers bring guns to security checkpoints.

She pointed out that sometimes passengers use the same bag previously used on a road trip and forget about a gun that was left stowed away.

“As more time has passed since 9/11,” she said, “many passengers have become lax in packing for a flight. The same suitcase may have been used for road trip, so you need to unpack before you pack for a flight. … It is the passenger’s responsibility to know what is in their suitcase.”

Jacksonville Aviation Authority police director Stevens said potential passengers have no reason to worry. “The safety of the flying public is our utmost concern,” he said. “Thirty guns seems like a lot, but we’re catching them and that’s the most important thing.”

Stevens, who has been at the airport police since 2010, said it’s his understanding that from 2001 to 2004, police arrested passengers and the State Attorney’s Office wouldn’t prosecute the cases because there was no criminal intent. In 2004, police stopped arresting passengers unless it was clear they were trying to sneak the guns past security. Asked for a copy of that policy, the Jacksonville Aviation Authority did not produce it, saying that it is sensitive security information.

Jackelyn Barnard, the spokeswoman for the State Attorney’s Office, said the new administration is unaware of the airport policy, and “If charges are warranted, charges will be filed.”

Grossman, the airport’s top executive, said police look for repeat offenders, and to his knowledge, no passenger has brought a gun to the safety checkpoint twice. Comparing the Orlando and Jacksonville airports’ policies, he said, is tricky.

“In my business, the saying is if you’ve seen one airport, you’ve seen one airport. We’re all different,” he said. “We have a pretty simple airport with one checkpoint all passengers go through. We can provide an excellent layer of security rather easily.”

Andrew Pantazi: (904) 359-4310

Source: http://bit.ly/1fTzbCY

Georgia crash puts Arlington residents on edge Advocates still pushing for longer runway at Craig Airport - 3/26/2014

Mar 25 2014
Hailey Winslow, General assignment reporter
News4jax.com

The search for a twin-engine plane that went down 70 miles north of Jacksonville has East Arlington residents again discussing whether or not the runway at Craig Airport should be extended.

Federal authorities said a twin-engine Piper PA-44 flying from Concord, N.C., to Jacksonville Executive at Craig disappeared from radar Monday evening near St. Simons Island.

Neighbors worry after plane crash

The plane is believed to belong to the ATP Flight School, based at Craig Airport.

This comes amid continuing discussions about extending the main runway at Craig Airport from 4,000 to 6,000 feet to allow more business aircraft to use the facility.

"There is no reason that Craig Airport in the last 20 years has not had its runway extended," said Marshall Wood, director of marketing for Malone AirCharter. "It has to happen. There's an economic imperative."

But Greater Arlington Civic Council president and city planner Lad Hawkins says extending the runway raises safety and noise concerns and would hurt property value of homeowners in the area.

The most recent of several crashes around Craig Airport was a plane that went down in a Sandalwood neighborhood pond in December, narrowly missing a home and killing a South Florida pilot and his two daughters.

"Craig Field is going to stay a little airport, and we're going to build lots of houses around it, and that's still our plan," Hawkins said.

Hawkins says in 1990, city leaders adopted a comprehensive plan for Jacksonville which clearly states "runways at Craig Field shall not be extended."

"The future is, if they extend one runway, then later on they may extend another runway, and then link to that runway," Hawkins said. "You can't stop it once the horse gets out of barn."

Hawkins says the money would be better spent at Cecil Field, Jacksonville Aviation Authority's regional airport on the Westside.

"If you had $20 million and you wanted to spend it, you should spend it there, not here for a couple fat cats who live in Ponte Vedra and want to fly to Charlotte, North Carolina, in their jets because they're too lazy to drive up to JIA," Hawkins said.

A spokeswoman for Jacksonville Aviation Authority said there are no current plans to extend the runway at Craig, but it remains a possibility in the future.

Source: http://bit.ly/P1zMvu

Food notes: Vino Volo to open at Jacksonville International Airport - 2/24/2014

Monday, February 24
jaxdailyrecord.com

The city approved a permit Thursday for Vino Volo to renovate space in Concourse C at Jacksonville International Airport. The San Francisco-based company plans to build-out a 1,150-square-foot space for a wine bar and caf? at a project cost of $282,020.

“Vino Volo Discover Great Wines” is planned in No. 209 in the concourse. The vinovolo.com site says Vino Volo operates in cities and airports across North America. The site lists 24 locations. Of those, some airports have multiple Vino Volos.

Most locations offer lunch, dinner and small plates and some offer breakfast.

The website also has an online wine shop.

The permit lists tenant finish-out for space for a wine bar and sandwich shop.

Source: http://bit.ly/1hqfbJU

Cecil stakes a claim to space - 2/21/2014

February 21, 2014
Timothy Gibbons
Managing Editor-Jacksonville Business Journal

It’s a dream almost a decade in the making.

In 2005, City of Jacksonville officials embarked on plans to make Cecil Field — the former Navy base turned airport/commerce center — into a locus of aerospace activity, a launching pad for wannabe space tourists like Backstreet Boy Lance Bass.

For years, the idea seemed to go about as well as, say, Bass’ career. Now, that all seems to be changing.

Late last year, a first tenant signed up to launch operations at Cecil Spaceport.

Later this year, that firm — Generation Orbit Launch Services Inc., an Atlanta-based commercial space launch provider — plans to send aloft from Cecil a horizontally launched vehicle as part of a plan to convey a miniature satellite into space.

Advocates hope the company’s announcement will be the first of many for the Westside site, one that boasts a runway long enough to handle the (late, lamented) space shuttle.

If more announcements follow, it could signify the beginnings of a new industry sector in Jacksonville: More launches at Cecil could attract a plethora of related companies, from fabricators to technologists — and if space tourism becomes a reality, the spinoff effects could reach as far as the hospitality industry.

“We need something like that, something that will mark the start of a new era,” said Juan Merkt, director of Jacksonville University’s Davis Aviation Center. “As Cecil starts to play a role in horizontal space launches and attracts more business to the area, this is definitely going to benefit the city, its educational institutions, you name it.”

Space is a growing market. Over the next 10 years, the Federal Aviation Administration projects, there will be demand for some 4,500 flights ... and if interest grows, that number could top 13,000.

“We have evolved to the point that commercial space is a reality,” said Todd Lindner, administrator of planning and development for the Jacksonville Aviation Authority, which owns the spaceport.

Commencing launch sequence

That evolution took years.

The idea of Cecil as a spaceport first came to the fore in 2005, when a consultant working for the state’s Commission on the Future of Space and Aeronautics in Florida called Cecil the “the best airport for aircraft-like launch vehicles” — that is, horizontal launches — because of its 12,500-foot runway and relative lack of encroaching development.

During a breakfast meeting during the Super Bowl in Jacksonville, local economic development officials pitched representatives of Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic on the idea of establishing a spaceport at Cecil (a project that was later done in New Mexico).

At the time, the state was considering picking a site to serve as Florida’s first commercial spaceport, particularly in light of the winding down of operations at Cape Canaveral, where various restrictions made the site less appealing to private businesses.

But shifting political winds and restructuring of the state’s space agency caused those plans to die on the vine. Instead, JAA embarked on its open application to be licensed as a launch site.

In 2007, the FAA signed off on an environmental assessment of the airport, and three years later, the aviation authority had its operator’s license in hand. (Operators are also required to obtain their own licenses.)

That didn’t mean it was ready to start sending stuff into space yet.

“The parallel is often drawn between the state of commercial space travel now and the aviation industry shortly after the Wright brothers inaugurated powered flight,” says the Cecil Spaceport Master Plan drawn up in 2012. “Just as they could not have foreseen the pace and direction of aviation development, so is it difficult now to see the path of space development. What is clear, however, is that commercial space vehicles are coming, and they will need facilities from which they can operate.”

Looking for space

That’s where Generation Orbit comes in.

With $1.8 million from the state, JAA is in the process of building a hangar that will be used by the Atlanta-based company as well — the authority’s Lindner said — as other companies.

“We’ve had conversations with most of the horizontal launch operators out there,” he said. “They’re very open to Jacksonville.”

Generation Orbit noticed Cecil because of the infrastructure already in place there, said A.J. Piplica, an aerospace engineer and the company’s chief operating officer.

“They have a spaceport license with the FAA already in place,” he said. “A lot of people are talking about building spaceports; they have everything in place that we need from a regulatory standpoint as well as a facility standpoint.”

That includes a path that its launch vehicle can go through between leaving the spaceport and heading for the stars. “What has been developed is a corridor that goes from Cecil out to the Atlantic Ocean,” said Ken Ibold, an aviation consultant with Reynolds, Smith and Hills Inc. — a pathway some other airports have struggled to create.

Cecil also has enough clear space around the runway to meet safety requirements.

Generation Orbit’s vehicles are a far cry from the gigantic rockets that filled the skies of Cape Canaveral with flames: From the outside, the launch vehicles look — and take off — like business jets.

In Piplica’s words: “We’re not making any smoke or noise until we’re a couple hundred miles offshore.”
Still, keeping them away from people is the better part of valor, Ibold said: “You wouldn’t do this at JIA. You certainly wouldn’t do this at Craig.”

What that smoke and noise will do is send into space very small satellites.

Basically, just as the technology in cellphones has gotten both smaller and more powerful, Piplica said, so has satellite tech. That means that units can be launched with the expectation that they won’t last as long, but that they can be replaced just about as often as you sign a new iPhone contract.

“We’re starting to get into people who didn’t think they could use data from space because it was too expensive,” he said.

2014 should see the company conduct two test launches from Cecil in preparation for the 2016 launch of three, 10-pound satellites that will go 265 miles up.

As the company is getting ready for those launches, the aviation authority is getting ready for more tenants. The spaceport hangar, now in the design phase, will be around 45,000 to 55,000 square feet, including an ultra-clean area for securing payloads.

The final frontier?

Despite all of that in the works, JAA holds out a note of caution: The countdown might have started, but that doesn’t mean ignition is about to occur.

It will take on the order of two to three years for Cecil to become a facility that sees regular launch operations, Lindner said, and years beyond that for an industrial base to build up.

It can be a challenge, Ibold said. “There’s lots of pieces of the puzzle to put together. There’s the issue of trying to develop something for an industry in its infancy, for vehicles that don’t really exist.”

But Cecil has a lot going for it, Piplica said.

“Once you see someone doing something in space from there, you’ll see other people attracted to the area,” he said. “If it shows it’s a successful place to access space, it has a chance to develop into a commercial version of what the Cape was back in the ’60s.”

Source: http://bit.ly/1eecSpV

Kids with autism get airport test run: 'Next time the anxiety level will not be so high' - 2/5/2014

Feb 4, 2014
By Beth Reese Cravey
jacksonville.com

Max Moran, 12, makes his way down the aisle of a JetBlue airplane with his mother, Mariam. JetBlue has been involved in the "Wings for Autism" program for three years.

Michelle Dunham and her 15-year-old son Nicholas, who has autism, held hands as they navigated Jacksonville International Airport.

She worried how he would react to walking through a place full of strangers and unfamiliar sights and sounds and going into the big scary security-scan machine, the narrow enclosed tunnel that connects the terminal to the JetBlue plane and the narrow enclosed aisle of the plane.

“I’m more nervous than he is,” Dunham said.

Flight 7920, which traveled only a mile or so, was part of Jacksonville International Airport’s first Wings for Autism event, an “airport dress rehearsal” for area families with autistic children. Thirty families obtained boarding passes, went through security, ate boxed lunches together, waited, walked down the tunnel, boarded the plane, waited some more and experienced the plane’s movement as it was towed from the terminal to the runway and back.

Nicholas, who is sensitive to sound, light and touch, wore noise-canceling headphones in the terminal and on the plane. He showed a mixture of excitement and anxiety.

He willingly entered the scanner, but was startled by the scan itself and walked backwards when it was over rather than ahead. He enjoyed watching tarmac activity from a window at lunch, but didn’t eat much and focused on his iPad when the waiting got to him. And when he got on the plane, he headed down the aisle at a fast pace to find his seat.

“He did excellent,” marveled his mother, co-founder and executive director of the Jacksonville School for Autism. “I am really shocked.”

WINGS FOR AUTISM

Wings for Autism was created in 2011 by the Charles River Center in Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Port Authority to help alleviate some of the stress that people with sensory and developmental disorders experience when traveling by air. Also, the free program helps airport personnel learn how to accommodate children with special needs.

The Jacksonville program on Jan. 29 was among the first, after Boston, Montreal and Seattle, and will be followed this year by events in Anchorage and Tulsa, with negotiations under way with other airports.

So far, six airlines are participating.

Local sponsors were JIA, JetBlue Jacksonville, the Transportation Security Administration, HMS Host food services, The Arc of Jacksonville — which serves people with intellectual and developmental disorders — and The HEAL Foundation (Healing Every Autistic Life), a nonprofit based in Ponte Vedra Beach.

‘THE RIGHT THING TO DO’

Brian Long, JIA customer services manager, said the program stemmed from the many requests he had received for “some sort of orientation” for special-needs children.

“That gave us the impetus,” he said. “This was the right thing to do and it was in our best interest.”

There was a waiting list for the test run, which was the first Wings for Autism event that included the plane actually moving, and JIA plans to offer the program again.

JetBlue, which has been part of Wings for Austism for three years in Boston, will participate in future Jacksonville programs as well, said John Friedel, the airline’s Jacksonville general manager.

The JetBlue flight crew volunteered its services.

“We were founded with the vision of bringing humanity back to air travel and ... and leading by action,” he said.

The youth on the plane had a wide range of autism spectrum disorders. Most of them seemed to handle the experience with aplomb, although there were some squeals and crying during the 4-hour journey.

“The major goal of this being a ‘rehearsal’ to give families an indication of how their child with autism would experience air travel was accomplished,” said Judy Hall Lanier, director of development for the Arc of Jacksonville. “I saw a lot of smiles in the gate area afterwards!”

Leslie Weed, co-founder of HEAL, said she was impressed by how welcoming airport personnel were toward the group.

She did not bring her daughter, who has a severe form of autism, but said she might in the future.

“For the families to get the opportunity to have a test run, next time the anxiety level will not be so high,” she said.

‘DO IT AGAIN’

As the plane moved from the terminal, Darren Beechum, 14, sat in a window seat and urged the plane on.

“Bye bye,” he said. “Here we go!”

When the plane stopped briefly, he got fidgety. When the plane began moving again, he said he knew what planes typically do next.

“Up and up and up and up,” he said.

His mother, Barbara, sitting beside him, said she wondered if that expectation would cause more anxiety, since the plane was not going to go up. But when the plane returned to the terminal, he said, “Do it again.”

Beth Reese Cravey: (904) 359-4109

Source: http://bit.ly/1ipmB0N

Pioneering pilot Bessie Coleman will be honored if JIA builds a Jacksonville aviation hall of fame - 2/3/2014

Fri, Jan 31, 2014
By Matt Soergel 
jacksonville.com

Bessie Coleman was an American civil aviator who died over Jacksonville in 1926.

The CEO of the Jacksonville Aviation Authority said it’s likely that Jacksonville International Airport will open an aviation hall of fame by the middle of next year. And when it does, one of the first inductees would be Bessie Coleman, a pioneering pilot who fell to her death over the city in 1926.

That’s a great idea, said the man pushing to have a prominent memorial for Coleman in the city where she died. But it’s still not enough, he said.

“I’m not happy about that at all,” said Opio Sokoni. “We’ll put her in there with everybody else, which dilutes her and what she really means to this city. There’s no pilot, anywhere else, that has such an interesting story.”

Coleman, the daughter of Texas sharecroppers, was the first black woman to get a pilot’s license, and had to go to France to get it. She was a nationwide celebrity known as “Queen Bess,” famed for her boldness, perseverance and beauty.

On Aug. 30, 1926, she was over the Westside, scouting sites for a parachute jump for an air show the next day. Coleman was thrown to her death when the plane in which she was a passenger went into a sudden dive.

The plane exploded on impact, killing pilot William Wills.

Thousands of people attended a memorial service in Jacksonville for Coleman before her body was put on a train to Chicago for a huge funeral there.

Sokoni is a Jacksonville native who recently became president of the Jacksonville chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He stressed that his efforts to honor Coleman, somewhere in the city, are as a private citizen.

He found a supporter in Steve Grossman, CEO of the JAA, who said he favored doing something at the city’s main airport.

And in a Monday email to Sokoni and several other people — including city councilmen Bill Gulliford and Warren Jones, who have expressed interest in honoring Coleman — he said the airport is “leaning” toward opening an aviation hall of fame. It would be in the terminal building, a project included in next year’s budget planning process.

“I believe it will be an excellent venue to honor Jacksonville aviators and by having (it) in the terminal, millions of people will be able to view it,” he wrote.

Sokoni said that’s fine, but just not enough of an honor for such a figure. He said she also deserves a separate airport monument, such as a life-sized bust of her likeness.

Jacksonville does have one reminder that Coleman died in the city. In 2012, a bronze plaque of “Queen Bess” was placed at Paxon School for Advanced Studies, on the site of the 1920s airport where her fatal flight began.

It was unveiled by the Bessie Coleman Aerospace Legacy Inc., which was founded by a group of African-American female pilots and aviation professionals.

Matt Soergel: (904) 359-4082

Source: http://bit.ly/1bnE9t4

Jacksonville aviation chief gets 3% pay hike Board cites oustanding (sic) annual performance review - 1/27/2014

Mon, Jan 27, 2014
By Nate Monroe
jacksonville.com

Jacksonville Aviation Authority CEO Steve Grossman will take home a 3 percent pay raise this year.
 
The JAA board unanimously approved the raise Monday after board member A.L. Kelly said Grossman had reached annual performance benchmarks set last year. 

His salary will increase from $288,400 to about $297,052. The increase is retroactive to the beginning of the fiscal year, which started Oct. 1. Grossman did not receive a bonus.
 
Last year, the board also approved a 3 percent raise for Grossman for outstanding work, though initially board members had decided against it because of the tough economic climate and the city’s financial struggles. 

Among the recent accomplishments listed included the completion in June of KCI Aviation’s hangar at Cecil Airport, refinancing of $75 million in bonds that save the authority money each year, negotiating favorable agreements with the Jacksonville International Airport airlines.
 
Source: http://bit.ly/1e2ODjV

Three Jacksonville facilities awarded multi-million-dollar contracts this week - 1/27/2014

Jan 24, 2014
By Clifford Davis
jacksonville.com

The Department of Defense announced this week that three Jacksonville facilities won multi-million dollar government contracts.
 
The Boeing Company received a $17.8 million contract to upgrade F/A-18 Hornets with 92 percent of the work coming to Boeing’s Cecil Airport facility.
 
The facility began performing upgrades on the planes in 1999 and recently became the national center of component structural repair for the planes.
 
“Obviously we are excited about the additional work Boeing will be doing at Cecil Airport,” Michael Stewart, director of external affairs for the Jacksonville Aviation Authority said. “A company with the international exposure of a Boeing, we’re just proud to have them as a tenant at Cecil.
 
The cost-plus, fixed-fee contract was not competitively bid.
 
The most recent contract is an extension of a previous award for upgrades on F/A-18 A through D Hornets and F/A-18 E and F Super Hornets. The Jacksonville facility employs 252 people.
 
In a second contract, Jacksonville-based Reynolds, Smith and Hill architectural and engineering firm was one of three companies awarded a $10 million contract for work to enhance or replace elementary and secondary schools on U.S. military bases and other overseas territories.
 
Reynolds, Smith and Hill, begun in Jacksonville in 1942, faced-off with 45 other companies to win the firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery contract.
 
Also, on Friday Jacksonville’s Goodrich Corporation was awarded a nearly $7.6 million cost contract for “engineering design services and fabrication of a full-scale prototype submarine rotor component under the Hybrid Demonstration program,” according to the Department of Defense.
 
Gov. Rick Scott also announced Friday that Duval and Clay counties received Florida state defense grants of $275,000 and $250,000 respectively.
 
Duval County received $200,000 for Outlying Field Whitehouse, an airfield used to simulate carrier takeoffs and landings, and a defense reinvestment grant worth $75,000.
 
“In Duval County, the military and defense industry is credited with $11.9 billion in economic impact and 108,901 jobs,” according to the governor’s office.
 
In Clay County, Camp Blanding received $200,000 for a vehicle entrance security upgrade. This grant comes on the heels of a $729,000 state grant the base received in October 2013 for an early warning system.
 
Clay also received a $50,000 defense reinvestment grant.
 
All-told, the contracts and grants add up to roughly $36 million. The governor’s offices touted the impact for the entire state.
 
“Florida’s military and defense industry is responsible for $73.4 billion, or 9.4 percent, of Florida’s gross state product, which translates to jobs for 758,112 Floridians,” according to the press release.
 
Clifford Davis: (904) 359-4103

Source: http://bit.ly/1mO4wtY


Press Releases

Mayor Brown Appoints Ray Alfred to JAA Board - 3/7/2014

JACKSONVILLE, FL, March 7, 2014 — Ray Alfred, President/CEO of Emergency Responders’ Industries, Inc., has been appointed to the Jacksonville Aviation Authority Board of Directors by Mayor Alvin Brown. The appointment was confirmed by the full City Council on February 25.

Alfred will complete the unexpired term of Dr. Chester Aikens, who tragically passed away in December, through September 30, 2015. He will then serve his first full four-year term ending September 30, 2019.

“Chester was an extraordinary community leader. He was also my dentist and my friend ever since I moved to Jacksonville in 1996,” Alfred said.  “It is truly an honor to have the opportunity to serve out the rest of his term on the JAA Board.”

Alfred has served as Past Director/Fire Chief for the Jacksonville Fire Rescue Department and as Fire Chief for Washington, DC.

Alfred has served on multiple boards and committees, including International Association of Fire Chiefs Terrorism/Homeland Security Committee and an alumni of Leadership Jacksonville. 

Jacksonville International Airport Wins Airport Service Quality Award JAX places in top five in ACI-NA ‘Best Airport by Region’ - 3/5/2014

The Jacksonville AviationAuthority announced that Jacksonville International Airport (JAX) rankedamong the top five airports in the BestAirport by Region: North America category as part of the Airports CouncilInternational’s (ACI’s) 2013 Airport Service Quality (ASQ) Awards.        

“I am extremely proud thatJacksonville International Airport has been recognized as a leader in customerservice excellence,” said JAA Executive Director and CEO Steve Grossman. “Wehave a very hard working team consisting of JAA employees, airline employees, tenantemployees and volunteer airport ambassadors who go beyond, daily, to provide apositive airport experience for all of our customers”

The annual Airport Service Quality (ASQ)Awards recognize the best airports in the world according to ACI's ASQpassenger satisfaction survey. They represent the highest possible accolade forairport operators and are an opportunity to celebrate the commitment ofairports worldwide to continuously improve the passenger experience. This year,more than 200 airports across 50 countries participated in the survey for thehonor of being recognized as the best in their region of the world.

Jacksonville ranked number five in theNorth American region, with Indianapolis, Ottawa, Tampa and Sacramento,respectively, rounding out the top four. JAX saw its customer satisfactionnumbers in over 20 categories increase over last year.

For more information about JAA,please visit www.flyjacksonville.com

 
 
 
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