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• It’s only mid-December, but the year is over for City Council. An ordinance was passed earlier in the year that suspended the Council year after Tuesday’s final regular meetings. Things will get back underway the first week of January.

• Speaking of the Council, member Warren Alvarez has been making the rounds this week delivering bags and baskets of satsumas from his trees.

• The Jacksonville Port Authority held its annual holiday barbecue at the cruise terminal Wednesday. For more, see page 3.

• The Rally Jacksonville! initiative has been to a couple of beaches organizations. The Beaches Academy received $2,000 from Rally Jacksonville! which, through a book drive, recently donated more than 75 books to the Donner Community Center in Atlantic Beach. Rally Jacksonville! is an initiative of the Jacksonville Children’s Commission and the City.

• Speaking of Rally Jacksonville!, Mayor John Peyton will be at Jacksonville Chrysler Jeep Dodge near 9A and Baymeadows Road Saturday for the “Driven to Read” event. It’s from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and Mayor’s Book Club book series author Fran Peacock Coker will be on hand, as will Santa Claus. There also will be a drawing for a $500 gift card to Simons Malls.

• According to a survey of the Chamber’s nine Area Councils, 75 percent of respondents said they were very satisfied or satisfied with their Council experience; 57 percent generated new business directly through Council involvement; 48 percent stated they generated new business indirectly through Council involvement; 77 percent felt that networking is easier in the smaller environment provided by the Councils and 86 percent stated they were likely or very likely to renew their Council membership. Assisted by Area Council representatives and Chamber staff, Elaine K. Anwander of Qualitative Research Services conducted the survey to show how the Councils build a community environment, produce a return on investment and serve as a vehicle for Chamber growth.

• Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Florida announced LeRoy Anderson as Big Brother of the Year and Dwaynetta Hams as Big Sister of the Year. BBBS currently supports more than 600 children in mentoring relationships and is targeted to served 1,250 children by June.

• Single? Bid on a date with a Barracudas hockey player or Ice Girl. The team will host an auction during Saturday’s game against the Florida Seals at 7:05 p.m. Also during the game, bring a bear to toss on the ice. Players will collect the bears and give them to the Ronald McDonald House and Nemours Children’s Hospital.

• More for singles: the next speed dating event, sponsored by, will be Jan. 9 at River City Brewing Company. The event begins at 6:20 p.m. for singles 37-51 years old and at 8:20 p.m. for singles 25-41 years old. The cost is $32. For more information or to register, visit

• Big drug bust here earlier this week. Seems a truck full of concentrated creamer was pulled over and searched by officers from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement. A gamma ray imaging machine found 361 pounds of marijuana in the middle of the creamer that was headed to an ice cream plant in Apopka. The street value of the pot is nearly $2.2 million.

• For those of you still looking for that special Christmas gift, the Safari food mart in San Marco is giving away bottles of Chateau St. Nicholas, a holiday-themed wine with Kris Kringle’s face on the label and “Ho Ho Ho” etched into the cork, with every $50 purchase. A bottle of Chateau St. Nick is a $7.99 value.

• Bernice King, the youngest daughter of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and wife Coretta, will speak at this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Essay Contest Luncheon sponsored by the Willie Gary Classic Foundation. The luncheon will be Jan. 10 at the Bethelite Conference Center and will feature the essay contest winners reciting their works in addition to King’s comments. Tickets are $20 per person.

• The Jacksonville Port Authority’s annual charity drive raised $33,600 to benefit the United Way of Northeast Florida and Community Health Charities of Florida. Port employees contributed through cash donations or payroll deduction. Over the last three years, the campaign has raised $91,000.

• Riverside Avondale Preservation asked the mayor’s office to help preserve the Annie Lytle building. The former schoolhouse located in Brooklyn could face the wrecking ball unless the City can provide incentives to its developer to preserve it.

• Our Monday story about Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems incorrectly said MERS filed about 20 percent (870 out of 4,047) of foreclosures statewide. Those numbers are for the Fourth Judicial Circuit only — Duval, Nassau and Clay counties.

• The First Coast Metropolitan Planning Organization has elected its leadership for 2006. City Council member Lad Daniels moves up to chairman after a year as vice-chair. St. Johns County Commissioner Bruce Maguire was elected vice-chair and Nassau County Commissioner Jim Higginbotham was elected treasurer.