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Jacksonville Super Bowl Miscellaneous items

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Janet Jackson Coming to the First Coast

By Angela Spears

First Coast News

JACKSONVILLE, FL -- More star power is coming to the First Coast during Super Bowl Week. First Coast News has learned Janet Jackson will be in town. She won't be performing during halftime of the Super Bowl. Instead, she and Jermaine Dupree, her beau, will co-host the Willie Gary Celebrity Scholarship Party.

Jackson's performance with Justin Timberlake during last year's Super Bowl Halftime Show is best remembered for the "wardrobe malfunction," when Timberlake yanked at a piece of Jackson's top, exposing her breast. Both say it was an accident. Accident or not, the incident prompted a Federal Communications Commission crackdown on indecency.

This year Jackson is coming back for an NFL sanctioned event, sponsored by Willie Gary. Mr. Gary is a lawyer in Stuart, Florida and is the Chair of the Black Family Network. He believes in helping and encouraging young people. He formed the Willie Gary Football Classic. It's a game between Edward Waters College and Shaw University, Gary's Alma Mater. He says, it's more than a game, it's about education. The Classic is held every year at Alltel Stadium.

The star studded scholarship party will be at the Etna Building from 9 p.m. - 2 a.m on Saturday, February 5th. Biz Markie will be the D.J. The tickets cost $250. You can call 1-866-4MY-TIXS, or click on the above link for more information.

I'm surprised that the NFL is sanctioning this, with Janet (Miss Jackson if ya nasty) being the co-host. FBC may have something to say about it.

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Forehead Space For Super Bowl Sale

By Jennifer Brice

JACKSONVILLE, FL -- We all know advertising can cost a pretty penny. With national ads costing thousands of dollars and Super Bowl commercials in the millions, a Mandarin man says he's got a deal for you.

Brian Keller put his thinking cap on by auctioning his head off, on e-bay. The bid starts at $10,000. His head measure 23 inches around, 12 inches across. So, you're looking at 113 square inches of head space.

Keller says he's using the Super Bowl as an opportunity for national exposure for anyone willing to pay. "I'll go where ever the person wants me to go, even wear a pink tutu."

Keller says it's for a good cause. He and his wife are trying to raise money to adopt a five year old girl from China.

The e-bay bid runs through Saturday.

No bids so far. I heard on the radio that a different guy fetched over $37,000 for advertising on his forehead for a month. What will it be next?

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Jacksonville rolls out 'Waves of Welcome'

By Janet Jimmerson Fussman, special for USAToday.com

JACKSONVILLE, Fla.

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In Jacksonville, Faith, Hope and Charity at a Super Bowl

By ROBERT ANDREW POWELL

Published: January 30, 2005

David Garrett's mission walks in step with his city. With the Super Bowl coming to Jacksonville for the first time, the eyes of more than a hundred million people will turn to northeast Florida, known here as the First Coast. Mr. Garrett wants his ambitious hometown to make a good impression.

"When they look at Jacksonville, I want them to see loving people who care about their city," he said. "I want them to see Jesus."

Mr. Garrett is the head of the Jacksonville Baptist Association's Super Bowl Ministry. In a city where the daily paper, The Florida Times-Union, prints quotations from the Bible on its editorial page, Mr. Garrett is trying to infuse his faith into the week of celebrations that culminate Feb. 6 with Super Bowl XXXIX between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles.

The more worldly side of those festivities has been seen in other host cities: the discos of South Beach in Miami, the saloons of the French Quarter in New Orleans and the nightlife of Buckhead in Atlanta, where Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis was involved in a fatal street fight after the game in 2000.

"Religion is deeply embedded in the fabric of society, particularly here in this region," the N.F.L. spokesman Brian McCarthy said. "The Super Bowl often includes events that reflect the surrounding areas. That's why you're seeing more of these type of events here."

Religious groups in Jacksonville have planned interdenominational tie-ins to the game even before the crowds arrive. [The Super March for Jesus on Saturday drew several thousand people from local churches for a one-mile prayer walk from the courthouse downtown to Alltel Stadium, site of the Super Bowl.]

Although religion is also a fundamental component of several Super Bowl week events sanctioned by the National Football League - like the Convoy of Hope, the Athletes in Action breakfast and the Super Bowl Gospel Celebration - those activities are supposed to be inclusive.

"The idea is not to have an event that would allow people to recruit or promote one religion over another," Mr. McCarthy said. "The idea is to be attractive to a wide variety of people."

Mr. Garrett's work began more than four years ago, on the day Jacksonville was awarded the Super Bowl. As fireworks burst over the St. Johns River, he was questioning Baptists in Miami and other host cities about how to mobilize volunteers. Two years ago, he flew to San Diego. Last year, he spent game week in Houston.

"I learned that the Super Bowl is not just one game that kicks off at 6:35 p.m. on a Sunday," he said. "It's a whole week of events."

To prepare, Mr. Garrett helped place two young Baptists as interns with the Jacksonville Super Bowl Host Committee. The interns act as liaisons to church leadership.

"The Baptist church is part of the community, and so it has an impact on our membership," said Michael Kelly, president of the 16-member host committee. "But the committee is led by the business culture, which is focused on growing the city."

Through a Web site, fdfc.org, for First Down First Coast, Mr. Garrett corralled volunteers for everything from manning the N.F.L. Experience theme park to breaking down the stage after the game's halftime show, which will star Paul McCartney.

"Jesus said we're to be the salt and the light," Mr. Garrett said. "We don't run away from the place we hate; we run to it. A lot of people were complaining about last year's halftime show, saying, 'Look at how horrible it was with the wardrobe malfunction and all that.' I'm saying, 'Here's an opportunity.' Just by being there we have that element of making a difference."

In khaki pants and a polo shirt, Mr. Garrett carries a leather briefcase crammed with his calendar, a Palm Pilot, Christian magazines and notes from his many engagements.

"Normally, I keep a regular 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. office job," he said. "But for all of December, I said, 'Don't plan on me for any meetings; I'm all about the Super Bowl.' I'm working all the time, kind of nonstop right now."

Some days he is at the Super Bowl Host Committee headquarters downtown, squeezed into a narrow cubicle to answer the volunteer-information hotline. On Jan. 20, he attended a meeting at the Words to Work ministry in a small church off Main Street, out by the Trout River. Mr. Garrett sat at a round table, which was draped in a plastic tablecloth dusted with salt granules, inhaling air flavored by coffee.

The meeting was convened for the Convoy of Hope scheduled for the day before the Super Bowl in Brentwood Park, a narrow stretch of grass ringed by public housing projects. In addition to a gospel concert, the convoy will offer free food, a car show, a children's zone and such random benefits as free cholesterol testing. Pastor Nick Phoenix, the head of the food subcommittee, told Mr. Garrett and seven other volunteers that the convoy, formed by more than 100 local churches, would be the largest faith-based outreach event that the N.F.L. had ever seen.

"I think this event will really give us a glimpse of how heaven is going to look," Pastor Phoenix said.

The volunteers sipped pink lemonade and unsweetened tea. "Pray Hard" and "Fired Up for Jesus" T-shirts hung on a bulletin board, from which they could be bought for $10. Pastor Phoenix expects 10,000 to 15,000 people to show up at the convoy.

"If you want to hand out tracts, cards that say that you love someone, that's your business," Pastor Phoenix said, winking at N.F.L. rules against overt evangelism. "Sometimes it's as easy as going out and saying, 'I just want you to know, sister, that God has a wonderful plan for your life.' Touch 'em on the hand, look 'em in the eye; it's a memory they'll never forget."

When the meeting adjourned, Pastor Phoenix asked Mr. Garrett and the others to clasp hands and pray.

Of the many millions who will watch the Super Bowl on television, Pastor Phoenix said: "They'll be looking and listening to our sermon, and what will that be? It will be that God loves them, and so do we."

Mr. Garrett squeezed the hands of his neighbors as he said, "Amen." He then hustled out to his car and drove to his next meeting.

"Our plan is to be flexible, to have multiple contingencies," he said. "Because we have a relationship with the host committee, because I'm a volunteer captain, we have been in the meetings. We know where to be and what to do. Whatever door opens, we'll walk through it."

Mr. Garrett's preparations harmonize with a city preparing for the Super Bowl as if it were a debutante ball. Lead paint has been scraped from the Main Street Bridge, replaced by a coat of teal. Neon lights glow atop the bridge's steel frame towers, changing colors at night from rainbows to red, white and blue. Outside city hall, in a park where a Confederate memorial stands, workers sponge grout off new fountain tiles. The waterfront headquarters of CSX, the transportation corporation, have been sheathed with newly tinted windows, giving the building a more modern look.

Jacksonville's identity is entwined with religion. The Florida Baptist Convention is based here. Mayor John Peyton, an Episcopalian, recently opened an office of faith-based initiatives to channel grants to small religious charities.

"We're blessed in Jacksonville," said David Burton, director for evangelism for the Florida Baptist Convention. "Even our radio personalities and TV news anchors are very much strong and bold in their convictions, which slip out sometimes. We are very blessed here, whereas you go to some other cities in the nation where maybe the Super Bowl is being played, it seems like darkness, like the evidence of Satan is heavy there."

Methodists were the first to establish a congregation in Jacksonville, in 1832. Next came Episcopalians and Catholics. The charter Baptist church was organized in 1838.

"They're sort of like Winn-Dixie or CSX, two old-line Fortune 500 companies in town," said Jim Crooks, professor emeritus of history at the University of North Florida. "They're not overtly telling the city government what to do, but if the government did something to infringe on their rights, they would react behind the scenes. You have this sense that they're there and they have influence, but it's not directly manifested."

Mr. Garrett adapts his mission to Jacksonville's current religious environment.

"People are used to the more public kind of Baptists, holding signs saying 'Turn or Burn' or what have you," he said. "What we're trying to do is relationship-building. To us, this is all about showing love and care for our city and for those we encounter. We're using the Super Bowl as a catalyst to build relationships within our community."

In November, Mr. Garrett participated in a prayer walk similar to the Super March for Jesus. In his report to his advisers at the North American Mission Board in Georgia, he wrote that as he walked around the stadium, God seemed to open his eyes to areas of need and concern for the 83,000 people who will fill it for the Super Bowl.

"Then, God opened my eyes to the people that were there that morning, going about their routine jobs," he wrote. A parking lot attendant and her son were prayed for. A homeless man received a few dollars and a blessing.

Mr. Garrett added, "As we left, I realized the enormous work that was done that morning by a small group of Christians praying for God to open their eyes to the possibilities of ministry around them."

Copyright 2005 - New York Times

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Dig out old road maps to find Feb. 6, Super Bowl

Saturday, Jan 29, 2005,Page 19

The Super Bowl's travels have taken it to 11 cities, but it has been most at home in New Orleans, Miami and Los Angeles, where 24 of the 38 previous games have been staged.

The first seven Super Bowls did not stray from those three sites.

But the Feb. 6 game will be in Jacksonville, Florida, which did not even have an NFL team until 10 years ago. Most outsiders know little about the city other than that the Gator Bowl is played there (at Alltel Stadium, where the Super Bowl will be) or that it is the home of the Jaguars. Music fans know that Lynyrd Skynyrd was formed there. And some people know that paper mills once emitted a stench there.

Jacksonville is spread out over more than 1,300km2, making it among the largest cities in the country, but in terms of its population, about 775,000, it is the smallest city to be host to a Super Bowl. No Bourbon Street. No South Beach.

The famous 17th hole at the TPC Sawgrass course is in nearby Ponte Vedra, Florida.

"If you polled the general public, there's always been a small inferiority complex," said Michael Kelly, president of the Jacksonville Super Bowl Host Committee, who held the same position in Tampa Bay for the 2001 game. "But the leadership past and present has exhibited a spirit of not taking no for an answer."

In 1993, NFL owners voted to give Jacksonville (and not Baltimore or Memphis) an expansion franchise. Almost exactly seven years later, they granted Jacksonville's bid for Super Bowl XXXIX over one by Miami to be the host for what would have been the ninth time.

"We'd just come off the 1999 game in Miami," said Jim Steeg, the league's senior vice president for special events, who has overseen Super Bowl planning for 26 years. "I've always said it's tough for a city to get a game having just had it."

Bidding for a Super Bowl is a domestic version of chasing the Olympics. Host committees combine with teams and cities -- with new stadiums built or to be constructed -- to show the league what they can do: Here are our plans for lodging, transportation, security and entertainment. Owners award the games years in advance to give cities time to prepare.

With Alltel Stadium having long since been completed, there is no rush to finish construction, as there was for the Olympic stadium in Athens, Greece.

The league had concerns about Jacksonsville's labor pool and the airport's capacity to handle the short-term crush of visitors. But the league was most focused on a shortage of hotel rooms.

Steeg recalled a presentation to the owners in 1999, more than a year before the vote, when the Jacksonville boosters laid out a big map "and plopped little wooden ships along it" to demonstrate how they would provide as many as 10,000 extra rooms.

Tom Petway, the co-chairman of the Jacksonville host committee, said that Wayne Weaver, the owner of the Jaguars, had devised the idea of using cruise ships to supplement the shortfall in hotel rooms.

"Wayne concluded that we qualified for the Super Bowl with no real issues except the hotel rooms," Petway said.

Before the NFL owners chose between Jacksonville and Miami, Commissioner Paul Tagliabue said that the Kansas City Chiefs' owner, Lamar Hunt, had made a persuasive pitch.

"He said he was in favor of Jacksonville because he thought it was part of the tradition of the NFL, with the Chiefs and Green Bay, small markets, being so prominent in the early Super Bowls," Tagliabue said Thursday in a telephone interview. "He saw Jacksonville as the heir apparent to those types of cities."

Tagliabue added: "To me, it's an act of loyalty to a community that came forth. It's the little engine that could; it outcompeted against larger markets."

The city and the league have had to provide what other Super Bowl locales already have. A temporary, tented entertainment district along 2.3km of riverfront has been erected to augment the smaller Jacksonville Landing festival marketplace. The interactive NFL Experience will not be in the local convention center, but under tents near the stadium.

www.taipaitimes.com

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How did Jacksonville capture Super Bowl XXXIX

By FRANK FITZPATRICK

Philadelphia Inquirer

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - When Paul Tagliabue whispered into Dan Marino's ear, Jacksonville officials thought all their hard work had come to a sweet nothing.

Super Bowl bidders from Jacksonville; Oakland, Calif.; and Miami, represented by Marino, had traveled to an owners meeting in Atlanta that October day in 2002 to learn which of their cities would host the 2005 game.

When the members of the group from northeast Florida saw the NFL commissioner speaking to the Dolphins great, you could almost see the dream flee their bodies.

"I thought we lost it," said Shelly Marino, vice president of external affairs for the Jacksonville Super Bowl Host Committee.

But whatever Tagliabue told Marino, it wasn't that Miami had won. Minutes later, the commissioner announced that Jacksonville, perhaps the unlikeliest host city in history, had been awarded Super Bowl XXXIX.

"People were so excited," said Heather Surface, the committee communications director, "that on our way home from the airport there already were billboards out along the highway."

Unlikely host

Somehow Jacksonville, without a tourist industry, a tropical climate or much of a national reputation, captured the biggest event in American sports. The story of how the city managed it began not long after Wayne Weaver moved his Jacksonville Jaguars into gleaming Alltel Stadium in 1995.

A boom in NFL stadiums followed, and after just a few years, the Jaguars' owner realized he would need to upgrade his if he wanted his team to stay competitive.

"There were substantial renovations that we were going to need," Weaver said, "the kind of renovations that you'd have to do in order to host a Super Bowl."

Within two years, Weaver and a group of Jacksonville businessmen were meeting regularly to discuss the possibility.

"I came in here in January of `97, and I hadn't been here eight months when I got sort of drawn into early conversations about it," said Peter Rummell, the cochairman of the host committee. "I think it was early in `98 when we formed the host committee and set about bidding for the game."

Not everybody can bid, however. The NFL must approve the bidders, too. The committee flew Jim Steeg, the NFL's vice president for special events, to its city, and after a quick tour of the area, he have the group a go-ahead.

The planners began to take inventory. They knew that with a $64 million face-lift the stadium would be Super Bowl-worthy. They knew they had a growing population and thriving business base.

And, maybe more important given the public commitment that would be necessary, they knew that, thanks to the city's consolidation with surrounding Duval County in the late 1960s, there was a political structure in place that would make it easier for them to work with government.

What Jacksonville didn't have, though, was a tourism infrastructure.

"New Orleans as a city is not that much bigger than we are," Rummell said. "But it has a totally different orientation. New Orleans is about meetings and tourists. So it has hotels and restaurants that we just don't have because we've evolved differently."

Jacksonville discovered its tourism shortcomings while filling out the massive application the NFL requires of all bidders. One by one, the planners checked off the league's criteria: 700 limos available that week? Check. Tie-down space for 650 corporate jets? Check.

Until they got to the hotel requirement. The NFL wanted more than 17,000 upscale hotel rooms within a 25-mile radius. That was about 3,500 more than they could possibly foresee.

They eventually resolved that problem in such an inspired manner that the solution helped sway the NFL owners. Planning to make the St. Johns River the centerpiece of its Super Bowl activities anyway, the committee decided on floating hotels - five cruise ships that would dock in the city and provide the necessary rooms.

"Once we solved the room issue, the other issues were just generic," Rummell said.

Changing perception

The committee finally presented its formal, 750-page bid to the NFL in 2000. In keeping with the nautical theme, it was packaged beneath a cover that resembled an ocean liner's porthole.

Then came two long years spent preparing for an event they might never host and waiting for an answer. The local group put together a large volunteer organization, raised enough money to hire a small staff, and flew back and forth frequently to South Florida to negotiate with the cruise-ship companies. When the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, occurred, security became a major issue.

"And all throughout the process we spent time with the owners and Tagliabue, convincing them that we could pull this off," Rummell said. "They went through a verification process on our bid. And once it was done, Steeg and his people lived with us off and on for the next few years."

During that long, uneasy interval, committee members kept encountering those who wondered what they were smoking. The doubters scoffed at Jacksonville as an out-of-the-way, backwater town that couldn't possibly provide everything a Super Bowl demanded.

But the Jacksonville those people recalled was changing rapidly.

"It doesn't have the tourist overlay that a lot of other Florida cities have," Rummell said. "But it's got a much more diverse economy than you see in lots of those other places. There are 17 million people in Florida, and it's not built around its seasonal climate anymore. It's a year-round place.

"Jacksonville has had a slow, methodical but well-founded growth. It's really now at a tipping point. ... It's never going to be Miami or Orlando, but it's going to be a substantial city with an interesting nucleus to it. You're starting to see that with downtown housing and things that are critical pieces of any downtown coming to life."

Increase in taxes

Perhaps the most significant piece of Jacksonville's Super Bowl dream was a tax increase that organizers, despite the benefits it provided them, continue to insist was not connected to their efforts.

In 2000, Duval County voters approved a 10-year, half-cent increase in the sales tax. The city then floated $2.2 billion in bonds. With the revenue, they built a new baseball park and a 16,000-seat arena, both near Alltel Stadium on the St. Johns River, and improved local highways and the airport.

All of that turned out to be quite useful after Tagliabue made his announcement in 2002.

"It was done after we had made the Super Bowl bid, but it was really independent of that," Rummell said. "It had its own momentum. Thank God, it got done because without it, it would have been a heck of a lot harder for us."

Because the city still does not have enough venues to host the numerous Super Bowl parties, concerts, and interactive, media and promotional events that are fixtures of Super Bowl week, much of the fun in Jacksonville this week will take place in tents.

"I remember going to Houston for last year's game and they had the Astrodome sitting there basically unused," Rummell said.

"Imagine having a building like that just as an extra. We're going to use more tents than Houston had. It will be more festival, more concentrated, more temporary.

"We're not going to try to be something that we're not. We are what we are, and we're trying to put on a four-day festival, and I hope it will come across that way."

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Jacksonville says it's ready as Super Bowl week finally arrives

Ron Word

Canadian Press

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - After more than four years of planning, Jacksonville is ready for its time on the Super Bowl stage. Owners of temporary stores are loading shelves for a one-week sales season, security is getting tighter and the football world's eyes are beginning to focus on the River City - which, despite its relative lack of status compared to some of the nation's popular tourist destinations, welcomes the challenge of hosting the NFL's title game.

The finishing touches for the transformation of Jacksonville's downtown are going on in earnest, with workers planting flowers, paving streets and setting up temporary cellphone towers - all with the hope of better accommodating the estimated 100,000 visitors who'll flood the city this week for the Super Bowl.

Palm trees have been planted and concrete sidewalks have been replaced by brick. Television lights and towers have been erected atop a parking garage, TV networks are beginning to set up their expansive camps and colourful fibreglass manatees spaced through the downtown area.

And on Sunday afternoon, the real stars - the AFC champion New England Patriots and NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles - arrived to begin their final preparations for the Feb. 6 game.

Let the party begin.

"I'm glad it's finally here, but it's a big mystery dealing with all the unknowns," said Vince O'Rourke, who owns Eclate, a downtown restaurant and lounge.

Jacksonville has never before hosted a Super Bowl, and for many the process has been of the learn-as-you-go variety. O'Rourke said the game is causing him big logistical problems as far as supplies and staffing - he simply doesn't know how much to order and how many people to hire.

Betty Turner operates a jewelry store, and she, too, has concerns - like how diverted traffic will affect her sales. A street festival will go on outside her downtown storefront, and she's not sure how she'll get to work or where she - or her prospective customers - will park.

"I am praying very hard that the Super Bowl will give us the bump to keep going," Turner said.

Organizers insist that everyone involved can relax and that everything leading up to next Sunday will go as planned.

It may be the first Super Bowl for the city and most of its 10,000 volunteers, but it's not the first for many of the key organizers - including Michael Kelly, who heads the Super Bowl Host Committee after serving in a similar capacity for Tampa's Super Bowl in 2001.

Kelly knows the city wasn't a popular choice to host this game, yet he believes Jacksonville, which submitted its bid application back in 2000, will prove critics wrong.

"There is a lot of anticipation," Kelly said. "We are ready to get the party started."

Added host committee spokeswoman Heather Surface: "A well-oiled machine is an excellent way to describe it."

Plans seem to be moving along smoothly as the city prepares for the hordes of Eagles and Patriots fans, the arrival of five cruise ships that will serve as temporary floating hotels, plus corporate bigwigs and a virtual army of public relations folks pushing everything from the Sharpie ink pens to rapper Snoop Dogg.

Organizers say the game will result in a direct economic impact of $300 million US or more for Jacksonville, the nation's largest city in terms of mass (2,180 square kilometres) but one that doesn't even rank among the nation's top 50 television markets.

And there are plenty of people hoping to cash in. Among them: Former NFL tailback Ben Malone, who played for the Miami Dolphins from 1973-78. He'll operate a temporary storefront called "Major T's," which will be stacked with Super Bowl shirts, jackets ($300), shot glasses ($8) and other memorabilia.

Every year the Malone family, from Tempe, Ariz., heads for the Super Bowl to operate a similar shop.

"We heard this was where there was going to be a big block party," said Malone's son, Ben.

Down the block, Mike Ranne, a building manager, was overseeing the completion of a coffee shop, which will be run by the Jacksonville chapter of National Association for the Mentally Ill - of which he's the local president.

"The Super Bowl has been good for downtown," he said, "People are doing what they've put off doing for years, even if they are doing it in one week."

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As host to the Super Bowl, spotlight hits Jacksonville

Stuck between two identities, the Florida city wrestles with its racist past and strives for a new start.

By Francis X. Donnelly / The Detroit News

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Unlike most cities, this onetime cultural backwater has found a way to shake awake its downtown.

In the middle of all the construction and lunchtime crowds sits a downtown plaza, and in the center of the square is a confederate monument that some blacks find offensive.

The statue serves as a 40-foot reminder that, despite all the changes happening in Jacksonville, the past is never far away.

The city will be wrestling with that lesson many times as it prepares to host Super Bowl XXXIX next Sunday. It hopes to convince 125,000 visitors and nearly a billion television viewers that it's the kind of place where they would like to live and work.

The spotlight that comes with the championship football game, however, could also uncover some things that Jacksonville would rather keep hidden. And that same fate could await Detroit next year.

"This is one of the greatest things that ever happened to the city," said John Peyton, 40, Jacksonville's young and relentlessly upbeat mayor. "This is an enormous opportunity to introduce ourselves to the world."

Jacksonville has mostly completed its transformation from Old to New South. But outsiders still remember its bad ol' days as a redneck haven plagued by racism, corruption and the rotten-egg smell of its paper plants.

No sooner had the sporting world's attention turned to the city last week than the sniping began.

"What, Tuscaloosa was booked?" wrote Tony Kornheiser, a sports columnist and co-host of ESPN's "Pardon the Interruption."

Detroit undoubtedly will face the same arrows when it hosts the 2006 game. It, too, hopes to use the highly watched game to distance itself from an unflattering image.

Jacksonville, seeking to capitalize on the massive attention, unfurled a new slogan last month: "Jacksonville: Where Florida Begins."

That would hopefully replace the old motto, "Bold New City of the South," which would be used with a wink by observers describing the city's old problems.

In forging a new identity, the city has to win over more than outsiders and smart-alecky reporters, locals said. It needs to convince its own residents.

After being picked on for so many years, the local populace has developed an inferiority complex.

When the city picked the new slogan, several residents offered their own versions to the local paper: "Redneck Heaven." "It's Not That Bad." "Sun City of the South." "Giant Cockroach Capital of the South."

"A lot of people don't like Jacksonville," said resident Shelton Hull, 26, who was born there. "They talk about how they're leaving, that they hate the place."

The new motto seeks to tighten the connection between Jacksonville and Florida in outsiders' minds.

The city, near the northeast corner of Florida, had always seemed like an accident of geography, having more in common with rural Georgia than with the Sunshine State.

It was the poor cousin of Florida cities. Miami was international, Orlando got all the tourists and St. Petersburg was a retirement haven.

Jacksonville was the place out-of-staters drove by on I-95 as they headed toward Orlando, Miami or any other Florida city that wasn't this one.

Jacksonville was as anonymous as its dozen namesakes scattered across the country.

An Internet site selling tickets to a Super Bowl party listed the game as being played in Jacksonville, Calif. There is no such place.

The city was once called Cowford because of the cattle herded across the St. Johns River, a slow-moving stream that sometimes flows backward.

"Friends in South Florida would say that we were the retarded sister of Florida cities," said Jim Crooks, a retired history professor who has written two books about city history.

"It was really a mess here. We're a city in search of an image and aren't quite sure what that image should be."

The longtime stain on Jacksonville's image began lifting two decades ago as it cleaned up its air, water and land -- and local government.

The smell that washed over the city last week was one of coffee from a Maxwell House plant near downtown.

Economic good times have brought a spate of building, including a new 16,000-seat arena, baseball stadium, performing arts center, main library, equestrian center and, eventually, a county courthouse.

New riverfront hotels and condominiums are joining a burgeoning skyline already gleaming with metal and glass.

"Night and day," Jacksonville native Nick DeLoach, 32, said when asked how much the city had changed during his lifetime.

"We're not a Southern hick town anymore," the food distributor said. "The Super Bowl will be world eye-opening."

The bruised psyche of DeLoach and other residents has begun to heal. Some of it has to do with having a professional football team to call their own.

The football-crazed city had chased an NFL team for 20 years before finally getting the Jaguars in 1993. Residents feel the team gives the city a certain cachet.

In a rare move, the same residents voted in 2000 to raise their taxes to continue funding the city's growth spurt. The half-cent sales tax boost raised $2.2 billion for capital improvements.

As for race relations, residents elected the first black sheriff in Florida history in 1995.

Thirty-five years earlier, the same man, Nat Glover, was one of the blacks attacked by a white mob wielding ax handles during a dispute over the integration of a lunch counter.

The beatings took place in Hemming Plaza, the same downtown square where the confederate monument stands.

Despite the improvement in race relations, blacks, who comprise 29 percent of the city's population, still feel they're harassed by the heavily white Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

Isaiah Rumlin, president of the local chapter of the NAACP, said the city needs to work less on the Super Bowl and more on problems facing the black community.

"At the end of the day, it's only good for those who have," he said about the football game.

The frustration of blacks came to a head last month when two black men arrested for separate misdemeanors both died in police custody within two days of each other.

Normally, a local prosecutor would investigate a death involving the police but, with a Super Bowl looming, these aren't normal times in Jacksonville.

The police asked the FBI to probe its handling of the deaths.

Black leaders said the city was trying to diffuse the controversy before the football game brings the world's attention to its doors. They haven't ruled out holding a demonstration before the game.

The possible protest shows the flip side of hosting such a high-profile event.

It could help show the world a new Jacksonville. Or it could reinforce an old image that, despite city efforts, isn't buried as deeply as it would like.

You can reach Francis X. Donnelly at (313) 223-4186 or [email protected]

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Jacksonville awaits defining moment

Critics argue city not ready for Super Bowl

BY PATRICK PETERSON

FLORIDA TODAY

JACKSONVILLE -- With nearly a million people, this city has both a symphony orchestra and an angry alternative rock band called Bodies in the Gears of the Apparatus.

Photo gallery: Super Bowl preparations

Terry Crain, left, Sean Miller and Richard Arceneaux, of Orlando

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Jacksonville's visionary

By Ray McNulty

sports columnist -- tcpalm.com

January 30, 2005

"Mayor Jake" is 71 now.

Almost 72.

And retired.

He still owns a janitorial supply company. He still does some part-time consulting work. Mostly, though, he spends his days fishing and hunting and enjoying the many friendships he has made in the riverside city he put on the map.

Next Sunday, though, he's going to a football game.

"To be honest, I never thought I'd live to see this," Jake Godbold was saying last week as Northeast Florida tended to its final preparations for the most celebrated event on America's sports calendar. "A lot of folks thought this would never happen, especially when we first started out. Some people thought we were crazy to even try.

"So I can't tell you how lucky I feel

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What a nice article about Mayor Jake. Jacksonville really has come along way, even if we're not top-notch yet.

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Skyway fare going up to $5 a day for weekend

Stewart Verney

The Skyway is already more crowded because of the upcoming Super Bowl, and later this week it will get more expensive. A lot more expensive.

After 6 p.m. Thursday and Friday and all day Saturday and Sunday, the 35-cent fare to ride the Skyway will no longer be in effect. Instead, riders will have to buy a Super Bowl One Day Transit Pass, which costs $5, or a Four Day Transit Pass, which costs $20 and is good for Feb. 3 to 6.

"The daily pass is good for the Skyway, the shuttle buses, the Skyway lots and the Super Looper," said JTA spokesman Mike Miller.

Miller said the JTA isn't sure how much more traffic the Skyway will get this week.

"We always run six cars in the system," Miller said. "We own 10. We're not going to be putting on additional ones because it will slow things down."

The JTA will be adding security later in the week at the Skyway stations, in part to limit the number of people on the platforms at any given time to 60.

The daily Skyway and Super Looper passes are available at all Winn-Dixie Stores and JTA park-and-ride lots, and JTA workers will sell them at Skyway stations later this week.

"We will be selling them at all Skyway stations during operating hours beginning Thursday," Miller said.

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Economic pay dirt

It didn't take long for Super Bowl XXXIX to generate potential new business for Jacksonville.

New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft also is chairman of International Forest Products Corp., a Foxboro, Mass.-based global pulp and paper company that already exports from the Port of Jacksonville.

At the Monday night Kick Off to Super Bowl XXXIX, Kraft was seated next to Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton. Peyton announced to the crowd at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena that he was discussing "a port contract with Mr. Kraft."

Susie Wiles, Peyton's chief of special initiatives and communications, said Tuesday morning that Kraft "leaned over to the mayor and said, 'I'm interested in doing more business in your city.'"

Kraft's son, International Forest Products President Dan Kraft, said Tuesday that Peyton "was very accommodating" and "there might be some opportunities for us to increase our business down here."

"Again, the mayor has been very accommodating and is very interested in seeing what we do and we are going to try to get together and see if there are some opportunities to increase what we do there," he said.

Kraft said Tuesday morning that International Forest Products is "a major exporter of forest products from North America, from lumber to recycled paper to linerboard to wood pulp." He said the company exports from mills across the country to "points all over the world" and is one of the industry's top 30 North American exporters.

He said Kraft annually exports 50,000 tons, primarily linerboard, from Smurfit-Stone Container Corp. mills in Jacksonville and Fernandina Beach. He said International Forest Products buys the product and exports it from the Port of Jacksonville to Latin America.

This should help the locals see "the point" of the SB from Jax's perspective. I hope some job figures will be released.

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Weaver: NFL should avoid Super Bowl rotation

The National Football League should continue moving the Super Bowl rather than adopt a rotation of host cities, said Jacksonville Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver.

Weaver told journalists in Jacksonville Thursday that the NFL's "business strategy" for choosing cities has helped create new stadiums around the league.

Weaver said everything was going fine with Super Bowl XXXIX, and noted during the afternoon press conference that the weather, which has been less than ideal this week, was expected to turn and that the sun was actually coming out.

Weaver also said Jacksonville would be ready to host another Super Bowl in seven or eight years. The city should have enough hotel rooms the next time around, though cruise ships were a good solution to the problem of a shortage of hotel rooms.

The Jaguars owner also addressed the shots the city has been taking in the national media, saying the negative comments don't bother him.

"I think you guys too many times try to be too clever and go over the top," Weaver said.

One of the strong points of the week, he said, is the atmosphere and the friendly locals, which should leave a good impression on visitors.

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Culpepper Scrambles Through Awkward Situation At Super Bowl Event

JT goes home from the hospital

By MARK LONG

AP Sports Writer

JACKSONVILLE, FL (AP) -- Daunte Culpepper showed off his scrambling ability Wednesday -- in a crowded convention center ballroom.

The Minnesota Vikings quarterback presented a paralyzed high school football player two diamond necklaces worth about $75,000 during an NFL awards ceremony, but then awkwardly asked for them back after it was finished.

The apparent gift prompted a mother to cry, a father to think about buying a safe to store it and Culpepper to find a way out of the mess.

"I'll get him something else," Culpepper said sheepishly.

The confusion began at the FedEx ground and air player of the year honors, where finalists Culpepper, Peyton Manning, Shaun Alexander and Curtis Martin were on stage for the announcement.

When the master of ceremonies opened the floor for questions, Jerry Townsend spoke up from his wheelchair in the front row.

"Hey Daunte, can I get some of that ice?" he said in a low voice, referring to the two sparkling necklaces hanging around Culpepper's neck.

Culpepper jumped up, pulled them off and brought them over to Townsend, a senior defensive back at Jacksonville Episcopal High School who was paralyzed from the neck down while making a tackle in October.

Townsend spent the last four months in various hospitals and was released Wednesday -- just in time to go to the Super Bowl event.

After Culpepper put the necklaces around Townsend's neck, his mother started to cry. His father talked about needing to get a safe for the expensive jewelry.

Culpepper, meanwhile, went back to his seat and finished the awards ceremony (Manning won the air award, and Martin won the ground one). After it was over, Culpepper patiently answered dozens of questions while keeping a close eye on his jewelry across the room.

One of the diamond-laced necklaces was the No. 11, Culpepper's jersey number, and the other was a large pepper (for Culpepper).

"Where's that kid at? I've got to get my stuff back," Culpepper said.

Culpepper then walked over to the Townsends and asked them to write down their address so he could send them something else.

Culpepper wasn't sure what it would be.

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I heard them mention that whole "ice" mix-up on CNN, but I didn't know the kid was Townsend. I hope he gets a good replacement gift.

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I also have decided to come out of hiding and actually start participating on the board. My main comment from yesterday is those are the best Fireworks I have ever seen this city put on, and can not wait for the clear skies tonight to see what they do.

I briefly studied architecture before switching to computers, but my love for good design has never died. I still build custom furniture as a hobby, maybe one day more, and have a strong tie to the city.

My grandmother was raised at the beach, her brother was one of the engineers on the Southtrust building, my dad was born and raised in this town, and even being in the Navy was able to stay in Jacksonville for all but 3 years of my time growing up. I was born outside of St. Louis, but moved here at 6 months old and lived here pretty much since. I was offered a couple jobs in DC with my last company and one in Irvine, CA with my current one and told them I was not moving to either, that they should move the department here. After visiting both did, or at least added satalite offices here.

I do travel for work, mainly to Chicago, San Francisco, New York, Seattle, LA, Milwaukee, etc. but always can not wait to come home. Some of those cities may have more of somethings to offer, but more is not always better. Like many of you there are items that I would like to change in the city, or would do differently, but at least the population of this city thinks ahead and may not be sure what they want to be when they grow up, but at least they know what they do not want to be.

Rich

Age 30

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Welcome to the boards! Thanks for joining!

Look at this photo, it's the transformed Noland Building:

3d.png

The East Bay Club in The Noland Building

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Welcome richjagr !! You sound like you will be able to offer a broad perspective to the forum.

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Port officials talking with Krafts

Tony Quesada

Port Authority officials met Thursday at World Golf Village with executives of International Forest Products Corp., the Foxboro, Mass.-based pulp and paper company owned by New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft.

Roy Schleicher, port authority senior director of trade development and marketing, said he and Executive Director Rick Ferrin met primarily with two of Kraft's sons, including International Forest Products President Dan Kraft, although their father attended briefly. The discussion focused on exploring shipping requirements that the Port of Jacksonville can meet better than other ports the company currently ships from.

"We're arranging follow-up meetings in Foxboro to evaluate all their transportation needs to put together a transportation package out of Jacksonville to save them money and utilize us more," Schleicher said. "We're going to get a list of where they buy their stuff from and put together a complete logistics package for them."

The company has moved products through Jacksonville, "but not a lot," Schleicher said, noting that it also moves some products through the Port of Fernandina in Nassau County.

The meeting with the Krafts is the kind of impromptu business opportunity port officials had hoped the Super Bowl might bring. Schleicher said he called the company at the suggestion of Mayor John Peyton after Peyton, who sat by Bob Kraft at an event Monday, said its officials were interested in learning about the Port of Jacksonville.

The port authority has been busy bringing in current and potential port customers to entertain Thursday through Sunday, but officials were eager to make time for the meeting.

"I'll scramble my schedule for anything if it means business," Schleicher said.

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FIRST COAST CHRONICLES: Grasping opportunity is his goal

By TONYAA WEATHERSBEE

Times-Union columnist

Jerry Mallot experienced a lot of feelings back in 2000, when he learned that Jacksonville would be host to this year's Super Bowl.

Intimidation wasn't one of them.

"I just felt opportunity," said Mallot, who is vice president of the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce and executive director of Cornerstone, a division of the chamber in which large companies work with the city to bring other companies to the area.

"I had already seen what getting the Jaguars here had done, and I couldn't wait to see what the Super Bowl would do ... I kind of have this belief that we can do whatever we set our minds to do."

That belief is one that was nurtured in Mallot, 57, during his upbringing in the nation's heartland.

He grew up in Wichita, Kan., and spent most of his life there. His mother worked at a bank and his father sold insurance.

But Mallot's first test as to whether he could stare opportunity down or shrink from it came in 1970. Back then, he was paying his way through Wichita State University by working as a sales clerk at a hardware store when the president of the Wichita Chamber of Commerce stopped in to buy a trash can.

"He was sort of an interesting guy, the kind of guy who would challenge everyone he met," Mallot said. "Frankly, he was quite arrogant."

Mallot said he didn't let the man's big-shot attitude get in the way of him doing his job. By the time their encounter was over, Mallot managed to convince him to bypass the $4 cans and purchase one that cost $30.

"I stood up to him, and basically sold him more than what he was looking for," Mallot said. "... But he appreciated the fact that I stood up to him, and he asked me about my career plans."

As it turned out, the man offered Mallot, who was 22 at the time, a job as research director of the chamber. As the years passed, Mallot remained with the chamber and ultimately became president.

Then, in the 1990s, the Wichita weather got to him.

"It's a nice city. Like Jacksonville, the people are friendly and they care about each other," Mallot said. "But it was too hot in the summer, too cold in the winter, and the wind blew all the time."

He wound up being recruited by the Jacksonville Chamber as its senior vice president in 1994.

"The day I started was the same day that they were having a big to-do at the stadium about the [Jaguars] team," Mallot said. "It made me think that it all goes to show that people who dream big can make those dreams come true."

That's why Mallot has been busy helping Jacksonville to get the most it can get out of its Super Bowl dream -- so that this city can face down the outside scrutiny long enough to sell the rest of the country on its potential.

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Culpepper Scrambles Through Awkward Situation At Super Bowl Event

JT goes home from the hospital

By MARK LONG

AP Sports Writer

JACKSONVILLE, FL (AP) -- Daunte Culpepper showed off his scrambling ability Wednesday -- in a crowded convention center ballroom.

The Minnesota Vikings quarterback presented a paralyzed high school football player two diamond necklaces worth about $75,000 during an NFL awards ceremony, but then awkwardly asked for them back after it was finished.

The apparent gift prompted a mother to cry, a father to think about buying a safe to store it and Culpepper to find a way out of the mess.

"I'll get him something else," Culpepper said sheepishly.

The confusion began at the FedEx ground and air player of the year honors, where finalists Culpepper, Peyton Manning, Shaun Alexander and Curtis Martin were on stage for the announcement.

When the master of ceremonies opened the floor for questions, Jerry Townsend spoke up from his wheelchair in the front row.

"Hey Daunte, can I get some of that ice?" he said in a low voice, referring to the two sparkling necklaces hanging around Culpepper's neck.

Culpepper jumped up, pulled them off and brought them over to Townsend, a senior defensive back at Jacksonville Episcopal High School who was paralyzed from the neck down while making a tackle in October.

Townsend spent the last four months in various hospitals and was released Wednesday -- just in time to go to the Super Bowl event.

After Culpepper put the necklaces around Townsend's neck, his mother started to cry. His father talked about needing to get a safe for the expensive jewelry.

Culpepper, meanwhile, went back to his seat and finished the awards ceremony (Manning won the air award, and Martin won the ground one). After it was over, Culpepper patiently answered dozens of questions while keeping a close eye on his jewelry across the room.

One of the diamond-laced necklaces was the No. 11, Culpepper's jersey number, and the other was a large pepper (for Culpepper).

"Where's that kid at? I've got to get my stuff back," Culpepper said.

Culpepper then walked over to the Townsends and asked them to write down their address so he could send them something else.

Culpepper wasn't sure what it would be.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

This article is bogus!!! I am furious with the media about this and have written CNN. We were there with JT and it did not happen this way. I will tell the real story.

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I heard them mention that whole "ice" mix-up on CNN, but I didn't know the kid was Townsend.

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