Our Community

Uplifting and inspiring stories from around the community.

Local Folks: Markus Thiesen

Local Folks: Markus Thiesen

Markus Thiesen calls himself CEO, Chief Enthusiasm Officer. He is co-owner of St. Johns Flower Market in Avondale, the one at the corner of Herschel Street and St. Johns Avenue, across the street from Fishweir Elementary School. He and his wife, Eden Erickson, bought the business in April 2020 from his parents, Marianne and Leonard […]

Local Folks: Sam and Kiley Efron

Local Folks: Sam and Kiley Efron

Sam and Kiley Efron are the owners of San Marco’s multi-award-winning Italian restaurant, Taverna. Sam serves as executive chef, and Kiley as wine director. But these local folks aren’t only business owners and residents of the area; they are fervent fans. Sam is a native of Jacksonville, a Mandarin High School graduate. He met Kiley […]

Local Folks: The York Family

Local Folks: The York Family

Andria and Tom York are no strangers to the residents of Jacksonville. Andria works for the mother company of TIAA. Tom is the president of CastleWise Realty and Insurance located in the One Call building in San Marco. Before that, he was with Citizens Property Insurance. Some might even know that when Andria and Tom […]

Local Folks: Lauren Carlucci

Local Folks: Lauren Carlucci

As of May, Lauren Carlucci is the newly elected president of the San Marco Preservation Society, this role following her one-year stint as vice president. She’s a natural fit for the organization, folks agree, and some are curious to know how she got there. As a Jacksonville University student, Carlucci changed her major seven times […]

Bicentennial – Looking back, looking forward to next 200 years

Bicentennial – Looking back, looking forward to next 200 years

At this writing, Jacksonville’s 200th anniversary is a few weeks away. The Jacksonville Historical Society has accepted a convening role in gathering the people of this sprawling, complicated city to hear and share their stories. Those range from inspiring to mysterious, and from heroic to heartbreaking. We do not shrink from any of them, because […]

Local Folks: Susan Painter and Rick Pariani

Local Folks: Susan Painter and Rick Pariani

Susan Painter and Rick Pariani have been married for 45 years. She is a retired teacher who had taught art in St. Johns County schools for many years. How apt that she retained her maiden name, Painter. Pariani is a landscape architect retired from Davidson Companies. They bought their Avondale home five years ago, commencing […]

Secret Jacksonville: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful and Obscure

Secret Jacksonville: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful and Obscure

An interview with the author, Mr. Delaney Jacksonville’s urban revitalization is underway and gaining momentum. This is evident in the growing high rise apartment buildings in Brooklyn, Riverside, and Murray Hill; restoration of historic landmarks, such as Renaissance Revival landmark Cowford Chophouse building; and renewed interest in connecting communities by pedestrian and bike pathways, such […]

Local Folks: Friends, Ginny and Ward

Local Folks: Friends, Ginny and Ward

Amid five decades of change, Ginny Stine Romano and R. Ward Lariscy have managed to maintain a consistent friendship. Living and working close by, shopping and socializing in the same circles, and even traveling together—sometimes a state or two away, and sometimes abroad. These two friends have been doing life side by side for the […]

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