Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

FOUR CHEERS; Economic Crescendo

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

FOUR CHEERS; Economic Crescendo

Article excerpt

Imagine a business that contributes more than $105 million in economic impact to the local economy.

But this business does more than make widgets, it contributes to the quality of life, it helps lure other businesses to the city. This business is so attractive that more than 11,000 volunteers donated over 200,000 hours.

It's so popular that more people attended its events than the Jacksonville Jaguars and Jacksonville Suns combined.

That is the impact in 2007 of Jacksonville's nonprofit and culture industry, based on a research study commissioned by the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville.

But this is no zero sum game. The Jacksonville area now is large enough to support a variety of entertainment industries, from sports to the arts.

"If jobs and expenditures were the sole measurements of our work, we would have a compelling story to tell," Robert Arleigh White, executive director of the Cultural Council, said in a press release.

"But the importance of arts and culture are not fully measured in those terms."

STUDENT VIDEO MASTERPIECES ON RIVER

We hear so many dire warnings about the St. Johns River, especially from the St. Johns Riverkeeper.

But the nonprofit watchdog has a good reason to feel confident about the future.

The Riverkeeper sponsored a video contest for high school students, called "Conserving Water to Save Our Rivers."

Executive Director Jimmy Orth wrote in an e-mail that he was "overwhelmed" by the number of entries and their powerful messages.

"The outstanding effort put forth by all of these high school students should be commended and serve as an inspiration to all of us," Orth wrote.

"I hope that their efforts will motivate us all to get more involved, as they have done."

We must leave a clean and healthy river for generations.

Viewing the top student entries reminds us of that (www.st.johns-riverkeeper.org).

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