News

Monday on “First Coast Connect” we spoke with Women’s Center of Jacksonville Executive Director Teresa Miles and board president Lise Everly about Sexual Assault Awareness Month. This month’s First Coast Success featured Moxie co-owner Lisa Marie Johnson. Celebrating its 100th anniversary, we spoke with Jewish Family & Community Services CEO Colleen Rodriguez, and Cole Pepper told us how the Florida Gators fell just short of reaching the NCAA Tournament Final Four.  


JEA power plant
JEA

JEA recently announced it will close a coal-fired power plant on Jacksonville’s Northside, which came online in the late 1980s. With the complex’s closure, about 200 people will lose their jobs.

The plant’s closure after nearly 30 years of service is not surprising in today’s energy climate. If you’ve been paying attention to the electric power generation business, coal fired power plants are closing all across the country.


Wikimedia Commons

A bill seeking to protect the freedom of religious expression in public schools cleared Florida Senate on Thursday in a vote that largely cleaved along party lines.

The bill, aiming to create the “Florida Student and School Personnel Religious Liberties Act,” passed by 23-13 vote on the floor. It intends to unify existing religious rights in a single legislation that would be simple to implement and heed.

 


Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

Updated 11:15 a.m.

The Jacksonville Zoo hopes its gorilla Kumbuka will soon become a first-time mom. But Kumbuka’s journey to motherhood has been complicated by the recent discovery that she’s deaf.  

Jacksonville Zoo veterinarian Dr. Yousuf Jafarey said there is often tension between Kumbuka and the other gorillas because she doesn’t hear social cues. He said helping Kumbuka overcome socialization problems within her gorilla family is an important step to having a baby.

Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

Duval County Superintendent Nikolai Vitti is now one of two finalists for Detroit Public Schools Community District superintendent after the third candidate, Orlando Ramos of Milwaukee Public Schools, dropped out Thursday night, according to Detroit NPR member station WDET.

Serena Summerfield / WJCT News

The St. Johns Water Management District has issued a water shortage warning order for portions North and Central Florida after below-average rainfall this winter.

Abnormally dry weather conditions have prompted the need for additional water conservation in First Coast counties Baker, Putnam, Nassau, Flagler and Clay, which received about half of their normal rainfall.


  Friday on “First Coast Connect” was are weekly Media Roundtable with Jacksonville Business Journal editor Timothy Gibbons, blogger Fred Matthews and WJCT reporter Ryan Benk. We also spoke with Generation W founder Donna Orender and U.S. Naval War College professor of strategic leadership and leader development Olenda Johnson about next week’s conference. We spoke with Washington correspondent for The Economist James Astill about the rise of modern India, and we spoke with the star of the play “Fences” Shauntel Robinson and director Jereme Raickett. 


Dank Depot / Flickr Creative Commons

At least six competing plans ranging from the most restrictive to the most permissive expansions of medical marijuana in Florida are working their way through the state Legislature. And the division is wearing down the patience of state residents, who overwhelmingly supported the measure.


Bonnie Zerr / WJCT

On this episode of Redux, the Friends of Hemming Park have a friend in Mayor Lenny Curry — at least for the next six months, anyway.

The city is giving the nonprofit more time to find more ways to improve the city’s marquee park. We’ll hear from the nonprofit’s interim CEO, nearby business owners and you, our listeners.

We also have a couple updates, including how one company wants to transform Jacksonville’s downtown into an innovation hub. And finally, remember when we brought you that story about Jacksonville becoming a skateboarding Mecca? Well, the idea of an urban skateboard safari idea is still on the table.


Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office announced Thursday the arrests of 60 people after a four-month undercover narcotics investigation. Warrants are out for 11 additional people.

The investigation called “Operation Lockdown in O-Town” began on the Northside’s Oceanway area.


Thursday on “First Coast Connect” we discussed the opening of the Eisenhower Center, one of the nation’s most prominent brain trauma centers, with CEO John Cornack and Vice President Devin Hutchings. We also heard about a documentary on the history of Camp Blanding airing Thursday on WJCT public television. We spoke with Camp Blanding commander Col. Mitch Johnson and WJCT producer Carlos Bovier. Artist Kathy Stark told us about her new book “The Wilderness of North Florida Parks,” and we heard about Florida Archaeology Month with Public Archaeology coordinator Emily Jane Murray.  

Florida Forest Service Image

 Updated 5:15 p.m. 

BRYCEVILLE — An evacuation order for Bryceville residents has been lifted and all roads re-opened after a wildfire raged in Nassau County.

hand lighting marijuana joint
Chuck Grimmett via Flickr

St. Johns County officials want to hear what residents think about potential medical marijuana regulations.

Time is of the essence to pass local rules, with several marijuana bills up for consideration in Tallahassee this legislative session.

Ryan Benk / WJCT News

Jacksonville is one step closer to temporarily halting certain kinds of block parties across the city.

City leaders from law enforcement, the parks department and City Council hashed out ways to reform the permitting process Wednesday.


 Wednesday on “First Coast Connect” we discussed the Eureka Garden housing complex failing a federal Housing and Urban Development inspection with Florida Times-Union reporter Andrew Pantazi. We also aired an interview recorded by WJCT reporter Ryan Benk with Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity Director Cissy Proctor. We discussed some upcoming changes to people’s credit rating with Jax Federal Credit Union CEO Gerri Sexsion and we learned about the Sustainable Textile Youth Lectures with Naz&Court partner and designer Courtney Barriger.  

  

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