Kevin Meerschaert

Producer, "First Coast Connect"

Kevin Meerschaert is back at WJCT after two years, rejoining the station as producer of First Coast Connect.

Kevin was a reporter for WJCT News from 2001 until 2014. He previously worked at public radio stations in Salisbury, Maryland;  Evansville, Indiana; and Ypsilanti, Michigan. He won several awards for reporting and was the recipient of the 2007-2008 Media Community Leadership award from Mental Health America of Northeast Florida.

Kevin was born and raised in Michigan, earning his degree in political science from Eastern Michigan University. 

When not at work, you may run into Kevin on Saturday mornings walking around the Riverside Arts Market or in a local park.

State of Florida

A State Senate Committee unanimously passed a bill today that would shut down internet gaming centers in Florida.

Supporters say the legislation closes a loophole in state law that allows illegal gambling to take place.

        

Kevin Meerschaert

Former Jaguars and current New York Giants Head Coach Tom Coughlin paid a visit Wolfson Childrens Hospital Friday.

Coughlin visited patients and toured the soon to be completed teen recreation room paid for by his charity the Jay Fund.

The Jay fund was founded in honor of Jay McGillis, who played for Coughlin when he was Head Coach at Boston College and passed away from cancer.

Despite leaving the Jaguars after the 2002 season, Coughlin still has strong ties to the area.

The Jay Fund is based in Jacksonville.

Justin Cormack



    State Senator John Thrasher says he expects a bill to ban Internet cafes in Florida

will sail through to passage.

Thrasher had introduced a bill that would have placed a moratorium on new cafes, but on the heels of the Allied Veterans of the World arrests he says the legislature should take stronger action.

Thrasher’s moratorium bill is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Gaming Committee on Monday. He expects a move to close all the cafes will be discussed at that meeting.  

Kevin Meerschaert

    Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford says the arrests of Fraternal Order of Police President Nelson Cuba and Vice-President Robbie Freitas shows no one in his department is above the law.

 Rutherford told reporters on Wednesday about the two officers’ roles in the Allied Veterans of the World conspiracy.

Law enforcement officials say Cuba and Freitas received more than 500-thousand dollars through a shell corporation during an 18-month period.

Kevin Meerschaert

The Jacksonville City Council has approved legislation authorizing a  long delayed plan to overhaul the old Federal Courthouse to house the State Attorney’s office.

Funding for the 26-million dollar project was always part of the 350-million dollar Courthouse project, but ran into design delays.

The original developer was dropped and the project was rebid but none of the new bids came in under budget.

Three Jacksonville City Council Committees have deferred a vote on legislation that would have waived the city’s mobility fee for three years.

Council members want to try and reach a short term compromise, while a task force is formed to take a longer look at the fee’s formula and structure.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - A Senate committee has essentially killed Gov. Rick Scott's plan to expand Medicaid coverage to roughly 1 million of Florida's poorest residents
      Instead, the committee proposed Monday that the state adopt a managed care system that requires patients have a copayment.
      Sen. Joe Negron says he hopes the state can eventually exit from the Medicaid system entirely and called this proposal the beginning of a transformation. Lawmakers also discussed using state funds to help with copays.

Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown joined local environmental officials today (Monday) to encourage local residents to participate in Saturday’s annual St. John’s River Cleanup.

This is the 18th year for the event, which encourages participants to  pick up litter from natural and urban areas.

From the Northbank Riverwalk, Brown said the St. Johns River is the heart of the city of Jacksonville.

Kevin Meerschaert

    The Jacksonville Sheriff’s office has identified the man shot to death by police on Thursday as a 55-year old with a long record of domestic violence.   

A smart app that helps drivers find parking spots in downtown Jacksonville went live on Wednesday.

    Two Jacksonville City Council Committees have approved 11-million dollars for economic development. Nine-million will be directed to downtown projects.
         The money comes from savings through the refinancing of city debt. The Downtown Investment Authority will oversee the funding for downtown projects, but the city council will still have final say.

photo by Beth Meckley

    The Streetlights will be coming back on in Jacksonville’s industrial and commercial areas under legislation proposed by Mayor Alvin Brown.
      The lights were shut off last year due to budget cuts.
          Mayor Brown says funding comes from unspent dollars from the previous fiscal year.
         There’s also money in the bill to maintain city right-of-ways, help the Fraternal Order of Police pay for job related education expenses, and to boost funding for economic development near Jacksonville International Airport and in Northwest Jacksonville.

    Jacksonville has seen a sharp increase in the number of pedestrian and bicyclist traffic deaths in the past year.    
       Local law and traffic enforcement agencies are teaming to raise awareness of the problem and share how to avoid such accidents.
Sheriff John Rutherford says pedestrian traffic deaths jumped 39-percent in Jacksonville last year. Deaths of bicyclists jumped 80-percent.
       He says the main problem is that people lack awareness of their surroundings.

          A group of downtown Jacksonville business and community leaders are kicking off a project to enhance the north bank and south bank riverwalks on the St. Johns River.
       The Riverwalk Project will present its initiative during next month’s One Spark festival.
          The project will create an app and website that would stream information about health, the environment, arts and entertainment and Jacksonville’s history.



         Jacksonville’s Downtown Investment Authority says it does not think the city should waive a fee on new construction.
         The legislation is to be discussed and possibly voted on next  week in three city council committees.
         The mobility fee is paid by developers and is used to pay for transportation projects. It’s designed to encourage redevelopment close to the city’s core and limit sprawl.

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