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.

Kevin Meerschaert

    Business leaders and elected officials from across Northeast Florida gathered today for an economic summit hosted by Jax Chamber.

Much of the discussion was about how the counties can work together to maintain a strong business climate.

Officials from six area counties talked about the budget problems they had to face the past few years, but all say things are now starting to turn around.

One of the main issues was transportation and the need to work together to get major projects funded and built.

Jaxport

    Korea-based Hanjin shipping will not be building a terminal at Jaxport.

    Port officials say it was a mutual decision based on changes in the world economy.

Instead of building a terminal, Hanjin will be part of an alliance of Asian shipping lines using Jaxport on a rotating basis.

Through this agreement, a total of fifteen carriers with service between the East Coast and Asia will do business in Jacksonville.

Kevin Meerschaert

Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown has signed into law legislation to reinvest 11-million dollars for economic projects.

Nine-million will be allocated for development in the downtown area.

The other two million will be used for projects elsewhere in the city.

The money comes from savings after refinancing bonds.

Brown says the dollars will be used to encourage private investment in Jacksonville.

NASA

According to the American Geophysical Union

Voyager 1, launched 35 years ago, has left the solar system. 

However NASA says its not quite yet out of the neighborhood.

NASA has a nice web site where you can see photos and track where the Voyager space crafts are now. 

    About 400 people last night (Tuesday) attended the latest meeting of the Jax 2025 initiative.  The meeting focused on determining what the goals should be to measure the  success of the initiative.

       

During previous meetings participants discussed what kind of city they wanted Jacksonville to be in 2025 and what Jacksonville needs to focus on to achieve those  goals.

Excel23

JEA customers can expect their next bill to be a little bit lower.

    The JEA Board Tuesday

approved a fuel credit at its monthly meeting.

    JEA Executive Director Paul McElroy says the savings come from a lower than expected cost in natural gas.

The one-time credit will work out to about 35-dollars for the average residential customer. Commercial customers a likely to see about a 2-thousand dollar credit.

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.   

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