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.

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.

Florida National Guard

    Governor Rick Scott is slamming President Barack Obama and Congress for not getting a budget deal done to replace the sequester set to begin on Friday.
         Scott says because politicians in Washington aren’t doing their jobs, Floridians may lose theirs.       
        Governor Scott says Sequestration makes no sense because it uses a meat cleaver approach in cutting spending instead of a scalpel.
         He says it will have a dramatic impact on Florida’s military bases and defense industry.

Richard Masoner

    Whether the city of Jacksonville should freeze a fee for construction projects brought a long debate to the Jacksonville city council meeting last night.

At issue is if the city should place a three year moratorium on it’s mobility fee.

          The mobility fee is placed on new construction projects with the intention to encourage redevelopment and reduce sprawl. The funds are used for transportation enhancements like sidewalks, bike lanes and road expansion.   

WJCT News


 

The Jacksonville City Council has approved the reappointment of UNF Professor Parvez Ahmed to the city’s Human Rights Commission.

He was approved on a 13-6 vote.

Unlike three years ago, when the council discussed his appointment at length, the vote was done quickly.

Only Robin Lumb spoke about the reappointment expressing concerns that the Rules Committee overruled it’s Chair Clay Yarborough who wanted to wait another two weeks before voting.

A City Council vote is expected tonight on whether to reappoint UNF professor Parvez Ahmed to the Jacksonville Human Rights Commission.

The council will also hold a public hearing on an ordinance to freeze a fee for construction projects.

Ahmed’s reappointment was approved last week in the Rules Committee. Opponents of his reappointment point to his former position with the Council on American-Islamic Relations while his supporters say he has long worked for understanding between religions.

    Two more feet of space for ships to travel the St. Johns River may mean the difference in bringing thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in economic development to JAXPORT.

The JAXPORT Board of Directors today (Monday) voted to seek dredging the St. Johns River to 47 feet, instead of the 45 feet recommended by the Army Corp of Engineers.

Marine economic development consultant John Martin says the extra two feet would allow for larger cargo ships to use MAYPORT.

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