First Coast Connect

Weekdays 9:00 a.m.

Hosted by Melissa Ross, this one-hour call-in program features local newsmakers, civic and community leaders, arts, activities and more, along with spot news features and a weekly roundtable of local journalists.

Coming up on Monday's show:

  • Seventh Annual Urban Education Symposium Aims to Help First Coast Teachers Effectively Teach Young Black Men
  • New UF Health Birthing Center Opening Soon
  • Super Bowl Ad Recap
  • Sports with Cole Pepper

Join the conversation:

Watch Live On Ustream

Subscribe to the First Coast Connect podcast on iTunes

First Coast Connect is sponsored in part by Baptist Health and North Florida TPO.

Education coverage is sponsored in part by the Chartrand Foundation.

Legal and political coverage is sponsored in part by Farah & Farah Law Firm.

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First Coast Connect
10:56 am
Fri January 30, 2015

01/30/15: Media Roundtable Week In Review; Contemporary Violinist Daniel D

We discuss the week's biggest news stories with our roundtable of local journalists: Fred Matthews, Examiner blogger; Andrew Pantazi, Florida Times-Union reporter; Tim Gibbons, Jacksonville Business Journal editor; A.G. Gancarski, Folio Weekly and FloridaPolitics.com columnist.

Topics include Marissa Alexander's release from jail, former Atlantic Beach police chief Michael Classey taking a plea deal on five felony drug counts, the outcomes of local Republican primary elections this week, Gov. Rick Scott's budget, and more.

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First Coast Connect
11:09 am
Thu January 29, 2015

01/29/15: '3 1/2 Minutes'; Dr. Catherine Steiner-Adair; JacksonVegas; Kerry Speckman

Ron Davis
Credit Shannon LeDuke / WJCT

The new film "3 ½ Minutes" just premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. This documentary explores the shooting of Jacksonville teen Jordan Davis by Michael Dunn, Dunn's trials, and the controversy around Florida’s Stand Your Ground self-defense laws. We speak with Ron Davis, father of Jordan Davis, and Jacksonville attorney John Phillips, who represents the family.

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First Coast Connect
11:37 am
Wed January 28, 2015

01/28/15: FSCJ President Cynthia Bioteau; Florida Community Solar; Scholastic Art Awards

FSCJ president Dr. Cynthia Bioteau
Credit Florida State College at Jacksonville

Florida State College at Jacksonville is marking its 50th anniversary this year, as well as the first year of the school's new president, Dr. Cynthia Bioteau. We speak with Bioteau about what's in store for FSCJ, and get her reaction to President Barack Obama's recent call for two years of free community college for American students.

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First Coast Connect
11:59 am
Tue January 27, 2015

01/27/15: Guns On College Campuses; Elayne Boosler; Florida's Sunday Supper Event

Rod Sullivan, Florida Coastal School of Law professor.
Credit Melissa Ross / WJCT

A Florida House committee approved a measure this week to allow students to carry guns and concealed weapons on the state’s college campuses. This controversial idea comes just months after a shooter injured three people at the Florida State University library. Supporters of allowing guns on campus say it would prevent more campus shootings like the FSU incident. Opponents argue more guns on campus will make students less safe. We discussed the issue with legal analyst and Florida Coastal School of Law professor Rod Sullivan.

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First Coast Connect
11:05 am
Mon January 26, 2015

01/26/15: Homeless Point In Time Count; First Coast Success; Cole Pepper

Dawn Gilman, president of the Emergency Services and Homeless Coalition of Northeast Florida
Credit Melissa Ross / WJCT

Every year, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development requires counties that receive funding for homeless services to conduct a survey of people who live on the streets. The annual Point in Time Count for Northeast Florida will be conducted this week in Duval, Clay and Nassau Counties. The results will be used to find ways to reduce the number of homeless people in the area by getting them into housing and jobs.

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First Coast Connect
10:50 am
Fri January 23, 2015

01/23/15: Media Roundtable Week In Review; Book Blogger Stacey Goldring

  We discuss the week's biggest news stories with our roundtable of local journalists: Mark Woods, Florida Times-Union reporter; John Burr, Jacksonville Business Journal editor; Eric Smith, People and Politics host; and Jeff Billman, Folio Weekly editor.

Topics include a proposed amendment from Sen. John McCain that could have an impact on the First Coast's shipbuilding and repair industry, the Jacksonville mayoral and sheriff's races, supermarket chain Kroger potentially purchasing the Bi-Lo company.

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First Coast Connect
11:14 am
Thu January 22, 2015

01/22/15: Craft Breweries Facing Legal Battle; Teen Trendsetters; Daniel Baldwin; Kerry Speckman

Melissa Ross speaks with Erin Ocobock, director of Resource Development with Communities in Schools, about the Teen Trendsetters mentor program.
Credit Shannon LeDuke / WJCT

We speak with Ben Davis, owner of Intuition Ale Works, about several legal disputes between craft breweries, large beer distributors and the state of Florida that are currently coming to a head. Points of contention include small brewers not being allowed to sell their product in 64-ounce containers known as "growlers," and challenges to their ability to serve their beer in tasting rooms

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First Coast Connect
10:45 am
Wed January 21, 2015

01/21/15: 2015 State Of The Union Address; State Climatologist David Zierden

Credit WhiteHouse.gov

In his sixth State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Barack Obama made populist calls for increasing the minimum wage, instituting paid sick leave and passing equal pay legislation. He also pushed sweeping tax reform. We analyze the president's speech with Dr. Mike Binder, professor of political science and director Public Opinion Research Laboratory at UNF, and A.G. Gancarski, columnist for Folio Weekly.

Then Dr. David Zierden, state climatologist at FSU, joins us to discuss climate change concerns in Florida, as well as potential solutions.

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First Coast Connect
11:05 am
Tue January 20, 2015

01/20/15: Floridians For Solar Choice; Stickely Furniture Historian; ScaleUp North Florida

Tory Perfetti, chairman of Floridians for Solar Choice and Florida director of Conservatives for Energy Freedom (l) and Stephen Smith, executive director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (r)
Credit Floridians for Solar Choice

An unlikely coalition of Tea Party groups, environmentalists, Libertarians, business leaders and more is working to ramp up solar power in Florida. The group Floridians for Solar Choice is trying to put an initiative on the 2016 ballot to allow people to generate their own solar power, and then sell it directly to other consumers. We speak with Stephen Smith, executive director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, about their efforts.

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First Coast Connect
10:58 am
Mon January 19, 2015

01/19/15: 'State Of The Re:Union' Host Al Letson; Cole Pepper; 'I Have A Dream'

Al Letson
Credit Melissa Ross / WJCT

As the country observes the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, we speak with State of the Re:Union host Al Letson about race in America. Following the grand jury decisions in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases in 2014, Letson wrote commentaries about his personal experience as an African-American man growing up in Jacksonville. He will host a community conversation about race issues as part of WJCT's Race In The River City town hall event in January.

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First Coast Connect
10:40 am
Fri January 16, 2015

01/16/15: Media Roundtable Week In Review

We discuss the week's biggest news stories with our roundtable of local journalists: Larry Hannan, Florida Times-Union reporter; Jeff Billman, Folio Weekly editor; and Tim Gibbons, Jacksonville Business Journal editor.

Topics include national coverage of the decision by Northeast Florida clerks of court to end courthouse weddings following the legalization of same-sex marriage, the sentencing of a local man for conspiring with terrorists, how Jacksonville's pensions problems is playing a role in the mayoral election, and more.

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First Coast Connect
11:19 am
Thu January 15, 2015

01/15/15: Anti-Islam, Anti-Semitism In Europe; WJCT CEO Michael Boylan; Hemming Park; Kerry Speckman

Dr. Parvez Ahmed (l) and Rabbi Jonathan Lubliner (r)
Credit Melissa Ross / WJCT

As the fallout from the terrorist attacks in Paris continues, we speak with Rabbi Jonathan Lubliner of the Jacksonville Jewish Center and UNF professor Dr. Parvez Ahmed about growing anti-Islam and anti-Semitic sentiments in Europe.

WJCT president and CEO Michael Boylan then joins the show to discuss WJCT's The Square contest, new programming and more.

We also hear updates on downtown Jacksonville's Hemming Park from Vince Cavin, executive director of Friends of Hemming Park.

And Kerry Speckman joins the show with this weekend's biggest events.

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First Coast Connect
10:50 am
Wed January 14, 2015

01/14/15: Rep. Janet Adkins On Jacksonville's Pension; Berry Good Farms; 'Time Stands Still'

Rep. Janet Adkins
Credit Florida House of Representatives Website

State Representative Janet Adkins joins the show to discuss Jacksonville's Police and Fire Pension Fund. Adkins and other officials have asked Governor Rick Scott to launch an investigation into whether or not the fund has broken any laws. She will be leading a workshop about the city's pension reform efforts on Thursday.

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First Coast Connect
1:14 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

First Coast Physician Still Helping Haiti, Five Years After The Quake

The 2010 earthquake in Haiti is considered the worst natural disaster to date in the Western Hemisphere.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Dr. John Lovejoy is the respected Jacksonville orthopedic surgeon whose heroic efforts in earthquake-stricken Haiti were captured on film in the award-winning documentary Angels of Milot.

The 2010 earthquake there, which registered 7.0 on the Richter scale, is on record as the worst natural disaster in the Western Hemisphere.

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First Coast Connect
11:42 am
Tue January 13, 2015

01/13/15: St. Johns Riverkeeper On Rodman Dam; Haiti Earthquake; 'Stars Of David'

St. Johns Riverkeeper Lisa Rinaman joins us to discuss the unlikely partnership between environmentalists, the City of Jacksonville, Jax Chamber and JaxPort to remove the Rodman Dam in Putnam County. This controversial agreement would involve moving ahead with the planned dredging of the St. Johns River while allowing more fresh water into the system by restoring the Ocklawaha River.

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