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 Friday's show:

  • Media Roundtable Week in Review
  • Beaches Fine Arts
  • Women2Women Conversations Tour

Join the conversation:

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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
11:09 am
Fri April 24, 2015

04/24/15: Media Roundtable Week In Review; Women2Women Tour; Beaches And Riverside Fine Arts Event

We discuss the week's biggest news stories with our roundtable of local journalists: Larry Hannan, Florida-Times Union reporter; Fred Matthews, Examiner blogger; A.G. Gancarski, Folio Weekly and Florida Politics columnist; and Staci Spanos, WJXT anchor.

Topics include the 2015 Jacksonville mayoral race, UNF president and former mayor John Delaney endorsing candidate Lenny Curry, Mayor Alvin Brown ordering a review of the city's discrimination prevention laws, and more.

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First Coast Connect
11:29 am
Thu April 23, 2015

04/23/15: International Trade And Jax Businesses; Lymphedema; 'Haikus Well-Hung' Art Show

As international trade agreement negotiations between the White House and Congress proceed, we examine how these talks could affect First Coast businesses. We speak with Andrew East, CFO/EVP of Green Cove Springs-based company Alternate Energy Technologies LLC, about the impact of international trade on their company.

We also speak with local activist Candace Bridgewater about raising awareness for lymphedema, a condition caused by the removal of or damage to lymph nodes during cancer treatments.

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First Coast Connect
11:46 am
Wed April 22, 2015

04/22/15: Foreclosures On The First Coast; Heart Health; Mee Mee TV's 'Tonight! With Jim Alabiso'

Credit Jeff Turner / Flickr

With Florida still leading the nation in foreclosures, this week the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced it will provide grants to support 30 housing counseling organizations across the state. Half a million homes around Florida are still underwater or in foreclosure including many thousands in our area. We speak with foreclosure defense attorney Chip Parker of the firm Parker and DuFresne.

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First Coast Connect
3:51 pm
Tue April 21, 2015

'SOTRU' Host Al Letson Wins Peabody Award

State of the Re:Union host Al Letson
Credit WJCT

He’s a playwright, poet and nationally renowned public radio host. And Jacksonville’s own Al Letson is also a Peabody Award winner.

Letson’s acclaimed program "State of the Re:Union" won a George Foster Peabody award for its 2014 season.

It is the highest accolade offered in the broadcasting business. Letson joins such luminaries as Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Katie Couric and Julia Child at the very pinnacle of the industry.

Sadly, SOTRU is sunsetting due to challenges involved with fundraising.

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First Coast Connect
3:13 pm
Tue April 21, 2015

04/21/15: 'State Of The Re:Union' Wins Peabody; 'Dreaming In Cuban'; Jacksonville Greek Festival

The WJCT and NPR program "State of the Re:Union" was recently awarded a George Foster Peabody Award for its 2014 season. We speak with host and producer Al Letson about the honor, and look back on the show that is currently in its final season.

In our monthly First Coast Connet Book Club segment, book blogger Stacey Goldring joins us to discuss Cristina Garcia's novel "Dreaming in Cuban" along with two special guests.

And we preview the return of the Jacksonville Greek Festival with event members Father Nicholas Louh and Tom Gibson.

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First Coast Connect
1:10 pm
Mon April 20, 2015

04/20/15: Interfaith Group Calls For Action On City Issues; LaVilla Students' Poetry CD; Cole Pepper

Hundreds of faith and community leaders are expected to meet at Jacksonville’s Potter’s House Church Monday to press city officials about Jacksonville’s crime problem, along with discussing other campaign issues like education, jobs and mental health. The event is sponsored by ICARE, the Interfaith Coalition for Action, Reconciliation and Empowerment. We speak with ICARE members Rev. Bruce Havens, of Arlington Congregational, and Rev. James Wiggins, of St. Paul Lutheran Church.

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First Coast Connect
11:30 am
Fri April 17, 2015

04/17/15: Media Roundtable Week In Review; Springing The Blues

We discuss the week's biggest news stories with our roundtable of local journalists: Dan Scanlan, Florida Times-Union reporter; A.G. Gancarski, Folio Weekly and Florida Politics columnist; and John Burr, WJCT business analyst.

Topics include the competing bids to revamp Jacksonville's Shipyards property, updates in the city's mayoral race and more.

We also roundup the strange, bizarre and just plain ridiculous news from across the Sunshine State in our Only in Florida segment.

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First Coast Connect
11:10 am
Thu April 16, 2015

04/16/15: Darkness To Light Coalition; Parkinson's Symposium; 5 & Dime Theatre; Kerry Speckman

As the nation marks Child Abuse Prevention Month, several Northeast Florida organizations, including the YMCA, the Monique Burr Foundation, the Jacksonville Children’s Commission and WJCT, have partnered to form the Darkness to Light Stewards for Children Coalition. The group is working to train 50,000 adults to develop the skills to prevent, recognize and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. We speak with Tammy Miller, VP of Risk Management, and Linda Burr, Lead Trainer, for YMCA of Florida’s First Coast.

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First Coast Connect
1:55 pm
Wed April 15, 2015

04/15/15: St. Augustine 450th; Green One Spark Creators; 'Cooking Up Change'; WJCT's Relax Radio

First Coast Connect host Melissa Ross with Dana St. Claire (r) and Alexa Epitropoulos (l)
Credit Shannon LeDuke / WJCT

St. Augustine will commemorate 450 years as the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in the United States this year. Anniversary planning has been an arduous process for St. Augustine City officials, and with only six months to go, there is still much to be done. The 450th has been the subject of many heated discussions, with many questioning the finances and the plans. We speak with Dana St. Claire, director of the St. Augustine 450th Commemoration, and Alexa Epitropoulos, reporter with the Jacksonville Business Journal.

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First Coast Connect
2:46 pm
Tue April 14, 2015

Free Speech Forum Set For UNF

"Freedom of Speech: The Linchpin of a Free Society" is being held tonight at the Adam W. Herbert University Center at UNF
Credit http://www.unf.edu/universitycenter/

Free speech is the linchpin of a free society and one of America’s most deeply held values. That's the premise behind a special event on the UNF campus.

The panel discussion will look at the origins and function of the First Amendment, guaranteeing Americans the right to free speech and free expression.

"These issues are timely," said David Schwam-Baird, professor of political science at UNF. Schwam-Baird and Earl Coggins, president of the First Coast Free Thought Society, appeared on First Coast Connect.

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First Coast Connect
11:50 am
Tue April 14, 2015

04/14/15: Free Speech; History Of The Yamasee Indians; March For Babies Event

Some call free speech the linchpin of a free society and one of America’s most deeply held values. We look at the First Amendment's role in our society, as well as a discussion on the topic taking place at UNF Tuesday night, with Earl Coggins, president of the First Coast Free Thought Society, and David Schwam-Baird, UNF professor of political science.

Dr. Denise Bossy, UNF associate professor of history, joins us to discuss the historical and cultural impact of the Yamasee War of 1715.

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First Coast Connect
11:20 am
Mon April 13, 2015

04/13/15: Hillary Clinton 2016 Run; HandsOn Jacksonville; Spring For The Arts; Cole Pepper

Hillary Clinton officially announced her run for president in 2016 Sunday. We discuss the road ahead for her campaign and other candidates with A.G. Gancarski, columnist for Florida Politics and Folio Weekly.

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First Coast Connect
3:29 pm
Fri April 10, 2015

04/10/15: On The Go - Live From Day Three Of One Spark 2015

Note: This episode was recorded in from of a live audience at MOCA Jacksonville the night of April 9, 2015.

On our final broadcast from the One Spark 2015 crowdfunding festival, we look at what goes into choosing the winning projects for several special awards with jurors Lukas Costas, Grace Belangia, Jay Harris and Jane Evans.

Jason Pratt, co-owner of the outdoor design company and successful One Spark 2014 creator Pratt Guys, and One Spark volunteer Kristyn Galane join us to discuss what goes into making the festival happen.

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First Coast Connect
1:48 pm
Thu April 9, 2015

04/09/15: On The Go - Live From Day Two Of One Spark 2015

First Coast Connect host Melissa Ross speaks with One Spark founders Elton Rivas, Dennis Eusebio and Varick Rosete.
Credit Shannon LeDuke / WJCT

 Note: This episode was recorded in front of a live audience at MOCA Jacksonville the night of April 8, 2015.

  As crowds descend on downtown for the first official day of voting for One Spark 2015, the crowdfunding festival's founders Elton Rivas, Dennis Eusebio and Varick Rosete join us to discuss how it started and what is new this year.

We also learn about some of the film projects currently being screened at the MOCA Jacksonville theater from filmmakers Michael Glinski, Derek Boyd Hankerson, Keagan Anfuso, Drew Brown, and Kim Murray.

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First Coast Connect
2:47 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

04/08/15: On The Go - Live From Opening Day Of One Spark 2015

Jacksonville historian and art activist Wayne Wood speaks with First Coast Connect host Melissa Ross.
Credit Bonnie Zerr / WJCT

Note: This episode was recorded in front of a live audience at MOCA Jacksonville the night of Tuesday, April 7 2015.

As the 2015 One Spark crowdfunding festival begins, we speak with special One Spark Speaker Summit guests Tamara Mendelsohn, VP of marketing for EventBrite, Ryan Feit, CEO of SeedInvest, and Maya Penn, CEO of Maya's Ideas.

MOCA Jacksonville Director of Communications Denise Reagan joins us to discuss the museum's ongoing MOCA is Now campaign and special programming during the festival.

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