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 Tuesday's show:

  • Groundwork Jacksonville
  • iStart Jax 2015 Startup Weekend
  • 27th Annual Great American Jazz Series at UNF


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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
11:51 am
Tue March 3, 2015

03/03/15: Groundwork Jacksonville; Startup Weekend; UNF Great American Jazz Series; David Luckin

Dawn Emerick, Alyssa Bourgoyne and Dave Roman of Groundwork Jacksonville.
Credit Shannon LeDuke / WJCT

The organization Groundwork Jacksonville has recently launched with the mission of improving communities. The group plans to do everything from cleaning up blighted areas and brownfields to restoring Hogans and Deer Creeks, two important tributaries to the St. Johns River. We speak with Groundwork CEO Dawn Emerick, program coordinator Alyssa Bourgoyne, and Dave Roman with the City of Jacksonville.

iStart Jax president and CEO Yash Nath joins us to discuss this week's Startup Weekend for entrepeneurs to connect with coaches, CEO’s and other experts to help grow their idea.

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First Coast Connect
11:07 am
Fri February 27, 2015

02/27/15: Media Roundtable Week In Review; VegFest; Red Moon Theatre Festival

We discuss the week's biggest news stories with our roundtable of local journalists: Eric Smith, "People and Politics" host; Tim Gibbons, Jacksonville Business Journal editor; A.G. Gancarski, Folio Weekly and Florida Politics columnist.

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4:16 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

First Coast Connect: Should Juvenile Arrests Records Stay Confidential?

Roy Miller, President and Founder of The Children's Campaign
Credit The Children's Campaign

Some Jacksonville advocates want to help teens avoid a lifetime label. That’s why they’re supporting Florida legislation that would keep juvenile arrest records confidential.

Even if a teen is exonerated after an arrest, just being arrested can often label a kid as “trouble" for the rest of their lives.

Since many employment and college applications require disclosing an arrest, it can be difficult, if not impossible, for a juvenile with an arrest record to find and keep a job, enroll in college, obtain scholarships, enlist in the military, get housing and more.

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First Coast Connect
12:35 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

02/26/15: Juvenile Arrest Records; Author Kim Skinner; Douglas Anderson Extravaganza; Kerry Speckman

Child advocates are pushing for new state legislation that would make juvenile arrest records confidential. They argue that, even if the child is exonerated, having the arrest on their record could create difficulties when enrolling in college, applying for a job and more. We speak with Roy Miller, president of the Tallahassee-based Children’s Campaign, and Lawanda Ravoira, president of the Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center.

First Coast author and speaker Kim Skinner joins us to discuss her new book, "Wives in the Locker Room".

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First Coast Connect
12:07 pm
Wed February 25, 2015

With All Due Respect: The Importance Of Black History Month

Martin Luther King, Jr. in St. Johns County.
Credit Flagler College

February may be the shortest month, but from Groundhog Day to Presidents Day it doesn't lack for special days of recognition. WJCT's occasional commentator Jay Solomon examines one of the observances in this edition of With All Due Respect.

Happy Canned Food Month. Surprised? Were you expecting American Heart Month? Well, it's that too, along with eight other "months" in February. Including, of course, Black History Month.

I've never heard any complaints about Heart Month or even Canned Food Month, so why do I hear negatives about Black History Month?

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First Coast Connect
10:54 am
Wed February 25, 2015

02/25/15: NE FL Environmental Summit; Going Green; African-American Veterans And Civil Rights

Credit NASA / Wikimedia Commons

New legislation currently before Congress that would set regulations on an array of environmental hazards is being closely watched here in Jacksonville, a city consistently rated poor in air quality. The upcoming annual Northeast Florida Environmental Summit will discuss how these environmental hazards impact our community, children, and food production. We speak with Eric Hull, summit chairperson and professor at Florida Coastal School of Law, Patricia Pappan, president of the Environmental Law Society, and Dr. Quint White, marine biologist at Jacksonville University.

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First Coast Connect
11:32 am
Tue February 24, 2015

02/24/15: Offshore Drilling; Book Blogger Stacey Goldring; RV MegaShow; 'The Piano Lesson'

Credit Ed Schipul / Flickr

Seismic airgun testing by the oil industry has received approval by the Obama Administration and should commence this year, followed by potential drilling off Florida’s coast in 2017. Recently Fernandina Beach and St. Augustine joined with 25 other Eastern Seaboard towns that have passed resolutions opposing the testing. Marine scientists and environmental groups oppose drilling off Florida’s coast.

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First Coast Connect
12:46 pm
Mon February 23, 2015

02/23/15: Omega Allen; First Coast Success Profiles Donna Orender; Cole Pepper

Omega Allen
Credit Omega Allen For Mayor / Facebook

Jacksonville mayoral candidate Omega Allen joins us to discuss her platform. Allen, Jacksonville native and a certified general contractor, is the only woman running in the mayor's race.

The Financial News & Daily Record's Karen Brune Mathis speaks with Generation W founder Donna Orender is this month's edition of our First Coast Success segment.

And sports contributor Cole Pepper joins us with the outcome of the Daytona 500, Jacksonville Armada soccer news and more.

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Only In Florida
12:57 pm
Fri February 20, 2015

ONLY IN FLORIDA: Vanilla Ice, Sharknado And Orlando Touch-And-Go Traffic

ONLY IN FLORIDA, our weekly roundup of the strange, bizarre and just plain ridiculous events that happened right here in the Sunshine State, is back on the web!

ONLY IN FLORIDA does the phenomenon that is known as Sharknado steal the thunder of our coastline’s real sharks.

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First Coast Connect
11:31 am
Fri February 20, 2015

02/20/15: Media Roundtable Week In Review; Commentator Jay Solomon

We discuss the week's biggest news stories with our roundtable of local journalists: Eric Smith, "People and Politics" host; Larry Hannan, Florida Times-Union reporter; Tim Gibbons, Jacksonville Business Journal editor; A.G. Gancarski, Folio Weekly and Florida Politics columnist.

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First Coast Connect
12:08 pm
Thu February 19, 2015

02/19/15: Downtown Investment Authority; JASMYN; Feeding Northeast Florida

Credit Jeff Wright / Flickr

We speak with Downtown Investment Authority CEO Aundra Wallace and governing board chairman Oliver Barakat about the group's plans for redeveloping Jacksonville's urban core. The DIA has ambitious plans for both the North and South banks of the St. Johns River, and long term goals that include developing vacant tracts of city-owned land and bringing 10,000 new residents to downtown.

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First Coast Connect
5:32 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

02/18/15: One Spark 2015; State Of The Real Estate Market; Amelia Island Book Festival

Credit One Spark

One Spark co-founder and CEO Elton Rivas joins us to discuss what's new for the upcoming 2015 crowdfunding festival.

We also speak with Jacksonville real estate appraiser Ron Moody of Moody Appraisal Group about the rebounding housing market in Northeast Florida.

And local author Ron Whittington joins us to preview this week's Amelia Island Book Festival. Whittington will give a workshop about writing, publishing and marketing independent novels at the festival.

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First Coast Connect
11:23 am
Tue February 17, 2015

02/17/15: Common Core; Compressed Natural Gas Station; 'Facts Of Life' Star Lisa Whelchel

Lisa Whelchel, star of 'The Facts of Life' and 'Survivor,' is on stage now with her daughter Clancy Cauble in the Alhambra Theatre's production of 'Butterflies Are Free'
Credit Ray Hollister / WJCT

Adopted by educators in Florida and in most other states, Common Core standards set benchmarks on what students should know as they prepare for college. But this overhaul of the nation’s public schools has angered both the right and the left. Some conservatives see Common Core as government overreach, while some progressives are criticizing what they see as the punitive aspects of testing and grade retention around the standards.

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First Coast Connect
4:55 pm
Mon February 16, 2015

Commentary: Does 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' Reflect Society's Idea Of Romance?

Credit Universal Pictures

The film "Fifty Shades of Grey" was a box office hit this Valentine's Day weekend. First Coast Connect pop culture philosophy contributor Nicolas Michaud says the story might not be the healthiest expression of love and romance.

"Fifty Shades of Grey," a film based on the book by E.L. James, opened in theaters this Valentine’s Day weekend. The book series has been hugely popular, having sold more than 100 million copies worldwide. 

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First Coast Connect
10:44 am
Mon February 16, 2015

02/16/15: Re-Think Aging; 'Still Alice' And Alzheimer's; Cultural Council Art Awards; Cole Pepper

Credit JCCI

Jacksonville Community Council, Inc. (JCCI) recently launched their latest initiative, Re-Think Aging. This citizen-based inquiry aims to give the public a chance to influence decisions on all aspects of our local quality of life that affect mobility and independence for seniors, everything from housing to transportation. We speak with Ben Warner, CEO of JCCI, and Earl Evens, executive director of the AgeWell Institute, with Baptist Health.

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