First Coast Connect

Weekdays 9 a.m. Rebroadcast 8 p.m.

Hosted by Melissa Ross, First Coast Connect is an hour-long call-in program that features local newsmakers, civic and community leaders, artists and people planning a variety of events across Northeast Florida, along with a weekly roundtable of local journalists.

  • Join The Conversation: (904) 549-2937 (Note: This line is only active during the program, 9 -10 a.m.) 
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First Coast Connect is sponsored in part by Baptist Health and North Florida TPO.

The twice-a-month Going Green segment is sponsored in part by A1A Solar and the monthly First Coast Success segment is sponsored in part by Iberiabank.

The monthly First Coast Connect Book Club is sponsored in part by San Marco Books and more.

Back in 2011, three UNF/FSU students envisioned a non-profit that would supply much-needed clean water to third world countries.

Today, after visioning trips and well-water building experience, Water for All Nations is operating with a global board of directors, and co-founder Ryan Winter is moving from Jacksonville to Tanzania later this month to begin implementing its mission.

It’s an ambitious effort from one of the biggest change agents in town.. to change the system for girls.

The Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center is up and running. Its focus is girls in the juvenile and foster care systems. And the Center will be run by a national standout in understanding the complex needs of girls.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office says it's ramping up efforts to get illegal guns off city streets by publicizing its five-year-old gun bounty program. 

Here's how it works: anyone who tips authorities to the whereabouts of an illegal firearm earns a $1,000 reward - no questions asked.

"We've confiscated more than 300 illegal guns since 2006 with this program," says Sheriff John Rutherford. "And it's never gone away, but now we're marketing it so more people are aware of it and call us with information."

The Ghost Army tells the story of the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops using props to deceive German troops during World War II.

It's an incredibly moving film, and one that's actually now in the record books.

Honor Flight is a documentary about communities coming together to show their thanks to living World War II veterans, before it’s too late.  The film dramatically shows volunteers racing against the clock to fly every local WWII veteran they can to the WWII memorial in Washington, DC.

Jax Zoo & Gardens Hosts Garden Festival

May 17, 2013

The Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens is providing guests access to plant vendors not normally open to the public.

The inaugural Garden Festival is Saturday, May 18, with general admission from 10:00am-4:00pm and a members preview from 9:00-10:00am.

Local citizens will be joining hands on Saturday, May 18th,  at the St. Augustine Beach Pier to stand in solidarity against offshore drilling – in Florida and throughout the world. 

It's part of the annual global event, Hands Across the Sand.

Girls' Rights Week is an annual celebration of girls, advocating for their rights and positive change in the field of gender equity.

The week is being observed here on the First Coast with a special exhibit. The Girls Inc. PhotoVoice JAX 2025 Vision Project gives girls across the city cameras, and asks them to take pictures of where they see both themselves, and the city of Jacksonville, in the year 2025.

It's the nation's most common type of diagnosed cancer, and sadly, more and more teens and young adults are falling prey to the disease.

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, and America's dermatologists have a message for kids obsessed with tanning: don't.

It's Hollywood's fourth attempt to capture the magic of F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic as Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby opens this weekend to much fanfare (and mixed reviews).

But those who've loved and studied the novel for decades say the fact that Jay Gatsby is once again getting the Hollywood treatment is not surprising.

"Fitzgerald was saying something about class, about the romantic American idea we hold of the self-made man," says Dr. Julie Sloan Brannon, Professor of English at Jacksonville University.

Jacksonville University

He's a widely quoted expert with decades of insight into America’s political scene. Now, Dr. Stephen Baker, professor of political science at JU, is preparing to step down from the post he’s held at the campus since 1985.

He'll continue part-time teaching, though, at the university's Public Policy Institute.

In ancient Greece, the word "doula" meant "a woman's servant." But today, doulas serve as the modern-day social support for women during one of the most important phases of their lives: pregnancy and childbirth.

May Is Better Hearing and Speech Month

May 3, 2013

Hearing loss is the most frequently diagnosed birth defect.  According to Cynthia Robinson, Co-Director of the Jacksonville Campus of the Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech, 33% of children in Florida do not receive follow-up hearing screenings after initial ones when they're newborns.

"Hearing loss is very devastating educationally," Robinson says.  "The most important thing is to get the community awareness out there that children who are born deaf or hard of hearing can, with modern technology and appropriate intervention, learn to listen and talk like hearing children do."

Indo American Medical Association of NE Florida

For the thousands of uninsured residents here on the First Coast, preventative health care can be hard to come by. 

Local Author Turns Break-Up Into Book Deal

May 1, 2013
Florida Times-Union

After being dumped by her boyfriend of 10 years, First Coast author Caryn Rosenthal decided to turn that negative experience into a positive one. Rosnethal and co-author Maryjane Fahey, who was also dumped by her long term boyfriend, decided to get their lives back together, and used those bad breakups to write a successful book, "Dumped".