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.

 

Tuesday on First Coast Connect:

 

  • A look at the disparity in school suspensions in Duval County      

  • Author Michael Wiley on his latest book "Monument Road" 

  • How to do your part on this Giving Tuesday

  • Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra conductor Courtney Lewis

 

 

​Join the conversation:

 

  • Call: (904) 549-2937 (Note: This line is only active during the program, 9:00-10:00 a.m.)

  • Tweet: @MelissainJax

  • Email: firstcoastconnect@wjct.org

  • Comment on Facebook at First Coast Connect

 

Learn more about the First Coast Connect Book Club

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.

Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT

Tuesday on First Coast Connect, in response to President Donald Trump declaring opioids a national health emergency, we looked at what is being done locally with Dr. Marcus De Carvalho from the Center for a Healthy Mind and Wellbeing (01:12).  

    

Melissa spoke with former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson about her fight against sexual harassment in the workplace. Her Ted Talk in New Orleans this week will be simulcast in Jacksonville at the TedXFSCJ Women talk.

Women’s Center of Jacksonville Board President Lise Everly and TedXFSCJ student Kathryn Sands discussed the local portion of the program (29:44).

Our latest segment of Moveable Feast featured Executive Chef Dennis Chan from Blue Bamboo (46:06).  


Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT

Monday on First Coast Connect, we spoke with Jacksonville’s Downtown Investment Authority CEO Aundra Wallace about some of the development projects downtown (01:13).    

This month’s edition of First Coast Success with Karen Brune Mathis featured local developer Ed Burr (23:14).

As part of the Real Men Wear Pink fundraising month for the National Cancer Society we spoke with participant Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails owner/executive chef Tom Gray (28:12).   

Timucuan Park Superintendent Chris Hughes and Florida Times-Union columnist Mark Woods joined us to talk about the national preserve (34:46) and national park fees.

Cole Pepper brought us the latest sports news, including the University of Florida firing head football coach Jim McElwain (46:00).  


Friday on First Coast Connect, our weekly Media Roundtable featured WJCT contributor Charles Griggs, Florida Politics reporter A.G. Gancarski and WJCT business analyst John Burr (01:14).

Author Zack Clark joined the show to talk about the new book he co-authored, “The Adventurers Guild” (31:05).  

We were told about a Saturday screening of ”The Rocky Horror Picture Show” at the Florida Theater with emcee Karissa Wade (46:00).    

Thursday on First Coast Connect, we spoke with Gerard Hammink from FEMA and Adrienne Laneave about what help is still available to those who suffered damage from Hurricane Irma (01:06).

We heard about the highly acclaimed movie “The Florida Project” with co-producer and Jacksonville native Kevin Chinoy (25:10).     

Jewish Family and Community Services Executive Director Colleen Rodriguez told us about a new Holocaust memorial to commemorate the organization’s 100th anniversary in Jacksonville (35:56).

Star Daniel Austin and choreographer Curtis Williams talked about the upcoming Theatre Jacksonville production of Grey Gardens (46:00). 

  

Wednesday on First Coast Connect, we spoke with Tracy Collins, also known to many around town as Tracy Dot Com. She previewed excerpts from her upcoming book detailing her struggle against alcoholism (01:24).

Author Tim Gilmore and illustrator Shep Shepard talked about Gilmore’s latest book regarding Jacksonville founder Isaiah Hart, “The Book of Isaiah” (34:57).     

Art (Re)Public founder Jessica Santiago told us about this year’s edition of the event (46:00).   


Tuesday on First Coast Connect, ahead of next week’s She Is Fierce! conference at Everbank Field, we spoke with Jacksonville Jaguars Vice President and chief Legal Officer Megha Parekh (01:21).   

Dr. Douglas Green, specialist with the Jacksonville Hearing and Balance Center spoke about an upcoming seminar at WJCT (24:46).

Upon hearing Justin Timberlake has been invited to perform at halftime during Super Bowl LII we spoke with entertainment critic Joey O’Hern (30:02).  

Generation W founder Donna Orender and executive directive Atiya Abdelmalik told us about next week’s Generation WOW conference at the University of North Florida (46:00).


Monday on First Coast Connect, we spoke with local activist Nick Thompson about his My Neighbors Project (01:02).   

Ahead of a STEM field trip Wednesday we spoke with Karen Smittle, CH2M Florida Communications Manager, Jaynelle Pemberton, CH2M Engineer and Project Manager and Alex Blahakis, Career and Technical Education Director for Duval Public Schools. (29:45)  

Cole Pepper brought us the weekend’s sports news, including the Jaguars’ 27-0 win over the Colts. He also previewed Saturday’s Florida-Georgia game (37:45). 

California-based band Manhattan Murder Mystery performed live in-studio (45:57). 


Friday on First Coast Connect, our weekly Media Roundtable featured Dan Scanlan from The Florida Times-Union, Folio Weekly editor Claire Goforth, Jacksonville Business Journal editor Timothy Gibbons and WJCT contributor Charles Griggs (01:18).   

Reveal host and Jacksonville native Al Letson and Jacksonville Bar Association President Tad Delegal spoke about Al’s talk with the association regarding race relations and Letson’s appearance Saturday in the CoRK Arts District (33:30).

We heard a live in-studio performance by the Kristin Lee Duo (44:00).

Thursday on First Coast Connect, ahead of white supremacist Richard Spencer’s appearance at the University of Florida, we spoke with WUFT Multimedia News Manager Ryan Vasquez on what is occurring on campus and the rest of Gainesville (01:08).

JEA announced this week it will greatly expand its use of solar power. We spoke with Steve McInall, who is JEA’s director of electronic production resource planning, Pete Wilking from A1A Solar, Sarah Boren with the U.S. Green Building Council and TerraWise Homes CEO David Shacter (21:18).      

We heard about the Transition to Health, Resources, Independence, Viable Careers and Education (THRIVE) program at the University of North Florida with student Robert Rittenhouse. He's the vice president of the Education Student Leadership Committee at UNF (36:30).   

To commemorate Get Smart About Credit Day we spoke with Mary Svoboda, Chief Lending Officer and Chief Operating Officer for Jax Federal Credit Union (44:00).

       

Wednesday on First Coast Connect, we spoke with former State Representative and CEO of Agape Community Health Center Mia Jones about the bipartisan health care proposal announced Tuesday in Washington (01:10).

OneJax speaker Dr. Carolyn Lukensmeyer discussed what can be done to reduce political dysfunction and incivility in our political system (29:28).

To commemorate Breast Cancer Awareness Month we spoke with Mayo Clinic oncologist and breast cancer survivor Dr. Dawn Mussallem (37:40).

Our tech guru Ray Hollister told us about the dangers of new computer attack that affects Wi-Fi networks (44:00).    


Tuesday on First Coast Connect, heard about the upcoming Safer Streets Summit with North Florida Transportation Planning Organization CEO Jeff Sheffield (01:07).     

The latest segment of “Moveable Feast” featured St. Augustine’s Smokin D’s BBQ (27:45).   

Jen DeVore Richter, the author and co-founder of Rock My Image talked about the three major mistakes to avoid if you decide to start your own business (35:19).

ElderSource Executive Director Linda Levin told us about what the organization is doing to help seniors affected by Hurricane Irma and the rescheduled Grandparent’s’ Day in Jacksonville (44:00). 


Monday on First Coast Connect, in the wake of President Donald Trump’s executive order to end subsidies for health insurance companies we spoke with Florida Blue and GuideWell CEO Pat Geraghty (01:06).

We heard about  a survey by the LGBT Community Fund for Northeast Florida of the LGBT community and the upcoming sold-out Coming Out Day Breakfast at the Downtown Hyatt. We were joined by LGBT

Community Fund President Michael Meyers and Executive Director of JASMYN, the Jacksonville Area Sexual Minority Youth Network, Cindy Watson (26:03).   

First Coast YMCA director of corporate and community engagement Dana Troeger told us about this weekend’s Fitness Fusion at Daily’s Place Flex Field (38:23).

Cole Pepper talked about the Jaguars loss to the Los Angeles Rams, this past weekend’s college games and the first game of the Jacksonville Icemen (44:00). 


Friday on First Coast Connect, our weekly Media Roundtable featured David Cawton from the Financial News and Daily Record, blogger Fred Matthews, Florida Politics reporter A.G.
Gancarski and WJCT’s Lindsey Kilbride (01:18).

Ahead of his appearance January 1 at the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall, we spoke with artist and punk rock legend Henry Rollins (29:42).  

We heard about the upcoming showing of the documentary of women entrepreneurs “She Started It!” with Karen Harding from Johnson & Johnson Vision’s Women’s Leadership Initiative TriciaRae Stancato from the Girls Scouts of Gateway Council (36:59) also joined us.    

We were told about the upcoming performance of “‘Evil Dead: The Musical” at the 5 & Dime Theatre. (44:00). 


Thursday on First Coast Connect we spoke with University of North Florida pollster Mike Binder on a newly released poll regarding Mayor Lenny Curry’s popularity and opinions on several issues in Jacksonville (01:09).

To commemorate Breast Cancer Awareness Month we spoke with Dr Laila Samiian from UF Health Jacksonville and Dr. Kathryn Pearson Peyton, founder of Mammosphere (21:51).   

Managing Partner of PS27 Ventures Jim Stallings spoke about their upcoming Leadership Week at UNF (32:54).

Suwannee Roots Festival Director Beth Judy told us what to expect during this weekend’s music festival which kicks off Thursday (44:00).  


Wednesday on First Coast Connect we heard about a new location to assist survivors of sexual assault in Jacksonville with Executive Director Teresa Miles of the Women’s Center of Jacksonville and Marcus Pollard, who is Director of Player Development and Youth Football with the Jacksonville Jaguars (01:11).

Blogger Stacey Goldring from our our monthly First Coast Connect Book Club gave us the story behind “Killers of the Flower Moon”  (33:10).   

Friday is White Cane Safety Day. We spoke with Jacksonville resident Doug Hansard on what it’s like to be a blind pedestrian in Jacksonville (43:56).

  

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