First Coast Connect

Weekdays 9 a.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.

Wednesday on First Coast Connect:

 

  • Virginia Hall, Senior Director of Advocacy and Community Engagement at St. Vincent’s HealthCare on the “Medical Mission at Home” event      

  • Going Green with Native Sun doing away with single use plastic bage

  • Friends of Jacksonville Public Library president Sylvia Wren and board member Margaret Smith on their upcoming book sale

  • Travel blogger Judy Wells    

 

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.

 

 

  Wednesday on “First Coast Connect” we discussed the proposed settlement between the city of Jacksonville and two nonprofits regarding a plan by Ability Housing to renovate an apartment building in Springfield that would house homeless veterans. Ability Housing Executive Director Shannon Nazworth joined us to talk about its plans and the deal with the city. We also discuss the growing problem of digital abuse against the elderly in senior living facilities with Joanne Hickox, executive director of Seniors on a Mission, and attorney Steve Watrel, who focuses on elder abuse cases. Author and financial planner Jeanette Bajalia talked about her new book “Planning a Purposeful Life” on how seniors can make sure they don’t outlive their savings.   


        

Tuesday on “First Coast Connect” we looked at the mental health crisis facing Florida with Mental Health America of Northeast Florida CEO Denise Marzullo; activist Jonathan Harriford, whose brother is in a state hospital after years of struggling with mental illness; and George Mallinckrodt, author of the book “Getting Away with Murder” about problems in Florida’s state prison psych wards, joined us by phone. We also were joined by First Coast Connect Book Club blogger Stacey Goldring, who talked about Ian McEwan’s book “Nutshell” and with Rebecca Jefferson, head of the Department of Special and Area Collections and the University of Florida library. News director Jessica Palombo then talked about how listeners can participate in 89.9 FM’s 45th anniversary celebration.     


Monday on “First Coast Connect” we discussed Jacksonville’s drinking water with a study by three University of North Florida professors: assistant professors of economics Russell Triplet and Chiradip Chatterjee, professor of accounting and finance Parvez Ahmed, and JEA director of laboratory compliance Kevin Holbrooks. This is National Kidney Month and we spoke with Dr. Seth Strope, head of the urologic oncology at the Baptist Anderson Cancer Center. New author Tricia Booker talked about her book “The Place of Peace and Crickets” and Cole Pepper talked about his tournament picks for March Madness, the Jaguars aggressive free agent signings and Jacksonville University making the College Invitational Tournament, playing host to St. Francis (Pennsylvania) on Tuesday.   

Our weekly Media Roundtable Friday on “First Coast Connect” featured Florida Times-Union reporter Sebastian Christian, Folio Weekly editor Claire Goforth, blogger Fred Matthews and Jacksonville Business Journal editor Timothy Gibbons. We also spoke with Jeff Smith, arts director for the Duval County School District about next week’s Celebration of the Arts and host Melissa Ross spoke by phone with actor and singer Audra McDonald.   


Wednesday on “First Coast Connect” we spoke with University of North Florida President John Delaney. He announced last week he’ll be retiring from his position in May 2018. We also heard about senior care from Penney Farms director of marketing Rebecca Padgett. Commentator Jay Solomon spoke about President Donald Trump calling the media the enemy of the people. Host Melissa Ross spoke with Celtic Woman violinist Tara McNeill and we heard from Zach Rocheleau owner of Genetic Potential Academy. 


Tuesday on “First Coast Connect” we spoke with Mike Binder, the director of the Public Opinion Research Laboratory at the University of North Florida, about a poll released this week giving Senator Bill Nelson a six-point lead over Governor Rick Scott in a hypothetical 2018 U.S. Senate race.

Dr. Peter Szatmari from the University of Toronto and Dr. Peter Mundy from the University of California-Davis Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders Institute joined the show to talk about Wednesday’s ninth annual Autism Symposium on the UNF campus.

Jacksonville Pen Women President Duncan Sawyer talked about the national organization’s 120th anniversary and Pixie Larizza from the Women Business Owners of North Florida talked about their event next week “Unstoppable.” 


Monday on “First Coast Connect” we discussed the problem of homelessness among youths in the LBGTQ community with Jacksonville Area Sexual Minority Youth Network executive director Cindy Watson; Dawn Gilman, chief executive officer of Changing Homelessness Inc.; and Kim Sirdevan, president and chief executive officer of the Youth Crisis Center. Flamingo Magazine publisher Jamie Rich told us what we’ll find in the spring edition of the publication and JTC Running president Larry Roberts gave us a preview of Saturday’s 40th edition of the Gate River Run.  


Our weekly Media Roundtable included Florida Times-Union reporter Dan Scanlan, Jacksonville Business Journal Editor Timothy Gibbons, Florida Politics reporter A.G. Gancarski and WJCT business analyst John Burr. Artists Tracie Thornton, Jenny Hager and Lance Vickery told us about the exhibit “Humanity: The Value of a Life,” beginning Friday at the Karpeles Manuscript Museum. HGTV star Tyler Wisler joined the program to discuss the Home and Patio show at the Prime Osborn Center and we met “Show Boat” cast members Billy Clark Taylor, Annabelle Fox and Peter Jackson. 


Thursday on “First Coast Connect” we spoke with Olympic gold medalist and civil rights attorney Nancy Hogshead-Makar on the impact of Title IX on women’s sports. We also heard from Paula Long, co-chair of the Women’s Giving Alliance National Conference, which is held this month in Atlantic Beach and we heard an update on the construction of the Cowford Chophouse and its 5K run this weekend in downtown Jacksonville.  


Wednesday on “First Coast Connect” we discussed changes at Jacksonville Community Council Inc. with Board Chairman Kevin Hyde. We also heard about an increase in colon cancer in younger people with Dr. Victoria Gomez, gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic. Dr. Elana Schrader, the chief medical officer of GuideWell and Generation W founder Donna Orender joined the show to talk about this month’s Generation W conference, and we met author Abby Vega, who in her book “Sno-cone Diaries,” talks about leaving her high-paying corporate job to own and drive a sno-cone truck. 


Tuesday on “First Coast Connect” we discussed the life of undocumented and other immigrants under President Trump with Kristellys Estanga from the Duval County Democratic Hispanic Caucus and immigration attorney Angela Reyes. Dignity U Wear Executive Director Nicole Brose talked about its upcoming annual Undies Campaign. Judy Wells shared some cautionary tales about changes in air travel and we heard an in-studio performance by local 12-year-old violinist virtuoso Jimmy Moseley. 


Monday on “First Coast Connect” we discussed the future of Enterprise Florida with JAX Chamber President and CEO Daniel Davis. This month’s edition of First Coast Success with Karen Brune Mathis featured Hardage-Giddens Funeral Homes & Cemeteries president Jody Brandenburg. We also heard about a new video series through the Environmental Leadership Program at the University of North Florida. We were joined by Sean Lahav, the project leader and producer of the videos, John November from the Public Trust Environmental Legal Institute of Florida and Maria Mark, program coordinator. 


Our weekly Media Roundtable on Friday featured Tessa Duval from the Florida Times-Union, Florida Politics reporter A.G. Gancarski, WJCT Business Analyst John Burr and WJCT reporter Lindsey Kilbride. We also spoke by phone with award winning movie director Mira Nair and CEO of Volunteers in Medicine Mary Pat Corrigan and Lisa Weatherby from Wells Fargo joined us to talk about the Women with Heart fundraising campaign. 

    

Thursday on “First Coast Connect,” we spoke with former State Senator Tony Hill about an event Friday to honor Jacksonville native and civil rights activist James Weldon Johnson. We also heard about the tragedy of babies being born to opioid addicted mothers and the treatments available, and University of North Florida assistant professor of physics Jack Hewitt told us about NASA’s announcement Wednesday. 


       

Wednesday on “First Coast Connect,” we spoke with Mission House Executive Director Lori Delgado Anderson about their mission and work they do to help the homeless at the Beaches. Ahead of his appearance Thursday at WJCT host Melissa Ross spoke with former U.S. Comptroller General Dave Walker. Jacksonville Women’s Leadership Forum Board President Chris Schwing talked about this year’s forum “Game On! The Power of Women — It’s Our Time to Lead” and Girls Scouts of Gateway Council CEO Mary Anne Jacobs talked about this year’s cookie drive. 

    

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