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.

 

 

 Tuesday on “First Coast Connect” we discussed the prevalence of Confederate monuments in Jacksonville with historian Wayne Woods, activist Chevara Orrin and Jacksonville Magazine editor Joe White. The magazine recently published an article on the monuments. We spoke with Ndaba Mandela, grandson of Nelson Mandela, and we talked about this weekend’s Jacksonville Science Fair with Nadia Hionides of the Foundation Academy; Ashli Archer, academic director at Florida State College Jacksonville Eddie Whisler, director of the Bryan-Gooding Planetarium and School at the Museum of Science and History; and Jessica Santiago, founder of the Wall Street Art Gallery and Art (Re)public. 

        

 Monday on First Coast Connect we discussed the recently completed federal hearings into the sinking of cargo ship El Faro with Glenn Jackson and Jill Jackson-d’Entremont, whose brother Jack Johnson was one of the 33 crew members who was killed in the disaster . The family’s attorney Bob Spohrer,  maritime legal expert Rod Sullivan and Florida Times-Union reporter Sebastian Kitchen also discussed the hearings. Dr. Ruby Satpathy from Baptist Heart Specialists told us about a unique heart procedure to replace an aortic valve without opening the chest and without general anesthesia and Cole Pepper talked about the latest sports news.        


It was our weekly Media Roundtable Friday on “First Coast Connect,” with Florida Times-Union columnist Mark Woods, Folio Weekly editor Claire Goforth, blogger Fred Matthews and Jacksonville Business Journal Timothy Gibbons. We also heard a recorded interview of “Goosebumps” author R.L. Stine and Jacksonville International Auto Show promoter Barbara Pudney talked about this weekend’s event. 


     

Thursday on “First Coast Connect” we spoke with Fraternal Order of Police local 530 President Steve Zoma about the proposed use of body cameras by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. We also spoke with Melody Perry from Lutheran Social Services and caregiver Nakia Hinton about their Money Minders program and 5 and Dime Theatre Executive Director Lee Hambly talked about the theatre’s new location and the upcoming performance of the play “Night Mother.” 


Wednesday on “First Coast Connect” we spoke by phone with OCEARCH founder and expedition leader Chris Fischer along with Jacksonville University Marine Science Research Institute Executive Director Quint White, who was in studio, about a collaboration to study sharks on campus. We also spoke with Jacksonville Jaguars President Mark Lamping, who gave us an update on the Daily’s Place Amphitheater being built next to Everbank Field. Erin Mangan of Communities in Schools of Jacksonville talked about programs implemented to help the school district’s graduation rate, and the Cultural Council of Jacksonville’s Ryan Ali told us about some the winners of this year’s Arts Awards with honorary chair Heather Moore.

         

  Tuesday on “First Coast Connect” we spoke with Vista Energy Group CEO and Flagler College Professor John O’Brien about how President Donald Trump’s trade policies could affect the First Coast. Our First Coast Connect Book Club blogger Stacy Goldring talked about this month’s selection, “What We Became.” We heard from Mary Rose, director of learning services at Florida State College of Jacksonville, and Imani Hope, director of strategic investments at the Jacksonville Public Education Fund, about an upcoming FSCJ TEDx salon focusing on Jacksonville’s women of color in politics. And on Valentine’s Day we heard about a local program designed to save troubled marriages.  


            

Monday on First Coast Connect we spoke with former CIA operative and author T. L. Williams about his new novel and Chinese cyber hacking. We also heard from TapImmune CEO Glynn Wilson about a breast cancer study at the Mayo Clinic. WJCT’s Indie Endeavor host Ryan Benk and 1904 Music Hall co-owner Jason Hunnicut announced a new partnership at the downtown venue. 


          

Our weekly Media Roundtable featured David Bauerlein, reporter for the Florida Times-Union; Claire Goforth, editor of Folio Weekly; Jacksonville Business Journal editor Timothy Gibbons and WJCT reporter Ryan Benk. We spoke with Peggy Bulger, the author of “Stetson Kennedy, Applied Folklore and Cultural Advocacy.” Host Melissa Ross spoke by phone with Branden Miller, creator of YouTube sensation “Joanne the Scammer” and we spoke with City Year AmeriCorps recruitment manager Mia Francis and participant Lindsey Rose. 


Thursday on First Coast Connect we spoke with Cultural Council executive director Tony Allegretti about U.S. News and World Report ranking Jacksonville 45th on the list of best U.S. cities to live in. We also heard from Douglas Anderson School for the Arts principal Jackie Cornelius about this year’s Extravaganza.  

   

Ahead of Wednesday evening’s  Community Thread on the possible expansion of Jacksonville’s Human Rights Ordinance to cover the LGBT community, we look at how the politics of the issue has changed in the past few years on “First Coast Connect” with University of North Florida political science professor Matt Corrigan and WJCT reporter Lindsey Kilbride. We also spoke with Melanie Stewart Bentley, the clinical research coordinator with the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Florida Jacksonville Physicians Inc., about two upcoming studies in need of female volunteers and Jane Lanier with St. Vincent’s Foundation about the upcoming Mary Awards. 


Tuesday on “First Coast Connect,” as part of WJCT’s on going Community Thread looking into the area’s Opioid epidemic, we spoke with Dr. Scott Miles, medical director of Coastal Community Behavioral Health in St. Mary’s. Georgia. We also heard an interview with Florida Blue CEO Pat Geraghty about his trip to the World Economic Forum, also known as Davos. Naomi Sheridan and Jeff Tawney with Friday Musicale had a preview of next Saturday’s fundraiser featuring The Chris Thomas Band, and ahead of their concert tonight at the Mudville Music Room we heard an in-studio performance from organist John Ginty and his band. 


Monday on “First Coast Connect,” we spoke with Mike Binder, director of the Public Opinion Research Laboratory at the University of North Florida, about his new poll on the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. We also heard from Baptist Health cardiologist Dr. Pamela Rama about American Heart Month. Humana Vice President Dr. John Montgomery and health solutions executive Laura Nolan joined the show give an update on the company’s Bold Goal initiative, and Cole Pepper talked about the historic comeback by the New England Patriots to win Super Bowl LI.  


Friday on First Coast Connect, our weekly Media Roundtable. Our panel included Folio Weekly editor Claire Goforth, Florida Times-Union reporter David Bauerlein, blogger Fred Mathews and WJCT business analyst John Burr. We also spoke Jacksonville Library director Barbara Gubbin about the this year’s Jax Reads initiative with the book “The Namesake.” Dr. Amy Pollak from the Mayo Clinic and heart attack survivor Kathy Ellis talked about Go Red for Women Day, as part of Heart Disease Awareness Month and we met Kim Brown, head coach of the newly formed Jacksonville professional female football team the North Florida Pumas.


    

Thursday on First Coast Connect, 4th District medical examiner Dr. Valerie Rao and Lt. Mark Rowley, quality improvement officer with the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department, talked about how the opioid epidemic is straining their offices. We also spoke by phone with Abe Gol about an upcoming NOVA episode dealing with the discovery of tunnels in Lithuania used by Jews to escape the Nazi’s during the Holocaust, and Niki Brunson and Dana Miller, organizers of Saturday’s Melanin Market and Parade in Jacksonville.  

  

Wednesday on First Coast Connect, we were joined by phone with Nagol Ghandnoosh, the author of a study by the Sentencing Project that finds those serving life terms in the U.S and Florida who are eligible for parole are less likely to earn their release than in the past. We also heard from local comedian Richard Cuff, who is kicking off an initiative to curb violence in Jacksonville. Ahead of Valentine’s Day we spoke with local matchmaker Renee Richel Steilberg about her upcoming event, “Love Starts With You Tour.” 

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