Mikaela Lefrak / WAMU

Tuesday on First Coast Connect, ahead of Wednesday’s expected walkout by students around the country, we spoke with parent Patrick O’Donoghue and students Mia Cleary of Ponte Vedra High, Ajay Sasha of Nease High and Monique Sampson from UNF Students for a Democratic Society (01:06).  

We heard about an upcoming symposium on autism at the University of North Florida with doctors Celine Saulnier and Nathan Call along with parent Jackie Bargas and her autistic son St. John (31:19).

Moveable Feast featured international hospitality consultant Sandi Galloway (39:02).

First Coast Connect Book Club blogger Stacey Goldring featured the book Little Fires Everywhere (46:00).    

St. Johns Sheriff's Office

Autism awareness is the goal of a training program this week for deputies at the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office.

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).


Scent Evidence K9 child scent preservation kit
Scent Evidence K9

A missing Citrus County woman with dementia was recently rescued with the help of something called a scent preservation kit.

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.” 

Fair Housing

April marks Fair Housing Month.

It’s a time to commemorate the 1968 passage of the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits discrimination in housing. Citizens cannot be discriminated against based on gender, race, color, national origin, religion, disability or family status. Local ordinances may offer additional protection.

The 2016 Florida Fair Housing Summit takes place next week in Orlando.

Sexual Assault

Jacksonville leaders say they’re determined to do whatever is necessary to help victims of sexual assault.

That was the message this week as Mayor Lenny Curry, Sheriff Mike Williams and State Attorney Angela Corey all spoke out about efforts to reduce a large backlog both here in our area and around the state of untested sexual assault kits.

A multi-million dollar grant has been awarded to the prosecutor’s office to work on this. And a multi-disciplinary team, the only one of its kind in Florida, is operating in this area.

  A new UNF poll finds that if the Republican primary were held today, Donald Trump would garner 35 percent of the votes here in Florida.

Marco Rubio comes in second in UNF’s new poll- at 28 percent, and Ted Cruz is a distant third.

We speak with Mike Binder, professor of political science at UNF and head of the school's Public Opinion Research Laboratory, about the results.

Cheetah Club interior
Cheetah Palm Beach

Florida could soon be the first state to require a mental-health expert to be present during police interviews of developmentally disabled suspects or victims.

That’s if lawmakers approve a bill called the Wes Kleinert Fair Interview Act.

Shannon LeDuke / WJCT

The issue of LGBT equality has emerged as one of the issues playing a role in Jacksonville’s mayor and City Council races. The recently formed LGBT Leadership political action committee has endorsed candidates who say they are in favor of updating the city’s human rights ordinance to cover LGBT citizens. We speak with PAC vice chairman and Jacksonville attorney Jimmy Midyette.

We get a preview of this week’s seventh annual Autism Symposium from Dr. Bryan King and Dr. Raphael Bernier of the Seattle Children’s Autism Center and Autism Symposium program manager Jackie Bargas.

iPad Helps First Coast Girl With Autism Speak Out

Oct 2, 2014
HEAL Foundation

“Hi. Thank you for releasing my voice.”

These were the first words typed onto an iPad by Lanier Weed, a 16-year old girl living with autism.