Cole Pepper

  Monday on “First Coast Connect” guest host Ryan Benk spoke with Friends of Hemming Park interim director Bill Prescott, Candy Apple Cafe & Cocktails co-owner Jen Earnest and Wolf and Cub Boutique co-owner Emily Moody about the future of Hemming Park. Local musician Desean Kirkland performed live in studio and Cole Pepper brought us the latest sports news. 


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.   

 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.        


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.  


Monday on “First Coast Connect,” we spoke by phone with public pension expert Bob Klausner about how some other cities around the country are dealing with their pension problems. We also heard from Lourdes Norman-McKay, professor of biological sciences at FSCJ and Dr. Pauline Rolle from the Duval County Health Department about an upcoming TEDxFSCJ talk exploring the role vaccines play in public health. WJCT contributor Cole Pepper also brought us the latest news on the Jaguars’ search for a head coach.  


        

The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp

Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp merchandise is flying off the shelves, a little more than month after the minor league ball team’s owner changed the name from the Suns.

Monday on “First Coast Connect,” guest host Ryan Benk spoke with Dr. Bob Sommers, CEO of the Mental Health Resource Center in Jacksonville.

He also spoke with local attorneys Barry Newman and Keith Maynard from the Spohrer & Dodd law firm about their work helping families of the victims of air crashes. This month’s installment of “First Coast Success” with Karen Brune Mathis featured InMotion President Jeremy Smith, and Cole Pepper talked about the Jaguars’ firing head coach Gus Bradley on Sunday after another disappointing loss to the Texans. 


               

Monday on “First Coast Connect,” guest host Jessica Palombo was joined by Darnell Smith, incoming co-chair of the JAX Chamber, and Project New Hope President and CEO Kevin Gay. They talked about the Chamber’s Project Open Door. Cole Pepper talked about the Florida Gators’ winning the SEC Eastern Division and another frustrating loss by the Jaguars. And WJCT Music Director David Luckin and WJCT’s Karen Feagins stopped by with a preview of our holiday programming, starting with “Swamp Radio” on Thanksgiving morning at 9. 

     

Monday on First Coast Connect, we spoke with Diallo-Sekou, chairman of The Kemetic Empire, a First Coast human rights organization, about the election of Donald Trump and the protests across the country. It’s World Diabetes Day, and  we were joined in studio by Brooks Biagini, the executive director of the local chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation along with Melody Van Zant and her 17 year old daughter Aria, who is living with diabetes. 

With Election Day just over a week away, Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin appeared on First Coast Connect Monday. The group has long advocated for the rights of the LBGT community and Griffin is a long time supporter of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton. In honor of National Veterans Small Business Week, host Melissa Ross spoke with local veteran and business owner Gina Garcia and Natalie Hall with the Small Business Administration. This month’s First Coast Success segment with Karen Brune Mathis featured Richard Rosenblum from the local third-generation clothier Rosenblums, and Cole Pepper spoke about the Florida-Georgia game and the other weekend sports news. 

     

In the wake of the Wells Fargo scandal, we heard from University of North Florida professor Paul Fadil. He and his colleague Bruce Fortado authored a study several years ago that predicted problems banks might face in the drive to find new customers and revenue . In our latest edition of First Coast Success, Karen Brune Mathis spoke with Daily’s founder Aubrey Edge. Host Melissa Ross talked to Rock Steady Boxing — Amelia Island co-founders Mary Anne Sharer and Guy Petty about their work with Parkinson’s patients and Cole Pepper told us about another Jaguars loss and a sad sports weekend. 


Hemming Park

Friends of Hemming Park, the organization in charge of running downtown Jacksonville's central park, recently stopped live music in during the park's weekday lunch hours due to budget constraints and feedback from City Council that city dollars should not be spent on programming or events. 

That announcement came on the heels of city government  concerns over a recent audit and a general reduction of funding for the group.

'Just Vote No'

A new lawsuit has been filed that seeks to knock that half-cent sales tax proposal for Jacksonville off the ballot in the upcoming August 30 primary election.

The lawsuit says the ballot language is too confusing and misleading, even illegal.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry is leading the charge to get Duval County residents to vote “yes” on the measure to pay down the city’s massive pension debt. The mayor’s office says the referendum’s language meets all the requirements of state law.

Democratic National Convention

As the Democratic National Convention kicks off in Philadelphia, an unusual question is capturing the attention of cyberspecialists, Russia experts and Democratic Party leaders: Is Vladimir Putin trying to meddle in the American presidential election?

A Wikileaks release on Friday of some 20,000 stolen emails from DNC computer servers has intensified discussion of the potential role of Russian intelligence agencies in disrupting the 2016 campaign.

2016 National Conventions

The 2016 Republican National Convention kicks off tonight in Cleveland.

As Donald Trump prepares to accept his party’s nomination, he’ll seek to bridge deep divisions in a GOP that’s still conflicted about his candidacy.

There are also policy disagreements between Donald Trump and his newly minted running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, on issues like trade, the Iraq War and Trump's proposed Muslim ban.

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