Melissa Nelson

Ryan Benk / WJCT News

In a show of governmental unity Thursday, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry, Sheriff Mike Williams, Fire Chief Kurtis Wilson and State Attorney Melissa Nelson had a wide-ranging discussion on public safety and the city’s newest budget.

Friday on “First Coast Connect” our weekly Media Roundtable featured Tessa Duvall from The Florida Times-Union, Jacksonville Business Journal editor Timothy Gibbons and blogger Fred Matthews (01:16).


Gabriel House of Care Executive Director Valerie Callahan talked about their upcoming Living Well Symposium (42:05).

We also spoke with author Larry Baker who sets his novels in Northeast Florida (46:24).

Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT

State Attorney Melissa Nelson decided not to pursue changes against Jacksonville Sheriff’s Officer Tyler Landreville’s fatal shooting last year of Vernell Bing Jr. But that doesn’t mean the story is over.

Wednesday on “First Coast Connect” we spoke with Florida Times-Union reporter Ben Conarck on State Attorney Melissa Nelson’s decision not to prosecute Jacksonville Sheriff’s Officer Tyler Landreville for the May 2016 shooting death of Vernell Bing Jr. (01:20). We heard about the efforts of World Relief to assist victims of disasters like Hurricane Irma with Senior Vice President of Ministries Emily Gray and Travis Trice of World Relief Jacksonville (33:21) and we spoke with new CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Florida Sara Alford and Board Chairman Jason Spencer  (43:22).   

  Today on “First Coast Connect,” our weekly Media Roundtable included Florida Politics reporter A.G. Gancarski and WJCT’s Ryan Benk and Kevin Meerschaert (01:11). The Humana Foundation’s Laura Nolan and University of Florida professor and endowed chairwoman in Health Disparities Research Carolyn Tucker (38:20) discussed the foundation’s recent $444,000 donation to four Jacksonville nonprofit organizations. Finally, Rethreaded founder Kristin Keen and Wayne Bailey (46:22) with The River City Chorus talked about the “Sing a New Song”   concert series to benefit Rethreaded.    

Today on “First Coast Connect,” we spoke with two members of the group known as the “Hemming Park Five”: Dave Schneider and Willie Hager (01:05). We heard about an upcoming forum at Jacksonville University about patient safety in hospitals with Brooks Rehabilitation program director Roberta Christopher, JU associate professor with the school of nursing Teri Chenot, organizer of the group “Patient Safety America” Dr. John James and Dr. Robert Wears (27:55), professor with the University of Florida Health Jacksonville Department of Emergency Medicine. Mike Skowfoe (39:16) with Fortress Wealth Management provided financial advice for recent college graduates.   

Ryan Benk / WJCT News

Progressive activists say they’re keeping the pressure on State Attorney Melissa Nelson to drop charges against downtown protesters after an incident in Hemming Park earlier this month.

Members of the Progressive Coalition are framing Nelson’s handling of the “Jax Five” as the first real test of her career as the area’s top prosecutor.

Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News

Students in Jacksonville’s Lee High leadership class met with State Attorney Melissa Nelson Tuesday afternoon.


The students have already met with Nelson once before and they’ve been meeting with many city leaders about juvenile justice reform for about two years.


  Friday on “First Coast Connect” it was our weekly Media Roundtable with Florida Time-Union reporter Andrew Pantazi, WJCT business analyst John Burr and WJCT reporter Ryan Benk. We spoke with Dee Quaranta, president of Northeast Florida Women Veterans and singer-songwriter Kim Paige performed live in our studio.   

Ryan Benk / WJCT News

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry is asking the city council to approve emergency funding for new gun identification technology.

The Integrated Ballistic Identification System uses a shell casing’s “fingerprint” to track down a shooter faster than ever. The new tech is expected to cost the city $250,000.

Cyd Hoskinson / WJCT News

Northeast Florida State Attorney Melissa Nelson announced Tuesday her office is creating a new division to go after human traffickers on the First Coast.

“Because these crimes intersect with almost all different areas of the criminal justice system including drug trafficking, sexual assault and others,” Nelson said. “And because these crimes affect some of the most vulnerable in our community, adding these dedicated resources is a way that we can help those preyed upon to end this vicious cycle.”

Ryan Benk / WJCT News

In her first public appearance as state attorney Monday, Melissa Nelson reiterated her campaign promise of restoring the public’s confidence in Northeast Florida’s criminal justice system.

Nelson admitted the challenge of changing the office’s culture will be an exacting task, but that she had a specific blueprint to accomplish that goal.

Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT

State attorney-elect Melissa Nelson said Monday the office needs to collaborate with the community to ensure laws are enforced in a fair and equitable manner.

State attorney-elect Melissa Nelson ousted incumbent Angela Corey in a landslide last month. On Monday she joined Melissa Ross to talk about the transition and what we can expect from her office when she takes over in January. We also heard from Dr. Nima Aghaebrahim from Baptist Health about recent progress in the treatment of aneurysms. Jon Heymann, CEO of the Jacksonville Children’s Commission, talked about programs available to local youth and the Timucuan Parks Foundation told us about a fundraiser to mark the centennial of the National Parks Service. 

Cyd Hoskinson / WJCT News

In a monumental legal shakeup for the First Coast, the 4th Judicial Circuit will have a new state attorney and public defender.