military veterans

Department of Veterans Affairs

Jacksonville is one of six Florida cities Congress has approved for new VA outpatient facilities. 

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The University of North Florida is hosting a meet and greet with World War II veterans and prisoners of war Monday.

  Wednesday on First Coast Connect we discussed the future of students who arrived in the U.S. as children with Ericka Curran, professor at Florida Coastal School of Law and Giselle Carson, an immigration attorney with Marks Gray Law Firm. We also spoke with Bob Buehn, the Entrepreneurship Training Program manager at the University of North Florida’s Military and Veterans Resource Center and John Fails from Bunker Labs, about a program at UNF to help veterans start their own business. Founder and president of Games Art and Music talked about an upcoming party on Saturday where they are collecting toys for Toys for Tots. 

Distenfield head shot
John Burr

A new Jacksonville nonprofit that helps veterans start businesses is getting grant money from financial-services company JPMorgan Chase.

In this week’s “Business Brief,” analyst John Burr introduces WJCT News Director Jessica Palombo to the veteran in charge of Jacksonville’s Bunker Labs, Derek Distenfield.

  Jacksonville City Councilman Tommy Hazouri announced Saturday that he will suspend his push to adopt local discrimination protections for the LGBT community.

Hazouri is withdrawing his bill that would amend the city’s human rights ordinance to protect those citizens from discrimination in jobs, housing and public accommodations. The move means this divisive local issue will be put on the back burner, at least for now, leaving Jacksonville one of the largest major cities that still lacks legal discrimination protection for the LGBT community.

The HRO has been controversial in large part because opponents have raised religious objections to the legislation.

We’ve also seen the debate over rights vs. religious liberty at the national level.

In 2014, the Supreme Court ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. recognized a for-profit corporation's claim of religious belief. Following this ruling many states, including Florida, have since proposed expanding state religious freedom laws to include for-profit corporations.

We speak with Toni Van Pelt is co-founder, president and Congressional lobbyist for the Institute for Science and Human Values. She’ll be speaking about the "Religious Freedom Restoration Act” and what she calls its its dangers to secular society and government at an event presented by the First Coast Freethought Society.