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First Coast Connect

07/07/15: Andrew Jackson Monument; Texting While Driving; Aqua Jax; Author Marja Mills

The statue of Andrew Jackson in Downtown Jacksonville has been vandalized twice in the past week. On June 30, a Native American mask was placed on the monument in reference to Jackson's signing of the 1830 Indian Removal Act. Most recently, the statue was tagged with the phrases “Black Lives Matter” and “Justice 4 D," a reference to D'Angelo Stallworth who was shot and killed by officers from the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office in May.

Several monuments across the South have been tagged with the words "Black Lives Matter" recently, primarily Confedarate statues. We speak with Ciara Taylor of the activist group the Dream Defenders, and Emily Lisska, Director of the Jacksonville Historical Society.

Flagler College sociology professor Casey Welch and students Patricia Marquez and Ruby Studivant join us with the results of a new study about attitudes towards texting while driving and laws that regulate it.

Shark Week comes to Mayport this week with a special event benefiting the AquaJax in their efforts to bring a world-class aquarium to downtown Jacksonville. We speak with spokesperson Dean Phifer.

And we speak with author Marja Mills, a former Chicago Tribune reporter who developed a friendship with "To Kill a Mockingbird" author Harper Lee. Mills tells the story of meeting her in the new book "The Mockingbird Next Door: Life with Harper Lee."

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Sean Birch joined the WJCT team in late 2011 and was with the company until 2016.