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First Coast Connect

08/04/16: Bicycle Safty; Douglas Anderson Grad Heads To Juilliard; Rethreaded; Kerry Speckman

Bicycle Safety

The recent death of former Times-Union editorial writer Wayne Ezell shocked and saddened many in Jacksonville.

The 72-year-old Ezell died last week after his bicycle was struck by a pickup truck in Iowa. He was taking part in an annual seven-day Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, the oldest, largest and longest bicycle touring event in the world.

Tragically and ironically, Ezell was struck and killed just as riders in the 43rd annual event were preparing for their first-ever “Mile of Silence” in memory of those who have killed or injured while cycling.

Ezell’s death has reminded everyone, particularly cycling enthusiasts, of the dangers of taking to the open road on your bike.

It’s a very sore point here in Jacksonville, which is consistently rated as one of the worst cities in the nation when it comes to safety and accessibility for cyclists and pedestrians.

We discuss efforts to make the city more bicycle-friendly with Matt Uhrig, founder of the advocacy group Bike Jax, and Michelle Tappouni, chair of JAX2025 Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Task Force.

Douglas Anderson Graduate

It’s an incredible story of triumph over daunting circumstances.

18-year-old Julian Robertson, a graduate of the Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, has been accepted into Juilliard, the nation’s premiere performing arts school.

He’s one of only 18 students in the world admitted to Juilliard’s acting department this fall.

But he needs to raise some money to pay for his first year of college.

So Robertson is using his talents and drawing on his experiences growing up with struggles on Jacksonville’s North side. 

He’s written a play called "Broke," premiering Friday, which will act as a fundraiser for his first-year expenses at his dream school.

Julian Robertson joins us along with "Broke" cast members Sophia Rizzuto and Terrance Scott to preview the play and talk about his journey to Juilliard.


Rethreaded, the local nonprofit dedicated to helping women escape the sex trade, is marking a its 5th anniversary this week. 

We learn more from Ansley Busch, directof of marketing for Rethreaded.

Kerry Speckman

TheSpecktator.comblogger Kerry Speckman joins us with a look at this weekend's events around town.

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