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First Coast Connect

9/07/2016: Transportation And The Economy; Opioid Epidemic; Tom Arnold; 'Girls Day Out'

Detours and traffic cones sprout every year but what is the economic impact of all that highway construction? Wednesday on First Coast Connect, Melissa Ross spoke with Jeff Sheffield, executive director of the North Florida Transportation Planning Organization; Alan Mosley from Jax Chamber; and Lisa Robert, executive vice president at transportation architectural firm RS&H. As part of our ongoing Community Thread program we heard from Dr. Marcus De Carvalho from Beaches Recovery about the opioid epidemic and the treatments being used for recovering addicts. Comedian and actor Tom Arnold spoke about his upcoming concerts in Jacksonville and we heard about next week’s ‘Girls Days Out’ conference promoting a healthy lifestyle for women. We heard from event chair Dr. Patricia McFall Calhoun from Baptist Health and local dermatologist Kristen Stewart. WJCT is co-sponsor of the event. 

Transportation and the economy

Transportation needs are changing as fast as technology. The way construction projects and planned and funded in the future will require creative solutions.

It’s part of a conference being held Sept. 13 in Jacksonville. Ross and her guests spoke about the challenges of keeping up with road construction in the country’s largest city in terms of area.     


Opioid Epidemic

Deaths involving heroin have more than tripled nationwide from 2010 to 2014, faster than any other illegal drug. But innovative treatments are now being used to combat the opioid epidemic. De Carvalho from Beaches Recovery spoke to Ross about the problem and how it’s being approached.            


Tom Arnold

He’s more than the guy who was once married to Roseanne Barr.  Arnold will be appearing at the Comedy Zone in Jacksonville this week. He spoke with Ross about his career, becoming a father again in his 50’s and his movie career.


“Girls Day Out”

It’s an annual daylong women’s health conference, featuring national speakers, health screenings and breakout sessions with health experts. “Girls Day Out” is in its 16th year and will be held Sept. 17 at the Hyatt Regency Riverfront Hotel in downtown Jacksonville.



Producer Kevin Meerschaert can be reached at, 904-358-6334 or on Twitter at @KMeerschaertJax


Kevin Meerschaert has left WJCT for new pursuits. He was the producer of First Coast Connect until October of 2018.