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First Coast Connect

1/25/2017: Reveal In Jacksonville; Metro Rooter; Leadership Jacksonvile; 'Violins Of Hope'

Wednesday on First Coast Connect, we spoke by  phone with “Reveal”  host Al Letson about this weekend’s episode that focuses on Jacksonville. He was joined by WJCT reporter Lindsey Kilbride and Florida Times-Union reporter Ben Conorack who contributed to the program. We also spoke with Tom McLaughlin, owner of Metro Rooter for our going green segment on how he turns old household grease into useful products. Leadership Jacksonville CEO Jill Langford Dame joined the show to discuss their upcoming seminar to train local political candidates and we welcomed Amnon Weinstein, one of the most respected violin makers in the world, who is in Jacksonville for Sunday’s “Violins of Hope” concert by the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra. The concert features 16 violins recovered and restored from the Holocaust.  


Reveal in Jacksonville

Donald Trump just took control of two very different Americas. This week, Reveal travels to Jacksonville which has been described as one of the most divided cities in America. Trump beat Hillary Clinton by only a few percentage points in Duval County and topics that continue to divide the city include police shootings, school choice and expanding the Human Rights Ordinance to cover the LBGT community. Letson talked about what listeners can expect to hear in this week’s episode. The Jacksonville Reveal program airs on 89.9 FM at noon Saturday and will repeat next Thursday at 1 p.m.   

Listen to this story on Redux

Full interview

Metro Rooter

Metro Rooter has been trapping and disposing of used cooking grease for over 20 years. They’ve now figured out how to turn it into a commodity- bio-diesel fuel. McLaughlin is the only local person who does this with grease and there are only about 20 nationwide. It’s important for the environment because grease trap waste, mostly from local restaurants can be hard to get of. It clogs pipes and pumps in wastewater collection systems and can kill plants and animals when disposed of improperly.  

Leadership Jacksonville

Leadership Jacksonville wants to help people interested in running for public office. The organization’s nonpartisan Political Campaign Seminar is an intensive five-session course providing practical knowledge for those considering entering the political arena. The seminar is an intensive five-session course providing practical knowledge for those considering entering the political arena.

Violins of Hope

The Jacksonville Symphony will present “Violins of Hope,” on Sunday. It’s a powerful concert featuring 16 violins recovered and restored from the Holocaust. The event is presented in collaboration with the Anne Frank: A History for Today exhibit at the Museum of Science and History.

Weinstein has spent the last two decades locating and restoring violins that were played by Jewish musicians during the Holocaust. He said he dedicates his work to the 400 relatives he never knew that were Holocaust victims. Weinstein said he is always on the lookout for more Holocaust violins and so far has been able to restore 64 violins and is always on the lookout for more.  


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.