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First Coast Connect

2/15/2017: OCEARCH; Mark Lamping- Daily's Place; Duval County's Graduation Rate; Arts Awards

Wednesday on “First Coast Connect” we spoke by phone with OCEARCH founder and expedition leader Chris Fischer along with Jacksonville University Marine Science Research Institute Executive Director Quint White, who was in studio, about a collaboration to study sharks on campus. We also spoke with Jacksonville Jaguars President Mark Lamping, who gave us an update on the Daily’s Place Amphitheater being built next to Everbank Field. Erin Mangan of Communities in Schools of Jacksonville talked about programs implemented to help the school district’s graduation rate, and the Cultural Council of Jacksonville’s Ryan Ali told us about some the winners of this year’s Arts Awards with honorary chair Heather Moore.



It’s an internationally known research organization and it’s making Jacksonville University its academic home. Students will be participating in real world marine research on campus and at sea. OCEARCH tracks sharks across the globe, including one named Mary Lee that was tracked along the First Coast.    

Mark Lamping- Daily’s Place

The first act to play a show at Daily’s Place, the new 5,500 seat amphitheater under construction at EverBank Field, won’t have far to travel. It’s the Grammy-winning R&B band Tedeschi Trucks, led by Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi, who live in Jacksonville. Lamping talked about the new company formed by the Jaguars, Bold Events. The company will plan events not only at Daily’s Place but also in Everbank Field’s new indoor “flex field,” which will also be used for football practice.

Improving Duval County’s Graduation Rate

The Department of Education recently released graduation rates for the 2015-2016 school year. The good news for Duval County is that the numbers are up to 78.8 percent — from 76.6 percent — the previous school year. Local graduation rates have increased more than 10 percent over the past four years. Mangan talked local dropout prevention programs and why some students still can’t be convinced to stay in school.      

Cultural Council of Jacksonville Arts Awards

The 41st Arts Award Gala “Muse” will showcase Jacksonville’s art and culture scene. Eight individuals and businesses will be honored for their contributions. The gala will be held at the Glass Factory in Jacksonville’s Urban Core on May 6. It’s the largest fundraiser of the year for the Cultural Council.       

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.