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First Coast Connect

2/23/2017: Tony Hill- James Weldon Johnson; Opioid Babies; NASA Discovers Earth-Sized Planets

Thursday on “First Coast Connect,” we spoke with former State Senator Tony Hill about an event Friday to honor Jacksonville native and civil rights activist James Weldon Johnson. We also heard about the tragedy of babies being born to opioid addicted mothers and the treatments available, and University of North Florida assistant professor of physics Jack Hewitt told us about NASA’s announcement Wednesday. 


Tony Hill - James Weldon Johnson

Despite being one of the most notable residents in Jacksonville history there isn’t much in town recognizing the life of James Weldon Johnson.

There is a middle school named after him and an historic marker at his birth site, but little else. Johnson was born in 1871 in LaVilla. He, along with his brother John Rosamond Johnson, wrote the civil rights anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” James Weldon Johnson went on to become a civil rights leader, educator, poet, lawyer, newspaper founder, diplomat and songwriter. A special event is set for 2 p.m. Friday to honor Johnson and his trademark song during Black History Month, at Lee and Adams streets in LaVilla.

Opioid babies

WJCT’s Community Thread has been looking at the tragedy of the opioid epidemic on the First Coast. According to the American Medical Association, an Opioid addicted baby is born is the U.S. every 19 minutes.

The babies can suffer a long list of health problems, including tremors, convulsions, fever and dehydration.   

NASA Discovers Earth-Sized Planets

NASA said the seven Earth-sized planets in the same solar system is an exciting find. Three of the planets are in the system’s habitable range where it’s believed water could exist. The star is called Trappist 1 and is only about 10 percent the size of our sun. The planets also orbit much closer to each other. The entire system could fit within the orbit of Mercury.         

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.