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First Coast Connect

3/16/2017: FSCJ Promise; Generation W; Lauren Fensterstock; GastroJax; Kerry Speckman

Thursday on “First Coast Connect” Florida State College Jacksonville President Cynthia Bioteau talked about a new program that will pay for the tuition of some local students. We also spoke with Generation W founder Donna Orender and Senior Vice President Mary Kellmanson about their upcoming conference. We were joined by artist Lauren Fenterstock, whose work will be on display beginning Saturday at the Museum of Contemporary Art’s Project Atrium. We spoke with Erin Thursby about Saturday’s GastroJax in Hemming Park and Kerry Speckman told us about this weekend’s events.  


FSCJ Promise

It’s a promise to give local students a debt-free path to earning an associate’s degree through the FSCJ Promise. The school will  fund the first two years of education for students from Duval and Nassau counties. Eligibility requirements are need based and the students must have graduated high school no more than three years ago and must attend class full time.    

Generation W  

It’s one of the premier events for women in the Jacksonville area. Business and community leaders and experts from around the country will gather at the University of North Florida on March 31 for Generation W. The conference features a wide range of topics, including leadership lessons from the highest ranking woman of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Speakers and panelists will also cover topics including the impact of women in law enforcement, how we will connect to content as technology grows and changes and how to engage in civil discourse.

Lauren Fensterstock

From the beaches of Sanibel Island to the rocky coast of Portland, Maine, artist Lauren Fensterstock uses seashells and other items to create art. Her display at MOCA runs through April 18. It’s part of MOCA’s Project Atrium to highlight the works of artists from around the country on its large atrium wall.  


GastroJax features food and drink from more than 20 local restaurants, food trucks and microbreweries. It will held at Hemming Park from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday. It is a cash only event with most samples ranging in costing from $1 to $3.

There will be 13 waste stations in and around the park, featuring three bins: recycling, regular trash and mixed food waste. Celestial Farms will be taking food waste to use as swill to feed rescue animals. The Skyway will be in service from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. during the event.  

Speckman talked about the weekend’s events including the Charlie Daniels Band performing Thursday night at the Florida Theatre and the Chieftains performing on St. Patrick’s Day and on Saturday with the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, and again Sunday at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre.       

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.