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First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross

4/10/2017: Hemming Syria Protest Aftermath; The Wall That Heals; Parkinson's Month


  Monday on “First Coast Connect” we heard reaction to the Hemming Park protest Friday that turned violent, leading to six arrests. We discussed the event with Jacksonville Progressive Coalition members Wells Todd and Karen Morian and attorney John Phillips. We also heard about The Wall That Heals coming to Metropolitan Park later this week with the City of Jacksonville Public Affairs Director Bill Spann, WJCT board member Dan Bean and representative from Vietnam Vets local 1046 Bob Adelhelm. April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month and we spoke with neurologist from UF Health Jacksonville Dr. Odinachi Oguh, activist Jennifer Otero and Parkinson’s patient Bill Wilson  

Hemming Syria Protest Aftermath

Demonstrators against military strikes in Syria are accusing the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office of excessive force after a protest Friday in Hemming Park turned violent. JSO arrested five people during the protest and got physical, injuring a deaf man and an elderly veteran. Another person was arrested for marijuana possession.In addition to calls for an independent investigation, the Jacksonville Progressive Coalition said the police should arrest counter-protester Gary Snow, who the group alleges provoked the unrest. Snow denies he did anything wrong.

JSO has released a statement, saying its officers were obligated to make the arrests as they tried to break up fighting in the park.

The Wall That Heals

It’s a half-scale replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington D.C. The wall, which travels to cities throughout the country, bears the names of the more than 58,000 men and women who died in the war.  

Now, The Wall That Heals is coming to downtown Jacksonville. WJCT and  Jacksonville’s Military Affairs and Veterans Department are sponsoring the wall at Metropolitan Park. There will be an opening ceremony 9 a.m. Thursday. The wall will be on display 24 hours a day through Saturday.     

Parkinson’s Month

According to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, it’s a chronic and progressive movement disorder. Symptoms continue and get worse over time. Nearly one million people in the U.S. are living with Parkinson’s.   

UF Health-Jacksonville is looking to raise awareness of the disease through a 5K and one-mile run April 22 at Riverside Park.     

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