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First Coast Connect

4/13/2017: Cuba Trip; Parent Workshop; The Five And Dime Theatre 'A New Brain'

Thursday on “First Coast Connect” we spoke with former Jacksonville City Council President Eric Smith and retired long-time diplomat John Caulfield about an upcoming trade mission to Cuba. Black Commission president Diallo Sekou and vice president Lauren Cephus talked about Saturday’s Parent Education Support Workshop, and 5 and Dime Theatre executive director Lee Hamby and cast member Rodney Holmes previewed their upcoming performance “A New Brain.”   

Cuba Trip

Five Jacksonville business leaders, including Smith and Caulfield are flying to Havana next week. Their goal is to begin re-establishing old business ties lost in the days of Fidel Castro, and the longstanding U.S embargo against the communist country. Years ago, 90-percent of shipping to and from Cuba went through Jacksonville’s port. Former President Barack Obama’s administration worked to open up tourism and trade with Cuba. Now President Trump has vowed to reverse the policy. It took more than two years for the group from Jacksonville to obtain the business visas that allows them to travel to Cuba for business.  

Parent Workshop

One of the keys to success in public schools is strong parental involvement. But not all parents know how to go about it. Parents of African-American children often deal with the issue of their kids facing more frequent and harsher discipline in class. The data shows teachers are more likely to be extremely punitive with children of color even if their infractions are minor. The workshop to inform parents what they can do to improve their children’s educational experience is 11a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Bradham Brooks Library.   

5 and Dime Theatre Presents “A New Brain”   

It’s a new musical comedy about a composer whose life is thrown into crisis after a medical emergency. “A New Brain” from Tony-award winners William Finn and James Lapine opens April 21 at The 5 and Dime Theatre on Adams Street in downtown Jacksonville. A special “pay what you want” performance is April 24. The musical runs until May 7.

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.