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First Coast Connect

4/17/2017: Tia Mitchell; Alternative Fuels Expo; Rising Stars Show

  Monday on “First Coast Connect” we spoke with Florida Times-Union reporter Tia Mitchell, who covers the state legislature. North Florida Transportation Planning Organization Executive Director Jeff Sheffield told us about its upcoming alternative fuels expo and Communities in Schools director of resource development director Erin Morgan and Frank H. Peterson Academies of Technology student Elijah Heppner talked about the Rising Stars fundraising event where students, including Heppner, will perform in a talent show. 


Tia Mitchell

The Florida legislature is in session and lawmakers are looking at bills on everything from standardized testing to medical marijuana. Bills include how our safety net hospital, UF Health Jacksonville is going to be funded. There is also a bill regarding charter schools that is being fought by Duval County Schools Superintendent Nikolai Vitti. The session runs through May 5, but it’s possible the session will be extended if the House and Senate can’t agree on a budget.      

Alternative Fuels Expo

It’s a growing sector on the First Coast. The North Florida Clean Fuels Coalition is working to bring more viable alternative fuels and energy-efficient vehicles to our region. This week, they’re sponsoring the Alternative Fuels Vehicle Expo on the University of North Florida campus. It’s a chance to learn more about alternative fuels and advanced vehicle technologies to reduce petroleum consumption, improve air quality and develop regional economic opportunities. The Alternative Fuels Vehicle Expo is 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. April 19 at the UNF University Center.  

Rising Stars Show    

Dozens of at-risk students will take the stage at the Florida Theatre on Thursday for the Rising Stars talent show. Students across the city will showcase their talents at the fundraising event hosted by Communities in Schools. Tickets are $50 for general admission, $35 for teachers and young professionals and $20 for students ages 5 to 18. Children ages 5 and younger are admitted free.   

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.