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First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross

4/18/2017: Nancy Shaver; JSO Settlement; Hogan Distracted Driving; Healthy Minds Healthy Families


  Tuesday on “First Coast Connect” we spoke with St. Augustine Mayor Nancy Shaver about the dangers of sea level rise in the nation’s oldest city. Attorneys Dan Iracki and Rufus Pennington talked about a $1.9 million settlement with Jacksonville over the shooting of unarmed Davinian Williams by a Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office deputy. Attorney Wayne Hogan discussed Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and Exchange Club Family Center executive director Barbara Alexander and Mental Health America of Northeast Florida CEO Denise Marzullo talked about the upcoming Healthy Minds, Healthy Families conference.  

Nancy Shaver

Nuisance floods on sunny days are now common in St. Augustine. As an example, the recent storm surge from Hurricane Matthew extended all the way to U.S. 1. The city’s leadership is wasting no time debating the impact of climate change. St. Augustine Mayor Nancy Shaver is helping to create and lead a statewide group called Resiliency Florida. It’s an organization focused on the impact of rising seas in a state where most of the population lives along the coast.

JSO Settlement

A landmark $1.9 million settlement was reported last week for the family of Davinian Williams in 2012. Williams was shot multiple times in the back by a JSO officer while seated behind the driver's seat of a rental car, during a routine traffic stop. Williams was unarmed when he was shot and killed,leaving behind a teenage daughter and son. A wrongful death claim was sought on their behalf. The officer was fired for his misconduct by then-Sheriff John Rutherford.  He was reinstated but eventually resigned from the JSO. The case ended with the big settlement and a personal letter of apology from Duval Sheriff Mike Williams.

Hogan Distracted Driving    

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. In 2015, 3,477 people were killed and 391,000 were injured nationwide in car crashes involving distracted driving. It’s the fifth year Hogan has given free distracted driving presentations to local businesses and high schools.

‘Healthy Minds, Healthy Families’

Mental health plays a key factor in the overall health of a family. Too often, families struggling with mental health issues don’t get the support they need, which means abuse cycles down from generation to generation. Stopping that cycle is the goal of the “Healthy Minds Healthy Families” Child Abuse Prevention Conference, set for April 27 at the Jacksonville Marriott.

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