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First Coast Connect

5/08/2017: Sine Die; Stroke Signs; France Trip; THE PLAYERS Volunteers; Cole Pepper

Monday on “First Coast Connect” it’s Sine Die in the Florida State Legislature. We spoke with Florida Times-Union Tallahassee bureau chief Tia Mitchell (1:09). We learned the warning signs of stroke with Dr. Nima Aghaebrahim (28:11), interventional neurologist with Baptist Health and the Baptist Stroke and Cerebrovascular Center. We discussed an upcoming trip to Jacksonville’s Sister City of Nantes, France, with Sheila Kloc (34:34) of Alliance Francaise and Richard Shieldhouse with the Nantes Committee. THE PLAYERS Championship volunteer chairman Kevin English (43:03) talked about the 2,000 volunteers at TPC this week, and Cole Pepper (46:33)  talked local sports.   

Sine Die

The legislative session that was scheduled to end Friday is extending into Monday as the House and Senate try to come to an agreement on the state budget. With time running out, the budget wasn’t the only thing lagging this session. Lawmakers also had a hard time resolving two important policy issues: implementing the medical marijuana constitutional amendment, and reforming workers compensation insurance after a court struck down a previous law.

Stroke Signs

Only 20 percent of stroke patients get to an emergency room in time to receive brain-saving treatment. Timely action and access to a certified stroke center can pave the way for recovery. But still, about 80 of stroke patients percent delay seeking treatment right away thinking the symptoms will go away. Aghaebrahim said that’s something National Stroke Awareness Month seeks to change.

France Trip   

The world watched closely Sunday as France held an election. The centrist Emmanuel Macron handily beat far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.

Whether your interest in France is political, cultural or both you can take advantage of an upcoming French-language trip to Jacksonville's Sister City Nantes, France. The program will be in French and cost 250 euros. You must provide your own transportation. Register via email at The classes with by from June 26 to July 1.

THE PLAYERS Championship and Cole Pepper

It’s PLAYERS week at TPC Sawgrass with lots of exciting events all week long. More than 2,000 volunteers help ensure THE PLAYERS Championship will be an enjoyable experience for fans and players alike. In addition, these volunteers have enabled THE PLAYERS to generate $84 million for charity since relocating to Ponte Vedra Beach in 1977.

Pepper gave us his prediction of who will win the tournament and talked about the continuing undefeated Armada and Sharks and the Jumbo Shrimp weekend series in Tennessee.

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.