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First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross

5/24/2017: FSCJ Funding Crisis; Ahmed- Manchester; Women With Heart; 'It's Not About Pretty'


  Today on "First Coast Connect" we spoke with Florida State College at Jacksonville President Cynthia Bioteau and recent graduate Lyse Medina (01:08) about state budget cuts to the college. University of North Florida professor Parvez Ahmed (22:50) spoke about the terrorist attack Monday at a concert in Manchester, England. This month’s Women With Heart segment featured Volunteers in Medicine board member Helen Morse (39:40) and we heard about an upcoming female skateboarding event with Void Magazine photographer Elise Crigar (44:30).    


FSCJ Funding Crisis

FSCJ is facing a severe financial crisis. Not only did the state legislature not give the school any funding for construction or maintenance, its general fund dollars are being reduced by nearly $3 million. Bioteau said that would mean cutting 71 full-time and 17 part-time staff and faculty positions. She said some programs may have to be eliminated, which would impact students who can’t afford a post-secondary education anywhere else.     

Parvez Ahmed- Manchester  

Police in Manchester, England, have identified the suspected suicide bomber who struck Monday night at an Ariana Grande concert, killing 22 people and injuring dozens more. Salman Abedi died at the Manchester Arena. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack, via a statement issued Tuesday that promises more bloodshed. Ahmed is a vocal member of Jacksonville’s muslim community and has often spoken the key to fighting terrorism is addressing why people become terrorists.  

Women With Heart-Morse    

Morse is a retired IBM executive and member of the Volunteers in Medicine Board of Directors. She is Miss May in VIM’s year-long Women With Heart initiative. Morse gets to wear a diamond heart-shaped necklace all through this month as a way to start a conversation about serving the uninsured. The necklace will be rallied off at the end of the year to raise funds for Volunteers in Medicine.

‘It’s Not About Pretty’

Crigar is out with a new project. She collaborated with Skateboarding Hall Of Fame member Cindy Whitehead to put a new book together celebrating today’s girls skateboarding culture called “It’s Not About Pretty.” The book features some familiar faces of the Florida Bowlders Cup women division, along with today’s hottest female skateboarders. The "All Girl Skate Jam" is from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday at Kona Skate Park. It will feature all girl bands, all girl skate clinics and all girl skateboarders, ripping every area of the park.

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