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First Coast Connect

6/07/2017: JaxPort Deepening: Evacuation Movement; 'Palm Valley Storytelling Day'; Judy Wells

Today on “First Coast Connect,” we spoke with former CSX executive Dale Lewis (01:02) about his research into the pros and cons of dredging the St. Johns River. Robert E. Lee High School students Alan McCullough and Devon Brown, along with their teacher Amy Donofrio (28:55) told us about the Evacuation Movement program. Deb Chapin and Brian Anderson (36:51) with the Ponte Vedra Greenway Alliance discussed the upcoming “Palm Valley Storytelling Day,” and travel blogger Judy Wells (44:25) told us about her recent trip to Poland. 


JaxPort Deepening

Container ports on the southeast Coast of the U.S. are investing billions of dollars in a competition to handle the next generation of container ships. The ports are all competing for federal, state and local funds. Lewis has conducted extensive research on the full range of costs, opportunities and risks associated with JaxPort’s deepening project, which he presented recently at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Evacuation Movement

They’re a group of young men at Lee High School, a class that calls itself EVAC, or CAVE spelled backwards.

They’ve launched a schoolwide campaign to help fellow students understand the bonds they have in common. Lee’s EVAC students are the winners of a national contest — the Kindness Challenge — sponsored by Harvard University and the KIND Foundation. The surprise announcement Thursday came at the end of an exceptional year for the students. They met then-President Barack Obama at the University of North Florida in November. They’ve become youth advisers to local justice system officials, including State Attorney Melissa Nelson and Sheriff Mike Williams.

‘Palm Valley Storytelling Day’

The storytelling day is an effort to capture past generations stories about Palm Valley. It also ties into an initiative focused on the area’s future.

It’ll included creating storyboards, videography and archives of the land, people and heritage unique to northeast Florida. The event will be held from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday at the American Legion Post 233.   

Judy Wells

A steady stream of Americans visits Poland. The U.S. has a large Polish-American population. Chicago is the city with the second largest concentration of Poles in the world, only behind Warsaw.

Increasingly, the rest of America and the world are discovering this reasonably priced center of interesting history and sites, beautiful countrysides and welcoming hosts. After centuries of struggling to rule their own nation, the Poles have achieved their goal and want to show off.

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.