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First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross

6/27/2017: Walt Bogdanich; Seaside Community Charter; Vets4Vets; J Magazine


  Today on “First Coast Connect,” we spoke with New York Times reporter Walt Bogdanich (01:07) about his recent update on the investigation into the death of Michelle O’Connell. Seaside Community Charter School Principal and University of North Florida Associate Professor of Literacy & Early Childhood Literacy Department of Childhood Education; Literacy and TESOL Katrina Hall (28:03) talked about charter schools. Retired Marine Lieutenant Colonel Bob Adelhelm (42:29) told us about the upcoming Vets4Vets meeting, and Frank Denton (46:39) from the Florida Times-Union told about its new J Magazine.    

Walt Bogdanich   

It’s been a long running drama in St. Augustine that has divided the community. In 2010, Michelle O’Connell was found dead of a single gunshot wound. She was, at the time, the girlfriend of St. Johns County deputy Jeremy Banks. The death was quickly ruled a suicide but that was sharply disputed by family members and several who have investigated the case believe she was murdered. Bogdanich wrote a story printed in the Times June 18 that has again lit a flame under the controversy. He’s been covering this story for several years now, both for the Times and the PBS program “Frontline.”

Seaside Community Charter

Earlier this month, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed a massive and controversial education bill into law. Among other things, the new law will make it easier for privately managed charter schools to further expand in Florida and to receive additional taxpayer funding to boost their operations.

The measure was roundly criticized by traditional public school advocates, but cheered by supporters of charter schools. Those who operate the charters say they are being unfairly criticized and there is a lot of misinformation being spread regarding their operations.   


The organization Vets4Vets meets quarterly in Jacksonville to bring local veterans together to inform, connect and organize. They listen to speakers regarding issues important to veterans on the First Coast. The next meeting begins at 10:30 a.m. July 15 at Veterans Memorial Area. The event, parking and lunch is free and open to all veterans and their families. No pre-registration is required.       

J Magazine  

The Florida Times-Union recently launched a new magazine focusing exclusively on the bringing of new development to downtown Jacksonville. The first edition featured the role of Jaguars owner Shad Khan in redeveloping downtown properties. The magazine will be published quarterly and will be delivered to residents with a seven-day subscription. It will also be available at the Times-Union building, Daily’s, Gate and other locations around Jacksonville.    

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.