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First Coast Connect

8/21/2017: El Faro Report; Live From The Eclipse; Studio Spear; Cole Pepper

  Monday on “First Coast Connect,” we heard reaction to the latest report released by the National Transportation Safety Board regarding the El Faro’s sinking with local maritime attorney Rod Sullivan (01:12). We got an on-the-scene preview of Monday’s Great American Eclipse with WJCT’s video producer Carlos Bouvier, who is in South Carolina for the big show (20:45). Jeff Spear, president of Studio Spear in Jacksonville Beach, told us about his company’s marketing products around the world (30:32), and Cole Pepper brought us the latest sports news, including the Jaguars’ growing quarterback controversy (45:04). 

El Faro Report

The NTSB released several new documents and reports Friday in its ongoing investigation into the cargo ship El Faro. It sanknear the Bahamas in October 2015 en route from Jacksonville to Puerto Rico. The ship had lost power and drifted into the path of Hurricane Joaquin, and all 33 crew members on board died. The new reports contain text messages and emails from the captain, showing he was aware of the impending storm but didn’t anticipate its causing much trouble.

Live From The Eclipse

Tens of millions of people from around the world are gathering Monday from Oregon to South Carolina to witness the Great American Solar Eclipse. WJCT TV producer Carlos Bouvier left Jacksonville early Monday morning and prepared to observe the eclipse from the small town of St. Matthews about 40 miles southeast of Columbia. Bouvier spoke to visitors from around the Southeast and some of the town’s 2,000 residents, who are excited to be in the heart of the total eclipse path.      

Studio Spear

Studio Spear is an international branding agency that specializes in the food and beverages around the world. Spear has been in the business 40 years, and the first big logo he designed was for Michael Jackson’s album “Bad.” Since then, clients have included Disney, Anheuser-Busch and Baskin-Robbins and local businesses like Beaver Street Fisheries. Because of his love for food he’s also working on his third cookbook featuring recipes from the countries where he’s visited or worked from around the world.             

Cole Pepper

Jacksonville’s football team is now facing a quarterback controversy. After Thursday’s loss to Tampa Bay, Head Coach Doug Marrone said the starting quarterback position is up for grabs. He said Blake Bortles and Chad Henne will equally share first team reps ahead of Thursday’s game against Carolina.        

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.