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First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross

9/7/2017: DACA In Jacksonville; Veteran Suicide; 'Wit' And Kerry Speckman


Thursday on “First Coast Connect,” we learned how President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Child Arrivals program will affect the First Coast with Jacksonville immigration attorney Karen Winston and Mario DeCunto, who sits on the Mayor’s Hispanic American Advisory Council (02:09). We spoke about preventing veteran suicides with Daniel Henry of the Veterans Administration Hospital of Southeast Georgia and Northeast Florida and Katherine Eicher, Suicide Prevention Coordinator for the VA on the First Coast (30:15). Associate Director of the Amelia Community Theatre Tener Wade and director Ron Kurtz talked about their production of “Wit,” and Kerry Speckman told us about some upcoming events and the many that have been canceled this weekend due to Hurricane Irma (44:07). 

DACA in Jacksonville

Two senators Tuesday urged Congress to move quickly on bipartisan legislation that would provide legal status to the hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants who have lived in the United States since they were children, and now face losing protection from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program. The latest call for action on the DREAM Act, issued by Sen. Dick Durbin (D- Il) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) came just hours after the Trump administration said it would phase out DACA over the next six months. The phasing out of DACA would affect more than 70,000 people in Florida, immigration attorneys say.

Veteran Suicide

Suicide prevention is the U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs’ No. 1 clinical priority, and the VA health care system that encompasses Jacksonville treats more veterans than any other system in the country.  With 20 Veterans each day committing suicide nationally, and only six of those 20 ever having utilized VA services, finding avenues to get to those in need is paramount to saving their lives.  

Wit and Kerry Speckman

The drama “Wit” won the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for drama. It’s about a woman fighting ovarian cancer through humor and art. It’s set to open Friday at the Amelia Community Theatre and runs through Sept.16. Kerry told us about several events that have been canceled or postponed, including concerts by Bryan Adams and Adam Ant, and discussed some that are scheduled later this month including Tim McGraw and Faith Hill at Veterans Memorial Arena on Sept. 16 and the Jaguars home opener on Sept. 17.        

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