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First Coast Connect

9/15/2017: Media Roundtable; Steve Watrel; Merrill Shapiro; Mariachi Primera Costa

Friday on “First Coast Connect” our weekly Media Roundtable featured Florida Times-Union columnist Ron Littlepage, Financial News and Daily Record reporter David Cawton, Folio Weekly editor Claire Goforth and Florida Politics reporter A.G. Gancarski (01:07). We spoke with Jacksonville attorney Steve Watrel. He often represents nursing home residents and their families regarding abuse and neglect cases (30:55). Activist rabbi Merrill Shapiro talked about concerns he has with Florida’s Constitution Revision Commission (37:14) and the band Mariachi Primera Costa performed live in-studio (45:12). 


Media Roundtable

Our panel discussed the cleanup efforts on the First Coast after Hurricane Irma, including the massive flooding that hit the area. Much of the discussion focused on whether JEA has been doing a good job getting the power back on and if the utility should consider installing more underground lines.       

Steve Watrel

An investigation is underway after eight nursing home residents died at the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills in South Florida, during the chaos of Hurricane Irma. Staff there had scrambled to keep residents hydrated and cool after a tree fell onto a transformer that powered the air conditioning system at the home. The investigation is ongoing. However. Watrel said nursing home abuse and neglect is sadly common in Florida.

Merrill Shapiro

In 1968, Florida became the only state that allows for its constitution to be revisited and changed through a regularly scheduled commission called the Constitution Revision Commission (CRC). The CRC, which meets every 20 years, is a group of 37 commissioners who examine the relevance and applicability of Florida’s Constitution to current and future needs. Some activists are sounding the alarm about potential changes in the works to the state constitution. Shapiro is Immediate Past President of the National Board of Trustees of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. He speaks 6:30 p.m.Monday at a meeting of the First Coast Freethought Society at the Buckman Bridge Unitarian Church.

Mariachi Primera Costa

Mariachi Primera Costa, or First Coast Mariachi, features Philip Pan on violin & vocals, Roger Phillips, guitar & vocals, and Goliath Flores, Vihuela & lead vocals. They’ll be playing 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday at the Jaguar exhibit at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens from 10 a.m. to noon.

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.