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First Coast Connect

9/20/2017: Vernell Bing Jr. Shooting; World Relief; Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Florida

Wednesday on “First Coast Connect” we spoke with Florida Times-Union reporter Ben Conarck on State Attorney Melissa Nelson’s decision not to prosecute Jacksonville Sheriff’s Officer Tyler Landreville for the May 2016 shooting death of Vernell Bing Jr. (01:20). We heard about the efforts of World Relief to assist victims of disasters like Hurricane Irma with Senior Vice President of Ministries Emily Gray and Travis Trice of World Relief Jacksonville (33:21) and we spoke with new CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Florida Sara Alford and Board Chairman Jason Spencer  (43:22).   

Vernell Bing Jr. Shooting

State Attorney Melissa Nelson is out with a closely watched decision on a controversial police-involved shooting. After a 16-month criminal investigation, no charges will be filed in a 2016 shooting incident that killed Jacksonville resident Vernell Bing Jr. Bing’s death sparked protests and a lawsuit. Nelson’s office says Bing’s shooting was justified under Florida law, based in part on Jacksonville Sheriff’s Officer Tyler Landreville’s account of why he opened fire on Bing.

World Relief

The organization World Relief is best known for its work in resettling refugees. But they are also involved in disaster relief. As you can imagine, they are very busy right now. The local office has been working as a hub for relief donations as well as offering funding for local Jacksonville churches and communities who are working to provide relief to those affected by hurricane Irma. The deadline to apply for these relief funds is Sept. 25. World Relief is also working with local partners on the ground in Haiti and the Caribbean. World Relief Jacksonville is holding a benefit dinner 5 p.m. to 7 p.m Sept. 30 at the Deermeadows Baptist Church on Baymeadows.  Gray will be the keynote speaker at the event

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Florida

He was a giant in the local philanthropy world. The late Warren Grymes passed away earlier this month after a long battle with kidney cancer. He was 68. Grymes left an amazing legacy.

Under his leadership, he took  Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Florida from the brink of bankruptcy to a multi-million-dollar organization that has become one of the nation’s top affiliates. You also heard him regularly here on our airwaves at 89.9 helping to raise money for WJCT during pledge drives.

To honor his legacy, Big Brothers Big Sisters is bringing back the fundraising event Margarita J’Ville. It was originally created by Grymes in 2004. Due to Hurricane Irma the event originally scheduled for latest this month has been postponed to 6 p.m to 10 p.m. Nov. 18 at the One Ocean Resort and Spa.

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.