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First Coast Connect

10/19/2017: Richard Spencer At UF; JEA Solar; THRIVE; Get Smart About Credit Day

Thursday on First Coast Connect, ahead of white supremacist Richard Spencer’s appearance at the University of Florida, we spoke with WUFT Multimedia News Manager Ryan Vasquez on what is occurring on campus and the rest of Gainesville (01:08).

JEA announced this week it will greatly expand its use of solar power. We spoke with Steve McInall, who is JEA’s director of electronic production resource planning, Pete Wilking from A1A Solar, Sarah Boren with the U.S. Green Building Council and TerraWise Homes CEO David Shacter (21:18).      

We heard about the Transition to Health, Resources, Independence, Viable Careers and Education (THRIVE) program at the University of North Florida with student Robert Rittenhouse. He's the vice president of the Education Student Leadership Committee at UNF (36:30).   

To commemorate Get Smart About Credit Day we spoke with Mary Svoboda, Chief Lending Officer and Chief Operating Officer for Jax Federal Credit Union (44:00).


Richard Spencer at UF

The University of Florida never asked for this kind of attention, but well-known white supremacist Richard Spencer has all eyes on Gainesville today as he is appearing on campus to make a speech.

At the request of local law enforcement, Governor Rick Scott has declared a State of Emergency for Alachua County.

All of this has been a major headache for UF and the city of Gainesville. Particularly, after the riots, injuries, and homicide that happened at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville after white supremacists rallied there to protest the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue.

JEA Solar

JEA unveiled a sweeping solar-power program this week. It’s set to dramatically increase the utility’s investment in solar panels, and at the same time change how it provides incentives to residents to adopt rooftop-solar technology, a thorny issue utility executives have tried to navigate for more than a year.



Across the nation, hundreds of students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are applying and enrolling in colleges and universities, including at the University of North Florida.

The group on campus, THRIVE, works to make sure those students succeed and leave college ready to become successful members of the workforce.  


Get Smart About Credit Day

Thursday is Get Smart About Credit Day. Most of us need to be smarter about our credit. We are a nation in debt.Today is also International Credit Union Day.

Svoboda gave us advice on how improve your credit score and the key differences between credit unions and for-profit lending organizations.   


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.