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First Coast Connect

10/23/2017: My Neighbors Project; STEM Field Trip; Cole Pepper; Manhattan Murder Mystery

Monday on First Coast Connect, we spoke with local activist Nick Thompson about his My Neighbors Project (01:02).   

Ahead of a STEM field trip Wednesday we spoke with Karen Smittle, CH2M Florida Communications Manager, Jaynelle Pemberton, CH2M Engineer and Project Manager and Alex Blahakis, Career and Technical Education Director for Duval Public Schools. (29:45)  

Cole Pepper brought us the weekend’s sports news, including the Jaguars’ 27-0 win over the Colts. He also previewed Saturday’s Florida-Georgia game (37:45). 

California-based band Manhattan Murder Mystery performed live in-studio (45:57). 

My Neighbors Project

The My Neighbors project began as a way to help homebound people needing extra food and support on Jacksonville’s Eastside. But then, its organizers saw that many low-income citizens they were trying to help had far deeper needs than just getting a hot meal.

They were losing their homes, from missing one tax payment, or failing to pay the city of Jacksonville’s stormwater fee of $150 dollars.

The United Way of Northeast Florida report, released just last week, found that one out of every three people in this area  — in Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau and St. Johns Counties  — is struggling to make ends meet. These are folks who often have jobs but struggle to afford the basics: housing, food, child care, health care and transportation. They take home too much salary to qualify for assistance programs but not enough to get by.

STEM Field Trip

The field trip is a collaboration between JEA, CH2M, the city of Jacksonville and Duval County Public Schools. It includes Jeff Davis Middle School and Northwestern Middle School students.

‘The trip will take place at CH2M’s offices and the JEA Main Street Water Treatment  Plant. Students will learn about how water treatment plants are designed and it includes a simulation demonstration and a tour.  

Cole Pepper

The Jaguars easily beat the Colts 27-0. It was the team’s first shutout since 2006. The defense had ten sacks. The Jaguars are off this weekend. They host the Bengals on Nov. 5. Five of their next seven games are at home where the Jaguars have not played well this season.

The Armada had a 4-4 draw with the Cosmos. The Florida-Georgia game is Saturday. The Gators will be major underdogs as they face the undefeated Bulldogs. The Icemen lost their first two home games.      

Manhattan Murder Mystery

The Los Angeles-based Manhattan Murder Mystery formed in 2008, and have since developed an onstage intensity that's undeniably solid, not to mention totally infectious, rowdy, and engaging.

This cult favorite has been called "post-punk" and compared to the Replacements, the Pixies, Arcade Fire, and Nirvana. They are currently touring the country in support of their new album "Dumb," which is available on iTunes, Spotify and every major music platform.

They perform Monday night at the Shantytown Pub on West 6th in Springfield.They perform Monday night at the Shantytown Pub on West 6th in Springfield.

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.