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First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross

11/21/2017: FEMA Update; Moveable Feast- Gifted Cork; Mayo Study; S1lva

Kevin Meerschaert

Tuesday on First Coast Connect we spoke with local FEMA official Gerald Hammink and Small Business Administration representative Shanna-Kae Mallett about Friday’s deadline to file for Hurricane Irma relief (01:07).     

The most recent segment of Moveable Feast visits with Jeanne Maron of St. Augustine’s Gifted Cork (32:00).    

The Mayo Clinic’s Dr. Joy Wolfram and NenaShukla told us about their recent cancer research and getting more women to join the field (37:20).    

Composer and producer Alex Silva, known professionally as S1lva, joined us to talk about his career and latest single, “Rain” (46:00).  



FEMA Update

President Donald Trump is asking for $44 billion in extra disaster aid, $25 billion of which will go to FEMA, after the agency’s coffers have been almost wiped clean.

In the last couple months, the agency has seen an unprecedented, uninterrupted sequence of disasters: California wildfires, Hurricane Harvey in Texas, Irma in Florida and both Maria and Irma in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

That has left FEMA not only cash-strapped, but overwhelmed with claims and pleas for help. The agency has gotten mostly good marks for its response directly after each disaster, but a chorus of critics are bemoaning long wait times and a complicated process.

Moveable Feast- Gifted Cork

We’re just a couple days out from Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season will cascade one after another following Turkey Day.

Staples of the season are of course those delicious, semi-flightless birds, stuffing, maybe some mashed potatoes and for the adults? Well of course a good bottle of wine.

Wine probably sounds good to most indulging adults year round and that might explain the success of a St. Johns County business: Jeanne Maron’s Gifted Cork. Leigh Cort of the Women’s Food Alliance sat down with the wine connoisseur to talk about the secret to her success.

Mayo Clinic Study

It’s no secret that Jacksonville is home to some of the latest and most influential medical research in the country, if not the world.

The River City leads the way with this research in no small part due to the Mayo Clinic. Wolfram and Shukla have participated in numerous medical research studies and are also working to get more women to join the medical research field.   


He’s a composer and songwriter who is developing a national following and he lives in Jacksonville.

Alex Michael Silva, known professionally as S1lva specializes in electronic dance music.

His latest single, “Rain” featuring vocalist Alina Renae, is getting a lot of buzz. It features many well known sites around St. Augustine. He also has an interesting story to tell as both a composer, model and member of the Florida National Guard.  

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.