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First Coast Connect

11/30/2017: Sexual Harassment; Runaway Prevention; Judy Wells

Thursday on First Coast Connect we talked about sexual harassment in the workplace with local attorneys Tad Delegal and Janet Johnson (01:15).   

Jacksonville Youth Crisis Center CEO Kim Sirdevan told us about efforts to reduce the number  of youths running away from home (35:13).          

Travel blogger Judy Wells told us about her recent trip to Pasaquan in Buena Vista, Georgia (46:00).

Sexual Harassment

Fired NBC star Matt Lauer issued a statement Thursday morning expressing remorse for his actions that led to him losing his 20-year position as anchor at NBC’s Today Show.

Both Lauer, and longtime public radio host Garrison Keillor were fired Wednesday from their media gigs, after facing serious allegations of sexual misconduct.

In his statement, Lauer expressed remorse for his actions. He’s accused of sexual harassment by multiple women, including sending a sex toy to a coworker, exposing himself to a female colleague and other lurid allegations.

Lauer and Keillor are just the latest in a very long line of men to lose their jobs as women find the courage to come forward and accuse them of unacceptable behavior in the workplace. Everyone from former Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, to FOX News’s Bill O’Reilly, and many more have lost their careers as our society has a long-overdue reckoning about the longstanding issue of sexual harassment and assault in the workplace and in society.

Runaway Prevention

Back in October of 2002, President George W. Bush hosted the landmark White House Conference on Exploited and Runaway Children, where leaders from across the country got together to discuss issues and challenges related to the runaway and homeless youth crisis. What once was known as National Runaway Prevention Week was expanded into a month-long prevention and awareness campaign.

It’s happening now. November is National Runaway Prevention Month.  Nationwide, between 1.6 and 2.8 million youth run away each year. Last year 74% of the 3,162 missing person calls the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office received involved youth between the ages of 13 and 17. This same age group also constitutes the largest number of habitual runaways.

The Youth Crisis Center works to help children and families find solutions to the problems that lead children to run away from home.

Judy Wells

Our travel Blogger Judy Wells has visited many places around the world but this week she told us about a trip nearly everyone on the First Coast can do. She visited Pasaquan in Buena Vista, Georgia, near Columbus, which is less than 300 miles away from Jacksonville. It’s also on the National Register of Historic Places.    

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.