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First Coast Connect

12/4/2017: National Monuments; Food Insecurities; Cole Pepper

Monday on First Coast Connect we spoke with Florida Times-Union columnist Mark Woods about President Trump’s announcement he’ll shrink the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments over the objections of five Native-American tribes (01:10).

We talked about the battle against food insecurity in Jacksonville and the new Center for Nutrition and Food Security with Curt Lox, Dean of the Brooks College of Health at the University of North Florida and Dr. Lauri Wright, director of the Doctorate in Clinical Nutrition program (32:36).  

Cole Pepper told about the Jaguars win over Indianapolis and previewed the college football playoff (46:00). 

National Monuments

On Monday President Trump announced he was reducing the size of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, which was supported by many elected officials in Utah but opposed by five tribes that say the land is sacred. The tribes say they’ll sue the federal government over the move.

Mark Woods, author of Lassoing The Sun: A Year in America’s National Parks, joined us to talk about the decision.

Food Insecurities

In the United States, one in six Americans lacks access to adequate amounts of healthy food, including more than 20% of children.

Duval County has one of the highest rates of food insecurity in the state.

The consequences of food insecurity are profound. In children that don’t have access to enough healthy food, research has shown more difficulty learning, behavioral issues, depression and anxiety, and higher rates of obesity. Adults that don’t have access to enough healthy foods have more mental health issues, obesity and chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

That’s where this city’s new Center for Nutrition and Food Security comes in. Based on the UNF campus, the center is exploring solutions to food insecurity and malnutrition.

Cole Pepper

The Jaguars beat the Colts 30-10 at Everbank Field on Sunday assuring a non-losing season for the first time since 2010. At 8-4 they are four games over .500 for the first time since 2007, the last time they made the playoffs. Florida State won over the weekend to become bowl eligible and will face Southern Mississippi in the Independence Bowl. The four teams playing in the College Football playoff are Clemson, Georgia, Alabama and Oklahoma.     

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.