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First Coast Connect

12/5/2017: Islamic Center Plot; Brown Sentencing; JU-Boys & Girls Club; Alhambra; STEM2 Hub; Jazz

The Islamic Center of North East Florida

Tuesday on First Coast Connect we spoke with Former Chairman of the Council of American-Islamic Relations Parvez Ahmad about the arrest of an Arlington man who was plotting a mass shooting at the Islamic Center of North East Florida (00:59).

We heard reaction to the five-year federal prison sentence for former Congresswoman Corrine Brown with Florida Times-Union reporter Nate Monroe and WJCT’s Ryan Benk (05:47).

We talked about a new coalition to bring a Boys & Girls Club of Northeast Florida facility to Arlington near Jacksonville University with JU President Tim Cost and Boys & Girls Club President Paul Martinez (17:38).

Our latest segment of Moveable Feast featured the 50th anniversary of the Alhambra Dinner Theatre (24:10).  

Kathleen Schofield from Jacksonville’s STEM2 Hub talked this week marking Computer Science Education Week in America (33:38).

Nineteen year old Jacksonville University student Skyler Nolan gave us a preview of the upcoming Jazzy Noel concert at Unity Church Jacksonville (46:00). 

Islamic Center Plot

A 69-year old East Arlington man is under arrest, for planning a mass shooting at the Islamic Center of North East Florida. Luckily law enforcement foiled the alleged terrorist plot.

Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams joined officials from the FBI and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement Monday to announce the arrest of Bernandino Bolatete. Bolatete told an undercover officer that he hated Muslims and outlined his idea to shoot up the Islamic Center.

JSO notified the FBI to ensure the protection of the Center and Bolatete was arrested on Friday.

Brown Sentencing

Former Congresswoman Corrine Brown has received a five year federal prison sentence. Brown was convicted earlier this year on 18 of 22 counts including tax, wire and mail fraud stemming from her involvement in the bogus charity One Door for Education.

She has until at least January 8 to report to a federal prison but her attorney said Monday Brown’s sentence will be appealed.

Jacksonville University and Boys & Girls Scouts

Boys & Girls Club of Northeast Florida is partnering with Jacksonville University on a new 20,000-square-foot, $2.5 million facility near the school’s campus.

It’s a collaboration to help strengthen JU’s partnerships in the Arlington community. The university will lease the four-acre parcel across University Boulevard near Milne football field.      

The Boys & Girls Club is expected to use about three acres of the land and eventually be able to serve about 100 teens on the campus.

Moveable Feast - Alhambra

He’s the beloved local impresario who brought Jacksonville’s Alhambra Theatre back from closure.

Craig Smith has packed the dinner theatre - the oldest one in America - with audiences, good food, and critically acclaimed shows ever since.

The Alhambra is celebrating 50 years on the First Coast.

In today’s Moveable Feast, our look at dining and hospitality trends across town, Leigh Cort of the Women’s Food Alliance talks with Smith about the Alhambra’s legacy.


During the 2015-2016 school year, only 146 schools offered Advanced Placement Computer Science courses. But locally, AP Computer Science is now available in every Duval County High School.

It’s Computer Science Education Week in America and Jacksonville is celebrating by hosting a hackathon for students at the Museum of Science and History on Wednesday.

Jazzy Noel

You are invited to hear some jazzy holiday tunes this week, put on by music students from Jacksonville University.

The concert will be held 7 p.m to 9 p.m. Saturday at the Unity Church Jacksonville at 634 Lomax.

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the Unity bookstore or at the door the night of the concert        

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.