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First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross

2/14/2018: Cecil Spaceport; Going Green; Jacksonville WHO; MLK Oratorical Contest


Wednesday on First Coast Connect we heard the latest news of what we can expect in the future at the Cecil Spaceport with director Todd Lindner (01:24).  

In our latest Going Green segment we spoke with Kaitlyn Dietz, the coastal training coordinator of the GTM Research Reserve (24:34).

We heard about the upcoming documentary Jacksonville WHO which tells the story of Jacksonville University’s improbable run to the men’s basketball NCAA championship game in 1970 and its impact on the city with producer Frank Pace and Basketball Hall of Famer Artis Gilmore (32:43).    

We learned about this weekend’s MLK Oratorical Contest with Upsilon Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Chapter President James Kelly (46:00). 


Cecil Spaceport

It was an amazing sight to behold last week as Elon Musk’s Rocket Heavy SpaceX  test flight perfectly launched off a pad at Cape Canaveral.

It’s the next step in private commercial space flight.

Back in 2010 the Federal Aviation Administration approved Jacksonville’s Cecil Field as a Spaceport. It’s the only licensed horizontal launch spaceport on the East Coast. In horizontal flight small rockets are attached to  jets and than launched from over the ocean.

After a few delays, flights out of Cecil are expected by the end of the year or early in 2019.

Going Green

An incredible natural resource in our area, the GTM Research Reserve, is hosting an event next week called State of the Reserve.

It’s a chance to explore how coastal changes are impacting Northeast Florida, including the effects of recent hurricanes.

J-U legend and Basketball Hall of Fame member Artis Gilmore appeared on Wednesday's First Coast Connect

Jacksonville WHO

The sports media dubbed them The Mod Squad, but to the college basketball establishment they were Jacksonville WHO?

Back in 1969, the JU Dolphins were playing for a small, unknown school in a relatively unknown city with a troubled history of racial division and conflict - Jacksonville.

But then, an incredible Cinderella season took the team from straight out of nowhere to the heart of March Madness.

The smallest school ever to reach the NCAA basketball finals, the JU Dolphins faced defending champion UCLA in title game. Along the way the JU Dolphins broke down racial barriers, and brought their own playful brand of revolution to basketball in the Deep South.

A new film, Jacksonville WHO, tells the incredible story of the 1969- 1970 JU Dolphins.

It airs at 8 p.m., February 20, on the NBA Channel.

MLK Oratorical Contest

This Saturday, students will get the chance to brush up on their oratorical skills in a contest named after one of the greatest orators of all time.

The Upsilon Lambda Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, presents its 10th annual MLK Oratorical Contest at WestSide High School Saturday.

Over the years, they have awarded over $30,000 in scholarship funds to about 80 participants.

Kevin Meerschaert can be reached at, 904-358-6334 or on Twitter at @KMeerschaertJax.