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First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross

2/19/2018: Reveal Mortgages; Jocelyn & David Williamson; Flagler Advanced Care Services; Cole Pepper



Monday on First Coast Connect we spoke with Emmanuel Martinez, data reporter at Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting on the center’s investigation into modern day redlining in northeast Florida (01:08).

We spoke with Jocelyn and David Williamson who as part of a coalition sued Brevard County over its invocation rules at County Commission meetings and won (25:32).

We heard about a new program to care for St. Johns County patients with advanced illness from Flagler Hospital President Jason Barrett and Community Hospice & Palliative Care President and CEO Susan Ponder-Stansel (36:42).

Cole Pepper brought us the latest sports news (46:00).    



Reveal Mortgages

It’s an important new investigation into modern-day redlining in America’s cities.

It finds that African-Americans and Hispanics are about twice as likely to be denied a home mortgage in northeast Florida than their white counterparts with similar financial conditions.

That comes from an investigation by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting. Reveal reviewed over 31 million mortgage records nationally to come up with its findings. The findings were verified by the Associated Press.

Jocelyn & David Williamson

The issue of sectarian prayer has affected local government bodies across the country.

In Brevard County, commissioners have dropped religious invocations from the start of their meeting agendas after a federal judge issued an injunction banning the county from doing so.

The judge ruled the county's invocation system violates both the U.S. Constitution and the Florida Constitution. As a result, county commissioners now ask for a moment of silence at the start of their meetings, in lieu of an invocation by a clergyman.

The ruling came after a coalition in Brevard sued the county, after the Commission declined to allow atheists, agnostics and other "non-theists" to be part of the invocation rotation.

Jocelyn and David Williamson are the co-founders of the Central Florida Freethought Community. They’ll be speaking at 6:30 p.m. Monday at a meeting of the First Coast Freethought Society at the Buckman Bridge Unitarian Church.

Flagler Advanced Care Services

It’s a pathbreaking new program to care for patients with advanced illness in St. Johns County.

Flagler Advanced Care Services is being billed as the first collaborative effort in the area between a hospital and insurance company for a new care model.

Cole Pepper

Cole talked about an emotional Daytona 500 on Sunday, 20 years after Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s first win in the race and 17 years to the day he died on the track.

The final regular season game is this week for Jacksonville University and the University of North Florida, they play each other. Cole also had the latest on the Jacksonville Armada’s new store and efforts.    

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