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First Coast Connect

3/12/2018: Paula Wright; Jan Karon; SCORE; Cole Pepper

Kevin Meerschaert

Monday on First Coast Connect, we spoke with Duval County School Board Chair Paula Wright about several issues affecting the district (01:12).   

New York Times bestselling author of the Mitford novels joined us along with Dean Kate Moorehead of St. Johns Cathedral about the author’s talk this Saturday at the church (29:44).

We heard about SCORE, or Service Corps of Retired Executives, and their upcoming workshop with volunteer Derrick Smith and workshop coordinator Craig Linsky (37:50).

WJCT sports analyst Cole Pepper joined us to talk about March Madness and the Gate River Run (46:00).     

Paula Wright

The White House Monday morning was promoting firearms training for some schoolteachers and tighter background checks as a response to last month’s gun massacre at a South Florida high school.

Over the weekend, the Trump administration rolled out several policy proposals that focus mainly on mental health and school hardening.

The president is also establishing a Federal Commission on School Safety, to be chaired by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

However, Trump seems to have backed off support for raising the age for firearms purchases from 18 to 21.

Florida passed just such a law last week at the close of the legislative session, and the NRA has already filed a lawsuit in response. Wright and the majority of the Duval School Board voted against arming teachers saying the safety of staff and students should be in the hands of the district’s officers.

Jan Karon

Karon is the author of the Mitford novels, a fictional series about an Episcopal priest in the small mountain town of Mitford.

Karon is speaking at St. Johns Cathedral in downtown Jacksonville March 17 and 18 as part of a speaker series.


SCORE, that’s the Service Corps of Retired Executives, is hosting a small business conference Saturday called, “Meet the Funds Providers.”

SCORE is affiliated with the Small Business Administration and has chapters all around the country to help people starting or growing a business.

Cole Pepper

It’s time for March Madness and Florida, Florida State and Miami are all in the Big Dance.

Florida is a six seed and plays Thursday against the winner of the Tuesday’s game between UCLA and St. Bonaventure.

Florida State is a nine seed and plays Friday against Missouri. Miami is a six seed and takes on Loyola-Chicago on Thursday afternoon.   

Meanwhile in Jacksonville over the weekend, Molly Huddle was the first to cross the finish line at Saturday’s Gate River Run.  

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.