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First Coast Connect

Department of Health Lawsuit; Refugees; Census; What’s Good Wednesday

Phil Sears
Associated Press
State Rep. Carlos G Smith

Democratic state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith and the Florida Center for Government Accountability filed a lawsuit late Monday in Leon County circuit court challenging the state’s reported COVID-19 data.

They allege that the Florida Department of Health (DOH) violated public records laws by refusing to provide detailed data about the pandemic. The lawsuit also names Surgeon General Scott Rivkees who allegedly obscured data at a time when the delta variant caused cases, hospitalizations, and deaths to surge in Florida.

Rep. Smith spoke with us Wednesday morning about the lawsuit. 


Jacksonville is one of the top sites in America to welcome refugees fleeing Afghanistan. Some families have already arrived here in the massive recent airlifts out of the country, and more are coming.

For more on refugee resettlement efforts here and how the community can get involved, we spoke with Matt Smith of Catholic Charitiesin Jacksonville.


The latest census data reflects Duval County’s increasing diversity. Ray Oldakowski of Jacksonville University told us more about what this means for our culture and politics.

What’s Good Wednesday

  • Saturday is 904 Day, a great time to support local business. Use the hashtag #904Day to share your celebrations on social media. 
  • The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp are hosting a special home game. We spoke with Scott Kornberg, the Shrimp’s PR Manager and Play-by-Play Broadcaster.
  • Jacksonville Car Culture is hosting 904 Octane this Saturday at WJCT Public Mediain Downtown Jacksonville. A portion of the proceeds from the cruise-in style show will benefit Hunger Fight, which produces and distributes meals to Jacksonville’s food insecure.
  • The Northeast Florida Sierra Club Group of the Florida chapter has three recipients of national SC awards this year.  This Sierra Club group stayed active during the pandemic, switching to a series of virtual hikes that kept members engaged and entertained.

First Coast Connect with Melissa Ross Associate Producer Katherine Hobbs can be reached at or on Twitter at @KatherineGHobbs

First Coast Connect
Katherine Hobbs was Associate Producer of talk shows at WJCT until 2022.