Community Loan Program; Ventilators; Social Distance Watch Party; 'Hamilton' Surprise

Apr 9, 2020

During an online meeting Monday, the Jacksonville City Council unanimously approved a plan to dedicate $30 million in taxpayer money to a partnership with VyStar Credit Union. 

The program, called the COVID-19 Response Business Community Loan Program, will help keep small businesses intact and people employed during the pandemic. We spoke about it with Brian Wolfburg, the CEO of VyStar Credit Union, and Jacksonville City Councilman Matt Carlucci.

Related: Local, State and National Coronavirus Coverage

Ventilators

As a University of Florida mechanical engineering student decades ago, Samsun Lampotang, Ph.D., helped respiratory therapist colleagues build a minimal-transport ventilator that became a commercial success. So, when the coronavirus pandemic hit and he heard the desperate international plea for thousands of additional ventilators, the longtime UF professor of anesthesiology set out to build a prototype using plentiful, cheap components that could be copied from an online diagram and a software repository. We spoke with Dr. Lampotang about his efforts.

Social Distancing Watch Party

Film Florida, the state's only trade association that represents film, tv and digital media, has a new collection of movies and TV shows with Sunshine State ties that you can stream while you’re spending more time at home. It’s called the "Sunshine State Social Distance Watch Party," and Volume Three will launch this Friday. John Lux, the Executive Director of Film Florida, joined us with more.

Hamilton Surprise

Nine-year-old Aubrey Bauman had tickets to see Hamilton here in Jacksonville, but she was heartbroken when the performance was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic. Aubrey’s mom tweeted about it. The tweet caught the attention of actor John Krasinski., who invited Aubrey onto the second episode of  Some Good News,  his new online show aimed at highlighting uplifting stories during these tough times. Once Aubrey joined the Zoom call, she got the surprise of her life. Aubrey and her mom Mary Ann joined us to tell the tale.

Peter Hoban can be reached at  newsteam@wjct.org, 904-358-6317