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First Coast Connect

Vaccine hesitancy and City Council; criminal justice reform; Ladapo refuses mask; JCA Cultural Arts Festival; what's good Wednesday


Despite the efforts of local vaccine advocacy groups, Duval County continues to lag behind the state’s rate of COVID-19 vaccinations.

As the state's last report on Oct. 21, 63% of eligible Duval County residents received at least one dose of the vaccine, compared with 73% statewide.

To match the state's number, Duval County would need approximately 85,000 unvaccinated residents to get shots. More than 530,000 residents have received the vaccine so far, but fewer than 3,000 a week have opted for vaccines over the last few weeks.

The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens will host a “Communities for Immunity” virtual panel discussion on Nov. 2 to answer questions about the vaccine. Both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will be available at the event. No appointment is required.

Meanwhile, City Council debateduntil l1:30 p.m. on issues including the stadium budget for future Florida-Georgia games, the removal of Springfield’s Confederate Statue, and Jason Teal’s confirmation to the General Counsel.

Guest: WJCT News reporter Raymon Troncoso.

Criminal justice reform

Advocates of criminal justice reform say Florida needs a statewide conversation on building a better, more effective criminal justice system. The new Safety and Justice Task Force seek to develop solutions around criminal justice and police reform.

Guest: State Attorney Andrew Warren of Hillsborough County.

Ladapo refuses mask

This week, Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo defended his decision not to mask up while attending a meeting with Boca Raton Sen. Tina Polsky, a cancer patient. Ladapo claimed he could notcommunicate clearly while wearing a mask and offered to take the discussion outside or into the hallway.

Senate President Wilton Simpson rebuked Ladapo for his decision.

Guest: Dr. Sunil Joshi, president of the Duval County Medical Society Foundation, allergist and immunologist.

JCA Cultural Arts Festival

The Jewish Community Alliance’s Culture Arts Festival kicks off on Nov. 1 with author Ira Rosen. Rosen’s book "Ticking Clock" looks at his career as a producer on 60 Minutes.

Guest: Whitney Kuvin, festival chair.

What’s good Wednesday

  • Pet Paradise, a comprehensive pet care, health and wellness provider, commissioned 45 paintings made by adults with intellectual differences who graduated from the North Florida School of Special Education. The artwork will adorn the walls of Pet Paradise locations across the country. The company will unveil one of the paintings at a luncheon for the artists, their parents, staff and the media at its corporate headquarters tomorrow.
  • Tomorrow night, the 2022 Pin Up Paws pet calendar will be revealed at the St. Augustine Humane Society annual fundraising event. All proceeds benefit the programs and services of the St. Augustine Humane Society, the veterinary clinic and numerous resources available to the community. 
  • CEO and TV personality Marcus Lemonis seeksJacksonville families to spotlight in his new HGTV show "The Renovator." "The Renovator" will air in the spring of next year.
  • Geri Millard is the founder of In the Pink, a local nonprofit serving women with breast cancer. One of her projects is the dragon boat team, the Mammoglams. The Mammoglams help those recovering from surgery and treatment regain their strength. They are part of a movement that breast cancer survivors around the country are joining in force: dragon boat racing, a 2,000-year-old ancient Chinese water sport.
  • The First Coast YMCA invites the community to join its “Better Us Challenge.” The Challenge encourages the Northeast Florida community to complete at least 20 minutes of daily activity dedicated to the Spirit, Mind and from now through Thanksgiving Body.
  • Elizabeth Henrichsen of Radiant Yoga and Wellness closed the show with a meditation minute reminding everyone to breathe easy and stay grounded.

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

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