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First Coast Connect

Mail-in ballots; Operation New Uniform; fentanyl overdoses; What's good Wednesday

Just over 1.9 million Floridians had voted by mail by Friday.
Just over 1.9 million Floridians had voted by mail by Friday.

Thousands of Duval County voters have been getting letters in the mail saying that they must update their voting records if they want to request a mail-in ballot by going online or calling the election office.

The new requirement does not affect their status as registered voters, but quite a few local voters, especially seniors, are expressing concern about these changes.

A letter informing voters of recent legislative changes
Katherine Hobbs
A letter informing voters of recent legislative changes


  • Mike Binder, faculty director, Public Opinion Research Lab, University of North Florida.
  • Jessica Huseman, editorial director, Votebeat.

Operation New Uniform

Local veterans leaving deployment often face the challenge of finding a job once they leave the service.

One local organization, Operation New Uniform, provides free help and support to veterans and their spouses to land employment. ONU has training coming up on the First Coast.

Guest: Michelle McManamon, founder and CEO, Operation New Uniform.

Fentanyl overdoses

The Drug Enforcement Administration issued a public safety alert last week to warn Florida communities of the increase of mass overdose events across the state, suspected to be related to drug supplies laced with a synthetic opioid.

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody says she wants President Joe Biden to declare fentanyl a "weapon of mass destruction."

Guest: Dr. Christine Cauffield, CEO, LSF Health Systems in Jacksonville.

What’s good Wednesday

  • Dr. Benjamin Harvey, a Wolfson High School graduate, is the founder of AI Squared, a new artificial intelligence startup firm that raised $6 million dollars in a seed round with two venture capital firms.
  • Jacksonville native Clay County math teacher Melissa Anne Matz was honored for her exceptional teaching talent, rapport with students and leadership ability. Matz is Florida’s Teacher of the Year for 2023. As Teacher of the Year, she is awarded $20,000 and a tuition waiver for a graduate degree. She serves as the head of the math department at Lakeside Junior High School, teaching seventh graders the fundamentals of math.
  • Local author J.S. Farmer’s new book "Blue Sky Gone" is a historical fiction book about 9/11 that follows the lives of two sisters before and after the catastrophic event.
  • OpenTable, an online restaurant reservation service and rating app, named a St. Augustine restaurant as one of the 100 Best Restaurants for Outdoor Dining for 2022. The Raintree Restaurant & Steakhouse is nationally and internationally recognized for over 33 years. Enjoy a selection of the finest meals, from steak and lamb and fresh seafood to their famous crepes and brunch menu. There is something to satisfy everyone’s palette.
  • The First Annual Hometown Hero’s Ride on Saturday will honor retired Jacksonville Sheriff's Officer Lonnie Mills, who was paralyzed after a car accident. Honoring Mills and injured first responders and vets will start and end at Adamec Harley.
  • This Friday, Orleans, Firefall and Pure Prairie League will be performing at the Florida Theatre.
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Katherine Hobbs was Associate Producer of talk shows at WJCT until 2022.