Douglas Anderson School of the Arts

Gov DeSantis speakign at a podium with a large bookshelf behind him.
Via the Florida Channel

As two Jacksonville schools were forced to temporarily switch to online distance learning amid COVID-19 outbreaks, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said he would like to see schools remain open. 

Aidan Chau at the Great Wall of China.
Aidan Chau

Aidan Chau is a junior at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, where he majors in clarinet performance. Like many teens across the globe, he’s worried about what climate change could mean for the future.

Friday on First Coast Connect our weekly Media Roundtable featured Florida Times-Union reporter Andrew Pantazi, Folio Weekly editor Claire Goforth, Jacksonville Daily Record reporter David Cawton and WJCT contributor and board member Charles Griggs (01:51).

Douglas Anderson School of the Arts Principal Melanie Hammer, Executive Director of the Douglas Anderson Foundation Jackie Cornelius and former student Tanner Lane talked Saturday’s annual Extravaganza (38:49).

Author Amy Chua told us about her latest book, Political Tribes: Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations (46:00).  

Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT

Wednesday on First Coast Connect we heard about a local connection to the Paradise Papers leak with local attorney Jack Webb (01:08).

To commemorate America Recycles Day we spoke with Keep Florida Beautiful Communications Specialist Angela Spears and Keep Jacksonville Beautiful vice-chair Joey McKinnon (23:48).

We heard about the upcoming Douglas Anderson School for the Arts production of “Curtains” with stars Malik Bilbrew and Elise Weinander (37:59).

We spoke with Hillary Kadoya, who plays Rocket Raccoon in Marvel Universe LIVE coming to the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena (46:00). 

The 5 & Dime Theatre Company

One of Jacksonville’s newest theater companies, the 5 & Dime, is expanding its offerings with a kids’ summer theater camp in downtown Jacksonville.

Thursday on “First Coast Connect," we spoke with Dr. Raymond Pomm from Gateway Community Services and River Region Human Services and Dr. Christine Caufield (01:05), executive director with LSF Health Systems, about Gov. Rick Scott declaring the opioid epidemic an emergency health crisis.   We also heard from B & G Educational Innovations CEO and co-founder Elizabeth Benson (26:44). Congregation Ahavath Chesed spokesman Robert Cohen (35:08) told us about the upcoming Jacksonville Jewish Food Festival and we heard a live in-studio performance by local musician Madison Carr (47:52). 

Thursday on First Coast Connect we spoke with Cultural Council executive director Tony Allegretti about U.S. News and World Report ranking Jacksonville 45th on the list of best U.S. cities to live in. We also heard from Douglas Anderson School for the Arts principal Jackie Cornelius about this year’s Extravaganza.  


With Election Day just two weeks away and early voting already underway in Northeast Florida, host Melissa Ross was joined by 5th Congressional District candidate Republican Glo Smith. We also heard from Hendricks Avenue Baptist Church pastor Kyle Reese and Baptist Behavioral Health administrator Dr. Ellen Williams about the upcoming Faith and Mental Health Conference. Ross spoke to Squirrel Nut Zippers band leader Jimbo Mathis on the band’s Tuesday night concert at the Ritz Theatre, and students from the Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, along with director David Loudermilk, talked about their upcoming production of the Tony Award-winning musical “Parade.”  


Flickr/ Creative Commons

As the work week comes to an end, let WJCT's interns Kayla Davis, Blake Allen and Andre Roman be your guides for art, culture and fun on the First Coast.

Green Bay Packers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Bicycle Safety

The recent death of former Times-Union editorial writer Wayne Ezell shocked and saddened many in Jacksonville.

The 72-year-old Ezell died last week after his bicycle was struck by a pickup truck in Iowa. He was taking part in an annual seven-day Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, the oldest, largest and longest bicycle touring event in the world.

Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News


Duval County public schools serve 62,000 lunches a day, and the foam plates the meals are served on aren’t recycled.

Back in May, WJCT reported about Duval teens who are demanding schools switch to reusable trays. Now the district is exploring alternatives.


Lindsey Kilbride / WJCT News


Some Duval County high school students are asking the school district to stop using Styrofoam in cafeterias.  

The environmentally-conscious teens are collecting petition signatures, urging the district to replace foam lunch trays with ones made from stainless steel.

Sexual Assault

Jacksonville leaders say they’re determined to do whatever is necessary to help victims of sexual assault.

That was the message this week as Mayor Lenny Curry, Sheriff Mike Williams and State Attorney Angela Corey all spoke out about efforts to reduce a large backlog both here in our area and around the state of untested sexual assault kits.

A multi-million dollar grant has been awarded to the prosecutor’s office to work on this. And a multi-disciplinary team, the only one of its kind in Florida, is operating in this area.

  Some recent state and federal legislation is meant to better the lives of people with disabilities. But at least one disability advocate here in Jacksonville says there are some unintended negatives.

Florida Senate President Andy Gardiner has made it a personal crusade to pass legislation benefiting people with intellectual disabilities.

We discuss disability issues with longtime advocate Nancy Keating, CEO of Clay County-based Challenge Enterprises.

As the Jacksonville City Council looks at two proposed bills that would amend the city’s human rights ordinance to include protections for the LGBT community, the JAX Chamber has announced it supports amending the HRO to be all-inclusive.

The Chamber gave Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry its endorsement over former Mayor Alvin Brown during last year’s mayoral race. However, Curry has now come out against updating the human rights ordinance, differing from the Chamber on this issue its members say is important for business expansion here on the First Coast.

JAX Chamber chair Audrey Moran joins us to discuss why the issue.

  Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry has joined Gov. Rick Scott and other governors around the country who’ve said they do not want refugees from Syria in their states. In a letter Tuesday, Curry asked Jacksonville’s congressional delegation to stop a plan to accept Syrian refugees.

Jacksonville has the fifth largest Syrian population in America, and one of the largest Arab-American populations overall.

The terrorist attacks in Paris have raised concerns about refugee resettlements from the region. The leaders of World Relief Jacksonville, which works to resettle refugees from all over the world, say those concerns are misplaced.

We speak with Michelle Clowe, Refugee Services Coordinator, Travis Trice, Church Mobilizer, and Katie Sullivan, Volunteer Coordinator with World Relief Jacksonville.

Cyd Hoskinson / WJCT News

Starting this October, students in Jacksonville will get to watch live opera beamed from the Met in New York City to the theater at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts.

DA is one of three schools in the country the Met chose for live performance screenings as part of its national “HD Live in Schools” program.

The Met’s Education Director, Marsha Drummond, spoke at Douglas Anderson Thursday.

Child advocates are pushing for new state legislation that would make juvenile arrest records confidential. They argue that, even if the child is exonerated, having the arrest on their record could create difficulties when enrolling in college, applying for a job and more. We speak with Roy Miller, president of the Tallahassee-based Children’s Campaign, and Lawanda Ravoira, president of the Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center.

First Coast author and speaker Kim Skinner joins us to discuss her new book, "Wives in the Locker Room".

Douglas Anderson Schools of the Arts

It's a best of the best showcase—some of the most talented teens in town will show off their skills this weekend at Extravaganza, the annual student showcase from Douglas Anderson School of the Arts.

"Everything from song and dance, to visual arts, to spoken word and more is part of the show," said Jeff Clayton, Douglas Anderson Vocal Chair.  

This annual showcase is a signature event for the school. It's set for Saturday, Feb. 15 at the Times-Union Center's Moran Theater.