First Coast Connect With Melissa Ross

JAE C. HONG / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Today’s Media Roundtable was all about COVID-19 on the First Coast. We discussed masks in schools, business’ rights, hospitals' reaching capacity, and the politicization of the virus.

TED S. WARREN / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Businesses and government agencies are moving to require proof of vaccination as the Delta variant surges in on the First Coast and around the country. 

Across the First Coast, ICUs are overwhelmed with patients admitting with COVID-19, a large number of them unvaccinated. This week, the Jacksonville Civic Council (JCC) launched a new campaign called Get the Facts Jax aimed at increasing the city’s vaccination rate.

WILFREDO LEE / ASSOCIATED PRESS

We devoted today’s Media Roundtable to the surge in COVID cases in Northeast Florida and around the state and how local officials and Gov. Ron DeSantis are handling it.

The panelists were: 

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry presented his proposed budget for the 2021-2022 Fiscal Year to the Jacksonville City Council on Tuesday.
SHANNON LEDUKE / WJCT

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry has presented his proposed budget for the city, which has re-ignited a debate about how the city's money should be spent.

A new study says on average someone would have to earn $24.90 per hour to rent a modest two-bedroom home on no more than 30% of their pay. That's far more than the federal minimum wage.
RICH PEDRONCELLI / AP

The National Low Income Housing Coalition has released its annual outreach report, which found that affordable housing is out of reach for many Americans. 

ROGELIO V. SOLIS / ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE PHOTO

The Friday Media Roundtable covered these top stories from the First Coast: 

Prepped COVID-19 vaccine filled syringes are at ready for use at a COVID-19 vaccination site at Jackson State University in Jackson, Miss.
ROGELIO V. SOLIS / June 22, 2021 Associated Press file photo

Florida's COVID-19 numbers have been facing a sharp rise, and the surge in infections is linked to the arrival of the new Delta variant. 

Donna Deegan takes the stage to campaign for Andrew Gillum on Oct. 22, 2018, at a Jacksonville rally.
BOB SELF / THE FLORIDA TIMES-UNION

First Coast News anchor, and marathon founder Donna Deegan, one of Duval County's most prominent Democrats, is strongly considering running for Jacksonville mayor. 

BOB SELF / THE FLORIDA TIMES-UNION

This week’s Friday Media Roundtable covered these top stories on the First Coast:

Bill Oxford / Unsplash

A partnership between the Kids Hope Alliance and the State Attorney's Office for the Fourth Judicial Court has resulted in the transfer of Juvenile Diversion Programming to the Kids Hope Alliance, which is a child welfare agency. 

Gov. DeSantis' bill challenging social media platforms was shot down
JENNY KANE / ASSOCIATED PRESS

The Friday media roundtable covered these stories affecting the First Coast:

A woman wearing a protective mask watches television in her home.
ALVARO BARRIENTOS / ASSOCIATED PRESS

As the pandemic enters its 16th month amid increased vaccination rates and the spread of the Delta variant, people are confused as to whether they need to continue to wear masks.

AP Photo/Don Petersen, File / ASSOCIATED PRESS

For those who have recently received a medical bill, a ProPublica health care reporter has some advice: don’t pay it immediately.

The site of the former Jacksonville Landing.
JACKSONVILLE DAILY RECORD

After the demolition of The Jacksonville Landing, at least some public park space at Riverfront Plaza looks to be in Downtown Jacksonville's future.

Jacksonville Daily Record

On today’s Friday Media Roundtable we discussed these topics affecting the First Coast: 

This rendering illustrates a Four Seasons hotel and office building that is part of the 1st Downtown Jacksonville plan.
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

Earlier this week, Jaguars owner Shad Khan made a fresh pitch for his plan to redevelop the Shipyards.

JOHN MINCHILLO / AP PHOTO

The arrival of the Delta COVID-19 variant may pose a threat to the slow reintroduction to normal life that we have gotten used to, as it is expected to become the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the United States.

This screengrab from video shows a past Orange Crush festival event
Orange Crush / via Facebook

On today's Friday Media Roundtable we covered these stories from the First Coast:

This screengrab from video shows a past Orange Crush festival event.
Orange Crush / Via Facebook

This weekend's upcoming Orange Crush Festival is generating some controversy among the Beaches community.

Nikki Fried, Democratic candidate for Florida Commissioner of Agriculture, speaks during a campaign rally, in Miami on Nov. 2, 2019.
LYNNE SLADKY / AP

Agricultural Commissioner and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nikki Fried joined us to discuss her campaign, during which she has been highly critical of Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Sydney Boles / WJCT News

On today's Friday Media Roundtable we covered these stories from the First Coast:

this rendering illustrates the Four Seasons Hotel and Residences the Jaguars are proposing to build.
Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jacksonville Jaguars will be holding town hall-style meetings called Community Huddles to promote their new plan for the Shipyards and sports complex area of Jacksonville, which is dubbed 1st Downtown Jacksonville. 

Sean Shaw is the founder of People Over Profit
Daylina Miller / WUSF Public Media

Three new ballot initiatives that will help make it easier for Floridians to vote have been proposed. The initiatives are being led by former State Representative and founder of People Over ProfitsSean Shaw

Rendering of the Four Seasons Hotel and Residences.
Jacksonville Jaguars

On this week's Friday media roundtable we covered a variety of top stories from the week, including:

The names of six Jacksonville schools will be changed.
Sydney Boles / WJCT News

After a community-wide vote, and a recommendation from the superintendent, the names of six local schools will be changed.

A student wearing a mask in the classroom
LM Otero / Associated Press

The Duval County Public Schools district will no longer require masks for the upcoming school year. The school board surveyed 28,685 parents, students, and community members, and says that its decision came down to a combination of CDC input, survey results, and guidance from local health officials. 

Friday Media Roundtable; Tunnel Tours Return

May 21, 2021
Tour guide inside tunnel
Jacksonville Walking Tours via Facebook

This week’s Friday Media Roundtable covered these top stories in Northeast Florida: 

A teacher was suspended from her role for refusing to remove a Black Lives Matter flag from her classroom
Sydney Boles / WJCT News

High School teacher Amy Donofrio was suspended  from her job at Robert E. Lee high school when she refused to take down her Black Lives Matter flag. Donofrio is now claiming that the school has discriminatory practices, and took issue with her support towards her Black students. 

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