JaxChamber

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Friday on First Coast Connect, our weekly Media Roundtable with guests Folio Weekly editor Claire Goforth, Florida Times-Union reporter Tessa Duvall, Jacksonville Business Journal editor Timothy Gibbons and WJCT reporter Ryan Benk (01:10).       

We met South African ophthalmologist Dr. Bayanda Mbambisa who is in Jacksonville as part of the Rotary Club’s Mike Williams Visionary Scholars program. Bill Sorenson also joined us. He’s co-chair of the committee (35:54).       

Ahead of Saturday’s annual ArborEATUM fundraiser for the Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens we were joined by Board of Directors President Lawrence Geirum and board member Melinda Simmons (46:00).   

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Jacksonville government officials and business leaders traded the River City’s sunshine and high of 77 degrees for the chilly high of 46 in Toronto, Canada — where the group is or the annual JAXCHAMBER Leadership Trip.

  Today on “First Coast Connect,” we heard local reaction to Saturday’s deadly attack on protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, and about a movement to get Confederate monuments removed in Jacksonville with Ben Frazier from the Jacksonville Northside Coalition and activist Matt Killen from Take Em Down Jax (01:03). We hear about the launch of Connectable Jax with Susan Edelman, vice president of communications at the Community Foundation, and Susan Bell, whose daughter Megan has Down syndrome and is featured in the campaign (32:32). And Cole Pepper brought us the latest sports news (41:47).  

Monday on “First Coast Connect,” guest host Jessica Palombo was joined by Darnell Smith, incoming co-chair of the JAX Chamber, and Project New Hope President and CEO Kevin Gay. They talked about the Chamber’s Project Open Door. Cole Pepper talked about the Florida Gators’ winning the SEC Eastern Division and another frustrating loss by the Jaguars. And WJCT Music Director David Luckin and WJCT’s Karen Feagins stopped by with a preview of our holiday programming, starting with “Swamp Radio” on Thanksgiving morning at 9. 

     

Kevin Meerschaert / WJCT

The First Coast has a growing economy and needs to expand its transportation infrastructure to keep up. That’s one of the issues to be discussed Sept. 13 during a panel discussion at the River Club sponsored by CREW Jacksonville and WTS of northeast Florida.

On First Coast Connect Wednesday, JaxAlliance Executive Director Alan Mosley said transportation is the platform for good economic activity.

Detours and traffic cones sprout every year but what is the economic impact of all that highway construction? Wednesday on First Coast Connect, Melissa Ross spoke with Jeff Sheffield, executive director of the North Florida Transportation Planning Organization; Alan Mosley from Jax Chamber; and Lisa Robert, executive vice president at transportation architectural firm RS&H. As part of our ongoing Community Thread program we heard from Dr. Marcus De Carvalho from Beaches Recovery about the opioid epidemic and the treatments being used for recovering addicts. Comedian and actor Tom Arnold spoke about his upcoming concerts in Jacksonville and we heard about next week’s ‘Girls Days Out’ conference promoting a healthy lifestyle for women. We heard from event chair Dr. Patricia McFall Calhoun from Baptist Health and local dermatologist Kristen Stewart. WJCT is co-sponsor of the event. 


Students graduating
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Getting more people qualified for the workforce is the goal of a Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce program called Earn Up. Its efforts recently earned the Chamber a competitive national grant of $40,000 to expand its reach.

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Amazon announced Wednesday morning Jacksonville will be the home of its new 800,000-square-foot distribution center.

The facility will be built on Jacksonville’s Northside, near the airport.

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.


truJAX

Jacksonville is called many names: "The River City," "Actionville," "The Bold New City Of the South." But Will Ketchum says those are just taglines.

“No great city was built on a tag line," Ketchum said. “but tag lines follow building greatness.”

 


Jacksonville has seen improvements in crime rates, high school graduation rates and the economy, but the percentage of children living in poverty continues to increase and the suicide rate is the highest in decades.