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Examining the Mormon Faith on WJCT’s First Coast Connect

First Coast Connect had it’s first special guest host this morning as former First Coast News anchor and local breast cancer awareness advocate Donna Deegan was at the helm of this morning’s show.

We kicked off the show with an update from the Democratic National Convention from Randy Johnson, one of the speakers last night at the DNC.

We also spoke with University of North Florida Sociology professor Dr. Rick Philips about popular questions about the Mormon faith, and his book Could I Vote for a Mormon? An Election-Year Guide to Mitt Romney’s Religion.

Florida Times-Union columnist Mark Woods recently won a year-long journalism fellowship to visit and write about America’s national parks. He stopped by Studio 5 with more about his recent trip to Yosemite National Park. You can follow his journey on his website.

This Saturday night local celebrities will be showing off some fancy footwork at a special competition at the Times-Union Center as part of Jacksonville’s own version of “Dancing with the Stars,” and it’s all to benefit Special Olympics of Duval County. We learned more about the event from spokeswoman Michelle Jacobs.

And we found out what’s going on around town this weekend with Jacksonville Magazine’s Kerry Speckman. Visit her website for a full list of events.

If you missed any portion of today’s program, be sure to check out our podcasts at www.wjctondemand.org or listen to the replay of this program tonight at 8 pm on WJCT Arts.

You can join in on the discussion by clicking the add comment button. We value your feedback.

And be sure to check out what’s coming up this week at the First Coast Connect homepage.

Jacksonville City Council Votes on Human Rights Ordinance Expansion on WJCT’s First Coast Connect

In a close vote last night, the Jacksonville City Council voted down an amendment to the city’s human rights ordinance that would have added sexual orientation as a protected class. The Council chambers were packed with both supporters and opponents of the bill. Those against the measure say it violated their religious principles; advocates for the change say it was a long-overdue measure to make the city more competitive with other cities. We spoke to local attorney Jimmy Midyette, who was part of a coalition of business, city and religious leader urging the Council to pass the bill, about his reaction to the vote.

We also spoke to Shands Jacksonville CEO Jim Burkhart about what changes the Affordable Care Act will bring to the First Coast, and how his facility is taking the lead on indigent care here in Jacksonville.

Whether it’s in construction, design, energy or in our personal choices, the concept of sustainability is one that both corporations and individuals are pursuing. The Jacksonville firm Breaking Ground Contracting is offering classes in this area as part of their Your Personal Sustainability series. Catherine Burkee, director of Education Services for Breaking Ground, and author and course teacher Therese Tappouni joined us with more about the courses.

Theatre Jacksonville’s new production of Is He Dead is a funny look at how one artist will go to attain fame and love. The new comedy, based on a play by Mark Twain, tells the tale of a genius painter who realizes that only dead painters truly achieve fame and fortune. Theatre Jacksonville executive director Sarah Boone came by Studio 5 with a preview of tomorrow night’s premiere.

And we found out what’s going on around town this weekend with Jacksonville Magazine’s Kerry Speckman. Visit her website for a full list of events.

If you missed any portion of today’s program, be sure to check out our podcasts at www.wjctondemand.org or listen to the replay of this program tonight at 8 pm on WJCT Arts.

You can join in on the discussion by clicking the add comment button. We value your feedback.

And be sure to check out what’s coming up this week at the First Coast Connect homepage.

Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford on WJCT’s First Coast Connect

Once a month Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford joins us to discuss the biggest issues facing the First Coast. He came by Studio 5 this morning to discuss the city’s proposed budget for next year. Layoffs are looming for city works and dozens of police officers because of a $7.2 million deficit in the budget. We spoke to the Sheriff about why he’s pressing the Jacksonville City Council to let him use savings in this year’s budget to meet the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office payroll.

There’s a casting call out right now in Florida for a new reality that will be produced right here in the Sunshine State. The Quest will challenge young people between the ages of 18 and 23 to fulfill their dreams while also experiencing some real adventures in the Florida Keys. The show will beginning shooting there this Fall, but you still have a chance to register at their website. We learned more from spokeswoman Courtenay Bowser.

And our resident travel expert Judy Wells dropped by with some great tips for those heading to New York City this year. You can find out more at her website, www.wellsworld.net.

And we found out why Jacksonville Beach has been chosen by HGTV for the site of their first-ever Smart Home. The house will be built in the Paradise Key South Beach neighborhood, and will be a throwback in terms of its old Florida style but with lots of 21st century upgrades. We spoke to Glen Layton, the local builder selected to build the home, and Lon Walton, the developer of the project, about the build. You can find out how to enter for a chance to win the house by visiting HGTV’s website.

If you missed any portion of today’s program, be sure to check out our podcasts at www.wjctondemand.org or listen to the replay of this program tonight at 8 pm on WJCT Arts.

You can join in on the discussion by clicking the add comment button. We value your feedback.

And be sure to check out what’s coming up this week at the First Coast Connect homepage.

Florida’s Voting Rights Laws on WJCT’s First Coast Connect

As voters head to the polls for today’s state primary elections, Florida is one of several swing states that has been affected by an unprecedented wave of new legislation to change or restrict voting rights. Supporters of these new laws say they’re needed to stop voter fraud, but opponents argue the measures are intended to suppress voter turnout among groups that tend to vote for Democrats. We discussed the issues with Angela Demonbreun, president of the Jacksonville chapter of Florida’s League of Women Voters, a group that’s heavily involved in debate over these laws.

We also spoke to author Mike Lofgren about his new expose of the dysfunction happening in Congress, The Party is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless, and the Middle Class Got Shafted.

And we got a preview of WJCT’s Speaking of Women’s Health event from special guest speaker Dr. Joel Fuhrman. He told us how your diet could be making you sick, and why a few simple changes could make a big difference.

And in our Tech Tuesday segment, MOSH Planetarium director Tom Webber joined us with a look the NASA Curiosity Mars rover.

If you missed any portion of today’s program, be sure to check out our podcasts at www.wjctondemand.org or listen to the replay of this program tonight at 8 pm on WJCT Arts.

You can join in on the discussion by clicking the add comment button. We value your feedback.

And be sure to check out what’s coming up this week at the First Coast Connect homepage.

Florida’s Role in 2012 Politics on WJCT’s First Coast Connect

Florida is always a hotbed for politics, especially in a presidential race year. We discussed the state’s role in the presidential candidates’ campaigns, the Florida primary election next week and local races with Florida State College at Jacksonville’s political science professor Marcella Washington this morning.

We also heard the remarkable story of Anderson Burke, author of the new e-book Three Fields (brothers) – it follows Burke’s journey in rediscovering his brother, Eddie, who was born with severe down syndrome and put into a State developmental institution at a young age. We spoke to Anderson Burke about reconnecting with his brother, and discussed the state of funding for Florida’s institutional system with Kathy Jackson, executive director of The Arc of St. Johns, a grassroots organization in St. Augustine that provides services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The Supreme Court recently ruled in the case PILVA v. MENSING that, unlike name brand drug companies, consumers cannot file lawsuits against manufacturers of generic pharmaceuticals because of injuries stemming from side effects. We discussed what this could mean for patients with Chris Shakib, attorney at the Terrell Hogan law firm, who specializes in representing victims of defective drugs and medical malpractice.

If you missed any portion of today’s program, be sure to check out our podcasts at www.wjctondemand.org or listen to the replay of this program tonight at 8 pm on WJCT Arts.

You can join in on the discussion by clicking the add comment button. We value your feedback.

Local Reaction to the Events in Syria on WJCT’s First Coast Connect

Rebel fighters in Syria continue to pound the city of Aleppo this morning, as troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad are forced to retreat. The 16 month old rebellion there is being closely watched by many here on the First Coast. North Florida is home to one of the largest Arab-American populations in the United States. We spoke to one local resident with family ties to Syria about his thoughts and fears about the conflict.

Whether you’re hitting the beach this summer, or just working in your garden, it’s the season for sunscreen. And the higher the SPF factor, the better… right? Some health advocates are raising questions about conventional sunscreens, with concerns about misleading SPF claims to worries about the chemicals in these products. First Coast dermatologist Dr. Jonathan Kantor joined us with a closer look at sunscreen facts and myths.

Scott Watkins and Marguerite Richardson are a husband and wife duo passionate about music and teaching. Both are music professors at Jacksonville University, and recently returned from a trip to China as Visiting Foreign Scholars. We spoke to Scott and Marguerite about their experience teaching Chinese students, and why music is the universal language.

And in our Tech Tuesday segment, we found out how kids on the First Coast can build and operate their own robots as part of local tech firm Pragmatic Works‘ new summer camp. CEO Brian Knight joined us with more about the camp.

If you missed any portion of today’s program, be sure to check out our podcasts at www.wjctondemand.org or listen to the replay of this program tonight at 8 pm on WJCT Arts.

You can join in on the discussion by clicking the add comment button. We value your feedback.

Florida State College at Jacksonville Spending on WJCT’s First Coast Connect

New information is coming out about spending at Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ) as the college’s board demands more oversight and new procedures to keep a closer eye on the books. The Florida Times-Union reported on Sunday that College president Steve Wallace charged more than $180,000 to the school and its foundation over the past two years. Charges included everything from phone and iPad service to dinners out and a Cadillac lease. We discussed why the Times-Union is focusing on FSCJ and what the college’s response has been with the two lead reporters on the story, Adam Causey and Kate Howard Perry.

The Duval County Health Department is out with a new report looking at the health of Jacksonville’s Hispanic community, and it includes some striking findings. Annie Rodriquez and Dr. Patricia Solo-Josephson of the Duval County Health Department Hispanic Health Advisory Council stopped by to help us analyze the findings.

Heather Burky is the first person in Jacksonville to ever win a Student Academy Award. The mother of three and Art Institute of Jacksonville student recently picked up the honor for her documentary “Lost County,” which looks at three Cuban expatriates who fought Fidel Castro for the United States. We spoke to Heather about the award and what she has planned for her next film.

And in our Tech Tuesday segment, we found out how researchers here in Florida took part in the discovery of the elusive Higgs-Boson particle. University of Florida physics professor Dr. Konstantin Matchev joined us with more about how a team of professors and graduate students at the university helped in the research. You can read more about their work here.

If you missed any portion of today’s program, be sure to check out our podcasts at www.wjctondemand.org or listen to the replay of this program tonight at 8 pm on WJCT Arts.

You can join in on the discussion by clicking the add comment button. We value your feedback.

Media Roundtable Week in Review on WJCT’s First Coast Connect

We kicked off this Friday’s show as we do every Friday with our media roundtable week in review. Joining us today to discuss the biggest news stories of week were: Farris Long, reporter with the Florida Star; Dan Scanlan, reporter for the Florida Times-Union; A.G. Gancarski, columnist with Folio Weekly; and John Burr, editor of the Jacksonville Business Journal. Topics for today’s conversation included the multiple meth labs that have been found across Duval County lately, and updates in the Cristian Fernandez case.

The local restaurant scene is buzzing this summer with new openings, and new menus at popular spots around town. We spoke to Dave McDonald, AKA the Jax Food Critic, about everything from the new Sakana sushi restaurant to summer fare from Seasons 52.

The US Supreme Court upheld federal government’s comprehensive new health care law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, late last week. Governor Rick Scott says he will continue to fight against the new law, and says Florida will not participate in optional portions of the law including the expansion of Medicaid. We heard from NPR’s Tom Parkinson as he discussed the costs and benefits of the health care law with economic Hank Fishkind.

The River City Men’s Chorus has a series of free concerts coming up next week to benefit Wolfson Children’s Hospital. We got a preview of the concerts from chorus director Wayne Bailey and member Bill Mason.

If you missed any portion of today’s program, be sure to check out our podcasts at www.wjctondemand.org or listen to the replay of this program tonight at 8 pm on WJCT Arts.

You can join in on the discussion by clicking the add comment button. We value your feedback.

Updates in the Effort to Save the St. Johns River Ferry on WJCT’s First Coast Connect

After initially declining to do so, JAXPORT has agreed to kick in $200,000 to fund the St. Johns River Ferry service that connects A1A to Mayport. The ferry boats could be permanently docked in September due to lack of money, ending a First Coast tradition that stretched back to 1950. But JAXPORT’s offer to keep the ferry going is conditional, stating that other groups have to provide matching funds. A group called Save the Ferry is now trying to get that money, from both the city of Jacksonville and the Florida Department of Transportation. We discussed the race to get funding with State Representative Janet Adkins, one of the supporters of Save the Ferry.

With Tropical Storms Beryl and Debby under our belts, it looks like this hurricane season could be a rough one. We heard some timely advice from Power Performance Industry’s disaster preparedness expert Art Aiello about what you can do to prepare for these storms.

The CISV Jacksonville Youth Meeting is a summer camp here on the First Coast that gives kids the chance to do something different. They’re focusing on intercultural issues, in particular the inequality between wealthy and developing countries, and how over-consumption in rich nations is straining the planet’s ecosystem. Camp director Leah Donelan joined us with more about this year’s Youth Meeting.

And WJCT’s own music director and Electro Lounge host David Luckin dropped by with a preview of this month’s Electro Lounge Summer Film Series at the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall. The series kicks off tomorrow night with a showing of the Woody Allen classic Annie Hall. Go to www.wjct.org/events for more information.

And we found out what’s going on around town this weekend with Jacksonville Magazine’s Kerry Speckman. Visit her website for a full list of events.

If you missed any portion of today’s program, be sure to check out our podcasts at www.wjctondemand.org or listen to the replay of this program tonight at 8 pm on WJCT Arts.

You can join in on the discussion by clicking the add comment button. We value your feedback.

Implications of the Jerry Sandusky Child Abuse Verdict Here in Florida on WJCT’s First Coast Connect

After weeks of graphic testimony from eight different accusers, former Pennsylvania State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was convicted last week of sexually assaulting ten boys. As that dramatic case wraps up, officials here in Florida are preparing to enact the toughest child abuse reporting law in the nations. It imposes stiff penalties on people and institutions that fail to report abuse – in a major change, the law makes reporting abuse of a child everyone’s responsibility, not just those who regularly work with children. We discussed how the new law will work, as well as the verdict in the Sandusky case, with criminal defense attorney Janet Johnson; Angela Williams, founder of VOICE Today, a nonprofit working to prevent child sex abuse; and Christina Spudeas, executive director of Florida’s Children First, which protects the rights of children and at-risk youth.

June is National Housing Month. After the devastation of the nation’s housing crisis, and the ongoing foreclosures that drag down, fair housing advocates are working to draw attention to solutions available to struggling homeowners. Debby Goldberg with the National Fair Housing Alliance joined us with more.

For one weekend only, Theatre Jacksonville takes us back to the home front of World War II in their new production, Stage Door Canteen. The show is a celebration of the First Coast’s contribution to the war effort of the 1940s. We got a preview from Theatre Jacksonville executive director Sarah Boone, and show director Jean Tait.

And we found out what’s going on around town this weekend with Jacksonville Magazine’s Kerry Speckman. Visit her website for a full list of events.

If you missed any portion of today’s program, be sure to check out our podcasts at www.wjctondemand.org or listen to the replay of this program tonight at 8 pm on WJCT Arts.

You can join in on the discussion by clicking the add comment button. We value your feedback.

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