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On First Coast Connect: NY Islamic Center and City News

We started Thursday with a New York story that has gone national. Two blocks from where the World Trade Center once stood, a proposed Islamic center that is intented to promote interfaith understanding has become a controversy, exposing the deep divides that still exist in this country. To provide some perspective on this issue, we’re joined by Dr. Parvez Ahmed. Dr. Ahmed is a Fulbright Scholar, Associate Professor of Finance at UNF, and new appointee to the Jacksonville Human Rights Commission. He’s also a frequent commentator on Islam and the American Muslim exprience. You can read his blog at drparvezahmed.blogspot.com.

In 2006, five victims of a Gainesville nightclub shooting sued Tampa rap artist Plies and his record label, because they felt the rapper was using the shooting for his benefit, to build his “street cred.” The civil lawsuit was thrown out, and Plies won’t serve jail time, but the suit makes a statement to record labels that promote violence to sell records. Also Thursday, Attorney Chris Chestnut, who represents the plaintifs, joined us with more on the issue.

Today was our Media Roundtable Week in Review. We discussed the Jaguars/Everbank naming rights deal, what it takes financially to win a Florida election, and utility costs. Joining us were Larry Hannan with the Times-Union, Mark Szakonyi from the Jacksonville Business Journal, and WJCT’s own Senior Staff Reporter Kevin Meerschaert.

Golf is often thought of as a game only for the affluent, but The First Tee of Jacksonville is making golf accessible to young people who might not otherwise be able to afford to play. While they hone their swings, they also learn life skills. First Tee Excecutive Director Pepper Peete told us about the organization which is receiving national recognition as a finalist in the feeding Dreams award competition sponsored by General Mills. To vote for The First Tee as an organzation worth of the $10,000 reward, go to feedingdreams.com. You can also learn about how to get involved with the character-building golf group at their website, thefirstteejacksonville.org.

The Jacksonville indie rock band Polygons is bringing their unique sound and releasing their first full-length CD this weekend at Freebird Live in Jacksonville Beach. The brother-sister duo Elias and Rhea Derke, bass guitar/backup vocals and lead vocalist/rhythm guitarist, respectively, joined us in-studio to tell us about their influences and their CD “With Sharp Edges.”

If you missed this show or any of WJCT’s other shows, or if you would just like to hear them again, check out WJCT’s On Demand site, wjctondemand.org!

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Gulf Coast Live: Arts Edition – Knitting Therapy & Stained Glass

North Port resident and self-proclaimed knitting therapist, Jackie Awerman talks about the therapeutic benefits of knitting in everything from smoking cessation to spiritual communion. We’ll also talk with Fort Myers attorney and stained glass artist, John Coleman, whose work will be featured next month in an exhibit at the Sidney and Berne Davis Art Center.

The show will be live at Noon and rebroadcast the following Sunday at 11AM on 90.1 FM
Call in: 1-877-428-8255
Email:  gulfcoastlive@wgcu.org

Click here to go to the show’s page

On First Coast Connect: City Affairs and Jeff Greene

Union negotiations have stalled as the city of Jacksonville and the police union face off. On Monday, we welcomed Fraternal Order of Police president Nelson Cuba to the show. Cuba took calls and discussed proposed budget cuts that would affect salaries and pensions for the police union, and how union’s efforts to work with the negotiations.

Also on Monday: Jacksonville City Councilman Art Graham was recently appointed to the Public Service Commission, which oversees and regulates the state’s utilities. This was after an alleged confict of interest within the commission when former panelists said they were forced off the Commission because they voted against rate increases for the state’s two largest power companies. Art Graham joined us in-studio to tell us more about his appointment, the current state of utilities, and his objectives for the panel.

For Tuesday, as BP regroups and cleanup progresses after a hiatus due to Tropical Storm Bonnie, a new report assessing the widespread environmental damage to the Gulf’s most vulnerable places is being released. We took a closer look at the report titled “Special Places at Risk in the Gulf: Effects of the BP Oil Catastrophe” with phone guest Stephen Saunders, co-author of the report and president and founder of the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization, and studio guest Dr. Quinton White, head of Jacksonville University’s Marine Science Research Institute.

Later in Tueday’s program, WJCT is partnering with the Jacksonville Public Library to capture the oral histories of the Northeast Florida community through a project called “Voices of the First Coast,” similar to the national phenomenon known as “StoryCorps.” People can record their stories at libraries in Jacksonville and St. Johns County through 40-minute, two-person interviews. Karen Feagins, WJCT’s Content Producer and Director, and Lisa Buggs, Community Education and Enrichment Program Supervisor at the library, joined us to tell us about the project. If you’d like to tell your story send an e-mail to voicesofthefirstcoast@wjct.org.

This morning, July 28th, we were joined by Abel Harding, business journalist for the Florida Times Union, and Kimberly Morrison, reporter with the Jacksonville Business Journal. They discussed the naming rights deal made between the Jaguars and Everbank. Released just yesterday afternoon, a 5-year, 16.6 million dollar agreement will make the familiar, Jaguars Municipal Stadium named into the Everbank Field.

Following, Jeff Greene joined the show by phone to discuss his campaign for a Senate seat against his opponent, Kendrick Meek. He spent the time taking phone calls and addressing topics ranging from his business background to his party affiliation and personal ideals.

Check out WJCT’s blog here!

Gulf Coast Live: Breast Feeding

From the surgeon general to pediatricians, most agree that babies will grow up healthier if they are breastfed at least for their first year of life.  Many moms are going back to work shortly after giving birth – which means many have to use a pump to gather that milk.  Federal law provides nursing mothers time during their work day and privacy at work to use a pump for at least a year after giving birth.  We’re joined by a special panel to discuss if companies are following the law and if mothers are making that choice.

The show will be live at Noon on 90.1 FM
Call in: 1-877-428-8255
Email:  gulfcoastlive@wgcu.org

Click here to go to the show’s page

Florida Matters: Primary Election Preview – Attorney General’s Race, part 1

The Democratic primary for Florida attorney general has two veteran state lawmakers pitted against one another in a race that has been somewhat overshadowed by contentious contests for governor and U.S. Senate. In the first of our two-part series on the attorney general’s race, we’ll hear from both Democrats who want to be the top law enforcer in Florida. We’ll also meet the race’s lone independent candidate. Join us tonight at 6:30 on WUSF 89.7.

Weigh in: How much are you paying attention to this race? Who are you supporting?

Click here for more about Florida Matters “Primary Election Preview: Attorney General’s Race”

Gulf Coast Live: Representative Gary Aubuchon and Oil

Governor Charlie Crist has attacked legislators for leaving the recent special session called to place an amendment on November’s ballot to ban near shore oil drilling after only a few hours. The governor called them ‘the do-nothing legislature.’  We’ll talk with Republic Representative Gary Aubuchon of Cape Coral about that his new job leading the Florida House of Representative’s Deepwater Horizon Response Plan, a plan to look at the state’s response capabilities in the case of an oil spill and view of current damages.

The show will be live at Noon on 90.1 FM
Call in: 1-877-428-8255
Email:  gulfcoastlive@wgcu.org

Click here to go to the show’s page

Intersection: New Land Purchase for Everglades Restoration

Recently the US Department of Agriculture announced a major deal to purchase development rights to 26,000 acres of ranchland south of Kissimmee.  The land is near the headwaters of the Everglades, and conservationists say it’s an important piece of the puzzle in the effort to restore Florida’s “River of Grass.”  We’ll talk to Charles Lee of Audubon of Florida, who says the deal could represent a new model for preserving sensitive lands across the state.

Do you think government money should be spent on land conservation?  What could federal and state governments be doing better when it comes to preserving sensitive areas and balancing the demands of development with environmental concerns?

Make a comment below … and then click here at 9:30am tomorrow (Tuesday) to listen to the program live on WMFE-FM. Or, if you’re in Central Florida, tune in to 90.7 FM.