Environmentalists unhappy with Florida lawmakers are vowing to keep fighting over this year’s lack of funding for land acquisition under the state’s Water and Land Conservation Amendment. The activist group — 1000 Friends of Florida — said Wednesday it plans to make conservation funding a priority in the 2018 legislative session. A key component of the strategy involves mobilizing the citizenry, says the group’s Ryan Smart. “Almost every county in Florida has lands on the Florida Forever or rural and family lands list that are important to lots of people in your area,” he said. “And if you express their importance, your legislator will hopefully listen.” Plus, Smart said, “If you’re willing to take that action and set up a meeting, call our office and we will get you all the information you need about how to discuss the program, what properties are in your area, anything you need. We’ll even come to the meetings with you if we can.” The program Smart refers to is Florida Forever, a
The 35th annual Jacksonville Jazz Festival returns this weekend, running from Thursday through Memorial Day.
Florida State College at Jacksonville is bracing for a major cut to its operating budget. Lawmakers said they cut $30 million from the state college system, partly because fewer students are enrolling in remedial classes, which are meant to get struggling incoming students up to speed. FSCJ expects to lose about $3 million, and President Cynthia Bioteau said the cut would result in laying off more than 70 staffers. As the Miami Herald reports, two years ago lawmakers loosened remedial class requirements for students to focus more on courses that count for credit. Colleges then pivoted to tutoring labs to fill that gap, which was cheaper, while still retaining the same level of developmental education funding. But Bioteau said on First Coast Connect Wednesday, those students are still enrolling — they’re just getting help from the campus tutoring center. She called out two Northeast Florida senators for approving the cuts. “I would consider beginning with Senators Aaron Bean and Audrey
Not all Jacksonville bus stops are created equal, says one Jacksonville councilman. Some have shelters with benches to keep riders shielded from rain or sun. Others are simple signs staked into the grass. Now Westside Jacksonville City Councilman Reggi…
Today on ‘First Coast Connect’ we spoke with Florida State College at Jacksonville President Cynthia Bioteau and recent graduate Lyse Medina (01:08) about state budget cuts to the college. University of North Florida professor Parvez Ahmed (22:50) spoke about the terrorist attack Monday at a concert in Manchester, England. This month’s Women With Heart segment featured Volunteers in Medicine board member Helen Morse (39:40) and we heard about an upcoming female skateboarding event with Void Magazine photographer Elise Crigar (44:30).
An autonomous Skyway monorail system, a multi-modal hub transportation center, and more bus lines are just some of the things the Jacksonville Transportation Authority has in store for the community.
Paying to avoid traffic congestion will be an option for Jacksonville area motorists by the end of this year.
At a health care conference in Jacksonville Tuesday, Florida’s surgeon general said help is on the way for Duval and other counties dealing with the opioid crisis. More than $27 million federal dollars will be used in the regions most affected by addiction and overdoses. Counties are expected to get the extra federal funds as soon as June.
The most recent state reading test scores confirm what Duval County School Board members have stressed for the past few years: Literacy is one of the district’s biggest challenges. Nearly half of the district’s third-graders are not reading at grade level, with Duval County scoring last among the state’s seven largest districts for third graders’ performance on this year’s Florida State Assessment in reading.
Tuesday on “First Coast Connect,” we have an update on President Donald Trump’s proposed $1 trillion transportation spending bill from the Fiorentino Group’s Marty Fiorentino (01:16), who was recently in Washington working with Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao on infrastructure spending. We also talked about upcoming toll roads and express lanes on the First Coast with the Florida Department of Transportation’s Mary Justino and Hampton Ray (26:54). Jacksonville attorney Michael Freed and Jacksonville Area Legal Aid President and CEO Jim Kowalski (36:35) talked about an upcoming event. The latest edition of “Moveable Feast” hosted by Leigh Court featured Dana Stallings (41:10), and WJCT music director David Luckin (49:48) discussed this weekend’s Jacksonville Jazz Festival and corresponding programing on “Electro Lounge.”