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Bradford County phosphate meeting blowup caught on video, snares VIP Steve Pieczenik

Activists opposed to phosphate mining in Union and Bradford Counties got into a videotaped scuffle at a Bradford County Commission meeting that ended with the forcible removal of  a local VIP named Dr. Steve Pieczenik, a Republican heavyweight and business partner of bestselling novelist Tom Clancy. 

Pieczenik, a former State Department official and author, served in the Ford, Carter, Reagan and Bush (41) administrations. In addition to his foreign policy chops, he’s also known as a skilled hostage negotiator. Clancy’s Jack Ryan character (played by Harrison Ford in the 1992 thriller Patriot Games) is reportedly based on Pieczenik.

More controversially, he is also known for his appearances on programs like The Alex Jones Show, where he discusses conspiracy theories.

Pieczenik was joining fellow Bradford County residents to voice opposition to the HPS II Phosphate Mining Project, which has been undertaken by landowners in the area. More than 10,000 acres would be earmarked for mining, alarming activists concerned about potential air and groundwater pollution.

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In addition to her work writing for Florida Politics, Melissa Ross also hosts and produces WJCT’s First Coast Connect, the Jacksonville NPR/PBS station’s flagship local call-in public affairs radio program. The show has won four national awards from Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI). First Coast Connect was also recognized in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014 as Best Local Radio Show by Folio Weekly’s “Best Of Jax” Readers Poll and Melissa has also been recognized as Folio Weekly’s Best Local Radio Personality. As executive producer of The 904: Shadow on the Sunshine State, Melissa and WJCT received an Emmy in the “Documentary” category at the 2011 Suncoast Emmy Awards. The 904 examined Jacksonville’s status as Florida’s murder capital. During her years in broadcast television, Melissa picked up three additional Emmys for news and feature reporting. Melissa came to WJCT in 2009 with 20 years of experience in broadcasting, including stints in Cincinnati, Chicago, Orlando and Jacksonville. Married with two children, Melissa is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism/Communications. She can be reached at m.ross66211@gmail.com.

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