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Wednesday Briefing: Spousal Shooting Cases in Court, Problem Solvers in Orlando, Bombing in Ocala

| March 30, 2016

anna pehota william carson merrill

William Carson Merrill and Anna Pehota, who both shot their respective spouses, are back in court today.

Today: Partly cloudy. A 20 percent chance of showers in the afternoon. Highs around 80 inland…in the upper 70s coast. East winds 10 to 15 mph. Tonight: Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 60s. Southeast winds 5 to 10 mph. Details here.
Today’s fire danger is moderate. Flagler County’s Drought Index is at 107.
Today’s tides: at the beaches, at the Intracoastal Waterway.
Today’s document from the National Archives.
The OED’s Word of the Day: mettlesome, adj..
The Live Community Calendar
Today’s jail bookings.

Today’s Briefing: Quick Links

In Flagler and Palm Coast:

Note: all government meetings noticed below are free and open to the public unless otherwise indicated. Many can be heard or seen live through each agency’s website.

Two cases of spousal shooting in court:: Circuit Judge Matthew Foxman at 10 a.m. hears a motion to suppress confessions by Anna Pehota, the 75-year-old Hammock woman accused of shooting her husband to death last September. She quickly admitted to the shooting, even against a judge’s cautions, but her attorney, Ray Warren, has been seeking to scrub those admissions and proceed with trial. Courtroom 401. At 2 p.m., in Courtroom 403, a hearing resumes in the case of William Merrill, who is serving a 25-year prison sentence for manslaughter in the shooting death of his wife with an AK-47 in Palm Coast in February 2012. He is contesting his sentence.

March 30-April 2: Florida Future Problem Solvers State Competition, to be attended by four to five Flagler County schools, at Doubletree Orlando Seaworld, 10100 International Drive, Orlando.

An F/A-18C Super Hornet like the ones used in bombing runs on a range in the Ocala National Forest. (Shawn J. Stewart/US Navy)

An F/A-18C Super Hornet like the ones used in bombing runs on a range in the Ocala National Forest. Click on the image for larger view. (Shawn J. Stewart/US Navy)

Bombing Runs at Pinecastle Range in Ocala this Week: Navy training schedules indicate live and inert bombing will take place at the Pinecastle Range Complex in the Ocala National Forest every day from March 28 through April 3, as follows:

  • Wednesday: 10 a.m. to midnight.
  • Thursday: 10 a.m. to midnight.
  • Friday: Noon to midnight.
  • Saturday: Noon to midnight.
  • Sunday: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The telephone number for noise complaints is 1-800-874-5059, Fleet Air Control and Surveillance Facility, Jacksonville. For additional information, call (904) 542-2415/5588. For more details about the bombing, go here.

Ribbon Cutting: Hammock Organics marks its soft opening at 5428 North Oceanshore Blvd. (A1A) in Palm Coast at 4 p.m.

Local News Recap:

Updated jail bookings and day and night shift incident summary reports are available here.

Council Will Approve “Kind of Dumb Looking” 150-ft Cell Tower on Palm Coast Parkway: The council said it would approvea 150-foot monopole that would rise above the city’s water treatment plant just west of the county public library. The tower would accommodate four wireless carriers, among them AT&T, which has had notoriously poor service locally. (AT&T has signed on for that tower.)

Woman Passed Out in Car on A1A With Infant By Her Charged With DUI and Child Neglect: Sunday afternoon a Flagler Beach police officer was dispatched to the 600 block of South Ocean Shore Boulevard after getting a report that a woman was passed out at the wheel of her car. The officer discovered Tiffany Pond, 24, unconscious in the driver’s seat, the car was running, the radio was playing loudly—and an infant was in the front passenger seat, unwatched.

Sheriff’s Detectives Seeking Public Help in Identifying Two Alleged Bank Fraudsters: The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the public’s help in identifying two men alleged to have fraudulently withdrawn money from two banks in several local transactions resulting in the combined alleged theft of nearly $8,000. The men are not working in concert.

Palm Coast Man Who Avoided Prison in Child Porn Case Is Sentenced to 1 Year Over Gun: Stout, 47, was driving home last November when, according to the arrest affidavit, when he was found to have a loaded .380-caliber Ruger under some removable flooring in his Durango, a felony for a convicted felon.

“It Is Done!” Flagler Celebrates Opening of Exit 293 Interchange With North Palm Coast’s Future After 18 years of lobbying, hoping, praying, haggling, planning, bickering and finally building, the Matanzas Woods Parkway interchange with I-95 opened to traffic today as a ceremonial ribbon-cutting that drew more than 100 people exhaled at the end of two decades of efforts. In the past several years, those efforts accelerated and took shape from drawings to asphalt and reconfigured landscape under the guidance of Faith Al-Khatib, the county engineer whose smiles this afternoon rivaled the breadth of the intersection.

Florida Drops Planned Parenthood Case, Eliciting Charge of Political Motivation: Citing a new abortion law signed by Gov. Rick Scott, the state Agency for Health Care Administration has dismissed cases alleging that three Planned Parenthood clinics performed second-trimester abortions without proper licenses.

In State Government:

Note: Most proceedings below can be followed live on the Florida Channel.

The Florida Commission on Offender Review will consider numerous parole cases involving crimes committed in the 1970s and 1980s. (9 a.m.)

–Compiled by the News Service of Florida and FlaglerLive

In Coming Days in Palm Coast and Flagler:

Click on the links for more details:

April 1: The Friends of the Library of Flagler County celebrate the annual April Poetry Month by acknowledging the 2016 presidential election year. Poems by presidents or about presidents of the United States, from Washington to Obama, will be presented at 1 p.m. in the Doug Cisney Room and appropriate refreshments–that is, alas, no booze, no matter how drunk Nixon could get–will be provided by the Hospitality Staff of the Friends.
April 2: Cheer at the Pier, a fund-raiser for the Flagler Beach Historical Museum, from 3 to 6 p.m. Call Virginia Giaramita for information at 386/299-8892.
April 3: The Chamber Players of Palm Coast, under the direction of Paige Dashner Long, will present a beautiful concert at Palm Coast United Methodist Church, performing works by Haydn, Mozart, and Abel. This concert is free and open to all. will also include a special appearance by the Harmony Chamber Orchestra, the advanced orchestra from the Flagler Youth Orchestra Program, directed by Sue Cryan. At the end of the concert, the two orchestras will join together to perform Haydn’s delightful Toy Symphony, complete with toy drum, ratchet, cuckoos, nightingales, quails, triangles and more. 3:30 p.m. at at Palm Coast United Methodist Church, 5200 Belle Terre Parkway. Details here.
April 6: Moody Boat Launch to close April 6 through May 20 for improvements. Click for details.
flagler republican club logoApril 6: The Flagler County Republican Club hosts three speakers: U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, running for U.S. Senate (to replace Marco Rubio), State Sen. Travis Hutson and Rep. Representative Paul Renner, who are running for re-election. The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Palm Coast Community Center, 305 Palm Coast Pkwy NE, Palm Coast. Registered Republicans, club members and their guests are invited to attend. A Q&A session will follow providing an opportunity for in-depth discussion. For more information, email Flagler County Republican Club President, Wes Priest, wes.priest@flaglergop.org or call 386-986-0317.
April 6-10: Flagler County Fair, at the county fairgrounds, 150 Sawgrass Road, Bunnell. lots of rides, games, food, fun, shows, 4H and FFA exhibits, livestock shows and auction. Enter to win in the Home and Family Division (canning, baking, sewing, quilting) Art Division and Shoe Box Floats, and the Rock ‘n RibFest the last three days of the fair.
April 7: Tea At Tiffany’s is the theme this year for an afternoon tea benefiting Arts In Education at the Flagler Auditorium from 3 to 5:30 p.m. This event will take place center stage for all to experience what it’s like to look out at the auditorium from a performer’s vantage point. The food will be prepared by Palm Coast High School’s culinary students. Arts in Education helps support children in our community with scholarships, band camps, instruments needed, as well as other vital business skills. Ticket are $50 and can be purchased by clicking here. High tea attire is recommended.
April 7-10: Rock’n RibFest at the Flagler County Fair: The annual event, sponsored by Flagler Broadcasting (owner of WNZF and Beach 92), presents a weekend of music, food and fun. County Fairgrounds, 150 Sawgrass Road, Bunnell.
April 12: Anjali Anabel Tomerlin, a third grader at Imagine School at Town Center in Palm Coast who’s written and illustrated her first book, will hold a book-signing at the Flagler Beach Public library from 4 to 6 p.m.
April 13: Public Safety Coordinating Council meeting at 8:45 a.m., Emergency Operations Center, Bunnell.
April 15: The Florida Ethics Commission will take up an administrative law judge’s recommendation in the ethics case against Flagler County Sheriff Jim Manfre. 9 a.m.
April 16: Flagler Beach will hold a victims’ rights memorial at sunrise. The memorial ceremony honors victims and their advocates. It will be held at the end of the iconic pier. Please contact Victim Advocate Donna Kearney with any questions about the memorial at 517-2020.
April 26: Sentencing of Waldemar Rivera at 1:30 p.m. in Courtroom 401, Flagler County Courthouse, before Judge Matthew Foxman. Rivera was found guilty on March 23 after a two-day trial of raping his then-13-year-old step-daughter two years ago. He faces up to 30 years in prison. He had declined a plea that would have netted him 10 years, and declined a judge’s advice, after the first day of trial, to consider taking a plea.

The Day’s Best Reads:

 

Fact-Checking the Knaves:

Palm Coast Construction and Development Progress Reports

The following is an update of ongoing permitting, construction and development projects in Palm Coast, through March 9:

Road and Interstate Construction:

Moody Boat Launch to close April 6 through May 20 for improvements: Flagler County’s Moody Boat Launch will be closed April 6 through May 20 for improvements. “The scheduled upgrade will enhance the launch’s usability in a number of ways,” said Heidi Petito, Director of General Services. “The new system provides for ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliance, minimizes docking difficulties caused by fluctuating tides, and new lighting will promote boater safety and security.” The closure includes the Moody Boat Launch– located at 825 Moody Lane in Flagler Beach– the parking area, restroom, and dockage on the Matanzas River. It does not affect Betty Steflik Preserve and boardwalk. The scope of work includes dredging 1,650 yards of silt from the launch basin, thus improving navigability. The adjacent wooden docks will be replaced with an aluminum floating dock and gangway system. Additionally, the existing restroom will be replaced with an ADA compliant facility. Moody Boat Launch provides public access to the Intracoastal on the east shore, just south of SR100. The closest alternative boat launches are located at Herschel King Park on the west side of the river at 1000 Grady Prather Jr. Cove, Palm Coast, and Bing’s Landing on the east shore at 5862 N. Oceanshore Blvd. in Palm Coast.

Forest Grove Drive connection to Palm Harbor Parkway to be closed starting Dec. 18: Effective Friday, Dec. 18, the City of Palm Coast will be closing the Forest Grove Drive connection to Palm Harbor Parkway. This road closure is required as part of construction operations for the Palm Harbor Parkway extension, which is currently under construction. Palm Harbor is being realigned and extended to connect directly with Matanzas Woods Parkway where it intersects with Old Kings Road. Message boards will be placed to advise motorists and other travelers of the upcoming change, and a public meeting has already been held for residents living in that area. Both the Palm Harbor extension and a separate extension of Old Kings Road are being built in preparation for the new Interstate 95 interchange to open next June at Matanzas Woods Parkway. As part of the projects, traffic patterns around Matanzas High School will be changing. One goal is to turn Forest Grove Drive back into a residential street as it was originally intended to be. The upcoming road closure of the Forest Grove Drive connection to Palm Harbor Parkway is part of that project. Forest Grove will be turned into a cul de sac on that end. Once the separate Old Kings Road extension is completed, in June 2016, the Forest Grove Drive access to the high school will be closed because it will no longer be needed. Instead, motorists and other travelers will get to Matanzas High School via the new signalized intersection at Matanzas Woods, Palm Harbor and Old Kings. For more information, please contact Palm Coast Communications Manager Cindi Lane at 386-986-3708 or clane@palmcoastgov.com.

Cultural Coda:

Mozart Concerto No 7 F major K 242 for 3 Pianos, Performed by Solti, Schiff and Barenboim

Previous Codas:

 

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