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Buoyed by Turn-Around, County Approves $2.75 Million Loan To Buy 3 Buildings at Airport

| March 5, 2015

Flagler County government is vastly expanding its role as a landlord as it approves buying three buildings totaling 58,000 square feet at the county airport in hopes of generating more cash for the airport operation.

Bill Forbidding Local Government Protection for Transgenders In Public Bathrooms Advances

| March 5, 2015

A bill by Florida Rep. Frank Artiles that would overturn local government ordinances protecting transgender use of single-sex bathrooms passed 8-3 on a party-line vote Wednesday after an impassioned discussion in a House subcommittee.

I Am A Throw-Away Piece Of Trash In This Country of Freedom and Liberty and Respect

| March 5, 2015

Cindy Robert Sullivan, a transgender man transitioning to a woman, addressed Rep. Frank Artiles and a House committee before a 9-4 vote approving a bill forbidding certain protections for transgender people.

Bill Would Allow Gun-Carrying Without Concealed-Weapons Permit During Evacuations

| March 4, 2015

An NRA-supported measure that failed last year now has sheriffs’ backing, and would allow legal gun owners to carry their guns without licenses in the first 48 hours after emergency evacuation orders are given.

Major Layoffs Hit News-Journal and Ex-Halifax Chain 3 Months After GateHouse Takes Over

| March 4, 2015

Four newsroom employees lost their job and seven employees lost theirs in advertising. The Flagler Bureau, down to three reporters, is about to lose another as Natalie Kronicks leaves to join the Flagler County government’s communications office, coordinating marketing efforts.

13-Year-Old Indian Trails Boy Arrested on Knife Charge at School and Tied to Stolen Gun

| March 4, 2015

A 13-year-old Indian Trails Middle School student, on probation over a drug charge, was arrested Tuesday on a felony weapons possession charge for taking a knife to school after authorities discovered he had allegedly given a stolen .380 Glock 42 to a friend.

Subsidies For 1.4 Million Floridians In the Balance: What You need To Know as ACA Heads Back to Court

| March 4, 2015

Florida has the largest number of people enrolled in Obamacare, more than 1.4 million of whom will lose their subsidies should the court rule the provision illegal. The case is argued Wednesday.

YMCA May Return to Flagler As School District Considers Leasing Belle Terre Swim and Racquet Club

| March 3, 2015

Facing a deficit that will exceed $200,000, the school district’s Belle Terre Swim and Racquet Club may find its savior in the Volusia Flagler YMCA, which has been in discussions with the school administration over a potential lease arrangement of the health facility.

7 Flagler Schools Share $668,000 in Bonus Dollars for Improving or Keeping High Grades

| March 3, 2015

The money rewards schools that either maintain A or B grades or improve significantly toward such grades. It is one of the reasons Florida’s high-stakes testing has been facing criticism, as student testing is directly tied to monetary consequences.

Correctly Anticipating State Problems, Flagler Delayed School Testing Until Thursday

| March 3, 2015

Rarely in the spotlight, Shawn Schmidli, the Flagler school district’s assessment director, anticipated that state-issued computer tests would have problems, and delayed Flagler’s testing until Thursday.

Flagler Commission Signals More Culture Support Ahead as It Approves FBI Art Cop Grant For League

| March 3, 2015

Flagler County government has never had a grants program for the arts, aside from its Tourist Development Council grants. Now, Administrator Craig Coffey is suggesting the county begin such a program.

School District’s Broadest Uniform Policy Survey: Tepid Support and No Effect on Discipline or Grades

| March 2, 2015

The survey of more than 2,000 students, parents and faculty was prompted by a student leader’s push to loosen the policy, which has had no effect on improving discipline or grades.

Road Rage on Belle Terre, Car Break-in at Cracker Barrel, Illegal Brass Knuckles and Drinking

| March 2, 2015

Weekend criminal activity in Palm Coast and Bunnell included a young mother and her children in their car being assaulted on Belle Terre Parkway, an underage drinking party at the Holiday Inn and other incidents.

In Fear of ATS: The Palm Coast City
Council’s Red-Light Camera Delusions

| March 1, 2015

After coming close to suspending its red-light camera [program, the Palm Coast City Council has retreated, again exposing a willingness to do its camera vendor’s bidding before looking after its residents’ interests.

The State of the State Floridians Should Hear

| March 1, 2015

With 3.2 million Florida households struggling every month to stretch paychecks to cover basic necessities, former Florida Sen. Dan Gelber outlines a State of the State Floridians swill not hear when the governor opens the Legislative session this week.

Why Almost 1 in 4 Floridian Driver Has No Car Insurance: Poverty

| February 28, 2015

Florida’s poverty rate is 17 percent and 23.8 of its motorists are uninsured. Uninsured drivers face stiff fines in many states, but some that have such penalties on the books often fail to enforce them.

Good Samaritan Act Leads to Charges of Forgery, Grand Theft, Assault and a Stand-Off

| February 27, 2015

John Sole, a 31-year-old resident of Paul Lane in Palm Coast with a brief but recurring history of trouble with the law, became allegedly violent with his mother after she could not cash fraudulent checks.

To Replace Manager Bruce Campbell, Flagler Beach Returns to Old Playbook: Doing Nothing

| February 27, 2015

Like his predecessor, who was an interim manager of Flagler Beach for five years before he decisively quit, Bruce Campbell is finding it difficult to walk away from the job, and the city commission is not making it easy for him.

Bi-Partisan Lawmakers Looking to Expunge Criminal Records of Non-Violent Juveniles

| February 27, 2015

An Orlando Senator is sponsoring a bill that would allow the expunging of records for minors who commit nonviolent misdemeanors and go on to complete diversion programs.

From Harry Potter to Indian Trails Complex, Quidditch Tournament Snitches In on Brooms

| February 27, 2015

Quidditch doesn’t exist. At least not officially. But for two days at Indian Trails, the United States Quidditch South Regional Tournament will feature 14 teams from four states competing in the game Harry Potter made famous, and that’s now played on thousands of college and university campuses.

Palm Coast Will Borrow $30 Million to Build New Sewer Plant, Pledging No Rate Increase For 5 Years

| February 26, 2015

The new plant would be financed with a 20-year loan at less than 1 percent interest, and the city’s total debt load would rise to around $200 million. It also depends on steady growth in coming years.

Pot. Beer Wars. Gambling. Even Pension Reform. Sen. Rob Bradley Says Bring ‘Em On

| February 26, 2015

Many of this Florida legislative session’s thorniest issues — and more — rest in the hands of Sen. Rob Bradley, a laid-back junior legislator and chairman of a committee dubbed by Senate President Andy Gardiner as the “Thunderdome.”

Palm Coast Man, 19, Charged With Raping 11-Year-Old Girl He Met on Facebook

| February 26, 2015

Karl Westgate, a 19-year-old resident of Palm Coast who became a father two months ago, faces a capital rape charge and other charges of possessing child pornography after exchanging nude pictures of himself and the girl with her.

Father Jailed on Felony Child Abuse After 15-Year-Old Films Beating and Abuse on Mac

| February 26, 2015

Anthony Schneider, 42, of Royal Leaf Lane in Palm Coast, represents the fourth arrest of a parent or guardian in Palm Coast this month over charges of violently abusing a child.

1.6 Million Floridians, 6,000 in Flagler, May Lose Health Subsidies: Supreme Court Decides

| February 26, 2015

Subsidies may be lost for 90 percent of ACA participants if the U.S. Supreme Court rules that residents of states like Florida, which have no health marketplace of their own, may not qualify for federal subsidies. The Supreme Court hears arguments in the case next week.

Gov. Rick Scott Heading Back to Paris Air Show in Hopes of Attracting Aerospace Jobs

| February 25, 2015

In 2013, the every-other-year air show drew more than 315,000 visitors, 2,215 international exhibitors and delegations from 102 different countries. The effectiveness of Scott’s trips, however, remains suspect to some.

Special Election Candidates Slog Through Only Local Forum, Except When Talk Turns to Guns

| February 25, 2015

The largely plodding Q&A forum organized by three Flagler business groups held few surprises and featured Senate candidates David Cox and Travis Hutson and House candidates Adam Morley and Paul Renner.

Armed Car-Jacking in Bunnell Ends in Volusia With Arrest of Four Flagler Teens

| February 25, 2015

All four suspects are from Palm Coast and Bunnell, the youngest being 15. They were arrested after a pursuit involving four police agencies and Volusia County’s Air One helicopter.

Days Before 11th Grade Language Test, Gov. Scott Issues Executive Order Suspending It

| February 24, 2015

Union officials had pushed for suspending the entire school-accountability testing system for a year. The education commissioner wants a few more tests curtailed, but the bulk of the system would remain in place.

Palm Coast May Reduce Red-Light Cameras to 5, But Won’t Scrap Program For Fear of ATS

| February 24, 2015

Fearful of a lawsuit from ATS, its red-light camera provider. the Palm Coast City Council says it would reduce the cameras from 43 to five, but not eliminate them, even if it means ending all its revenue from the cameras but preserving that of ATS.

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