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2012 February
Archive for: February, 2012

Public Mostly Rejects State Proposal for 2.7 Miles of Manatee Speed Zones in Flagler Waters

| February 29, 2012

Three-quarters of the people who addressed a Florida Fish and Wildlife delegation on the proposed speed zones on the Intracoastal Waterway rejected the argument that manatees are endangered, or that further regulation is needed.

Too Many Streetlights? Palm Coast Readies to Remove 41 Redundant Ones For Future Savings

| February 29, 2012

The city will remove 41 lights–out of 2,876 in the city–at a cost of $15,444, money the city says it will make back in just over three years as savings from monthly bills it won’t be paying for those lights. Meanwhile, new light strings must wait for lack of money.

Wife-Shooter William Merrill’s Arrest Record Dates Back to Felony and DUI in Tennessee

| February 29, 2012

William Merrill was arrested repeatedly in 1999 by the Nashville Police Department and the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office, when he was 20 years old, and convicted on felony and misdemeanor drug possession and reduced reckless driving charges.

Florida Moves Past No Child Left Behind, But Not Past High-Stakes Testing

| February 29, 2012

Breaking from from federal No Child Left Behind strictures, Florida can now use its own school accountability system, its A-through-F school grades, to rate the state’s public education system. But the waiver comes with strings attached.

Maj. David O’Brien Replaces Chief Look as Sheriff Fleming’s 2nd in Command

| February 29, 2012

Flagler County Sheriff Don Fleming appointed Maj. David O’Brien, a 29-year-veteran of the department, his chief deputy, replacing Rick Look, who left the agency he’d served since 2005 late last year.

Florida’s Misguided Lunge for Internet Sales Taxes

| February 28, 2012

Nancy Nally, a Flagler County-based web publisher, argues that Florida’s proposed law to compel internet merchants to pay sales taxes won’t level the playing field or increase revenue, but hurt local businesses like her own.

Happy 80th Birthday, Jim Guines

| February 28, 2012

Just before Christmas Jim Guines, the long-time Flagler County School Board member, was hospitalized with a recurring leg ailment that may have contributed to a stroke while he was in surgery. He’s been in rehab since.

Cassimiro Tavares Faces 7 Felony Charges Over Bilking A&T Auto Repair Shop Owner

| February 28, 2012

Cassimiro Tavares, who worked as the office manager at A&T Auto Repair in Bunnell for three years, is accused of diverting close to $25,000 to his own uses, creating a shell company and threatening Andrzej Tyminski, the Polish shop, owner with deportation to keep him quiet.

Ear, Nose, Throat, Hard Hat:
Florida Hospital Flagler Shows Off Its New Digs

| February 28, 2012

Florida Hospital Flagler’s new Parkway Medical Plaza, opening in July between Walmart and Golden Corral, is a $15 million expansion–and a signal of intensifying head-to-head competition in such fields as imaging and lab work.

Palm Coast Councilman Frank Meeker Petitions for Civility Manifesto in 2012 Elections

| February 28, 2012

Whether a candidate is worthy of political office should be decided by free and clear elections, not tainted by character assassination and media hype, Frank Meeker argues, laying out a 10-point “Statement on Election Fairness” for 2012.

State Attorney Files 1st Degree Felony Charge Against Fischer in Hit-and-Run Case

| February 28, 2012

Jamesine Fischer, the wife of Flagler County School Board member John Fischer, faces 30 years in prison if convicted of the felony charge involving the death of Francoise Pecqueur, the 76-year-old woman struck by Fischer’s PT Cruiser on Columbia Lane in Palm Coast in November.

Silencing Maneuvers: When the Florida Legislature Resembles the Politbureau

| February 27, 2012

Stopping debate at three minutes, Republicans in the House Education Committee passed a bill overhauling standards and finances for charter schools and another limiting the power of the Florida High School Athletics Association.

Finding Her Palm Coast, Nancy Grace Takes On Wife-Shooting Tonight, With FlaglerLive

| February 27, 2012

FlaglerLive’s Pierre Tristam is among the guests on tonight’s Nancy Grace show, whose opening segment focuses on the William Merrill shooting of his wife in Palm Coast last Tuesday. The news value is limited.

Flagler County Jail Bookings, Feb. 24-March 2

| February 27, 2012

Flagler County jail daily bookings for the week of Feb. 24-March 2, 2012, with an excerpt on Zen and the art of meditating with prisoners at Sing Sing in Ossining, N.Y.

When 125 Students, Infinite Expectations and Untold Critics Encircle Teachers’ 36-Hour Day

| February 26, 2012

Down time after dismissal? Summers off? Think again. Matanzas High School teacher Jo Ann Nahirny, in her latest installment from the trenches, describes permanent on-call nature of a teacher’s days and evenings.

Arrest Report Details Fischer Trying to “Mislead Medical Personnel and Bystanders”

| February 25, 2012

Three times at the scene, where 76-year-old Francoise Pecqueur lay bleeding, and again when she called 911, Jamesine Fischer said she’d seen Pecqueur fall, that she’d noticed her lying in the grass, and that she herself had hit a dog, but not Pecqueur, Fischer’s arrest report states.

Florida Lawmaker Richard Steinberg Resigns After Admitting to Harassing, Anonymous Texts

| February 24, 2012

Rep. Richard Steinberg, the Miami Beach Democrat, quit the House effective immediately on Friday after admitting earlier in the week that he sent inappropriate, unwanted texts to a federal prosecutor in Miami.

A Desperate William Merrill Pleads For Help: “My Wife’s Been Shot”; the 911 Call

| February 24, 2012

In a voice broken by sobs and desperation, a clearly devastated William Merrill pleads with the 911 dispatcher to send help after describing how he accidentally shot his wife, Stefanie, while she was giving a bath to their 3-year-old daughter. The 7-minute 911 recording as released by the sheriff’s office.

Flagler County Democrats, at Low Ebb, Face Eviction From Their Palm Coast Office

| February 24, 2012

Flagler County Democrats have been rending the Hargrove Grade location since 2007, for $334 a month, but between disorganization and lack of interest, have been unable to raise the money to pay the rent for months.

Ex-Bunnell Cops John and Lisa Murray Plead Out, Avoiding Jail Time

| February 24, 2012

John and Lisa Murray pleaded no contest to reduced charges stemming from their arrest and firing on felony counts in 2010. Neither can be a police officer again.

Responding to Criticism, Sheriff Fleming Calls ex-Sheriff Manfre a “Legend In His Own Mind”

| February 23, 2012

The two sheriffs have a long history of rivalry and mutual criticism dating back to 2004, when Don Fleming replaced Jim Manfre. In 2008, Fleming defeated Manfre by less than a 2 percent margin.

Florida Senate Passes $70.7 Billion Budget, Cutting Higher Education By $400 Million

| February 23, 2012

The Senate overwhelmingly approved a $70.7 billion spending plan for the coming budget year on Thursday, with a 33-6 vote, setting up a two-week window for negotiating with the House’s smaller budget.

Gytonia Cheek, Guilty on All Counts in Teacher Myrtle McKinney Murder, Will Serve Life in Prison

| February 23, 2012

A jury of six men and six women found Gytonia Cheek guilty of first-degree murder, burglary and robbery today in Flagler County Circuit Court, in the 2007 killing of Myrtle McKinney in Palatka at Christmas that year. Gytonia was sentenced to life in prison.

William Merrill Charged With Manslaughter for Killing His Wife With AK-47; 20 Guns at Home

| February 23, 2012

Stefanie Merrill had been giving a bath to her 3-year-old daughter when her husband, William, pointed an AK-47 assault and its laser light at her chest and accidentally pulled the trigger. He was jailed on $200,000 bail.

Pizza Delivery Leads to SWAT Swarm and Arrest of Man Wanted for Serial Burglaries

| February 23, 2012

Jacquez Roland, 34. of 11 Service Tree Place in Palm Coast is in jail today, on $429,000 bail, in connection with a series of armed and violent burglaries, including the Microtel and Sharps Liquor burglaries in October, where workers in both cases were cuffed at gunpoint and robbed.

Flagler County’s Republicans at War With Each Other as Lawsuit Slams Prizer and REC

| February 23, 2012

The rift between tea party Republicans and old guard Republicans boiled over Thursday as insurgents denied membership in the Flagler County Republican Executive Committee filed suit against Committee Chairman Nancy Prizer and the Florida Republican Club.

As Investigation Into Fatal Shooting Continues, Disturbing Details from a Prior Domestic Fight

| February 22, 2012

William Merrill, who fatally shot his wife on Tuesday while inspecting a rifle, was arrested in 2006 for head-butting her and throwing her on a bed during a heated argument. Charges were not pursued in that case.

Ex-Bunnell Cop John Murray, On Trial, Takes Stand and Denies Wrongdoing

| February 22, 2012

John Murray was fired in 2010 and faces four felony charges, including cocaine possession and tampering with evidence. The trial Flagler County Circuit Judge Raul Zambrano is expected to take all day.

I-95 Crash Sends 2 to Hospitals; Witnesses Cite Cell-Phone Distraction

| February 22, 2012

The two-vehicle crash on I-95 just north of Palm Coast Parkway this morning sent two people to hospitals, one of them with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.

Florida Senate Says No to No Fast-Tracking Oil and Gas Drilling on State Lands

| February 21, 2012

A bill making it easier to drill for oil and gas on state lands hit the skids Tuesday as it failed to advance from a key Senate Committee that does not intend to meet again.

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